Public Parenting

The other day when we were leaving the house I saw a mom with a baby on a bike seat and an older boy riding his own bike. The boy looked like he was refusing to cross our little side street and the mom had that look of frustration. You know. THAT look.

What struck me about the scene was how honest it was because too often I don’t see that. We’ve been spending many mornings in parks lately and I find myself participating in what I call “public parenting.” I will be EXTRA patient and explain every little motivation I have for doing what we’re doing and I see other moms do it too. Like our three-year olds care why we have to leave the park or why they should stop throwing sand. I feel like we’re performing for each other. I state these long explanations, almost like I’m explaining to other moms why I’m doing what I’m doing. Why do we do this? Has parenting (Oh, how I hate that word!) become a performance art?

Husband is giving me a little break this morning and is taking Z. swimming. I’m prepping food to take to the beach since it’s going to be so hot the next two days. I roasted some beets I got at the farmer’s market and made a spicy pasta salad. My fingers hurt a little from the poblanos! Looking forward to hanging on the beach the next couple of days.

If it’s not too early, have a lovely weekend!

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Grading, Grading, Grading

It’s near the end of the term here so as you can guess, I have a stack of grading to do. As I write down my 73%s and maybe an 85%, I feel a little sad inside. Grading a group of special education students is difficult, because how do you grade them? Especially with writing when they ALL have some sort of disability that makes writing hard for them. Do I grade them against their best work, what I know they can do? Do I grade the kids who strive to be in a regular ELA class against regular education kids so they know what they’re up against?

It’s tricky because if I grade too hard, they lose confidence. However, if I grade too easily, they become complacent. I would prefer not to grade at all and just write more extensive comments but they strive for that number, that measurement. And sometimes the kid who does no work, makes no effort really needs to see that F. I think often special education students expect to be pulled through, to pass, even if they are not willing to put in the effort. I often tell parents I can’t modify your kid’s work until I see what he can do. And right now he’s not doing anything. How do you modify nothing?

Tonight was one of those nights I’m not proud of. Z is phasing out of his nap and hasn’t napped for three days. Although I miss the time, bedtime has been quicker and he’s slept better at night and a little later in the morning. Today at daycare, he napped and had a great day but came home and was whining and complaining nonstop. He would not take no for an answer but would just ask for the same thing over and over again like a broken record. Finally when he was watching his nightly video and complaining about THAT, I lost it. I said no movie, go to bed. Not my most mindful moments. What toddler takes no for an answer and I should know it’s hard to hold it together all day. Of course, he’s going to lose it a little bit at home. But there’s something about listening to middle schoolers (and sometimes other teachers!) complain all day and then have to listen to it at home too that can wear on you after a while.

We went to his room and after a little crying and fussing and a goodnight talk from Papa, he surprisingly turned it around and we had a lovely time reading stories and singing songs together. When I left the room, I heard the pitter-patter of feet and some chatting, but now it’s quiet and I’ll go shut the door soon. I think he was begging for me to put him to bed.

Now for knitting mittens and Modern Family and early bed. I hope!

Mindful Moment

This morning was one of those rushed, get out the door type of mornings. Last night I went to a Mindful Schools seminar. The presenter mentioned that when a toddler has a tantrum, often we try to change the feeling. (Wanna cookie?) He suggested acknowledging the feeling and not trying to change it. It totally worked!

This morning Z. (my son) freaked out and was starting to tantrum because the balloon he had gotten the day before had run out of helium and so it wouldn’t float to the ceiling. I asked him if he was sad and if he wanted to feel sad together. He said yes and we sat and felt sad for about 10 seconds and then he said he wanted to go brush his teeth which is what I had been trying to get him to do anyway! It worked really well.

Of course we had another tantrum right before he left because he wanted “bookies”. No idea what that is. This was combined with my husband trying to rush us out the door. Hence, meltdown!