EXTRACURRICULAR ON HOLIDAYS.

2 Jan 2018

It’s funny how I feel I am always overwhelmed with Sofia’s “problematic” behaviour and every day it feels like she sets out on a purposeful mission to pour a little bit more sh-t over my head but here, at home in Moscow, when she is at my parents’, I’ve not much negative to say. Um, yay? It’s as if I’ve been freed from the emotional turmoil I coil myself into and the few hours I spend with her each day bring me joy only. Indeed, an unusual and confusing state of affairs.

And oh my, is she a joy to observe. Now, around the New Year’s, the festivities, the decorations, the lights (Jesus, russkiis really do go hard or go home better than most), and most importantly THE SNOW – I admit I love watching her smile and laugh and dance and sing. I could do without the daily begging for presents though, please if any of you have figured out how to put a leash on your own parents to stop them from doing everything their grandchild asks, let me know. My father is a lost hope.

Here is a question: should children continue to “work” during holidays? My answer, the answer of a life’s underachiever, is unsurprisingly a resounding yes. Sofia’s school has a new headmistress this year and the rule is no homework during breaks, and I don’t think any school rule has ever made me this happy, but what about the extracurriculars? Here in Moscow, she’s still expected (by me) to do ballet every other day. And Russian. Honestly, I would with pleasure add something else (painting?) but that would require me to take care of the logistics and f-ck it, I am tired. Back to working during holidays: the desire to teach my daughter the concept of work, of its ethic, its perception, to teach her that work is an every-day and all-year companion, to instil in her that one day is not any different from another simply because there is a label on it – I know it comes from my own unhappiness about the current situation, from my own insecurities within myself and of the rainy day, it roots in my feeling unstable. All parents project their fears onto their kids – fact. Mine happens to be zero grit possession (amongst others). I am afraid that my child will grow up and look back and see nothing of value in her own past. How sad would that be? And because I happen to know exactly how sad, lessons on holidays it is. She is feeling a bit stroppy about it, but let’s wait and see if I care.

I hear all the time – from child psychologists and other parents – about how you shouldn’t see your children as your possessions, how parents’ expectations of their kids’ future don’t have the right to exist, how a child doesn’t owe you anything. And sure, I agree, I don’t ever feel that I am investing everything I have for a certain future return, or a prize if you will. But I will be damned if I don’t expect my daughter to grow up and work. Work ethic and happiness – is it ok to look forward to only these two at least? I don’t think I can reconcile myself with the “no pressure” notion, I mean, maybe I am willing to try, since it’s the first week of the new year, and like everyone I am talking out of my ass and don’t have to take this seriously. I would rather work on a different, more realistic resolution: make a tangible step towards realising her acting ambition. Do I need to start looking for an acting agency? How? Where? I can barely stand the challenge of promoting my own writing, how the hell can help someone else become visible in the most competitive industry? As the year changes, all the usual suspect questions remain.