In reality, I actually only recall having one day where I had absolutely nothing to do for the short time they were gone and immediately jumped back in bed (per my mother's wise advice and instruction) and took a nice long nap in the middle of the day. That was an awesome day. Tear.
Typically though, I used the time to do major work catch up and run errands - and wow, I forgot how super productive I could be when I don't have two happily screaming toddlers at my feet or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse as background noise. To be able to concentrate in complete silence was an amazing gift. Most days I didn't even turn on the tv. It was THAT nice to hear NOTHING.
I guess what really, really surprised me is that I missed them so much while they were gone. I mean obviously I've left them for over 5 hours, but this was a different situation. This time they were without mommy or daddy, in completely their own environment, and just a little independent. I always wondered what they were doing, if they were happy, did they eat their lunch, did Quinn settle down for a nap, and were they on their best behavior? So when I would pick them up, I couldn't wait to hug their little bodies and "hear" all about their day via their report cards they received weekly.
And what was truly awesome about our time apart is that I think they missed me too! Plus, my paitence 'o meter had time to reset itself so I was super fun (at least in my mind) to be around when they got home. Suddenly I had newfound energy to play games, read more books, and just be "cool mommy" instead of the "grumpy, OMG if you hit your brother over the head one more time, I'm going to toss you in the backyard, multiple time out because I don't know what else to do to make you listen" kind of mommy. I don't like the latter mommy near as much but such is the nature of what happens when you spend that much "quality time" together for days and weeks on end.
But truly the best part, besides the way it selfishly was a great thing for me : ) was the kids truly, truly enjoyed it. It was only about 3 1/2 months but I feel like they matured and grew during that time. Heck, just for them to be able to sleep on nap mats, eat meals away from Mommy, and learn to play with other children were all valuable lessons and it shocked me that they did so well from the beginning. Goes to show what peer pressure does : ) ha. At least in MDO, it's the good type of peer pressure - the kind where you take a nap because all the other kids are doing it. Lord help us all when it's a different kind of peer pressure. My heart palpitates just thinking about it.
We really couldn't have asked for a better first school experience for the kids. One day a week was perfect so they could have a little transition time to when they will attend two times a week in the fall (can you see my smile about 2 days a week from here??). They had a wonderfully sweet teacher who loved on them from day 1 and gave me such confidence that it actually was ok to leave them behind with an almost perfect stranger. Who's definitely not a stranger anymore --- when I ask the kids what they liked about school that day, they say "Kara, Kara, Kara". Well, Quinn sort of says it and Ryan says the "Kkkkk" sound but they both get big grins on their face when I mention "Miss Kara" or "school".
Below is a video I took the night before their last day. I typically pack up their stuff when they aren't watching or are sleeping, but I wanted to get it done ahead of time. Of course, they saw their backpacks and had to immediately put them on. See, love school. Lord, I pray that they will always have that excitement about school --- that may be asking a bit much but I do pray that they will always love to learn.
And here is their first "school" picture. Wow. I may or may not have cried a little bit when I saw this. My babies. At school? With classmates? And teachers? Ughhh. It may just have triggered me speeding up our timeline to perhaps trying for a third. Maybe.
Yes, Quinn is the only girl in the class. Thus she was spoiled rotten and was the teacher's helper the entire spring. She ruled that class. And sweet little Ryan --- poor thing had a rough haircut the week before the pictures and he sort of has the bowl thing happening. He still looks adorable though and I can't tell you how much he resembles pictures of Matt when he was little - with almost the same haircut too : )
(In other news, we're working on growing that haircut out and then I may never let anyone touch his hair again. We are like 4 for 4 on bad haircuts and we've tried everything, the Great Clips down the street, the little place JUST FOR KIDS AND NO ONE ELSE (but we still give horrible haircuts), and even our adult people who cut our hair. He just has very, very difficult hair to cut. It's very straight, thick and he has about 5 cowlicks that swirl in different directions around his head. Please ask for blessings on the next pair of scissors that touch my son's head)
I realize that whole paragraph above was sort of useless but I thought I should explain and honestly I needed to vent a bit. I just want the boy to have a decent haircut. Just like I would like to have the time to go get my hair done and remove the oodles of gray that just magically appeared. Maybe someday soon. But not on a Tuesday when the kids are at MDO. POOH :(