Starting School

Roque starts kindergarten in exactly 10 days. I am both excited and terrified. I’m not really worried about him not wanting to go to school, because I know that he enjoyed the one month of summer class we specifically enrolled him in so ‘real school’ won’t be too much of a shock to his system, but the idea of my baby being exposed to the world without me there to hold his hand and explain unfamiliar things to him is giving me all kinds of mixed emotions.

books

I had one book in Kindergarten. One!

I know that he needs to learn to digest and cope with new experiences on his own. I know that only by being allowed to work things out for himself will he be able to know what he is capable of. I know that he needs to go out of his comfort zone so he can stretch and grow and transform. More importantly, I know that I’m not the first parent who has overthought this particular phase in their child’s life.

Still, despite all this knowing, I have yet to be completely okay with the idea that a month from now, I might not be the biggest influencer in my son’s life anymore.

I became a biological mother when Roque was born, but everything I now know about parenting day-to-day, we learned together.

I honestly believe that being a parent to my son has forced me to become a better, more empathic person. Pre-Roque, I’ve never really thought of myself as selfish, but, like most people who don’t have children are, I was. I’m not saying this is something childless people do on purpose, or that they are bad people because of it. It’s just that, by default, yourself is the primary person you think and take care of, so most of the time, your happiness and well-being are what you are concerned about.

Having a child and choosing to take care of that child compelled me to take a hard look at myself and my values. Raising a child necessitated for me a kind of soul searching like no other and with every new situation I am thrown out of my comfort zone yet again.

Do I insist that Roque hug and kiss relatives because polite society dictates it or do I teach him to listen to what his inner voice dictates about personal space? Do I teach Roque to be obedient and do what his teacher says or do I teach him to question and risk being labeled a difficult child? How do I explain to a 4-year-old that fighting is wrong but that he needs to fight back if somebody is being mean to him?

Do I even want to introduce the idea of meanness into his fresh, unsullied world? Is it smart not to?

Often I worry that my son will suffer the consequences of my being a newbie parent; that my making a wrong decision in his upbringing now will taint how he sees the world and interacts with people and makes decisions later in his adult life.

It’s a long term case study and, unfortunately, it would be impossible to erase the slate and start anew if the definitive results show I had fucked it up.

So far, the kid seems to be doing all right though, and I am always amazed at how intuitive and kind hearted and resilient he is. And how funny! Roque genuinely makes me laugh with the things he says and does, and I can only hope he survives childhood with this quirky sense of humor intact.

Almost four months ago, our family dynamic changed when Cortez arrived and Roque became a big brother, a role he enthusiastically embraced (sometimes too enthusiastically, haha!).

In ten days, his life is going to change again, and though I know that Roque doesn’t realize just how big this step is, I do, and I will do my best to be a good parent by stepping back and letting him go.

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dear ms. merly

i cheated on you and i’m sorry.

there, i’ve said it. please understand that i had no choice. 800 (plus tip) was too steep a price to pay for a trim and i was going to wait until i needed a more substantial cut before asking you to do it. trust me when i say that i’ve been duly reprimanded.

it was horrible! granted, the head massage i got when they shampooed my hair was great, but other than that, it was horrible, i tell you, horrible!

the *child* who cut my hair kept fumbling with the clips and scissors like it was the first time he ever held them. you have no idea how nervous i was as i eyed him in the mirror. i had to tell him where and how much to cut the entire time, fearful each second that if i let my guard down i’d end up with a poofy helmet on top of my head.

if that wasn’t bad enough, he kept trying to chat me up! both you and i know that i don’t do meaningless small talk. i need you to cut my hair and that’s it. i don’t care if you think it’s ‘taray’ that i’m growing my hair, what i care about is you knowing *how* to cut hair!

thankfully, everything did turn out okay and i didn’t need to shave my head and start anew. but believe me, i have learned my lesson. i will never stray again. i took it for granted that i would get the same kind of service you give from some other cutter in a random salon and for that i have been severely chastised.

i hope you find it in your heart to forgive my (very small, one-time) transgression.

 

sincerely,

your number one fan,

jona.