It's October!

I don't know if I've blogged before about how much I love October. I love the cooler temperatures, the fall leaves, the fact that the first weekend is almost always a mission reunion for me and General Conference. Next week the kids have a few days off for Fall Break and we are going on a little trip down to southern Utah to see Zion National Park and a few other things. I love going on road trips and I hope this will be fun for everyone.

Today we had parent-teacher conferences at the kids' school. I always like hearing about how other people perceive them and getting feedback on how they are doing. S-Boogie's teacher loves her and thinks she is very sweet. Interestingly, her school teacher, her Activity Days leaders, and her church teacher always describe her the same way: 'such a little doll--such a sweet girl'. S-Boogie is right on grade level as far as her skills go; she is a very fast reader, but her comprehension scores are a little low. I have noticed this myself as well--she focuses on quantity when it comes to reading, not quality. I'm actually really grateful that so far I have two kids who are confident in themselves and who are not perfectionists or excessively rule-bound. First of all, it has helped me get over some of my own neuroses about grades and performance and perfection. Second of all, I think it will help them in the future--I hope they can always be this self-assured. I do wish I could figure out how to help them do their best work. They really don't care about doing things exactly right and would much rather do things their own way.

Thankfully Little Dude has a teacher who loves the fact that he likes to do things his own way (within reason). Our conference with her was a lot of fun because she just loves Little Dude. I've been worried because he has decided to write his name a different way on every paper he turns in (backwards, upside down, different spellings, etc). His teacher thinks he is just charming and knows that he can write his name the correct way, has a huge vocabulary, and is reading far above grade level, so she lets him be a little silly sometimes. Thankfully she is also making sure he does finish his work even if he has to stay in a bit from recess--I'm glad she is still requiring him to stay on task and to do what he needs to get done. Little Dude is very smart, but also very stubborn and can be a bit tricky to work with. I'm so glad he has a teacher who thinks he is great and gives him so much support because that's what he really needs right now.

Little Dude has been a bit of a struggle lately, I'm sure this is made worse by the fact that I mainly interact with him in the mornings and evenings and those aren't anyone's best times of the day. Mornings have become really difficult and he is having a very hard time waking up and getting ready for school. I tried moving his bedtime back a bit, but he reacted so badly that it didn't help at all. Now I do sometimes use earlier bedtime as a threat, but it doesn't always work. One thing I have started doing more is responding to his bad moods with humor and kindness instead of exasperation and impatience. The most difficult thing about parenting him is that he is very moody; one minute we're at the school book fair and he's happily buying is little sister a Dora book and the next he's sulking and angry because S-Boogie has a lot more money than he does and can buy more stuff. It can be exhausting and all kinds of things can make him upset. I've also been working on teaching him how to recognize and manage his emotions, but moderating my responses has really helped as well. When he's grumpy in the morning I make jokes about the cereal or we pretend his school shoes are 'walking shoes' and can walk by themselves. As much as I want to respond with irritation, I've found that this only makes us both mad. I tend to have a hard time setting my own mood apart from that of others so this has been good practice for both of us.

Now I just need to find a new way to manage my bad stress-related habits. Things have been a bit rough at work lately, and it's the wrong time of the month for that kind of stress so I've found it impossible to resist the treats hanging out in the shiny display case of the cafe across from my office. Friday I bought a donut, Monday I bought Milano cookies and ate half the package then and half on Tuesday, and today I bought a giant peanut butter bar with chocolate frosting. That was particularly delicious. I think one of the biggest sources of the problem is my lack of self-control when it comes to sleep. I need to stop whining about getting more sleep and just do it. I think it's time for drastic steps, like removing books from the nightstand next to my bed. Horrible--I know!

Speaking of sleep, I think I'm going to go do that right now. I'm so tired and I can't think of anything better than that.


Katya said…
Does Little Dude's school have a school counselor? She (or he) might have some tips for ways to recognize and manage emotional swings. (I say this because my roommate is a school counselor—albeit for middle school—and so I'm learning a lot more about the resources they have and the kinds of issues they can help address.)

And I'm glad to hear he's got a teacher to appreciates his creativity instead of trying to box it in.
Desmama said…
I agree with you on the teacher thing. I do love hearing what someone else thinks of my kids (most of the time). We've been fortunate to have teachers that are a really good fit for my kids' personalities.

And I think you're right about the response to LD's moods. I remember my dad used to lighten things up with a little humor--it would diffuse the situation and everything didn't seem so tense and serious. Instead of engaging it, he'd just gently talk us down out of our tree. He had four girls; it was probably a survival skill. ;)
Desmama said…
*defuse*, not diffuse. I'm so embarrassed.

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