Saturday, October 5, 2013

Parenting - Actions Speak Louder

I learn so much from parenting.  

Sometimes, it's humbling.

Sometimes, it's downright embarrassing.

Since forever, Q has had a difficult time reading and writing.  He hates reading.  He hates writing.  And he has to work really hard at both.  Last year, we had the school do some testing, because I was really concerned that he has dyslexia.  Studying for spelling tests were a daily struggle and I felt like I was waaaaay out of my league.  I needed help in helping him.  The testing revealed that he was reading and writing at a grade level lower than he is in.  This spiked my anxiety.  Reading and writing at a grade level lower can be an indication of a learning disability.

Q is always so good at everything he does.  He's awesome at sports, he can do math in his head, he beats me at board and card games all the time.  Everything comes so easy for him.  I knew it must be so frustrating for him to have such a difficult time with spelling.

So I did everything I could do to help.  We studied those 20 words for hours every week.  Hours.  Like, I'm talking hours.  On average, we were spending 30 minutes to an hour every night practicing the words.  I would have him stare at the word, write the letters, say the letters - all in an attempt to help him succeed on the spelling test every Friday.  And then I would stress that it didn't matter what the mark was, as long as he did his best, I was super proud of him for doing his best.

We finally hit out breaking point.  

I called the principal.  

She reviewed his file.

She called his teacher, a learning specialist, and me into her office so we could discuss how best to help my child with his learning disability.

So you know when you take your kid to the doctor because he's super sick and the second the doctor walks into the room, your kid is fine.  Totally fine.  And you look like the paranoid, overprotected mother??


This meeting was kind of like that.  

It was Friday, so Q had a spelling test.  He got 26/30.  Twenty six out of thirty words that have* ie* and *ei* (and don't follow the rules).  Words like receive and believe.  And he got 26 of them right.

Pretty fricken awesome, right?

Then the learning specialist had him read...where he read perfectly at a grade 4 level.

He's in grade 4.

The LST says, "So where's the problem?"

The principal says, "Does he have a lot of pressure from home to do well?"

The teacher says, "I've brought his journal.  It's very well written."

I started to sweat.  

What was going on here???

"Yes, but we had to study an hour every night for him to get 26/30..."  As the words are coming out of my mouth, I'm trying to grab them and put them back.

The principal says, "Does he enjoy sitting and practicing for an hour every day?"

Uh, no.

The teacher says, "He should be practicing for no more than 20 minutes per night."

They all just stare at me.  

As I'm sitting there, it finally hit me.

I'm telling Q that it doesn't matter what he gets on his test as long as he tries his best, but my actions are telling Q that he needs to try harder, do better, and sit in that chair until he gets every single word right. Because as long as your best is perfect, we're all happy.  

I wanted to crawl under the table, slink my way to the door, and then run for my life.  

Suffice it to say, my son does not have a learning disability.  He has an insane mother with outrageous expectations.  We're going to practice spelling for 20 minutes a day.  We're going to read for 20 minutes a day.  We're going to celebrate (one of his spelling words, btw) no matter the results.  We're going to practice what we preach.  As long as we do our best, we're super proud of ourselves.

I'm also going to stop reading Harry Potter to him while he cries that he's soooooooooo bored and hates Harry Potter.  I'm going to stop telling him I'm doing this for his own good - to inspire his reading and if he would just listen, he would love it, and he would love reading, and he will feel passion for reading.

Like I do...

Oh...and one more thing....

Momma, you were right.

Friday, October 4, 2013

What's Pissing me off This Week - UPDATE

I was frustrated recently at the amount of angst I still have towards my ex. The problem is I really want to forgive him for being an ass so that I can be free. Seriously, folks - nothing makes me a raging b**** more than my ex. And I was thinking ‘c’mon, it’s been almost 10 years, just let that stuff go. What’s the hold up? It doesn’t matter, free yourself from the hold he has on you.’

It was then I realized I have let it all go. I’m no longer angry that he called his ex-girlfriend 10 minutes after our son was born (because they’re still friends…). It truly doesn’t matter that I was in the hospital for 10 days and he didn’t visit me once (yes, we were still together). I have even forgiven the naked pictures of another woman I found in his briefcase when I was 8 months pregnant (what…those pics? They’ve been there forever…)

I have forgiven it all.

For me.

No. I’m still mad at my ex because he continues to do totally idiotic things all. The. Time. to piss me off. I am continually trying to forgive him for the most recent act of stupidity.


1. Q’s been having a rough time with reading and spelling. It’s super frustrating for all of us. I don’t understand it, because I’ve been reading for like 30 years and it seems so simple to me. But it’s a huge deal. We’re getting help for him, but in the meantime, Mr. Ex tells Q that if he doesn’t try harder he will be kept back a year. This is horrible, because #1, they don’t hold kids back anymore and #2 Mr. Ex knows that. He was just trying to scare Q. I said, “Well, I don’t think it makes sense to lie to him. He’s stressed out enough about this without a false threat looming over his head.” Mr. Ex says, “I was trying to show him what’s at stake.” Uh, nothing then…nothing’s at stake….because you told him a lie. How about not knowing how to read a driver’s exam or a job application?!?!?!?! Those are all valid and true. But how about ENCOURAGING him instead????? I mention dropping a sport and doing tutoring instead, and Mr. Ex gets all antsy. Sure, let’s stick with the idle threats. Those are working so well.

2. Mr. Ex brings the girlfriend to Q’s hockey practice. They sit on the opposite side of the arena (away from everyone…), and he has his arm around her the whole time. They were practically sitting on top of each other. Ewww. She also came to Q’s soccer game on Saturday morning. Mr. Ex thought I didn’t see her sitting in the car, so kept making excuses for leaving the game to ‘get something from the trunk’ throughout the game. Then he had to leave the soccer game early, so he could get Q’s hockey stuff ready. The soccer game was at 11am. Hockey was at 6pm. What are we? 15??? If you want to leave the game so you can go have some *alone* time with your girlfriend, say that. Don’t treat me like an idiot and lie. Oh, wait….see point #1. Even Q says…”C goes everywhere daddy goes. It’s getting annoying.”

3. On Wednesday, Mr. Ex drops off Q at the wrong babysitter’s house. Apparently, this is my fault because I did not remind him the night before (evidently, a text the week before, and the night before was not enough). It’s also my fault because I send emails to the babysitters, and then do not tell him what we discuss. I’m going behind his back. Right. That’s right. I spend hours of my time organizing a babysitting schedule for my child and then do not tell you what I’ve organized. That makes sense. Why wouldn’t I tell you? What possible joy to I have to gain from not telling you what I’ve organized? Who would that really affect? Me??? No. You???? Nope. Q???? Yes. So why would I do that??? Why? I’m not out to sabotage my son. I organize a schedule specifically for my son’s well being. How about Mr. Ex spends his time organizing Q’s schedule and then send it back to me. Riiiiiiiight. That would happen. So now, apparently I have to remind him by phone, text, and e-mail because he gets confused by all my back handed dealings.

And I feel like I’m going to explode because in an attempt to be the bigger person….I did not say ANY of this to Mr. Ex. Nope. I kept it alllllllll inside. Deep breathing techniques have been my best friend today. And to top it off, I have at least another 9 years of this.

What am I going to do?

UPDATE: okayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy, probably waaaaaaaaay too much information there. And instead of feeling better for the release, I actually feel worse. Most days are tickety boo for me, and others (like today) feel I'm climbing up a mountain backwards in a hurricane. Yup. That's kind of how I feel today.