Most days, we are all just trying to do our best under really challenging circumstances.
Of course, by "challenging circumstances," I mean "life."
When my kids were babies, I worried about things that seem so insignificant now. I worried that failing to have a natural birth, the sort where you labor and deliver at home in a tub, would lead to not truly bonding with my baby. I worried that bottle feeding would lead to a baby with an IQ equivalent to that of a turnip. I worried that day care would turn my beloved sweet child into a bad-tempered hooligan.
Yet my highly drugged birth didn't interfere with bonding. If the formula interfered with brain development, then we are blessed indeed because my bottle babies are smarter than I am and the IQ points the formula shaved off were worth losing. And quality day care was a blessing, one that helped my children blossom. All of the bits of parenting that I agonized over worked out in the end. Your mileage may vary, naturally.
When the kids were babies, I thought that all of the critical decisions would be made by the time they were 2. Then when they were 2, I thought we'd know what was right by the time they started kindergarten. Now I'm convinced that we'll have it all sorted by junior high _ even though I know I'm probably wrong.
In so many ways, school-age kids are easier to deal with. They know where the potty is and how to use it. They can dress and feed themselves. They can hang up their own damp towels and toss their dirty socks in the hamper.
Whether or not they choose to do this on any given day is open for debate _ but failure to act like school-age kids doesn't mean that they are incapable of doing so.
The problem is that when they are school age, then all of your worries revolve around school.
It's been easier with the Diva. I'm honestly not certain if that's because she is a girl or the first-born or less hyperactive. But while she has had her struggles (and will probably continue to do so), she's never caused much hand-wringing.
But the Boy. Oh, the Boy. School has been so very hard for him.
Here is where I have to tread carefully, knowing this is a small community and he could be harmed by his mother's tendency to publicly overshare. Until he is old enough to write his own column refuting mine, which he is welcome to do, I will do my best to do as little damage to his reputation as possible.
We spent the last few months of his kindergarten year convinced that we had done exactly the wrong thing by sending him when he turned 5. Academically, he was in good shape. Socially, however, was another kettle of crayons.
So many parents of boys wait until they are 6 before they send them, which made me worry that we should have done the same, that we were creating a budding sociopath by starting him in school at the same age my husband and I started.
His difficulties this year in first grade have bordered on epic. Book learning isn't the problem; learning to behave is. A few weeks back, I started to feel guilty about not homeschooling him, because that seems to be what so many women of my generation, education and income status have done when faced with a kid who isn't thriving in a traditional school.
I felt like a failure for not coming up with a plan to do this, one that would cater to my kid's needs rather than my own _ because homeschooling is pretty far down on the list of things that I want to do and would be the ideal candidate for.
Even though I do teach other people's kids for a living, I am really bad at teaching my own how to do much of anything. Homeschooling would end with one of us on the front lawn trying to hitch a ride to Kalamazoo.
So I did the next best thing, which was worry about the many ways I was failing the Boy, including but not limited to my deficiencies as a homeschooler and my inability to see the future when he was 5.
Like so many child-related worries, these were aimed at the wrong target. The Boy, thanks to a smart, resourceful teacher and a supportive elementary school staff, seems to be on a more even keel.
For how long his keel stays level, however, is anyone's guess. We _ from the teachers to the principal to us _ all seem to be working through it together right now.
Given that both kids go to Center Street, my concerns have only grown exponentially during the last few weeks. My hope is that these worries will seem insignificant in a few years. Right now, however, they are all consuming.
Adrienne Martini is a freelance writer, instructor at the State University College at Oneonta, mom to Maddy and Cory, wife to Scott, and author of "Sweater Quest." Her columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/parentingimperfect.
Most days, we are all just trying to do our best under really challenging circumstances.
Why did you serve?
Numerous local residents have spent time in service to our country in the military. Some joined out of a duty to our county, others were pressed into service through the draft, still others wanted to take advantage of the G.I. Bill. In honor of their service and Armed Forces Day on Saturday, we asked our readers why they served and what they took away from their service.Continued ...
Fitness key during pregnancy
Women have been having babies since well before time has been recorded by humans.Continued ...
Beyond the stacks: Local libraries offer everything from history to technology
The local libraries within the Four County Library System still make information available to their patrons in the traditional way -- books. They are also storehouses of local history: old photos, newspapers, genealogy records, diaries and letters.Continued ...
Romantic times at Fenimore
When one thinks of the romantic, usually one ponders wistfully the early days of a courtship and marriage.Continued ...
Prom fashions bright, blingy, different
Prom night can be one of the biggest events of a high school student's life. It is the last bash before college for many, and the memories are often recorded. That is why prom fashion is so important to high school seniors.Continued ...
- Why did you serve?
- Around The Arts
'Record Breaker' exhibit to be at Orphic Gallery
"Record Breaker," featuring the work of Greg Frederick, will open Saturday at the Orphic Gallery in Roxubry.Continued ...
Local programs help children's creativity grow
I am not a stage mom. But, the other day I ended up in the middle of a discussion with a stage dad who, for many years, has designated a great deal of his time and resources to support his teenage sonâ€™s performing career. The cry of the stage parent: chauffeuring from one rehearsal to the next, scouting costumes, building sets, selling tickets and program ads, and, of course, sitting in the audience for the entire production run. Then, without a breath, off to the next one!Continued ...
An artist label can be placed on many types of people
"You are such an artist."Continued ...
