Empty Nest

I’m not going to say I want the last kid out of the house and into school. In fact when that moment comes I will be utterly heart broken. Little Silver is a breath of fresh air but she really wants more than I can give her now. I feel her need to be out playing more and having lots of little people around to engage in her madness. I can only be partly mad with a side of “oh shit, I gotta get dinner ready” not that fun a playmate when I disappears to do boring adult things. Last week I put her name on the entry list for school…eeeek. Am I ready to receive the mountains of paperwork and then hit her up with a multitude of injections the kids around here must have to walk through the school gates and into their allocated class.

The injections alone are costly but the tears that they cause will be the real heart breaker. This girl really knows how to make my heart to bleed. She works all the angles, has the face of a baby koala that makes you want to snuggle her in tight and protect her from the world but she’ll bite your face off at the same time.

Luckily School start time is still six months away so I have time to prepare for this. Emotionally for me, I do wonder…Will I get empty nest syndrome? Having spent the past +nine years with a child holding my hand everyday will I find it hard to let go of the last one? Will I automatically need to be impregnated so that I have faith in the fact that I am actually needed by someone all day long(probably not!) Or, and this is a big or, will I enjoy my time and figure out my life. I’ll be safe in the knowledge that all three kids are in a great school, playing with good people and learning from lovely teachers. Why should I worry? I know she will be totally fine going to school, she’s been walking to this school pretty much everyday for two years now. Most of her friends are a year older and go to class there, for her it feels good and she just can’t wait.

For me it’s a real toss up and it could swing either way. The one thing that I have been pretty good at in life so far is mothering. I was once told by an old flatmate (when I found out I was pregnant with #1) that I had the mothering skills of a firing squad…bloody proved him wrong! Turned out I learned from the best and deep down I had it in me all along. As most people do, it’s called human nature an instinct to keep your children thriving. The ability to adjust your sense of self and let them learn real values. How to trust people, who to trust, how to listen, when to listen and having respect for everyone and everything around you. I think the one big thing I want to give the little’s is how to respect and love themselves, at the same time realising that they are not more important than anyone else and no one else is more important than them. So many people live in fear of pissing off someone they deem to be more powerful than them, whether it be a bully at school or a boss later in life. Sometimes they throw their respect and love the wrong way to someone who really couldn’t give a crap about them. Respect is a two way street and should not be based on fear.

I think I’ll start counting the weeks so I know how much time I have left with my baby at home teaching her all the things I think she needs to make it through. I know this time shall slip away so quickly, I’ll blink and August will be here with another lunch bag to fill. However when I look into her eyes and she talks excitedly about going to school. What else can I do but smile and let her go however much it tears my heart.

 

 

De-loused

I’ve basically been neglecting this blog and any social networking for the past five weeks – my mum has been visiting. She is such a lovely lady and always comes to my rescue when Jacob is on tour. This time though, it was a five week visit. No quick train ride down to London from Fife anymore. Nope, a long 11 hours on a plane is needed. Mum, doesn’t like flying. So I appreciate that she has had to man up and get her ass on a plane just for me to get a hair cut and join a Pilates class…Thanks mum!

So, since I last picked up the laptop there has been an epidemic at school. One that, judging by the reaction of parents – it was as bad as Ebola outbreak. The dreaded infestation of lice.

One morning at drop off, I walked up to a group of mums looking highly freaked out.

“Everything okay?” I said. I got these replies….

“There’s lice in the class”

“Seven Children”

“Oh, no. What will we do?”

Being a sarcastic arse, I burst out laughing and said “oh, yeah, eeeek, nits. Whatever will we do. Call the Doctor!”

So I really thought their reactions were a joke. Turns out, it was not a joke and in fact they are crazy mofos about a wee scabby nit. I heard one mother shrieking  “oh, my gosh. It’s so unsanitary” While another spoke of their first ‘traumatizing’ experience with lice when their child was younger.

One lovely mum, removed anything and everything made of material from the class room to boil wash it. But there was a long stare and conversation about the carpet. What was to be done about it?

