In the deep end

I remember seeing a parenting book with a title along the lines of “I was a great mom until I had kids”. It is so true that the lofty ideals of who we want to be as parents often do not stand up so well to the messy reality of actually having children. And of course along with the long list of things that we will do comes an often equally long list of things we won’t do.
I had never understood the madness surrounding getting your child into the right preschool. It seemed to me far too early to be worrying about such things. Still, the local school that Baki went to turned out to be a far cry from what could have been called “the right sort of environment.” Baki went to school willingly enough, and it was good for him to be among his peers, since there are no kids his age out by us.
I began to notice, though, that Baki never wanted to talk about school; he evaded my questions by either ignoring them or running off. And his teacher complained that he wasn’t joining in during class. One day he was watching Sid the Science Kid and he marveled at how the teacher was always smiling and never yelled.
I realized that I had not been looking the situation in the face: Baki was really unhappy at his school. I hated the idea of him disliking school, especially when he is so curious and eager to learn by nature. Suddenly, I found myself desperate to find him “the right school”.
I felt completely out of my depth for the first time since I hit rock bottom when Baki was about a week old (I was in the shower trying desperately to relieve the insane pressure building up in my engorged breasts and Baki was on a sheepskin on the floor screaming). It was such a huge decision to make for Baki, and I wanted for him to be happy so badly, I felt a sort of madness gripping me.
My mother said, sensibly, “Go see a school and you’ll feel better.” How true. Baki and I went to see a school in Antalya (though he only conceded to join me after I promised him that he would not be going to class, just looking around). He liked it, and seemed to want to go there, and it seemed great to me. A weight lifted from my shoulders; as trite as it sounds that’s just what it felt like.
Now we are looking for a flat in Antalya so that Baki won’t have to commute 3 hours a day to school. I’ll go there with the boys during the week and we’ll come home on weekends. He will start first grade on September 12.
It must all sound pretty drastic. So I have promised myself that next time I hear of parents going to seemingly extreme lengths for their kids, instead of rolling my eyes I will remember that I’ve been there too.

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