Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Timing is everything

I'm ready to admit it. I was truly clueless about how much Biscuit going to school was going to affect us. I just had no idea ... at all!

Everything has changed. And I do mean everything. And it's hard. It's way harder than I thought it was going to be.

I realize how lucky we are to have the life we have. Biscuit has a good school to go to. I was able to change my work to fit Biscuit's schedule. Mine and Jeff's jobs are pretty adjustable, so we can do field trips and go read to his class and other things.

But realizing how lucky we are doesn't change the fact that our family life has been turned upside down. It really bugs me that his school basically runs our life now.

When Biscuit was going to day care, we got him there on our schedule. And we picked him up on our schedule. Now, we work around his schedule. And it's hard.

I hate to sound whiny, but here's what has changed:

1. My get-up time. I used to get up about 7:30 each morning. Now I get up between 5:45 and 6 a.m. I am definitely not a morning person, so that's been really hard.

2. Biscuit's get-up time. Biscuit used to get up at 8 a.m. Now he gets up at 6:30 a.m.

3. Go to work time. I drop off Biscuit between 7:30 and 7:40 a.m., then I get to work about 8 a.m.

4. Work schedule. I used to get to work about 9:30 a.m. Most everybody who works day hours is at work by then. So I could make all the phone calls and emails I needed and get responses right away. Now, since I get to work an hour and a half earlier, I've had to rearrange when I make contact with people. And that's just one example.

5. Go home time. I leave work at 4 p.m. (which usually means about 4:20). I get to Biscuit's school between 4:30 and 5 p.m.

6. Piano practice. Biscuit is supposed to practice piano for half an hour each day. We try to do that most days. But if I need to go by the grocery store or run another errand, that 30 minutes won't happen. That's how tight our schedule is these days.

7. Homework. Biscuit has homework assigned for each weekday. And it takes about 20 minutes. They say it's to get us used to having homework each day like he will in higher grades, but I think the homework he has is just too much for a kindergartner. But of course we do it anyway. I don't want to chance him getting behind in school.

8. Reading. We're supposed to read to and with Biscuit for at least 20 minutes each day. Some of that time is his bedtime stories, but that's usually only about 10 minutes. So that means Biscuit and I have to work in an extra 10 or 15 minutes.

9. Dinner. While I'm cooking dinner, Biscuit has his only free time each evening. He gets to play for the 45 or so minutes it takes for me to make dinner. Jeff usually gets home in time to eat dinner with us.

10. Dinner cleanup / bath time. Jeff gives Biscuit a bath each night. It's a time for them to talk and play together. And I take care of the kitchen and dishes.

11. Biscuit's bedtime. Biscuit's bedtime is now 8:30 p.m. Biscuit works best when he gets between 9 and 10 hours of sleep, and if we tuck him in at 8:30, he's usually out in no time.

12. More work. Since my work day is shorter so I can work around Biscuit's schedule, I get on the computer and do more work stuff after he goes to bed. This leaves zero time for Jeff and me to hang out. We used to have a couple of hours each night to watch TV or play cards or just hang out. Now, if I get my work stuff done in a reasonable amount of time, we might have 30 minutes or an hour.

13. My bedtime. I have to go to bed at 10 p.m. now. And I hate it! I've always been a night owl, but nowadays, I have to go to bed really early. I read for a while to wind down, so it's usually around 11 p.m. when I actually go to sleep.

Our time is just so structured now. There's no room for straying from the schedule. And it's very stressful.

And I know that families everywhere are doing this, so it's not like we're a special case. But like I said, I was just clueless. I had no idea how much our lives were going to change in August 2014.

It's all still a work in progress. And I also realize that as Biscuit gets older, he'll be able to do his homework without me sitting right beside him. And he'll be able to give himself a bath. But until then, we'll just be plodding along, trying to keep our sanity in tact.

And while I'm on a rant, it doesn't help that there's so much non-school stuff we have to do for school. There are field trips and canned food drives and toy drives and movie nights and volunteer opportunities. 

We have to initial his behavior chart each day and sign the Monday folder and write a check for afterschool care each week and pack lunches and snacks each day.

Ugh! I'm tired just writing all this. And all of this doesn't even include what we don't get to do anymore. There's no time for outside play. And there's no time for writing blog posts (and believe me, I've been reminded by some faithful readers - nicely, of course!!!).

All three of us get grumpy with each other. And we're tired. And we get frustrated with everything being so regimented. So hopefully, all of this will become routine enough that we can find spaces to relax. Keep your fingers crossed.

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