Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Day Of School

My son started kindergarten today. At home. He finally accepted the fact that he was starting yesterday after initially protesting mildly.

I have expected all along that teaching him would be entirely different than his sister for many different reasons. Because of this, I was geared up to be tried severely today.

I ended up having a wonderful first day teaching. I expected to have to change what I was doing every five minutes or so because of his attention span. He ended up cooperating with me for an hour and a half and accomplished some language/phonics as well as doing incredibly well in math. It was plain to see today that math will come much easier at this point, which is typical for boys. He actually didn't want to stop, he was that excited. I bragged him up to daddy, and he was very proud to show him his accomplishments when he came home from work.

My girl, on the other hand, exceeded my expectations as well, but for an entirely different reason. Feeling quite seasoned in dealing with her temperament and knowing her strengths, I felt confident we would have a great first day. I was very wrong. It's funny now to look back and see how backward I was with the expectations of my children.

Unfortunately, Hannah is cursed with a very similar personality trait as her mother. I have always been lazy with working on things that do not come naturally for me. I was the first one in my family to show an interest in playing the piano and taught myself some very basic piano. However, my natural ability only took me so far, so when that ability ended and hard work and practice has to be utilized, my growth as a piano player stopped. I was the same way in school. I managed to graduate with my average in the 70's without applying myself much at all. I never learned study habits and passed by whatever knowledge I happened to memorize. This is my Hannah's personality, unfortunately.

She is so very bright in almost everything, and what she isn't as bright in she is still by no means "stupid", just not quite as bright as her other subjects. She was flying along today through her school, aceing everything as usual. Then she hit a roadblock.

Her handwriting.

She does not find it easy, but is not willing to take small steps to improve. I wanted her to write letters and small words over and over; she wanted to write whole sentences because she was impatient about one little teeny word. As a result she was frustrated when she struggled with writing the sentence neatly and staying in the lines. Her meltdown came when I told her to go back to the beginning and start writing one-letter-at-a-time.

Let's just say that by the end of the morning, she did not finish school. She ended up throwing a fit like I haven't seen her throw in years and I had to make her stay in her room until she settled herself down. That took about two hours. TWO WHOLE HOURS. She kept coming out of her room to talk about it, but was still so out of control and unable to be reasononed with that I had to send her back in.

I sat at the kitchen table, head in my hands, praying while she was carrying on in her room. It's tough as a parent to see replays of actions you knew you performed as a child (and sometimes even as an adult) being carried forth in your children. I felt like someone was playing a home movie of me carrying on when I was a kid.

On a positive note, however, after the storm settled and she finished school, she told me she wanted to type. She called me in a while later to show me the song she wrote. Perhaps I'll post it another time (it's on her computer in her room, where she's sleeping), but was I ever proud of her. It was a cute kid's song about a mouse and a cat (she told me she used those words because they were easy to rhyme with) and I thought it was actually pretty good.

I will always, always treasure the first song she ever wrote.

In any event, it's been quite a day and I sure hope tomorrow is not a repeat.

Except, of course, in the case of my son.


Carlee said...

Isnt it funny how even in parenting, the "echos come back"?

I remember that whenever we had to have a babysitter we were the WORST kids you could imagine... any trick in the book, we would use to our advantage, and many times until our parents got home after midnight, we refused to go to bed... wouldnt you know it but I was also "blessed" with those same types of children when I started babysitting...

And Seth cracks me up...

Hey Darla... Can they come over and play again? XD

palmtreequeen1 said...

I always find that kids have cycles! For the majority Cassidy is probably my easiest child and Myles is a little tougher. HOWEVER, whenever I secure this opinion, they switch roles!! I have found never to say "my kid would NEVER do something" because you are just destining your kid to in fact do it!! Thanks for your posts, I always enjoy your blog:)

Darla said...

Oh Carlee, I'm just waiting for the good traits of Dave and I to "echo back". And yes, let me know when you have a day off for them to come over and play.

There are no absolute rules of parenting, Deanna, that's for sure. I have been reassured by more people than I can count that Seth will start getting easier "any time now" ever since he was two. Well, truthfully most of the time he's way more challenging than when he was at two. You're right that things change constantly. Hannah is usually my most compliant child, but one day of her meltdowns can erase 21 good days, I tell ya.

Thanks both of you for your encouraging remarks.

Anonymous said...

And now I have solid proof you are so much more patient than I!!! After the first 5 min, I'd have thrown in the towel to exchange a fit for a much better, more cooperative child, and ended up accomplishing nothing! So, now you understand why I don't homeschool.... I just do not have the patience and other qualities needed! Besides, all the prayers needed for my children while they're in public school keep me spiritual!! J/K!!! I love you, Darla, and thanks for sharing your downs as well as ups! You help the rest of us know we're not alone with our frustrations and successes. Happy anniversary!!! Hope your 10 year mark is extraordinarily special!!

Love, Rachel G.

Darla said...

I do know, Rachel, that I'm not sure I could do it with TWINS on the way! You will probably be surprised how much extra patience you will dig out from somewhere deep within you when you have those brand new precious babies.

Thank you for remembering my anniversary. Hope your "ten year mark" is special, too!