I am so nodding along at the moment, because yesterday she wrote:
"It is easy to pass judgement and a lot harder to sit down and really listen to a parent who is walking through difficult stuff with a kid."
Sometimes people tell me, either here on the blog or in real life, that I am doing x, y or z wrong. (Most people who do it on the blog, by the way, are anonymous. It is almost unheard of, for me, to get criticising comments from people who dare to put their name to their words - I can almost bet that if someone tells me I am wrong, they're doing it anonymously.)
And of course I doubt myself. Every day, several times a day, as I go about life, I ask myself if doing x, y or z is right - or wrong. Whether I need to change things.
But in the end, just like Ashley-Ann writes, I tell myself to just 1) shake it off what people say, and 2) trust in the knowledge that I am a good parent.
Because of course I make mistakes sometimes. Everyone does!
But I am a good parent. I am a great parent.
When a teacher tells me that The Kid is six years old and therefore he should be reading at this or that level, then I will keep lifting up my chin and saying, repeating if need be, that:
One: children are different. The Kid is above median in terms of patience he can apply to many tasks, including colouring in and following letter drawing prompts, building structures with thought given to their balance and structural strength, and putting together puzzles. Yes, he is behind in terms of writing and reading if you compare him to six-year-old medians - but he is not there to be compared to six-year-old medians.
For one, he is only just starting school, and therefore should be allowed the grace to be treated on the same level as other kids who have only just started. It is irrelevant when his birthday is, because we are doing our best.
And two: we are doing our best. That's the most important thing. As long as we are doing our best, and regardless of what that best is - we are doing well. It is not possible to do better than the best. Complaining and bickering when a child is doing their best is only increasing stress and learning aversion, and neither of those things is going to help anyone, so instead of complaining about reading skills I want to hear questions the likes of:
Do we read each day?
Yes we do.
Does The Kid like books, and get excited about them?
Yes he does. A lot. He loves the library.
Do we include letters and numbers in a variety of activities we do each day?
Yes we do. There are magnetic letters on the fridge, an UpWords Scrabble game he sometimes plays with me (not to the rules - we use it more as a letter recognition game), he asks (and we ask him) about letters and words in the books we read, we spell out things. We read a lot in this family, and so does The Kid, even if at the moment he doesn't do it independently and for himself yet - but for God's sake, he's only just turned six!
I want the teacher to ask me about the things we do, rather than talk to me about standards and where The Kid should be given his age. I'm not a statistician - I'm a mother of The Kid, and that's the relevant part.
Today I am going to talk to the school and request a private meeting between me, the teacher and the principal next week. I am going to ask that we - all three of us - sit down for half an hour and talk through what's relevant, because I need to know that I'll be able to trust the school with The Kid.
The Man has already given up on the school. I, based on the experience I've had, have too - but! I need to sit down with them one more time and see what changes they are making, because I need to allow them the space to do better than what we all witnessed a week and a half ago. We are going to sit down, and talk, and all three of us are going to explain to the others what's important, because we need to work out if it's the place for The Kid, and for our family.
And once that's done, I'll be able to go forward and decide what the next thing's going to be.
Because when I read and nod along to Ashley-Ann's words, "I lost count of how many people suggested she was just being stubborn and we were being too easy. Unless you are in the field of oral aversions and childhood trauma (as a parent, counselor, therapist, doctor), I don’t think you can truly understand how traumatic eating can be for a child with very deep fears. It is easy to pass judgement and a lot harder to sit down and really listen to a parent who is walking through difficult stuff with a kid," I myself remember the many times I've been told I am too - whatever, insert a criticising opinion here - by people not familiar with our story, or the medical knowledge, or just experience with children - and the many times we've been told, as a family, that we are doing a great job by people who actually understand what is happening.
And maybe I'm just being selective, but heck with that. At the moment, I will just keep trusting the people who have said that they agree with us, and that we're doing a good job. And even if it ruffles up some feathers of people who don't agree, heck with that - because I, just as The Kid is doing, need to keep doing the best I can with what I've got, and that's what's important.
Photos we've taken lately:
|Saturday morning cartoons|
|When friends from Christchurch are visiting|
|Kids are making their own pizzas|
|Daddy is putting in a new loft access hatch and the grateful audience is watching the saw popping, in and out, out of the ceiling|
|Having moved house we still have loads of cardboard boxes left, and therefore kids have a playhouse right in the living room|
|Checking out the aviary in the Queens Park just before sunset when the birds are active and loud, and so entertaining!|
|When friends visit|