Nits to me, is a normal childhood problem. They are more of an annoyance than anything. If you treat them naturally, it takes forever and who wants to go around their whole family with that little nit comb hearing the screams of pain as you scrape it across each scalp in turn. But if you take the chemical route, well, you’re putting chemicals on your kid.

Some inventive people have found a great way to make some cash out of these freaked out parents. Salons with names like ‘The Magic Nit Pick’ and ‘Hairwizards’ are dotted around. Where people drive to with the whole family and pay $100 per person to get De-Loused. De-Loused at the Combatorium if you will. Yeah, yeah, I know I added a B for all those Mars Volta fans. Nearly bald fathers, sitting in chairs while the nit nurse is hysterically laughing, riding that gravy train.

I’m not really sure what to think of peoples’ reaction to these nasty nits. Am I too relaxed about it? Are they too uptight? Will I feel differently when I have to deal with them? Summer has the longest hair so I’m sure one day they will catch on. Lets hope I’m still that sarcastic cow when it does happen or that’ll be $500 out the window for all us Quists.

It’s all about the kids.

After spending way too many years in London, I felt like I lost my identity. A lot of this also corresponded with becoming a mother and stopping that crazy thing called work, because before that I really did feel like I knew who I was. I was a ballsy bass playing grunge rock gal. I wore clothes too tight, drank like a fish and swore like a fishwife (sorry mum!). This move to another city is making me remember what it was like when I first moved to London – that excitement – but this time I get to share it with four other people, all of whom are having their own individual reaction to the change… well, not Silver really – she so little and is pretty much just happy as long as I am nearby.

Summer starting at the local school was probably really hard for her but she a tough nut to crack. She is really friendly and always wants to please everyone so I was not too worried about her. There was always going to be an adjustment period. She stands out a little with her London accent. The other kids have been together since kindergarden so they have pretty tight friendships going on.

Summer mentioned once that she had no one to play with during break but what seven year old kid doesn’t say that every so often. We had a little chat about it and now she is bouncing to school, not needing those extra hugs in the morning…I miss those hugs!

The school itself is really really good. She is back to getting weekly homework, which her London school stopped for some reason in favour of termly homework. Her teacher is beautifully scatty, super easy going but gets the work done. What stands out the most though is the after school clubs. There seem to be hundreds of them. My experience of after school clubs is that you sign up for anything you can and they allocate you a place on one…the one the school choose for your child. Here things are a little different. There’s Drama, Glee, Dance, Art, Knitting, film making, lego robotics, woodwork…the list goes on. It is so interesting, the schools are used as a community. They don’t lock down at the end of the school day, they open up. There is a tuck shop with a massive queue all the time. A running track with kids counting laps for others. A stage where some make up dance routines. Every inch of the campus is covered with kids having fun.Their parents are able to be there, sitting in the sun enjoying a popsicle.

The acting, singing, theater after school enrichment is run by a wonderful but crazy lady. I never really knew what to think of her until Saturday past. Summer and I went along to a kids production of ‘Wicked’ in the school auditorium. The whole thing was so elaborate. The costumes, the lighting, the set. So much effort was put into this. It was more like a theater production in the East End rather than a simple school play.

The drama teacher sat in front of the stage the whole time, she knew the performance back to front. Helping anyone that got a little stuck for words. You could tell the kids doated on her and that she really cared. She had so obviously been up all night going over things in her head – and yet her energy was through the roof!

What struck me the most though was that all the children were in charge. Even the back stage. The ones not in the play were doing makeup and wardrobe. Some choose to do lighting so had a spotlight that was theirs. They all had little ear pieces and mics to communicate to each other. They were trusted to do the adult jobs. They sell the tickets, they man the door, they smile and help.

A few Americans have said to me “why have you moved here from the UK? The UK has a much better school system” and that may be right. I am yet to find this out. It’ll take longer than a few months to really see if there’s a difference in class room education, but for community spirit and child involvement, it’s one up for America.