The funny thing is even though I keep reminding myself (publicly on this blog as well) that I should not be overly kancheong this year, exam preparations with Andre inevitably send me into episodes of hyperventilation. I don't know why.
Ok, that's not entirely true, I do know why. It's because he has forgotten how to do a simple sum that he did with ease just a couple of months ago. Or is suddenly, inexplicably, unable to spell "business". Or, having been warned by me a hundred times that he cannot answer a science question with the dramatic statement, "They will all die", he goes ahead and writes this on a science paper: "They will all perish."
Somebody send a defibrillator to my house cos I might need it to resuscitate either Andre or myself before the year is over.
I apologise for sounding so depressing but it seems to me like we're spending the year just counting down to the PSLE, punctuated by a series of mind-numbing school exams. However, I'm trying to focus on the silver lining and right now, it's the fact that we're one exam down. Woohoo!
The period just after the exam is always great. You can put off thinking about the next exam ahead so there are no extra revision classes or frenetic swotting sessions to worry about. Andre had his friend over and they played, swam and horsed around. It's nice.
It's also during these periods that I have time to relax a little and re-calibrate my mindset. Most of you will not know this but late last year, I was interviewed for a US tv documentary called Dan Rather Reports. His crew was in Singapore to do a feature on the Singapore education and I was asked to be interviewed as a parent.
It wasn't broadcast in Singapore which I'm actually quite pleased about as I'm not crazy about how I look and sound on camera. But I will share one of the things I said on the show:
"Sometimes when we're so caught up in the system, we don't see that in the larger scheme of things, all these things wouldn't really matter - which school you go to or which stream you were in and which subject you took. In the larger scheme of things, 20 years from now, would that really matter that much?I'm posting this is so I can remind myself again to keep a healthy perspective. (You don't have to tell me, it's strange to have to remind myself of something I said. What to do, I'm complicated.)
I think parents don't realise that it's a very different world we live in nowadays. Many of the careers that people are carving out for themselves, they didn't even exist ten years ago. So, I think we need to move out of this scarcity mindset... that and everything is dependent on what you do as a ten-year-old. It's not."
I know that when the next exam draws near, I'm likely to be transformed into ogre mum once again. But if in between the storms, I can take a step back and see again the big picture in its entirety, I believe it can save both Andre and me from plunging into the 'meaningless-study-until-burnout' abyss. Afterall, the last thing I want is for him to get into a fantastic secondary school only to find that he has lost both his appetite and stamina for learning.
So here's to the calm before the storm. It won't last but at least it's only 7 months before the big one blows over.