Thursday, September 22, 2011

To Lead or To Assist

I am presented with a dilemma that I had once before; should I step up and become the "coach" or leader of the group Parker is involved in, or should I be the best effin assistant ever.  I did this before in soccer and t-ball.  I didn't step up in soccer even though I felt that inner need to, and I did in t-ball, as an assistant although I ended up being present more than the head coach.  So here it is again.  Parker is part of a new Tiger Cub Scout group that has no Den Leader because we are all new.  And here I am.  I know I could do it because I have noticed in my life that I have always either chosen or have been chosen for leadership positions (volleyball captain, field commander, PIC, GM....)  The lucky part of this scenario is that I happen to know another parent of another Tiger Cub.  He was the assistant coach of Parker's first soccer team.  He is having the same dilemma as me.  I would totally co-Den Lead with him, he is cool, his kids are cool, his wife is cool, and they probably have a bigger house than me.  So now I have to talk through it.

Why I want to:
It is something that I have never done before and I like a new challenge.  It is also really fun for me to be that involved in whatever it is Parker is doing.  It is more hands on in his life and I will only get so much of that before he doesn't want me involved.  It would also be good because he doesn't have the "father figure" that Boy Scouts really is designed for, not that I am a complete replacement of that relationship but still, my involvement would be important to him. 

Why I am on the fence:
The commitment.  I work about 55 hours a week, run a household, mother a 6 year old and sustain a very close relationship with mr.  That may only look like 4 things on a list but when you think about the amount of time that I dedicate to each of those 4 things, that is more time than I actually have to commit.  I don't know that I would be able to make every den meeting if something came up at work or with mr.  I know that if something happened with Parker, there would be a reschedule, but life has thrown so many curve balls at me that I expect them most of the time which makes a new commitment a challenge.  Even just hearing about all the things that we will be doing once a month sounds like so much being added to my plate, to have to organize the meetings each month instead of just helping with them kind of makes my head hurt.  Unfortunately I know how I am.  I naturally fit into being the boss and if I am not, I tend to think that I could run/do things better.  If, for some reason, the Den Leader would not be open to outside ideas or suggestions or communication of any kind, then my head could explode in one of the meeting.  And I also wonder if Parker would want me to be that involved.  Maybe he does need his space and although I will be at all of the meetings, maybe it would be better for him that I wasn't in charge of Cub Scouts like I am in charge of the majority of his life.

So there I am.  Every reason why I want to cancels out every reason why I don't want to.  Maybe I should just volunteer to assist and hold meetings here every other month.  But is a part time commitment to this a good idea?  Ugh.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Reading with Parker

Oh my gosh.....reading with Parker can be a very frustrating experience.    It is so hard for me to admit that too,  I don't want to get frustrated with him but sometimes I just want to tie him to the chair and make him concentrate on the words in front of him!  That sounds kind of harsh but I know other parents will understand what I mean about knowing their child can do something and do it well but they just simply can not at the same time.  It is a moment where I feel helpless as a parent because I see his frustration and I want to make it easy on him by telling him the words....but that is not helping.

He is so good at spelling.  The past two weeks he has gotten 100% on both tests and last week he even got the bonus words right!  It is easy for him to sound out words and recite the letters.  He can do it both on paper and out loud with the same about of ease.  He is also really amazing at his homework pages where you have to pick out the word that fits or finish the sentence.  The same with the math pages.  Even geography, which they haven't really learned yet, but he loves to look at maps and has traveled so much  It all comes so easy to him until you give him a book and ask him to read it out loud.  At that point his turns into a child who is distracted by the smallest thing, who wants to talk about the picture more that focus on the words, who suddenly forgets all of the letter sounds that he knew while he was spelling 5 minutes prior.  This child he becomes is not the same boy.  He gets mad at himself, at me for trying to help, he guesses the words, skips pages, does anything he can to fly through without really reading it.  I posted something about it on facebook during the first week of school.  A lot of people had suggestions for me and one was really great that I had never heard of....the five finger rule.  If a child can not read five words on a page than that book is not at the same level that the child is ready for.  I love it!  I started counting how many times Parker wouldn't even be able to begin a word.  Although he never made it 5 on one page, I realized that maybe the books were a level or two too high.  So back to the library we went.  My aunt said something about how phonics is no longer taught in school.  I completely forgot about learning phonics and it seems silly to try to learn to read without having the sound combinations down first. He did learn a lot of phonics in Kindergarten but without the practice over the summer, he has lost a lot of what he knew.  Yesterday I noticed that Parker was struggling the most with vowel combinations or vowels with the letter "R".  Solution?  Flashcards!  It is a good thing I am such a nerd and like to make flashcards with letter sound combinations on them for him!  (I get excited about his homework too....some one needs get back in school too huh?!)

