Tuesday, September 11, 2007

School daze

Thanks to all of you who've gotten in touch to check on Evan... despite the pathetic bend of his shoulders on his first morning of school, he's actually had a relatively pain-free school transition thus far. I know my son better than to get my hopes up after a few good drop off days, but he hasn't cried or clung to me since that first morning (which is a dramatic improvement over last year when he routinely wailed each time I left him, only to settle happily into the school day as soon as he was good and certain that I was out of manipulatable earshot).

Evan completely adores his new teachers, his new classroom and pretty much every single thing he's done in school to date, to the point that he keeps up a running commentary about all things school-related from the second I pick him up at school until long after his head hits the pillow at night. ("And then, on Round FOUR of Freeze Dance, someone moved her elbow. I'm not sure who that someone was. It was a girl, though. I don't know all of the girls yet. There are way too many girls in my class. There should be more boys. And it wasn't fair, because when the girls coloured in their bears for the classroom wall, their bears had ballerina outfits on and the boys' bears were just boring old bears. I like colouring in, but I didn't want a boring old bear. I wanted to... Mummy? Mummy? Are you LISTENING to me, Mummy?") So, Evan. Yeah. Completely fine. And, uh, pretty darn British these days.

As for Julia, she is also utterly entranced by the magic of Year One. She adores her new teacher (as do I -- my kids clearly pulled the cream of the crop in teacher assignments this year), is excited about being back in school with her friends and is overjoyed to be learning again. Having seen her curriculum for the coming year, I must confess to being a bit jealous... she'll be tracing changes to homes both architecturally and internally in her History unit and weaving together natural materials to learn about texture in her Art unit and identifying sources of light in Science and creating an improved playground plan which she'll map out in Georgraphy and... I think I pretty much want to go back to school and be in Miss B's class, truth be told.

Fortunately, I seem to be getting the full curriculum second hand, at least for now. Evan gets 3 hours and 20 minutes of uninterrupted monologue time between the end of his school day and Julia's before he has to do battle with his sister, who appears similarly obsessed with sharing every second of the wondrous new experience that is Year One with me. ("We took the coach to Games today and Eve was my parter. Some kids did it wrong and didn't share the window seat, but Eve and I did it just right. First she sat in the window seat and then I did. We talked about a lot of things on the coach but I can't tell you about any of them because they're secrets. But I can tell you a secret about school. Do you know what we did today? We had Brain Gym. Do you know what Brain Gym is? It's exercise for your MIND! Isn't that silly? And tomorrow, we have real Gym and that means we get to go in the little door, and... Mom? Mom? Are you LISTENING to me, Mom?")

So everyone is off to a happy start to the school year and everyone is learning new things. Evan is learning about gender differences, apparently, and Julia is learning about secrets. And me? I'm learning how to get us all up and out of the house on time again. I'm deciphering Julia's complicated schedule of track suit days and uniform days (we received, I kid you not, a three page memo about what the kids are supposed to wear to school each day. Whatever happened to the school uniform eliminating the need to think in the mornings? Every day has a different set of requirements, all of which I expect to screw up on a regular basis. Julia appears to share this lack of confidence in me, as she's been consulting the memo "just to make sure" when I hand her a pile of clothes each morning). I'm attempting to keep track of Julia's show and tell needs and Evan's "bring in something red" assignments. I'm trying to get someone in the school office to get back to me about the fact that my daughter has eaten nothing but bread and water for lunch to date. And I'm struggling to figure out how to piece together a bit of time for myself in between a full schedule of school runs and the endless carting of children to other enriching activities (our fall schedule sounded great on paper, but is turning out to be too closely timed to allow for silly little necessities like getting from Point A to Point B). How this differs from what our lives would have been like in American suburbia, I have no idea. Perhaps that's the real lesson here. When you've got school age kids and the school year is in session, it pretty much ceases to matter where on Earth you actually are. So much for the exotic expat experience. But how lovely to know that the joys and drudgery of motherhood are universal, no?


Blogger Patois said...

This sounds like so much fun for all of you. I can't believe how much they do in Year 1. No wonder they kick them out of school at 16.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Iota said...

Manipulatable earshot - great phrase.

I'm told children fall into one of two categories. You have examples of one. I have examples of the other. To my interested question "What did you do at school today?", the answer varies between nothing, don't know and can't remember. I feel lucky for any sparse detail of the day I receive.

1:45 PM  

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