Monday, March 31, 2008

I want SO MUCH to be a good mother

This downturn that my mind and heart have taken recently is a little different. At least I like to think so. It isn't about me, well not directly. It is relational to me in that it is about BOY and whether we're making the right choices for him and if we are not...well, you know where that leads. Nowhere good. It's that "wanting the best for your children" thing. And caring tremendously about the outcome. Not because it reflects back on you, sure there is always a little of that I suppose, but because you want your child to be happy.

I want SO MUCH to be a good mother. That is important to me. My heart aches with doubt as to whether we are making the right decision to keep BOY at his preschool. Yet in taking tours at other preschools and spending the time really tuning in to BOY, I think we are realizing that he does need a balance - perhaps we all do ...of play and structure. BOY's anxiety appears reduced since we changed to only 1/2 days, but his impulse control is worse and he is zinging and bouncing off the walls at times - and, challenging us at every turn. It is incredibly exhausting. He's 4, some of this behavior is probably just that. However, the humming that you can almost see under his skin is telling. It may not be anxiety now, yet it is a sign of stress. He is happy most of the time and talks about wanting to do full days again, but we are taking things slowly.

His Sunday school teacher said something interesting yesterday - and I'm paraphrasing, but the gist was this: BOY is not like the kid who has to be in constant motion, who can't sit still. He can sit still for a good amount of time - 20+ minutes at the small table for the lesson when he is engaged. He IS the kid who suddenly gets distracted by something else and the trick is to find a way of engaging him and getting him back to the table. We need to figure out how to do that. (The Sunday school teachers are awesome and BOY really enjoys the time there. It has felt good to get another viewpoint with insights and ideas of what might be good for him in a preschool/daycare setting.)

Because BOY has difficulty focusing on things that he is not interested in, he needs the practice of engaging in those things for short periods of time. The challenge is in finding that chemistry in the preschool setting so that he can practice for Kindergarten -without feeling pressure. Up until the last few months, BOY's school has been a place that I have felt good about. I am still holding out hope that there will be a positive shift on the part of the teachers and their grasp of his learning style, in BOY's growth and also in my maturing as a parent.

We met with the Director of the daycare and another one of BOY's teachers on Friday. The meeting was rather underwhelming in non information about how BOY is doing. "We've just been focusing on making him comfortable." And that's all they would give us... But, a positive outcome was that they are having someone from the outside come in and evaluate the classroom, evaluate how BOY is doing in the classroom, and help the teachers come up with a plan to incorporate ALL the children in their different learning styles. Hopefully, a different approach and recognition that every child has individual needs, and how to work with that in a group setting.

I continue to interview and tour other programs, but the way things seem to be unfolding it feels like we are meant to stick it out longer at the present school. With all of that said, none of this has prevented me from applying elsewhere, putting ourselves on the waiting list and hoping that someday soon it will all become clear. Just in case I need to send up an emergency flare or two...


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16 comments:

Kalynne Pudner said...

With all nine of my kids -- every last one, without exception -- four was the WORST AGE until 13. Talk about the "Terrible Twos"...bah! I can't give you an explanation, despite my penchant for theorizing. It's tough, it's heartrending...but it will pass. I promise. And it's not you being a less-than-good mother.

In the retrospect from teenage hell, my advice (not that you asked) would be to do whatever he wants, as long as it doesn't torture you logistically. It's only preschool! Preschool is about associating learning with positive vibes. And avoiding abuse. That's all.

In the retrospect from teenage hell, we put so much on our oldest when he was four. He seemed so mature, compared to the 3yo, 2yo and newborn siblings! Now he has so many self-imposed uber-responsibility issues, and I can't escape the suspicion that it's our fault. I wish I could go back, and let him do his 4yo thing with play-doh and sandboxes and naps and Barney and whatever he wanted to do.

I'm sympathetic, really. But part of me wants to propose a trade of your BOY for my Trooper-Racer. Do ya think?

jennifer h said...

Well, it seems you need to hear this: You ARE a good mother. Any child with parents who are so tuned in to his needs is a lucky child. Honestly, although this is an important decision in your life right now, what I know is that as long as you are so attentive to those needs, he will be fine. No matter where he is, or at what school. You'll be on it. Whatever the need is, or wherever his nature tells you he should be. You'll see it, and you will act.

