Louis’s nursery teacher waved her hand up and down in a zig zag graph kind of gesture to indicate how things had gone on Friday afternoon. Up and Down, in other words. He was fine, happy as larry, and at other times he wasn’t – like when I arrived and he burst into tears again, running toward me, clutching Elmo. I passed Elena to the teacher, as she held her arms out in anticipation, then I gave Louis a big hug and he was fine again.
It has been his first ‘normal’ week at the halte garderie and there have been a few tears each day, but he’s always excited about going, when he sees his backpack in the pushchair, and happy to be there when I take him in. So it’s an adjustment, something he’ll grow into. On Wednesday he actually fell asleep while he was there – in a room full of playing children and all the associated noise… my little boy slept. I suspect tiredness accounts for most, if not all, of his tears. Perhaps I should have encouraged him to have just one sleep a day before now.
But that’s life isn’t it. We don’t start new things because we’re ready for them. They make us ready, eventually. Something new is beyond us. It stretches us, we grow and learn. It hurts a bit at first, but that’s just the way it goes.
I’m taking comfort from this thought, writing this blog post while copies of the first chapter of my young adults novel are spewing from the printer. I’m taking them to writers’ group this evening, if all goes to plan. I’ll read them aloud and brace myself for all the questions and concerns and critique… though they’re all very nice and will probably be full of praise. Helpful and specific praise, hopefully.
Maybe sharing writing will always feel a bit uncomfortable. The writing itself might get easier, I suppose, but then that’s not necessarily a good thing. If I am stretching myself, improving my craft, taking on more complex characters and challenging themes, then maybe (hopefully?) writing will always be a bit uncomfortable. But still fun. Like an extreme sport.
But not. (Though I do risk my neck and shoulders, and if I’m not careful, my wrists and hands.)
Louis will get used to halte jeux and in a couple of weeks he’ll stay for the full four hours on Friday afternoons, and a couple of weeks later he won’t be tired or upset. And next September, if we’re still here, he’ll start Maternelle, which is like kindergarten, but at school. That’ll be new and hard and in between there’ll be loads of other difficult things to learn – toilet training comes to mind, and enunciating the consonants on the end of words.
Every day looks a bit like this, doesn’t it. Rather than the highs being ‘good’, I’m going to label them as ‘easy’, and the lows are not ‘bad’ so much as they are ‘difficult’. I can order my selection at the bakery in french without a moment’s forethought, but today we’re going to lunch at a french friends’ place and I will absolutely have to plan out what I want to say in french. I’ll struggle, forget things, get it wrong and confuse everyone. Sure. But in a year it won’t be so bad.
When things have been easy for a while they stop being such big highs. Sitting in a cafe with Elena sleeping in the buggy, my coffee steaming beside kindle – that’s a high at the moment. But one day it’ll be ordinary and easy to read and drink my coffee in a cafe by myself. For now, it’s a thrill. I’ll always enjoy it, probably, but it will (oh, I really hope it will) one day be less exciting.
And something else will be a challenge. And something else will be newly-easy, a great thrill, progress made! Hurrah!