Dudette was out of the house yesterday from morning till well after bedtime so it was a 100% guy day. It went fine, there were no major incidents but even when things go well it can be exhausting. Even though we are doing fine and getting along well you never know when he will jump ugly or as I say “go Nam.” Or he says “Hulk out.” Remembering everything to pre-parent about to circumvent possible drama, framing everything in the “if…then…” formula and pouring on the praise can be exhausting. Dudette took him out today and I sit here feeling guilty as I enjoy waking up slowly and a silent living room. I feel like I betray him in a way that I sometimes simply need to get away for a bit. I love him dearly but he is a energizer bunny on crystal meth. I’ll need to work up the courage to forgive myself for this.
Spoke with Walter’s principal regarding his teacher. Can’t believe I had to advocate for my son to this woman again. I know she has a lot going on but come on. We started off the conversation polite and I said “why is the teacher still cornering my wife regarding Walter’s homework?” P says, “Well she wants him to excel.” I lose my mind. I ask to recap the last meeting we had with the teacher. I say calmly but with a bit more terseness to my voice, “I thought we had decided he was smart, capable but behind. I thought we decided that he was more than able to catch up because he is obviously a very bright boy. I thought we decided since there was only two months left of school that we were going to let things continue and refocus on education when he comes back next year hopefully with some permanency.” I’m going pretty good at this point and am just below yelling, “Instead, what I hear is ‘Walter didn’t finish last weeks homework, he needs to do it all,’ ‘Walter’s spelling test grades are dropping, he needs to improve’ To me, that does not sound like we are letting things go to focus on next year. That doesn’t sound like someone who understands that my son’s full focus is not on his studies right now because he’s going through one of the hardest things he will ever have to face in his life at age 7. I thought we were, and I said this at the last meeting, going to go with the flow and just accept whatever we got from him with grace understanding his needs right now. News flash Ms. P.” I’m yelling now, “The homework machine is still pushing having no appreciation for the fact that my boy does not hear ‘you can do better,’ he hears ‘you’re not good enough.”
“Why is there a parent sitting with my son and criticizing his handwriting?” I ask.
“She’s tutoring parents do that a lot to help…” she says and I interrupt “She’s too hard on him. I can tell you because he told me. Tutoring, is that going with the flow?”
She tugs her balls up and decides to swing back, “I won’t tell my teachers to not push their students and care…”
“And I don’t expect you too. The pressure on my son to get him to do marginally better in the next two months will do far more harm to him emotionally, which in turn will affect the rest of his academic career, than it is worth. Can you not see that?” I ask.
“Yes I can.” replies Ms. P.
“So what am I supposed to do with ‘his homework isn’t done’ and ‘he should do better on spelling test,’ what’s my action item from that?” She sat silent for ten seconds and I cut her off before she could speak, “Walter’s therapist pulled me aside last week and told me I wasn’t praising him enough. I told him to fuck off I blew sunshine up that kids ass all the time. He laughed and said ‘Not enough.’ He explained to me that most kids get a steady diet of positive feedback from their birth parents. Since Walter’s had many sets of parental role models he doesn’t trust the positive nourishment that he has received from them and thus thinks he’s no good. So when Walter does something good I’m supposed to praise him 10 times. I told him if I did that I’d being doing nothing but praising and I’d create a serial killer or a Republican. He assured me it was needed and asked me to try. A week later do you know what I saw?” I ask. Ms. P. is kind of enthralled at this point, “what?” she replies. “Walter’s like a new kid. He eats it up. He wants it so badly. A parent telling him his lowercase d’s are backwards in class frustrates him and embarrasses him. He’s ashamed of it, in his mind it’s probably because he’s no good and the judge won’t let him live with his mommy. He’s got too much on his plate to worry about it now. We’ll get it. We got him. He’ll be fine. My question for you are you going to help or not?”
“What do you want me to do?” she asks and I say, “Let’s cut the updates from the home office. They are useless.”
“I’ll tell the teacher tomorrow.” says P. I add, “Tell her to praise him until she feels stupid if she wants to help. That’s what he needs more than vocab right now.”
I left it at that. The above conversation is out of order probably and I think I cursed more. She seemed a bit surprised. I don’t know why. The last few phone calls we’ve had I’ve told her I was getting pissed off. I felt like Bill Bixby talking to the reporter in the Hulk TV Show.