Sunday, September 14, 2008

School


We had a great fun filled summer and ended it with our first BBQ in Central park with some of our wonderful friends. You are only allowed to grill in the park 3 times out of the year so we all got together on Labor day with Kerry and Faan's tiny little grill and took turns cooking our meat. I have been living in this city for 12 years and have never grilled because I was too embarrassed to put a barbecue out on the sidewalk like I have seen many people do. I love to walk by and watch those folks but I just couldn't get myself to do it. When I finally found out I could do it in Central Park I rallied the crew and we all hiked with our carts and strollers up the hill for a true urban barbecue celebration. I even bought some marshmallows for the kids to roast. These get togethers have been great for our soul this year. The adults drink wine while the kids run around getting dirty taking turns pulling each other in an old Radio Flyer wagon Jean found abandoned in her building's basement. I know so many wonder how I can live in a tiny little apartment without a yard for my kids, but how many of you have Central Park as your back yard.

Coolidge started Kindergarten the day after Labor day. I was a bit worried about how he would handle it. In the past he has had a hard time going to school. He has always been my little side kick and would prefer being with me most of the time. However he handled it like a champ. He has matured a lot over the last year. He had his moment at the end of the week but he got through it and realized school's not that bad. The only time he gives me a hard time is when they do 'sing along' in the auditorium. He has never been one for group singing. He loves to sing and dance but not with a large group of people he barley knows. Even when he was younger I used to take him to music class and he would cry from beginning to end. I used to get embarrassed until I realized he just doesn't like it. I laughed observing how the other kids handle music class. You have those who sing their hearts out and those who refuse to utter a word. Some thought it was a great time for playing with the kid next them and then you had the kids like Coolidge who sang because you are supposed to, but inside were wishing they were somewhere else. He has made some friends and talks about all the fun stuff they do. He also has a great teacher who is very warm and just the right personality for him. One of my favorite things to do is pack his lunch. I remember as a kid how important lunch was. I always noticed the kids who's parents made it special and whenever you saw something picked just for you it made you feel loved. I can tell this year he really feels like one of the big kids.

We also had our first public school experience. The whole family picked up Coolidge on 9/11 and Coolidge said he wanted to go to the twin towers where there is a roller coaster and the airplanes crashed into them. He said he wants to see all the dead people. After a few seconds of silence I turned to Ben and said, welcome to public school. Ben and I tried to explain to him that the only thing there is a big whole in the ground. Of course he freaked out because he doesn't think we know what he is talking about and started to cry because he believes we just don't want to take him. I am sitting there thinking to myself, why do I have to explain such a horrific story to my son who is only 5? Why do schools feel the need to parent my child? Now I know that there are some kids who have family members who died that day, but my son wasn't even born and doesn't need to know until I think he is ready. I have heard people argue about how they don't agree with what is being taught in school and I always brushed it off like, what's the big deal. I have only had my son in school for two weeks and now I get what they are all fighting about.

Brody has a bit of a hard time when Coolidge leaves for school. He always wants to go with and I haven't brought him because I know it will be hard for Coolidge to say goodbye. Once he gets into a groove I will bring Brody with me but right now I know Coolidge needs the time to himself. Brody has his own playdates now. I love that I get to do that with just him, like I did with Coolidge. Once you have your second it is hard to get alone time with them. When Coolidge was in school last year it was during the time that Brody napped so I didn't get to do much with just him and I. Brody's vocabulary is growing so fast. He is pretty much speaking in sentences. Sometimes I can understand all of it and when he is in a hurry he doesn't use words at all. For the first time he said prayer all by himself without even being asked. He has heard us say it for over a year now and at first he would just say the word thankful. But last night he said, I'm thankful for mommy, daddy, Coolidge and grandma. Both Coolidge and I were in awe. Today he said it with a huge smile on his face. You can see he loves to be a part of the prayer. He also loves to climb and jump. The boy gives me a heart attack on a daily basis. They have a rock climbing wall at our playground and he climbs it with complete ease. He is moving at a faster speed because he wants to be just like his big brother. The two of them keep me on my toes at all times.

I don't know if it is because of this election, but recently I have been asked about being a stay at home mom more than ever. Even by people who barley know me. I really don't understand why it effects people. The interesting thing is that I am never asked by a man. I don't know if it is because women feel guilty for not staying at home or if those who do stay at home want to justify their own reasons. Or maybe they are just curious. I personally have never felt the need to ask another woman how they feel about working or not working. I know why I made the choice and I hate having to explain it. By explaining it I feel as though I have to convince them of my choice. In today's society I feel that a mom can't win. If I stay home I am praised for making the sacrifice but at the same time I am frowned at because poor me doesn't use my brain and has no stimulation. If you work your praised for being so strong but also frowned at for not being there for your family enough. The truth of the matter is the women that I am close to never question my reasons and nor do I theirs. Today I was asked when do I see myself going back to work. I just shrugged because, what answer is expected? What if I don't go back to work? What does that mean? Why do my decisions affect people? I never thought I would want to be a stay at home mom, and when I did work for the first 3 years of Coolidge's life I was often angry. I felt as though I wasn't able to commit myself to fully to either. It made me feel guilty and sad. Once I was done with the job I felt the guilt went away and I was a better person. Women have worked very hard to get to the point of being able to choose to work or stay at home but yet we don't accept each others choices. I am happy with my life and the day I am not happy is when I will change my choices. Maybe that is how I should answer the next time someone asks me when I will go back to work. Or, maybe I'll just fart in their direction. I'll play it by ear.






3 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:57 AM

    Hi Andrea!
    Great blog...as usual. Love hearing about the boys. But especially love your thoughts this time around on the subject of stay at home Moms. I think you hit the nail on the head with your last comment about happiness and you should definitely say that if asked again! Ultimately, I feel this subject transcends motherhood and even womanhood in a way. This is not to take away from the very real double standard you discussed and the heightened reality of this judgement in society on stay at home Moms. But I think you can also say that every person, man or woman, feels pressure and guilt relating to career and life...are they measuring up?...is this what they are meant to do?...they feel guilty for perhaps not being as successful as they'd hoped or their parent's hoped or they feel guilty/sad because their success gets in the way of the things that make life worth living! So, no matter who you are, you have to fight outside pressure and look within and ask yourself what makes ME happy! Because what's it all for otherwise?! Life is too short to play by someone else's rule book...And I'm happy to hear you're happy!The sad thing is that the women asking you about it with that judgmental tone...well...they are probably the very ones who aren't happy and are living their lives based on the expectations of others... and are probably projecting their own guilt onto you. This definitely makes a person feel slimed! So hang in there! And tell them you're happy so back off! Ha! Anywhoo- those are my two cents on the subject! xoxoxo,
    k

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like to see that I inspired you to leave such a long and a eloquent comment.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi.
    Great pics and thoughts. Enjoy the Fall.
    Eun Seol & Sean

    ReplyDelete