Monday, September 1, 2008

In which she returns to her mommyblogger roots

There are times when I wax philosophical, or fumble with the minutiae of Israeli culture, or push the boundaries of my writing, or spend hours looking for that perfect shot. And then of course there's stuff like this, or this. Or this. Or even this. That one still haunts my dreams.
This isn't one of those times.
Yes, this is the obligatory "back to school" post.
It could have been a photography post, but not with these as the best of the first day of school lot -
Yes, his eyes were closed or nearly close in every single picture.
Or this one. At least she's happy, but she's much too busy to even look at me, let alone head for a less busy background. Oh, and the hair? A joint effort. My job is ponytails. Maya does the clips. So many clips. Oh so many clips. Dozens. All at once. Either her hair is down loose or else this. It's all about extremes. No middle ground with this kid.
Or then there was this attempt to get the two of them together. Herding cats I tell you.
As for the nitty gritty...
Itai's day went well. The only surprise there, albeit a major one, was a last minute teacher switch from the same teacher he had last year (who we were THRILLED with) to a complete unknown, but I have heard good things about her and Itai came home happy. (Why wouldn't he, he'd been complaining for months that the previous teacher gave too much homework. He thinks he's on easy street now. I suspect he's in for a fairly rude awakening in a few short days.)
Maya was our real star today. She started kindergarten (generally freestanding here in Israel, not part of the elementary school) in a small special education "language" kindergarten) as well as joined her brother in his afternoon program. Over the summer the kindergarten was moved from the brand new facility I'd originally blogged about in the link above to an older facility, but the building they're in is still more than enough for the eleven (11! Instead of 35!) children in the class and the teacher and the aide seem both nice and competent. Maya took a while to acclimate this morning, and was a bit unsettled when it was time for the children to eat breakfast (food can be a stressful issue for her) but she seemed to settle in well after that. They only went for two hours today and she was beaming by the time I picked her up, and is enthusiastic about returning tomorrow. As I've gotten to know the staff and the other children and families I've become more and more confident that we made the correct decision to place her in this program, that it is exactly what she needs to make a huge leap forward over the next 1-2 years. When the school day is finished at 1:30 she will be joining Itai at a private afternoon program. She knows several of his friends there as well, and has been happily playing in their playground and glomming treats off the staff for a year now, so that transition went a bit more quickly (though there too she didn't really eat, but hopefully that will settle itself soon). The staff there told me she was a bit reserved, but the fact that she was talking with the director right away when I brought her over (a first day treat, she'll normally take a van) showed me that she was feeling pretty comfortable. Maya herself told me that she had a "great" day and had "lots of fun" and can't wait to go back tomorrow. We're optimistic that this combination of specially-geared attention in the mornings and normal day to day kid stuff in the afternoons will be a good combination for her - giving her the extra boost that she needs without letting her fall further behind her same-age peers by becoming too insular in the special ed world. This is very important to us because the goal (of both us as her parents and of the professionals who understand such things) is to have her ready to enter a regular classroom by first-grade, two years from now. (Many children in Israel with fall birthdays are encouraged to stay in kindergarten for two years, with Maya's other issues it's practically a given.)
All in all we're off to a pretty good start. It was a long, stressful road to get here, but now that we're finally here the sun is out and things are looking good.


Anonymous said...

For back to school pictures, I have one boy "shaking his booty" and um, no pictures of the other. Sigh...
So glad it was a good school move for Maya. I know how stressful that is and what a relief it is to find the right fit. Here's to a great year! :)

Maribeth said...

Our kids go back in the morning. Ah quiet! Not me,of course, I have no small children, but it means I can have my coffee without the neighbor children coming over to play with the dogs.

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Love those photos---Maya does her hair like my girls do! Glad the start was a good one.

Lis Garrett said...

I'll be posting my own obligatory back-to-school photos within the next few days.

Your kids are seriously cute!

Glad to hear everything went well. :-)

Trish @ Another Piece of the Puzzle said...

Sounds like you have a great schedule in place for her, and I really like the picture of the two kids together! I still need to download the shots my husband took of me & Michael walking off to school the first day.

mother in israel said...

Wow! Wishing you a smooth year for both.

Domestic Spaz said...

I think Maya's hair is BEAUTIFUL! :)

I can't get Munchkin to wear clips anymore. :( She's in a "what would my friends think?!?!" stage.

Shannon said...

I love the photos even though you may not feel like they are your best work. They are just real life.

I am so glad the kids has a good first day, especially Maya. I know how much her education has been on your mind. Sounds like they are both off to a great start!

followthatdog said...

We're getting a ton of those kind of photos with my older boy right now. Either his eyes are closed or he's posing with an impossibly forced looking smile. It makes me wonder if we'll ever get a good photo of him at this age.

Jill said...

I've now tried twice to comment here, but each time my power goes out and I get disconnected.

So to keep this short and sweet now... congrats on your new kindergarten - despite it not being in the building you wanted. And only 11 kids in the class? Amazing!

I'm finally getting caught up to speed on life there. I wish I had found you when I still lived there. :)

Phyllis Sommer said...

hooray for a good day for maya. all the best...