Well, we are told to prepare for worst case scenario. I did not. I did not expect to have a Caesarian section under general anaesthetic, or to feel quite so ill after the arrival of our new baby. He arrived, our fourth son, four weeks ago, and I am just beginning to feel like myself again. I seem to spend all day on babycare - and worry that I am neglecting my responsibility to educate the older boys. Then I am reminded that this season is relatively short-lived. Already, the baby is more settled and his feeding is settling into a more regular pattern. And I am also reminded that this is life education, and caring for a baby can be a valuable part of that, and of creating compassionate and loving people.
The boys are very taken with our new arrival. With me out of action, and in need of help, the elder two quickly became competent at picking up, holding and carrying their baby brother, though I have yet to persuade them to change a nappy! They also had to help their Dad with the housework, cooking and laundry - and rose to the occasion! Our third son has been a bit more cautious of the new baby, but has slowly warmed up to holding him and keeps saying how pleased he is to be a big brother.
Any more formal learning has had to go on the back burner for the time being. As it is now the school Easter holidays, neighbourhood friends are around and the boys have been enjoying their company. Our eldest has been inspired by clips on You Tube to create short animated films with his Lego, which he has been very motivated with. We have also kept on with Kumon - almost daily!
The boys have been reading, too, which has really encouraged me. The eldest has discovered Cressida Cowell's "How to Train Your Dragon" books - reading swiftly through the first - and with nine in the series, I am hopeful he will enjoy more. His brother - who finds it difficult to find books which appeal - is enjoying the Asterix books, and the third has finally realised that the reading skills he has been developing through Kumon, and computer programmes like Alphablocks and Reading Eggs, do actually enable him to decipher real books. It was a major breakthrough for me to see him pick up book after book the other morning and to begin reading them.
I have re-done our daily timetable which we will try and recommence next week. Rather than scheduling in tasks at particular times - which has never really worked for us anyway, and doesn't afford us enough flexibility, I have made a daily schedule for each boy, listing the tasks they need to do each day. I have laminated these sheets, so that they can cross activities off as they are completed, and then we can wipe the sheet clean to use again the following week. It is then up to the boys in what order they choose to do things, and also to decide if they want to do extra work one day to allow more free time another day. So we will see how it goes, but hopefully, it will be flexible yet determined enough to fit in around our changed household!