Do you see what I see?

On Sunday, I was going to write about the bounty of smoked meats at my uncle’s annual Labor Day barbecue cook out thing.  It’s been an event for the last 8 years and this is the first year that I’ve attended.  It was a whole day of brisket, pork loin, ribs, roasted corn on the cob, goat (which tasted like a Super-ball…the wad of meat got bigger as you chewed) and walleye.  Oh, and I made P-dub’s Peanut Butter Pie.  Which is like heaven on a plate.  Unless you just gorged on meat, meat and more meat.

On Monday I was going to write about how I got on the scale before my shower.  And cried.  Despite being medicated within an inch of my life, I bawled at what I saw.  It’s time for an intervention.  Or, at least a return to WW.  Not the meetings, never meetings ever again, but just being accountable.  And I’ve done fairly well.  I had one cinnamon roll this morning instead of three.  So that’s a start.  I feel better too.  I sincerely doubt my pants fit better and I am still shaped roughly like a panda (which explains my sexual status…and explains the pandas as well, if you ask me) but at least I feel like I’m doing something.  At least to quell the tide.

On Tuesday I was going to write about how much I love “working”.  I kind of enjoy packing my lunch, dropping my baby off at daycare (never had that experience before!), navigating the interstate, parking and checking in for the day.  Reverse in the afternoon.  The house that looks the same at 4pm as it did at 8am.  Maybe it’s just new.  The stay at home mom gig was good.  When there was a working dad to brighten up the end of the day.  When dinner conversation did not involve getting feet of the table, poop, fingers in the soup and spilled milk.  Oh, and not eating what I made. 

On Wednesday, I was starving.  And exhausted.  Amelia and I might have slept in past 9.  And we might have had Applebee’s for lunch.  And I might have had a crazy feeling all day that something was about to go wrong.  I might have called just about everyone I knew to make sure that everyone had their lives and limbs.  And I know for sure that I didn’t sleep a red hot minute that night.

Thursday…let’s talk about Thursday.  Work, daycare, home and all the rest…fine. 

Thursday night was curriculum night at Ella’s school.  I ditched the girls with my aunt (an angel sent from heaven, if I’ve ever seen one….just what I need, when I need it) and went to sit in an itty, bitty chair at an itty, bitty table with the parents of one four year old, three six year olds and 16 five year olds.  Before sitting, I wandered the room looking for signs that my child really did spend seven hours a day without me.  Her work was there with the others.  Her work…

Every parent wants to think that their child is the exception.  That their child is leaps and bounds ahead of the other kids.  Bored, even.  You go to that first interaction with the teacher with one question: How do I get my kid tested into the gifted program?  Because, clearly, she is too good for coloring and cutting!  She must be challenged!  Bring on the long division!  Get her reading about the American Revolution!  Taking a seat on the model U.N.!

As the teacher was going through the curriculum for the year, she mentioned several times that a few kids were blending sounds and starting to read.  I am, of course, convinced that she is speaking of my child.  Who has read a few very short books to me a time or two.  So I space off.  And continue gazing around, looking at what the children have done in the last 15 or so school days.

Ella’s work is…sloppy.  For lack of a better word.  Hastily colored.  Ragged cut edges.  Unfinished.  Very, very different from her peers.

My quirky, cute, empathetic, expressive and creative daughter is…behind.  She is “immature” to use her teacher’s word.  She “acts like a four year old”.  She “does not even know how to color in the lines”.  She “is loud and interrupts excessively.” 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I cried.  A little.  Out of frustration.  And then made a cocktail.  And put it all into perspective.  I considered pulling her out and finding another year of preschool.  I also considered pulling her out and homeschooling her but you and I both know that we all need a break from each other.  And then the voice of reason took over.

She will be fine.  She went through this the first few months of preschool both years and, by Christmas, was caught up. 

And, really, I can only blame myself.  I know she’s bright and I haven’t attempted to cultivate that.  Not consistently anyway.  She went to preschool with a sub-standard teacher and I didn’t follow my gut to find a new one.  Not to mention the very recent move and the full year that I was mentally absent and she was raised by Noggin (which is, in fact, NOT preschool on tv).

I take no issue with the teacher.  I am totally behind her.  She knows what she is doing and Ella adores her.  But I just hope that these first few weeks haven’t completely shaped her opinion of my daughter.  I hope that she is able to see Ella’s strengths.  That she sees what I see.  And what people who know her well have seen.

9 thoughts on “Do you see what I see?

  1. Jenn…please know that I say the following as a teacher. If the woman that has Ella is worth her salt as a teacher, she will not have a fixed opinion…she will want to push and help…and will be THRILLED that Ella is caught up by Christmas. She will shed tears with you when you both see all of the amazing things that she can do, and that she is no longer “behind.”
    Hang in there woman…you are stronger than I could ever hope to be.

  2. You need to talk to Aunt Kristi. My cousin Jason had the SAME exact issues you wrote about with her son. He graduated top of his class w/o studying. Tag the whole way AND is in college for genetics…maybe pre-med. He never colored. He scribbled. He thought is was boring.

    Take it from the spec. ed teacher. SHE IS NOT BEHIND!!!!!

  3. Your last paragraph made me tear up as well. I have an almost-five-year-old who made a few trips to the principal’s office last year in JK but who has been in SK for 8 days so far this school year and has spent 8 days in the principal’s office so far, including one day where he had to stay inside both recesses. We are all working together to figure out what is going on – I have an intake interview next week with a local agency and the school is submitting his name on priority to the school board’s Child Development worker – but it is so hard. I may have full out cried (tears down the cheeks and all) a few times on the phone with the principal and teared up several times in person.

    I hate the term “hang in there” but we do kind of have to do that, don’t we? You’re an amazingly strong woman and you’re doing an amazing job of parenting your girls.

  4. I just want to mimic all that the other commentors already expressed. Just because Ella may color a little sloppy does not mean you have not done a totally amazing job parenting her. Love to you all.

  5. I have to admit I’m feeling a little bit feisty towards Ella’s teacher. I love teachers and with two girls (one in 8th & one a senior in h.s.) I’ve seen a wide spectrum of talent. Keep listening to your mother-gut and you will know if Ella needs help or is just adjusting to the very new-ness of her life: new home, new school…And yes, let’s give ourselves a gold star for making little changes regarding diet,etc. because flogging ourselves just doesn’t help! I totally can relate!!!

  6. My younger sister was a 7-month baby. Spent her first month in the hospital. Parents were told when she started kindergarten that she might have slight “mental retardation,” because it was the early 1970s and people were still allowed to say that. She ended up being salutatorian of her graduating class, and is an RN supervisor at one of the leading cancer treatment hospitals in the country.

    It’ll all be fine. 🙂

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