September 12, 2008


Many of you close to me know I tend to over-analyze and worry about things excessively. Mostly I'm pretty easy going and things like un-brushed hair on a seven year old boy, or a dirty car, or dishes in the sink, or messy bedrooms are no big deal to me. I try not to dwell on the mundane. I stress mostly over social situations, more specific, the social situation of my children. Will they fit in? Will they get in trouble a lot? Will they be able to be heard and understood? Will they make friends? Will they be bullied? Will they be THE bully?

This past week has shown me all will be okay if I'm patient. My three offspring are incredible little people and I am so proud of their abilities to be kind-hearted, smart, funny and well balanced human beings.

Let me fill you in on my oldest. My gregarious, precocious son got himself in a wee bit of trouble through out his kindergarten year. All in all, he was just too much for a younger, less experienced teacher (in her second year, also going to school herself) to deal with. Her patience with him was short on most days. In her defense, I completely understand how easy it is to become exhausted from Wonder Boy's constant quest for information and entertainment. Our (her and my)exchanges with each other were often uncomfortable and seemed to never accomplish anything. I was upset how she dealt with WB and felt if she could, if she would, take a different approach with him, they would be able to communicate better and form a successful relationship. This of course would put her on a fast route to defense land and she would say things like "Well, in MY classroom . . . . . " Which would return make me angry and frustrated because although, yes she is the teacher, it is not just HER classroom, but rather it is a room full of twenty some little people. If she created a community pooling the children's strengths instead of the of the "You! Students! Me! Teacher!" approach, she would quickly see how easy it would be for everyone to be happy and successful. She'll have many, many Wonder Boys walk through her doors and the sooner she figures out how to change her approach the better off she'll be and happier not only her, but all the other little Wonder Boys will be too.

Anyway, I digress. Short story: kindergarten teacher assigned Wonder Boy to first grade teacher with an unflattering reputation. So of course I worried. And worried. And WORRIED! And waited for that first email or phone call about something "bad" happening.

This week we have had little notes and comments come through but to my GIANT relief they have been positive. And not just the little "oh he's so cute" but really specific great things like "Did you know Wonder Boy is my Technology Assistant and Comedy Side-Kick?" SIGH!!! She gets him. Ms. 11 years of experience teaching first grade, really, truly gets him. And I have instantly fallen in love with her. I know his year will be 100% better and I am so grateful. I can't help but think about the movie scene in Fried Green Tomatoes when Kathy Bates is driving around a very crowded parking lot and waits patiently for a very old lady to pull out of spot. And just as she is about to pull in, a young gal steals the spot. As she gets out of her car she calls out to Kathy Bates something like "I'm younger and faster". Kathy Bates then takes her car and rams into the young gals little, cute car repeatedly. To the young girls horrified look, Kathy Bates replies "I'm older and have more insurance!" Ms. First Grade is wiser and has more experience. And that reputation? Couldn't be further from the truth.

On to my second. The Divine Miss O takes speech once a week and she struggles a little with being understood and communicating her needs and desires. This sometimes keeps her very quiet and shy with new people and new kids. Her preschool was very loving, and very messy, and very easy for her to be included without worrying about her speech. Sadly after two years, she has become old enough to move on and she is now in a program that although is called pre-kindergarten, the curriculum standards are set very high and in class they work at a kindergarten and first grade level. Knowing the above, why did I decide to enroll Miss O in this school you might ask? Well, because I love this school! I can't say enough great things about it. When I first walked into it looking for Wonder Boy three years ago, I knew my children HAD to go there and I would make it so however I could. Wonder Boy attended for two years and now Miss O is there and Baby Love will most likely take her turn too. But naturally I worried Miss O might have difficulty making friends and communicating with her teachers. However, O has a light about her that is just too bright to deny and many little girls have taken to basking in the warmth of her glow. Just this week, several moms have approached me all saying the same thing "My daughter LOVES Miss O!" or "My daughter talks about Miss O ALL the time!" Which makes me feel wonderful about how O is doing in class. She is able to raise up above her difficulties and shine regardless. She inspires me so. Although when I talk to her about the friends she is making and she unable to tell me who they are or what their names are, I know she is doing great and will be just fine. She is simply divine!

Now my third. Having the big kids in school has proven to be a really special time for Baby Love and me. Spending alone time together has been a way for me to really get to know my two and half year old as a little person separately from her brother and sister. She is spunky and talkative and smart and independent and really funny. She is a mix of her older siblings but with a twist. A dynamo! She brightens my day and makes me laugh. In moments of despair and exhaustion, my mom teasing me about having to have three kids. But in the end, I couldn't imagine my life without anyone of them. Sure, life would be simpler for sure but not as fulfilling I suspect. Plus Baby Love is somewhat of a miracle baby because of the circumstances with J. If we hadn't have decided to bring her into our lives, it is very likely we would have discovered J's diagnoses too late.

So you see, for the past two weeks I have been holding my breath waiting for bad news from first grade and worrying about pre-k but today I realized it's all okay and it will be all okay. My kids are fantastic people. I'm able to exhale.

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