Last night I had a dream. Actually, it was more of a nightmare. It wasn’t one of my biannual titanic/terrorist/tsunami nightmares though. There was no crash….bang…..or water. But it was a nightmare, all the same. A nightmare that made my heart race. A nightmare that made me sweat. Sweating… as if I had something to be ashamed of. And it played out something like this:
I needed to do something. Something serious. And that something, which I just could not sum up, had to be sorted by 9am the following day. But it was only after what felt like 7 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds of somnial soul searching, that this certain something revealed itself to me, in an abysmally anticlimactic way, before waking me up. To a retrospective sigh of relief.
College work! A tedious Tang poem, some text to translate, the daily vocab test [which was sure to sober any Fresher up]. Forget the fact that I graduated 11 years ago. Last night, I was re-living it all. The palpitations, the pain and the pressure of the promise of perfection on paper. Anxieties that were supposed to have been put to bed all those years ago came flooding back to my subconscious. And I felt sick.
But the sickness soon passed as I realised that Freudian Interpretation was to be wasted on this dream. It did not require a genius to work out what was on my mind. The “I” that I was playing with such pertinence was in fact not “I”, but “She”. And the “She” that was experiencing the aforementioned home-work hell, was my 5 year old daughter. It was time to face the reality that was mapped out in last night’s oneiric odyssey. My little girl’s time had come. Earlier than we could ever have anticipated. But it had come nevertheless. And I felt sick.
Apparently it’s normal for children to exhibit varying degrees of hostility when it comes to home-work. Defiant foot-stamping and non-compliant “NO’s” are a given. Petulant procrastination and devilish delay tactics they have mastered down to a fine art. But forget the “Terrible Two’s”. These “feisty five” year-olds push parenting parameters to a whole new level. And do you blame the poor sods? After a gruelling 7 hour mental work-out at school, if it’s a toss up between relaxing with Ben and Holly or battling with Biff and Chip, the mischievous little on-screen elves [in HD] will win every time.
But, I’m ashamed to say, this is not about my little girl. Regrettably, this is selfishly becoming more about me. Am I ready for this? Am I really ready for this? Another decade – more, of agonising over assignments, grappling with geography and misunderstanding mathematics. How am I going to supervise her strenuous school-work schedule? How will I manage to curb my critique and keep calm in the face of monstrous mis-spellings and reverse letter formation. Will I be able to refrain from stepping in, imparting my ideas and well, as good as doing it for her? And finally, more to the point, do I even know the answers to the said questions myself?
Apparently I’m not alone. And thank Goodness for that. It seems that every parent is encumbered with his/her own school-work related stress. Whether we deal with the task in hand the moment it is dispatched or whether we hold off until the last possible moment to unlock the contents of the dreaded school-bag, it’s clear that the only way is to grit one’s teeth, bite one’s tongue and get the hell on with it.
Am I being melodramatic? Probably.
But double the drama with two kids and ouch, it’s going to be a painful ride.