Falling asleep at 830pm was the straw which broke the camel’s back.
It was an unforgiveable transgression, a sinful indulgence, a terrible mistake, which Day realized the moment I woke him up at 640am the next day.
He had not completed piles of homework. He had not prepared for his English composition examination that day. He had not finished the homework for Chinese tuition which would take place later that same day.
Cliched as it may sound, my heart bled for him.
The year has not been a nice one for my Primary Sixer. It’s pile after pile of homework from a school which has clear and present ambitions to be the top school in the area. I am the Mum who does not pressure him at all, but I am also the Mum who does not help him at all. Hands off is good, but may also be bad.
During a free Maths tuition trial which I sent Day for – because I felt bad for the poor young man who was trying to get parents to sign up for it – the post-trial analysis was that Day was doing fine in everything except in parental support, which was extremely lacking, and was scored 0 upon 5. The lady in question eyeballed me at that point, as if to say: Aren’t you going to do something for your son by sending him for our great tuition? (I didn’t)
Day has been keeping up. If one imagines the class as a pack of runners, he is somewhere in the centre, perhaps nearer the back, the ones in front being those who have tuition in all four subjects, so on and so forth. (clearly it is tuition which determines the winners from the stragglers) But he was still running.
Then he got very sick. Lu brought back a virus which felled me, then Day, then Jo. It was particularly crippling for Day, who might have been vulnerable from stress.
He missed school for three days. Three. It is a lifetime for a Primary Sixer who is supposed to be slogging in school all day and slogging at home all night. He spent those three days sleeping, feverish at night and sluggish in the day, watching TV or reading books or on his phone when his energy was up. He needed to rest. No work (rightly so) was done.
The return was when the homework landslide began in earnest, and when I started getting messages from the teachers that Day is falling back.
It’s three days. Three days which led to the inevitable breakdown.
He is still sick, coughing now, he’s been sick for a week. Perhaps that's why he collapsed in bed at 830pm. It's hard for him to catch up. But work be damned, he needs to get healthy first.
* In happier times with Kaofu Choon