Tag: school

Finding gratitude during exams

Finding gratitude during exams

And so September bids adieu. And with that come exams – the first ever for the kids. I find myself unable to think of much else while the kids can think of everything else except academics.

I find them reading story books, making song lists, comparing computer game scores and planning ‘what to wear for the dandiya night’. Apparently they have picked up none of my exam anxiety and for that I have learnt to be immensely grateful.
I find I need at least three or four of me to help both of them while keeping them apart and managing the house. Early this week just as the arguments were turning into a complete impasse who should arrive but the husband! I don’t think I was as happy to see him arrive on our wedding day. Was I grateful!
He has such a calming influence on all three of us.
He took the kids out shopping (for all kinds of exam stationery) and they settled down to their studies.
He was only here for five days and was working for four of them yet we were happy to have him home. He’s gone now. And I think we will survive. I am already looking beyond the next 20 days to vacations when we will be travelling to join him.
By the next academic term we hope to be together.
I thought that was all I had for the gratitude post this month but as I write I realise I have more, so much more. Last evening while I was struggling with Marathi lessons with the kids (a language they now know better than me), I was dragged off for an hour of Zumba. I have to admit that one part of me was pretty incredulous that I could leave the kids between their exams for something as frivolous as Zumba. However, it was all for the best because the kids were anyway having a field day laughing at my pronunciations as I tried to quiz them.
And so I am grateful to friends and family who always rally around pulling me for impromptu breakfasts, long morning walks and short evening chats, keeping me sane.
I am now looking forward to October – the latter half of course.

I’d love to know your thoughts on academics and how they effect the kids and you. How important are they? Were they a trial for you when you were young or did you breeze through them? Do you find it difficult to get your kids to study? How different is it from the time you were a child and now?

If I seem overly and rather unnecessarily stressed do forgive me but academics have taken over all of my thoughts of late. Do bear with me for a few weeks.

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and with Mel at  Microblog Mondays.
                                                
If we were having coffee …. 4

If we were having coffee …. 4

Picture courtesy: PIXABAY
If we were having coffee… 
I’d invite you home today because I’m feeling a tad down. That perfect cup of coffee served by a professional on a neat little tray is tempting for sure but today I need the comfort of home. I need to curl up my feet on the sofa for a long chat, no matter that the cup is not designer or that Marie biscuits don’t measure up to the brownies. Maybe I’d invite you to my kitchen and we could take turns at beating the coffee. That’s your favourite kind, I know, and mine too.
Once it is poured, sweet and frothy, we could settle down to our conversation.
I’d probably ask about your days and tell you about mine. It has been a long and exhausting fortnight, with the maid on leave, the kids on holiday and husband home too.
I’d tell you, a trifle guiltily, that much as I love them all, I cherish my alone time. I’d tell you how I savour the silence. The absolute quiet as I tap at my laptop. The single cup of tea on my side table. Or the mindless chatter of FM (that no one else seems to have the patience for) while I go about my chores. I miss all of that. I need it to get me through the craziness of the rest of the day.
I’d tell you about the twin’s academic pressure that seems to have suddenly multiplied many fold and hangs like a dark shadow on me, always. Somedays, I’d tell you, I cannot sleep from worrying about them.
Mercifully (?) the kids seem completely unaware of it but that makes me worry even more.
How can they not care? Is it okay for children to be so completely unconcerned? Are they too young? Am I expecting too much from them? I look at the mums around me. I see how they urge their kids on and I feel hopelessly inadequate. I am just not capable of pushing mine. Am I doing enough to help them? Or am I letting them slide into laziness by expecting too little? Am I taking away their chance at a better life by not egging them on?
It’s hard. This not knowing. Like walking blindfolded.
You don’t have an answer either. I know. But simply telling you how I feel lifts my spirits just a bit. You’d probably smile away my fears telling me I was over-thinking. ‘They’re just ten’, you’d laugh. And you’ve no idea how that would reassure me. Yes, they’re just ten. They’ve just started secondary school. They’ll settle, their grades aren’t bad.
We’d lift our now cold coffees and smile at how that always happens – how conversation takes over coffee. I feel sorry for having monopolised it all the way today. 
And yet long after you’ve gone and I’m getting on with my day, I remain grateful for your presence. I send out a tight mental hug for friends who let me voice my thoughts and fears no matter how unfound, how stupid they might be.
When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

When Chalk and Cheese decide to mix

The twins are back at school. This year is a bit of leap for them from primary to secondary and the sections have been shuffled pretty drastically. As a result they left all their friends behind. 

A surprise…
However something quite spectacular happened – something that we have successfully avoided for the past 6 years – they have landed up in the same section. This happened only once before when they were in nursery and such was the mayhem they created that the teacher begged us to ensure it never happened again.

