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.
Back to nature
"The peace of the hills is about me and upon me; the leisure of the summer clouds, whose shadows I see slowly drifting across the face of the landscape, is mine. The dissonance and the turbulence and the stench of cities -- how far off they seem! The noise and dust, and the acrimony of politics -- how completely the hum of the honey-bee, and the twitter of the swallows blot them out!"Continued ...
- If you go
Raise a glass
The popularity of small-batch adult beverages is intensifying in upstate New York.Continued ...
Thick hot air and clammy clothes entice brisk visions of jumping into a pool of refreshing water. Plunging into the soft cool environment of good old-fashioned H2O can rejuvenate the soggy mind.Continued ...
Racing Under Saddle
Those looking for the thrill of watching live horse racing will not have to travel outside the region this summer.Continued ...
- Back to nature
- Around The Arts
Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
So, in a few short weeks you're graduating with an arts degree. Now what?! In the safety of college, one can ignore the realities of the outside world, where housing and meal allowances aren't rolled into a tuition payment and jobs aren't available simply because you're a student.Continued ...
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 ...
- Glimmerglass director offers employment tips for arts grads
- Music Beat
Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
At a recent concert reception in New York City, I was surprised to meet people who had imminent plans to move to the Otsego-Delaware county area. They explained that our area is so rich in musical and graphic arts that they knew they would enjoy living here.Continued ...
- Music Industry Tips
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 ...
- Oneonta student looks to take music industry training in different direction
- Parenting Imperfect
Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
All I wanted to do was eat my English muffin. The family had other plans.Continued ...
A reminder of the small-child years
It's amazing how quickly you forget what earlier stages of parenting are like. This is probably a blessing -- and one that only evolved after countless generations of parents only had one child because they could remember each stage too clearly.Continued ...
Well, at least she's listening to what I say
The older the kids get, the happier I am that we have a dog. She, at least, seems to be excited to see me when I get home.Continued ...
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 ...
- Oh, just to be able to savor an English muffin
- Senior scene
As Time Goes By: I'm trying to be the rockin' up-to-date 'cool dude' grandpa
Time flies at my house. If I sit down to write an article, I can't help but see that I have an inbox of unread letters in my email. My brain records this as saying in block letters "YOU GOT MAIL."Continued ...
From the Office: Seniors need to work to keep their brains healthy, too
As we age, both our bodies and our brains face changes. How these changes affect us are determined by genes, environment and lifestyle.Continued ...
Looking Back: We should all cherish our time with our families
Time marches on, and it seems like a different lifetime since we brought up our own children.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: I'm hearing voices -- and not only mine own
There are two problems that seem to be inherit to growing older, which when viewed in the context of a sentence appear to be opposites but are in truth part of the same problem â€"you either are getting deaf or you start talking to things that surround you.Continued ...
- From the Office: What you need to know about Affordable Care Act, Medicaid redesign
- As Time Goes By: I'm trying to be the rockin' up-to-date 'cool dude' grandpa
- 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
Teenhood Today: I long for furniture, hills, rice
Why hello there, upstate New York! I must say, it's a little weird going to a restaurant, to the store, or to the local meetings for individuals loving the color lime green without being asked if I'm the girl from the newspaper.Continued ...
A Word of Advice: What's new isn't always what's better
We're often told in life that we should try to experience everything we can, broaden our horizons, and even I have written columns about stepping away from the familiar in hopes of growing.Continued ...
On the Go: Mile markers of life can be painful, but enjoy them
Our insignificance is crippling.Continued ...
Weekend Reviews: 'Cherry' perfectly captures my feelings
School has finally dwindled to a close, and I can feel myself settling into a state of unperturbed relaxation, everything once again becoming slow and lethargic, the days going by with an air of hazy wistfulness.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Don't expect expectations to always be fulfilled
In case some of you haven't noticed, I'm not a huge animal person. Sorry to all of you animal-lovers, but you most likely won't ever see me at any secret meetings you may hold.Continued ...
- Teenhood Today: I long for furniture, hills, rice