School Days

One thing I wasn’t going to do when I started blogging was talk about my children, I was not. My time online was going to be my time for me: no kids, no housework, no responsibilities.

I’m breaking that rule today. Having spent the summer constantly in the company of my children, the last month of which also included Baba aka the Handyman, we have been wrenched apart.

It started with the Handyman’s return to work, leaving the three of us together for a short week. Here’s where I should describe all the wonderful games, inventive crafts and exciting excursions we went on, but alas there are none. We talked and watched television and had a picnic in the garden and waited for Baba to bring home icecream. That was about it, for a whole week.

Then there was the Brown-eyed Girl’s first foray into the world of primary school. Initially it involved hanging around the playground waiting, then assembly into classes, then some brown-eyed tears. These abated as she was called up as a representative of her class to receive flowers. As she is attending a brand new school everyone was a little confused and excited. I met her for lunch to help her negotiate the canteen (crowded by high-school kids on a temporary basis). This has continued so last week was a panic of up early for the first time in ages, dragging Little Boy Blue with me on the bus, getting food for two picky eaters, protecting Little Boy Blue from the affections of high-school girls (something I didn’t think I’d have to worry about at age 4), picking up from school, hanging round Baba’s office,  getting dinner in a rush, getting them to bed and starting all over again. Needless to say by the weekend we were all wrecked.

This week has been Little Boy Blue’s initiation into a brand new preschool. It’s the first time that he’s been anywhere on his own without a big sister looking out for him. He settled in ok, a bit of clingyness before the toys took his interest. He seems to be enjoying it and waved Baba off at the door without a second look today. So this week in addition to the daily rush we also have a second pick-up time to add to the confusion.

Amidst all this I flit from school to preschool to office (all close together) and back again, feeling a little like a butterfly in a thunderstorm, not sure where I am, what I have to do and where I’m going next.

I think of my own first days in primary school and wonder did my mother feel the same intake of breath looking at a stream of uniformed children, which one is mine? I wonder did she feel that thread of connection pull tight against the stretch, resist the inevitable moving out, away, that seeing my children as the independent individuals they are requires. I wonder did she acknowledge that we would cope without her calmly or was there a frisson of rebellion before acceptance.

Above all I have the desire to instill my children with knowledge, with respect for school and teachers and learning, with a will to do their best, try their hardest and enjoy themselves. Nothing unusual in that, but with recent revelations about the examination and education system in Turkey, it is more important than ever and harder to do.

How do I best shepard them out into the educational marathon, when I know the system doesn’t work well, and there are wolves manipulating it for their own ends?