Parenting 5.0

here it goes… Malcolm has been sleeping for almost 2 hours and i'm sure he'll interrupt this post any second but let's take a risk anyway.

we are approaching the 2 month mark, coming up on Thursday.  i'll take his photos in the morning, rush him off to his appointment (first vaccinations!) and then meet up with Ash and the Stoners for lunch at Foundation.  chloe will be along for the ride as she does not have class.  it's been really lovely having her around for Girl Time, both prior to Malcolm being born and still afterwards.  as much as i absolutely relish having this special time with her, i must admit i feel horribly guilty at the same time.  i never had this kind of special time with Moses.  he was so young (18 months) when i had chloe that really, he has had the worst of me for the past 5 years as i have stumbled blindly along the path of motherhood…

they say that a child reaches their adult completion by the time they are age 6, that who they will be as an adult is more or less who they are by this young age.  as a parent, that is so unfair!  6 years isn't nearly enough time to formulate a proper human being, never mind figure out how to be a parent.  it feels like i'm only really getting there as Moses' 6th birthday is just around the corner.  it feels like the first 3 years are mostly about survival and being broken into this lifelong series of bootcamp.  it's only at this point when they are actually capable of speaking full sentences for chrissake!  then they start pre-school and you are thrown into another pit of confusion and frustration as you battle morning cries over being too tired, not knowing what to wear, not wanting to eat, and not wanting you to leave them with all these new strangers.  just when you both start to settle and cozy into this routine, it's time to research and register them for Kindergarten.  because figuring out what to make for dinner isn't enough of a pain in the ass already, say goodbye 2.5 hour stints with a little snack at preschool 2-3 times a week, and hello to making snacks and lunches for 5 days a week.  someone call the waaahhh-mbulance.

i don't know what i'm doing.  i imagine none of really know what we are doing, all of us struggling with our own children.  my new year's resolution was to be MORE PATIENT.  i don't come from a family of calm cool cucumbers and i have come to recognize the pattern of learned behaviour making its comeback on my bad days.  we were spanked left and right, with hands and dusters and my mom was known for her signature nail-digging pinch and twist of the ear.  i belt NO! in the exact manner as my mom, i know because i still hear her do it on occasion when the kids step out of line.  i have stopped spanking for a while now.  as much as i don't feel like it had a negative impact on my relationship with my parents (as studies claim it does), i still feel bad for spanking Moses at such a  young age.  fast-forward to the last year or two, spanking has been replaced with yelling and hurtful sarcastic jabs and slices to their self-esteem, all done in explosive anger.

i've been trying really hard.  i've gotten a lot better.  i've made a lot of progress though there is the inevitable slip up.  i make it a point to sit down and give my sincerest apologies when this happens.  i let them know i am not perfect but i will keep trying my best.  this is something that has helped wonders with both kids.  i repeatedly let them know that nobody is perfect, that everyone makes mistakes, and no matter how old you are, people are always learning to be better.  this has helped chloe with her confidence in terms of learning her letters and numbers and drawing and creating.  and more recently, it seems to be helping Moses as we try to work through his difficult behaviour over the last 2 months.

his first month of Kindergarten was as much an adjustment for him as every other child.  after the first month, he was note free until winter break.  upon his return, things started going downhill and it is no big surprise considering he has had so much to adjust to.  the notes started coming again until in the last 3 weeks, he was the only other boy to have his behaviour regulated in a notebook.  a small piece of paper is broken down into the different subjects/breaks of the day, and beside each section he received either a red or green sticker based on his behaviour.   he's been lashing out physically when he gets upset with chloe and at school and home, he just does not listen.  his failure to listen or respect the person who is speaking is abominable.  he just seems to be doing a dance routine of shitty behaviour that he knows too well he will get in trouble for but does it all the same.  then when he gets in trouble, he totally gives the same death stare i remembering giving my mom when i was the same age, which of course just make me want to clobber his snotty face.  UGH.

i'm frustrated on so many levels.  my frustration is exacerbated by sleep deprivation and anxiety over trying to juggle LIFE.  i'm frustrated that i lack the energy that is required to tackle his behaviour in a consistently effective way.  i'm frustrated that my time with him is even more limited with a baby's needs taking priority.  i'm frustrated not knowing what shitty behaviours are "normal" for an average 5 year old, which are being caused by all the change and which are a direct consequence of my parenting.  thankfully, his substitute teacher from last week offered some help.  she was subbing for about a week and a half while his regular teacher was recovering from a concussion.  after a full week of tracking his behaviour and offering written details of the day, she called me inside to speak with her.  she recognized his learning to be above average and having a daughter of the same age with similar learning capacity, comforted me with the notion that kids that are ahead of the class usually have crappier behaviours.  she gave me the name of a local child psychiatrist who worked wonders for her, and that with a referral from my doctor the service would be covered by MSP…  SO THANKFULLY Malcolm's appointment is in 2 days!

sigh.  he's had 3 good days in a row so far so i am hopeful.  i was very much at the end of my rope two weeks ago.  i am so thankful to have had his substitute teacher for that short period of time to help direct me and make me feel less stressed about the situation.

well, i think i got most of that out just in time.  The Malc just awoke for mealtime #12.

this post was supposed to be more of a general update on things in general, but i'll have to save that for next time.


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