That’s all I wanted to say!
No – there is more!
My son is 14. He is nearly 6 feet tall and pretty mature for his age in some ways and immature (or on target!) in other ways.
Since he was 2, he had an enormous thirst for knowledge, asking questions, debating and questioning you beyond your limits! It was frustrating and challenging and we grew together.
When we drove on the parkways, he would observe other cars on the different roads and he would wonder how they got there. Being a frustrated teacher and not having anything else to do on my 1.5 hour drive to visit my family, I will go off on this explanation of exit ramps and side streets, etc. My family thought I was nuts trying to explain this to a toddler at the time. But I had the patience and sometimes the knowledge to explain things to him without saying, “Because”, or “I don’t know” or better yet lie to him fudging some sort of answer. If I didn’t know something, I told him, “Mommy doesn’t know, let’s see if PopPop (or Grandma) (or Uncle) (or Aunt) (or Daddy) knows when we get there (or home)”.
He was always questioning. So when it was time to start Pre-School it was no surprise that he ran to the door and without a second look back took his seat and beamed. Same goes for Kindergarten. Flew on the bus, almost forgetting to say goodbye to me. Parents spoke about their children crying and making a fuss and I just thought, my kid couldn’t wait to get away from me!
Dan was one of the brightest in his class. I would be up at the school volunteering (as class mom) and I would wait in the hall. I had my 2 year old daughter with me as well. I would have one eye on her and one ear in the classroom. I was embarrassed! The teacher would ask a question – a number of guesses were made. And I would hear my son sighing. Mrs. Peterson would say, “Dan, I know you have the answer, let us give another child a try” proceeding by “OK, Dan, tell us what it is”.
And that is when I cringed.
“Forty ninnne-uh!” in the duh you idiots attitude. I was mortified. I had a talk with him. I tried to set him and his “I am smarter than you all” attitude straight.
Then we moved. Out of the district – into a new home. And the school wasn’t as good in my opinion. I was disappointed on so many levels. Perhaps he felt it or perhaps it was due to him, because his performance dropped. He lost his thirst, his interest. And I was devastated. The problem was he was repeating Kindergarten in the first grade! Nothing can be done, I was told. I was too young of a mother to realize I could have requested he skip the grade. I did beg for extra work, but then they told me he would have the same problem in 2nd grade. So because I didn’t know better, he suffered.
He skirted by in grade 2 and was blessed with a wonderful teacher in grade 3 that tried to bring him back. She knew he was capable and called him lazy. It was a wake-up call for me. My perfect boy was not [perfect]!
And then he had mediocre teachers in grades 4 and 5 dissolving any progress made in third.
He moves on to middle school. My straight A student then gets a “D” in his favorite subject. How could this be? I call the school – seems like my wonderful child doesn’t believe in doing HW or projects! Every test I saw come home [and the teacher verified it was all the test taken] was 98 or higher. So why the D? I was under the assumption doing no HW would drop him one letter grade – why a D and not a B? Well he didn’t do a project that counted as 1/3 of the grade! Hence his D. I wanted to strangle him! I refrained.
For the next 3 years we had to monitor him closely to make sure he did his HW – but he still either a) didn’t finish it, b) never handed it in, or c) it wasn’t up to par. I was at my wits end. I would see him work on his HW but how could they say he didn’t do it. He was so unorganized he didn’t know what he was doing.
Where did my little boy go, the one that was craving more and more information, the one who wanted to please you – where was he?
I think my husband gave up on that little boy. I however did not. I refuse. My son is good-heartened. He has leadership abilities which he displays at Boy Scouts and the teachers always compliment him, enjoying him in class and saying he balances the class out. I was told he is like a mediator in the class. He was a peer-mediator with the guidance center – a job that sought him out. That is how he met his new best friend – but that is another story. He is athletic and dedicated to his sports. It is his life and his father and I stress that education comes first. If he doesn’t get the grades, we pull him off the team.
My problem is that we expect As – Bs don’t fly well. He gets Bs without studying. We try to explain if he only cracked a book, and applied a bit of effort, he would be getting the grades he is capable of. Never settle for second best.
At the present time, he is a freshman, a 9th grader at the high school. He is loving it. He keeps his agenda up to date and he is always talking about what happened in school (and not just at gym)! My little boy is back! And I am so happy. Yes, it is only the first week of school. But I have every confidence that he will keep it up.
When he got his class list of supplies, I left it up to him to decide how to organize himself. We let the teachers in middle school dictate what type binder, etc to purchase even down to the color. It wasn’t his way. Looseleaf pages were ripping out. It was a disaster. NOTE: As typical with the oldest child, he is my trial and error subject! I now know better for my daughter. I bought what we thought was best for her supplies and this year, I am leaving it up to my son to decide what works best for him. He is appreciative of it. You can tell in his attitude and demeanor that he sees I am treating him like an adult. I know he isn’t. He knows he isn’t. But I am encouraging him to take charge of his life. And you know what? Dan knows Dan best. And I trust him. It seems to be working. He is even coming to me for help with his HW. He is back to trusting me as well. He knows I will not steer him wrong. We are bonding once again.
My husband on the other hand is still bringing up his past mistakes, almost waiting for him to fail this year. All I can do is be there for my son, cheering him on by being a positive force in his life. I need to do a lot of work. I need to do a lot of talking and communicating with him. I stressed to him, that I am not able to know when things are not going smoothly for him, he needs to let me in on things. I told him it is his responsibility to let me know when he runs out of supplies. I will go to the store and purchase it. The key is working together and trusting one another. I hope my husband decides to join us. But somehow I think this balance is working out. My husband stresses the “we won’t take any nonsense attitude” while I stress the “I know you will do what is best for you and I am trusting you” attitude.
We have threats and guilt on our side. I am praying he has no choice but to make the right decisions! If he rebels against dad, he will disappoint mom, and if he doesn’t live up to expectations (not extremely out of range) he has dad to deal with. I say that is a good balance for kids. But what do I know! All I do know is I am very proud of what my son is becoming – a fine young man.
I love you, Dan. XOXOX