Monday, September 30, 2013

No More Pencils, No More Books

"Time to start school."
"I don´t wanna do school, today."
"You have to do school - it´s important."
"Come on, it won´t take long."
"Alright, alright! Fine! I´ll do school." I turn away from Erik and lean out of the cockpit. "Kids! Time for school!"

Teaching is my primary job aboard Papillon. It took me a while to figure it out - don´t ever think that elementary school teachers are just breezing through life - but now the kids and I have a system that works well for us. Most days I look forward to our school time, and all three of us have fun. But there are days when I open my eyes in the morning and the weather is cold and rainy, or we´re in a particularly interesting place, or I don´t feel so great, or I´m just plain lazy. On those days I want to call in sick and skip the whole thing. I´m having one of those times. And this is not helped by the fact that the girls are having one of those times, too.

Our rule has always been: every day is a school day, unless something else is going on. We never make it seven days in a row; there is a always a break in there somewhere. Longer vacations come when we have visitors or two-parent disruptions (like applying antifouling before the rain comes back.) We haven´t had a big break since I took the kids home in April, so we are due for a rest. And as luck would have it, guests are coming. October will bring on-off-on alternating weeks of visitors. Vacation time is upon us.

This means, however, that we have to be good now and get something done. But not one of the three of us is making it easy. Do you remember those last few days before summer vacation? They seem to take longer than the rest of the school year combined. Now that I am an official grown up, I know that the teachers feel that way, too. Everyone is trying to put a good face on it, but everyone really just wants to run outside and fall asleep in the soft grass under a tree.

This puts my darling husband in the unfortunate position of having to keep us in line. Erik normally goes off and does his own thing while we do school, but it seems he has noticed my lack of motivation. And just as I encourage him to do the jobs he doesn´t feel like doing, he is there to give me a gentle reminder that the kids really do need to learn their math. Still, I give it the ol´college try. And so we play a quiet game of evade-and-correct.

I clear away my breakfast dishes. "I think I´ll finish sewing those portlight curtains this morning."
"I think you´d better do school first," says Erik.

"I´m taking the kids swimming at the waterfall."
"Have you guys finished school already?"
Curses. "We´re doing Phys Ed?"

The girls try it, too. Stylish quietly drops into the dinghy after breakfast. "I´m going to row over to Friend Boat. Be back soon!"
Dad grabs the painter. "Hold on, kiddo. You´ve got school."
Stylish give me an eyeroll. Caught again.

Indy sits with a book in the cockpit. "Will you read this to me, Daddy?"
"Sure. Wait, aren´t you supposed to be doing school now?"
"No. I don´t want to do school today." Indy is about as subtle as a hammer.
"Tough. Go back to Mom and finish school." Dad has his direct moments, too.

Today was actually pretty good; school is almost always fun once we get going. And I can hardly complain - we are always done by lunchtime.

Still. Only four days left until Visitor Vacation!


Mitchell World Tour said...

Great job Amy! Keep on getting on!

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. Been there done that. Many of us find an extra cup of tea helps.

The visitor carrot is a great motivator.
Love Mom