Why we never want the kids in the same class
Not only are we worried for the teacher’s sanity, the Husband and I, dreadfully dread the C word – The Comparison. Up until now they have been very secure in themselves and their capabilities. I am afraid to rock the boat. Then there’s the other thing – Competition. The whole world does not matter to them but they compete with each other passionately. This has often lead to tears for one or the other.
But sometimes we have little choice
However, when I suggested I’d get one of them to change their section, in a rare show of extreme bhaichara and solidarity they broke off from their squabbling to protest in unison. An onlooker would have branded us evil parents trying to separate the joint-at-the-hip twins. So we have finally decided to let them be together and watch how it goes.
For now they are sitting together and coming home with new stories everyday, laughing good-naturedly at each other.
– She is the blackboard in charge, he is in charge of the morning prayer.
– While she sits like a lady with back erect and hands crossed (that’s how one should sit in class, says she), he sprawls on his chair (how can we concentrate if we aren’t comfortable, asks he).
– He lost his locker key on day 1, she discovered her key could unlock his locker too.
– She almost dozed off during Marathi class and he nudged her awake.
– She forgot to take her pencil box, he lent her a pen.
He resents it a bit that she gets more than her share of attention from the teacher purely because she is ‘better behaved’ – those are his words, not mine. Other than that it has been largely peaceful.
Change can be good
It’s been almost three weeks. I waited to do this post lest I jinx the whole camaraderie thing. It’s so good while it lasts.
This got me thinking and I wondered what it would be like if I shared a class or a workplace with my sister. I’d like it I think. Maybe that’s only because I don’t get to see enough of her.
What about you? Would you like to be in the same class/office as your sibling? Would it be one big party everyday or would the closeness get to you after a while?
Sports day and a regret

Sports day and a regret

Last week the twins’ had
their Sports Day and H won a bronze in the class race. Instead of celebrating, my first reaction was to look out for N and her reaction. The thing is, N is the sporty one.
She’s the one who comes home with a medal and is heartbroken if she
doesn’t get her moment on the victory stand.
H makes things worse by not being sensitive at all. I could almost
see him revelling in his medal and how that would make
matters worse for N. So when I went to pick them up I hugged them both, underplaying H’s
victory. 
As it turned out, to his complete credit and my amazement, H was pretty nonchalant
about the whole thing and didn’t blow his trumpet one bit. Very surprising indeed!
What surprised me even more
was N’s reaction. She was a little upset I could tell, but she kept a smile
firmly on her face and was over it soon enough. It might have to do with
the fact that she was part of the
gymnastic display and so didn’t mind not winning. It might have to do with her recent
dance performance where she’d taken centre-stage already.
It brought home the importance of helping kids find their niche – something they’re good at – academics or a sport, a dance
form or a musical instrument. It does wonders for their self-esteem and allows them to
handle failure better. That’s what seemed to have worked for N.
Maybe I’m over analyzing this and the
kids are just growing up. 
Whatever it is, I was a
relieved mum that day. I do have a regret though – I wish I’d had that one moment of unadulterated happiness
and of praise for H – it was the first time he had won at sports
since when he was a toddler.

That’ll remain with me a long time.
It’s good for the kids though: to learn to look beyond themselves – to be empathetic as also to be happy for a sibling or a friend.
If you have more than one child tell me how you handle it when one child does really well and the other doesn’t? How do you praise one child while comforting the other?
Of football matches and heartbreaks

Of football matches and heartbreaks

Last week, one wet morning I found myself driving down a pathetically potholed road to the twin’s school to watch a foot ball match. All I know about football can pretty much be summed up as follows:
– World Cup matches happen at ungodly hours
– Players wear knee-length socks
– Said players are violent and often get hurt
– It is dangerous to referee a football match

The only players I know of are:

– Messi (not Messy, I just discovered)
– Ronaldo
– Maradona
– And Black Pearl, Pele (that one I learnt that from an Amol Palekar film)
However, with the son all over me to come watch ‘his’ match I had little choice. I wasn’t even sure he was on the team – he was a substitute. Does that count? I had no idea. For him it certainly did. It was a big enough deal for him to strut about for days bragging about how ‘cool’ his team was.
On D-day there I was – on the off chance that he would get to play AND manage to strike a goal AND win the game for his team! Yet I was there because since the twins came along I’ve learnt to believe in miracles.
It wasn’t too bad. The light drizzle was pleasant and I got to see first-hand how H managed to come home each day with mud-caked shoes and grubby clothes. The match turned out to be a draw with none of the sides scoring. The teams then took on penalty shootouts. Wonder of wonders H was called upon to play and to take a turn at the penalty kick (the last final deciding one at that) as the teams stood equally matched. He put all his might into that one kick. 

The ball sailed across, hit the goal post and bounced right away – far far from where it was supposed to go. Even as the claps sounded for the winning team I watched his face crumple. I watched him walk away dejected, shoulders down. I saw the tears he was trying hard to hold (This son of mine cries only too easily). I felt what he felt – that he’d let his team down. I wanted to run to him, to give him a hug. But I stayed put.

Finally the teams shook hands and it was all over and I could go to him. “We lost, mama,” he said in a small voice. I didn’t say ‘It’s okay,” because clearly it wasn’t. So I said the next thing I could think of, “You’ll do it next time.” And with that I had to be satisfied.
I was glad I went.