Monday, February 23, 2009

Letter to Lauren 23-2-09

Hi Lauren,

We've been here for nearly a month now and it still freaks me out every time I allow myself to think properly about it. Thankfully these moments are few and far between as I've been spending a minimum of 5 hours per day (in between the rather arduous school run) looking at villas to rent. Then it's the usual malarky, you know, the 'lost' hours between the end of the school day and kids bedtime. Then I collapse into a heap and brain shuts down.

Firstborn is now in school, which was a bit of a nightmare to find but we triumphed eventually. She's been recently diagnosed as being dyslexic so it made it all the more difficult to find her a place - one school turned her down after looking at her school reports, saying that her grades weren't good enough... at the age of 6! Rubbish. Think we had a lucky escape on that one. The Small(er) One is still school-less, which means that she has hang out with me all day (much to her disgust as my playing skills are somewhat lacking, or so she says - but I'm working on it...)

Anyway, Firstborn's new school has a specialist dyslexia unit and a very sensible, practical attitude, so all good. I have to attend her special dyslexia teaching classes (to teach me how to help her, makes sense), the first one of which was today. It was quite illuminating but I'll have to save that for another day as I could wax lyrical. Taught me some things about myself as well, not all good.

For now I'll just say that after two years of being at a London school which wasn't equipped to help Firstborn (and wouldn't even assess her due to local authority regulations), with her in tears after every spelling test, coming home saying that she was 'stupid' and 'different' from the other kids, every homework task being an uphill struggle... finally I feel that we have some hope that Firstborn will finally be taught in a way that makes sense to her. As the dyslexia teacher said to me today, "I don't know how she's managed to survive for the past two years in a school where the classes must have made little sense." Which just breaks my heart - as does all the times when I thought she was being lazy, obtuse or just plain stupid when we tried to do long division, or sound out words, or write a story (anything on paper, the one exception being art which she loves).

I'll write more about Firstborn and the Small(er) One (there's a really weird new dynamic going on) and I will write much more about Dubai (it's the funniest place, mad but I love it) over the coming weeks and months. But to end this first blog letter from Dubai, I'll just say that the best thing about coming here has been the chance to really get to know my kids - for so long I've been snatching time with them in between meetings and school and bedtime. This past month has been a chance to really spend time with them - apologies if this sounds at all shlocky (I'm not turning into a s'mother!) - I've been on the career mommy track for such a long time that having this break from work has been just what I needed to start to properly 'see' the kids for who they are. And you know what? They're bloody fantastic. I haven't laughed as much as I have this month for a long time.

K xxx


sweetpeabart said...

Fascinating! I think your readers can't wait to hear more about Dubai...and I'm personally very curious about the Small(er) One's new dynamic.

Sounds terrific that Firstborn is receiving the attention she needs in school. Wonderful!

I'll be checking back to hear more!

Bangkok Expat Mama said...

Hallo, YLM-now-YDM -- I sent an email to the mothersontheverge email address, but just in case you and MM rarely check that one, I'm commenting here that I have an English friend with two kids who has lived in Dubai for a couple years now and I think you two would get on like a house on fire (of course, I say that not knowing you, but if you're anything like as clever and funny in-person as you are in-blog, then yes, I think you could stand each other, ha). P said she would love to hear from you. She's pretty cool and down-to-earth so I do hope you're interested in getting her number -- let me know by email. Actually, the expat world is so small that you might have met her by now anyway!