Monday, 17 February 2014

I will be exiting primary school, no longer bright eyed and bushy tailed

 I will be exiting primary school, no longer bright eyed and bushy tailed
17 February 2014

Notwithstanding my own childhood, I entered Primary School, as an eager mom of an eldest child in Grade 1.  This was the January of 2005.

I will finally be exiting Primary School, as a weary, slightly battered and bruised, no longer bright eyed and bushy tailed, tired mom, of a youngest child in Grade 7.  This will be in December 2017.

It’s fair to say, that by that time, it will have been a very, very long haul.

I still have three years and 10 and a half twelfths to go.  Yet surprisingly, considering the stint I’ve already done, it means I’m nearly there.  Currently busy with year ten, out of thirteen.

But still it won’t be done.  I will simply have exchanged Primary School for High School.  And as such, I have entered High School, as a slightly beleaguered mom of an eldest child in Grade 8.  This was the January of 2012.

And I will finally be exiting High School, as a haggard, worn out, ragged, most likely disenchanted mom, of a youngest child in Grade 12.  This will be in December 2022.

My brain can’t even compute that.  Eighteen years of carting kids to school.

And with a wee bit of luck, varsity life will simply continue on from where schooling left off.  Though perhaps by that stage, they’ll be carting themselves.  Walking even.

It is amazing, how much of our life as a parent, is geared and dedicated towards the education of our children.  We work, so that we can earn a decent salary, to send them to a good school.  To get them all of the bits and bobs they need at school.  We drive them around, to school and to sport.  We make sure they have the right kit.  We supervise homework and help study for tests.  We help with projects, and guide them along.  For all of that time.

But perhaps one of the most challenging bits about school, is the seemingly never ending amount of paperwork.  At times, I feel a bit like a celebrity.  Forever jotting down my John Hancock.  Signing this, and signing that.  Always the signature. 

When Luke was in Grade 1, it was a treat.  It felt special, to be treated like an honest-to-goodness-responsible-adult.  Like the mother of a school going child.  As if I was now old enough to be recognized for my authority.  Like I got to make decisions (standard school photo package, or not - can help as a timekeeper at athletics day, or can't - R5 "penalty" fee to be paid for the luxury of wearing civvies).  But, I must confess – the novelty has worn a bit off.  Mostly because one can’t simply sign.  It’s not that easy you see.  Firstly, you have to usually diarise.  As it is generally something important.  A meeting, an outing, some place important, either you or your kid have to be, etc.  Secondly, you usually have to part with some cash.  Raffle this, school photo’s that, etc.   And thirdly, I have three kids – which naturally means three times the amount of notices and letters.  Coordinating all of that, takes a fair amount of planning.  And if I say so myself, a fair amount of skill too.

From a school point of view, I completely understand.  These are things they have to do.  Are obligated to.  And I appreciate being continually kept in the loop.  And having to part with cash, is part of the deal.  It’s expected as such.  Normal.  Part and parcel of every single school.  And I have the biggest amount of empathy for school secretaries everywhere.  The mere thought of all of those endless reply slips coming in daily, must be an absolute nightmare.

From a parent’s point of view, it’s just hard to keep pace at times.  To ensure you have exact amounts of change, as is required.  To remember all of the details.  And reply slips not returned, letters not responded to, translate into time-outs for kids.  So one has to be on the ball.  Switched on.  Wide awake.

But I suppose that’s why they invented diaries and fridges.  Though the problem with having a diary is this – you must a) remember to write in it, and b) remember to open in up to look and see if you must actually remember something.  You see my point?  Too much remembering to remember.  Counter-productive, if you like.

Which is why fridges really make more sense.  Not only do they keep your food fresh for longer, they make excellent notice boards.  School letters stuck down with magnets all over – in most empty spots.  And at times, my fridge looks a bit like a collage.  Or a modge-podge creation.

Which leads to my next request – I really wish they would stop printing school notices on boring old white paper.  Or those sickly shades of insipid yellow, baby blue, and limp pink.

What’s wrong with bright purple?  A spot of cerise?  Post box red?  Even vermillion will do.


1 comment:

  1. It is true - there is also 7 years beween you and Katrine.
    It takes a great deal more organisation than most men would give one credit for!!

    I remember a day I have 3 PTAs -
    1 for you at Parel Valley
    1 for Kat at Somerset West Primary
    1 for me at Macassar!!
    Too much!