Lessons learned

by mollykl

And we come, finally, to the end of the school year. Can I get an Amen? This year definitely went better than last, but it was so stressful I’m surprised I still have hair and a liver.  Last year I just wanted to put it all behind me.  This year I’m actually thinking about everything I learned, however painful it was in the process.

1. Let son J play his video games BEFORE doing his homework. Yes, you read that right, before. I tried the “chores, homework THEN video games”. Want to know what happened? He rushed through everything and did a crappy job.  I got to thinking, well, do I like to come home and immediately do chores after work, with no downtime? Actually, I do, because that’s how I relax, but I’m weird.  Once I started letting J have some de-frag time, his homework improved. He was patient and did a better job. All because I let him play some video games.

2. “Lying” is an abstract concept. Seriously, son J could teach lessons on how to beat a polygraph. If he truly believes something is the truth it becomes his reality. So when you ask him if he had a good day at school he’ll say yes, because that’s what his warped little mind tells him. Deal in absolutes: did you get sent to the principal’s office? did you get any warnings from the teacher? how many times did she say your name? That’s how you arrive at how the day actually went.

3. Kids aren’t stupid. Want to fight with your spouse in front of your kid, and you think you can do it without them noticing? No, you can’t. Because kids aren’t stupid. We were told yesterday, “Stop fighting!” Well, ok then. Oh, and you can’t say snarky things in a nice voice, because they can see through that crap.

4. Yes, some kid’s parents are going to do their homework and projects for them – that doesn’t mean you should to help level the playing field for your kid. I truly think that in the long run NOT doing J’s work for him will help him more. He made that robot himself, and yes, there are other kids whose robots were much more fancy, but J did his all by himself. What’s more, he’s proud of it.

5. Every teacher is not right for every kid. My parents and god-parents were teachers, so I actually feel a little guilty saying this, but it’s true. And it’s ok.

6. My kid is fucking awesome and I don’t care if you don’t think so. I’ve spent the last few years trying to make sure J behaves and doesn’t cause a bother and now? Yeah, fuck it. You want to be loud? Go to town. You want to talk incessantly? Hey, you’ve got a better vocabulary than a certain former president so show it off. When you break the rules I will ground your ass, but I’m willing to shrug off more things now.

7. My kid will never be who or what I wanted him to be – he will be who and what he is. I had this idea that kids became what you made them, which is hilarious. I’m not going to get the nice quiet, neat, academically minded kid who studies hard and sits nicely in class. Husband J and I were both like that when we were little. Son J is not like that. He is loud and boisterous and opinionated. (Pretty much like I am now). He’s going to be who he’s going to be. But he still might end up being Iron Man ’cause he likes science.

8. Monsters, Inc. had it right. You could power the world on kid’s laughter. It also makes life a hell of a lot better.