Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Everything Will Work Out In the End. Right?!

I love my kids so much. I do. They are each amazing and talented and clever in their own way. They are each gorgeous and have great hair and beautiful, bountiful eyelashes. :)

So if I love them so much and think they are so great and know, in my heart of hearts, that they are smart boys.... why, for the love of God, is it so incredibly difficult for me to deal with CC's middling grades? I have let it get so far under my skin that I can almost taste the bitterness of my disappointment. I know, on a theoretical level that if I would just stop putting so much pressure on him that it would probably help him develop the self-confidence to put more effort into school. Theoretically. But at the same time, I refuse to let him walk away from his school responsibilities (like studying) without serious repercussions. And this kid would walk away every night if we let him! I am so frustrated and tired of battling with him over homework. I know that there are other things that he would rather be doing. He doesn't need to tell me this every night, does he? I also know that he hates homework, thinks it is stupid, and that I am a mean person for making him do it. He tells me that most nights, too.

Oh, yes, I know that 15 minutes of reading a day can be very upsetting. And, God forbid, another 10 minutes of studying spelling words is enough to kill a 9 year old. It certainly seems to be true, anyway, if the vehemence with which these protestations could me measured.

Sorry to wander into sarcastic territory, but I really am fit to be tied over this whole thing. CC is an absolute charm to be around: he is well-spoken, usually has impeccable manners, has a charming sense of humor and is comfortable with just about anyone. And when I compare social savvy with with the letter I got on Saturday from the school district recommending that he attend summer school. AGAIN. It just makes me see red because he seems so capable of breezing through whatever he puts him mind to.

We had a little heart-to-heart after I got the letter, which, thankfully, I didn't open until after our "date" on Saturday night. (Daddy-007 and the other two sons were out of town with friends.) And we are now in an "attitude readjustment" phase. Studying is going to be enforced every night at 5pm. If there is so much as an "Aaaaaaw, man!" accompanied by a scowl, then TV privileges will be revoked for the following day. Yesterday went well, but we will have to see how this plays out and how well we can stick to it. I could write more, but will continue thoughts on this later in the week. I was a total mess about this yesterday, but am cooling down. It is so complicated to reconcile the expectations and hopes that I have versus the reality of who my child is and what they are capable of or willing to do. It is a lovely sentiment to say that I'll love him no matter what (of course I will!), but that doesn't help me when I've got dinner on the stove, the Animal trying to stir the boiling pot, Destructo howling that he is starving and CC defiantly shouting that he won't do his homework because it's STUPID. *tired smile*

Tomorrow will be another VLOG day. I am teaming up with some other humor bloggers to talk about our Saturday Nights. Mine will be documenting my date with CC, so you'll be able to witness his charm first-hand.


  1. AND I'M THE FIRST ON YOURS!!! WOOOOT!! How's that for in synch, baby? Who's your girl crush now, huh? HUH????!!!

  2. I am already dreading the days when LaLa starts getting real homework.

  3. I just got an email from my best friend in TX, and she was having a melt-down about this same issue . . . and her son is almost 15! I really don't know what the answer is, but is he allowed to do "free" reading for 15 minutes? It sounds like he might enjoy nonfiction books on the subjects (entomological, perhaps?) that interest him.

    Other than that, I'm looking forward to your next VLOG!

  4. Amy...this is what I always tell my son when he starts getting like that...

    "Gilead, remember, when you do anything with a good attitude on your face and a happy feeling in your heart, it will ALWAYS be done with faster! When you do something, anything, with a bad attitude on your face and a sour feeling in your heart, it will take sooo much longer! Now do you want this to be over with faster or not? Because I want this to be over faster, there are a lot of other things I would rather do than sit here and help you study! You think I like doing this? No way! So fix that happy feeling in your heart and put that good attitude on your face!"

    It works.


    I hope it will for you, too.



