So many things to write about, so little time. The truth is that with my "flexible work schedule", I do have more than enough time on my hands. What's been holding me back is a new $10 membership to Lego Universe, a new online Lego peer to peer game. No, I am not addicted, but my computer is the only one that has internet that the kids can use, so by the time the last one is off to bed these days, I'm about there myself.
I never really reported on the first day back to school, and it is noteworthy in it's non-excitingness. It's really true that no news is good news. I got back from the States the afternoon before school started. I am a little neurotic about back to school, so the books and supplies had all been bought a month beforehand, and the backpacks were even packed before I left for the US.
It's amazing what a difference a year makes. A started a new middle/high school this year, and I was surprised that he wasn't more nervous. I kept asking if he was ok, and he kept giving me The Look. (Slightly rolled eyes, exasperated sigh) He did tell me that he remembered two things from last year about the first day of school. "One, was that this kid was acting crazy and I was sure that he'd be kicked out. Turns out he's my good friend now, he just has a little ADD. Second, I was terrified."
On one hand my heart goes out to him that a year later he's willing to admit how scared he was. On the other hand, it's amazing to look at this young man and see how self confident and comfortable he's become with himself in the past year. The beginning of this new year has definitely had it's challenges for him: he has to get on the bus at 7am, which means up at 6:15, and does get home until after 6pm. The homework has also increased drastically this year and his Hebrew still isn't where it needs to be. Thank G-d he has an exceptionally patient Israeli father who has been helping him every night. The thing is, he's getting there. I no longer worry about him constantly, and that's a good thing.
J loves school, even though every event, relationship, test, etc. is dramatized to the fullest. Academically she continues to shock me and I just don't know how or when she got so smart. I am tremendously proud of her. One highlight for this school year is the Bat Mitzva class that all 6th graders have. Towards the middle of the year they take the whole grade on a shabbaton to a hotel and give even more shiurim (classes) on what it means to be a Bat Mitzvah. She's very, very excited about it. We are currently trying to figure out what she wants to do for an extra "club" after school, but I think there are too many options and she can't see herself doing just one thing. We're working on it... :)
B has grown by leaps and bounds in one year, both physically and maturity-wise. He reads Hebrew books now almost as easily as he reads English ones, and is really enjoying this Parsha set that we have in Hebrew. He makes no differentiation between English speakers or Hebrew speakers in his class and is an equal opportunity friend. School work has gotten much, much easier for him and he is just about on the same level as his classmates. It's amazing to see how this guy went from having a very hard time to being amazingly well adjusted. It's a very good thing.
S is, well...S. His uniqueness and smile make him so special! He has many friends in class and in the neighborhood and is doing fantastic in school. His teacher had no idea that he is a new "oleh". Probably because after one year he really isn't... :) Both B and S are taking Capoeira at the local Matnas (think JCC) and it's very fast become a highlight of his week. He loves math and does incredibly well in school. He misses his Aunt D, with whom he has always has a special connection. But he's happy and likes school, that's always a good thing!
R has probably had the best change of all. Out of all the kids, I think he had the hardest first year. Strange, being that he was only 4 when we got here, right? He had a fantastic teacher last year, but I don't think that the school was the right fit for him. He also had mostly girls in his class and socially it wasn't the best for him. He spent much of most year on the couch with his thumb in his mouth while clutching his blankie. This year has been a WONDERFUL change for him! His teachers are both fantastic, the Gan itself is great and he is so, SO happy. He was home sick this week and every morning ran to get a siddur. "If I can't go to gan, I must daven at home!" He goes everyday with my amazing neighbor and going with a friend made the initial separation easier. He is so happy, it makes me smile every time he comes home. "How was Gan, R?" "AWESOME! I LOVE IT!" Every single day.
N is the man. He is out of the house for the first time, and it went surprisingly well. He did cry for the first 3-4 days, but since then he seems excited and happy to go. I was worried about him returning today after being out sick for 3 days, but he went in well. He does the cutest thing when we go in. He seems kind of sad to leave me or BAW, but he sidles up to the teacher and waits for a hug every time he gets there. Once he gets it he's full of smiles and runs off to play. He's learning more and more Hebrew every day.
All in all it's been a great start to the year. Gone are my nervous, anxious American newbies. I don't know what exactly they are morphing into, but it's happening, and that's a very good thing. :)