No chance with educating

Big boy and mother_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

As I knew it will be hard to get back to mother’s rules.

The two boys are back from their vacation with their father and back from playing games and watching films, and it’s been a hard week.

And still, it is. After spending a Saturday with big boy while little boy is with his father I’m giving up – at eight o’clock in the evening.

Big boy wasn’t able to do something creative during the day. His drawing is still waiting to be finished. There are two eyes on the paper. That’s all.

He was restless, and I wasn’t capable to catch him with interesting ideas.

Okay, we went shopping and got a pump for our garden, and there is now the element water running as Feng Shui tells to do in order to calm down.

No chance, I wasn’t very successful with my big boy.

He’s now watching the film “Penguins in Madagascar” while I’m writing this.

I admit: Educating kids isn’t a picnic.

 

 

Believe

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It was in my first class. I was seven. I had to do those additions: 6+7=12 or 13? 5+8=24 or 23 or 22? I was looking at my fingers, counting, recounting and I was so nervous about these figures. They were turning around in my head.

I walked to my teacher, an elderly woman, a Mademoiselle, certainly not married, with heavy glasses and a strong voice. She sat at a table, two steps above the floor. She took my sheet of calculations. Her red pencil was like a weapon. She destroyed all my nice additions – with a red dash.

I stepped back to my pupil desk – with a red face.

It has been a real fight – my figures and me. My father, a professor of mathematics, was desperate.

My mother even cried when we left after the talk with my teacher. How could I do this? Her daughter was so stupid. It was her first big crisis as a parent.

Wednesday afternoon, when my friends used to play on the street, I sat with my father repeating additions. As I couldn’t concentrate well, he closed the rolling shutters and we sat under the artificial light.

“Your daughter won’t be able to go to a high school later”, my teacher said to my father.

My father believed her and not in me.

 
 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 14

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8.35 p.m. during summer vacation

Little boy:      “If I have to watch your film, I want to play with your legos.”

Big boy:         “I don’t want to watch again your ‘Baymax’.”

Little boy:      “But I don’t want to watch ‘Wasabi’.”

Big boy:         “Why don’t you want to watch it?”

Little boy:      “I prefer ‘Baymax’.”

Big boy:         “So, I won’t let you play with my legos.”

Little boy:      “But you told me this morning…”

Big boy:         “I changed my mind.”

Little boy:      “You’re so mean.”

Big boy:         “Well, let’s watch my film and you’ll get my legos.”

Little boy:      “I don’t’ like this film.”

Big boy:         “I don’t like yours…”

Little boy:      “Okay…”

Big boy:         “Do you want to watch now?”

Little boy:      “But will you give me your legos?”

Big boy:         “We’ll see…”

Little boy:      “You’re never keeping your word… ”

Big boy:         “What are you blabbering?”

Little boy:      “Okay… I don’t want to watch your film.”

Big boy:         “You’re again ruining the good mood…!”

Letter to my father

Father_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

I know you must have felt rather powerless in many situations in your life. Otherwise you wouldn’t have made me feel so helpless talking to you.

You knew everything better than me. You did everything better than me. I didn’t have any chance to do something well.

I felt so worthless when I didn’t understand the math homework and you spent hours to explain to me everything starting with the basics. As a math professor you felt yourself so helpless because your daughter couldn’t calculate the easy things like 1 plus 1.

Years later, when I wanted to move out because I couldn’t stand any more our daily discussions, you were so upset. I was scared to discover so much anger in your face.

A few more years later, my very first article was published in a big Swiss newspaper. You were asked by my boy friend why you didn’t congratulate me. You answered: “Everybody can write an article. This isn’t such a big thing”.

Yes, father, you realized much more important things in life. But one thing wasn’t your thing: To make feel someone confortable in your company. And I suppose I know why. You never felt at ease with yourself. And I feel sorry for you… and for me, too.

 

 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 12

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3.40 p.m. in the living-room after school

Little boy:     “What’s wrong? Why are you crying?”

Big boy:         “Hmm… (sobbing).”

Little boy:     “What happened?”

Big boy:         “Well… two class mates wanted to beat me?”

Little boy:     “Just like this?”

Big boy:         “No, because I’m talking too much to E…”

Little boy:     “Oh… they’re just jealous of you.”

Big boy:         “I like talking to E. She is nice.”

