Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Good den leader...bad mother?

The kids did a great job coloring their quilt blocks yesterday, and I was proud of myself for putting them right together when I got home last night. I still need to sew on the borders, and sandwich it so we can tie it at our meeting next Monday, but I don't anticipate having trouble doing that. I think the quilt is going to be a hit at the Blue and Gold Ceremony in February.

But meanwhile, back at the ranch, my youngest is having trouble in school. It's just kindergarten, I know, but I think the foundation for building lifelong learners is created at a young age. It seems to have sunk in with Jason, but Donald is another story altogether. Jason loves going to school; Donald claims to hate it. Jason enjoys doing homework; homework reduces Donald to tears. Jason has always been a teacher's pet, never getting into trouble; I got another exasperated note from Donald's teacher today letting me know that another day like today and he won't be able to accompany his class on their next field trip. What am I doing wrong??? I hug and kiss him and tell him that I love him every day. We read books together before bed every night. We play games together, go on adventures together, and I include him in projects around the house like baking and cleaning. How did I end up being "that mom" with "that kid"? I know it is a giant leap from kindergarten class clown to juvenile delinquent, but my mind can't help but travel in that direction. I'm so frustrated and flummoxed. Anyone been there? Anyone still willing to associate with "that mom" and give me some advice?


beth said...

I was definitely "that mom" and know what you're feeling. My little boy is now 17!!! He's doing fine in school and life. Keep your chin up! School is hard for little boys.

Shay said...

I was that Mum too...although Miss P was just passive agressive about it. Not overly painful but there was always an underlying tone which maifested itself completely by about 5th grande now that I look back.

It didnt matter what I did - it didnt make any difference. Some kids just hate school . I just made sure she had plenty of opportunities to have interests outside of school so she had other things to feel good about - and made school a non negotiable because it was.

Dont take advice from me though - I was a grandmother at 42 so look how brilliantly I did ...not. At almost 20 she's still trying to find her place in this world.

Is it a problem with the teacher ? It's just unusual she would send an "exasperated " note rather than work towards identifying solutions that might make this a different experience for him.

I'm sure Donald wont end up a juvenile delinquent.

Rachel said...

You're not doing anything wrong. My daughter hated school from the get-go, and it was made worse with her grade 1 teacher (who was a witch with a capital B). She's now 18 and STILL hates school. She will be going to post-secondary next year and I'm wondering if we'll be wasting our money. Will she even bother attending or will it be a repeat of the past 12 years of fighting to get her to go?

And, remember, my husband and I are BOTH teachers!!! School is just not for everyone and it's not the most important thing in the world - honestly! Donald will find his place.

By the way - homework in Kindergarten? You've got to be kidding!

bernie said...

The quilt is adorable. Will the coloring remain permanent? We had a demonstration of coloring a quilt at a quilt meeting, but I think we ironed it on after coloring it first on paper. and just wanna say, you are a wonderful mother with two delightful boys - keep doing what you are doing. Bernie

Hazel said...

Love the quilt the boys will be so proud of it and you .
Add my daughter to that list she hated school and quit in grade 10 ,she's now a social worker .
Your doing a great job I can't believe how much time you spend with the kids ,your so involved in their everyday activities , how do you do it all plus work and quilt .

Nancy said...

Looks like the scouts did a terrific job with the quilt - and kudos to you for getting it together so fast.
As for Donald, you are certainly not a bad mom! All kids are different - each of them will have great qualities, and each will have some things that drive you nuts. And as they grow I bet Donald will continue to try to be different from Jason. Have you talked with the teacher in person? Maybe she has some ideas about what to do to help from the home end. Is he doing OK "academically" - hate to use that word for Kindergarten, but you know what I mean. Sometimes kids act out from frustration with the material, sometimes just to get attention, etc. I'd say it is not too early for him to learn the consequences of his behavior though. If he loses the right to go on the field trip maybe that will help in the long run. I certainly think you do plenty at home with them both so I don't think that is the issue. And I know you don't let them get away with much, and I think that is good too. Does he by chance have the same teacher Jason had - sometimes it is hard for younger kids to live up to the reputation of the older one. Whatever the reason, he still needs to learn how to behave appropriately in school - that is non-negotiable, as someone said above. This is not the end of the world - keep your head up!!

kwiltmakr said...

The boys did a great job on the blocks and what a nice quilt it is. They will be just beaming when it is done. I had a friend that had to pull her little boy from K because he was the same way. She waited and put him in the next year and he was fine. He is a smart thing too but just hated being there, he wanted to be home.

Sam said...

Hi Erin! First of all LOVE the quilt - it is so precious! As a previous primary school teacher who has taught kindy, don't worry about Donald, the way school is structured does not benefit most boys at that age. We ask them to sit still and be quiet for long periods of time, when all they want to do is be outside roughing it. It makes things even more tricky if they have a somewhat precious teacher who prefers their classroom to be quiet and still. From the stories and photos you share with us Donald sounds like one awesome little boy who any teacher would be lucky to have in their classroom. I always liked the ones with a bit of 'punk' to them :-) Made my days a LOT more interesting, and they are the ones to grown up and have the fire to achieve things :-) Sam xox

Julie Fukuda said...

