back to school, back to rules

trying on the new schoolbag

Back to school. Never have three words caused so much angst, fear and misery in a prepubescent heart. My six year old is starting Grade 1 today. The first day of the next 12 years of hel… sorry, education.

Don’t get me wrong, there were days that I enjoyed school, as much as any painfully shy, ungainly girl with fat knees and three brothers can. I’m sure my child won’t have the same experience I did at the age of five, when trying so hard to fit in in Sub A, I passed around a note where I’d drawn a butt on it, and made the entire class erupt into unteachable giggles. The teacher, Ms Engel, sent me home with a note to my mother that read “Dominique is stubborn”. No shit, Sherlock.

I feel for this child embarking on her ‘real’ school journey who cannot remember in which order to wash her hands after a number two, brush her teeth or fetch her slippers pre-bathtime. And she’s done it for at least two years.

School’s like the Matrix, it doesn’t mean the same thing to everyone and only those who can handle the truth can find their way to the oxymoron that is adult freedom. But youth is not wasted on the young. They can jolly well keep it. They need it for all that crap that’s about to hit them. They’re most welcome to their peer pressure, pimples, and puberty. I’ve done my dues and earned my job, my car, my mortgage, that one hair (rougher than a goat’s knee) on my chin and my wrinkles. I sure as hell don’t envy them their exams, burgeoning sexuality issues, lack of fiscal freedom and daily orders from adults. Oh wait. I guess two out of three ain’t bad …

In closing, I pray for patience. For the teachers and for her. I pray for common sense, strength of character and body, and integrity – for when the proverbial rat of a person tries to make her start something she can’t finish, pushes her too far or tries to poison her beautiful brain. I pray for an obedient, yet questioning mind, striving towards original thought, that is able to take in existing information but find answers that are both ingenious and world-changing. I pray for a very thick skin and most of all, for kindness and good manners, to ensure that beauty lives inside her as well as outside.

excited about getting to wear a uniform on the first day of Grade 1

Phew, never thought a day of covering countless books with plastic and labelling school clothes for a small child would result in such depth. I think I need to do something mindless now like watch Fashion Police in my jammies or cut my toenails. Maybe even all at the same time …

covering schoolbooks