Monday, May 24, 2010

This Week's Dinner Menu

Monday - Tacos (with two kinds of meat: beef & turkey)

Tuesday - Oven-Fried Chicken Parmesan (minus the mozzarella)

Wednesday - Last Wednesday Night Dinner at Church (sad!)

Thursday - Pagliacci Pizza (yum!)

Friday - Fish & Chips at Norma's Diner in Seaside! Woo-Hoo!

Seaside, here we come!

Monday, May 3, 2010


I get that most people in life, at some point or another, lack self-confidence. It could be in middle school when your hair is frizzy permed, you have giant pink glasses w/bifocals, it could be in high school when you try out for the basketball team even though you have never played before, it could be after the 4th move to a new school and walking into the lunchroom for the first time. I even get that there exists the rare person who never seems to lack confidence, but for most of us there are moments where we feel unsure of ourselves and the situation we are in.

I, in no way, am a person who falls on the high-confidence end of the spectrum. Just ask my husband how many outfits I go through each Sunday morning. I still struggle with speaking out, even just answering a question in our small group. And don't even get me started on group readings. As soon as it is announced we will be reading out loud in a circle, I break out into a sweat. I don't even know what we are reading as I am already figuring out what am I going to read, how big are the words, and will I be able to pronounce everything.

The one area that I never felt that I would feel the need for confidence in is parenting. I'm not saying it isn't hard or that I thought I would have all the answers. I just never thought I would feel so unsure of myself as a parent and the choices that I am making.

Case in point. Since January we have been going round and round about our oldest son and what he would do for school next year. Our first conversation revolved around if he would go to kindergarten or not. Let's just say that was not a good parent/teacher conference. As I left in tears crying and my husband asked what was wrong, I said "I feel that I have failed him". Close friends and family members have listened to the same conversation over and over as we struggled between half-day private kindergarten, full-day public school, or keeping him home another year. It consumed me until we made our decision, we would stay in preschool, we understand the pros/cons, and in the end feel it is best for our son.

Now it came to telling people. Reactions varied across the board. Most were positive and encouraging, a few felt haughty. Like, oh your child isn't ready for kindergarten, hmm. The best one was a fellow teacher who was held back in 1st grade and says it was the best thing that ever happened to him. I hold that in my head whenever the question arises: So where is Jack going to kindergarten?

Things seemed good until this spring. We ran into a couple of things with my son's current teacher that threw me. I started to doubt our decision to remain at this school. We did not think he was ready for K., but maybe a change in preschools would be good. Then came the dreaded day. The teacher knocked on my car window at drop off and asked if my son would bring popcorn for his snack day. Even though it was his birthday and his day to bring cupcakes, a fellow student is allergic to gluten, so the class was going to make rice crispy treats. Was that okay, the teacher asked. In my mind I see myself saying, "No!" obviously it isn't alright. Every other student before that day and since have brought cupcakes to school, my son who already struggles to fit in socially should not be singled out to not bring cupcakes. But that is not what I did. I said, okay, I guess. I asked my soon to be 5 year old son if he wanted to bring cupcakes or grapes and he said grapes (plus popcorn) so, okay, I guess.

Here is advice to any future mom - do not listen to your 5 year old child. Duh, you say, but just wait there will come a day when you ask them their opinion, quite forgetting they are too young to really understand.

Everything was fine until a week after his birthday when his younger brother was making cupcakes to take for his birthday. "Well, when do I take my cupcakes?" he asked me. That is when I realized I had once again failed him. I needed to stand up for him, to look ahead and realize that this was a big deal and to fight for him.

After that I knew what to do. We were moving him from this school. I had talked to several people who also thought that sounded like a fine plan. I met with the director of the school, along with my husband, to tell her the reasons why were leaving. Of course, by the end, I was crying, the director was mad, and my husband was staring at the ceiling. All parties agreed that the cupcake incident was unfortunate and not acceptable. But the REAL issue, the one that had been overlooked in all this drama is: what does Jack need? What are the reasons we are keeping him home and what school setting is best for him.

After taking him to visit another preschool and having him hide his head inside my husband's shirt, the constant verbalizing of how he does not want to go to a different school, and finally seeing him stand at the door, dressed, teeth brushed, backpack on, asking to go to school. We have made a decision.

As the director told me at the last meeting, "Once you make your decision, do not look back. Do not play, what-if? Be confident in your decision and look to the future".

So, after all the ups and downs, long conversations, worrying and crying, we have decided. I will stop obsessing, second guessing, and worrying. I will look ahead to next year, hoping that I will see more days with Jack standing at the door asking to go to school, less days of me pushing him into the classroom after hugging each and everyone of us.

Next year he WILL take cupcakes on his birthday.