12 January, 2009

The Nagging Questions

There are times when I return to being a child.  Times when I realize that I am being petty and immature and yet, I don’t change my behavior.  Like when my mom walks on eggshells around my brother or fawns over his boys while taking out her stress on the girls… The Diva and me - I am a child again knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am not the favorite child because I am not my brother. 

I know, in my heart of hearts, that we are just different people with very different relationships to my mom.  I know that parents don’t have favorites (nod your head and agree) and that it is more about the different personalities than anything else.  And yet… I let it get to me to some extent, especially if I am tired. 

Ah, the things those parents can do to their kids without really knowing that they are doing it.  My mom probably has no clue that I feel as I do.  But over the holidays, I started wondering what exactly I am doing to my own daughter?!

There are always decisions that I make (or decisions that I will make) that I will question and second guess.  Should I have done this?  Maybe that was a better move?  Maybe…

I don’t often do this, but I know that there are a few things I have done that still give me pause when the topic is broached and there will be more, I have no doubt. 

One of these raised its head moments ago when I received an e-mail from a cousin stating her daughter was being moved to the next grade – moved up a grade.    (May birthday).  This will make her the youngest in her class by at least 8 months. 

I was a bit surprised because I rarely to never hear of this happening.  I know that it does.  I have heard specialists say that it is becoming more the “thing” to do, but I have not seen it happen. 

My December daughter did first grade twice.  She did it in kindergarten and again in first grade… and then second was kind of a review of first so last year proved tough at times.  I have to admit that I talked to a lot of people about forcing the issue with the school system (which doesn’t believe in skipping grades).  I talked and talked… I did a lot of listening to people who shared her fall birthday and were the youngest in their class.  Her dad and I, both September birthdays, did fine… but it seems that, in retrospect, those who had late fall birthdays universally told me that they would have preferred to be more mature entering their high school years.  They universally suggested that I let it go and find other ways to keep her motivated at school. 

And that is what I did.  Despite a few conversations with the teachers throughout the years, I kept her where she was.  I kept her with her peer group.  Despite issues of boredom – especially in second grade – everything has worked out well.  I rarely rethink my decision as the Diva has learned how to challenge herself in ways that I never did.  She has also learned the importance of working hard despite a comfort in her knowledge and abilities… and to check and review her work.   And I can sleep at night knowing that she will be on the older side of her grade when the hormones kick in and the interest in boys (and theirs in her) becomes an issue. 

So I rarely rethink my choices or the reasoning behind them… until the topic arises. 

There is no right or wrong answer to the question as, in most parenting decisions and life decisions; everything depends on the people involved and the individual case.  But I do wonder about the choices that I made.  I do wonder if I should have pushed harder to get her moved; if I should have fought harder to have things different in the classroom; or if I should have been more of an involved parent.  I will never have an answer to these questions.  In the end, I have to let it go and watch to see what happens – I will have to see if my strategic thinking paid off.  (or I will find a great therapist)



drleah@singlemommyhood.com said...

There is lots of research to show that "skipping" and "repeating" do not have the outcomes often touted. Likely, you did just the right thing. Wanting the best for your child, as we all do, and hoping you did the right thing . . .tough parts of parenting, for sure.

dadshouse said...

I got bumped up a grade. Only problem, my older brother was in the class. Doh! Socially, it didn't work out, so they moved me back down. I eventually went to a school for gifted children. Educationally, it was the best thing to happen to me - the curriculum fostered individiual creativity over institutional methods. Socially, I lost some friends who weren't gifted and couldn't attend. But what can you do? I was bored in the normal school.

As for you and your mom - I know it's hard not to react when your mom favors your brother. But consider for a moment she's not doing it because of you. She's doing it because of her own issues.

The Dalai Lama would suggest you simply feel deep compassion for your mom. That will erase any bad feelings you have inside yourself, and might change the energy between you and your mom.

mama llama said...

You and only you know what will work for your child. Your solution for Diva will be different from what others' solutions will be for their children. I won't even start Young Prince in Kindergarten until he's a full six years old...so he'll do a full year pre-K. I think he can handle Kindergarten, sure--I just don't want to hold him back later, and let him be the full three years separated from his sister in grade as well as they are in age.

But only I could decide that.

Your instinct as a parent always guides you. For those of us who have fostered the development of this sense, we can learn to trust it. For others, errors can be made until they can stop doing what others think is the "right" thing and doing instead what is best for their child. Just rise above the "I told you so" game...

Be well, TE.

MindyMom said...

This is a hot topic for me. I have 3 out of 4 kids with summer b-days. (a July and two Septembers) I do not think it's a good idea to hold a kid back unless there's a valid reason, but just to give them an unfair advantage? No way! Skipping a grade is a differnt subject that was an option for my July b-day child! I opted not to do that but ML is right: ultimately every child is different. It's all good if a parent is truly acting in their best interests.