Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Trying Times

I wish I could say that life around here is moving exactly as planned. But, I can't, cuz it's not. Brayden has put a little wrench in things.

Now please don't mistake that I'm "throwing him under the bus" - but things have come to quite a head with him as he has a major speech due on Thursday, and we're realizing just how completely unorganized, lacking in focus, and oblivious he is right now. Because our focus has been more on family/Christmas things, I have not been giving the attention needed to his daily homework, and now we're behind the eight ball.

There was lots of "discussion" last night and lots of tears. As much as Brayden is making us "lose it", we are so thankful that he does recognize the problem and takes responsibility for it - and feels incredibly remorseful. Nothing kills Brayden more than knowing we are disappointed in him. So, with that said, one would imagine today would have been "ideal" in Brayden coming home with all of his homework to do - everything turned in from before, and a clean desktop left as well. Nope, nope, and nope. THREE times someone had to return to the school (he went home with his buddy Tanner, who left a very expensive prop for his speech there (to the exasperation of Nancy) - so they returned first). Then, Nancy told me he left things there (after I had specifically talked to him via cellphone while he was headed back to the school to doublecheck nothing got left). So, full of fury, I drove by to get missing homework (and witnessed a messy desktop and other things left behind). And, then, once Brayden and I were reunited and working on homework, we discover two more things were left there. I can't even communicate the depth of frustration this causes, but it is absolutely necessary we get caught up here at home because the "stay in during recess under the watchful eye of the teacher" is really not cutting it. (He just doesn't get it done, and then things pile up even more).

Brayden is grounded from tv and games indefinitely at this point. He was crying because he felt so stupid about all of it earlier - and I do truly believe he is more disappointed in his own failures than he is in any consequences. Mostly, he's worried (again) about making us sad/mad. Which makes me think, "Well, then, how come you can't figure this stuff out?" But, that's the fun of parenting, eh?

So, here we are back at home, after having gone to Sonic for our Countdown Calendar activity. For those of you not living around here, Sonic just arrived a couple of weeks ago and is quite the novelty. It was fun - we sat in the car eating our "way-too-comfort-comfort-food" watching a Mickey Mouse Christmas cartoon - quite cozy.

Brayden recited his speech during much of the driving, and completed his homework prior to leaving. But, even now I'm having to remind him to put it all back in his binder so it will make it to school. Sigh.

Last night the whole thing caused John and I such stress that John thought he had a cold sore coming on (and was in tears) and I felt my heart start to do its "flip-flop thing" and palpitations which is my physical symptom for stress. I could link you back to the blog post that talks about all of this, but the short story is that all of the symptomatic stuff is benign and treatable, it just goes to prove how serious we are in our concern for Brayden to start demonstrating more responsibility. (I imagine feeling a bit behind with my own chores/housecleaning/holiday prep and the drama of the whole burn thing might have contributed a bit too).

So, there you go. That's where we're at. We can't wait for Brayden's speech to be successfully done - and of even more significance - to be done with school for 2008. There will be some changes necessary come 2009 - the way things are going right now are just not working. It will probably involve us going back to the structure we began the school year with after school, and probably some school staff communication.

In the meantime, the pace is still fast and I need to stay afloat. Most of the time, I love this season for just that reason, but that's when I'm not getting swept under the current.

=) Challenge, Day Nine: We dropped off treats to both of our college students tonight (unfortunately neither were home, but I trust it brought smiles...)


Anonymous said...

Oh Brayden - he reminds me so much of my brother and now my nephew. He will grow up to know what extraordinary parents you are for him and you will grow to learn how to keep him motivated. My parents finally figured out what my brother needed (structure combined with what almost seemed like excessive communication at the time) when he was in middle school.

I'm praying for you, my sister, and hoping that this week will bring more peace and joy your way.

Growin' with it! said...

so i did read the whole post and really get your anguish with parenting but what i CANNOT let go of is the SONICS? gotta be kidding. where in the world is it? i'm dying here. we loved those in oklahoma and the closest i have found one was in roseburg. give me the info. now. girl. or i'm gonna burst! ahem, and if beverly reads this, she'll understand me! ☺

okay, brayden. does parenting ever level out in difficulty? i would offer up advice, but after my jury duty post, you obviously know i'm not one to be giving suggestions! hang in there.

StephieAnne said...

The new Sonic (where have you been, Linda?!) is on Olympic Blvd, directly across from the WinCo - prior to reaching Walmart Supercenter in Springfield. Very fun!

Today has been better - I'll post about it when I get a minute to breathe - maybe sometime tomorrow afternoon!!!!!

Off to bed, now - I'm beat!!!

Family O'Foxes said...

We are going through something very similar with our 5th grade son. *sigh* A friend gave me a book to read to help with the "pre-teen" years. I haven't had a chance to read it yet. Hopefully over Christmas break.

The family brought me a Sonic drink last week.

Anonymous said...

Tyler has had some challenges with general squirrelly behavior in the past, but this year was the first time we sat down for conferences and saw the "1's" (below expeectations) for behavior and being disruptive in class.

His teacher (who thankfully really loves him and connects with him) has started sending home a daily score of 1-3 based on the grading scores. We focused on a week at a time, getting his scores at 2's (meets expectations) and he earned $10 a week toward a $50 Bionicle he wanted. In the last two weeks he has even earned a couple 3's! Praise God. He is finally going from saying, "But I can't help it," to realizing he really can.

There were a couple bad days, though. One day there was a sub and he came home with a 1 and told me he was stacking chairs during class. I was totally horrified. I was such a teacher-pleaser myself I have a hard time even imagining doing something that disrespectful for no apparent reason.

I'm still not sure what causes the behavior. I know he tends to get keyed up when he's anticipating something (even days away), and he has a smart, witty mouth so maybe he's trying to show off for friends. At any rate I also took the opportunity to suggest he pray when he is feeling antcy and tempted to misbehave, and I have prayed for him too.

And Kristin's been having the same trouble with CJ, although he is a little more of the classic ADD kid. They have made some diet and vitamin changes that seem to be helping. She wants to try everything before going down the road of ADD evaluation and possible medication.

'They' also say public schools just aren't geared toward some kids (esp. boys) who are not meant to be sitting and quiet for so many hours at a time. Best of luck to you - keep us posted on your progress and any good tips you learn!

Beverly said...

Oh, Steph. You would think that since I have raised 2 boys and am working on the 12-year-old that I would have ALL the answers, right?

I don't! But, I do believe consistency is the key and that we should bring our children up to the bar - never bring the bar down to them. It's good to have expectations.

Don't be too hard on yourself. It's easy to miss some things this time of year.

I would say you have the key to "chillaxing" now..............Sonic. It is the cure for everything that bothers you, right Linda???? I could hear her tires squeal out of her driveway getting to that Sonic down here!

A strawberry limeade and onion rings will soothe your soul! Don't forget to munch on the ice - Sonic ice is the best!