The school has got better at e-learning and I’ve got better at
tolerating handling it. Heck, I am even learning something.
For example, Mimi is learning about circuits. This is not something I envisioned an eight-year-old would be learning but I’m not complaining. My daughter may have atrocious handwriting and spelling but she knows the difference between a series circuit and a parallel circuit (and can build one on an online programme) and by extension so do I.
Following the realisation that I have to upload videos of my children doing yoga for a PE grade, I meekly submitted to the next week’s assignment of making “healthy snacks”. I went into minor panic mode thinking up what these might be (being unsure our usual snacks would pass muster. Fried egg? Cheese toast) until I realised that the teachers were posting recipes to be followed.
Moreover, none of these, except one, required cooking. It turned out to be an activity both the kids enjoyed and the snacks were even quite tasty. One of them Nene even made for himself the next day and it inspired me to buy and eat more fruit (though it may have slightly effed up my stomach; there’s a limit to how much fruit and vegetable my gut can take).
This activity meant that I ventured into the supermarket after god knows how long to actually buy something myself. This only because I was not organised enough to put the necessary items on the list for my helper or husband. I peered at fruit and veggies with a gimlet eye, made aware once again about how illiterate I am when it comes to selecting them (one of the banes of our childhood was being sent to the vegetable cart by our mother, only to return with something substandard and be sent back, until we took to pleading with the vendor to please select something decent the first time around. The result is that we never learnt to select any ourselves, and probably I would have learnt the fine art, had I actually progressed to cooking).
Anyhoo, back to the recent past, I strolled around the supermarket, unsure where anything was. Eventually, I managed to find everything on my list. While I stared bemusedly at some bananas, a scrum of elderly ambushed a supermarket employee who was carrying a box so even I went and chose bananas from there, though I am not sure why they were special.
It’s not that I am exacting about bananas myself. But I fear that any flaw in my purchases will be scorned by the experts at home. So I feel it’s easier to make an effort.
Then, I had a minor panic attack at the cashier when the bill turned out to be much larger than I would have thought. Obviously, I could just check the bill and refute charges that were excessive, except that this particular supermarket has started printing the bill in Chinese and disputing it would involve pantomime and Google translate.
The thing to have done is to have watched the price of items on the cashier machine as they are checked out and see if they tally with the prices one expects them to be (which requires remembering or knowing what things should cost, which my helper is excellent at). Obviously, being me, my attention wandered while the cashier was doing her thing, only to come to when I was handed the bill, which I am proud to say I at least registered the final amount of.
In the end, I whizzed back to through the aisles and thankfully it turned out that one of the items I purchased did indeed cost a sizeable sum.
See, this attention to the cost of things is not really in my nature (which I know is a privilege – that I don’t really have, my husband reminds me, because it’s not like I am the queen of England). I tend to just hand over my card or sign bills, my mind just glazing over the numbers. Actually looking at numbers and processing them requires discipline, something I am trying to cultivate, though clearly not hard enough to register the individual prices of things as they come up on the cash machine.
Another new addition to our lives has been daily mindfulness. After the PE unit that I ranted about, Mimi has taken to guiding us (well largely just me) on meditation sessions every night. It satisfies her need for giving instructions, mine for calm and a way for the two us to connect to eat other. I don’t know if it has actually made either of us any calmer, but at least we are for those 15 minutes.
Mimi is hardly a professional meditation coach – she talks too much for one – but it’s impressive how she manages to have some kind of plan through the sessions (imitating YouTube videos) and doing a rather amusing mishmash of new age monologue (“go with the flow”, “think about your inner place”).
Dare I say it, but this might be the ideal kind of schooling, had I the mind and energy for it. Someone else guides the curriculum and provides the resources but I’m actively involved in customising it for my own children.