Back to School

I find parenting such an interesting mix of penalty/pity, love/loss. The kids went back to school today, after a year at home with me; we had lots of reasons for home schooling them for the year, and lots of reasons went into the decision to send them back this year (by in large Isaac asking to try his freshman year at school was a deciding factor.)

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It was so hard to send them off today. I know I am very protective of Emmie particularly (she’s our Disney Princess; she’s all sweetness and light, doesn’t really take much very seriously, and will break into song with forest creatures without warning…)

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But she is looking forward to her 8th grade year with her usual enthusiasm (this year she’s got home ec, art, her favorite science teacher, and she’s on yearbook, so life is good as far as Emmie is concerned)

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Isaac has me freaking out a little, as he is a high school freshman this year, and I worry about his fitting in with big kids. I guess all mom’s probably worry about that.

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He’s taking 2 honors classes, an AP class, geometry, biology, Spanish, and computer animation…..

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He also wanted to run away and not let me take his picture this year, so I guess we are at that stage…

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He’s not quite as tall as his dad yet, but he is totally creeping up on me…(I’m 5’9″ for reference)

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The apartment was so empty today with them being gone; but it was nice to have a little peace, and to not always have to be “on” and actively parenting/teaching every minute of the day.

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In that vein, the kids broke my netbook screen the other day (one who shall not be named took it from the other by the screen and was *surprised* to find they cracked it in the process….) The kids are getting to the age I am finding myself really having to be VERY reasoned and thoughtful in my approach to dealing with them when there’s a problem. They are too big to put in time out, and punishments have to make sense and be seen as “just” or I have an indignant teen on my hands.

Now I actually never use my netbook anymore, and don’t really need it, but it was being used at the time without permission, and got snatched and cracked in an act of unnecessary silliness, so I needed to make sure they answered for the “crime” in order to learn about being respectful of other people’s possessions. I bought my netbook a few years ago at a Black Friday sale, so I only paid $125 for it, so I thought “surely it will be less than that” now a few years down the road. Try $399 on amazon for the exact same netbook……ugh..

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The kids have enough money to pay half each (in their Thailand piggy banks,) but I REALLY didn’t want a new netbook for $400 worth of principle, especially one I never even use! BUT I also didn’t want the kids to get off Scot Free or have to pay me some arbitrary sum that wouldn’t send the message that they need to make things right. Parenting at this age is hard. (Well for me anyway, I am sure there are parents out there who know exactly what to do…)

I did a little research, and found a YouTube video on replacing a LCD screen, found a website that had the screen I needed (it came with the tools and everything.) So I ordered a screen for a total of $80 including shipping, and told the kids it was their job to divide blame and percentages of cost as they saw fit. They both came to me with $40 each of their own babysitting money, and said they were really sorry that they both played a part in breaking my screen. I really love that they split the blame 50/50 (especially since it really was more the grabber’s fault it got cracked, but the other took blame for having it out in the first place) I was still a little bummed to have to spend $80 on it, but I think the value was more than just a screen, since the kids were learning to make their mistakes right.

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Hopefully they won’t feel the sting cutting into their spending money this November when we go to Thailand, but maybe feel it just enough to remember the lesson? I don’t know. What would you have done in the same situation?

Anyway, I only thought of it because I got the screen in the mail today, and it was surprisingly easy to fix (I have a new profession waiting in the wings now if this whole mom and wife gig doesn’t work out) The kids watched me replace it the whole time, thanking me for saving them $160 each (I guess that’s the pity part of parenting 🙂 ) I am looking forward to this new year of school with a little excitement at having a little break, but also with a little sadness at turning them over to someone else’s care.

We are at less than 12 months left in Korea now, it’s hard to believe how fast time has flown, we still have no idea what’s next, and it’s beginning to make me nervous!

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