Thursday, September 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo: Day One

So I've decided to do NaBloPoMo for September. I have no idea if I can pull this off without neglecting my family or my paycheck job, but this month's theme of "return" was just too tempting to pass up. Just so many directions I can go with that. The basic idea of NaBloPoMo is simple; you merely have to post something every day for one month. That's it. Easy peasy. Well, we'll see.

Today's writing prompt ("What magical creature would you love to meet?") doesn't grab me, nor do I understand its connection to the theme, but I've been mulling over various ways that "return" resonates for me. Today, I think I'll start with an obvious one for September, the return to school. Yes, I know, it's been done already. The blogosphere (or at least the mommy-blogger part of it) has been fairly crackling with back-to-school posts this past week. I haven't jumped on the bandwagon until now because, to be honest, back-to-school has been a relative nonevent for us this year. The girls were a little sad that summer had ended, and they complained some about their new, treeless (post-tornado) playground, but mostly they seem glad to be back with their friends and back in the routine. Ashley's transition to "upper elementary" went smoothly -- so far nothing but positive comments.

But here's the thing, the very ordinariness of this fall's return to school is something to celebrate! Let's start, for instance, with the fact that this week Ashley said the words "I like school," and meant them in all sincerity. In her years of foster care, before her placement with us, school was not a positive experience, for her or for the school professionals. She was viewed as a "problem child," a disciplinary challenge. Academics were barely focused on; all of their energy went into controlling her, preventing her outbursts. These days I send her off to school without any concerns about serious behavioral issues. How's that for amazing?

Academically, she still struggles a little, but we are beginning vision therapy this week and I am hopeful that this will help. When I used Strabismus in my last post as a metaphor for the experience of being adopted, I was drawing on her situation. She has Strabismus, literally, and we've learned that she has to struggle to keep her eyes in focus, which is likely exhausting her, leaving little energy for learning.

Another celebration is that for the first time this year both of my daughters are in the same classroom, and this seems not to be an issue at all. Two years ago it would have been a disaster. People often ask me how Mackenzie handled getting a new sister, close to her own age, at 8-years-old. It wasn't pretty, believe me. Oh, she had wanted a sister so badly. She had begged, longed, and wished on a star for a sister. But as soon as that sister moved in, she did not want a sister ... at all. She would have given anything for an "undo" button.

That first year was so hard, and my husband and I got through it mainly by adopting a divide-and-conquer strategy. One with one child, the other with the other. It was a good investment in the long run, but challenging; each child got a lot of one on one time with a parent, but he and I got barely any with each other.

Things are so different now. I would say that Mackenzie and Ashley get along better than most siblings. That's not to say that there are never any problems -- no siblings get along all of the time -- but for the most part things are peaceful in our household. And in the classroom, too, apparently. What a long way we have come!

1 comment:

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post! return, is a cool word to think about! Your article prompted some ideas!

    It's good to hear that your girls are having successes! Parents need these blessings! Sounds like you and your husband are doing a great job!

    Visiting from voiceBoks
    Thanks, Becky Jane


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