Parenting: Third Grade Blues

Munch is in the third grade and sometimes I feel like I’m struggling to make sure that my son is successful. Not just now but in the future. I’m trying to build a strong foundation with everything, especially math. Munch is a boy. Munch is lazy. Munch decides that he will answer what he feels like when he feels like it. Especially during assessments, quizzes or tests. If he’s not interested, he could care less.

Yep, this year has proven to be a difficult one. Multiple meetings with the teachers, emails and phone calls have all made me have to manage not just my employees but my son’s education and my son’s learning. Some days I think that I can’t do this. That I’m not cut out for this. That something has to give.

I experience the entire gamut of emotions from frustration to depression to joy at him doing something. It’s heartbreaking and hilarious. I just keep telling myself that I can’t give up. That I can’t stop pushing him, encouraging him and creating opportunities for growth. It’s exhausting.

Add to that Spring soccer, his birthday party and swim classes and you will see that I’m trying to keep him well rounded. The only saving grace is that I allow Munch to lead his scheduled activities. We do what he wants to do. He only wants to do soccer in the spring, guitar lessons and swim class. No more he says.

Okay.

However, third grade is tough. Although he’s made honor roll for the last two quarters and is on track to make honor roll this third quarter, it’s a continuous battle to make sure that he stays focused. Focus on school work. Focus on math. I’m constantly reminding him that every concept will build on the next. Reminding him that he knows it. His math grades have been adjusted because our district doesn’t allow children in grades 2-5 to fail math so he gets at least a 60.

Umm, I’m not sure how I feel about that. So, I spend extra time on math homework. Going over the multiplication table, giving extra work to build on what he’s learning in school. “Everything has a purpose Munch” is what I tell him. Sometimes he gets it. Other times he looks at me like I’m wasting his time.

Boys are hard is what I’m told. It doesn’t reassure me. I feel like I’m failing him. I asked him “What do you want to be when you grow up?” He said “A scientist.” I smiled. “Science and math go hand in hand Munch. You need to understand math and its concepts to fully understand and grasp math.”

It’s the third quarter – third grade blues I’m sure, but I can’t give up on him. I’m invested in his future. I’m investing in him. I signed him up for a STEM camp with NSBE this summer. It’s a 3 week camp. Not sure how we’ll get him to and from during the 8:30 am to 3:30 pm hours, but he likes STEM. It’s FREE so it needs to happen.

Sometimes it feels like we’ll never get through it. That my life until he graduates from high school and maybe when he goes to college is all about making sure he’s focused and doing what he’s supposed to do. When will he take the bulls by the horn and want to do it on his own?

He’s been asking to go to a regular school (non French Immersion school). He doesn’t want to continue in French. His grades are great. He just doesn’t want to learn French anymore. He wants to learn in English. Should I listen to him?

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

4 Things I Learned while Self-Publishing

Great tips from KE! Please read and share.

#1 Outsource your cover design; however, be mindful about how much you pay. The same person who designed the Kwoted cover also created The Unhappy Wife cover. This time around, she charged $265. Th…

Source: 4 Things I Learned while Self-Publishing

Parenting Truth: Kids are Mean

Here’s a parenting truth…kids are mean.

I’ve shared my struggles with his school, teachers and his adjustment to being in a new environment and I have to tell you that I am so tired. I now see why many people may choose to home school their children. Heck, I’ve thought about. But, I’m just not there yet.

I know that it will only get worse as he progresses through school. Kids will continue to be mean and he has to learn how to navigate it. I have to give him the skills to in essence be mean in order to survive. I struggle with doing that.

Last night we were talking about his Heart for Hoops program and I asked him how did it go? He said, “Fine, I made two baskets.” I told him how wonderful that was. He then said, “Mommy, the kids are so mean to me. They don’t ever pick me in gym class and they never want to be my partner.” He then tells me that the gym teacher will pair him with other students regardless of whether or not they pick him and then the kids are mean to him.

I sighed and tried to not let my anxiety take control. I told him “Munch, please tell your gym teacher. She only sees you for a limited time throughout the week and may not know.” He said “Okay.” I didn’t know what to tell him. I was mad. Seething actually.

Damn kids.

Why the heck are kids so dang mean? Munch told me a couple of months ago that the kids are calling him fat. He said that they told him that his dad and I are fat too. I told him to ignore them. I told him that one of the hardest learned lessons in life is to stop caring what others think about you.

I’ve told him to tell the kids “My mommy says that opinions are like butt holes. Everyone has one, but waste comes out of my butt so that’s what I think of your opinion.” Not sure how effective that advice was. But, I was determined to not take it to the streets. He’s only 8.

