nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala


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Moving – Feeling All the Feels

katie grad

Okay so I suspect moving is kind of like childbirth, in that, once you’re past the hellish bits, you forget how awful the bulk of the experience was, and consider doing it again one day.

When I was young, we moved around a lot for my dad’s work. Moving houses (and provinces) halfway through grade seven, and in the summer after grade nine, and again after grade eleven was HARD.

Teenagers aren’t very nice to newcomers, especially those wearing completely different styles, and speaking with a different accent (anglo-Montrealers speak with an accent, you guys). Most kids have had their core group of friends for years, and they don’t need another friend. They don’t make it easy on the new kid, in fact, some go out of their way to make it hard for the new kid. Not because they’re mean, but because it’s a source of amusement. Maybe they’re bored. I don’t know. Anyway, I didn’t like it, and it forced me to develop a thick skin.

I decided when I was very young that when I had kids, I’d do what I could to ensure they grew up with a set of friends they could keep forever, if they wanted.

When we decided we were moving, we talked about it as a family. Alex was fine, since she’s an honorary Haligonian these days, and surprisingly, Katherine was quite happy about it. Having attended the same school from junior-kindergarten until grade five “graduation”, she seemed ready for a change, and looked forward to the prospect of making new friends.

This mom is relieved. At the same age, I’d have been kicking and screaming!


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Stress and Homesickness

Ramen noodles. Of course!

Ramen noodles. Of course!

Alex finally started missing home this week. I say ‘finally’ only because I thought it would set in sooner, not because I wanted her to become homesick (well… maybe a little bit… KIDDING!).

I’ve put two and two together and realized that she is becoming increasingly homesick relative to the rate at which her stress-level is also increasing (exams).


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Straight As

My amazing 10-year-old who doesn't achieve straight-As

My amazing 10-year-old who doesn’t achieve straight-As

I’ve never put a lot of stock into report cards.

Don’t get me wrong – I value school and all that it exposes my kids to. I want them to do their best and to feel successful. But I don’t think a report card tells the full story, in the same way that my resumé or annual review wouldn’t sum me up as a working professional.

My 10-year-old brought her progress report home last week, and it confirmed that she was progressing along as she should be. Great! I’m happy with that. If it had highlighted an area or two in which we could focus to help her catch up with the class, I’d have been just as happy. I didn’t worry that there were no notes indicating that she was ahead of the class. I don’t push her to achieve As. I simply want her to put forth her best effort.

With a daughter already in university, I now have the benefit of hindsight. I’m no longer iffy about my position on report cards. I firmly stand my ground, loud and proud: earning straight-As on a report card is not the be-all-end-all it’s made out to be. Marks are only one piece of the pie.

Many of the extra-curriculars and hobbies that helped Alex choose her university program of study (Commerce) had nothing at all to do with academics.

If I’d insisted on straight-As, Alex might not have had the time to try her hand at photography and cooking and other pursuits that eventually helped narrow down her interests to what would make her happy, and think about what career she might excel at.

Straight-As and no other experience in sports, volunteering, working, leadership, camps, music, Junior Achievement, art and social settings might not have allowed Alex to be the well-rounded student that attracted Dalhousie to her.

So when Katherine’s teacher told me at our meeting that Katherine was progressing well, I was pleased.

But when she told me Katherine is a good friend in the classroom, volunteers at the kiss-and-ride, helps with the announcements, is in the ukelele club and spends extra time at recess and during lessons to make sure the differently-abled kids in the classroom feel included and to help them keep up, I was over the moon. These are the things that make my child a “good student” in my eyes. An active citizen in her little society at school, and a well-rounded kid. For these things – all of them, “okay” grades included – I am thankful.