Monday, August 27, 2012

ain't nobody happy

"When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."  So they say. But when nobody ain't happy, Mama ain't happy either.  And it seems like my babies are not happy.

School is too long. The bus takes forever. He has no time to play or read. Pook is adjusting to middle school, but grudgingly. He's right; his schedule is much changed from the past years. He isn't getting off the bus until 4:45 (instead of 2:30) and he needs to fit in homework plus saxophone and piano practices. He's used to his homework being done before dinner, but it isn't working that way.  He liked getting some free time.  It may settle out, or he may just get used to it.

Bug's dissatisfaction is more global. "Everything" is wrong. "Everyone" hates his teacher.  It is true that his friends are mostly in other rooms. He has the only teacher in the grade that I didn't want him to get. She taught Pook in 3rd grade too, and I wasn't thrilled with her "old school" style. I think she's probably starting the year very strict (no smiling until Christmas) but I also think she'll mellow out soon. Bug doesn't seem to know what she wants. He thinks this is the directions on the homework but he also thinks he needs to do things like this or he'll "get in trouble." He's intimidated by her and isn't asking for clarification.

Yesterday at the triathlon, the kids were treated as capable, independent beings. No adults were allowed in the transition area before, during or after.  The kids set up their bike, towel, socks shoes and shirt, and a box for goggles and bike helmet. I never even saw how they laid it all out. The kids were lined up by age and number and marched to the aquatics center where we waited to watch. Pook had two hours to wait while Bug ("juniors division") raced. CD and I saw them both swim then we ran outdoors to catch snippets of biking and running. We saw them pass through the finish line. The miles they covered they covered without us.

I liked the independence required of them. When Bug wanted to find the bathrooms and I wanted to see Pook finish, I sent him to the opposite side of the place on his own. If he can race a triathlon, he can find a port-a-potty on his own. And, they handled it-- mostly.  I did step in when Pook came out from the pool without having found the volunteer holding his glasses. He had to bike (6 miles) without them, but I found the woman who had them and was able to return them to him before the run. Sometimes Mama still needs to help.

But with Bug at school, I don't want to step in yet. I want him to figure out how he can work with his teacher. I want him to learn how to ask for help, both from her and from us. I want him to learn to explain his worries more clearly. I want him to feel independent and successful.  Then Mama will be happy.


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