Jessica woke up with a bad dream at 2:00am this morning. I must have been in the deepest part of my sleep cycle, as I felt almost drunk stumbling into her room to hold her soft little body, stroke her curls and soothe her back to sleep. And although desperately tired for a combination if reasons, I have found myself utterly unable to get back to sleep. So I am downstairs on the sofa now with tea and toast and listening to The Kitchen Cabinet on Radio 4.
It is quite peaceful down here. I seem to have woke Amy the budgie, but she is just singing softy to herself every now and then. I wish I didn’t know how befuddled I’ll feel in the morning, I’m actually enjoying the quiet, stillness and aloneness of this moment.
I was scrolling through some emails while I couldn’t sleep, before I gave up and came downstairs…and there was one offering Jessica a school place. I feel really conflicted about it. She has a place at the only school we put down, which is our nearest, and happens to be outstanding. We still hope to move before the baby comes, so she will almost certainly not go there.
I don’t want her to start full time in a September anyway. She is summer born for one thing (summer born children who start school at the earliest opportunity are statistically less likely to do as well as the idler children in that class throughout their entire education, to degree level. Yes there will always be anecdotal exceptions, but I don’t feel it would be giving her the best opportunity to fulfil her potential for happiness and education).
Exactly what we decide to do will depend a lot on where we move and what school she is offered when we have moved. My feeling is to delay at least a term, and then do a very phased start, either just mornings or just afternoons, or maybe just Tuesday-Thursday for a term.
Oh I am conflicted and worried though. Would it be better to defer her for an entire year? At least then she would be starting with everyone else. But would preschool for another year be good for her? And if we move, a new preschool. With a new baby I don’t think having her at home full time would be good for me, or her, in terms of the reduced time and energy I’ll have for engaging and enriching experiences.
Should I just start her in September on reduced hours? This feels like the hardest decision I’ve had to make so far. I’m not making it alone of course, there is Carl too…but I think it is fair to say I have done far more research, and that it will be my daily round which is most affected by what we choose to do.
I just want the best for her…but a I don’t have a clear picture of what the best is yet. I have a lot of reservations about the national curriculum, am firmly opposed to early testing, and my gentle parenting philosophy is at odds with a lot of the mainstream discipline methods used in schools. I worry.
I worry a lot these days. The baby is moving now, and when I feel her kick it feels so amazing to know she is in there…but when she hasn’t moved for a while I am suddenly gripped by fear. I can’t buy anything for her a a it terrifies me that things could still go wrong. I feel guilty for not enjoying every minute of what I think will be my last pregnancy, but I am still so sad for the three that we lost and I can never relax quite enough to trust that this time we will go home with a baby.
Carl has had to work 14 days straight and I worry about him. I worry about not getting everything done around the house, about not always having the patience I wish I had with Jessica. I worry about how on earth I will not just manage with two, but how I will give the best of myself to two, how I will give them both what they need. Not just in terms of basic needs, although I imagine getting them both fed and to sleep will be a challenge…but how to give them a good time. Not just an enjoyable time, but a life that will nurture them.
I feel like there is so much to do. Quite apart from finding a house we want to buy, getting a mortgage, buying it and moving it, and helping Jessica adjust to those changes, there is decluttering and getting on top of the housework. I feel like I am always behind, always catching up with myself, always having to pop out for more milk before we run out. Part of the problem is that I am just exhausted. I have been blessed in that I had no morning sickness at all, but instead I am just exhausted, bone tired, foggy brained and feel like I am swimming against the tide all the time.
I’ve started Alison’s latest email programme over at Brocante Home which is about designing a housekeeping routine. It says a lot that I am half way through day 1 by day 4. I am determined to keep going though. I think if I can crack the housework, get a routine going and somehow find the time and energy for decluttering and spring cleaning, then maybe that will help lift my mood and also make life feel a bit easier. I really want to get back into meal planning as part of that. How many times have I written that here? I am still struggling with that though.
I am reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Ruben, which is about habits – part if which is understanding why it is hard to form and keep habits when we really want to. I am hoping this might give me some tools to help with the meal planning and the housework.
I realise this post may sound a bit gloomy. I do have moments, days, when I am gloomy. But it isn’t all like that. I have moments of real joy too, and many moments of if not joy then pleasure in the little things. I am crocheting some bed socks just now, and reading a really good book for book club (The a Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules) and found a brand new Cath Kidston mug in the charity shop for 50p. Jessica tells me my homemade meatballs and spaghetti in tomato sauce are ‘yummy and scrum my’ and her favourite meal. I had my hair cut this weekend, and it is (for now) bouncy and sitting much better than it was. I’m still buying daffodils, but the tulips are appearing now. The weather has finally been good enough to line dry our washing. Jessica’s hair still falls into a heart shape over the crown of her head. So many little jewels to gather, if I can only remember to slow down to look for them.