  5. Good luck with that. We have the same problems here, and I still haven't found the solution. DQ has actually told me she did her homework, only to get a note home saying it wasn't done. Not that she forgot, she just didn't feel like doing it.
    Now DQ is not allowed to watch TV or video game during the week. And if she does good in school for the whole week, we let her watch TV or play Wii on Friday after school. It helps a little. At least she is doing the homework now, since she is not in a hurry to get in front of the TV.

  6. I SO feel your pain. Kudos to you for enforcing good study habits.

    I have been battling the same battle since 1st grade with my son who is now 17. He is failing English. THE class he needs to pass IF he wants to graduate.

    We have tried grounding, yelling, revoking privileges, taking away his truck. NOTHING works. HE has got to WANT to do it and until that happens.. there is NOTHING that I can do.

    His teachers have called me begging for help.. I tell them.. short of driving him to school. holding his hand to each class sitting next to him drilling him to do work (even THAT won't help) it is up to him!

    I've given up the battle.. my husband and I have OUR high school diplomas.. WE had to do the work.. all our parents could do was everything they did.. but it was up to US to do what needed to be done

    Good luck in that battle.. don't let up. Maybe it will work!

  7. I could go on and on about this and have written numerous posts about my ongoing experience about homework, projects & the 5th grade.

    My son has the ability but just can't seem to get it down on paper. Like you, I've gone through every emotion & strategy.

    I don't know what the answer is, but I know an engaging teacher makes a world of difference.

    I've also learned that you can't do the work for them - it has to come from them.


  8. Just relating my experience... my son, also smart and fantastic to be around was hating homework and school last year. They sent the kids home with two workbooks to do over the summer and he pissed and moaned just as much every time we sat down to them.

    I decided to get creative/lazy depending on how you look at it. I didn't want to spend our summer in homework battles and continue what wouldn't change right into the next year. I threw out the summer work books.

    Instead we buy him any book he wants under the condition that he reads it to us. I ask him to read signs and menus. We do math all the time, but reading was our main issue.

    He had a relazing, lazy summer. And went back to school with bells on. Really ready to give it a fresh start.

    I'd suggest working as you must to get him through the school year, but consider an alternative approach for the summer. My son likes to keep a blog. Ha ha! He sees me on mine all the time and asked if he could do one too. What great practice in writing, reading and spelling! He creates all his posts himself, we read it together and he corrects any mistakes. He picks out the pictures. Just an example...

  9. I bet CC grows up to be a teacher!

    I always told my son, if he'd just bother to study, he could be at the top of his class. Sometimes he'd get honors, other times not. Once, in 5th or 6th grade, he came home with a 100 on a science test. "Ya know what, Mom? If you study before a test, you get better grades!" No shit, Sherlock! (I swear, I said exactly that to him.) So Tim graduated sort of in the middle of his class and went on to college. Last year, he earned a 4.0!! His GPA is 3.8 (Summa Cum Laude, baby!) He has one more year of college and he wants to go on to grad school! Amazing what can happen when you make your kids pay their own way through college!

  10. Its exhausting to keep up the consistency isn't it?

    Glad you're feeling better. My nephew got that same letter, for the second time as well.

    You're not alone! As is apparent by the comments.


  11. you are dealing w/ this so healthy... w/ humor and sarcasm.. the alternative is unthinkable... way to go mom!

    and thought be w/ the 9 year old :)

  12. I'm so glad you posted this. We have been at defcon5 with our 11 year old this week as we once again tackle the issue of NOT piling everything she owns onto the floor of her room in 3' drifts of dirty clothes, dirty dishes, clean clothes, yards of fabric (because I want to encourage creativity, right?) jewelry from my jewelry box, candles she is not supposed to have, birdseed, beads, sequins, cut up peices paper with obscure glyphs that she says represent the ancient codexes of her atlantean tribe...one of her finches spent the night flying around her room unbeknownst to me, so probably birdshit too.
    We have been struggling for so long with our own mental health issues that we have totally failed at consistency and boundaries and the most horrible thing about the misery of righting the situation is that its OUR FAULT.

