Today is supposed to be MaD Monday and I do have a post ready that is all about an incredible group that started in Red Bank as an answer to the work that needs to be done post-hurricane. It’s a great post and I’m thrilled to share it with you. But it will have to wait until tomorrow.
Because today, I’m wallowing in some parental pride. This morning, The Baby was awarded his school’s Charter Champion award. They give out monthly awards based on character traits they’ve worked on in school. October’s award was for Perseverance and my little man won.
His teacher wrote, “Even at this young Kidnergarten age he has the ability to lead us and take us through the day. Some days we feel that he doesn’t even need us, but then he throws his arms around us with those tight little hugs and we know that he does need us. And after all, we need him.”
Man, did she nail this kid right on the head, or what?
I often have trouble accepting compliments about my children, because most of what is being complimented is a reflection of their amazing personalities, so I feel no reason to take any credit. The Girl was the belle of the ball yesterday at a KidzVuz event and that was all on her and her ability to charm the pants off anyone. The Middle One was awarded Charter Champ last month and any congratulations went to solely him-for being the great little man that he is.
But this last kid, this last one not only deserves to be congratulated for his perseverance, but his father and I do as well. For it is only with perseverance that we have come this far.
As an infant, he was the definition of challenging. Colicky is not a strong enough definition for how he behaved most of the time and even in his good moments, he was not calm and affectionate like his siblings, he was simply needy. As a toddler and preschooler his stubborn personality tested everyone from teacher to parent to peer alike. Often, his own stubborness was a challenge to him as it was clear he was rarely happy unless he was 100% in charge of the day’s activities and rhythm.
I know, every expert in the world (including myself as an educator) says that children actually don’t want to be in charge, they relish order and rules. I’m here to tell you, not this one. He was tortured by everyone else’s ideas of what his day should look like.
He was tortured and so were we. There were a few moments of joy, but honestly, most of what I remember is being frustrated, tired and scared. He pushed us past limits we didn’t even know we had.
Then school came and it was the same story. He fought every single day for two years of preschool. When we started Kindergarten I thought maybe things would get better but for September and some of early October, I was sorely mistaken. But we pressed on. For five years his father and siblings and I have coached, cajoled, joked, convinced, yelled, screamed, laughed and cried with, for, near and around him to get him to start to enjoy his life.
I’m not sure which of the above worked but I’d have to say the only common denominator is perseverance. We never quit on him. He never quit on himself and he finally, finally, loves his life. He gets sad on Friday nights when he will have two days without school, but then he wakes Saturday morning to embrace the weekend plans.
He is now a dream of a boy to have around. But it took a long time and a lot of work. We all worked hard for these days. There were sleepless nights, and afternoons fraught with worry. There were doctor visits and multiple teacher conferences and shelves and shelves of just about every book on child development known to man.
We have persevered, all of us. Some might even call us Champs for it.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.