The transition from a private Catholic school system to a public school has neither been as bad as I had imagined or as good. I would be delusional to think that this would have gone picture perfect, but I would be a pessimist if I thought it was going to be rough.

The week before school started, I sent an email to his homeroom teacher introducing Doodicus. It wasn’t a formal 504 Plan with a list of accomadations, but it wasn’t a hey! my kid is perfect! you shouldn’t have any problems! kind of letter, either.

I recently decided that instead of him keeping a devoted notebook for each and every subject, which was not only the teacher’s preference but Sparring Partner’s as well (and one we tried first), he is to keep all of his subjects’ notes on divided ruled paper in what we refer to as The Case. I bought a set of 8 dividers that have pockets on both sides (Avery brand and they are AWESOME), which I labeled in order of his class schedule, and then put in several sheets of ruled paper with the reinformed sides for note-taking.

While the down-side to this system will be that when the teachers want the kids to turn in their notes, he will have to open the D-rings and hand over the loose papers instead of a notebook, AND that if he loses the binder he loses everything (which nearly makes me nauseous just thinkintg about it), the disadvantages to the other system (one notebook to each subject) are not as easy for me to accept. He was bringing home the wrong note-book to use to study tests or not bringing them home at all, or if he did bring them home the night before a test, he had nothing written in them and by then it was too late. The other issue I discovered is that while each notebook was labeled with the subject, all of them that I brought home after my meeting with his teachers last night had notes in them from at least two different subjects. His notes consisted of a few words at the top of the page and the rest a series of doodles. Then a couple blank pages, more doodles, then a page with a definition or two written on them and usually from a different class. There’s no way they would ever be effective for studying. Sorry, but I tried it their way, it’s time to try mine.

After the meeting with his teachers yesterday, which I initiated, I cleaned out Dood’s desk. Chaotic doesn’t even begin to describe what I encountered. Aside from the mess, we found three pieces of homework that were due today so I brought them home. When I showed Dood, he went into a full-on meltdown, yelling how he never gets any free time. He can’t seem to understand that if he gave himself less "free-time" at school (not using the study hall periods or the after school access to the study center effectively) then he would have more time at home to do what he wants.

Last night was also suppose to be the parent’s meeting with the music store to talk about the band, orchestra and rentals, which Dood really wanted to go to as he is interested in learning to play the flute. The meeting was at 6:00 and it was nearly that time, an hour after we arrived home, that he had finally stopped yelling at me and got to work. There was no way I was going to be able to take him to the meeting, have supper, and still get homework done by bedtime. I never said a word about the meeting until after he was done for the night (not done with homework, mind you, but it was bedtime), at which time we had to break the news that we just couldn’t add band to our schedule.

He of course broke down into a fresh wave of tears, this time in grief instead of rage, and I felt like an absolute shit for taking that away from him. We could only promise him that we would consider the option next year, but that just made me feel worse to know that he would have to wait a whole year to try something he wanted to do now. I tried to make him understand that it wasn’t a punishment, but that we just don’t want to have these fights every night over what needs to be done first before he can just chill out with a video game, or watch TV, or play with his sister. Getting him to practice an instrument was just another battle I personally do not feel up to taking when I am so battered from the ones now. That’s probably why I still so badly want to say yes, because the reason I’m saying no feels entirely selfish.

8 thoughts on “Contrary”

  1. D, it is SOOOO not selfish. We have gone through the instrument battle THREE TIMES. Even with children who have nearly perfect attention and focus, making them practice is a struggle. Once the ‘shiny’ wears off, they just don’t want to do it. *I* didn’t want to do it. We have had the same conversation with Zachary – although unlike his three older siblings, we didn’t throw $200-$500 down the drain on instruments and lessons before we gave up.

    That said, his ‘real’ mom bought him a drum set. Go ahead and guess how thrilled I am about that. Of course, since she doesn’t have room for the kids at her place, she bought it to come to our house.


    Why do I see this actually being something that might hold his interest?

  2. What a tough decision but sounds like a necessary one for the whole family. The flute will always be an option in the future. And like others have said you can always consider private lessons if things change sooner. It just sucks feeling like your disappointing your kids even when it’s the right choice for now.

  3. My thoughts are pretty much an echo of what the others here are saying. With my “spirited” child, I pretty much had to eliminate all extra-curriculars during the school year due to the fact that we just couldn’t handle the fighting and scheduling conflicts. It was hard on her too, it got to the point that she was too tired to even WANT to go to derby practice or practice guitar. The thing with flute, is that it might seem fun and exciting NOW- chances are, once Dood realizes that he actually has to practice, and that practice is work- it will be one more thing you’ll have to fight to get him to do.

    It sucks that you had to disappoint him, believe me when I say I know that gut-wrenching feeling of being the bad guy all the time, but rest assured that you’re doing what is best for your entire family- Dood especially, by using your better judgement.

  4. How is it selfish to realize your child’s limitations and prevent him from overextending himself? If he gets more organized and can take flute lessons eventually, you will still have to fight with him to practice. That’s how it goes.

    What’s your back up plan for the day that the notebook gets lost? Because you know it will, and things will be better if you have a plan in place. (I ask, because my daughter left her backpack, with her class binder, on the bus the other day. Since the binder is the teacher’s deal, I didn’t worry about it too much…but it did cross my mind. We got the backpack back, but notebooks are a different story. Meanwhile, we had an extra bag and an extra lunchbag, so I was all good.)

  5. Yes, what the others said. You aren’t being selfish. I wouldn’t have the energy for it either. Hugs.

    Is there a way he can work to *earn* the flute – right now? Like if he starts utilizing study period every day you can reward him with a rental and maybe once a month lesson? (My only thought If it’s something he’s truly interested in, maybe it will help him focus, maybe?)

    In case I’ve never said it before, I really am in awe of how well you balance everything. You do a great job. Don’t ever doubt.


  6. But it’s NOT entirely selfish. Those battles take their toll on Dood (and Aitch, and SP), too. He can always join next year once he’s gotten adjusted to the new school, if things are calmer. But, if he wants more “free time” and less battles adding another activity is not the way to achieve that.

    That said, it would totally have broken my heart to have to say “no,” too.

  7. I don’t think you’re being selfish. You know your child and how too much going on affects him and everyone. While it’s not easy to see now, you’re saving future battles. I think you did just fine

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