I was a kid who hated school from kindergarten on and we didn't have homework either.
That is one reason I love Scouts and keep on doing it. In school only one person can be the best but in Scouts Everyone can do his best. There are many opportunities for success and I believe success breeds success. If I am a leader for 35 MORE years, I will NEVER pay Scouting back for what it did for my two boys.
Hang in there, next year he will be a Tiger Cub. And...I agree that is an awesome quilt! The boys will be so proud to finish it up and say, "We did that!"

Stray Stitches said...

What a wonderful quilt! The kids did an awesome job.
Hang in there, Erin. As you well know, each child is different. I can't believe they have homework in kindergarten! I really don't have any advice to offer that the others above haven't already given. You are a great mom!

Char said...

Hi Erin,I love the scout quilt. Great job.
I don't think you're a bad Mom. Like everyone before me has said, each child is different. My daughter always loved school and still does. I'm sure things will work out. Maybe if the teacher gave him a special responsibility, like handing out books or something that would help.

Judi said...

You are a GREAT Mom. I mean taking karate with our boys, there are not many Mom's that do that. I echo Nancy in that six years after my brother I was being compared to my brother. Your brother (fill in the blanks)... He's trying to find his way and do talk to the teacher. Hugs

Barb H said...

Erin, I agree with all the comments above-you are a GREAT mother! (and the scout quilt is terrific too!)
When is Donald's birthday? If he's one of the younger kids in his class that may explain some things. My son was a younger kid in school and every year at semester time, about this time of year, he would start struggling to the point that by 2nd grade, he was absolutely refusing to go to school and there was much angry and loud fighting about it at home. We had him repeat 2nd grade and from them on--no trouble. He was just a bit immature to begin school when the calendar said he should start. With my other summer birthday kid, we waited until she was 6 before sending her to school and there were no problems. I wish I had followed my gut and delayed sending Dan to school when he was barely 5 and we would have avoided 3 years of struggle with him.
So, that's something to consider with Donald.

Anonymous said...

Erin: You are a GREAT mother. Keep on doing what you do. School is not for all kids, but Donald will get into the groove. Sounds to me as if talking to the teacher might help -- seems like she might be part of the problem. Good luck!

quiltfool said...

Erin, love the quilt. Been there, done that on the school thing and you know it. Doesn't sound like a grades thing as much as a focus thing. We still battle that. Not your fault. Again...not your fault. We held a hard line. A very hard line. Sometimes too hard. But, we learned what worked. No negotiation. Consequences and rewards. Do good, get good. I get a note from the teacher and you lose priviledges. Once, she had to scrub the kitchen floor with a toothbrush for smacking a kid. It's hard and is going to be harder for you because you have two and how do you consequence the one while rewarding the other. Hang in there. You'll be fine. Deep breaths. lane

Taryn said...

You are NOT that mom and he is NOT that kid. Period. He's suffering consequences but don't forget to try to get him to open up about precisely what it is he "hates" about school. Sometimes they just don't hit if off with the teacher. My younger one was flat out bored in school and mischief certainly provided some entertainment. In fourth grade there was a serious personality conflict with one teacher. I won't bore you with the details but she provided one of the most hysterical phone calls I've ever received - at least for me; not her. I know she thought I was THAT mom. Too bad. My daughter cried every single day for weeks at the beginning of first grade. Both are smart, productive and pretty well adjusted new adults. College graduates - almost in the case of my daughter - too. Hang in there. Keep loving him. He's precious.

Taryn said...

P.S. I love the quilt! It is so cute I almost forgot to break out in hives when I looked at the pinewood derby block. Geez, that event was pressure. My husband and I are not woodworkers and one year we had a big snowstorm and couldn't get out to get supplies to try to do "something" with that darn block of wood. So, we burned it in the fireplace. Oops.

joe tulips said...

Can you stand to hear one more person say you aren't a bad mom? Good.
You are not a bad mom!! I was upset that they would threaten taking away the field trip. Isn't that a learning experience too. Why cut that out? It's like "hey, you were bad in reading, no math for you!
My middle one hated school from the very beginning. He did finish though and never became a juvenile delinquent. It was always a struggle. He is a wonderful 22 year old now.
I love the cub scout quilt!! You guys did a fantastic job on it. It reminded me of our scouting days!

traceyjay said...

(first of all -- good job getting that quilt done... so cute and creative!)

second -- I'm sorry about the little one. :( I was/am a teacher, and I believe that school in general is tough on many boys... it's just not set up in a way that's very conducive with how they operate. Honestly, I think they're kind of expected to act like little girls. :-/

If I was you, I'd just be in there as often as possible, and I'd also get "love and logic" for early childhood. I'd meet with the teacher, tell her what you're trying to implement with him, and see if she'd be willing to work with you. It's probably the structure that's killing him. :( But maybe if you guys have some consistent, gentle disciple, and if you're in there to see his trigger points, you can get him to not hate school and begin to thrive.

traceyjay said...

and tell me WHY do Kindergarteners need homework if they've been in school all day! grrrr!!!!

Kim said...

Here is my words of wisdom as a mother of a 35 and 30 year olds.....this is just a little drop of water in the big sea of life.
He is trying to find his own path in the world....keep guiding and leading and he will find his way. Don't take it all so seriously, love him, give him some one on one time, restate your expectations frequently and make him live up to them.
Being a "Tiger Mom" is a good thing.
You can both do this......and don't compare him to his brother.....he is his own person :0).

Being a Mom is the hardest job you'll ever love