Tuesday, January 16, 2018

On Being a Parent

Some days being a parent is easy. The kids are behaving or you have an extra dose of patience and life is good. Some days being a parent is hard. The kids are fussy or you were out of patience before you brushed your teeth. And then there are other days.

There are days when being a parent feels impossible. The days when your kids ask questions that you don't know how to answer. The days you have to reevaluate what you believe about yourself or your kids. The days when you don't know the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, but you know you have to do something.

I have had a few of those days recently. Ben has struggled with 3rd grade. He is always well behaved, so that isn't a problem. He has struggled taking tests and getting number grades. He has improved, but it has been a lot of hard work and a lot of reassuring him. As a teacher, I am fully aware of the faults in the systems and the way it fails students. I am totally aware of the narrow focus of many school requirements. So I totally see how number grades won't show the real ability of my kid and his teacher knows that too. However, I also know that I am not changing the entire system of schooling any time soon, so he needs to figure out how to work around his issues. Some days are good and we get through homework quickly. Other days take lots of extra time because there are tears. Some papers we get home have good grades and some papers are not good. We celebrate the good grades and talk about the bad ones, but that doesn't always go well. Living in this space this school year has been so hard. Teaching him how he learns and how to review his work is hard, but worth it. We are seeing some improvements. His grades are up and so is his confidence. There is still half a year to go and I am hoping and praying for good things.

And Lily.
Photo Caption: Me (so it's blurry.)
She has been talking about being a princess and needing to color her face. She is 3 years old and I have to talk to her about make-up and I didn't even get started on the term princess. She said she had to color her face to be a pretty princess. I told her she didn't need to color her face because she is pretty without it. However if she wants to color her face, she can. (Yes those are markers. She loves to color on herself with markers. We don't fight it. We just wash up later.) She disagreed with me, but she likes to disagree with people. So maybe she was actually listening. And then last night as we were reading a Disney Princess book, she said she was Princess Aurora. I just said okay and moved on, but my mind was all over the place. There are so many issues with the princesses, but what if the issues I see are my issues and not hers. If I talk to her about those issues, do I create issues that aren't there? Probably. So I'm not saying much for now. I'll just sit back and listen to what she says before I start saying what I think she needs to hear.

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