Most days, we are all just trying to do our best under really challenging circumstances.
Of course, by "challenging circumstances," I mean "life."
When my kids were babies, I worried about things that seem so insignificant now. I worried that failing to have a natural birth, the sort where you labor and deliver at home in a tub, would lead to not truly bonding with my baby. I worried that bottle feeding would lead to a baby with an IQ equivalent to that of a turnip. I worried that day care would turn my beloved sweet child into a bad-tempered hooligan.
Yet my highly drugged birth didn't interfere with bonding. If the formula interfered with brain development, then we are blessed indeed because my bottle babies are smarter than I am and the IQ points the formula shaved off were worth losing. And quality day care was a blessing, one that helped my children blossom. All of the bits of parenting that I agonized over worked out in the end. Your mileage may vary, naturally.
When the kids were babies, I thought that all of the critical decisions would be made by the time they were 2. Then when they were 2, I thought we'd know what was right by the time they started kindergarten. Now I'm convinced that we'll have it all sorted by junior high _ even though I know I'm probably wrong.
In so many ways, school-age kids are easier to deal with. They know where the potty is and how to use it. They can dress and feed themselves. They can hang up their own damp towels and toss their dirty socks in the hamper.
Whether or not they choose to do this on any given day is open for debate _ but failure to act like school-age kids doesn't mean that they are incapable of doing so.
The problem is that when they are school age, then all of your worries revolve around school.
It's been easier with the Diva. I'm honestly not certain if that's because she is a girl or the first-born or less hyperactive. But while she has had her struggles (and will probably continue to do so), she's never caused much hand-wringing.
But the Boy. Oh, the Boy. School has been so very hard for him.
Here is where I have to tread carefully, knowing this is a small community and he could be harmed by his mother's tendency to publicly overshare. Until he is old enough to write his own column refuting mine, which he is welcome to do, I will do my best to do as little damage to his reputation as possible.
We spent the last few months of his kindergarten year convinced that we had done exactly the wrong thing by sending him when he turned 5. Academically, he was in good shape. Socially, however, was another kettle of crayons.
So many parents of boys wait until they are 6 before they send them, which made me worry that we should have done the same, that we were creating a budding sociopath by starting him in school at the same age my husband and I started.
His difficulties this year in first grade have bordered on epic. Book learning isn't the problem; learning to behave is. A few weeks back, I started to feel guilty about not homeschooling him, because that seems to be what so many women of my generation, education and income status have done when faced with a kid who isn't thriving in a traditional school.
I felt like a failure for not coming up with a plan to do this, one that would cater to my kid's needs rather than my own _ because homeschooling is pretty far down on the list of things that I want to do and would be the ideal candidate for.
Even though I do teach other people's kids for a living, I am really bad at teaching my own how to do much of anything. Homeschooling would end with one of us on the front lawn trying to hitch a ride to Kalamazoo.
So I did the next best thing, which was worry about the many ways I was failing the Boy, including but not limited to my deficiencies as a homeschooler and my inability to see the future when he was 5.
Like so many child-related worries, these were aimed at the wrong target. The Boy, thanks to a smart, resourceful teacher and a supportive elementary school staff, seems to be on a more even keel.
For how long his keel stays level, however, is anyone's guess. We _ from the teachers to the principal to us _ all seem to be working through it together right now.
Given that both kids go to Center Street, my concerns have only grown exponentially during the last few weeks. My hope is that these worries will seem insignificant in a few years. Right now, however, they are all consuming.
Adrienne Martini is a freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta, mom to Maddy and Cory, wife to Scott, and author of "Sweater Quest." Her columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/parentingimperfect.
Most days, we are all just trying to do our best under really challenging circumstances.
Have a healthy Easter: Better options exist for holiday meals, activities
When many people think of Easter, they think of special meals, treats and activities.Continued ...
Celebrating Passover away from home: Local groups offer students opportunities
"You shall keep this as a rule for you and your children for all time. When you shall enter the land which the LORD will give you as he promised, you shall observe this rite. Then, when your children ask you, 'What is the meaning of this rite?' you shall say, 'It is the LORD's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.' " --Exodus 12:24-27.Continued ...
The history of Passover
According to the book of Exodus, the Jews had lived in oppression in Egypt for 430 years.Continued ...
DIY car care: Mechanic offers tips on vehicle maintenance
Americans, especially those in rural or suburban areas, depend upon their automobiles.Continued ...
Horses that heal
Along with working, competition and transportation, as well as being coveted companion animals for pleasure riding, horses add the magic of healing to their many talents.Continued ...
