I toyed with 'back in the saddle' as a possible post title, but for some reason that just sounded a bit creepy. Moving on. I'm going to attempt to write more regularly again, now that the boys are back in school and I have a bit of time to myself during the week. We are moving into our 4th week of school, and life is falling back into our typical routine, allowing me time to breath. Feels kind of strange, because I'm actually typing this up on the computer. Previously, I was writing on my iPad, while Alec was in gymnastics class at the Y. I have to say, it's way faster, thanks to several typing classes in high school, however, I miss the automatic spelling, capitalization and punctuation corrections that the iPad generally takes care of. However, overall, the real keyboard wins.
Today's focus will be, The boy and his gum situation. As part of The boy's school accommodation plan he is allowed to chew gum in class. Apparently it may help him focus on desk work. There is actual science to back this up, just don't ask me to explain it to you. I provide him with gum, which he leaves at school so that he will have some when the need arises. Last week, on the one day when I was over the bridge to spend the day at the fair with my laotong*, he calls me. I missed the call, but he left a message, something to the effect that he had left his gum at home and could I please bring him some more. As previously stated, I was over the bridge, already in the fair grounds, so I wasn't in a position to help him out. Although, I'm not so sure that I would have even if I was at home that day. First off, based on his message, it sounded to me like he had brought the gum, that is meant to stay at school, home and then left it there. To me this situation sounded like a good learning opportunity. If he feels like he needs the gum at school he either needs to leave it there so that he will have it, or he needs to be able to remember to take it back to school. Natural consequences at work here folks. Also, I felt that there were other ways he could have solved the problem, rather than having me come to his rescue. There are several adults at the school that I'm sure could have brain stormed with him about other possible solutions to the problem. I called the teacher back, leaving a message to let her know I was unavailable to help him that day. A few hours later I got a call from one of the counselors wanting to discuss how upset Evan was about not having any gum that day. My first thought was,'Seriously? This is your biggest concern today?' I listened and then explained how I didn't want Evan to think I was going to swoop in and solve all of his problems, I'm trying to teach him to be responsible for his own things and that I thought this was a good teaching moment. If the gum was that important, being upset over not having it would likely help motivate him to remember the gum in the future. She basically told me that perhaps I was pushing too hard, and that he may still need some hand holding, he's not quite ready for that level of responsibility. She told me that he finally came to her to help solve the problem, and she was able to give him a few pieces of gum that she had. Which sounded like some excellent problem solving, that didn't involve mom running in to save the day, but what do I know.
Once I picked him up from school I got all the details about why he didn't have gum at school. He assumed that he had lost the gum, since when he went to get a piece that morning, it wasn't in his desk where he kept it. So, not likely lost to any fault of his own, most likely taken by someone else. I'm still not sure that I would have brought the gum to him if I could. Yes, he seems to perform a little better while chewing gum, but I think he also needs to realize that not having the gum isn't the end of the world. That he can cope without it and not let the gums absence define the day. There are always going to be obstacles to over come, no matter what you do. Learning to figure out what to do when life doesn't go as planned is an important skill that I want him to learn. Also, that there are more adults in his life than mom and dad, who can help him solve those problems when they arise. He needs to learn to ask for help from other people who have the skills he might be lacking.
In closing, it is possible that I push my kids too hard. I'm trying to create successful adults. People who don't fall apart at the first bump in the road. I want them to be adaptable, and good problem solvers. I don't feel like they are going to be able to solve problems well if I'm the one solving all their problems. Mom can't fix everything, and I certainly don't want to be trying to when their in their thirties. If I don't start pushing now, when is it appropriate? Middle school? High school? When they finally choose to move out? Won't that be a bit of a rude awaking if I don't work on preparing them now? If we don't start to mold these skills now, won't they be ill prepared to cope later when it's expected? I'm going to continue to do what I feel is best for my children, but I'm still bothered when someone implies that perhaps my way is completely wrong, when really it's just not how they would have handled the situation.
*Like how I threw that reference in just for you.**
**you know who you are.