Monday, October 01, 2007

I like wine, no, I did not say whine. May May's post

Do homework and drinking go together? Wait, don't answer. And tell Miss Meredith V. to tune out.

Normally you might not think so, but you have never tried to help my Masie, the seven year old, with homework.

Let me go back a little and give some insight on my second oldest. I like to say Masie was born with just about everything wrong you can think of, but none of it life-threatening. She was underweight slightly, jaundiced, had 5 holes in her heart(ASD's and VSD's). Her nose was squashed. She had a high fever and so on. She was basically one of those babies that people see and say 'oh gee, they all look the same, don't they.' Like the Seinfeld episode- look at the beautiful baby! Isn't she gorgeous.

No, Masie was not a cute one.

Then ten days after May was born, she started to cry 12 hours a day, all day and did not stop. She threw up (not spit up) all the time, had to have breathing treatments, had RSV, 11 ear infections by 5 months, tubes twice, and a constant rash on her face and bum.

Deep breath everyone.

My husband and I (Jerm) like to say, we worked really really hard to love her. I know it sounds awful, but it's the truth. There were days that The Guilt ate me alive. I couldn't help her, maybe I didn't even like her, it was a swirling, heartbreaking cycle of misery.

Yet, as May's little life unfolded the road smoothed out and she became a sweet, cuddly, happy, quiet, but best of all, a regular old baby. We were lucky that everything cleared up on its own and we had no serious developmental or medical issues continue. Very lucky.

May went on to preschool and so sweet was she everyone just loved her. She was always the little mascot. She could do no wrong, she was cute no matter what. Then we moved and she went to another preschool, where the teacher's said, 'oh. she's a little behind, maybe we'd advise not moving her onto kindergarten, but she is so so sweet and kind and cute'. I contemplated and weighed my options and moved her anyway. Her Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Smiles, said she is so sweet and doing great, just have to remind her a thing or two. She was in speech therapy, then onto Title 1 reading and first grade with Mrs. Cuddles. Where, her teachers all said, she's doing great, way caught up with her reading, everyone in the class loves her, she's the center, A's and B's, and passed on to 2nd grade.

Then we moved again. And started 2nd grade. May has never known a school without a best friend, a hugging teacher, or adoring classmates. It has hit her in the face like a swarm of gnats she never saw coming. May entered a world where the teacher, expected you to do everything on your own. Where she asked kids to play and they didn't answer or didn't find her at recess. SHE actually sat alone at lunch. AND the homework. AND D's and F's. I didn't know they gave those grades to 7 year olds. I didn't have a D or F until I was in college and, well, you know how those grades happen.

It has been heartbreaking to watch my little girl who has always put on a happy face, struggle with this. It has been heartbreaking to try to convince her that she will make friends and she is smart. Which she is, and very creative, just easily distracted. I won't even get started on backpack unpacking, morning routine, or remembering your lunchbox everyday, dance bag, locating soccer gear.....

Yesterday afternoon we started working on a coffee can book character project. I started her early because I knew she would need breaks. She chose Peter Rabbit, and drew the best Peter Rabbit I think a 7 year old could draw and added three dimensional garden fence, jacket, flowers, bushes, and buttons. This was a breeze for little May, so good I told her, 'make sure the teacher knows you did this by yourself'.

Then she had to write sentences about Peter Rabbit.

It was almost physical PAIN. Maybe you should write it a little straighter, um, Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton Tail were not actually six brothers, Peter does like carrots, no Mr. McGregor is not Mi. Junker, just look at the book sweetie, let's draw lines, they all need a period, maybe write a little bigger so Mrs. Prunes can read it, maybe don't swirl it off the page, maybe don't push your pencil so hard-so it won't break or smear, h isn't n, g is p, and p is g, and g is not q, d is b, and b is d, remember the b looks at E's old house, pay attention, clean up your work area, and, well, I'll stop there. All of it little, but all together, well, concerning?

She hasn't tested as having any learning disorders or disabilities and frankly, her teachers haven't expressed concern, even now. She went from great reports from Mrs. Prunes at the beginning to VERY BEHIND on WORK, STAY ORGANIZED. Yet, at the same time, Mrs. Prunes in a conference, told me everything was great and May is focused and so so very sweet.

I understand the frustration, believe me, it took 2 glasses of wine to get through the project, sentences, alphabetizing spelling words, math, and vocabulary. But, please don't let my little girl fall through the cracks because she is so so sweet and cute (and you can't drink at school).

And Mrs. Prunes, please respond to my e-mail, maybe we can share a glass of wine together.

I know so many of you face worse struggles and heartbreak. So I raise my homework wine to you and your trials, joys, and strengths.

Today's wine: a Tempranillo. And a slice of Tres Leches cake, the comfort food of desserts is there ever was one!

