Monday, September 30, 2013

Sometimes you have to stop and really listen to kids....and then hide your tears while you wipe away theirs.


    For the past week or so, Nixon has been saying he doesn't want to go to school, that he wants to stay home. He'll fight with me about getting dressed for school, going to bed the night before school and even one day he refused to get up for school (he eventually did get up, but it was a slow morning for him from the get-go). It's so strange because as soon as he gets into his classroom, he's happy and ready for school, saying "hi" to everyone. Even when I pick him up, his teachers tell me he had a good day no tantrums and was participating.

   This morning, Mac was home and helping getting Nixon ready. I was upstairs, attempting to do my hair and failing epically, while listening to the "battle" ensuing downstairs. Finally, I'd had enough. Nixon was crying, Mac was frustrated and I needed to know what was really going on.
   What's really going on is Nixon doesn't feel safe at school. He told me there's a boy in a red sweatshirt that is mean to him. He picks on him, says mean things and throws things at him. Nixon tells me he didn't want to have the "mean boy" be not nice to him and he'd stay home with me instead.

   How do you deal when your 4-year old feels unsafe?
   What's the right reaction?
   And how do you assure him while trying to calm the rage building deep in your own soul at the thought that your child is not safe at school?

   I held Nixon. I gave him hugs, and kisses, and I reminded him that he can always always, tell Mac and I when something like this happens. I told him that we are his voice when he's scared and our job is to make sure he's safe even when he's not with us. I made sure he knew we'd talk to his teachers and he can talk to them too, because they want him to be safe in class as well.

   We took him to school, and the 3 of us held hands walking to his classroom today. Nixon's teachers weren't busy, we were there a little early, so I was able to mention the concerns and issues we were having at home. While I was doing that, Nixon showed Mac the boy he says is being mean to him, and Mac in turned showed him to the teachers. I'll be honest, I've seen this child mock Nixon before and I'm not sure if it was a mean-spirited mocking or just kids being kids mocking.  
   The teachers are aware of it now, and have promised to keep an eye on both kids. Now I realize, Nixon hasn't been in a classroom setting before and there is an adjustment period, so he may not be used to kids playing and goofing around, but if he's genuinely being bullied in preschool there's something wrong with that and I'll stand up for my child as long as I feel he feels he's unsafe. If it means I have to ask to be in the office and monitor the class video feed for a day, I will do that. I will not let my child feel like he's on his own when he's just starting school!

   We'll see how it goes. I hope as Nixon gets more comfortable and used to the kids, he'll handle the situations better and be able to handle some conflicts on his own. BUT, I'm also trying to help him realize any kind of bullying is wrong and he should stand up to it. Even if it's not happening to him, he should stand up or stand by other children being picked on as well and not join in the picking on to fit in.

   It's hell that I'm having to help him navigate this at 4-years-old. He's not even in school full-time yet! I'm scared for today's youth....it starts so early.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Somehow this wonderful, kind, friendly, caring, funny and loving kid came from my body and has my genes in him. I don't know what happened to me, well I do but that's not important...Thank gods I have Nixon to redeem my faith in humanity.

   Ever have a moment when you just look at your kid and wonder where he came from? Yeah, me too...all the time.
    Today Mac had an appointment at Walter Reed Medical Center today. Since he's been working so much lately and we've missed him, Nixon and I went with him. Walter Reed is also where a lot of our wounded soldiers are treated.

   Nixon and I were sitting off in a quiet area while Mac signed in. (I should add before people start getting crazy: Mac is not wounded. He was there to get seen for his wickedly flat feet, and get custom insoles for them. He's been in for 19 years, these things happen. He is in most other ways, totally fine. His mental stability is suspect, but that's mostly because we've been together for 7 years and I rub off on the sanest of people in less time and smaller doses.) Nixon was people watching, something he enjoys but always has questions about. He first saw a guy with crutches and said "Why does that guy have sticks with him?". I explained crutches and the use of his indoor voice. Next he saw a double amputee with prosthetics on a Segway. Nixon says "Mommy, look that's so cool! That guy is standing and on wheels! Look how fast he's going." Did I drop the ball because I didn't overly explain the situation? Maybe, but at the same time, Nixon wasn't afraid of anyone and he wasn't seeing these heroes as "different". He was looking at them in awe.
    A little later we were getting ready to walk around for a bit. There's only so long that he'll sit still before he needs to get up and move. As I was gathering my bag, Nixon smiled and waved at a young boy in a wheelchair that went by and said "hi". He kept moving, but his dad said "hi" back to Nixon and smiled. When we were coming back from our walk, Nixon saw the boy again and again smiled and said "hi". This time the little boy said "hi" back. His dad said they had to hurry to go pick up his legs. It was only then that I noticed he was missing both legs. Nixon? Never noticed. To Nixon he saw a kid and said "hi", like he always does.
 
   The only cringe worthy moment was when he and I were walking behind a guy with a cane and an ankle brace. Nixon says "Mommy, what's wrong with him?". I try to be very tactful and say "Well baby, it looks like he has a cane to help him keep his balance and a brace on his ankle, probably for an owie of some kind." Nixon says "Well, what happened?" Oy, really kid?!?! I say "Well, I don't think he did it on purpose, it was probably an accident of some kind. But he seems to be recovering, which is always good when owies heal." and Nixon says, as we pass the guy who stopped at a coffee shop, "I hope you feel better soon!"

   I am in awe of the kind and friendly child I'm somehow responsible for raising. I just want to keep him this pure and wonderful for as long as possible. Because right now he is perfect, just the way he is.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The evil cycle of the reality of a being a Stay-at-Home-mom for the last 4 years....losing my identity.

  It seems these days I'm losing my identity and instead becoming known by someone else's identity.
  It started when Nixon started preschool earlier this month. I stopped by to pay his tuition and the director of the school didn't know me until I identified myself as "Nixon's mom". I get it, I really do, she deals with so many parents and children that keeping it simple and learning only the children's names is the best way to go, since those are the ones she'll be seeing on a daily basis for extended periods of time. The parents are there for drop-offs and pick-ups and the director isn't always present in the classroom at those times.
   So I've resigned myself to accept my newest role as "Nixon's mom".

   But then I had to write a letter for Mac, to his command, regarding a request to stay on the current shift he's on. I wrote it as Mac's wife and Nixon's mother....I was no one as an individual. I had no single stake other than to represent what was best for Nixon, Mac and our family.
   That's when it hit me.

   I'm really losing myself lately. I've stopped working on things for my etsy shop. I've got costumes to work on for Halloween, I've got almost everything I need to complete said costumes but I haven't started them yet.

   I don't really have a point to this. I'm behind on blogging because I'm in a funk. I'm in a funk because I'm not inspired by anything these days. I'm uninspired because I'm not feeling like an individual, I'm just a part to someone else's whole.
   Please tell me other moms have gone through this and it goes away?

   By the way, before anyone tells me to get a job, at this point in time it's not possible. Nixon's only going to school 2.5 hours 3 days a week and Mac is still on the overnight shift, daycare is an impossibility.