So today we started the flashcards and he picked the book instead of me.  It worked.  Yesterday reading time took over an hour and today, including flashcards, it took about a half hour.  Parker was so proud of himself too.  Once he was done he made up a song and dance about how the rest of the night was free choice (a school reference).  Hopefully we are walking down a better path towards reading without frustration and with more ease.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Lifetime Ago

Once upon a time.....what seems like a lifetime ago, there were three little girls who were very much a part of my life.  I loved them.  At first there were only two but then the third came along and I was able to be apart of her growth.  I watched her change from a helpless infant to a very independent little girl.  The middle one changed so much while I knew her as well.  She was a rambunctious toddler when I first met her and she grew to be athletic and strong in build and nature.  She was a comedian too.  The oldest, however, was probably my favorite.  She was smart, inquisitive, funny, eager to help and please, nurturing to her younger siblings and years older than her actual age.  I remember teaching her how to spell Mississippi during a school break in first grade, she was so proud to return to school and recite it for her teacher and classmates; as memory serves me, she was one of few that couple spell that state's long name.  They are special girls that I have thought about and wondered how their lives are going now, what kind of personalities they have now, if they are the same or different.  I honestly have never thought that I would hear from or about any of them again.

So why am I thinking and even writing about this?  One of them contacted me through facebook and it has thrown me for a loop.  This may be much to personal for my blog but it is a situation that I have to talk myself through to let it out of my head, so I no longer dwell on it a let it lead my mood.  These girls were my "nieces" or as close to nieces as I have ever had.  At one point I would have told someone that I had 6 nieces.  These three though, I was much closer to than the other three.  I would help babysit, play with, read to, help with homework.  There was a lot of conflict in their young lives and I know that I helped be a solid piece of ground for them to rely on....well until I decided to break away from that family.  At that point in time I no longer thought about them or their well being as much because I was concerned about my and Parker's well being.  I know that I can not be held to a negative regard for doing that and since the break from that family, well, I think it is obvious through my past posts that there has been no communication with the common denominator between be and those girls, Parker's dad.

I was thrown last night when I signed on facebook.  I honestly had never once thought about searching for anyone from his family or thought that they would find me.  I don't like using that word either, find, like I am hiding.  I am not hiding or preventing number and location has not changed, I can not say that for the other party.  But anyway, I instantly remembered our connection and want very much to catch up....but at the same time there is a wall preventing me from doing that.  I don't think I can open that door.  I don't think that I can communicate with anyone related to him because of the choice that he has made to be completely absent from Parker's life.  But then I realize that she has nothing to do with that.  She has nothing to do with his decisions.  I don't even know if her mom still communicates with the mutual family.  Maybe she needs me in some way again, maybe I can help her like I did before......but should I?  She would then become a window for him to be able to see into the life that I have built for Parker and I without having to involve himself directly....that less fair to Parker than what has happened in his life already.  Which leads me back to the reason why I have not tried to stay connected to any of the people I once considered to be family.  I struggle with this decision often because I am cutting Parker off to cousins that he has but doesn't know.  And when I think of that I think that I am just as unfair as he is being to Parker.  That I am just as responsible. 

As you can see I continually go back and forth and it all comes back to the same question.....have I made the right decision in not trying to make his father have a relationship with his son.  I did try for a while but there was no result and eventually their were no numbers I could call that weren't disconnected.  This will always haunt me.  I will always wonder.  Sometimes I forget about it but then there is a blatant reminder that smacks me in the face like this one.  Can someone from the future please leave me a message telling me that I made a good decision.  That moving on with our life was and has been the best thing for creating a stable life for him?  And also, please tell me what I should do about this recent facebook request..........