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That was the week that wasn’t

This week went by in a flash, which I guess is what happens when you’re really returning to “normality”? (I don’t think those quote marks are going away any time soon. But our routines are almost back to normal, even if the world in general isn’t.) Observe the non-bullet list format of this post: I didn’t really have 5 items and, hey, I’ve been wondering if the whole 5 thing format is really working anyway. It’s a long time since I’ve used it to compile 5 actual moments from my week; mostly I bludgeon random musings into the superficially neat structure and honestly, it’s a total cheat. So here I am testing out what happens if I abandon the pretence. More navel-gazing? Less? Let’s find out!

And it was full of parenting Moments. C has made a sudden leap into a new level of growing up; something about the way lockdown coincided with the change of seasons has resulted in a burst of change all at once. New clothes, new independent social activity (biking off to the lake with a friend! going to hang out at McDonalds! ooh daddy did not like that one), and most of all, intense excitement as her academic future takes a dramatic step closer. That’s because she’s gotten onto the prep course for the Gymi entrance exams (which we knew would happen, the excitement is that it’s all starting soon).* So. Much. Screaming.

Meanwhile M is complaining that he “hates school”, which I find intensely frustrating because it’s so unnecessary. He loves his teacher, he’s with his best friends, so what does he hate? It’s boring. Why is it boring? Because he’s forced to repeat really basic sums over and over when he’s dying to tackle more advanced maths. His teacher knows he’s ahead, and yet, she insists that he doesn’t get the harder worksheets until after he’s done the easy ones… which he doesn’t do, because he’s so bored by them he can’t sit still. So she has a bored, restless kid on her hands when she could have a happy, focused one, but this. Is. Her. Way. No arguments please. (She’s a brand new teacher. There have been a number of issues where we think she’s maybe not making the smartest choices… but she’s the teacher. It’s up to her. And nothing so terrible is happening. It’s just really frustrating to watch.) Aaaaanyway.

So as you see, school is clearly fully back in action, and you might think I’d be enjoying great productivity as my hours are suddenly freed up again, but not really. Armin is still home a lot (until the end of the month) and I find it weirdly disruptive having him around. Great to have his company in leisure time, sure, but in what should be my work time, I just really want to be left alone, UGH WITH THE TALKING ALREADY. By the time he’s properly back at work I’ll have exactly one week to myself before the school holidays start. I’m not thrilled. I’m feeling pretty peopled out, honestly. Went to a small party on Saturday night and sure, they’re our favourite people and it’s wonderfully low-stress and easy social activity, but oof, it’s exhausting.

*Swiss high schools are intensely streamed. Gymnasium is the traditional route to university, and it’s highly challenging; six years of very broad education, taking in ancient and modern languages, art and music as well as all the sciences and even (in the final years) a dose of philosophy, law and economics. There is scope to choose your emphasis, but not, as I understand it, to actually leave anything out. I love this. And once you’ve got your Matura (Gymi diploma), you are automatically free to study anything you like at any Swiss university – no further exams or selection process. This is hugely appealing to me and to C both. People talk a lot about the pressure Gymi puts on pupils, and it definitely is demanding. But the benefit is that you get to avoid the arguably greater pressure of having to choose a career path at age 15 or 16, in the form of an apprenticeship. Studying hard and keeping all options open sounds much more fun, if you’re up for it. And C, I think, really is.

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