La locura escolar
El verano se está acabando y con eso regresa la locura escolar: homework battles with my now feisty yet adorable eight-year-old son, his three-day a week, one and a half hour soccer practices that make me feel like a part-time Uber driver, and plain old routine in all its forms. Yuck! (That’s my inner third-grade self expressing her honest sentiments regarding the end of #summerfun.)
I’ll admit, this time around, I feel more anxious about the start of the school year than my son does. I guess that’s a good thing for him. Last week I went to the meet and greet at his school and while Luciano was hyper from the excitement, I actually got heart palpitations walking into the classroom. ¡Lo juro!
En años anteriores celebraba el comienzo escolar. It meant I had more free time to dive into my work and run errands. It also meant not having to feel pressure about entertaining Lucci all day. But I guess this year is different. We had a really nice, well-rounded summer and second grade was a B@#$.
El año pasado fue duro
Mind you, we did well in second grade. (I say “we” because let’s face it mamacitas: if we want our niños to do well in school it takes a big “WE”. Por lo menos en mi caso y apuesto que no soy la única.) We got A’s and B’s for the most part—except in reading where we struggled a bit. However, we pushed through and managed to bring our C’s in reading up to B’s for the fourth quarter. ¡Bravo! Hooray! ¡Chócala! But our FSA score wasn’t up to par so we are still stuck in the Kaleidoscope (slow level) reading class with the same teacher who screams (a lot apparently). Boo! Pásame un clínex please.
I personally don’t remember second grade being so stressful, but it’s a new day and age. In 2016, we are committed as an American society to make sure that if we adults feel pressure and stress, our kids feel it too. Which is why I’m teaching my son to meditate so we can cope, together. And surprise, he loves it as long as it’s short and sweet.
Last year, a month into school, my son got a bizarre rash on his little legs, arms and chest. So I took him to the doctor and he informed us that the culprit of the eczema was Stress—the villain who wreaks the most havoc. That stressed me out A LOT and so I ended up getting it too, but in the back of my neck. Go figure.
¿Este año, qué haremos?
As a result, I am determined to make third grade an eczema-free year. Some people have advised me not to put Lucci in competitive soccer. However, that is the last thing we are giving up and I’ll tell you why. First, my son loves it. It has boosted his self confidence. Second, he is a very active kid and needs to release energy in sport. I danced four times a week as a kid and I remember it being the highlight of my day. Third, recess is only 15 minutes long these days. “¡Qué injusto Dios mío!” (That’s little Valentina shrieking again.) Four, sports means there is no time in our household to waste in front of the TV, video games or internet. Five, it keeps Lucci fit and healthy. And six, there is too much freaking homework and physical activity is the best stress-coping mechanism I know.
What we are giving up this year is Kumon. Kumon is a private tutoring organization that is supposed to give kids an academic advantage. Kids enrolled are given extra daily homework in Math, Reading (or both) 365 days a year. Kids do the work at the center two days a week and the other days they are supposed to do it at home. Mind you, I know mothers who swear by Kumon and say it’s the reason for their kids’ straight A report cards, but for us it is overwhelming to juggle with the competitive futbol and regular tareas from school. My son has participated in the Kumon program since the start of Kindergarten and, although I despise quitting, we officially quit. Hopefully we’ll regain some of our sanity during this school year and avoid the stress rashes. Lol.
My struggle with “Discipline”
With that said, the thing little Valentina dreads is the return of old routine. A good routine requires steadfast discipline and Discipline, I am embarrassed to admit, has always been one of those guys that made my stomach churn… until recently. For the past several years now I’ve been having an internal battle with my relationship to him, and low and behold, I’ve miraculously started to make amends with this old enemy. The funny thing is my husband loves Discipline and has invited him over to our place so many times now that I’ve actually started to enjoy his company. Sometimes I still don’t host Discipline in the most gracious manner but I am learning to like him and at times I catch him smiling at me. Maybe he has also started to like my company although I know he doesn’t always approve of my BFF, Spontaneity.
The peculiar thing is, if I analyze my life, Discipline has always been around—he was just disguised as Zorro or some other hottie. I needed Discipline to take dance classes all those years. I’ve danced since the age of three and continue to do so, even participating in the occasional ballroom dance competition. I needed Discipline to get a scholarship and graduate from college and accomplish anything else since. And God knows, I’ve cried out urgently on Discipline to help me out since my son was born eight years ago. Still, I’ve never described myself as a disciplined individual. Why is that? That’s what I’ve been asking myself lately. Why the estranged relationship with such a helpful friend?
La disciplina se quita el disfraz de Zorro
Regardless of the reason, recently I’ve analyzed and come to the realization that we all carry traces and elements of the things we don’t like and try to reject. Why do I unconsciously reject Discipline? God only knows. But what I do know is that Discipline is knocking on my door more and more frequently—without his sexy Zorro disguise. Being quite the seductor, he is slowly but surely turning me on. Hence, the adult Valentina in me is embracing the heart palpitations and saying: “Bring on the routine! Give it to me good papito!”