Tuesday, September 1, 2015

And So It Came To Be

Monday Night

8:00 pm,  Raphaela goes to sleep, leaving her back pack right next to her pillow
11:45 pm, After watching a movie, reading a few chapters of my book and drinking a small glass of wine, I fall asleep.

Tuesday, First Day of School

2:00 am,  Raphaela comes into my bedroom, wide awake, and asks, "What are you doing?" I answer, "I am sleeping."
5:30 am, Raphaela wakes me up, gets dressed by herself, and puts on her back pack.  The back pack does not come off.
6:00 am, Rapheala informs me that her sport shoes are too small for her, and indeed she is correct; her toes can be felt at the tip of the sneakers. Because of my background in the Jewish Girl Scouts, I have a pair for her that is the next size up, and some lucky person will basically be getting a new pair of girl's shoes.
7:30 am, We feed the street cats and I throw out the garbage, and we head out for the first day of First Grade.  I show Raphaela various markers along the route (a big rock, twin trees, a small forest, a tunnel) so that when she is older, she will have no problem walking to school with her friends.
7:45 am, We are greeted by the principal at the front gate, and see lots of different families we know from the neighborhood and from previous incarnations of Gan.  Raphaela goes to her classroom and sits in the front row.
Then another little girl comes and sits next to her, and her parents explain that she is an English speaker, and that her name is Elsa.  This is starting out well, thank you G-d for small and large miracles.  Of note, there are three angel-like names in the class - Raphaela, Michaela and Gabriella - so there will lots of divine energy in the room.
8:00 am, Raphaela's teacher arrives and my daughter kicks me out the door. I join a group of parents staying right outside the classroom and all of lamenting, "I am so emotional.  I don't want to go."
8:20 am, I drop off all the charitable donation items at Raphaela's Gan from last year. Several of the parents look at me funny and say, "Didn't your daughter move on?" Yes she did.
Walking home to get ready for work, I realize that I am exceptionally sweaty and it is not all that hot in Jerusalem.  It must be the nervous excitement.
12:45, Early pick up from school as it is the first day.  The teacher is running a little late, which causes the next cascade of homework issues.
13:15 pm, We get home and Raphaela takes out her folder, with one page for the parents to fill out, and a letter for the parents from the principal.  When I ask Raphaela if she has any other homework, she says that she has forgotten, and then gets impatient with me for asking. 
We are going to have to come up with a system for this.
So I call the mother of one of the girls in her class, who was also in her Gan class last year.  She laughs and explains that this teacher purposely does not tell the parents about assignments, because she wants the girls to take responsibility for themselves.  The teacher is fully cognizant that it means that some homework will be forgotten at the beginning of the year.  But apparently tonight there is no problem, nothing more to do.
As soon as I hung up, the phone rang and it was another mother who had the exact same discussion /argument with her daughter, and was unclear as to whether there was more homework.  We laughed at our situation as newbies, and decided that we need to set up a whatsapp group to support each other and ask stupid questions.

With the last little bit of vacation remaining, Raphaela and I ate a quick lunch and went to the pool.
Tomorrow it's really real.


Batya Medad said...

How exciting. I used to tour new places/schools with my kids searching for the WC so they'd know. Yes, I'm sort of nuts. I'm glad the next generation is in charge.

Billy said...

A suggestion I once heard is not to ask if they had homework, because many times they really can't remember and the question is too wide and general. Instead ask - in what did you have homework? Then they can usually recollect that oh yes, there was HW in maths etc...

Oh, and usually in the first few grades they finish most (if not all) of their homework during school.