You should be proud Mom

Just when I think I’ve completely failed as a mother something happens to reassure me I’m not a complete screw up. Yet.

Last week my oldest had parent-teacher conferences. They are student-lead so he had to go with me. His teacher absolutely adores him and I think that helps him in excel in the classroom.

I should probably back up a little bit and explain my hesitance for this conference. Before Christmas break Shaun’s teacher sent home a progress report for the second quarter and he was below grade level for reading as well as handwriting. This frustrated me a little bit because learning came easy for me as a child. I loved to read and write. Shaun, not so much. I decided it was time for him to do a little extra work at home. I printed off a number of sight word practice sheets and decided to let him read to me instead of me reading the nightly bedtime book. It was frustrating at first, but it’s definitely gotten easier.

At his conference his teacher made the comment he was at a ‘G’ reading level and at this point (early March) normal is a ‘J’ level. Not too bad, I thought to myself and breathed a sigh of relief. I made a point to ask about his handwriting because on her report card it hadn’t improved. She was content with where he was at with writing, but I think it still needs work. We’ve slacked off some because of spring break and the time change, but we will get back at it.

The thing that stuck in my head about what she said about my son was he’s nice to everyone and he follows directions. Praise the Lord! I’m happy he’s nice because it’s so hard to be that way with the kind of diversity he has in his classroom. We work at home on following the rules and “doing as he’s told” and it’s admittedly a struggle for both of us. I’m glad some of my frustration is paying off and he’s turning into a good kid.

“You should be proud of him Mom,” his teacher said.

Admittedly, a compliment is a tough pill for me to swallow. When I was running barrels my horse was good. I trained her myself and I knew what she was capable of. It took many, many good runs for me to say thank you when I got a compliment from someone instead of just smile and nod. Now, I need to learn this when it comes to my boys.

My youngest has been going to daycare since January. Within the last few weeks his teachers have started to gush about him and say he’s so much fun. “Life’s never dull when Chance is around.” My normal response is usually, “oh really? You want to take him home?” The Chance I normally get is kind of grumpy, a little whiny and always asking for graham crackers.

I struggle with being a mom. It isn’t something that’s come very easy for me, and now that I’m elbow deep in this mess, I’m not real sure I’d change it. Catch me on a day like Monday when I lost my cool because of the constant pestering and I’d probably trade them off for a nickel. Or catch me on a day like last Sunday when Shaun rode my old brown mare without whining and listened to his mom tell him how to get her to go. Moments like that make me love him a little bit more.

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Be brave little one

In my last post I talked about my oldest son going to preschool. Well, yesterday was the day. Leading up to the day I tried to prepare Shaun the best I could. Giving him examples of what he’d be doing, recognizing his name or stories of what it was like for me or his dad going to school the first time.

Monday morning came. Dad stayed home to go with us to see Shaun’s classroom and the other kids. Shaun, who usually is up before the sun, had to be woken up. He insisted upon jeans, boots and a button-down shirt. I compromised with the boots and gave him a pair of other shoes to wear.

Once at the school, Shaun held both of our hands and I was trying my best to be brave like I’d told Shaun to be, but all Momma wanted to do was cry. He practically drug us into the classroom to see all the toys and stuff he’d seen at the open house. Then it was time for Mom and Dad to go to work. I began to get choked up and could barely talk. Shaun started to cry and I did my best to console him. Then it was Dad’s turn. We told him to go find a spot and sit down to wait on the teacher. I thought it would be a good time to sneak out.

I spent the rest of the morning at work worrying about him and how he was doing. When it was time for the bus to deliver him to the babysitter, I texted her and asked how he was. He was crying. Great.

But when I picked him up from the sitter, he was pretty happy. I quizzed him on the way home about his day. He’d apparently made a “best friend” but couldn’t remember his name, just that he had on an orange shirt. Come to find out he was mad at us because we’d left him and he didn’t get to say goodbye (again.) His dad took him fishing and they spent quite a bit of time together before bedtime.

This morning was much easier on both of us. His “best friend” was crying when Shaun went to sit on the rug. I told him to go cheer him up and I’d see him tonight at the babysitters. Hopefully they both survived the day. We can only go up from here!

Shaun on his first day of preschool, Aug. 24, 2015.

Shaun on his first day of preschool, Aug. 24, 2015.

Hard to believe

My oldest boy starts preschool in about two weeks. Sure, I know he’s four and it’s just preschool, but it’s a big step. Both for mom, dad and son. I have a feeling there will be more big steps for us in the future.

This morning I questioned his babysitter why another little boy hadn’t been at her house. (There’s four boys his age, all born within a few months of one another.) Shaun had been asking about him, I told her. Apparently he was getting ready for preschool as well and moving to a different town and wouldn’t be coming any more. As I walked to the car I was feeling crushed for my son. Made me sad he was going to experience “losing” a friend for the first time.

My sister tried to cheer me up by saying he will meet lots of new friends at preschool, but I can’t help but feel sad. I remember the hurt of my first “real” friend (outside of my sisters or cousins) that moved away when I was in grade school. Much like him I didn’t know and found out later where she had gone, and that I’d probably never see her again.

I hope Shaun can find a few good friends while he’s young going through school. I think it makes learning more fun when you have friends around.

Shaun waiting on the Longhorn cattle drive during Dodge City Days, Aug. 1.

Shaun waiting on the Longhorn cattle drive during Dodge City Days, Aug. 1.