    So in gratitude for letting me see what you are struggling with (shit, I'm actually tearing up. Something sure hit a nerve) let me reassure you: Your son is intelligent. He knows how to read. You are doiing all the right things, and even when you don't, and even if he says he hates you, he knows that you love him.
    It will be okay.

  13. Oh, I am with you on this. Number One Son is driving us crazy over homework in Grade 5 and he doesn't even have all that much. When he asked what would happen if he failed we said he'd have to give up sports which gave him something to think about. Of course, if he isn't running off all that energy it will be even harder to get him to sit down and study. BOYS.

  14. I don't have any advice, but you hang in there!

  15. We tweeted on this one. So I will not review that session. Enforcing good study habits is so helpful and maybe incentivsing for great results.Keep your chin up, you're a wonderful Mom.

  16. Maybe you should talk to his teacher. There could be something going on that you don't know about. Best of luck to you on this one but you are a great mom. I'm sure this will all work out.

  17. I thnnk my lucky stars that battles over homework and grades are about the only thing I HAVEN'T experienced with my daughters.

    If he ever gets caught smoking or drinking in a few years, give me a call. . . but for now, I got nothing for you, dear Amy.

  18. This is a tough one. I think one of the hardest parts of parenting is not taking it so damn personally when our kids turn out differently than us, or at least differently than we expected. And, unfortunately, it's a lesson we're forced to learn over and over and over again. Which totally sucks.

    In the end, you do your best. You love them, and you pay attention. It's all you can do.

    (and your boys DO have amazing eyelashes.)

  19. The homework issue is tough.

    We have a homework time from 4:30 to 6 every day during the week, and then more time after dinner if it's not done. No tv, no nothing. If they have no homework, they read quietly, or study something (i.e. future test).

    It's the only way it works for us. They don't argue, they just do it. Period.

    Hope you find what works. It is really really hard to go through it, like you said, when your kids turn out differently.

  20. "It is so complicated to reconcile the expectations and hopes that I have versus the reality of who my child is and what they are capable of or willing to do."

    My two daughters are in their 20s and this is something I still struggle with. When they (OK, really the younger college-student daughter but I'm trying not to single anybody out) make choices I think are less than their best, it's as painful now to me as it was when they were in elementary school. This doesn't help you, I know. I guess my point is that whenever you learn how to deal with this, please pass along the secret!!!

  21. Hang in there. That sounds frustrating.

    Can't wait to see your vlog.

  22. omg I think we have long lost twins as children ... this is my son exactly! I have resorted to bribery for his happiness LOL some days it actually works. I use to be a no tv or wii during the week mom, but i have resorted to allowing it after homework and practice because gosh darnit that stuff gets done so quickly with such a good attitude you'd never believe it! And most days it means a total of about 10 minutes because of sports or lessons etc that we have to get to. ugh i'm dreading high school

  23. I relate very much to this. I am so compulsive and aim for perfection and yet i was a horrible student and just hated being there. I have a bit of the ADD going on and yet I want my kid to do better than I did but I wonder if she inherited that short attention span from me and do I ask her to do more than I could/ would?

    Tough call. Parenting can really suck at times

  24. Bribe's bribe's, bribe's, What if he stayed at school to do his homework with his teacher? Before or after?

  25. As I was reading through this post, your words really pulled at my heartstrings....especially *tired smile*. I know that feeling well. Being a Mom continually kicks you in the ass, but the important part is that we survive to fight another day.

    And that is exactly what you are doing.

    Oh, and what's this? Teaming what with other humor bloggers to vlog? I love it. We really did create an addict. Can't wait to see you on video again.


  26. I was just like him. Years later, after I was in college AWAY from my parents, I graduated with honors. My parents were dumbfounded. First of all, I'm right brained and right brained people cannot do science, math, music. left brain kids excel at that stuff. I've said it for years, they teach the wrong things to the wrong kids. We are ALL so different.


Thoughts appreciated. Advice welcome. Douche-baggery scoffed at then deleted.