8.15.2008

We Survive


The first week of school as already come and gone.  Hard to believe that we are now entering our third year here in El Paso schools.  Thankfully the week started and ended on a good note to everyone.  Here are my "Big Kids"  on the third day of school.  (Ok, first day, third day close enough right?) Please excuse the mess in the garage. 
Sunday everyone was super excited!  Mark and Emma still carried some reservations about the new year.  Unsure about teachers, friends and classroom assignments.  Jack however was super excited and told me he couldn't wait to use his new school supplies and open the new textbooks.  How cute!  Mark was a little taken a back by that statement, simply shook his head and muttered something about having a brother who was a nerd.  I assured him it was "OK" and in no way affected his status as a jock. 

Monday morning went off without a hitch and we even arrived to school early, of course today being Friday we were late leaving.  (Old habits die hard)  Emma was practically bursting at the seams when I picked them up on Monday.  She said that First grade was definitely better than Kindergarten.   Jack seemed happy and said his teacher Never yelled.  (Did I mention that Jacks teacher is a first year teacher, with no kids?  Yeah, we'll see how long that no yelling thing works.)  Mark was relieved to have the first day under his belt, but entering middle school presented it's own new set of worries.  He now changes classrooms  every class, has a locker and gets to pick electives.  He ended up with about 2 1/2 hours of homework every night along with 2 hours of soccer practice, oh yeah and trying to watch the Olympics prime time.  

I was amazed at the differences in the kids homework styles.  I don't know why I still become amazed at their differences but I do.  I cannot believe how much of how they act is a reflection of who they are and who they will become and has nothing to do with my parenting.  For example,  Emma always, always without hesitation starts her homework immediately.  Even before she changes her uniform she has her planner and her homework out.  She even started studying for her Spelling test on Monday even though the test is Friday.  Everything is always neat and organized and put back exactly where it should be.   
Jack is always the last to start his homework and he complains and whines the entire way through.  Somehow I think he believes he should make me as miserable as he is when he is doing his homework.  
 Mark starts his homework quickly enough,  but is one to procrastinate to the bitter end for long term projects.   As a self professed procrastinator, I truly understand his unwillingness to get started.   I have been trying to impress  upon him the importance of getting long term projects started early because of our new soccer schedule.   He is getting better.  Sometimes I wonder what he is thinking!   I asked where his homework planner was and he said in his locker.  OK, how do you know what to do for homework?  Oh, easy he wrote it on the top of the page in his book.  Great.  The same book we covered so it wouldn't get ruined?  Yep.  At least he wrote it down.  He had an assignment for health in which he had to draw a circle and divide it evenly into 3 parts, then write things in each part.  His first attempt at drawing a circle, looked more like an oval.  He erased it and drew it again.  This was better but didn't leave him enough room on the sides.   After erasing twice his paper was mighty wrinkled and slightly torn, with 2 partially visible circles drawn on it.  He was smoothing it out when I suggested he use a new piece of paper.  "Mom, do you know how many trees are killed each year for paper products?"  he said.  Now, I'll admit that environmental concern was not what I was thinking of at that particular time.   Never-the-less I convinced him to use a new sheet of paper.  Then I pulled out a bowl to let him trace it for a circle.  "Mom, everything does not have to be perfect!"  Sigh.  No but teachers do appreciate when you put a little effort and pride into something even if it is just homework!  Impressing the importance of presentation to a preteen boy is a waste of my time.

By Thursday everyone was exhausted.  Just getting out of bed was a huge amount of energy.  Emma was crying because she missed 2 on the spelling pretest.. (2 challenge words not even the regular spelling words.  She still got 100%!)  "But, mom it's not perfect.''  she cried. UGH!  Much of Thursday was spent dealing with Emma's horrific temper and trying to help her perfect her spelling words.  Yippee.  Mark was angry because I refused to let him pick football as an elective and made him take Spanish.  Just because  80% of the El Paso population is Hispanic is no reason to have to take Spanish.    I am so mean.  Jack declared there are no spelling tests in Third grade and promptly started arguing with everyone who said differently.    Of course, Emma believes him so this only made her sobbing continue on, and on, and on.  "Why do I have to take spelling tests if Jack doesn't!"   she exclaimed.    Yep, you guessed it, everyone got dinner and went to bed earlier than usual.  

Tonight after soccer, when everyone is fed and gone to bed, mommy is going for a long walk, taking a shower and sitting down with a glass (or two) of wine and relishing the fact that we survived the beginning of another school year.
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