Monday, September 19, 2011
Last year, we made the decision to retain H in Kindergarten. As an August boy we understood that he would be the youngest in his class and that might go over like a toot in church, but that's how we roll so we sent him anyhow. I don't regret that decision because he learned a ton and I became a better mother to him, which I attribute to being able to appreciate his sweet quirky self a whole lot more when I wasn't bombarded with it 12-14 hours a day. Over the summer, we had a great time and I didn't ever feel that 'when is school going to start?!' panic that so many of my friends described to me.
Then school started. For the first week, he was the model student with a normal amount of testing his limits and missing his mama. Then the shenanigans came to a head and culminated in the use of the 'D' word by more than one person at his school. That's right; they were calling my little cherub defiant! Okay, so I know that he's stubborn, willful and really likes to do his own thing, but defiant just seemed like such a harsh word. And, that's when I realized that if I, as his mother, didn't advocate for him and take the bull by the horns, then who would? I don't know how many of you have had to take 'the call' from school, but I started to dread that number flashing on our caller ID. We had stopped watching TV during the school week at the suggestion of a friend, my kids are asleep every night by 7pm and we practice 'the family meal' at night with healthful breakfasts at home and lunches packed each day. I don't know what else I could be doing while still maintaining my sanity (and three blogs, a marriage, a running training schedule, a 3 year-old, Clifford the big black dog, the rest of my household and a small knitting business, ha!)
After a consult with his pediatrician and collaborating with his teacher (who I really like) on an informal behavior plan that was very concrete, Mr. H has had a much better time at school and is even starting to (gasp) enjoy it! He has two things to focus on: Listen and Follow Directions.
I found an article online about living with strong-willed children that gave me goosebumps as I read it because it could have been written about H. He's a super smart kiddo who's pretty quirky, and has a huge heart. However, he's a six year old boy who doesn't seem to understand (or yet care?) how all of his actions affect other people. Being super concrete, setting specific limits which are consistently enforced, along with physical exercise after school everyday and trying my very, very hardest not to raise my voice with him have all seemed to culminate in positive behavioral change. This could be just a honeymoon phase, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my voice to zen-like tones in hopes that this school year is the true gift of time that we intended it to be.
School should be enjoyed, especially kindergarten! I'm finally starting to see how fun school can be for him, so here's to a banner year for Mr. H (and his mother who would most likely be put on Zoloft if I cry one more time when his teacher calls.) What fun has the new school year brought for your family?