Little boy:     “Sure, she is a nice girl.”

Big boy:         “But, they told me not to talk to her.”

Little boy:     “But, they cannot do this.”

Big boy:         “They warned me. They’ll beat me.”

Little boy:     “But, you won’t let them do!”

Big boy:         “They followed me all the way back home.”

Little boy:     “Why don’t you tell your teacher?”

Big boy:         “They warned me. If I tell him…”

Little boy:     “But, you won’t waste your time with these two guys.”

Big boy:         “Hmm…. (sobbing).”

Little boy:     “Come on. You’re stronger than them!”

Big boy:         “I know… (but still sobbing).”
 
 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 11

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7.15 a.m. in the living-room before school

Big boy:         “Why are you crying?”

Little boy:     “I didn’t do my housework…”

Big boy:         “But is this so bad?”

Little boy:     “I’ll get a red point as punishment.”

Big boy:         “Well…that’s not this bad.”

Little boy:     “I’ve already one red point…”

Big boy:         “Well… I already did so many extra exercises.”

Little boy:     “But I didn’t. For me it’s bad.”

Big boy:         “Come on. You will survive…”

Little boy:     “No… I don’t want to go to school.”

Big boy:         “Tell your teacher you didn’t have time yesterday.”

Little boy:     “But I got this homework a week ago.”

Big boy:         “Okay… then you have to put up with a red point.”

Little boy:     “…and I didn’t learn my dictation.”

Big boy:         “Well… Shall I tell you how I do?”

                       “Every free minute, during the break or

whenever I’ve to wait for something,

I look at the sentences.

And I try to memorize them.”

Little boy:     “But I didn’t copy it at all.”

Big boy:         “You’ve got still half hour before school starts.”

Little boy:     “Oh…. (still sobbing).”

Big boy:         “Come on. You’ll manage this.”

Little boy:     “Okay… (starts writing).”

Big boy:         “You see… it’s not that bad…!”
 
 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 10

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7.20 p.m. in the car after shopping

 

Little boy:     “…you still owe me a new gun.”

Big boy:         “It wasn’t my fault that it’s broken.”

Little boy:     “Who’s fault is it then?”

Big boy:         “I don’t’ have any money.”

Little boy:     “Why…?”

Big boy:         “I already owe Dad 50 Swiss francs.”

Little boy:     “But I don’t want to wait.”

Big boy:         “But you know I have debts.”

Little boy:     “This isn’t my problem.”

Big boy:         “You’re so mean.”

Little boy:     “What?”

Big boy:         “You’re pushing me.”

Little boy:     “I just want a replacement for my gun.”

Big boy:         “You’re making me feel so bad.”

Little boy:     “Why?”

Big boy:         “It’s not fun being in debt.”

Little boy:     “Well, this isn’t my problem.”

Big boy:         “You’re so mean.”

Little boy:     “Why?”

Big boy:         “You don’t know how it feels for me.”

Little boy:     “Yes, because I’m not always spending all my money.”

 

 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 9

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7.37 a.m. before leaving for school

Big boy:         “Can I borrow your headphones again?”

Little boy:     “Why don’t you take yours?”

Big boy:         “They’re broken. Can I?”

Little boy:     “No, I don’t give them.”

Big boy:         “Oh, come on!”

Little boy:     “You’re always breaking my things.”

Big boy:         “No, this isn’t true.”

Little boy:     “I remember very well.”

Big boy:         “Come on, just for today.”

Little boy:     “Buy you new headphones.”

Big boy:         “I can’t. School is starting soon.”

Little boy:     “Well, this isn’t my problem.”

Big boy:         “But you don’t need yours today!”

Little boy:     “No, but I don’t want to lend.”

Big boy:         “Oh, you’re such a coward.”

Little boy:     “And you’re always insulting me…”

Big boy:         “Yes, because you’re deserving it.”

Little boy:     “Stop now…”

Big boy:         “You’re such a snob.”

Little boy:     “Mom, he’s insulting me again.”

Big boy:         “Oh dear! …mama’s boy!”

Conversation between brothers: Scene 4

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Dinner table at 18.31 p.m.

Big boy:         “Which movie shall we watch tonight?”

Little boy:     “Do you think Mom will allow us this?”

Big boy:         “Sure. She already agreed.”

