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.


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5 Responses to Solitude…

  1. dragonmommie says:

    You are the best dad!
    With that said, I’m enjoying a day of solitude, myself. My son has an IEP in school and we have to get everything in writing and then we also have to be the enforcers. It’s a big job but it’s got to be done… You are doing great.

    • thedudedad says:

      I’m hoping an IEP won’t be necessary. Right now he needs a break. That’s it. Let us deal with the big problem, get him secure and safe then we work academics like a mule. TY for reading and commenting. I appreciate your support.

      • dragonmommie says:

        Our son just turned seven, so we got the age. I’m impressed that you are so involved at school. My husband is really good with our son… OMG.. They got home from NYC way after the boy’s bedtime and it seems like they scaled almost the whole island from the site of WTC, to Central Park, to Roosevelt Island, to Museum of Natural History… I’m like, “you did that all in one day using the subway?” Anyway, when it comes to working the IEP, I sometimes think he misses some things, but we all do the best we can with the skills we have and he’s a great father. I’ll take care of the school and the snuggles at bedtime.

  2. Kelly says:

    We were united with our sons two days before the first day of 4th & 5th grade. We pushed, told them we all have jobs and we didn’t care about the outcome only effort. They were so heavily medicated that it took us till midway through the following summer to get them weened off. Fortunately we did, they are drug free now & since they were the smallest & youngest in their classes holding them back one year was possible. They got all caught up and are excelling today about to head to 6th & 7th grade. Remember, you can only do what you can do & so can he. Convincing them it was the EFFORT that counted went a long way to the confidence & good grades we are getting today. But one false move from an overbearing educator can kill the confidence. It’s a difficult balance. GOOD LUCK!

  3. Kelly says:

    And my youngest just came in & squeezed my head, told me that even if he doesn’t show it he still really loves me. 🙂 It really is all worth it!

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