I’ve worked out an entire summer school program for my son. It used to be that he did whatever he wanted, while I did everything else. We played together and stuff, but I wasn’t really teaching him anything except how to play around all the time, and I think that’s where I’ve been going wrong. He’s getting older, and it’s time he starts learning some responsibility. I’m also including him in some of the stuff that I have to do. I’m hoping it will teach him empathy and responsibility, as well as how to do things for himself. He’s already doing much better.
For reading and math he has a summer workbook, everything else is on me. I make sure he gets outside everyday for fresh air and exercise, and I try to catch every teachable moment I can and use every chance to talk to him. He’s understanding me now better than ever before and he really needs to start learning this stuff. He’s pretty far behind, like, he’s going to be in special ed next year. Literally getting bussed to a different school on a short bus in a class with about six or seven of the slowest kids in the entire school district. That’s how epically he’s failed his first year of kindergarten. It’s how epically I’ve failed him as a parent.
I am a pretty relaxed parent. It was the first years of his life. I didn’t want to start putting all this pressure on him right out of the womb, man. I kept it easy and fun, but I may have let things be light and loose and way too easy for too long. It frustrated me because some stupid part of me actually expected a child to pick up the ball and be like, hey, she does an awful lot around here, I should probably pick up my own toys and not scream at five am anymore. Obviously that never happened.
Having doctors and teachers and the principal of his school in constant contact and having to listen to how tough it was for him, and for them, it was a real wakeup call to find out how far out of control and behind all the others he was. We had our own chill vibe, but the kid can’t get along in the real world at all. That’s the problem and it’s entirely my job to fix it – not be his chill vibe buddy. I mean, maybe when he was a helpless little baby and needed a chill vibe buddy to respond to his needs and provide before he could even want, but those days are long ago, man. Long ago.
It’s time to adult the shit out of this.
We’ve just moved apartments and it’s the perfect time for a change. I need to change my image as a parent, and my style with my son. I’m not his maid anymore, and I’m not his slave anymore. I’m not his chill buddy. I’m his mother.
I’ve done up a schedule, it has house rules, my responsibilities, his responsibilities, and what the goals are for the summer. It’s bananas. “Bob” is my top priority and, while it’s too late to change what’s happened, I can at least make sure he has a great start and the best possible chance for being reconnected with his friends and his home school for grade one. Grade one is when shit gets real.
A lot of the stuff “Bob” used to get away with isn’t going to wash anymore. I’m not going to be afraid of him or his meltdowns. He’s starting to understand when I say that we will go home and he’ll be punished and I don’t lie to my son. If I say something is going to happen, it happens. It always has, but I just never really threaten him… until now. It’s actually working. He’s taking me pretty seriously and he’s not too thrilled, but he’s not heartbroken either. He seems to want to learn and have personal attention. He tries to play alone all the time, but when I force him to play with me, after a brief meltdown, he’s pretty chill about it. Sometimes he even wants to keep hanging out after the game/lesson is over which is sweet. He’s so inquisitive and adorable!
So, I guess to end this on a positive and maybe even a hopeful note, I think I’m actually starting to settle into my permanent sort of mom self. Not the baby-slave who answers every cry and is exhausted and longing for only peace and quiet, and maybe a night out or a day at the spa… desperately… where was I going? Yeah, the frantic new mom has fluxed, or is fluxing, into the stable mama-rock. The one who means what she says, has a look that actually works and isn’t laughed at and taunted, and is firm, fair and consistent. I’m still the mom who provides before he can want, but now I’m providing him with education, and independence… in addition to all the other stuff too. I’m making sure he gets everything he needs, not just whatever he may want.
Do I have any regrets?
I regret not moving sooner. This new place is much more suitable and healthy for us and I think the move will definitely play a good part in any improvement we experience. We’ve been here three weeks and already there’s been lots of improvement. My summer school program can only increase the benefits.
I kinda don’t regret being so chill with him for the first bit. If you look at the royal kids, I mean, yeah, they’ve got all the money in the world, but they have to always behave and carry themselves certain way, they can never just be themselves. They present themselves as who they’ve been taught to be, not as who they truly are. They are like plastic people masks. So many people look to them as indicative of what and who to be, but they aren’t even real. It happens to royalty and celebrities on a severe scale, but really, it happens to all of us. It starts in kindergarten, sometimes sooner. We start taking away who they are and telling them who it’s okay to be. We need to do that in order to have civilized society, and I know my son has to learn, same as everyone else, but I wanted to just save him from it for as long as possible. Let him have as much time as I can give him to just be real and natural, human and only himself. I’m really glad I could give him that and I don’t regret it. I regret that it has to be over, but I think he’ll still do really well in the world, despite his unfortunate kindergarten crash and burn… then explode… then burn some more… then fall down cliff and explode again… then smoulder for a while… then burst into epic flames, once again… *sigh* it really was that rough. The bottom line is that we’ve always been tightly bonded and working together seems to only be bringing us closer together. He can trust that I just want him to be happy and learning how to behave, listen, and follow direction at school will definitely make him happier in the long run. When I realized we needed to move asap, I thought that our summer was going to be ruined. I was so devastated, but everything has worked out so well. I kinda think that this may be our best summer yet.