Thursday, February 4, 2010

Is that the best you got?

Some little piece of me is a perfectionist. Ok, maybe a slightly larger chunk than I'd like to admit. Maybe perfection isn't the word - and really, in the life I have right now, perfection would be an improbability - it's just the striving for it. I like to do the best I can at whatever I do. I like the feeling of knowing I did my best and I even like the drive it creates in me when I know I didn't. Growing up I was mortified to get a B and honestly, never got anything lower. All this to say that it's hard to watch a child that doesn't seem to want the best for themselves.

We are still in a rut with DS2. He just doesn't have that fire - about anything. I'm doing a much better job of living with what he calls life...his choices, not mine. I stay out of homework and honestly, I've stopped fighting the school. The hard part of that for me is that I feel like I've stopped fighting for HIM. I know that I'm right about what he needs. I sincerely believe that I know best for my son. And, it's impossible to mesh the two things. Have I given up on him? He's a confusing young man. He is not screwing around during homework time - he truthfully sits at his desk and works...for a LONG time. He gets upset if I tell him homework time is over and he's not done. He wants to finish - but he doesn't seem to want to finish right. Or, a sad thought for me - is that maybe he can't finish right. But, that returns me to the fact that he needs something that the school is not admitting. So, when he brought his homework down tonight (after 2 hours and 15 minutes to do 16 math problems, alphabetize a list of 15 words and answer 2 questions about his 30 minutes of reading), I simply said "did you do the best you could do?"...and he stared at me. No answer.

I looked over the work later and it wasn't good. Then I pondered - would he really waste 2 hours of his life to purposefully do it wrong? And, if he is trying his hardest - how can there not be a learning disability of some kind to make him miss 8 out of 10 problems and leave 6 blank (remember, that amount of work took him over an hour)? I'm at a loss. I hope to see him make something great of himself...I do.

DD has consistently asked to make her hair blonder...for YEARS. I've preached the good line of "you are beautiful like you are" and "you don't want to mess with your hair so young". Then, she had these last 3 weeks. They've been tough for her...I would categorize her as depressed. My heart breaks for the princess and I got the idea to just do it. She and I together could color her hair. I bought the kit - read all the directions - changed my mind about 30 times and then saw her getting off the bus. I was excited! I brought her in with the big TA-DA and showed her what we were going to do. After a minor freak out about getting burned by the solution - she settled in and we spent the next 105 minutes playing hair salon. She laughed, I laughed...we hugged and bonded for that time. She sat still (perhaps the most accomplished part of the evening). The boys got interested in the process and hung around a bit to 'watch' the end, her hair was a bit blonder than I'd planned...but she had a huge grin and couldn't wait to show it off. The joy was worth it. I may have created a monster - one I hope never has purple hair...but for now, we have a real live barbie living in our house (yes, it's THAT blonde)!

DS1 is doing starts in one week and he's excited. His grades are good and he is happy overall. Sometimes I'm amazed he can sustain that in this craziness! end with the best of the week...
DD to me in explanation of why I'm only her second favorite mom (compared to Russian mom)
"Well, you haven't even let me have the tiniest iPod ever made"


  1. I can appreciate your thoughts about DS2. I sometimes think that despite the obvious intelligence that most of our kids have, they struggle with focus and "connecting the dots". Their previous lives being what they are, I've come to believe that their brains are wired differently, making some things more challenging and in fairness, some things easier. (The latter is not always referring to desirable qualities, however) And, as always, emotional things will affect learning, too.

    Our older recently moved into a different kind of school environment and it's made a big difference for her. She's smart and intelligent, but doesn't always think and learn like other kids. The emotional stresses that put her over the top in the regular school environment have dissipated and she enjoys going to school now. She even does homework from time to time without prodding.

    I say this because while I realize that your struggle with the school hasn't been fruitful, it's still worth thinking about. Is DS2 in the right environment? Does he need to learn differently to bring him some joy in both the process and the end-game? We were lucky that the school district was on board with our daughter's need for change, but sometimes when they are not, the parents still need to carry things forward.

  2. I feel for you with the homework. What are your thoughts on what M is doing though. M does really well IN school. At home it is the opposite. She spent all this time doing homework last night and like your son, half of her math was not even completed. She said she was done. I asked her why she didn't do the rest. She said she didn't know. I asked her if she was going to ask me for help. She said no. The other day I asked her why she didn't hand in a letter to her teacher that day. She would not answer. I told her to sit on her bed until she could answer me. 5 hours later she came out and told me the answer. 5 HOURS. When I asked her why she didn't just say the answer to begin with, she said " I don't know." Her answer for everything is IDK. Based on her work at home, I can't understand how she is doing so well in school....but she is.