Monday, February 21, 2011

When the math doesn't add up

I've had a lot of stress lately.... so I thought I should do something productive to keep my mind off things.

I picked up Emma after preschool and we met my mom (and dad) and aunt (and uncle) at my Grandpa's house. There is 60+ years of sorting to do there. It will obviously take some time - but it is definitely a good distraction. Granted, the reason we are now sorting is a source of stress in itself, but....

My dad went to Home Depot. When he got back, I opened the kitchen door for him and I heard sleet hitting the grass and sidewalk. I thought, "I've got to get home before this gets worse!" I called Joe and it was already worse at home - Luke's bus was 20 minutes late. He said it was snowing pretty good.

We left immediately. It wasn't bad, just some sleet mixed in with rain. But by the time I got to the highway - 15 minutes away - I couldn't see the interstate. It was covered in snow.

It usually takes me an hour and 15 minutes to get home. Today it took 5 hours!

I have never seen anything like it. The snow was coming so fast and so furious. The highway was at a standstill. I couldn't see and there was nowhere to go. Once I got off the highway, my windshield wipers got covered with ice and I'd have to stop to clean them off - but I couldn't see to stop! It was awful.

I'm more than ready for spring. Or a vacation. It's been a crazy long winter.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

E-S-T-O! Let's go!

Luke was playing nerf basketball in his room this afternoon. Emma was his cheerleader. "E-S-T-O! Let's go!" she'd say over and over again, in her best cheerleader voice.

We've been to a few high school basketball games. She is infatuated with the cheerleaders. She's heard that cheer. It is *supposed* to go: "L-E-T-S-G-O, let's go!"

Close enough for a 4 year old :) and supercute, if you ask me!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Insight. But what do I do with it??

Last night we had another horrible homework night with Luke. He started out great. Zipped through quite a bit of it in a mere 15 minutes with minimal breaks. He had 2 things left to do. Got to the math page - which was simple, really it was! - and he froze.

The attitude started. "I'm NEVER going to get this done. Never. NEVER!"

And he didn't. Way to set yourself up for failure, buddy.

I don't get it. Really I don't. I admit, I don't always see the glass as half full. I am sometimes negative. I sometimes stress myself out over the anticipation of an event. Perhaps we are all guilty of that from time to time.

But it is exhausting to watch someone else do it. Especially when I know he CAN do what he is anticipating he can't.

I reminded him that I wasn't going to sit there while he had this bad attitude and that when he was ready to work, I'd be back. So I left.

He did too. He went to his room and shut his door. I guess he needed an outlet, so he trashed his room. He has never done this before. All of his books were off of his bookshelf. Toys were all over the floor. He wasn't throwing things. He was actually quite quiet in there. I honestly didn't know what he was doing until he came out and sarcastically but almost proudly said, "Come see my room, mommy!"

I did. I walked away without saying a word. Because that didn't give him any attention, he started throwing things. I went back in his room and calmly told him that we do not ruin things on purpose and he had to go straight to bed. We never leave messes before bedtime. But this time we did.

I told him I would be waking him up early in the morning so he could clean his room before school.

I heard him in his room this morning. I pretended like I didn't. About a half hour after I heard him wake up, he came out and said, "Good morning, mommy! Come see my room." It was clean. Almost. He asked me to help him with the few things that were left. So I did. Then he said he wanted to hurry and get a shower so he could finish his homework.


Except it didn't end up that way. He went to finish his homework and stopped. Again. I have no idea why. He ran out of time because he was just sitting there. The bus was coming. What happened???

I respect two parenting experts: Dr. Kevin Leman and Tedd Tripp. I've read their books, watched their DVD's and have seen both of them at speaking arrangements. It's hard to remember their advice in the heat of the moment, but I really try.

Dr. Leman's advice is mainly - walk away. Ignore the bad behavior, allow kids to face natural consequences of their behavior. Respond, don't react. (Of course it always comes back to the parents!!)

Tedd Tripp says outward behavior is always an indicator of an inward heart condition.

So their thoughts are always in the back of my mind. I walked away. But what is *really* going on with Luke? What is in his heart that is making him so frustrated?

I tried to talk with him as we were waiting for the bus. He wasn't giving me much insight. I'm not sure he understands why he does what he does. Isn't it my job as a parent to help him figure this out? Ugh. It's hard being a detective!

Finally, after trying a lot of dead end quesions, I asked him, "Luke, tell me what happens if you try your best and make a mistake." He answered: "Then everyone gets mad at me. You. Daddy. My teacher." He put his head down sadly.

What? Wow. Are we not encouraging him enough? Does he not understand that mistakes are okay but bad choices are not? Do we set our expectations too high? Are we critical of him?

All these thoughts start swirling around my head. But I had to say something. So I told him we don't get mad at mistakes. Mistakes are okay. I make mistakes, daddy does, his teacher does. And he does too. Mistakes help us to learn. Blah blah blah.

Then the bus pulled up. "Have a good day, baby!" I said as the door opened on the bus. I wonder if he will.

As I walked back up the driveway, I had a million thoughts. We do encourage him. Really, we do. Why doesn't he get that? Why is he afraid to make a mistake? Why does he have to be such a perfectionist that a fear of failure overrides his desire to try? Why does he seek negative attention? Why why why???

And so he finally offered me a bit of insight that makes perfect sense to him and totally confuses me.

Wish I knew what to do with it.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The end of an era

My grandpa died this week. It wasn't completely unexpected since he was 89. But he had very few health problems and hadn't been sick. He had a stroke, had immense bleeding in the brain, and died 2 days later.

You just never know.

My grandma died 7 years ago. So now my parents are the old ones. Strange.

We only had one day of viewing and one day for the funeral. But I feel like this week has been 3 weeks long. I am completely exhausted.

I'm really worried about what's going to happen to the house. It's just a house - but it is a house full of memories. It needs alot of work, but the layout is fantastic and the area is highly desired. I just want a nice family to move in and make their own memories. Without knocking the house down. The area has grown quite affluent over the years and the house is 60+ years old without many recent updates. That might mean someone will want to buy the property and start fresh. Ugh. It may sound ridiculous, but I am praying someone will keep the house and fix it up.

We are a long way from that. First we have to sort through 60+ years of stuff. So in the meantime, I'm going to pray for that special family :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

It's been fun! Really!!

Dare I say it - I never thought I'd hear myself say this - but homework with Luke the past two nights has actually been fun!

Not a tear in sight - from him or me!! If he gets stuck, he just asks me for help. No drama where he throws himself down on the floor, rolls around and cries.

I know it has only been 2 days but this is such a major victory. He's been crying every night for 2 years over homework. To see him peaceful as he does his homework.... Well, it is definitely an answered prayer.

I'm hoping it continues to be an answered prayer, for sure!

How can you turn HOURS of homework into 20 minutes? Get rid of the tears. And then there is still lots of time to play. We've been telling him this - but now he finally sees it first hand. Yippee!!

We're all happy right now :)
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