I’m pretty sure my kids were some of the last kids in America to go back to school. I know many of you dealt with the back to school drama over a month ago, but this was our first full week back, so it’s kind of rearing it’s ugly head in our house right now. For starters I’m pretty sure each of my children have already brought home at least 1 trees worth of newsletters, fliers, and PTA announcements. And by the way, their school went paperless a few years ago. I can’t keep track of it all. I did fill out the updated contact page we get every
time I turn around few months. But apparently I somehow missed noticing the back to school questionnaire in Nariya’s backpack.
Now let me start this by saying that each night I like to try and take a few minutes to myself before I start doing the evening chores. I’ll sit on the couch and
mindlessly watch kitten videos on facebook read extremely intelligent news articles. I usually limit myself to 20 minutes before I must start making the next days lunches, folding the laundry, and cleaning up from dinner with one hand (all while using my other hand to hold my eyelids open). Eventually I won’t be able to last any longer and I’ll fall into bed. Where I’ll be awoken 15 minutes later. Last night, riiiiiight as I was about to begin my 20 minutes of nightly relaxation Nariya filled me in on the presence of the above mentioned school questionnaire.
Nariya: Mommy. You keep forgetting to do your homework.
Me: My homework?
Nariya: Yes. My teacher says you haven’t turned it in.
Me: What homework?
Nariya: The homework in my folder.
I start rummaging through her backpack and find my “homework”. I send both kids off to bed and sit down to begin filling it out. I’m annoyed to find that the paper appears to be two full sides and will certainly cut into my 20 minutes of glory. I answer the first few questions on when my kid’s birthday is and if she’s allergic to anything. She’s not. Phew that was easy. Nariya reappears in the doorway,
Nariya: What are you writing?
Me: I’m filling out this questionnaire for your teacher.
Nariya: What’s a questioner?
Me: A questionnaire is for her to find out more about you.
Nariya: What does it say?
Me: Well the current question says “What’s your child’s nickname?”
Nariya: Did you put Riya?
Me: No. I left it blank.
Me: Because no one has ever called you Riya.
Nariya: But I want them to start.
Me: All your friends from last year know you as Nariya. New nicknames only work when you start a new school or something.
Nariya: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
Me: Fine. Now go back to bed.
Nariya: Can I help you fill it out?
Yes! What a novel idea. I should start having the children fill these things out themselves. It could help them work on good handwriting and remembering phone numbers and all those good things. I hand the paper to her. And lay back with my feet up. Ready to enjoy my remaining 18 minutes.
Nariya: I can’t read this sentence. The words are too big.
I sit back up.
Me: “Explain your child’s nationality or cultural background (Example: mother-Chinese father-Japanese)”
Oh boy this is always a loaded question for adoptees…
Nariya: What do I write?
Me: Well what do you think you should write?
I figure this could perhaps open up a good conversation on culture and adoption. Because as much as I want to finish this thing quickly, I’m also always on the lookout for good teachable moments. Instead, Nariya takes the pen and writes the following phrase “mother and father – human.” Oh gosh. And with the pen too.
Me: You know what, how about I do the writing and you tell me what to write?
Me: “What sports or activities does your child enjoy?”
Me: You have never taken karate.
Nariya: But I want to.
Me: Nariya this is stuff you actually participate in.
I start to realize having her “help” isn’t going to be helpful. I’m not sure why I ever thought it would be. Will takes this opportunity to stroll back into the living room.
Will: What are you guys doing?
Nariya: We’re filling out a questioner’s page. Want to help?
Me: You know, I think I can handle it from here. Why don’t you two head back to bed?
Will: Sure I’ll help.
Nariya: What are my favorite activities?
Will snuggles up on the couch and looks at the paper
Me: No-no-no back to bed guys!
Will: Uhhhh skateboarding, baseball, Chess..
Nariya: Those are your favorite activities, not mine. This questioner is about me.
Me: Guys back to bed!
Will: How about swimming? You love swimming.
Nariya: Yeah put swimming mommy.
It’s not like she’s ever been on the swim team or anything, but she has at least been in a swimming pool before as opposed to a karate studio.
Me: Okay fine I’ll put swimming, but then let’s hurry this along. “Does your child have any responsibilities at home?”
Nariya: Fold the laundry, feed Charlie, do the dishes, clean my room, scrub the bathroom, take out the compost, take out the trash, sweep the floors, turn off the lights…
Will: Change baby Hazel’s diaper, make your bed, scrub the windows…
Me: Okay guys we’ve got plenty of chores here.
Nariya: Did you put them all?
Me: I can’t fit them all.
Will: You know why they only give you two lines? Because normal kids only have two chores.
I spend a brief second deciding if I should point at that I can’t recall the last time either child made their bed, but I quickly realize that making this comment is going to prolong this conversation. I scribble down as many chores as I can fit.
Me: “Please explain any significant events that may affect your child (example: divorce, remarriage, death, recent move)”
Nariya: Put nightmares.
Will: When have you had a nightmare?
Nariya: I did! Remember about Uncle Grandpa?
Me: I’m not sure your “nightmares” are affecting you that much…
Will: Yeah Nariya, that spot is just if someone really important died or if your dad leaves.
Nariya: My dad could leave?
Me: No. Now let’s leave this one blank and head to bed.
Nariya: Put Nana died.
Me: Honey that was a few years ago.
Will: Nariya I don’t think that’s affecting you. You only put something there if mommy or daddy dies.
Nariya: It’s affecting me! I’m really sad!
Me: Okay fine I will put it.
I scribble “Nariya’s Nana died a few years ago, she wants you to know this”
Me: I think that’s good. Why don’t you guys go to bed?
Will: There’s still one more question
Me: Yes I know I can handle this one.
Will: It says, “What are your child’s strengths and weaknesses?”
Nariya: My weakness is my strength.
Will: That makes no sense!
Nariya: Yes it does! I’m not very strong, so I’m weak. My weakness is my strength!
Will: Mommy is not going to put that! Your teacher means are you good at math or not!
Nariya: Put math as my strength, and strength as my weakness!
At this point I am loosing my
mind patience and would have written just about anything to have this thing over and done with. I quickly scribble Nariya’s last sentence in what I hope is illegible handwriting. I silently vow to never ask for help filling out one of these things again. I hope my child is able to function at school this year despite the fact that she is overworked at home and dealing with the upsetting death of her great grandmother. Perhaps her teacher will understand seeing as Riya has two humans for parents.