I expected this school year to be tough but I’ve been trying to be really optimistic about starting the year off right. I really dread school starting each year…getting up early, getting the kids ready for school, homework issues, studying for tests, issues with friends, kids being sick, the list goes on and on. 3rd grade is a transition year and even though I’ve never had any kind of issue with Ethan, I was still worried. And then there is 6th grade…middle school…which has a whole other set of issues to worry about as a parent. Hormones, hormones of boys that I don’t know and can’t control, the fact that my daughter will be a teenager in 2 years…all things that I don’t want to think about anytime soon.
It’s funny (well, not literally funny…at least not right now) how my own kids – my own flesh and blood – can be so different from each other and different from me. I remember when Mackenzie was just a little baby and thinking that she was going to really be a handful one day. She was so high maintenance and needy, but so loving and carefree at the same time. Whenever I think of the words “free spirit” she is the first thing that comes to my mind. I remember my dad telling me back then that I would be glad she is that way when she gets older; that she would be so outgoing and creative. Well, dad, I hope you’re right because it’s not working out so great right now! She’s so carefree that she either 1) doesn’t “care” about anything or 2) doesn’t/can’t focus on caring about anything. I think it’s a combination of the two and I have no idea how to deal with that! I wasn’t carefree at all as a child; I was scared to death to do something wrong. I remember thinking when I started having kids that “I was an almost-perfect child – there is no way that any of my children will be any different”. What the hell was I thinking??? I can tell her 30 times to go clean her room and she will get distracted each time and never actually do anything. She will be talking and a butterfly or something will fly by her and that’s it – her train of thought is gone! But then when I was pregnant with Ethan, I just knew from how he acted in the womb that his personality was going to be so much more different. And I was right – as a baby he never, ever cried. He was so laid back. As he got older, he would always clean up his toys and keep his room clean and actually was able to get his homework done in less than an hour (wow!).
Mackenzie is nothing like me. I have no clue how mine and Michael’s genes combined and created that piece of work. She loves to talk, I don’t. She is outgoing, I’m shy. She is messy and disorganized, I am anal and a perfectionist. She is forgetful and carefree, I am anxious and constantly worrying. Ethan on the other hand, is a little clone of me in a boy’s body. He has an analytical mind just like me, he just “gets” things, he is quiet and shy, he is emotional and sensitive, and being fair is really important to him.
I think the toughest part of being a parent (so far) is raising these little people who are different than you and who don’t think like you and not having a clue if you’re doing it right. I guess this is what has really been bothering me since I got the kids midterms yesterday. Ethan gets home from school first and immediately goes to the table to start his homework (without being told). He pulls out his midterm and this is what I see:
My heart swelled with pride 🙂 I was so proud of him for doing his best and getting near-perfect grades. An hour later when Mackenzie got home, it was the usual battle of making her sit down at the table to start homework. I don’t know why it didn’t cross my mind that she should be getting her midterm yesterday too, but she definitely didn’t get it out on her own to show me. Finally, later that night I realized she probably had one too and asked to see it. Instantly my mood changed and I snapped:
C, C, C, D, and (2) A’s. And the “A” grades were in PE and Band, which didn’t even matter to me at the time. I just lost it. Somebody at work yesterday told me that they couldn’t imagine me ever getting mad. Well, they should’ve been over here at our house last night! They would’ve seen the Ashley that very few people have ever seen. I think why it bothers me so much is because I’ve tried and tried to show that child that she needs to care about her grades but obviously I’ve failed. I feel like how well my kids do or don’t do is a reflection of me. If they succeed then I’ve succeeded. If they fail then I’ve failed. How do I know whether to keep pushing her or let her learn on her own? This parenting thing is so frustrating!!!
…and to think that Cayden was harder to handle as a baby than Mackenzie was. Oh no.