My sister says to tell him to say “Your momma.” To any and every mean comment. Respond to any mean comment with ‘your momma’. Ugh!

I started to try and practice mindfulness with raising my son. I ask him frequently is he a nice young man. He will say yes. I will probe further. What makes you nice? What nice things have you done for others. When did you show God’s love to someone at school.

Sometimes there is an answer. Other times not. I want to instill in him to be a good person. Always.

But, hell kids are so dang mean.

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Kid Chronicles – Reading

Many of you know my struggles with getting Munch to read. This soon to be 9 year old tries me when it comes to parenting. Some days he is the most lovable kid in the world. Other days he wants to act like he just got dropped in my house by his alien family and he wants to go home.

One main struggle we have is reading. Munch has to read in both French and in English. He hates it. Sometimes he’s compliant. Other times he is outright dismissive to what he needs to do. It bothers me because I love to read. I read to him when he was in my womb. I read to him when he was young. He knows how to read, but chooses to not do it.

I’ve tried everything. Buying chapter books and baby books. Going to the local library and having him pick out books that he likes. At his last school he always wanted to order from the book fair. No problem. Get what you want.

When they would arrive I would be excited. I would say “Which one do you want to read first?” He would pick a book and then we would lay in my bed and he would read it out loud. Now, he doesn’t want to read it out loud and will tell me that he’s reading it in his head. Okay, no problem. What is the book about?

Crickets.

Ugh! I’m struggling. I read his books before him to make sure that what he’s reading and writing for reports is both accurate and true. But, it’s nerve wracking.

The irony is that when he watches videos on Netflix or Hulu he watches them in closed caption so that he can read the words on the bottom of the screens. When I asked him why? He said “I like it”. Then you can read a book.

Any suggestions on how we can improve his desire to read?

What Can I Say?

I know it’s been a while since I wrote a post. Please forgive me. Life got in the way. I went to sleep the night of Tuesday, November 8th praying that God’s will be done in the presidential election. I awoke the next day realizing that Donald Trump had won the election. Wow! I sighed. I cried. I felt defeated.

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I said “God, you are Sovereign. Your will be done.” It was. I’ve come to terms with it. Accepted it. Released all pain and fear to the one who leads my life. He knows what’s going on. I choose to trust in Him.

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That being said, I am like many of you. I will not tolerate any form of discrimination, fear or hate. I will not go quietly in the night and allow bullies to rule the land where my ancestors died. Can’t you hear it?

Freedom.

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Freedom from tyranny and oppression. Freedom from racism and misogyny. Freedom from bullies. I will and I can live in the country where I was born. I will pray. I will trust in the almighty.

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I am but one of many. I have a voice. I have witnessed the hate crimes being shown in the media. It’s heartbreaking. It’s scary. But, I will survive. You will survive. We will survive. If we unite together. We are one.

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Election Day – Part 2

This post is a continuation of yesterday’s post.

 

As I stated in yesterday’s post, I early voted last week.

I took my Munch to dinner at his favorite Japanese Steakhouse and then we headed to Southern Regional Tech to go and vote. He was so patient. He knew the importance of voting and he wanted me to vote for his choice. Not the one that didn’t represent him.

We walked into the gym and he began to yell to everyone in the gym “Don’t vote for Trump.” I laughed and then began to explain that he can’t influence the voters. He whispered, “Mommy, make sure that you vote for Hillary.” I smiled. I was one lucky momma.

Munch went over and sat on the bleachers and waited for me to finish voting. The lines were long, but it was moving and he was so patient. I saw him sitting there talking to one of the election workers. An older gentleman who looked like he was in his late 60’s. Munch was really chatting it up.

I asked Munch what he and the man were talking about. Munch said, “I told him that if I could vote I would vote Ms. Clinton. I wouldn’t vote for Trump because he doesn’t represent me.” I asked him what the man said about that. He said that the man asked him why he thought that. He replied, “Because he’s a bully and bullies aren’t nice. Mommy says we are supposed to be nice.”

