Thursday, 10 February 2011

Why Grade One Was Too Much For Me

Our parents had it easy. They walked to school…. both ways… uphill… in a snowstorm… all year long…. Piece of cake. Now that my kid is in school, I thought stresses of decision-making were behind me. No more Montessori vs. Waldorf… home daycare vs. daycare centre…  full-time vs. part-time. All would be right with the world once the little guy could hit the world of JK.
Apparently in my world, “JK” stands for “Just Kidding”! Catholic schools in our area are “half-days, everyday” so I couldn’t imagine dealing with the chaos of finding daycares, getting him there, alternate bus routes, etc. so we decided to leave him at his daycare centre that year. Check.
Once SK (a.k.a. “STILL Kidding”) rolled around, he was bored, and ticked off that his friends were trekking off to “Big School” without him.  Well, the half-day was still an issue, so we debated, researched, soul-searched (and wine drank) and ended up sending him to the local public school (full-day, alternate days), while keeping him at the centre on the “off days”. Check.
I was thrilled at the prospect of Grade One – Problem solved, right? Not so much. Public school he knows or Catholic school I wanted him to attend? French Immersion? Continue driving him or loosen the reins and let him take the bus?
Back to debating, researching, soul-searching and wine-drinking, and behold - the decision was finally made. Check. Wait… make that “uncheck” – turns out the kid qualified for a new pilot program in the area at yet another school that will keep him “challenged & engaged”. What?? The Back-to-School chaos is tough enough without adding additional mama guilt & “what ifs” to the equation.
Debate, research, soul-search, drink – plus several info-gathering chats with my mommy friends – and finally, with no Magic 8 Ball in sight, the decision was made. He now happily attends the new school, seems to be enjoying himself and doesn’t appear to be scarred for life. Good thing one of us isn’t!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Kids Are Not Like Potato Chips

Grocery shopping is tough enough. Remembering  everything on my shopping list… Remembering the list… Ensuring the Oreos are well hidden under the strategically placed bag of carrots…..… . Recently I was chatting with the woman behind me in line (who I’m pretty sure couldn’t spot the Oreos) and walked away with a virtual punch in the stomach I never expected.

We were discussing kids and upon learning that I was the proud (if somewhat frazzled) mom to one little boy, with no plans to have another little one, our conversation seemed to change on a dime. Yes, a complete and total stranger – in my life only because of our grocery store of choice – actually told me that she was shocked that I wouldn’t give my kid the gift of a sibling. Really?? Knock my Oreos, maybe, but my choice about kids??

After wallowing in disbelief for far too long, I was able to regroup & rally back, thanks to an incredibly simple, yet profound statement shared by the brilliant Kia Robertson“Kids are not like potato chips… you CAN have just one!” Brilliant.

Yes, it would be nice if he had a built-in playmate sometimes… or I could be spending time breaking up scraps and dealing with sibling rivalry.

Yes, it could help him learn to share, take turns and other great life lessons… or he could learn to be independent and self-sufficient.

Yes, it would be nice to think of him surrounded by siblings when I’m old & grey or gone… or maybe they’d all move to opposite ends of the world and never speak.

Life is tough enough (just like grocery shopping!) – I wish I could understand why people feel the need to continually question and judge other people’s choices. I don’t know how my life would have played out with another child, two more or ten more (except then I might be in line for my own reality show!). All I do know is that my kid is the single most wonderful thing in my life and its an absolute joy to be his mom (most days!). Let’s just learn to relax… sit down… take a deep breath… have an Oreo…
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