Recently, we took the kids out of school for a month of holiday. Usually, we do our best to avoid missing school, not because we think our kids cannot catch up, but because they are doing so many wonderful and exciting things at school that we would not want them to miss all the fun (Can you believe it? They would not want to miss it either – strange kids…). This time, we had no choice. The trip was far away to see our family and we had to take into consideration that if we wanted to see many people, we had better go when the kids had some time off. We also wanted to take the kids to see some wonderful places, which was best done during the summer, when the sun shines, and not when it is cold and everyone stays at home and hides from the rain in front of the heater.
So, with regrets that our son Tsoof could not participate in a music competition his school percussion ensemble worked so hard to get into, we wrote the school the kids would be missing almost a month of school.
For the big kids, 19 and 12, traveling was something they were very familiar with. As young kids, they traveled around the world and missed many days of school, a fact that did not effect their learning (actually, it enhanced their learning, I think). We did not know how Noff, our 7-year-old daughter, would react to the whole thing. Her last long trip was about 4 years ago, and it was a holiday anyway, so she missed nothing.
She was very excited about the flight. She could not remember the flights 4 years before and enjoyed every minute of it. When we reached Thailand, she said something about the place being “dirty”, but still experimented with food and did not complain about the heat or the spiciness.
In Israel, many family members met her for the first time. Everyone was excited and Noff was happy with the abundance of love and attention. It was wonderful to see her enjoying every minute of it. At night, she did not want to go to bed and stayed awake until late. People were excited she could speak Hebrew and were astonished when she danced. For her, the whole month was the best “show off” period of her life.
On the last week of our stay, my family members said she had grown in a month. It is funny, but when you see your kids every day, it is hard for you to notice their growth. Only when I look at my kids’ clothes and notice they are too small do I realize they have grown out of them. When I look at them every day, they look the same to me.
I knew that others, who had not seen her every day, could notice things I could not (just like looking in the mirror and not being able to see how much we have changed until we compare to a photo from 3 months ago), so I decided to pay attention to the changes.
This week, when we came home, she started talking differently. I guess her language developed from a whole month of talking to so many people. The range of feelings she expresses has grown so much that it feels like she is 10 years old. She even uses some grown-up expressions she had never heard at home, like “Mom, do me a favor, will you?”
On her first day back to school, one of her friends mistreated her and called in the afternoon to apologies. After the call ended, Noff said, “I know I should forgive her, but I am not very impressed. She’s apologized in the past but then behaved like this again”. I guess spending a whole month with her teacher, social worker and art therapist aunties had influenced her a lot.
I think the surprising bit was when she got dressed early in the morning on Monday, preparing to go to school and her pants were about 7 centimeters short…
I never knew that a month away from school could make you taller!