Ya’ll know that I was dying right? My baby is so beautiful. He then asked me “Mommy, who did you vote for?” I laughed and told him that I voted for Hillary. He had the biggest smile and we took this photo:

There are many reasons that I didn’t vote for Trump and even though I’m not that fond of Hillary, she is still a better choice than him.  However, I wanted to tell him the many reasons that I won’t vote for Trump and trust me there are many, but I won’t vote for someone who thinks it is okay to touch a woman without her permission. Touching a woman in the way he mentioned is sexual assault.
I’ve been sexually assaulted. Multiple times.  I was 18 years old and on a Greyhound bus to Tennessee to go to college. I sat alone for the first four hours of an 18 hour bus ride. At the four hour mark, a black woman in her thirties sat across from me in the aisle. She was nice. She smiled and made small talk. I told her that I was headed to college. I wanted to be a lawyer. She couldn’t stop talking to me about that.

Sitting next to me in the window seat was a man. He didn’t really speak to me. I didn’t care. I didn’t like talking to strangers. Especially strange men. At hour 10 on this long bus ride, the man sitting next to me began to grope me in the dark. He was grabbing my butt, grabbing my breasts and putting his hands in between my legs. I kept pushing his hand away. I moved. I told him to stop. He didn’t. He reached over and grabbed my breasts. I pushed his hands away. He put his hands between my legs. I moved them.

I began to cry. Tears falling down my cheeks I began to think what was wrong with me? Why do men keep touching me without my permission? I felt all alone.

I moved closer to the woman across the aisle who was sleeping. She opened her eyes and looked at me. She saw the tears and asked me what’s wrong. I told her that the man next to me kept touching me. That he grabbed my breasts and put his hands between my legs. She screamed.

At the top of her lungs. Got up out of her seat and made a big fuss out of him being a predator. She grabbed me and pulled me behind her and cussed the hell out of that man. She woke the whole bus up.

The bus driver asked her what was the matter and she told him that the man sitting next to me was abusing me. He was preying on this young girl on her way to college. The bus driver pulled over on the side of the road. He asked the man did he touch me. The man didn’t respond. He put the man off the bus. He called the station to let them know.

I don’t care who you vote for today, but I ask you this…would you vote for a man, any man who thinks it’s okay to grab a young woman on the bus or a woman walking down the street? Does my body belong to you?

Election Day – Part 1

I’ve stayed away from discussions about the election for numerous reasons, mainly because I don’t want to engage in a back and forth argument over which candidate is the best. At this point, neither is that great. However, I do believe in the importance of voting.

It is a right that I don’t take for granted. I am black. Voting wasn’t granted to my ancestors even after freedom was. That being said we need to exercise the right to vote. Even when the options seem slim.

My son has been getting all into this election mainly because Nickelodeon has been running ads to educate the kids on the voting process. He goes to school and they discuss politics. He’s only in the 3rd grade, yet he has an unwavering ability to let you know who you shouldn’t vote for and his reason is simple “I don’t like who he is”.

Pretty interesting huh? He’s 8.

I early voted here in Maryland last week. It was my first time early voting. I’ve taken my son to the polls every time since he was born on election day. This was the third time for the presidential election, but every time we have an election I bring him along. I want him to understand the importance and value in voting.

Last week when we went out trick or treating in a well off area where the candy is plentiful and the gifts are amazing (they gave brand new books to each child) we walked the streets admiring the costumes and houses knowing that we wouldn’t be able to afford a house in this neighborhood. Prices were well over 1 million dollars and as a single parent with one income, unless I sell “sex on the corner”, it ain’t happening. At least not now.

So many people trick or treat in this neighborhood far and wide. The people are always friendly and they really go out of their way to decorate their houses and yards and make it fun for the kids. Year after year, we’re never disappointed. I’ve brought friends with me for the last three years and they love it too.

Well, we’re walking along a street and Munch is yelling “Trick or Treat” well before he gets to the house in anticipation of his candy. He laughs and says thank you after a treat. One house we stopped at had a sign supporting their presidential candidate choice in their front yard. Munch looked at it and asked the woman “Why do you have that Trump sign in your yard?” She responded “I don’t know.”

Feeling embarrassed by his lack of decourum, I rushed him away. He then turned to me and asked “Mommy, why does she have a sign for Trump in her yard?” I responded, “Because she is supporting him.” He didn’t understand. He asked, “But why mommy?”

I said “Munch, the great thing about an election is that you can vote for whomever you choose. You can support whichever candidate you feel is best to represent you.” He listened and then said, “But mommy, Trump is not a good guy and he doesn’t represent anyone.”

I realized at this moment that my little boy was growing up. I couldn’t be embarrassed by his questions when I’ve done everything to show him the importance of voting. I can’t get mad when he yells that you should vote for Hillary Clinton because those are the top two choices we have (realistically speaking) who will run this country.

He’s entitled to his opinion. Which is what he was expressing when we went to the polls last week. His 8 year old opinion.