I've been longing to write lately but unable to come up with anything to say. So, let's just start with some news, shall we?
Ethan and Samuel are both back in public school. They both mentioned an interest in returning, and while I was hesitant at first, we eventually decided it would be a good thing to try. Particularly for Ethan, this was a good opportunity to reenter into the public system at the same time that everyone else his age was starting a new school (Middle School for the first time and in a brand new building, to boot) with a bunch of new kids and with a totally new-to-them system of lockers and changing classes all day long. If he was disoriented or had some difficulty adapting at first, it would be likely others were, as well.
I have been so blessed and happy to see that he has done well. This is not to say that we will never have problems or that everything is perfect, but overall, he's fitting in and handling the new responsibilities well. Going on a field trip with his 6th grade team further reassured me that this is just how 6th grade boys act -- still sweet boys underneath, but slathered over with a veneer of awkward and sometimes obnoxious and annoying behavior -- not "cool" at all. The girls -- they try to be cool, and many of them succeed. But very few of the 6th grade boys even care to try. It really amused me to observe a whole passel of Ethans all day long.
We started the school year with Samuel doing home school. However, he quickly began expressing an interest in going to the school that our new neighbors attend. I think without Ethan at home, he was lonely and bored. He said he just "want[ed] to try it." Of course, once I decided to let him try it, I was fairly committed to the idea that he would stay, barring any alarming developments. But as far as he was concerned, he was making the choice. After the first day, as we walked away from the school doors, he informed me that everyone was really nice and that he was going to stay.
The difference between his previous school experience and this one has been like night and day. He had an IEP for behavior at our old school. He spent a lot of time in the principal's office and had multiple suspensions. So far at his new school, he has been on green (ie not gotten in trouble and been required to move his clip down to yellow, orange, or red on the behavior chart) all but one day on yellow. The difference seems to be in the fresh start at a new school and perhaps in his own decision to attend this school. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that he's had a year to grow up, while having a break from the environment that seemed to trigger behavior problems. We had an IEP meeting a few weeks after he started attending the new school, and the general consensus was that the IEP didn't make much sense for him anymore. It will be rewritten after they do some academic testing, in order to see if there are any areas where he might still benefit from help.
As for Jacob -- well, he's a teenager. The days of getting everyone in the family excited about outings to the park, the zoo, family movie night, or almost any other family activity idea we generate, are, apparently, past. Other than perhaps a superhero movie we could all watch together, there is little that captures his interest that is also appropriate or interesting to his brothers. We drag him along with us, but dealing with the resistance is not fun. I hold out a faint hope that we may be able to find some new whole-family-appropriate activities that will interest him. It used to be so easy to think of an activity or outing that everyone was eager to do! The biggest obstacle used to be our own energy or motivation as parents to go on the outing or do the activity.
It's been a relief to have Ethan and Samuel doing well in public school, but that doesn't eliminate problems at home. We still deal with lots of fighting between all three of the boys. This is probably intensified by two of the boys' ADHD, when it's not under control. As parents, we also have to moderate some irritating or difficult behaviors directed toward us that are certainly rooted in ADHD. It can be exhausting sometimes. Still, we have pleasant moments that help to balance out the difficult times. There is a lot of affection and conversation in our family, and I think this helps keep everyone cemented together despite dealing with various member's lack of impulse control, hyperactivity, stubbornness or irritability.