Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Slice of Life Tuesday: School Shopping, Redux

August 10, 2021

This post is part of the weekly Slice of Life challenge from Two Writing Teachers. Check them out!


It’s no secret that school supplies give me joy. For me, and for many folks I know, it’s why I got into teaching. Yeah, yeah, there’s all that noise about making a difference and touching the future, but have you seen a perfectly pink eraser?

I’m not a shopper, but I could spend all the time in the world browsing notebooks, pencils and art materials. If, for any reason, you need to keep me occupied for an hour, just drop me off in the middle of the school supply area of any store.

So way back when my children started school, I had visions of us shopping for school supplies together (please tell me you see where this is going). I dreamed of sharing – of reveling! – in the sheer delight that can only come from a new pack of colored pencils. We’d go through the school supply list, using our time in the aisles to bond and get excited about the school year to come.

My expectations for school shopping and the reality couldn’t have been any different. The kids whined, fought with each other, and were completely uncooperative. Any joy I had about markers, glue sticks, or pristine journals was promptly stomped to bits by constant squabbling and complaints.

It took me a few years of torture, but I eventually figured out that the best thing for all involved was to grab the list and do the darn shopping myself. My kids didn’t really care what I bought them, so long as they had what they needed that first day. (Actually, that’s not entirely true. My older son developed a preference for matching folders, binders and notebook color for each of his subjects, even choosing colors that he felt were suitable to the class at hand. Hope springs eternal…) Once I figured that out, it freed me once again to enjoy that time – alone! – with the school supply list.

So.

Why on earth did I think that college preparation would be much different?

This time, I pictured my younger son and me cruising through the stores with our shopping list, chatting and dreaming about college life, how the dorm room was going to come together, (now please tell me you see where THIS is going!) what sorts of things he’d need to survive the transition, literally and figuratively. Or perhaps we’d be huddled together around my computer, comparison shopping the best blankets and power strips.

Yep. That…wasn’t a thing.

By the time we made it through one store, I knew we had both had enough. I felt the grey hairs sproinging one by one. Did you know that it’s possible to get stressed out over hangers? Or pillows? Or room fans? Or coffee makers? Sproing. Sproing. Sproing.

So now, I’m clicking and shopping. By myself. I’ve got my chai tea, a trusty dog for company, and the satisfaction of knowing I can do this, pain and conflict free. Lap desk? Check. Ethernet cords. Check. Ironically-chosen pink blanket for the dorm bed? Checkitty check.

And really. Isn’t that what most of parenthood – most of life – is about? Releasing ourselves from expectations so that our current reality becomes easier to focus on?

While we’re on the subject of releasing expectations, I’ll leave you with this thought. Right now in our house, things are messy. Not in the figurative sense, I mean truly. Literally. Messy.

As long as it’s out of my living room by next Tuesday, I think I can live with this!

That little mama dream I had of piles of clothing, sorted out by what goes, what stays? C’mon. Who am I fooling? That’s not going to happen. And that’s okay. It may boil down to my son scrambling for a half hour with a bunch of garbage bags, but as long as the clothes are gone from the living room by the time my son is, I will be just fine.

Gratuitous doggo pic. I think she might miss the mounds of clothes. And maybe her brother. But mostly the clothes.

Releasing expectations.
Releasing expectations.
Releasing expectations…

On Parent Conferences

February 3, 2017

After about thirty parent-teacher conferences over the last few days, I have to admit that I’ve pretty well run out of articulate things to say.

But if I could take the recommendations, advice and encouragement from those conferences and wrap it all up with a bow, it would look something like this:

Your child is amazing. I am grateful to say we work together. I cannot say that often enough or more sincerely.

Look at your child’s work. Does it give you goosebumps, inspire you, or make you wish you had their talent? It sure does for me.

I can’t tell you if your child will be identified for the program next year. I wish I had that magic power, but I don’t. Would I love to work with your child next year? Absolutely. Heck, I would jump at the chance to take your child under my wing all day, every day. I just know that child development is a funny thing. Some kids start slow and hit their stride. Others start quickly and even out. Still others take a different path. They are children, and they grow in as many directions as there are children.

And yes, I hear you when you share your worries about your child. Believe it or not, things will be okay.

More likely than not, the things that discourage most us during our children’s elementary school careers are the very things that serve them well later in life. An argumentative child grows to possess a strong sense of justice. Kids who constantly “direct traffic” will demonstrate leadership. And the shy, reserved ones emerge as the colleagues who listen, reflect, then move the group forward in reason and wisdom.

But right now? In so many ways, it is BUMPY right now.

I get it.

Even within my own family, things are bumpy in every which way.

All of us, as families, are somewhere in the weeds. It is hard to be a parent at any stage of the game. Some children make it even harder.

But you are doing a great job. I have absolute faith in you, and – more importantly – absolute faith in your child.

Things will really, truly be fine.

Getting to fine will be a challenge.

But things will be fine.

And…in case I haven’t told you? Your child is amazing.

 

Back on the Ice: Lesson Learned

December 28, 2012

Today was a hockey day.

I haven’t been in my full equipment since the middle of the summer. I know, I know. I had set out to learn how to play ice hockey, and take you along on my journey. I know it’s important to keep going with lessons and clinics. I know! Somehow, I’ve let myself take a backseat to my family’s schedule, volunteer obligations, and just plain old life.

The first thing I did today on the ice? I fell on my behind trying to close the gate to the rink. Yeah. You read right.

Out there scrimmaging with my kids, I felt even worse. All I remember is scrambling to stay up while my kids (and some others) pretty much went around me like I was a cone. Awesome. Talk about feeling foolish.

We only had a half hour on the ice today, but that was enough for me. Dejected and embarrassed, I slunk out to change into street clothes. Thinking that my skates were the issue, I took them to the shop for a good sharpening. I was told they didn’t need it (consider it -ahem- “user error”). Yeah. Thanks for pouring salt into the wound there.

So there I was, sitting with my hockey bag by the door as I waited for my boys to come out of the locker room. First thing my son says to me as he comes out? “Good job, Mom. You even stole the puck from me once.”

Hmm.

For those of you who know me, you are pretty familiar with how loudly I let perfectionism speak to me. Just when I was busy feeling silly, my own kid recognized my efforts as good enough for what I could do. And here it was. The voice of Realism, telling my voice of Perfectionism to sit down and shut up.

If you want me tomorrow, I’ll be out on the ice. Trying again. I’ve got pucks to steal.

Something to Lose Sleep Over?

September 20, 2009

I was just catching up on the blogs I read and I caught an article on the Gifted Exchange: do highly gifted kids need less sleep than their other age-level peers?

Check it out: http://giftedexchange.blogspot.com/2009/09/gifted-children-and-sleep.html