I had a whole post that I was going to post about how being a fourth grader is hard, because it is. Then I had a thing with Sam, and remembered that it doesn't suddenly get hard in fourth grade, being a kid is flat out hard at any age. You've got no real control over your time, no ability to make decisions for yourself. Half the time, you're lucky if you can even articulate to yourself what the problem is, let alone communicate effectively enough to let the adults in your life know what's going.
Full disclosure - I hated being a kid. Really. I didn't like it. Didn't like playing outside, didn't like getting dirty, didn't like doing stupid things. I remember being outside with my two cousins, Becky and Bridget, and they decided that since our little plastic pool had a hole in it, we should TRY TO PLUG IT WITH MUD! They were delighted with the idea, and threw themselves into it. Which, at five and seven, they absolutely should have. I get it intellectually. But at six, I thought it was stupid, it wasn't going to work and was an utter waste of time. I wasn't GOOD at being a kid. I didn't like being told I was too young, I didn't like anything about it, really. So it probably does color my perception of my kids today. I like to think that I have a better understanding of how tough it is, but it's entirely possible I'm just projecting my own issues onto them.
That being said... my poor Jessie is struggling now. Her regular school as well as her religious school changed completely this year. She had no say in it. It's not like she decided to look for a new job, was seeking a more challenging position. She was perfectly content with the way third grade was run, and really loved her tiny little religious school. But she's growing up, and things change. It's certainly not unique to her, and I can't even say that it's not, in the end, going to be hugely beneficial for her. But it's a lot of changes all at once, and she's having a hard time adjusting. School is hard, suddenly, and it never was before. And all I can do is just watch. Try to help, without overprotecting her to such an extent that I prevent her from learning how to handle it on her own. Just watch her, and it breaks my heart sometimes.
Sam has other issues - his challenge is that he is just so incredibly introverted. He and Marc are camping tonight with the boy scouts and he's having a wonderful time. But he certainly didn't think he would, and the stress of anticipating it nearly pushed him over the edge. And the reality, which was that he had a great time despite being surrounded by crowds of people he'd never met, was so much pressure that the prospect of going to religious school this morning was just too much. Reduced him to a screaming hot mess, sobbing and begging not to have to go. In retrospect, we should have anticipated that Friday night campfire, Saturday morning religious school, followed by another afternoon of camping activities and sleeping over would be too much for a six year old boy - but in a stunning parenting fail, we thought he'd be fine. He wasn't, and completely melted down this morning. He's so young - and while Marc and I KNEW that he'd have a great time, he didn't. He's too little. He doesn't have the experience that we do. Which brings me back to why being a kid is HARD.
In the end, nobody went to religious school, and Jessie skipped dance as well. It'd been a hard week for them. And it was a pretty crappy morning for me with Jessie and Sam alternating sobbing fits, so we just stayed home until around eleven. We started up a keshet service for little ones at the Beth Israel, and it was the one high point in my day. Julie is just so... normal. She loved it. She sang, she danced, she laid on her belly and listened to stories. It was so EASY. Sam would have hated that. I tried a couple of times when he was a toddler and he was horrified by them. I was shocked by Julianna. She just sort of joined in, like it was perfectly okay to be hanging out with people you don't know well.