We’re no strangers to change around here – when you get the news that you’ll be welcoming quintuplets into your world, change becomes as familiar to you as your own face in the mirror. We went from 1 kid to 6 and shortly after that we went from privileged to tightly packed when we downsized our house as our family nearly tripled in size…and we went from a fairly anonymous existence to a very public one along the way. We changed cars, family budgets, and long term plans. Our bank accounts changed quite a bit and so did our priorities. Perspective, passions, pursuits, and pleasures, both simple and complex – no stone was left unturned in the last several years. So yeah, change? We got this.
Not surprisingly, the ongoing theme of our recent history did not alter course over the summer and heading into fall. In May we decided to put our house on the market to take advantage of the sizzling Austin economy. Favor was on our side and the home sold in three weeks! We closed and moved in late July into a rental in our same neighborhood. The move went well – we even got a break from the Texas summer heat on moving day when a cloudy, unseasonably cool day rolled into town. Five or six weeks later we were 100% settled into the new home, a temporary one – it’s a rental so yeah, we’re already signed up for more big changes ahead…more on that later.
Just as we got ourselves settled into the home, the biggest change we’ve faced in a long time, one that we’ve anticipated for years came on August 25th at 7:45 am – KINDERGARTEN!!!!! Yes, it finally arrived, the big day we’ve been waiting for……and waiting for…………aaaaaannnnnddd waiting for for what seemed like foooooorrrreeeevvvvveeeeeeeerrrrrrrr!!!!! I’m guessing you can tell by that last statement that no, we are not homeschooling. (And yes, that’s a question we get a lot because I guess people for some reason equate large families with homeschooling. Thanks Duggars? Mormons? Who gets the thanks for that utterly insane perception??? God bless those who can do the homeschooling thing and do it well. It’s not us, not in our DNA.) Back to the subject – so yeah, kindergarten is here and it’s going very, very well. And of course we cannot forget about our superstar 5th grader, Eliot McKenna – she’s doing awesome in school as well, loves her teachers, taking on some tougher course work and responsibilities (it’s a big jump from how fourth grade was), and is all and all being the usual rock star that she always is.
So here’s the lowdown on the kinder program. I believe it is recommended that you split up your multiples when they hit the classroom so that they can develop their individuality. Uh-huh. That’s all fine and good for you parents of twins, triplets, and quads slackers, but we’ve got 5 and you’re nuts if you think we’re going to have the bandwidth to deal with 5 different teachers (plus Eliot’s 3 teachers), 5 sets of school projects, 5 classrooms full of 20+ potential inviters and invitees to birthday parties, 100+ classmates and their drama, and all the other madness that would come with that. Five different sets of emails and friendly “volunteer donation” reminders from 5 different homeroom moms……..seriously, no one is strong enough to handle that! ;) But we didn’t want to put them all in one class and Texas has a law that allows the parents of multiples to decide how their children are placed in their classrooms so we decided to go with a 3/2 split. How did you decide who to put together you ask? Of course you asked that – if not out loud, you definitely thought it in your head as soon as you read that last sentence. Yeah, we get that question a lot. Well, we tried to think of how the pairings would work out best and well, we failed, but that’s a good thing. The kids all do pretty great with each other and when they’re not being pretty great they’re being pretty awful – there’s really no in-between. But they treat each other pretty great and pretty awful at a pretty even rate. In other words, they don’t really have any alliances. The two who are best friends today will be best friends with another one of their siblings tomorrow. The three that are filing down their toothbrushes to make shanks so they can settle things once and for all with each other will all be best friends tomorrow and the next day they’ll be in the love/hate cycle with another one or two of the kids. This phenomenon is known as the circle of siblinghood, I believe. Kind of like the circle of life but without the death and killing and eating of each other kind of stuff…..so far.
The 3/2 split is working out pretty well. We’ve got Lila and Jack together in one class and Brooklyn, Britton, and Ryan in the other class and their classrooms are right next to each other’s. In fact, their classrooms connect with a little hallway at the back of the rooms where the cubbies for their backpacks are. It’s funny to watch them wave at each other from across the hall when they’re hanging up their stuff at the start of the day. Actually, the one thing we thought would be good with the split was for Lila and Ryan to be separated. Those two are as competitive as the ladies on ‘The Bachelor’ and we thought it would be good for them to have some other kids to try and dominate for awhile. (I overheard this from Lila to Ryan just today – “You always think you’re better than me!!!” Oh boy…..)
Like I said, kindergarten is going great. All of the kids love their teachers (and we love them too – they both rock!) and are excited to go to school every day! And…and…AND!!!!! Not one of them has been in a lick of trouble in the first four weeks!!! Not even Britton!!!! OOOOOOOHHHHH YEEEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!
As for me and Casey, well, we’re in transition. For me, it’s pretty much all good except that I have to get up so dang early now to get them all off to school. While I’m getting myself ready for the work day, Casey pretty much handles getting the kids ready for school, fed, water bottles filled up, backpacks packed, lunches handled, and of course hugged and kissed on their way out the door. I drive all 6 to a neighborhood right near the school and walk them in just like I’ve always done with Eliot and then Eliot stays with me and helps get the littles dropped off at their class. After that, I walk Eliot down to her class….I love it and I’m really going to miss it when she doesn’t let me walk with her anymore which is probably coming really soon…uggggg!! I’m usually home working when the chaos gets home from school (Casey picks them up) so I still get to enjoy a little bit of family madness while my work day is winding down, but the quiet days are pretty nice!
For Casey, it’s a little more of a mixed bag as she’s working on reclaiming a little piece of what she once knew as a life while she works on keeping these kids on track. She’s catching up on some organization projects, digging into some new meal plans for healthier eating around here, getting back into a workout routine, and preparing for when the kids get back home and turn the house upside down again. Contrary to what you might think and what I generally accuse her of doing, she is not laying around eating bon-bons and her life has not gotten any easier since the school year began – my girl’s a worker, a tireless worker! Getting into a rhythm with all of these changes has been a bit of a challenge and we’re still working out some kinks, but she’s getting there and feeling better about things every day.
To sum it all up, this family is currently in a period of transition…to change. And we’re used to that change thing. It’s just a different kind of change this time around and it’s bigger than our typical every day kind. Change. That’s what we do around here and we’ve been doing a whole heckuva lot of it lately. It’s been a new kind of crazy in an otherwise crazy life, but we’re handling it well I think. At least I hope so because 2014/2015 promises to be a whirlwind of a time for us! Oh yeah, that other big change I said we’re signed up for? We’re planning on hopefully, maybe early next year, starting construction on a new home……oh my, oh my….good, busy, crazy, stressful, blessed times ahead!!!!
Until we chat again…God bless!!