Monday, September 10, 2007

Growing Up

Well, we're officially parents. I know this news probably doesn't shock many of you, given that we're about to have our fourth child. But it has come as a shock to me. We went to the first Parent's Open House at E's school this evening. She's been in school nearly a whole week and has been coming home day after day in a complete fog.

'How was school, E?' I say every day.
'Good' she says.
'What did you learn?
'I learned to read and write.'
'Oh, well, that's wonderful' I say. But beyond that she hasn't been able to tell me anything (it is a LONG day-8am to 2:30pm). So we've been kind of in a cloud of unknowing, wondering what she does all day and hoping its what we signed up for.

But it turns out that all is well. She is learning many things and will over the course of the year.

She has a wonderful teacher, a Mrs. Rising, but we really know her best as Miss Wising. And a nice colorful class room full of mostly girls and only three boys (Caleb, Caleb and Giovanni-I can't wait to meet this young men, what a wonderful gift, Caleb, Caleb and Giovanni). And, for me, a whole new set of responsibilities-the blue school shirt for chapel day, the gym clothes for gym days, the Friday packet and homework, the lunch each morning, the upcoming parties for Thanksgiving and Christmas and Valentines' Day, and a lot of things I've already forgotten.

But most of all, I'm profoundly grateful that E is in a nice school where she will actually learn something, rather than at home with me, the two of us struggling day after day over letters
('What's this letter, E?'
'A' says E
'What sound does it make?'
'Pppp' says E
'E, seriously, you think this A makes a Pppp sound?'
'Hah, no, it says Ahhh'
'E, do you understand why you would want to know what this letter says?'
'Oh yes, so that I can read. But I already can read, so we don't need to do this.'
And other such conversations).

I've come to view the schooling of my children much like child birth. The main thing is to make a lot of plans and figure out how best it ought to happen, and then as soon as you get into the thick of it, chuck all the plans and do something that's really going to work. And then, having chucked the plans and had things go very differently than you intended, rejoice and give thanks for a healthy child, or a child learning to read, or whatever it is, and not feel guilty about it. That's what I'm doing tonight. And hopefully I'll still be doing it in the morning when I wake up at the despairing hour of 6 o'clock to make sure there's a lunch packed and a decent breakfast and launch into the battle of E having to wear the ugly blue chapel shirt instead of the nice pink blouse with the creamy buttons and the tucked sleeves. God help us all.

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