The beginning of the school year is exhausting. Not only do I find myself running around trying to get back into old routines. But, I am also adding new activities to the agenda. As if those were not enough, I find this time of the year requires me to up the ante, if you will, when it comes to true parenting.
The playground seems to bring out numerous opportunities for coaching. This was perhaps the biggest surprise from first grade. I was prepared for the exhaustion level to increase until November. I was ready for them to be sad that they were no longer in the same class. But, I was not prepared for the jungle otherwise known as recess time.
Luckily, this year, I was a little more ready. We are now in second grade after all. And low and behold, many opportunities have already arisen for various lessons. These include bullying, mean girls, bossing around, picking teams fairly, injuries and crying in front of other kids. This list could go on and on and on. Mind you, we’ve only been back at school for 3 weeks. Uggh.
As I said above, I find it exhausting. Maybe I shouldn’t pay as close attention to these details. Maybe I should let them figure it out for themselves. Sometimes I do. But, isn’t this when they need us the most? Isn’t this what we are here to help them with?
I feel like I have a few years tucked in between first and fourth grade when I can get them to really still open up to me and to come to us with their problems. As they hit the preteen years, I think the door slowly closes. So, I figure if I can open up this relationship with them now, maybe the door doesn’t have to slam shut. It can still have a slight crack of an opening.
So, each day on the drive home we talk about school. We talk about whom they sat next to at lunch. We talk about what and whom they played with on the playground. After a few canned yes, no, insert name of friend here, they eventually open up and tell some stories. The dialogues are sometimes good. Sometimes, they’re great. Sometimes they stink.
I still think of them as being so little. They are only seven. It feels as if I’ve let them out into the world. And the world is sending mixed messages home. It’s making its imprint on them. Other people’s values or language or thoughts are sneaking in. Gone is the time when our household was their bubble. Where they were safe and T and I were their main influences.
They need to learn to deal with all of the rubbish. It will only increase, as they get older. I know the day is coming when the problems will be more serious than who was picked for captain of the kickball team. I am so not looking forward to that. So, for now, I work. I coach. We talk. We talk. We talk. What else can we do? Today, it seems exhausting.