Little boy:     “I didn’t hear it.”

Big boy:         “She will certainly say yes. I know.”

Little boy:     “Last week-end she said: no movies anymore.”

Big boy:         “Come on. She was angry with us.”

Little boy:     “Yes. I know.”

Big boy:         “She will change her mind.”

Little boy:     “I’m not sure about this.”

Big boy:         “Which movies do you choose?”

Little boy:     “I’m sure she won’t allow.”

Big boy:         “We’ll convince her.”

Little boy:     “You won’t succeed. I know her.”

Big boy:         “Come on. Don’t be so pessimistic.”

Little boy:     “Okay. You try to convince her.”

Big boy:         “Why always me?”

Little boy:     “You wanted to watch a film.”

Big boy:         “But you do like watching, too.”

Little boy:     “Sure. But it was your idea.”

Big boy:         “My brother: you’re such a kill-joy.”

Little boy:     “Thanks. And you’re so boring with your ideas.”

 

 

Conversation between brothers: Scene 1

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Bathroom at 6.45 a.m.: 

Big boy:          “Why do you look at me this way?”

Little boy:      “What’s the problem?”

Big boy:          “Stop starring at me.”

Little boy:      “Did you get up with the wrong foot?”

Big boy:          “You look terrible today.”

Little boy:      “You’re in such a bad mood.”

Big boy:          “I was in good mood before I met you.”

Little boy:      “I don’t believe you. You started this.”

Big boy:          “You don’t know what you’re talking about. Get your hair brushed.”

Little boy:      “Leave me in peace.”

Big boy:          “Your hair looks awful. Didn’t you look in the mirror.”

Little boy:      “Get out of the bathroom. You’re disturbing me.”

Big boy:          “You’re disturbing me. I was in first. You have to leave.”

Little boy:      “Oh, you’re in such a bad mood.”

Big boy:          “Leave me in peace. Otherwise I show you the way out.”

Little boy:      “Let me go. Don’t touch me.”

Big boy:          “It is your fault. You started all this.”

Little boy:      “Shall I show you who is the stronger of us two?”

Big boy:          “Stop beating me.”

Little boy:      “It is your fault.”

Big boy:          “No, it is all your fault.”

Little boy:      “No… ”

Big boy:          “For sure. Yours…”

Mother:          “Stoppppppp! Come on… Breakfast is ready!”
 
 

The world belongs to him

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When I was as old as my little boy, nine years old, I was a quiet, timid girl being very afraid of talking to other people than my family and blushing when I had to talk to the teacher during the classes.

I don’t know how I survived so many displeasing situations in the public because I was so shy having tears always quickly at hand, which made me more timid and I hated it so much.

How did I become so courageous to speak out in public and to write critiques for newspapers?

Little boy won’t have any problems. The world belongs to him.

Fortunately.

Some people get this capability for free; some people have to work for it hard as I had to.

I am happy for all the people who are like my little boy.

 
 

Jealousy

Sunny boy_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 
 
Little boy is a very sunny, caring and clever kid, and his self-confidence is big. I often tell him how great he is.

For example, during his violin lesson he is talking without fear telling his teacher why it has been difficult to rehearse, why it has been easy to play this way and why he is excited about this piece and what he would like to play and what he doesn’t like and so on and so on.

It isn’t easy to cope with a child like this. His violin teacher as well as one of his schoolteachers is very fond of him and his attitude. His second schoolteacher can’t cope with him.

Little boy told me once: “I’ve got the impression that Mrs. B. doesn’t like me. Do you think I am wrong?” Unfortunately, I had to confirm his presumption because as I know Mrs. B. I am convinced that in her childhood she couldn’t be the child she wanted to be and she didn’t get the necessary acknowledgement by her parents.

Seeing little boy with all his enthusiasm and positive radiation she must feel jealous of his entire positive attitude to life and people.

I feel sorry for my boy as well as for his teacher.

 

Dare in the circus

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Circus means childhood. And I wanted to go back to KNIE, our big, almost 100 year old Swiss Circus – the first time with my two boys.

I was seven when my German grandfather wanted to go with me to KNIE. As I had already been with my mom two days ago, I knew the solution of the games they played with children before starting the show.

So, I stood in the big arena, with the smell of the sawdust and wild animals, and answered the question of the quiz by my shy, small voice and won a red piggy bank with five Swiss francs in it.