Dip your toe in the art world through Pinterest
I am a magazine ripper. I always have been. I have shoesboxes and file folders filled with decorating ideas, recipes and other miscellaneous projects. No matter how hard I've tried, I can never seem to organize or tame the scraps of inspiration floating around my house.Continued ...
Arts encompasses so much more than visual, performing, musical things
This column was due when I was in the throes of our season at The Glimmerglass Festival, when all we are thinking about is the arts -- how to make people more aware of the arts, to engage in the arts. And -- what exactly do "the arts" entail?Continued ...
- 'Record Breaker' exhibit to be at Orphic Gallery
- Music Beat
Music Industry Tips About Professional Musicians
Musicians know that every performance they play is an audition for their next engagement.Continued ...
Practice really does make perfect for professionals
Shortly after I was hired at the age of 25 to work in the Music Department at State University College at Oneonta, I played a concert for members of this community. At the end of the concert, a young audience member said to me, â€œHow many years have you been playing the cello and do you still have to practice?â€�Continued ...
Stepping on the flag, and other memories
If we are to be defined all our lives by our high school mascots, then I suppose I am a Viking. But I'm also a Panther, having transferred schools after my freshman year.Continued ...
From SUNY Oneonta to CBS Sports
Some people say the music business is failing, but I don’t agree with that point of view. Neither does Joseph Miller.Continued ...
- 12 Music Industry Tips from Joseph Miller
- Music Industry Tips About Professional Musicians
- Parenting Imperfect
I'm relieved it's not just me
For the last few years, I've been convinced that I'm just harder on things than other people are.Continued ...
A tactical error in the handoff
My kids are lucky enough to have half of their grandparents within a three-hour drive.Continued ...
A potentially quiet afternoon interrupted by a dog and a balloon
The kids spent most of Martin Luther King Jr. Day bickering.Continued ...
The dog is a getting to be an expert at training
This sentence took 20 minutes to type.Continued ...
Bad things can happen when trends are no longer trendy
When I was a kid, it used to drive me bonkers that my mom didn't know anything about the most important things in my world. She had no idea what a friendship pin was or how you'd make one. She couldn't name any good band, i.e., the ones a pre-teen would listen to like Duran Duran or Wham. And she didn't find Robert Downey Jr. nearly as dreamy as I did.Continued ...
- I'm relieved it's not just me
- Senior scene
Looking Back: A sad ending for adorable, sweet Taffy-toes
Another unwanted drop-off? Yes and so I must write this.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Dealing with side effect of pills can really be a pain
At age 76, I find myself incontinent. Actually the problem started well before that date but now it has gone beyond "a problem," to "holy smoke the dam broke."Continued ...
- From the Office: Try spring cleaning, organizing for stress release
Looking Back: Take your time, think ahead before making decisions
A lifetime may seem forever for some, especially when we were young and couldn't wait to grow up and get to do all things we saw the adults do. Come to think of it, perhaps that wasn't too good.Continued ...
As Time Goes By: Getting sick in the southern sun
I went and did it - I have heard about southern hospitality so much that I thought I would see if it extended to the hospitals as well.Continued ...
- Looking Back: A sad ending for adorable, sweet Taffy-toes
- Tech, GP
Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
Well, I'm almost ready to let out a cheer.Continued ...
Businesses need backups for their computer people, systems
In the interest of full disclosure, I want to let you know that I have taken a new position, professionally. I recently joined Eastman Associates, a local general contractor, to do its IT work, as well as taking care of some other functions of the business.Continued ...
Windows 8 seems to be made for the good of Microsoft, not the user
By Bruce Endries The software company everybody loves to hate, Microsoft, recently released what it calls a "consumer preview" of their next operating system, Windows 8.Continued ...
The Granite State got it right on software purchases
Believe it or not, I have found a bright spot in the political landscape, amid all the vitriolic partisan fighting.Continued ...
Visit a construction site and you'll probably find an iPad
It was just about two years ago now, that the iPad came out, and I wrote a column about it. At that time, I went out on a limb and said that thought it was a product which would fill certain niches very well, but that it wasn't very likely to fill in for what is normally considered a computer.Continued ...
- Thankful hard-disk shortage is about over, and counting my blessings
- Teen Talk
On the Go: Patriotism doesn't mean keeping status quo
I've been labeled many things, but when anti-American and unpatriotic came into the picture recently I was surprised. I know I have some controversial opinions, but since when does that equate to not loving America? I'm a born and raised American kid, and I love America.Continued ...
Luhrmann brings Gatsby new life
Sure, you would think that being a college student and having finals rapidly approaching would equate to my growing anticipation for the summer and being done with my first year of college.Continued ...
Teenhood Today: Only you can determine your impact
The question I am most often asked is, "What do you want to do with your life?"Continued ...
A Word of Advice: Just do something
If you're not going upward, the only direction you can go is down. To stagnate is to surrender; to do nothing for yourself; to give up on a better day completely. If we sit around feeling good enough in all aspects of life, or just too lazy to fix them, well, as Albert Einstein put it, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."Continued ...
On the Go: Life is like the Cliff Walk
Over spring break, my family and I spent time in Newport, R.I. While we were there, we walked a path known as the Cliff Walk. This walk is nestled between some Newport mansions and some cliffs overlooking the ocean. While we were walking, my sister and I noticed how this path was a perfect metaphor for life and the journey it is.Continued ...
- On the Go: Patriotism doesn't mean keeping status quo