Wednesday, September 12, 2012

First week reflections

I thought it would be like running. Marathon long days that start with me dragging myself out of bed totally underprepared, rushing to make the lunches and herd the kids into the car and fight traffic to drop them off late to school and me ending up late to work…

It’s not been like that at all. I know that it WILL be like that some days, but it hasn’t been like so far. The thing that has surprised me the most about the girls starting school is what a joy it is to facilitate it. Everything associated with this whole enterprise of sending my kids to school…is a joy. I love it. I don’t resent it, in fact it’s a  really special feeling. It feels like one of the most special times of my life. This is also a time in my life that is very difficult. But I am keeping my head above water because I can’t afford not to. I am full on at work, full on Master’s degree and full on school mom. And I know this is just petite section, it will turn into so much more but I am really enjoying this part, sadly enjoying this part. I am watching my daughters grow into more independent girls that spend the day outside of the house, not in. 

Now…if I recorded the drop-off / pick-up situation outside of the school and that video were to make it into the right hands, it would be a nation wide, prime time, news story by which many Americans would justify their belief that they are in fact living in the best country in the world.

Dropping my children off at school and picking them up is a daily nod to some ingrained cultural chauvinistic patriotism that I didn’t realize existed within me until I moved here…and had to drop my kids off at school. I mean Mae actually whimpers and comments on the amount of cars that are there and the fact “oh no mama, there’s tars here too” (she says t for c). 

Picture taken from:

The above photo is a regular traffic jam in the city...go ahead and up the anty by adding the pressure of having to get your kid to school on time and then having to get to work on time.

Yesterday as we navigated the two city blocks of dead stopped traffic and marched through the unpaved, dusty lots of land waiting to be developed, dirtying our sandaled feet in the dust, Mae was clutching my hand and crying that there were cars driving around us in every possible direction! When I say driving, I mean blowing their horns non-stop, being blocked in traffic and then intensely accelerating when they get unblocked. When we finally made it to the car and I was strapping her into her seat, a car that had been in a traffic jam that finally made it through the other cars  sped by me so quick that I actually yelped out loud thinking that I was about to have my body impaled onto the car seat. I screamed and Mae jumped and then she was convinced for the next thirty minutes that that car had run over my feet!!!!! She literally made me show her my feet! Poor thing! Poor me! 

So…everyday, after I make it back to the car, I sit for a few seconds to inhale the calm and I imagine the orderly lines of slow moving traffic and the reduced speed limits and the sidewalks and the crossing guards and even the school bus stop signs that protrude out from the side of the bus in America. Then I start my car and move on with my life.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Petite Section

So here we go…1 2 3 lift off…stop crying you silly silly woman!!!!!!! The girls start petite section tomorrow, which in the American system would be pre, pre-K. I have instinctually gone crazy preparing for it, new shoes, tons and tons of obsessing over healthy snacks, labeling book bags, picking out clothes, teaching  them to introduce themselves in French.

It’s no surprise really that I've 'lost the plot' a bit, with the amount of time I spent obsessing about which school they would go to. In the end we have kind of fallen into a school that works for us. It is very convenient location wise, way over-priced, in my opinion, but has a solid reputation for their age group. They follow the Moroccan privĂ©e school system. In that system explicit Arabic instruction doesn’t start until later, so if we need to switch systems we still have time for that.

The girls will finally be immersed in French all day and I am very excited to see how this year continues to develop linguistically.

Besides my tears at the beginning of this post, I actually don’t feel so torn up about this transition. I feel the opposite, really excited for them. After the summer they’ve had of their only activity being after I get home from work and on the weekends…I am super excited for them to go to school and I think they are too.

I am sure this will be a subject I continually write about, think about, and obsess about! I kind of had a flash yesterday of time moving forward. I started at a gym and the gym has a daycare facility and I dropped them off and they were soooo excited, they just thought it was the coolest place ever. I know that in a few months of them being in school every day that place will no longer excite them…at all. I got sad for their innocence and it reminded me of a quote I read last week on nostalgia about the very few moments where everything is perfect and even then we are already nostalgic for that moment. 

It was like that. I love them so much.

Sometimes you just have to close your eyes and jump and for better or for worse this feels like one of those moments. I am closing my eyes and jumping, stepping forward into a current of wind that I will ride right into the future. Here’s to tomorrow going well. I’ll post a photo once I have one. Until then this is a pictures of them last March on their first day of nursery.

PS: Now I understand why people have always asked me if I cut their hair!! They still don't have much hair and people still think that BUT when I look back at older pictures where they had even less hair, It does look like I totally scalped them!