Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The thing about school

Several things I've noted about how school has affected my children. Most notably Ayden, because he's first in line and because he is so transparent. First of all, I noticed how at the beginning of kindergarten Ayden was wide open with his emotional expressions. WIDE open. By the end of kindergarten he had somehow gotten the message that boys don't cry, and he holds it in more. He will still cry at home, but if we are anywhere in public and he falls and hurts himself, he will not cry.
I feel bad about him having to learn to stuff his emotions just to get on in the world. It really is sad. But on the other hand, he had to learn it somehow. Otherwise he'll get picked on, you know? A weepy boy could have a really tough time in high school! Or on a soccer team or the swim team or what have you.
Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with tears.

Another thing is really more how school affects me. I miss Ayden. A lot. He is gone from 8:40 until 2:30 every day, five days a week, and I MISS HIM. Once we get home he usually needs some time to decompress, and then it's time for me to make supper, and then feed them, and then get them ready for bed. I miss having Ayden around more. He seems okay with being at school all day, and I'm careful to make sure we connect every day so he doesn't feel emotional distance between us, but it hurts ME to have him go. And if he goes to a friend's house after school, forget it!! I don't see him at all!!
I guess parenting is a slow process towards total autonomy, so every step along the way where he is more independent, I'm going to feel it. But it IS the goal. It sure hurts.

A third thing is the friend thing. I really like all of Ayden's friends, but not all of them have the best HOMES. I don't mean families. They all have nice parents and siblings and stuff. But sometimes other kids have every electronic distraction known to man, so if Ayden goes to their house to play, it is a continuous stream of Wii, Nintendo, computer games, and TreeHouse. We don't have any game system, the kids spend about one hour per year on the computer, and we have strict limits regarding TV time. Ayden comes home from these kids' houses supremely overstimulated and under exercised. Not that we exercise him at home, but his play is very physical and involves lots of gross motor movement! He's usually quite cranky after a couple of hours of Wii and TV.
Another thing is some kids play with violent or sophisticated war toys or games, and our kids are not exposed to that type of play at home.
Another thing is that the mom of one of Ayden's friends is supremely lax about car seat safety. She once drove with Ayden in a regular seat belt because she had no booster seat for him. So. Not. Cool. And she smokes in the house. She's a good mom and her kids are VERY nice kids. But it makes me nervous, you know what I mean? I try and invite this kid to our house so that we can minimize the damage, but this child wants more playdates than I'm used to; several times a week Ayden is invited to his house. I can't keep up. Plus, Ayden protests inviting this child to our house because we don't have cool toys or Wii. Not that Ayden's protests should drive our choices in any shape or form, but when Ayden protests, he PROTESTS, and it is a long protracted negotiation with much yelling and screaming and irrational logic and convoluted negotiating. I can hold my own, but it is exhausting and I like to avoid it when I can. Admonishments that playdates will not occur if protestations occur are ineffective. Ayden can scream and cry and say he hates me (not in so many words) for over half an hour, particularly after he has kept his emotions (and his pee) pent up all day long at school.

So tough.

Matthew hasn't run into these problems yet. He still cries like he's dying if he gets hurt, public or not. But there is always a kid at school who picks on him. A different kid all the time, but always somebody. I think he is SUPER sensitive. He will dwell on comments and interactions that other kids would forget about, and has a hard time if he feels like someone is not accepting him. He also often says that kids who are new to his class tease him, and I wonder if he just has a hard time with change in some contexts? Like, the new kid doesn't pick on you EVERY TIME. And sometimes people just don't want to play, or they are trying to be funny, or they are simply not paying attention to what you are saying. It's not always teasing, or reason to get all convoluted and squirrely.
It's tough on my heart that he is so sensitive. I just want to build a concrete fortress around his heart and keep everybody else OUT.
That looks real good when you are a teenage boy. Your mom running around protecting your feelings all the time :P

So, school. Some good, some bad. One way to learn to engage with the world, I guess!

I'm also putting Ayden and Matthew on the wait list for the daycare in their school, in case I get into midwifery school this fall. I won't need daycare next year, but the year after I will. I also need to hunt around for a daycare for Riley, because the one at school is not licensed for kids under 5. Fortunately we won't need them to be in daycare full time, just the days Brent works AND I go to school at the same time. We would need daycare less than 50% of the time.
Why am I doing this again? :(((( I already miss my kiddos! Add school....
But subtract work, because I will quit my job with BC Ambulance when I start school.
Life is tough sometimes!

Oh, and the pacifier is almost gone. We have been through three nights of no soother, three days of no soother, and one evening when I was at school where Brent DID have to bust out the soother for a half hour at bedtime. Half an hour in three days is great! We're almost there!


Louise Chapman said...

I was just saying to Gary yesterday how tough it will be when Kai goes to school and he sees his teacher more than me!

It's hard to see interactions where your kids are the last preschool party day, Kai sat next to two girls and they said, `Leave us alone, we don't want to sit with you'. They got up and left, and he just followed them:) I talked to him about it afterwards, but it's going to be hard when I don't know what the interactions are during the day (unless he tells me and he doesn't usually tell me what happens).

Finally, we are also very `uncool'. We do not have a Wii or anything of the sort. We have a smallish, non flat screen tv. However, we go outside and so far, that's cool with my kids:)

ms emili louann said...

maaaaaan, i don't know if i'll be strong enough to say goodbye when that first day of school rolls around...!

and yeah, i get nervous about other children and my children - i just want everyone to get along, no pushing or grabbing toys away, i don't want my boys to be asocial, and... yadda yadda yadda. so much to worry about as a parent, i am finding!

lori lls said...

I'm already dreading the day that someone makes fun of Zoralee. I am not a violent person in the least bit, but thinking about someone bullying my baby, even if it's another child, wowwwww. My blood gets a-boilin.'

In the Montessori school where I subbed, they encouraged immediate communication between the kids. I.e.; whomever had been bullied was to neither tattle to an adult nor to hold it inside, but to tell the perpetrator how they were hurt by the action. I saw it work a couple of times, but in 3 - 5 year olds, you're mostly just laying the groundwork. I'd be anxious to know if that's an effective approach in elementary-aged school kids.

lori lls said...

And I am sad for you missing Ayden. Real sad. That stinks a major pile of poo.

I think it's 100% fine that you don't have a Wii or a bunch of electronic crud. Your kids will thank you for it later when they are among the few, the proud, and the brave who don't have Nature Deficit Disorder.

tamie said...

Why do people become parents?!???!!! Just kidding. But wow, it sounds like major heartbreak 3/4 of the time!

It sure does seem like everyone wrestles with these same issues. What do you think about unschooling?

tamie said...

Also, I thumbs up Lori's second comment. I'm so sorry you miss Ayden. That is real hard.

amy frances said...

You guys are really good moms.