One of my kids is desperate to get back to school. The other one, not so much.
Nora, my twelve-year-old, was pretty much bored out of her mind all summer. And unlike previous episodes of summer boredom, this one did not resolve with a big acts physical creativity like digging an enormous hole in the backyard or washing her hair in a bucket that the chickens drink from.
We’re on the brink of the teens years. And if I didn’t already know that, I could tell by the amount of David Bowie music emanating from her bedroom (SO proud) and her general apathy towards almost every activity I suggest.
This was her first summer with no real plans. No viola lessons, no swim lessons, no art camp. And her phone, which she was using to text a few friends (she doesn’t have cell service yet) broke and we haven’t replaced it.
Without really meaning too, we starved her of social interaction for nearly twelve weeks. As a result, she’s VERY eager to return to school.
I’m calling that a parenting win.
The four-year-old, Alma, has NOT been eager to return to school. Mind you, her school is a veritable kid paradise. Warm, beautiful classrooms, lots of time outdoors, a ludicrously loving staff. She’s just anxious because she’s moving from preschool to kindergarten.
Every time school is mentioned, her pat response has been, “I’m going to hateit.” She had a home visit from her teacher, a potluck with her new classmates, and plenty of coaching and coaxing from me, but it hasn’t put a dent in her sour attitude.
Finally, my husband called her bluff. And it was beautiful. Part Jedi mind trick, part reverse psychology.
“Alma, if you’re really going to hate it, we won’t send you. We would not make you go someplace you hate. So don’t worry. You’re not going.”
“Nooooo!” she cried immediately. “I saw some things that might be fun! I want to—” here she caught herself showing too much enthusiasm, “I mean—I’ll try it.”
“You want to try school. You might actually like some parts of it.”
“Yes,” she pleaded.
“Well, okay,” he said. “We’ll let you try.”
Today, we visited the classroom for about an hour, so she could get a feel for it. I practically had to drag her out of there after an hour so the poor teacher could finish setting up her room.
I highly recommend picking a Jedi co-parent.