First day of school


This is a day we’ve been waiting for for a long time. I hadn’t anticipated how much Skets would miss having buddies to play with, and three weeks without anyone but his siblings around has meant he’s been quite bored and grumpy. We’ve been counting the sleeps for nearly two weeks and finally we got to start school. A good friend from home is staying with us for a little while and she’s got a very good camera, and I’m so glad such a big moment in the boys’ lives has been captured so beautifully, well apart from trying to get them to smile at the same time.

Woo was trying 'Blue Steel'. Didn't really pull it off.

Woo was trying ‘Blue Steel’. Didn’t really pull it off.

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We dropped them off this morning, a little nervous and excited and that was just Hutch! Woo wasn’t interested in the Lego surprisingly, but wandered around the room looking for something new to do. Skets was happy sitting down to the puzzle table and the colouring in. There were lots of other parents hovering around making sure their cherubs were ok. Liz is brilliant, she’s clearly taught this year level before and was great at helping the kids settle. They have short days (8-12.40) for the first couple of days then normal hours (8-2.30) after that.

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Rookie mum error, I thought because it was a short day that they wouldn’t need lunch. Nup. Lucky we live so close I could drop off a sandwich and some cheese and crackers, most of which came home. Of course.

They had a great day, Skets didn’t want to go home and they’ve both made a new friend, and I’ve got the number of a Boston mom. Win.



Together or apart?

Being a parent of twins is great; two babies for the price of one pregnancy, a full-time play mate and the realisation that so much of kids’ personalities and behaviours is down to the individual child, not how you raise them.

Saying that, when you find out you’re having more than one, it’s hard to get past the first twelve months; How do I feed two at once? How do I get any rest? Will I be able to cope?

I’ve found that although those times are hard and thankfully become a bit of a blur when you look back, there are still issues to be faced when you get to school age.

I met with the principal of the school the boys will attend here in Boston, and I asked for them to be placed in the same class. There is quite a bit of international research stating that it’s best for multiples to be kept together for the first year of school, then it should be reviewed by each family with the school, each year. Given we’re a long way from home, we don’t know anyone here and that we want school to be a happy secure place I put my case forward to the principal.

He stated that he’d read the research but didn’t necessarily prescribe to it. Would I be open to a compromise of having the boys in adjacent rooms if he couldn’t put them together? Me, being a first time school parent said ok, but as I tried to go to sleep that night I realised I really wasn’t ok with that solution.

I hadn’t told him that I was Chairperson of AMBA, just that I was heavily involved, and I didn’t push as I didn’t want to come across as ‘that kind of parent’. As I thought more about it, who else is going to push for what’s best for my kids if it’s not me? Sure they would adapt if they were in separate classes, but there would potentially be two or so weeks of transition difficulties which wouldn’t happen if they were together.

The next morning I drafted an email to the school outlining my concerns and asked for another chat with the principal. Of course we didn’t have a phone organised at that stage so I waited until Monday afternoon. We spoke for about 10 minutes and he acknowledged my concerns and confirmed the boys will be together, and in fact it was a decision he’d made before he received my email. I felt so much better, I know they would have been ok apart, but it wasn’t my preference and I’m not used to not getting what I want 🙂

Interestingly, if they were to be starting school back home, I was much less concerned whether they would be together or not as there’s about a dozen kids from their daycare centre attending our local primary school and they would have had friends in their class regardless. I guess that just proves why the best policy is a flexible one that needs annual reviews.

We’ll see in two weeks how it goes, look out for some starting school photos in early September!

Moving to the US – part 3, Boston!

After a great weekend in Legoland, we caught a red eye from LAX to Boston. Leaving at 930 at night wasn’t too bad and because we were really early to the airport we were allocated row 4.

The pilots were lovely and let the kids have a look around the cockpit and gave them a badge. Brought back memories of when I was a kid flying back to NZ, we loved going up to the cockpit and seeing all those buttons.

Unfortunately when we sat down there was a man on the row in front of us who shooshed the kids as soon as we got on. Not necessary. I had to comment – ‘don’t worry, they’ll be fine they’ll sleep on the plane.’ Of course this didn’t happen.

Having been used to the skycouches on the way over, it was a noticeable difference in the seat depth on a normal seat. Woo and Hutch can sleep sitting up fairly well, Skets tried his hardest with his sister lying all over him and wriggling constantly. Unfortunately for me and the man in front, every time Meema moved she grizzled. And that was every 15 minutes or so. I didn’t get a lot of sleep and neither did the man in front probably.

We arrived, scoffed blueberry muffins and caught a maxi taxi to our house. Our driver was lovely, gave us a running commentary of the areas we were going through and dropped us off around 7am.

