Thursday, September 10, 2009

Senior Kindergarten ... Here we come!

Yesterday Matt went to school.
He's no longer the little jk kid who was excited and frightened about a new adventure. Nope. he's an sk.
he knew he was visiting his classroom for half an hour. He was thrilled he got half an hour with his teacher, his beloved teacher, to tell her about his summer and to show her he could read.
When we left jk in June he could read a couple of site words ("the" was his favourite). He knew his letter sounds. He had no interest in reading or writing.
And his teacher suggested that we try to encourage reading.
We took her advice, but we let him go at his own pace. A word here, a word there. Lots of excitement (genuine) when he sounded out the word Mom (spelled mam) and wrote it everywhere.
And over the summer he started reading more. One day sounds started to make sense. his world exploded. In place of playing lego in his bedroom he started looking through books, shrieking for us to help him with a word.
And we let him go at his own pace. Lots of encouragement. no pushing. Even though it killed me that he didn't love to read like I did, I let it go. And we let him learn the love of language on his own.
And yesterday we went to see his teacher.
And she pulled out her pile of site words.
22 words.
And he read them. Each and every word. By himself. Because he wanted to.
I was sitting in the hall chatting with the special ed teacher.
What I told the special ed teacher, the woman who I wish I didn't know because of her job function, was that over the summer I learned that instead of making Matt fit my mold I learned I have to fit his. I have to meet him where he is at.
And, it's working.
When his teacher came to bring me into the classroom she had tears in her eyes. Because she spent all of jk struggling with me, knowing that my amazing child could be amazing - if we could just figure out how.
"He blew me away."
Me too.
Because my child. The kid who has ADHD. The child who tells me that sometimes his brain just won't work right. My child decided he can.
Being a mom is amazing. Not always. We all know that. The temper tantrums, the anger. That's all part of what goes on in his brain. It's something we are working with and conquering and maybe even embracing. But seeing my child accomplish something that is really really hard amazes me.
it puts me in my place.
And it reminds me that as much as I need to accept that he struggles I can't accept mediocrity for my child.

I didn't post this last year. But, if you want to see how far we've come, here's an e-mail I sent to a few people about the exact same visit last year. We've come a long way, baby!

"Seriously ... worst visit ever!!!!
We were supposed to go for a half hour visit. We got forms to fill out while the teacher showed Matt the classroom.
So, the classroom visit went really well. He had no problem with us staying in the hall and did everything she asked. He drew pictures and even did letters (something he will not do for us). He was happy and laughing, etc.
So then she brought us in. We were talking about behavioural issues and so she let him have a "quick play" with one bucket of toys. So, we talked for quite awhile and he was happily playing away. And then she said it was tidy up time.
He refused.
So she said she would help him tidy and play. (at which point we were baffled as to whether we should let her do her thing or intervene, but we let her do her thing). So he shouted at her. And then started throwing toys. It was awful. By the end of the impromptu tidy up session he was screaming "I hate you Ms. Teacher. I am very angry right now". I was trying not to cry while at the same time relieved he was just shouting not hitting.
And then he turns to her and screams "I am very angry at you Ms.Teacher. Very angry and your tidy up time must change." Then he turned on his heel, grabbed the backpack and very dramatically said "this stupid visit is now over and I'm outta here."
Mike went with him and to my relief his teacher cracked up and told me that kids tend to be a little over-excited and have extreme reactions, and that I don't need to worry too much. And, I hit the point of laughing almost hysterically because otherwise I would have started to cry.
At least she didn't think I was the crazy parent who was trying to diagnose my kid with an issue that was non-existent.
It was horrible and funny all at the same time. Mike was quite glad to be going back to work.

The funny thing is that when we were eating lunch we were talking about it a bit. Matt turned to me and said "that Ms. Teacher seems very nice. Only 2 more sleeps till I go back!" I'm sure Ms.Teacher is counting down the days also."

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


A couple of weeks ago my friend and I went to hear a keynote speech at a convention. I have to admit that I tend to listen to people speak, or read books, or watch tv shows, and realize that I may have missed the whole huge message (no matter how good) because I am completely focused on one aspect of what that person said.
Case in point was this speech.
Actually, I was pretty riveted the entire time. To the point that I a going back to hear him speak next week.
But, what really struck me was not the incredible stuff the speaker had to say about social media. What struck me was when he was talking about reputation. The point he made was that sometimes what you think about yourself, and what you think people would say about you is not necessarily what you would say about yourself. And also that some of the most enlightened people in the world (I think like Oprah or Eckhart Tolle or Mother Theresa???) would have personal lists that would match what others would say about them.
And I'm completely obsessed with this thought.
I honestly will be on the elliptical in the morning, totally working out and focused on what I'm doing, and I start wondering about my own personal list. What traits would I say about myself (postive or negative) about myself, and what would others say?
Or I will start thinking about how at the gym in the morning I never talk to people. I walk in completely focused and don't say a word. And, I'm sure that the people there think I'm kind of snotty and shy.
And then I come home and I'm with my kids, and when I'm with them I try to be more authoratative. And when I'm rushing around trying to get out of the house on time I have a tendency to be kind of bitchy to Mike when he's late. And our nanny sees this, and I have to admit that she sees me as a bit of a stress case.
And then there's work. I'm totally different there again. Too chatty. Too noisy. Too messy and a little bit crazy. And I can't help but contrast the person I am from 9-5 with the person I am at my 5 am workout.
And, then take the day at work. I wouldn't say I'm 100% confident all of the time. But in many situations I am. But, the other day at work I was in this meeting and someone said to me "I'm confident you can pull this off, and do this project, but I need to know that you're confident in yourself and I'm not seeing that."
I can't stop questionning if people think I have no confidence.
That's been bugging me for days.
And, it actually does really matter.
And then there's this blog. And, maybe on here I'm a combination of all of those things. Actually, maybe I'm not quite as snarky on here as I am in real life. Who knows.
Which leads me to the point, what do I think of myself? And what positive qualities do I have? And seriously, even if I think I have them do I? And can you make yourself have good qualities just because you want them?
Maybe I'll make a list.
Not now. I still have to think about it.

The Joys of Boys

Matt is my sweet, sweet 5 year old.
If there's one thing he loves it's hugs and cuddles and having stories read to him. There's nothing better to him than waking up in the morning and having Mommy all to himself. We sit in the big chair, watch some Spongebob and cuddle.
I love that about Matt.
Because he also struggles with temper tantrums and meltdowns sometimes, I've discovered (in my vast parenting wisdom ... heh heh) that sometimes the best way to solve a problem is by just giving him a big hug and telling him things are okay.
The other day I came home and the world was falling apart because our nanny had said no ice cream.
As I stood in the kitchen with Matt sobbing I turned to him and said "Maybe a hug will make this better."
And he jumped into my arms and snuggled there for a good 30 seconds. He pulled back a bit and whispered to me that he wanted to tell me something.
Ever the kind, compassionate, mom, I stopped and I said "you can tell me anything."
Matt: "Mommy. Your hugs are the best. You know just how to squish me and make me fart. I love you."

Oh Matt ... I love you too!!!