Monday, September 20, 2010


It’s amazing how fast I can go from confident about my kids to completely at sea. The whole back to school race was more stressful than it needed to be because I really didn’t plan ahead and found myself still digging up old rain pants and aprons on the first mornings. On the other hand, Henry returned to the same kindergarten class as last year and Mia started pre-school at Henry’s former school with his former teacher who I know and trust. She and Henry went to camp together this summer so she had the lay of the land to some extent. Generally, they have integrated easily and I am so much more at ease about everything at schools I know and like. It definitely made me realize how stressful the new school situation was for all of us last year. It’s a new schedule on al counts but I am feeling better about more time at work and the kids seem to come home happy and not too tired.

So, in short, new, slightly hectic but familiar and good. Mia hasn’t been thrilled about going some days but she’s brightened up as soon as we get there and been okay to see me go. After care has been a bit harder but she really likes the teacher and I think that will work itself out (for heaven’s sake, she’s only been 2 days). This morning though she really didn’t want to go to school at all (not so surprising for a Monday after 3 days off) but she managed to give me the biggest hug in the world and say bye to me. As I drove away I wondered if I am pushing her into something too soon. On the other hand, she is tough and adventurous and super social and so ready on so many levels. But still the doubt is there. The questions. Are we doing the best for her we can? Secondarily, the thought of coming up with a new at-home childcare situation for another year makes me queasy.

At dinner tonight we asked Henry about school and how painting went. A totally innocuous question as Monday is painting day and has never been any cause for discussion or concern of any sort. He told and retold the story of the day and with a little prodding and prying it came out that he had a “silly” day and had to spend much of it sitting out of activities. He told us about how silly other kids were and how they didn’t have to sit out, which makes me almost certain that he is being held to a higher standard because he knows the rules. He knows what’s expected. He’s done this before. And I’m fine with that, really. I just have such a hang up with good behavior and having him listen and follow directions. Last year was such a surprise and so nerve wracking for me, which played a major part in our decision for him to do k again. I didn’t think it would be good for any of us (Henry mostly though) to go through the stress of another year of difficulty meeting expectations, mostly in the silly and emotional departments. I guess I had sort of convinced myself that this year would be a breeze. He would have no issues. We were beyond that. Don’t get me wrong, he’s fine, he’s a kid who was goofy in class. It didn’t even warrant a report from the teacher (then again I didn’t pick him up) but it was that old familiar pang of uncertainty. Sending them out into the world to navigate on their own is so tough right now (please tell me it gets easier). I want them to be strong and confident and independent as well as able to follow the basic and social conventions. Apparently it’s a taller order than anyone can deliver around here and I have to be okay with that.

I ran into Mia’s teacher at the grocery store after the kids were in bed tonight and she said that Mia stood right by her side all day and also that she loves having her there. Mia is her little friend I feel so lucky that she has such a sweet, amazingly patient teacher and we discussed whether or not she’s ready for this. We both think she’s just going through a transition period but it has me feeling a little sad and unsure about it all. In these moments I start wondering if I should be home schooling the kids and we should be looking for a farm. On one hand it sounds ridiculous and on the other it sounds awesome. Sadly, I doubt we’ll have it together for either of those things until the kids are starting junior high and I’m pretty sure that’s not going to work.

Not sure if I have come to any conclusions here but maybe I have at least written something that will remind me of how simple my concerns were when I’m dealing with bigger more complicated parenting issues. Then again, I don’t think I am much of a worrier these days. It’s more that I am letting go of my babies, watching them become people with lives and choices of their own and that’s no small thing indeed.

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