The house is great, a three storey townhouse fully furnished. I mean fully, there is everything here we could ever need. We were told to eat what ever was in the pantry and to make ourselves at home. A trip to the supermarket was required, the fruit here is very cheap – $10 a kilo for blueberries! It’s been lovely to get summer fruits in August, and having berries on my cereal is very decadent. I haven’t been able to find any cordial anywhere so our usual Lemon Lime and Bitters has had to be adapted and yoghurt is 90% low or no fat. There does seem to be high sugar content in everything, even the garlic salt that was already here has sugar in it. I’m sticking to the as fresh as possible plan and hopefully we can keep the sugar intake low.

We’re sticking to a fairly tight budget while were here, $100 per day. I’ve downloaded an app to track our spending and I’m pleased to say at the end of week one we’re spot on where we should be.

We’ve spent the first week checking out the local area. Having chosen not to buy a car we walk everywhere and can navigate the T (subway) pretty easily now. Hutch commented today that we are living really healthily, lots of walking, green smoothies and spending time at the park. A dad today wandered over to see what exactly that ball was when he saw our footy lying in the playground 🙂

We have been over to Harvard in Cambridge for Hutch to register, a lovely man overheard us on the T saying we needed to buy the kids shoes and he told us where to go. We ended up at Sears and bought three pairs of kids shoes for $26! Phones are organised, bank accounts opened and the kids enrolled at school. The kids have to take their lunches so I am now getting my head around what they will be eating, the allergy rates seem a lot lower so I’m expecting the request of peanut butter sandwiches – seems bizarre to be allowed to take them to school as we’ve been so indoctrinated back home that nuts are banned.

When meeting with the principal I asked if the kids have to wear hats outside and he didn’t fully understand my question, then laughed when he realised I was talking about sun protection. The kids haven’t worn sunscreen since california and we’ve been outside for hours each day in mid 20s weather and there is no sign of sunburn. I think they have the opposite problem that the kids have vitamin D deficiency in the winter because there’s not enough time spent outside.

I’m really looking forward to getting school started, it will hopefully be a great chance to meet some other families and get our routine established.

Oh the joys of five

We have one son who is a boy who likes rules. He likes order and things to be done a certain way. He’s very good at lego and loves construction art, but is not likely to be seen in a costume or painting very often.

I’ve jokingly said to friends that he’ll be a good pro bono lawyer one day, he likes to argue and defend those he thinks need looking after. He is very loyal and very protective of his brother. I overheard the other day ‘if you’re friends with me you have to be friends with E too’.

He thinks in a very black and white way. He complains if we go a different way home that it’s wrong, he argues with the kinder teacher if he doesn’t agree with what she says and every single day I pick him up from kinder it’s the wrong time. Either too early or too late, totally depending on what activity he’s doing.

I worry that he’s going to struggle a bit in Boston, I had to explain that just because it’s different doesn’t make it wrong. The names of things are different over there, the kitchen bench is called the counter, they drive on the other side of the road. All that kind of stuff.

A big learning curve for him coming up I hope he can open his mind to explore how wonderful ‘different’ can be. I’m just so glad he’s got a brother that will be there along the way.


It’s really happening

The whole purpose of setting up this blog was in the hope that we would be moving to Boston some time in 2013. Well over the weekend we got confirmation that it all actually happening! We’re very excited, well actually Hutch is just very relieved, and the proper planning can now start in earnest. The house hunting has begun, looking into elementary and nursery schools, visas, packing up our house, the whole lot. I’m a girl who likes a project so I’m happy with a long to do list especially when it’s as big as this.

We’ve told the kids we’re going to Boston, and are selling it as a great place with lots of snow. Having just come back from a holiday, the appeal of an aeroplane is still strong, but realistically they’re too little to understand what’s happening.

I can’t quite get my head around what we”ll need to take, especially if we get a furnished house. A suitcase each and bikes?

The US Plan

The title of this blog should be an indication that we are overseas. Well we’re not there yet. The plan is for Hutch to do a Masters of Public Health at Harvard in 2013, and a fellowship at a Boston hospital the following year.

With two boys that will be starting school in the US,  a husband that can’t be too far from the hospital if he’s on call, and no one in the family who’ve actually been to Boston, I’m flying quite blind. I spent three hours online this morning looking at school districts in relation to hospitals, checking against their state performance ranking (as much as people may hate the myschool website here, its equivalent overseas is at least a starting point) and then trying to find somewhere to live. A few friends have got contacts there who I’ll get in touch with closer to the time, but at least now I’ve got a bit more of an idea where we want to be.

It’s going to cost us the same rent for a two-three bed apartment in Boston, that we pay for a three bed house in Melbourne. I truly hope the parks are good, we get cabin fever here far too often. Some places are listed now for occupancy in September, so this time next year I’ll be lodging applications!

I’ve narrowed it down to Brookline, an area east of the main Longwood Medical Area, which has JFK’s elementary school as an option for the kids. That’d be kinda cool.