Friday, September 17, 2010

Kid context

So every time I pick up Kadin at school he seems okay, if a bit tired, but he always has something to complain about: the teachers, the students, the food. And I totally understand this. How fun can it be to go to a new school that is stricter than you are used to and where you don’t have any friends in your class and where you don’t speak the language? But still, a few days is not enough to form a balanced impression.

“I don’t like it, I’m not going back.” He says. I remind him that’s what he said when he started a new school in kindergarten too. “Oh mom, back then I was just spoiled.”

So that is my rallying cry. In Boulder the kids really are spoiled. They go to nice, friendly schools with highly skilled teachers, we have a yard, a trampoline, there is open space, room to run around, low crime. Life is easy.

So at least some of the point of our being here is to appreciate how really nice that life is. And that really easy place wasn’t so easy to begin with. Being new is hard.

Luckily, Kadin gets a break over the weekend, and with Wednesdays off, he’ll never have to go to school more than two days in a row. You do the first day, then there is just one more day before a break.

Rees too, was not at all happy after his first day of school. I remind him of how hard the first few days of middle school were, how he would complain about not having enough time to go to his locker or find his class and how the staff would “yell” at them to hurry.

What seemed overwhelming then is now a breeze and maybe even a little boring. Two days is not enough time to form an impression.

(New development: Rees does not want anyone to walk him to school. It is a little hard to send him out into the streets of a big city on his own on his first day of school, but he’s ready. Still, he had only done the route once before, so he agreed to let Greg shadow him that first day, just to make sure he knew where he was going…he did.)

I asked him about his music class, “What did you do, just sing or listen to music? Were there any instruments?” “No mom,” he replied sarcastically, “It was much more interesting than that: the teacher just talked at us for an hour and I didn’t understand any of it.”

On Rees’ second day of school he has his heaviest schedule: 8am to 6pm and that’s a lot of middle school, especially a new middle school where you don’t speak the language. So, by 6 I had a delicious dinner all prepared and ready to go. When the doorbell rang a little after 6, I knew it was him coming home. There he stood, shoulders slumped, head down. Hi.

Then, a couple of seconds later, “Just kidding! I’m practicing my acting skills!” He knows what’s up and he’s playing me like a highly strung instrument.

Turns out he found his day quite enjoyable and they are doing a boating unit in PE. (Okay, so if they do swimming he has to wear a speedo, apparently, so that’s a draw back, but so far, so good.)

I think they are both going to be able to deal. It may not be easy and they may not love it, but they're trying, and that's just fantastic.


Lisa said...

I'm just so happy that overall, Kadin and Rees are game for all the adventure (in a different language, no less!) And that YOU have managed to keep your perspective(!)
Good going, pal! I'm picturing your kids returning here and finding they are far more fluid in the French language and culture than they suspect!
(And I can't help but wonder how Avery is going to do with French lessons, starting this week. Will he enjoy it as much without his big sister tutoring him throughout the class? Or will he find it breezily easy?)

George Swain said...

Hey Jen - what a wonderful time I've had this morning reading about your big adventure. Your prose is so enjoyable I could keep going and eagerly await the next installment. So glad to hear that the boys are enjoying things so much at this stage. Please take more photos! I'd love to see what you're experiencing, too. The market and apartment shots are great! Love to all.

Dais said...

A Speedo. Oh my lordy. That is the funniest thing I've heard all day.

jeninco said...

Yeah, Dais, it's like the male version of not being able to wear a burka...