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We survived another curriculum night. Do all schools have these? Each teacher from each class gets about 15 minutes to tell us all about the upcoming year. Since our kids also take Jewish stuff, it’s quite a list. Maya’s classes, if I remember correctly, are: English, French, Hebrew, Jewish history, Jewish ethics, Science, Geography/History, Torah and Gym. I think I’m missing something.  Oh yeah – math! (Funny I should forget that.)

Even Asher, who is only in grade four and hasn’t started with the classes split up like they do in high school, has General Studies (English, math, science), Judaic studies (Hebrew, Jewish history and ethics), French, Social Studies and Gym. Boo merely has General Studies, Hebrew, French and Gym. Only 4 teachers for her.

This, of course, adds up to about a thousand teachers to see (see why I forgot math?) in three different grades. And two parents. I stared at the list for quite some time. I’ve never met Maya’s English teacher, so I’d like to see her, but that clashes with when Asher’s English teacher is talking and she’s new, so maybe she’ll be doing things differently. Been through grade one English twice, so maybe we can skip that, only Boo’s teacher is new too. Maybe I can skip French for Boo and make it to Math for Maya …

We elected to mostly see Boo and Asher’s teachers, the logic being that Maya is competent and responsible and will be able to tell us what is going on in her classes. Boo is too young and Asher is too spacy. I sent J to Asher’s classroom and went to Boo’s, where I sat down beside a dad whose kids are in the same grades as mine. “Which kid do you love least?” I asked him. He looked blank for a moment, then said, “Oh – Jacob,” naming his middle child who is, like Maya, with-it and organized.

Anyway, I am cautious optimistic for this year, but perhaps this is because I avoided Asher’s classes. Last year, I sat there and thought, ‘there is no way my son can handle this.’ But he did just fine and will again.

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Maya and I went through her clothing in the past couple of days and basically got rid of everything. It’s all too small or too ugly. She may not have thought it ugly when we bought it, but now it is. So there.

So we went shopping this afternoon. We ditched the younger two with their dad and went mommy and daughter shopping. It was actually a little bit fun. The fun part was hanging out with just one kid. The not-so-fun part was finding shirts my kid actually likes. The in thing this year seems to be shirts made to look as though they are short-sleeved over long-sleeved, only the long sleeve is built right in. We both agree this looks stupid.

The other problem is that she is size 16, which is the largest size in kid’s clothing. This also makes her a small in adult clothing, but the more hip adult clothing is very big on deep V or scoop necks, which is not so great when you are, in fact, a barely-developed 12-year-old. Then we found some lovely shirts in one store and they turned out to be $50 a pop.

But in the end we found her enough to keep her going for now, and had some fun in the process. At one point, I held up a shirt I liked and said, “This looks nice.” She sighed and shook her head and said, “Don’t say things like that without asking me first.” So I said, “This looks nice?” and she said, “No. It’s hideous.”

She’s also outgrown her shoes (of course), so we popped into just one shoe store, but neither of us had any hope because experience has shown that we must spend a least two hours searching every store in our area before we can find anything acceptable. But she right away found a pair she liked in the right size and when she tried them on, they didn’t have any little annoying seam to cause them to be rejected. And while she was jogging around the store in them, I found a pair I liked to replace my destroyed walking shoes. So we both walked out very happy. That was our crowning shopping achievement.

As a final coup de grace, we found a cute outfit for Boo (on sale, of course), who actually needs no clothes as she gets plenty of hand-me-downs, but was going to feel put-out when she saw her elder sister’s swag. That kid is very into clothes already. Yesterday morning she lay in our bed and refused to come out because it was cold and she couldn’t find a sweat shirt. J went into her room and returned with a very cute, but somewhat boyish sweatshirt that she has never actually put on. She spotted it and said, “I’m not wearing that. It’s disgusting!” This in the tone of voice to suggest he’d offered her a dead rat carcass with which to wrap herself.

“What?” he said to her, “I like it.”

She switched to whithering contempt and replied, “Well, this isn’t about you, is it? It’s about me.”

Six years old and already she’s mastered whithering contempt for one’s parents. Maya was so pround.

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