(We'll do our Beach Bum run tomorrow!)
xoxo, BLATANTLY being a mommy blogger, Flavia

Update: Of course the sentences were supposed to be in order! did the directions say this? I don't remember? Also, she was the only one in the class that did not choose a human character, AND I think she was a little proud to be a little different!


Kyla said...

Oh poor Masie! Poor Flavia!

Bring on the wine, friend. I hope the teacher responds soon.

(is that Patience in the middle of that photo? Or does someone favor her A LOT?)

Christine said...

oh , dude, i hate homework. this is the first year my girl has had any and it is LAME. I need to crack a bottle of wine myself!

OmegaMom said...

Ah, poor Masie! All those b's and d's and p's and q's and g's run into each other, sigh. Have you had her checked for dyslexia? Just a thought...

Here's hoping things get better!

Suz said...

Is it my imagination or is that homeword hard for the 2nd grade? I don't remember having to write multiple sentences until the 3rd at least! I hope that Mrs. Prunes responds and, meanwhile, enjoy your wine!

Lawyer Mama said...

Dude, I don't remember having to do stuff like that until 3rd or 4th grade!

Anonymous said...

It's partly because of No Child Left Behind. When we were that young there was no such thing. Now everyone has to step it up A LOT so that the government will be happy.

jeanie said...

Hmm - this post of yours is like an amalgamation of several of my posts about my daughter.

It is awful to move schools and the instant best friend strategy is kyboshed.

It is awful to change grades and the fantastic teacher is not the best fit for your child.

I know your pain - but you both did do very well. I give you an A

Emily said...

It can be especially difficult with girls because people figure they are well-behaved and so let them fall behind. She is not a squeaky wheel.

atypical said...

I hope she stays proud of being different!

As a homeschooling mom, I can relate to the physical pain. I am currently hoping my youngest son figures out he whole b,d,p,g,g thing soon. And sentences? Ugh.

I hope you are able to find assurance that she isn't going to fall through the cracks. Ah, mommy angst!


p.S. But she IS awfully cute. ;)

b*babbler said...

Poor little sweetie. I say bring on the wine and whatever else it takes to get through the evils of homework.

Kellan Rhodes said...

YOU ARE NOT ALONE! I can't tell you the number of times me and friends have been having this same sort of conversation about our kids/their teachers!!! I would recommend - set up a playdate with a friend (at your house) with a friend Macy wants to invite over - if that friend doesn't work out - go to the next. She'll make friends. Then ... make the teacher do what you need them to do - whatever that is! Set up another conference and another if that is what it takes. Make it clear that you are seeing problems, even if they aren't. Ask the teacher to do (take extra time, work with Macy individually, identify exactly her problems, send home specific homework instructions...) whatever is necessary to get Macy where she needs to be. Our schools offer reading tutoring, math tutoring, labs, etc... they can send kids out too. But, I believe these teachers need to work one-on-one with a situation/student, until they help get that kid to where they need to be. And they need to answer e-mails! If she is not - go to the Principal. And always, make it clear that you are Macy's advocate, concerned about her and that nothing you say or do should ever be held against your child (should you go to the Principal). I have had many incidents where I have had to MAKE a teacher help me help my kid. When they see clearly that you are concerned and that you have expectations that are not being met - they usually step up. And, while some of it may be your daughter's responsibility (being organized ...) it first starts in the class. If she feels lonely and not attended too - what's the point (in her mind). She needs to do what is expected of her - but so does the teacher. If you are willing to do some of the work at home - that's great - but it is the school's responsibility to do whatever it takes to teach your daughter - on her level - at her speed! Golly - got me goin' on this issue. And homework - can't help you there - wine sounds like a good remedy for those woes to me!

Kellan Rhodes said...

Sorry, I spelled Masie wrong - sorry.

Flavia Whitefort said...


Thank you all for you kind and supportive comments. This comment thing IS addictive. You all really make my day.

Lucky for me I got to cheat and start off with my great sister's cool readers. But, I guess that's kind of the way I grew up. Copying my big sister and trying to do all the same things.
ssshhhhh, DON'T tell her I thought she was cool!

xoxo, Les

slouching mom said...

Ahh, this is happening to Ben. He's always been so sweet and enthusiastic that his writing issues have been largely ignored. But now he's in fourth grade, and his issues are more glaring now, because the work is tougher, and cute isn't cutting it anymore.

It's so strange for me to love writing so much and have a kid who can't stand it.


slouching mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
slouching mom said...

Oh, yes, in answer to your question -- I hate the homework. Hate it.

Caren said...

Take a deep breath.

Another one.

Have you considered unschooling? (breathe again!) Where you live life joyfully with your child? No homework b.s., no difficult teachers. It hurts my heart to hear of kids being miserable in school, and it's just.. unnecessary. *Not* preparation for life at all, at least not any life that I would want for my child. Please look into it before you dismiss it - I came so close to never even reading about it, I couldn't wrap my mind around being with my kid *all the time*, every day, but it's been the best decision I've ever made, ever., and there are tons of yahoo groups