Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Russia Day

Today was Russia Day in Luke's class.  I'm starting to like this teaching stuff! 

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures.....  Not sure if things are a little different in 3rd grade, or if the content was a bit different, I don't know.  I just didn't get any pictures.  It just didn't seem as condusive to picture taking.  Not sure why.

Anyway.  Luke was a bit nervous - but I also think a bit excited! - to share with his class.  Russia and Luke have a strange relationship.  I don't think he remembers anything about it.  We talk about it and he looks at his pictures.  But he also tries to fill in the blanks a lot.  Which is to be expected, I guess.  He has no clue about his first 3 years and neither do we.  He wants to know; so he makes up stories.  I don't think this is an unusual occurance for someone in this particular situation. 

Sometimes Luke is infatuated with Russia.  Some days he practically begs me to go there for a visit.  Then other times, he is mad he was born there and wishes he wasn't and never wants to go there ever again.  Some days he will tell anyone he comes in contact with that he was born in Russia.  Other days, he gets upset if someone mentions it and says everyone makes fun of him for being born there.  Even if they don't know what Russia is - which is probably 99% of the kids at school, to be honest. 

So he wants to talk about it - but only when he wants to talk about it.  We understand that and kind of put the ball in his court.  I have never pushed him to talk about it - but I have never hidden where he came from either.  But kids are kids (Luke included) and they are fickle, if nothing else...  And so, Russia is a big mystery.  To Luke, to the kids at school - and even to us as his parents.  Yes, we were there, but no, we don't know everything about it - and we don't know how much Luke wants to or needs to know about it.

And so we take things one day at a time with this volatile relationship with Luke and Russia.

So the whole "Russia Day" thing was a bit of a stress.  He desperately wanted to do it, but was afraid of what his classmates would say.  He wanted to learn about Russia but was afraid of what he might find.  What if he liked it too much?  What if he didn't like it at all?

So I did what any mother in this situation would do:  I kept it light.

Luke's classmates know he was adopted from Russia.  He told them at the beginning of the school year. (Then he was mad at himself that he did that....)  My very first slide showed where we were in the US and where Luke was when he was in Russia.  I explained that Russia was on the complete opposite side of the world.  "It is 2:00 in the afternoon here; it is 2:00 in the middle of the night there."   "Ooooooo!!!!  COOL!" the class almost unanimously shouted.  Cool?  Really?  Luke caught my eye and decided to join me in the front of the classroom.  (I had asked him to come forward with me before I started and he desperately shook his head, 'NO!' and practically hid under his desk.)

Suddenly this Russia thing might be cool, I could sense him thinking.  Although I was standing, he pulled up a chair and sat next to me. 

I continued through the slides:  we talked about what Russians eat, how they dress, what the weather is like, what toys the kids play with, what sports they play, what holidays they celebrate, what their money looks like, a little bit of history about Russia-USSR-Russia.  Then I taught them some Russian words.  The kids LOVED repeating the words.  Luke was all smiles.

After the presentation, Luke passed out some Russian snacks and candy we had purchased at the Russian grocery store.  He was afraid no one would like it.  He was thrilled when they actually ate it.  Some kids even asked me questions.  He couldn't believe it. 

Something tells me this was more about Luke than about Russia. 

Something tells me it needed to be. 

And that's okay.  Maybe this strange relationship between Luke and Russia will start to become a little more stable. 

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