And now I want to come back in my next life as your child. Seriously.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Kalynne has some wise things to say. Sometimes we get a little caught up and build things up in our minds when it comes to our kids. We feel that everything is doom and gloom if x or y doesn't happen. It never is.

He's going to be fine. He's got a great family, and that's whats most important in his life.

I don't want to trivialize your concerns, just to say it really is going to be okay.

Jen said...

The fact that you are agonizing over this so much tells me that you are a GREAT mom. Being a mom is so hard, but all we can do is our best. Everyone will make mistakes, but our kids will be fine. The time WE spend with them is the most important, and making that quality time, in my opinion.

HRH said...

Four is really hard. I am dealing with weird 4 right now too. I liked the description of "humming under the skin" which is so right. They are ready for anything. Or ready to resist anything. Or ready for nothing. Or ready to resist nothing. Keeping him engaged in things he loves now is a great help. Keeping him engaged in things that don't interest him is an acquired skill much beyond most boys. In fact, I still don't have much of that skill myself. You are doing great. You are figuring it out. He is in good hands.

Beachmom said...

#1 - I think you can put your concern about being a "good mom" on the back burner!!! As everyone here has said, simply being so in-tune with your son makes you a GREAT mom ... if only all children could be as fortunate.

Only through being so in-tuned with your son can you understand where he is, where he is going and where he needs to be. I ache for you as I have been where you are (well, in the area, since no one can be in exactly the same spot) - and learned all about "readiness" and being patient. When I look through my written journals (before I blogged) sometimes I don't recognize the writings about our oldest son. He came through the tough age you are surviving ... he is a great student (has some organization issues we are working on), is a great friend and social and honestly, I never thought we would get here.

Prayer and meditation was one of my saving graces back then ... obviously I need to re-introduce them back into my daily living!!:-)

Madge said...

you are a good mother -- just the fact that you are going to all this trouble to figure out the best place for him says so. i understand. it's excruciating trying to guide them in the right direction and find the right place for them. i think 99% of the time we feel inadequate at it, even though we are much better at it then we think we are.

THE MOM BOMB said...

You're a mother who's trying to do what's best for her kid during a challenging time for him . . . in other words, a good mother!

That Sunday school teacher described what school should be like for a four year old: short periods of focus, followed by play. For God's sake, they're 4!!!!

The standards and expectations for small children have gotten way too high. PLEASE DON'T SWEAT IT -- I did, and I hate to see others waste energy. Like others, I don't want to trivialize your concerns -- just keep perspective by remembering what preschool and kindergarten used to be like.

Domestically Challenged said...

You and Boy are fine...
....he is just -

a - a boy
b - four years old (scary stage)
c - intelligent
d - bored after the magic 15 boy minutes

(over here it is accepted that boys can only concentrate for 15 on one thing - after which time, forget it. This is why single sex education can be better - it can be done in small bursts of info.)

Don't worry....soon he'll be five, and all will improve!

Manic Mommy said...

Several thoughts:

Five does get easier.

I was obsessing over kindergarten or some other life event and a wise friend reminded me that most parents are just 'good enough.' If we're that concerned, then chances are our kids will be all the better for it.

Montessori kept popping into my head as I read this post. Have you looked into it as an option?

Around here, we call it 'vibrating' or 'levitating' and yeah, they do that.

MamaGeek said...

Repeat after me my friend. YOU ARE A GOOD Mother. A REALLY good Mother. I'm certain when my BOY gets to this stage I'll fret the exact same way and you'll be comforting me with your divine wisdom have survived and learned. :)

liv said...

you're a terrific mom. there can be no doubt. it is undeniable.

Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

4 is an age of separation. Our children are reaching for a bit more independence and it makes for some difficult parenting. You will find similar experiences with 13 and 17.
That said, 4 (and 5 and 6 and 7) for boys is sometimes very young for schooly situations. There are a great number of (especially) boys who are just not developmentally ready for school, or even academics that young.
You are such a good mom to be so concerned. I wouldn't worry, you are doing everything you can think of for your son. And if the situation does not work, you can always change it or bring him home for a while. Keep listening to your heart. and your boy.
My favorite thought on parenting is that I do my best and let God cover over the rest. It is all you can do.

Mrs. G. said...

I would handle this exactly as you have-with a firm hand and kind heart. Your boy is LUCKY to have a mom who is looking out for him so lovingly. Every boy should have such a devoted mum.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

The fact that you worry, fret, and consider it as much as you have, in part, makes you a great mother!

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