Today was a rare good balance, overall. I put Katrina at Tonya's this morning so I could work at home before picking Julian up from kindergarten. This is the life I'd like to lead -- drop kids off at school, do my own thing at home, then pick them up from school and spend the afternoon with them. It'll be three years before the kids are ready for that life (when Katrina starts first grade). Will I be?
When we picked up Gabriel today, I talked to his teacher briefly. She sort of wanted to warn me about a "bad grade" on his upcoming report card (report card? I'd forgotten all about that) -- an "S-" because he refuses to participate in art class. Oh. Art. Not his thing anyway, though he does need to participate in classes. Whatever. It's once every two weeks, and I'm puzzled that there's a grade since it's completely sponsored by the PTA, not the school.
When we got home today, Gabriel announced that he wanted to enter a drawing contest, for the cover of this year's yearbook. The announcement flyer had a picture of last year's winner, which he modeled from and drew this.
Not that he's the next Monet or anything, but apparently drawing is not that hard for him! It's just funny that he did this hours after I heard that he wasn't into art class. He clarified that he doesn't like art class because they tell him what to draw, and he likes to draw his own things. Fair enough.
His teacher did tell me something else interesting and surprising though: she says his writing is a lot better. She meant both his handwriting and his actual writing style. She says he "writes with a voice," (something like that), and indicated that it's early for a second-grader. She's said things like that before, that what he writes is coherent and thoughtful for his age. Hmm, that's interesting. I wonder if he'll turn into a writer-type (like me) or just a good writer who's not a writer-type (like Dave). I'm a writer-type. I have no idea if I'm a good writer or not, it doesn't matter -- I write. I can't help it. My mind just does it and compels my fingers to follow. I don't see that same itch in Gabriel, yet.
This afternoon Julian was excited -- eager! -- to work on his Mexico poster. I'm still stunned at his enthusiasm and dedication to a project like this. This is our most putzy, draggy, lazy boy?! We almost finished it, but he was getting really tired and making mistakes, so I had to practically insist he take a break. After dinner, we did finish it. He's very proud of it and insisted on practicing presenting it once.
Hard to tell in the photo, but those yellow and blue shapes are what he wrote on and then glued to the posterboard. They say things like "Mexico has 31 states," and "Mexico's main language is Spanish." He was excited to see a map of California and that Mexico is right south of us. The map even had Mojave (where we stayed in October for the airshow) and Mexico in the same view, and I think that helped bring things into context for them. "Them" because Gabriel inserted himself in the last hour of work on the Mexico poster, oddly intrigued.
The working-mom guilt factory inside me fears this enthusiasm for schoolwork -- including Gabriel's for Julian's -- is because it's a handy way to capture Mom's attention, since Mom generally doesn't do a lot of table activities together. About the most captive I ever am doing things together is cooking or baking in the kitchen. (That's another thing Gabriel's teacher mentioned to me, that we must cook a lot together based on what he says.) And with full-time work looming (still no word though), that guilt factory will be running all shifts.
Work or not, somehow, I'm taking Julian and the rest of the family to Mexico someday. I'm delighted by his eagerness to learn and create, and he's earned it.