Although it's not like I haven't had distractions. We had a quick visit to Melbourne with Jack for medical visits to organise and do. Nellie to be enrolled in school. My French Life articles to research, photograph and write. Perpetual internet hassles, which is one of the biggest distractions from writing a blog, where a quick post becomes a whole day headache. I've started drumming with a group of great people. My own health challenges. Blah, blah, blah.
But now we find ourselves at the pointy end of the year. School will be finished soon and I have to prepare, mentally more than anything else, that my almost-3 year old baby will be joining the chaotic hordes at the local school.
We had a couple of hours orientation with her in the 'petite maternelle' class a couple of weeks ago, the non-French speaking kid in the room. My head knows she will cope, but I will worry every day until I pick her up at 11.30 each morning. And then, when she doesn't need the afternoon 'sieste', she will be full-time like her big brother.
She will sing, dance, draw, play dolls, be assertive, follow the pack, eat lunch, make friends. I do worry about the toilets. Despite the fact that she is pretty much daytime toilet-trained, her first attempt at using one of the toilets was a fair disaster.
In the bathroom, which resembles a miniature prison toilet block (no seats, toilets all in a row with no privacy walls, round fountain-like washbasin in the centre of the room) she had trouble sitting by herself on the little toilet. Cue mess. Need to work on that. We have a few months.
Jack, on the other hand, as the only wheelchair using child at the school, will be using the canteen for lunch next year. Again, this presents mixed feelings for me. Firstly because it means he is cast into the crazy, noisy, messy school lunch system, which for a kid who can be picky occasionally, will be interesting.
But it also means that he is reliant on his carer to make sure he can manage it - seating, eating, cutting up food, taking his cup from home as he can't use the school ones - plus the toileting. It's a fair job.
Perhaps the biggest impact that Jack will have on the school in the next few months is that they will be spending the Christmas holidays building a very big ramp for Jack to actually access the canteen. The school is built on a hill and the school buildings split across 3 levels. Jack's classroom is on the middle level and his carer has to push him up a large ramp to access the classrooms and playgrounds on the upper level.
The canteen is on the lower level, currently only accessed by about 20 steep steps. I will be tracking progress of the new canteen ramp with interest. Jack's time at the Pouembout school will be felt long after he leaves, hopefully helping lots of other people access the canteen as well.
So, into the Christmas crazies. A plus tard!