My grandfather was so proud of me. He fed my pig right away with another five francs, and back home, we had to convince my mom of the story. She didn’t want her daughter being so clever.

Today, I am so proud of my two clever boys, and we three enjoyed the circus show very much.

 
 

The gift of friendship

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Being together with some friends means enjoying life. I don’t need to be very intellectual or very funny. I am just the way I am.

I remember when my parents invited their friends, my family had to spend some very dumb hours. My father tried to talk as intelligently as possible. My mother tried to tell funny stories about our pets and about my brother and me.

Very often, my father was making fun of my mother and vice versa; and the guests tried to help the one or the other in order to prevent a big scene.

When the invitees left, the invitation always ended in a nasty fight between my mom and my dad. I don’t remember it without it. Never.

Nowadays, when my friends leave, I feel nurtured by love. It is as if I received a great gift.

 

 

Dreaming of dogs and cats

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While taking this picture of my younger son today, I remembered when I was his age; and we had summer vacation. I felt so happy and free of all school stuff.

I spent some weeks with my grandmother and was playing all day long with my cousins. Only at mealtime, I had to go home to eat together with my grandfather and my grandmother.

For the rest of the time, I was hanging around in the backyard, riding my bicycle for hours, taking care of my grandmother’s rabbits or visiting the few week old kittens on the pavement of my uncle’s company. And I wished to have my own pet. A dog or a cat – that was there just for me, to sit with, to talk to and to caress.

My turtle I had since I was five wasn’t actually my thing. I wanted something furrier.

Then, my mom allowed me to have a guinea pig. But my dream of a dog or a cat stayed.

 

 

Orange trousers

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When you have to start your day with a discussion about orange trousers, I guess you have pubescent teenagers in your household, too.

If you don’t live with kids, I guess you imagine this discussion rather funny.

But I tell you: it is not funny at all. Big boy puts on his younger brother’s trousers because he thinks them being so much cooler than all his collection of jeans.

Little boy doesn’t have a big collection of jeans but just two pairs of trousers and only one pair washed at the moment: the orange ones.

Big boy being pubescent thinks that he couldn’t go to school this day without orange trousers.

I guess you think it will be easy to handle that this pair of trousers will be handed from Big boy to Little boy.

No, you are wrong because you don’t know how teenagers are functioning.

They want to argue half an hour, they want to check out the limits and nerves of their mothers. And as their mother you have to argue if you want to or not.

Today, three days after the discussion, I am already laughing. But I tell you: honestly, I was so angry and felt so powerless that special morning.

Progressing

Painting_www.esthersviewpoint.com

 

When I was a teenager, I used to write down my thoughts in a diary.

Those moments were very important to me, lying on me bed and trying to describe how I got along with my parents, teachers and friends.
But re-reading my diary after weeks, months or years was even more important to me.

Because I could feel again how I felt when I wrote it down. And it made me feel more mature looking at me from a certain distance.

It made me believe that I was progressing.

Nowadays without diary, I feel I am turning around.

There are always similar reflections and deductions.

And there is no final conclusion.

 
 

Happy childhood

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I don’t have a lot of memories of my childhood playing together with other children.

Maybe, it is because my mother wanted us, my brother and me, to be around her when we came back from school.

Maybe, she was feeling so lonely at home when we were at school and she was happy to have company when school was off.

She was upset when I spent the whole afternoon on my bed in my room reading books.

She wasn’t happy when I brought my friend with me and when we were knitting pullovers and drinking tea during our free afternoons on Wednesdays.

I should have been my mom’s unique friend.

What a destiny: Being born for replacing her difficult childhood during World War II by a happy motherhood.

 
 

Instruction manual for life

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There is this little smile, shy but secured because of the glass wall in-between.

It is like her parents are protecting her fragile childhood.

So, this little Indian girl can grow and ripe and getting prepared for the future.

The glass wall will be disappearing more and more. She will get into contact with classmates, teachers, neighbors, and her parent’s friends.

More and more, she will get responsible for protecting herself of displeasing things and people. Nobody will be able to do this for her.

One can hope, that her parents will provide her an elaborate instruction manual for life.

If not, I know how it feels. One has to find out so many things by oneself, and it will be an agitated journey.