- Have a healthy Easter: Better options exist for holiday meals, activities
- Around The Arts
Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
When you work at an arts organization, particularly a nonprofit, employees often wear many hats -- accomplishing the duties that appear in the traditional job description, and then some. It happens everywhere. It's a running joke among people who work at nonprofits. There is too much to do, and not enough people to do it. That's when you call in the back up -- SWAT if you will.Continued ...
Let creativity flow with unstructured art projects
As I sit here writing this, the holiday glow is still going strong (my column deadline is two weeks before the publication date), and I've been spending a great deal of time not only with my daughter, but her stuff. We're incredibly lucky to have a loving network of family and friends that spoil her, so I've been merging her new goodies with her old.Continued ...
Opportunities abound for career in the arts
I was recently asked to speak at a local high school about my career path and how I came to work in the arts. It was interesting speaking with these seniors, and discussing their hopes for life after high school.Continued ...
The art of the appraisal explained by one who knows
So often in this column my co-writer, Brittany, and I talk about how art is everywhere and can be appreciated by all. Perhaps because of my passion for everyday art, there is one part of the art world I just cannot grasp -- art appraisal. How can you put a value on something so seemingly subjective? So, I set out to learn more about this industry.Continued ...
Flash mobs more theatrical production than dance
Most people are familiar with the term "flash mob." It's associated with groups of people congregating briefly to the surprise of the surrounding public, and often incorporates a choreographed dance. You've probably been witness to one, or you've probably seen one online, as they are extensively documented -- there are more than 10,000 results on YouTube if you search for flash mobs.Continued ...
- Volunteers are the SWAT of the arts world
- Music Beat
Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
There is new, long overdue attention being paid in our institutions of higher education to the use of directed practical experience as an essential partner to the classroom lecture.Continued ...
- Music Industry tips
Copyright royalties can make you smile
A few years ago, I wrote an article on the skill and dedication necessary to become a songwriter.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips
Build a team to build a career
People love music because music is that magical means of communication that never fails. The music industry is going through some rough times, but it is not going to die because music is a basic, central need in everyone's life.Continued ...
- Complete education involves classroom, real-world learning
- Parenting Imperfect
I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
It is a double-edged sword, this whole having kids old enough to leave home alone for short periods of time thing.Continued ...
It is in February when the breaking point is reached
If I could edit the calendar, the two months I'd do away with are August and February.Continued ...
Ibuprofen saved the vacation
Right after New Year's Day, we four hearty souls flew to Orlando to visit my mother, stepfather and aunt.Continued ...
The write stuff is often hard to find in my household
Now that the kids are older and I sleep well most nights, my biggest parenting challenge is boundaries. The challenge is that I feel like I should have them and the small people refuse to acknowledge such a thing could exist.Continued ...
Of kids, phone calls and toilet paper
We have reached that golden age when both kids are responsible enough to be trusted alone for short periods of time.Continued ...
- I want to visit the world of 'The Pioneer Woman'
- Senior scene
Looking Back: Animals are amazing creatures and far from dumb
Wherever did the expression "dumb animals" come from?Continued ...
Social Security: If you give a man a computer mouse, see what happens
Happy National Poetry Month. Now, if you'll have a look-see, read our poem inspired by Laura Numeroff's "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie":Continued ...
As Time Goes By: There's lint in my belly button, and other observations
Itâ€™s a great day in the South â€" the sun is shining and the temperature is 75 degrees and I find myself in a reflective mood.Continued ...
From the Office: Time is now to plan for the aging tsunami
It's coming. Maybe not this year, but starting in 2016, the number of older adults across the our country will begin to grow. At first it will only be a small increase, but as the baby boomers move up in age, the wave of individuals coming into the "senior" age group will become the largest in the census categories.Continued ...
Looking Back: Snowy winter wonderland could be fun or a pain
Snow, snow, go away … come again another day?? Please, perhaps next year? But there is always the positive side to things -- or so it seems.Continued ...
- Looking Back: Animals are amazing creatures and far from dumb
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
On the Go: Age is only a number, not a way to define us
Our obsession with age dulls as we get older, but it never goes away completely.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: 'The Virgin Suicides' shows angst, longing we all have
When I was younger, I remember idolizing teenage girls in every way possible.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Confidence in yourself must come from within
I'm not sure most of you know this, but I'm supposed to be writing about teen issues.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: A case for optimism
Take a moment, young teenager, and scroll down your Facebook page, and keep a tally of how many positive posts you see compared to the number of negative ones.Continued ...
On the Go: Science classes weren't wasted
Most science classes begin the same way. The teacher explains why his class is fabulous. He mentions labs and the Regents and any notion of joy or discovery vanishes.Continued ...
- On the Go: Age is only a number, not a way to define us