There is a phone call I have been avoiding. For weeks now, I should have scheduled a re-enrollment appointment at Ivory's school. When our family advocate called, I quickly told her I would have to discuss the matter with my husband (not a lie: I really did have to talk to him) and when I run into her I assure her that I will contact her soon. For the past year Ivory has been attending Head Start four mornings a week, while Sylvan and I are left to our own devices.
A few days ago I received a survey from the program and the last two questions were: What are three things the program is doing well? What are three things that need improvement? Well, the play ground equipment is nice.... as I thought about it, gingerly pecking out my answers on the keyboard, it just became so much more apparent that Head Start is just a bad fit. I have been wrestling with mixed emotions for weeks now. Ivory seems to love the program, but it is a bad fit for me. I feel guilty about the food she is eating as it is of lower quality and lacking of the heart and soul of food she would be making and eating at home. I haven't found a community among other Head Start parents like the one I have been able to find within our own neighborhood. And most of all, I just can't justify sending her off to school every morning when we could just as well be hanging out at home. Her spot could go to some other child whose mom doesn't have the opportunity to stay home.
Sylvan spends a good portion of his time while she is at school, standing on his tip toes looking out of the window saying: "Ivory, Ivory?" They do have such a fun time together. Sure, there is pushing and yelling and fighting, but there also is lots of laughter.
There are a few projects that I have been yearning to do with the kids and today we managed to tackle a few of them. First up - Sour Dough Doughnuts: our first expedition into the realm of home made doughnuts.
A slightly sour, mostly sweet, irresistible dough was rolled and cut into shapes, while both Ivory and Sylvan steadily snatched tiny pieces of dough. Rows of hearts rose on the kitchen table while Ivory and Sylvan played.
While Sylvan and Ivory napped, I sat behind the sewing machine for a few moments to hem a dress I sewed for Ivory. Both dresses are made entirely from linen and cotton woven shirts, and are my most recent attempt to make something new from old in the quest of finding an unending use for dress shirts.
While Sylvan and I started chopping vegetables for dinner, Ivory intently worked on a project of her own: painting the doors that will fit over the nesting boxes of our new chicken coop.
While the soup simmered away on the stove, I sat down next to her to retrace all of the pencil lines with black paint. She excitedly hugged my arm: "Thank you for painting black on the chicken!"
"Ivory, if you want me to outline the chicken you have to quit hugging my arm."
A few moments later she squeezes my arm again: "Thank you for coloring the sun. I love you."
"I love you too, but you have to quit hugging my arm."
Tomorrow we are going to go visit baby goats... and hopefully by the end of spring break I will feel confident that keeping her home is not only the right choice for me, but also for her. ( I REALLY should make that phone call.)