Back to school

What! Hello! Where?

So much has happened, since last we spoke. My cat lost fifteen more pounds! But then she gained sixteen back. I think the loss was water weight. Okay, but really, school began! Oh, school! How I've missed you. How my child did not at all miss you.

I have to say, I was never a huge fan of school, but I always greeted the new year with excitement. Every time fall came around, I knew in my heart that everything would be different. I fooled mysef from 1976 straight through to 1987. I had finally figured what clothes looked cool! I would crack up the entire class with the hilarious and cutting-edge Eddie Murphy routines I learned at summer camp! Oh, ho! Within weeks I was forced to my senses, when it turned out that I had gotten the clothes completely wrong and no one was impressed with my boy's Lee jeans, nor did my funny bits win over any of the popular kids, all of whom had their own inside jokes which they had developed together over their fun-filled private-beach summers, while I sat inside playing Intellivision and watching reruns of the Odd Couple.

My child has no enthusiasm for school, not even the short-lived kind. He thinks it is a bucket of nonsense, and is not shy about telling me or anyone else who will listen. And yet! And yet he appears, at least, to maneuver expertly through the day, collecting all kinds of peers who want desperately to be his friend, winning over the hearts and minds of all of his teachers, and clearly acing every subject. At school pickup he waves goodbye to his adoring classmates with a smile, and then he turns to me and announces that once again he has been subjected to another terrible, soul-crushing day.

His teachers assure me every year that he participates enthusiastically (when I tell him this, he insists that he's "only being polite") and I don't doubt that he's worn out at the end of the day and that can account for the low mood. Plus school just began last Thursday, and I fully expected the transition to be rocky. But still, I have to admit, I heard great things about his new teacher, and I did expect him to come home after the first couple of days with at least some kind of grudging acceptance. But no. And the attitude does get to me. I fret! When your child says things like "I hate learning" and "school is for idiots," one grows concerned that this attitude might blossom and flourish and over the adolescent years, when the challenges become more complicated and the pressures start mounting, said child might simply give up and turn to a life of crime. Yes, I go right from "my child is not enthusiastic about third grade" to "my child will be a career criminal because I have failed him." And I wonder why I can't sleep at night.

Also, how lame is it to counter "I hate learning" with "but learning is so much fun!" This is the kind of chirpy response I will myself not to say but then I say anyway. I worry if he rolls his eyes any harder he's going to damage his eyeballs. I don't need eyeball damage added to my litany of concerns. Plus if he's got these eyes that just roll uncontrollably around in his head, he's going to easily be picked out of any lineup, and that's a risk I don't want to take.

What do you think? Is this a phase? Should I continue to ignore it? And yes, this is me asking for advice, and yes, I am bracing myself. Aaaaand go.