Saturday, February 26, 2011


Oh yes, it sure is!  I am 40 yrs old and smack in the middle of 3rd grade for the second time.  I think I liked it the first time, Mrs. Forman was really nice.  I’ve been told we had some difficult boys in the class, but I don’t have any particularly traumatic memories from the first go-round.  Second time?  Definitely harder.

Can we spend a moment on projects?  So far this year (it’s February) we have had the following projects:  a realistic fiction book report, a mystery book report, a Valentine’s Day Recycle Robot (constructed of recycled materials made to hold Valentine’s cards handed out in class), a Halloween Banana (ours was a vampire, Count Bananacula), a student of the week poster, a game room constructed in a shoe box which ultimately became part of a “dream house”, and we are currently in the throes of the Galimoto (Galimoto, by Karen Lynn Williams), and a biography book report. 

When I was pregnant, I attended classes to teach me how to diaper a baby, nurse a baby, hold a baby and bathe a baby.  As my baby got older, we went to Gymboree and gymnastics classes to help him acquire the gross and fine motor skills he needed to be an active child.  We went to Music Together to broaden his horizons and expose him to culture.  Somewhere along the way, I must have missed the “How to Give Your Lackadaisical Child a Work Ethic” class.  I always check the listings for the adult education classes and I never saw that one.  How about an offering called, “How to Get Your Kids to Like Homework”?  Or better yet, “How to Survive Your Second (and third and fourth…) Time in First (and second and third and fourth…) Grade”??

I actually said to my son, “You need to really put effort into this because your project is going to be sitting along side of projects that your friends’ parents made for them!”  I fear for his self esteem because he will be holding a Galimoto top/carousel contraption that I only minimally assisted in creating, while one of his classmates will no doubt be holding a miniaturized version of the last space shuttle that actually launches, orbits the earth for an hour and then splashes down in the Raritan River! Why do parents do this?  This question is fodder for a different blog entry, so I’ll leave that alone for now.

Here is the problem:  he doesn’t care.  He’d be just as happy to throw a bunch of rocks in a bag, call it a rattle and be done with it.  The truth of the matter is that even IF one of his classmates brings in the space shuttle, he won’t feel bad about himself.  NOTHING shakes this kid’s confidence.  In general, I consider this a good thing.  This is the reason he was able to go to sleep away camp (of his own volition) at 7 yrs of age, and stay for 3 1/2 weeks without a stitch of homesickness and without a single friend to accompany him.  It is why, after his soccer team gets their shinguards handed to them during a game, he leaves the field, looks at me and says, “We almost beat them!”  It is why homework and projects are such a nightmare in our home.

So we suffer.  He procrastinates, I yell.  It’s a routine.  George and Gracie had one and we do too.  I have a 4 yr old and I have no idea what life will be like when I enter 1st grade for the 3rd time.  Pray for me.

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