Preparing for Baby and Finishing a School Year

Finishing This School Year

Obviously I have no idea how April will turn out, but I’ve tried to make a few preparations.  A couple of babies ago I wrote a pair of posts about preparing for a new baby by planning to unschool and setting up a learning-conducive environment.   (Also, I found this post from when Leo was born.  Good grief, my kids have grown!  But back to the point.)  In retrospect, those posts sound pretty confident, but I’m not sure all of my preparations worked out exactly as planned.  Although to be fair, I’m not sure what preparations would have worked out “exactly as planned” upon bringing a newborn into a house with a 4 year old and 22 month old twins — not to mention an 8 and a 10 year old!  

The recovery from that C-section went pretty well.  I know this because I was trying to start “school” with everyone when Chipmunk was about a month old.  (My current response to that post, of course, is, What were you, insane??? But I know why I was trying to do all that Montessori with the little guys.  It’s because little guys left to themselves for a long period of time = even more insanity than trying to start school with a 4 week old.  Especially with the twins. In that post, I think I casually mention that one of the twins — not yet two — had covered himself in black grease from the grill, but I have to tell you, I remember that day, and covered in black grease does not begin to describe the mess that boy made of himself or how long it took to clean him up. Or maybe I’m remembering a different day, because I know he got into that grease pit more than once.)   

Anyway, maybe I’m just older and more tired or maybe it really is the benefit of experience, but I’ve stopped trying to make really complicated preparations.  I don’t have any Montessori trays out now because the shelves in the kitchen aren’t going to be done by the time I go into the hospital, but also because I know that nobody will be able to keep up with them and they’ll end up scattered to the nine winds.  My two eldest children are old enough now that they’ll just keep going with what they were doing on their own (and April is Camp NaNoWriMo anyway), and the middle set of boys have grown enough that they can often keep themselves occupied with Lego and audio books.  But considering that we are still in the midst of a school year — and one that has been somewhat mediocre, although not terrible — I don’t really want to declare this year done and over now, at the end of March.  Which, you know, is a possibility, at least for the younger kids. 

So I am making a few preparations, mostly toward keeping the environment learning-oriented.  This time that has taken the form of:

The prices for Lego education kits are a lot higher than I was expecting! But I know the boys will get a lot of use out of them, so we decided to invest.  This kit will not go upstairs, however.  It will be part of “school”, and as such will sit on one of those unfinished kitchen shelves to be worked on at the kitchen table.  The thing here is that my mom is coming to help for a couple of weeks (thank goodness!).  As an engineer, she is not adverse to helping boys with Legos, so I’m taking advantage of her.  (She doesn’t know this yet, of course.) 

  • A long list of audio books available on Audible.  

Andy took the kids out to shop for Easter clothes and shoes on Saturday (no, you can’t have him), so I spent some time searching through Audible’s Kid’s Classics subcategory and making up a list of titles aimed at George and the twins.  Some of them are a little more complicated than others (like Kidnapped) making them more appropriate for George, whom I have a hard time keeping supplied with audio.  This way I don’t have to spend time searching… and I can just hand the list off to somebody else and they can purchase and download the book(s) for me.

  • Some new art supplies for the youngest ones

We need new playdough, crayons, and do-a-dot markers.  That might keep some people busy for about five minutes.

  • Book baskets

I need to get the big kids to help me put out our Easter and spring picture books, and then I need to see about making book bins for each of the three boys who are on the verge of reading.  What I’ve noticed is that they’ve come to rely so much on audio books that they don’t pick up physical books all that often.  I think that independent practice with books freely chosen is really key in learning how to read.  (At least it seemed so for my older kids.)  So, although I’m happy that they like listening to books, I really want to encourage them to put the iPad down occasionally.

Book baskets in progress.  Plus a rubber snake. The Joy of Cooking is not in anybody’s basket; it’s just on the coffee table.

 

 I’ve fallen down miserably on the freezer cooking to prepare for baby, and the house may or may not be somewhat in order by the time I go in for my C-section.  But books are a lot more important than food, aren’t they?


 

 

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Comments

  1. Your preps are pretty much in good shape! With the support that you will be getting from the hubby and your mom, I would say it is okay to put more premium on books than food :-). Have a good Holy Week. Blessings for your delivery and for a happy and healthy family!

  2. Definitely, they can eat or not eat, but they MUST read!;) Isn’t it funny looking back on ourselves, oh what we could tell our younger selves. Praying for you{{}}

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