School's Out

Today has been a great day. When Ruskin is here with us I have such a sense of well being. Matti jumped off the school transport straight into his arms and they walked hand in hand to the silver house (Ville's parents flat in Besiktas where we stay on Thursday nights to make Matti's school run manageable). The apartment on Heybeliada Anton has named the orange house, as good a name as any, so I will stick with it here. Tomorrow Matti finishes school for the summer, so being giddy about that, and Ruskin being here, his volume was turned up even louder than usual. But him and Ville are now asleep holding each other, and he is so beautiful. Neve is wriggling beside me, eyes as bright and milky clean as only children's are. I am amazed by her chatter, having totally forgotten how soon this gurgling communication starts. And today is a special day because for the first time since Neve's birth we have all four children under one roof. It also marks the end of organising the later half of the week around getting Matti to school until September.

The end of Matti's school year is also a total relief for me because it means several months without homework. Though it has been a little better recently, homework blighted our lives for a while. His private school try to ensure progress by having parents spend 2 or 3 hours a night forcing their children through tasks. Matti would howl, we would despair, we started to need a glass of wine to cope. Homework has been a low point for me because it is so frustrating not to be able to help beyond cajoling him to 'just do it'. Initially I could not understand a single word on the many, many worksheets, and I can now tell you that one word in every four is not much more useful! The real low comes when you realise that the knowledge you have been fighting for him to accumulate is which börek (baked or fried filled pastry) Ataturk's mother liked best. Education here is definitely more filling a pail than lighting a fire.

But no more of that for a while. Summer has come. Soon we will be swimming in the sea. Ruskin is only half a term away from being here for six weeks. And as he is here now this is more than enough words for today.

The boys.

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