Saturday, February 20, 2010

"Mom, I know you're going to be angry but...

...I got another bad note from school."

That was the first thing I heard from Jellybean last evening when I picked him up from the after-school program. Unfortunately, its something I've heard several times over the past few weeks. Jellybean is just simply having a rough time right now in school. He loves school, but he's struggling with appropriate behaviors.

Of the two boys, Jellybean is the one who has been able to handle change the best. He's more laid-back and has a better grasp on what's going on. He's more equipped to 'roll with the punches'. But lately, he's had a LOT of pretty big changes. He loves his teacher. We love his teacher. But, right before Christmas she had a baby and has been on maternity leave ever since. There wasn't one teacher who could cover her absence entirely, so there was one interim teacher for about a month, and now there's another interim teacher until the rest of maternity leave is over.

Every teacher is different. Every teacher has different preferences, different ways of doing things, and slightly different consequences for things. His regular teacher is a pretty laid-back, flexible kind of teacher. If Jellybean had a problem during the day, she'd send me a quick email to give me a heads-up and let me know what was going on. The first interim teacher didn't send home any notes or emails letting me know he was having I assume all was fine during her time in the classroom. But the current interim teacher? We've gotten 5 notes home in 3 weeks' time.

I don't doubt that Jellybean's behavior has earned him a note home. He's been a challenge even at home these past few weeks. But it is also completely expected. You see, Z was out of town for two weeks taking care of Army responsibilities. Jellybean always has a harder time when Z is out of town. He and Z are close...and I am sure that when Z leaves town insecurities creep up into his mind (consciously or not). But, we find a way to deal with the troublesome behavior at home...and we spend more time talking about what is bothering us when Z is gone. We all miss him, so if he understands that I feel sad too, then we can work to help each other feel better. We make sure that Jellybean understands that Z IS COMING BACK HOME...and we talk with Z on the phone, so that helps, too.

But trouble at school is so much harder to deal with. I can't go with him to school every day and help him make better choices. Some of these things he has to just learn on his own, through consequences at school for the choices he's made.

First the notes home were about him being disruptive in class; talking out of turn, not paying attention, etc. Then there was a note home about the teacher being concerned that he didn't know his numbers well enough and he was struggling in math. We need to work on numbers 1-50 with him and work on coins (names and values). Ok, we can do that. Then yesterday, the note was about him being caught goofing around in the girls' bathroom.

He's always honest about things when I ask him about it. Yesterday he said that another little boy in his class told him to go in the girls' bathroom because it would be funny. Unfortunately, the teachers didn't think it was very funny. It bought him a trip to the Principal's office and a "bad" note home.

To be completely honest, a much bigger part of me than I should admit to on a public forum, wants to just laugh about something like this. If only the teachers would realize where the boys were just two years ago! This behavior that he's struggling with now is NOTHING compared to where we were. This stuff is trivial. This stuff is (in my opinion) pretty 'normal' little boy behavior. And part of me wants to just raise my hands and rejoice that we've finally reached a place where the boys have "normal" little boy bad behaviors!

At the same time, I know that I have to take the teacher's concerns seriously and do my best to help Jellybean understand that he has to do a better job controlling himself at school. He has to think before he acts. He has to do a better job listening. So we talk about it. He has consequences at home for bad behaviors at school like an early bed time or missing out on a privilege at home (like TV or video game time).

And as far as the "knowing coins and their values" stuff goes? Sure, we'll work on it. But I know that he'll get it eventually. In the past two years these two boys have had TONS and TONS of new things to learn. They have done an amazing job absorbing so much more than I could absorb in the same amount of time. Unfortunately, with a list a million things long, I'm afraid "knowing coins and their values" simply was not on the top of the priority list. Mrs. E will just have to deal with it.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Day (take 2,272)

Today was declared *another* Snow Day by our public school district. We've had MANY this winter thus far. So many I seem to have lost official count. I used to get a bit worked up about it, but now I've learned to just take it in stride. We make it work. And sometimes, I really just love these impromptu days at home.

On Sunday I mixed up a batch of Whole Wheat Brioche. The boys and I came in from shoveling snow to smell that wonderful rising bread dough smell. I threw the dough in the oven and within minutes we had delicious fresh bread to snack on after our hard work. Divine.

