children, family, grief, humor, kids, kindergarten, loss of parent, motherhood, parenting

Mom’s Best Advice

I L-O-V-E this kid!Last week T.Puzzle’s teacher approached me for a conference.  The thing about conferences is that they usually doesn’t consist of the teacher listing all the ways your kid is truly outstanding.  As I entered the school building for the impending conference, I had a feeling she wouldn’t share anything with me that I didn’t on some level, already know.  Basically, he speeds through everything, oversimplifies and isn’t interested in expounding on anything, ever.  Pretty typical stuff for a kindergartener, but as his classmates are slowing down and answering questions in more detail, he is fine to zip through his schoolwork at a breakneck pace (Full Speed, Jr., anyone?). There’s not much to be done except encourage him to slow down as he does tasks at home and try to prompt more than one-word answers from him (Mad Dog, Jr., anyone?).

The hardest part of this conference day is that all I really wanted to do was call my Mom to talk about it.  She was always the perfect combination of empathic listener with a good dose of pragmatism.  She had a way of putting things in perspective while taking into consideration my extremely sensitive nature.

I miss that.

I miss her.

Of course she is on the forefront of my mind as Mother’s Day approaches.  All I can do is remember a conversation I had with her shortly before she passed.  She told me l knew her well enough that if I ever needed her advice when she was gone, I could imagine what she would tell me and I’d be exactly right.

So?  What would she tell me?  That T.Puzzle is brilliant, charming and handsome.  She’d tell me that he’s an extremely active boy who would rather play soccer than sit still, write sentences or answer questions.  She would tell me that I’m a great Mom and it’s only kindergarten.  She’d tell me to focus on the good stuff the teacher said like how T.Puzzle is respectful to his classmates and his teachers.  She’d tell me that when he’s CEO of a Fortune 500 company or president of the United States, that how he behaved in kindergarten won’t matter.  It matters only to his future first grade teacher and first grade is months away.  A lot can change over a summer and be patient.  It will all work out just fine.

Thanks, Mom.  I needed that.

children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Moms Like Me Want to Know

I had lunch with T.Puzzle this week at school.  I wasn’t able last week because I was under the weather.  That fact that I had to skip out on him didn’t phase him one bit.  He told me that ‘he wasn’t going to miss me at all’ and proceeded to apparently have a perfectly wonderful lunch without me.  His indifferent attitude had me questioning scheduling a lunch with either of my boys. Was it possible that only I benefitted from this weekly check-in?   After further investigation, T.Puzzle admitted that yes, he would still like to have Mom come for lunch but he is okay if for some reason I can’t make it.  I didn’t wait for him to change his mind and told him I would seem him soon.

As I sat at the parents’  table with him, his teacher stopped by and graciously thanked me for my emails.  She said that she appreciated staying in touch.  What she doesn’t know is that for every one email I send her, I’d actually like to send about a thousand more.  I wish she would live tweet or video stream every significant move T.Puzzle makes.  If T.Puzzle learned something, she should let me know as quickly as possible.  If he gets out of line, if he exhibits outstanding behavior (we all have dreams, don’t we?), if he says something cute or funny…basically, if he does anything at all, I want to know about it.  Same goes for Full Speed and his teacher, too.

Instead, I constantly coach myself to leave my kids and their teachers alone.  I fill my time in other ways while always holding images of what I picture my boys doing at school (I tend to picture them doing only amazing stuff, it’s much more fun that way), and that has to be enough.  It doesn’t feel like enough, but it has to be.

children, family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

One Stop Shopping

Both boys are now at the same school.  Oh, how I love one stop shopping.  I couldn’t have asked for a better first week.  Did I mention T.Puzzle started kindergarten?  I’m handling it surprisingly well.  When I feel a wave of abandonment descending upon me, all I do is picture his happy little face as he bounces out the door, and then I am reassured.  I will not allow myself to wallow in sadness when clearly, my kid is happy.  Still, I can neither confirm or deny the shedding of a tear or two on T.Puzzle’s behalf.

The week started with their school orientation and meeting their teachers.  Before entering the school premises, I sternly lectured/threatened  my boys.  They were so excited that I knew their self-control would be questionable at best.  They held it together incredibly well.  Of course, once we returned home, they wrestled like crazy for almost an hour (no injuries to report, thank you!).  I can honestly say, I have never had the urge to violently wrestle my sister after having behaved in a mannerly fashion for an extended period of time.  Not once. 

By the end of the week, a new drop-off routine has emerged.  Full Speed has taken his job as big brother seriously and escorts T.Puzzle to class in the morning.  Full Speed even stated that walking T.Puzzle to class is one of his favorite things about his new school year.  Coincidentally, that is one of my favorite things he has ever said. 

Here’s to a great school year!

children, family, motherhood, parenting

No Such Thing as Summer

Full Speed’s version of relaxing on the beach.

The school year is almost over and summer vacation is right on our heels.  I am arming myself with positive self-talk (‘you can do it!’/ ‘they may steal your energy but never your soul!’ / ‘it really is five o’clock somewhere!’), signing the boys up for a myriad of day camps and activities and my personal favorite, good old-fashioned denial.

Ready or not, here summer vacation comes.

I have noticed that Full Speed has cranked up his hyperactivity quotient (I honestly didn’t know this was humanly possible) as his first grade year draws to a close.  I still find it hard to believe that he holds himself together in the classroom.  His teacher insists he is very well-behaved.  I imagine even the best behaved kids are prone to losing it as the excitement of summer fills the school.  I worried for his teacher because if he was acting this out of control at home, what would he be like at school?

“Full Speed, do I need to call your teacher?  Does she need to know you are way too hyper today?”  I ask.

He snaps to attention.  “No, Mom.  I know what self-control is.  Sometimes I really want to be hyper at school but then I just don’t.”  His serious expression told me he was telling the truth.

Guess he’s saving up all his hyperactivity for summer vacation and for me.

I have no response to this because in my mind, there is no summer.  It’s the only way I’ll survive until the fall.

family, humor, kids, motherhood, parenting

Imagination Run Amok

When I picked up T.Puzzle after his first day back from spring break, his teacher immediately approached me as I entered the classroom.  I had to resist my fight or flight response.  Oh, how I wanted to run away.

She said, “We asked T.Puzzle what he did over break.  He told us he went to Africa.  Of course we didn’t think that was true.  We thought you would have certainly mentioned if you were traveling to Africa.  Then, he kept going with it.  When we asked him how he got there he said by plane.  What did you see there?  Giraffes and zebras.  Where did you stay?  He said he stayed at a hotel.”

Seems little mister had a whole array of imaginary African details.  He had his teachers and even the director of his school convinced for most of the day that we had gone to Africa.

For the record, we did not.

I am amused and frightened by this all at once.  Part of me is impressed a five year old could come up with such a believable, detailed story.  Part of me is very, very concerned.  Mostly I’m curious as to where we will ‘travel’ next.

T.Puzzle dressed as a lion for Halloween when he was a baby. Maybe his African dreams started then?