The weekend was actually quite nice. There was shockingly no traffic on the way down, nor on the way back. G surprised us all with a little gizmo that hangs off the headrest to hold an ipad---so the boys happily (and quietly) watched movies the whole way with their headphones on. We could actually TALK and THINK and RELAX. Total game changer for long drives.
It was really relaxing to not have to do anything all day on Saturday. No cooking, no cleaning, no errands, no laundry...even minimal child-wrangling, since they all ran off in a pack and played on their own. I finished up the book I was reading (I ADORED it) and read a whole 'nother one, too (OK). It was crazy hot, and we spent a LOT of time outside, so we were all worn out.
We got back early afternoon yesterday and made our way through the usual Sunday activities. Neither of us was in the mood to cook dinner, so we got a pizza. L was so exhausted he fell asleep at the dinner table, and then went up to "wait for stories" and didn't wake up again until 5 AM (when he came to ask G to scratch his back and complain about his blanket being "wrong"). He then fell asleep again until nearly 8; neither parent could go back to bed.
G went to the gym, and I made the mistake of staying in bed and reading the news. And then it was really hard to motivate to do anything. I KNEW about the news yesterday but made a point not to read too much graphic detail because I know it would make me depressed & anxious & angry & hopeless. Indeed, I feel all of those things. Sigh. Deep breath (yes, I've contacted my congress people, etc...I do it EVERY TIME...I'm getting sick of nothing changing. I can feel the apathy creeping in...sigh. deep breath again).
B was asking me whether he'd be going to the aftercare place next year and I told him no (total clusterf of chaos and incompetence on the part of the owner/director), and he got really really excited "so you are going to pick me up from school?!". Ugh. "No, I can't because I'm still at work when you get off school, but we will find something better".
I spent a lot of time brainstorming ways I COULD pick him up from school, at least one or two days a week. It would involve split shifts, early mornings, and a LOT of self-discipline on my part. I know that being at work 8-9 consecutive hours a day offers me a nice luxurious buffer---I truly get 6-7 hours of REAL THINKING work done (the rest of time is ideally spent on miscellaneous non-thinking-required work and realistically sometimes on non-work work). It would be great for him, though, he really needs some time after school to decompress and be on his own. If I picked him up at 3, we came home and ate snacks and did homework by 3:30 and still have a couple of hours before dinner to go to the park or play legos or read books or just BE A KID instead of being forced into activities he doesn't enjoy with kids he doesn't want to hang out with. Not that there isn't value to that once in a while---and sometimes he is super excited about playing tag with the big kids or whatever, but...its a lot, every day.
Once every other week I do pick him up from school to take him to his social skills therapy (we switch off) and he is so different on those afternoons then he is when I get him from after care at 5:30 most days. At 3 pm he is talkative, curious, inquisitive---we've talked about race (he has been obsessed with skin color and was telling me each of his friends and the color of their skin and we had to talk about why maybe we shouldn't mention skin color or any other physical characteristic as the first attribute of someone), the presidential election (very complicated discussion here...), suburban vs. urban living and the pros/cons of each, etc... By 5:30 he is sullen, complaining, stuffing his face with snacks & granola bars and answering ever question with "nothing" "fine" "i don't know" "i forgot".
What I didn't realize, going into the school year, is that going from a full day of school to aftercare from 8:30-5:30 is VERY different from being in daycare 8:30-5:30. At daycare, even at the preK level, they have naptime/downtime (B hasn't napped since age 3, but he lay on his mat quietly or looked at books while the others slept), they go outside multiple times a day, and more importantly, the bulk of their time involves free play. When picking him up, we could find B digging in the sand table by himself or in a corner looking at a book, or running at full tilt outside with his friends--he was able to meet his own needs for solitude, soothing, and working out his energy.
Anyways. Just some thoughts and ramblings.