This morning, I made another set of little loaves. For breakfast. Little heart-shaped loaves for the boys and little rectangular loaves for myself and Z. Honestly, there is very little in this world that smells and tastes better than homemade bread fresh out of the oven. Its a simple pleasure - one that I plan to enjoy lots in the coming year (especially since I received 3 copies of this book for Christmas!!)

Yesterday while reading in a friend's blog, I was directed to this post. An amazingly heart-breaking and heart-warming post. Today I've found myself reading the newer posts on this blog...and going back to read older posts as well. I'm feeling inspired. And more than ever, I'm convinced that I spend too much time sweating the small stuff. So instead, I'm going to focus on enjoying the now, celebrating the little breakthroughs, and finding the happy. Go take a read for yourself. Bring kleenex.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Mama always said...

"If you don't have anything nice to say then you shouldn't say anything at all."

I guess that has been about where I've been lately. Stuck in a place where I have nothing good to say. Stuck in a place where I've got a lot going on, where I've got a lot that I could say, but feeling like I don't really have anything worthwhile to talk about.

Adoption stuff? We're stuck. Stuck in a place where we keep waffling back and forth about what we should do. On paper, completing another adoption right now does not look like a good idea. We've got repair projects on our home looming...projects that will quickly suck up any "extra" money that we have. Projects that really cannot be postponed any longer. Once the weather warms up, we HAVE to fix the roof on the garage and we HAVE to replace some flooring in our home.

But, if we end the adoption process now, we've wasted about $8000 in the past year...preparing for an adoption that will never take place.

We know our family isn't "complete" just yet...but we aren't sure where to go.

Over the past several months I've had several people in the adoption community tell me to simply "trust" that the financial stuff will work out. "Take the leap of faith" they say. "In the end it will all work out." I always just nod my head, or email back and say "Thanks". But the reality is, I just want to scream at them (I know, very sensible. I restrained myself). Really? Take a leap of faith? I have already invested an immeasurable amount of emotion (and sanity) in this process. I've reached the point where I simply cannot do any more. Either the answer has to fall out of the sky without me doing any effort, or I'm done. I have no more. My cynicism and pessimism have taken over. I know those same people who told me to "take the leap of faith" would tell me that this only means I have to work harder, pray harder, stretch my faith further. But I simply don't have it in me. And hearing "have more faith" only makes me angry. Harsh, I know...but its my truth. I can't sugar-coat it anymore.

Over the past few months, we've endured an incredibly disappointing experience. We thought we could recover and continue, but maybe we should have just quit at that point and taken the time to grieve. I thought we could move on and see another little face and fall in love. the recent past we've been told about two little boys (both of whom are absolutely PERFECT) and we couldn't do it. We wanted to be able to say "yes", but the details got in the way. To be completely honest, the reasons we said no are mostly financial...yet I hid behind the "I want a girl" excuse. What are we going to do when the PERFECT little girl is presented to us and we still have those financial doubts? I won't be able to hide behind a flimsy excuse anymore.

And then there's the complication of THE ARMY. Z got a promotion a while back, which is wonderful. But, it means he has to go away for training. This fall, he will be gone for 4 months for training. I know that this means that if we were to seriously pursue an adoption at this point, there is the possibility that the child would come home just before (or during) that 4 month period. The transition period when a child first comes home is HARD. For everyone in the family. I REALLY don't want to handle that all by myself (and work full-time, and take care of all the other responsibilities to run our household).

All of this is so disappointing. This is definitely NOT where we wanted to be at this point. A year ago, we thought we were headed in the right direction. And then things fell apart. We are approaching that "falling apart" anniversary (the week of my birthday) here in a couple of weeks. Bummer.

I don't know if anyone bothers to check in here anymore, since I haven't written in ages. Hopefully soon we will be able to make a decision about our adoption plans. We'll either figure out a way to go forward...and the excitement will come back. Or we'll decide to end our journey...the weight of the decision will be lifted...and we'll move on to sharing how thankful we are for the very many things we have to be thankful for. 'Cause there are VERY many reasons for us to be thankful.