C & S Mommy

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I am supposed to be thankful and all I can feel is stressed…

This time of year, at least from my understanding, is supposed to be a time to reflect on all the things that we are thankful for. I am all about reflection and feeling thankful for that matter. I love this time of year when I can sit down and really think about the people and things I am grateful to have in my life. It makes me even happier when I catch myself saying something out loud about being grateful and nobody looks at me with fear flashing in their eyes thinking I am next going to take out my bible to start thumping. However, this year all I feel is stress. There have been so many sad things happening around me. My friend’s mom has cancer, my other friend’s dad is in the hospital not in good shape, some other personal stuff with me and with my family members. I just feel like it is all too much to handle. I want to be thankful for the fact that I have friends to worry about and family to be around but all I can think is AAAAAAHHHHHHHAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! I feel selfish. Like I want to fix things for other people so I can get back to reflecting on my life. Isn’t that the dumbest thing?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Doubt Comes Marching In...

Keith, Cecilia, and I went to see the school on Monday. It was everything we hoped for and then again it wasn’t. The fact that the school didn’t measure up is not the fault of the school or the faculty the blame completely lies on me. Inside my head lives the ideal school I would send my children to. It has the perfect combination of discipline and disorder. It would allow children to be children yet foster the desire to “grow up” but not be “grown up.” There, Cecilia, and eventually Sophia, would be in an environment where she could be herself and learn all the necessary things required for life. In my head, the parents would be involved but not too involved. They would be friendly but not cliquy and we would all have our “place” within the school dynamic. It’s a lovely place in my head, really. I am, however, rooted in reality (at least about this) and I know that school doesn’t actually exist. Not to say there aren’t good schools out there but when trying to decide if I am going to uproot Cecilia from all that is familiar and comfortable the school has to be better than good. So these are the questions I am dealing with now:

Will the change be too much for Cecilia to handle?
Will she be too far behind and unable to catch up with the other kids?
Do I really want to trap Sophia in the car for a total of two hours a day trekking back and forth from the school when Cecilia’s current school is right down the block?
Is the problem I have with Cecilia’s progress the school’s fault or mine and Keith’s for not working more often with her as far as practicing her writing, etc?
Am I being too critical because of my personal feelings about the other parents and the director?
Will changing schools accomplish what we hope with her academic progress as well as her attitude?
If we change schools and she can’t catch up and doesn’t adjust well, what do we do then?

Keith and I have decided not to make any final decisions until we get Cecilia’s evaluation from her present school next week. Until then I guess I will just keep stressing. Having to be responsible for another human being really sucks sometimes.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Changing Schools

Keith and I have decided that we are more than likely going to change Cecilia’s school after Thanksgiving. It isn’t one thing that has brought us to this decision but a lot of things that kind of all came together this week. Of course, the fact that I don’t really like any of the other mothers was a factor but not the deciding one. However, I can say without self-consciousness that I will be so relieved not to hear “good morning, Cecilia’s mommy” in a high pitched sing-songy voice that is worse than nails across a chalkboard ever again. The more “real” reasons are that I have had kind of an uneasy feeling about this school year since it started. I have gotten the feeling, based on several remarks made by both her teachers, that Cecilia’s reputation from last year has followed her to this year and that she is not being “forgiven” for some of her behavior last year. I know that it is normal for teachers to discuss key factors about their students to the teachers they are moving on to but anyone who is familiar with children knows that there is a huge difference between a child that is 3 going on 4 and a child that is 4 going on 5. That said, I don’t think it is necessary to make comparisons of Cecilia’s behavior from last year to this year (even if some of it is “similar” in one person’s opinion). She should be able to start the year with a clean slate and allow time to determine how she is going to be “labeled.” Besides, I see the changes in her and I know she has matured since last year and the control she has over her emotions is phenomenal compared to last year. However, she is still five and, I feel, should still behave like a five-year-old child not a five-year-old automaton. I just don’t think that she is being appreciated for the unique person she is. I know I sound like one of those parents who think their child can do no wrong but that is not what I mean when I say she is not being appreciated. Cecilia has certain aspects of her personality that I have not seen in other five-year-old children. For example: Tuesday, Cecilia had her five-year checkup. Unlike a lot of children, Cecilia is totally at ease going to the doctor and is unfazed by any of it. At the beginning of the appointment I am handed a set of papers to fill out to determine her motor skills and whatnot. This one is a little different than her past sheets. Some of the questions are actually questions I have to pose to her and then write down her response. The first question is what do you do when you are hungry? Cecilia is standing in a little paper gown next to me when I ask her what she does when she is hungry. She looks at me for a second then this little smile crosses her face and with a tilt of her head she says, “Um…starve.” The next question is what do you do when you are tired? Cecilia’s response: “Yawn.” Not normal responses but not totally abnormal responses either. But still once again I am amazed by her sense of humor and just the stark honesty of her personality. Something I love so much about her. It is these things about her that I think are going unnoticed in such a big class with a lot of rambunctious children (mostly boys) and a very set opinion that followed her from last year that she is one of those “wild, not able to behave” children. (Just as an aside: I have seen her in action at school and I can honestly say she is not the most wild or out of control in comparison to others. Maybe she was having a good day that particular day but if it is her pattern she had amazing control not to display when I was around). I do have a keen understanding that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to class sizes and as she goes through school her class will be close to 30-35 students but at this stage I think it is important for her uniqueness to be embraced now before she goes into the typical classroom setting where she will be expected to behave like all the other children. Maybe I am wrong about this and maybe we will be lucky and she will get that one special teacher that knows how to treat and teach kids as individuals even if she has 30 kids each with a different temperament and personality. Anyway…as much as I don’t want to be one of those parents that pull their kid out of a bad situation instead of allowing them the experience of dealing with the reality that things don’t always go as planned, I think this is different. She is five and she is relatively happy in this school. I just think she could be getting more out of it. So after much soul searching, list writing, and talking we have made this decision. Is it the right one? We may never really know for sure if, in the overall scheme of things, this is the right thing to do. However, after one very bad preschool experience I am going with my gut on this one. And if I screw her up? Well, I’ll pay for her therapy.