Stumbling thru life w/Grace

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Suspicions Confirmed

I made it to parent/teacher conferences yesterday. Gee I'm glad I did...It started with Mrs. M welcoming me with a smile and "come in, sit down!" Big grin, deep breath, and then "Well RILEY."( heavy sigh) "What can I say, I'm deeply concerned." I already KNEW that was coming, so I followed it up with "So am I". Mrs. M : "I'm at my wits end, with what to do about Riley"

I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond to that, so I give her one more wimpy "so am I".
We have had many conversations since the beginning of the school year, and I know this top notch teacher, puts her all into her job. (No child left behind, that's Mrs. M) And if anyone is going to thwart her efforts, it will be Riley. It seems he is in very real danger of not going on to 4th grade. Which was my suspicion before entering her classroom. Riley IS smart. Riley IS creative. Riley has the face of an angel. (Riley knows it too) Riley also is lazy, self indulgent, spoiled, and stubborn( I know, a lot of those are my fault). Not a good combination. We then spend 10 minutes coming to the conclusion, that Riley is NOT ADD. He does NOT have any learning disabilities. She has watched him (as I have) draw the most intricate of pictures. For long periods of time. So at the close of this unenlightening conference, I'm left feeling overwhelmed, and unequipped. Much like Riley has made Mrs. M feel all year long.

So now, we begin the uphill battle, of lowering the boom. We have tried the reward method, the positive affirmations, the "There are consequences to all our actions" lecture. The time to grow up lecture. And he tries to find loopholes in every avenue all of us have taken. His debating, and arguing skills were finetuned. He would be a great lawyer some day, if he manages to get out of the 3rd grade. So we are left with what to do now. His stepfather and I have decided he IS going to summer school. Period. He doesn't know it yet, although in the past we have told him this may be the case, if things didn't change. What is left to us, is the threat of being held back. And we're playing that card, this week. So again, I'm on my knees in prayer, that he will respond, and snap out of it!

Nothing I have done in life, that was hard, or a lot of work, has ever compared to the work being a parent is. I haven't been able to find any "black and white" answers, on a fool proof way to successfully raise healthy, happy, well adjusted kids. And I have tried MANY varieties of dime store, self-help psycho babble books! I mean I have taken their principles and put them into action, with minimal results. Our family life revolves around Riley and his homework 4 nights a week. We give him Friday night off. And have him read 20 minutes a day Saturday and Sunday. Outloud. To one of us.
What comes to my mind, is that cliche saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink". Having ridden horses for many years, this is true, they won't until they are ready.

Riley's penchant for play, is serious business to him. And he doesn't want school work interferring with it.

I have seen mild changes in him over the last couple of months. He is being more respectful towards all family members. He is doing his homework without having to spend 30 minutes arguing with him about it. And his spelling has improved a little. So there is hope.

I did tell Mrs. M what Riley said about spending more time with her, during the school week, then with his parents. And it WAS Mrs. M that pointed that out. Although she said she pointed it out to the whole class, not just Riley. And somehow I managed to find comfort in that...

Mrs. M, not wanting me to leave totally discouraged, and disillusioned, tried to tell a positive Riley story. But in so doing also let slip that she has had a few conversations with the principal about Riley. It seems the principal wanted to tell a "joke of the day" over the intercom, and the jokes were to come from students. Riley, who Mrs. M cannot get to sit and listen to instructions for 5 minutes,without his eyes glazing over from boredom, was the first in line to give the principal a joke. And according to Mrs. M, it was a good joke, and was the first one used. (She didn't tell me what the joke was though) So this is what she offered up for me to take pride in. I'm not trying to minimize his "accomplishments", but....the best she could offer was a joke?

Well as my father has always said ( actually ONLY after he got all of his kids raised) This too, shall pass. So that will be my mantra for the week. Between my corny, cliche quote, and possibly a 5th of vodka, Riley and I will survive the week.

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