Family 2015

Family 2015

Monday, April 29, 2013

Life Lessons, but Not the Normal Ones...

So, this morning I discovered that Carter has to make an invention and a display board for the Young Inventor's fair.  If you don't know what that is, think science fair on steroids.

The problem is, it is due Thursday.  Thursday.  As in 3 days from today.

"How long have you known about this??!!"  I ask him.  "For a while, Mom.  But, I thought it was only the 4th graders that had to do it." He is in a multi-age 3rd and 4th grade class and they do often have different assignments, so that's not as ridiculous of an answer as it sounds.  I glance over at him and realize he's crying.    "How am I going to get that done, Mom??  I'm freaking out!"

Me too, buddy.

There are 2 (or a million) schools of thought on how I should handle this situation.  I'm sure some of you are thinking something along the lines of , "that boy needs to learn responsibility!  He dropped the ball, he wasn't paying close enough attention and the best thing is for you to just let him fail!"  Geez, I'm glad you're not my Mom...

Others might say, "He's lying.  He knew about it all along and he is just pulling out the tears to get you to do all the work.  He sure has the wool pulled over your eyes."  You, my friend, don't know my son.  At his last school he earned the nickname "Carter the Confessor."  That boy cannot lie to save his life, he tattles on himself all the time.  Sometimes I just want to say to him, "Dude.  I didn't know about that.  If you hadn't said anything, you would have gotten away with it." (for the record, I don't).

There would probably be very few people who would tell me to do what I'm going to do which is to spend the next 3 nights helping him invent something, build it, and make a display board for it.  But, that's what I'm going to do.

Not because I'm too afraid to let him fail.

Not because he has me snowed.

Not because I really care if he gets a bad grade in 3rd grade science.

I'm doing it because I know him.  Because I know that he really did misunderstand the teacher's directions.  Because HE will be devastated if he gets a bad grade in 3rd grade science.  Because I have made mistakes before (much bigger ones than this!) and I know what it feels like when someone not only forgives you, but helps you clean up the mess.

So, anyone have any ideas of something we could invent??


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Of Broken Fingers and Spring Break.

This past week, for the first time ever, all of the planets aligned, and we actually left Flint for spring break.  All of our kids are old enough now that traveling is actually enjoyable and let me tell you the scenery between here and Virginia is breath-taking.  The quiet hours in the car (yes, we had many!) were pretty therapeutic for me and the sunny, sunny days and warm weather - awesome.

We did have one mishap, and it happened before we left, we just didn't know it.  The day after we arrived in Virginia, I was in the bedroom with Pierce and he knocked his hand on the dresser.  He immediately melted down like his hand had just been crushed under a car.  I was puzzled because he didn't hit it that hard, but when I looked at his hand, I realized the pinky on his right hand was swollen to twice the size of his other one.

There was no way that little knock on the dresser had caused that, so I immediately started questioning him.  Apparently, the last day of school before break, a little boy in his class had grabbed his pinky and bent in backwards until Pierce cried.  And he never told a grown-up because he didn't want the other little boy to be sad.  But, that was 6 days ago - 6 days.  (I'm probably up for the Mom of the Year Award for how quick I noticed that one).

So, off to the Virginia ER we headed, because even I know that if something is swollen for 6 days, that's probably not good.  The bright spot was the ER doc.  He was DEFINITELY from California.  He had skater hair and a laid back manner that cracked us all up.  He said to Pierce, "Hey, what's up, little bro?"  That's my kind of doctor. :)

Anyway, the x-ray showed that Pierce's finger was indeed broken.  Broken.  Another Kindergartener broke my son's finger.  On purpose.  Oh, the emotions, I can't even begin to describe them.  I can say that it is a good thing I was in Virginia and not Michigan when I found out.

The rest of our trip calmed me down considerably.  I am NOT excusing the behavior of the other kid.  But, things like this happen in life.  It was a reminder that I can't always be there and protect my kids from everything.  I am not all-knowing or all-powerful.  Neither are teachers, no matter how good they are.  As much as I wanted to rant and rave, I had to acknowledge that Pierce could have broken his finger pretty much anywhere.

So, I decided instead to be grateful.  Grateful that it was just a pinky.  Grateful for ER's and medical insurance.  Grateful for the funny skater doctor who mellowed us all out.  Grateful that although my son needs to learn when to speak up, that he has such a tender heart even towards someone who has wronged him.

That's what life is, isn't it?  Learning how to respond appropriately in the moment.  As much as we want to, we cannot control everything that comes our way, but we can control how we react.  We can decide to let things knock us down or make us stronger.  At this rate, I'm well on my way to Wonder Woman status. :)

And, hey, now Pierce gets to be the celebrity Kindergartener with a splint on his hand for a few weeks.  Silver linings, people, silver linings.