This last month The Husbeast and myself have been faced with our toughest parenting challenge yet. We have to pick a school for The Princess for next year. As she only turned 5 this year we have to decide if she is going to repeat Grade R or go on to Grade 1. Scary stuff. The problem is the amount of conflicting advice we have been given. There are so many good schools in our area that choosing the right one for us is really hard. I went to an Afrikaans school, so the only experience I have with the English schools in our area is purely anecdotal.
Then there is the whole Grade R/1 issue, I went to school early and it didn’t impact me negatively in the least. Yet so many people have been telling us that we will do The Princess a disservice if we send her early. So we’ve applied to a few schools for Grade R and Grade 1, hoping to give ourselves some more time to make the decision.
Things came to a head this week when we received her school report, our little girl is suddenly not doing so well. Things that she was accomplishing in the beginning of the year now reduced her to tears. It seems that her problem is that she is still a little immature. She is only 5 years old! Of course she is still immature! After a chat with her teacher I started thinking about how much pressure we place on kids. The Princess is only a little girl, now I have to encourage her to stop being wildly artistic when she colours in and start being more realistic. Really? I have to basically tell her that freedom of expression and imaginative thinking is not allowed, that she has to follow society’s rules when she colours and draws pictures.
I understand that it is important that The Princess learns how the real world works, but do I have to expose her to it at this age? If this is the amount of pressure on a 5 year old, how is it going to be at 10 or 18?
But those are tomorrow’s problems. We have decided that it would be better for The Princess to repeat Grade R. It will give her some more growing up time and will give me a little more time to accept that my baby is not actually a baby anymore.
I am a Radiotherapist. No, I do not fix radios, I am not a radiologist or a nurse, I do not give patient’s bed baths, no it is not super depressing and yes, I do know that all my patient’s are going to die. Want to know a secret? EVERYBODY DIES! Now that I have gotten that off of my chest I feel much better.
Radiotherapy is not a career that just anyone can walk into. It takes a special type of person who is willing to come into someone’s life at their darkest moment. I have been sworn at, shouted at and publicaly humiliated by patients. And yes I was pissed off about that but I understand that they cannot control what is happening to them. It must be terrible feeling to be that helpless, knowing that you have to entrust someone else with your health and life. So I get shouted at, I can handle it, I’m a big girl.
The problem with dealing with negative emotions all day long is that you become almost desensitised to emotion. I know I have. In order to cope with the pressures of my job I tend to bottle up my emotions and eat away my problems. Thank goodness for the Husbeast. He has been my emotional punching bag on more than one occasion, when I needed an outlet. Of course this places a huge amount of stress on our marriage, fortunatly we have survived all of my “moments”, tantrums and random floods of tears.
The best part about my job? The Princess thinks I make superheros. I told her that I work with radiation, radiation=super powers so mommy makes superheros. Yay me!
A little while ago The Princess walked in on The Husbeast giving me a hug (no seriously, it was just a hug!) and wanted to know if we were going to have sex. The Husbeast sprinted off and hid in the bathroom while I had a to deal with “The Talk”. It is not the first time that The Princess had expressed an interest in sex, once before she mentioned it to us. When I asked her what she understood about sex, she thought it was a special type of kissing. She had heard the word on TV. I cant understand where she heard it as she mostly watches The Disney channel and Barney DVD’s. I’m assuming that she heard the term in passing, either at school, in a song or on TV.
So we sat down and discussed that boys and girls were different, boys have a penis and girls have a vulva and vagina (my Radiotherapy and Pure Romance training kinda took over and she got an anatomically correct description). She is fully aware of the differences so that was not new information. I explained that when boys and girls become men and women they have sex to make babies. I didn’t explain the how of it, just that “it” happens. And that she has to wait a really really really long time before she becomes a woman. Her response “Eeeuuwww mom! I don’t want babies! or kissing! Sis man!” And she pranced off to play with her sister. When she is a teenager I will pull out my pathology textbooks and show her what STD’s, prolapsed vagina’s and vulval cancers look like. Then I will place an order for a chastity belt.