Waging war in the urban jungle

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So proud!

Today was Paulo's Run for the Arts at school.  He was a rock star!

Our little school does not actually have a track.  So the fabulous Moms and Dads in charge of RFTA set up a loop in the parking lot.  You had to run the loop 4 times to equal 1/4 of a mile.  My son ran the loop 36 times!  Doing the math he ran 2.25 miles today in 30 minutes! 

He was completely exhausted when it was all said and done and actually very emotional about the whole thing.  There was a moment 1/2 way through that he really wanted to quit.  He had a stitch in his side, he was having a hard time catching his breath, he was "done" he said.  I tried to talk him through getting some deeper breaths, I offered to walk with him while he caught his breath, rubbed his tummy, encouraged him and after a couple minutes the switch flipped and I could see this determined look come over him and he set off running again.  And he ran.  And he ran.  And he ran.  All the while I cheered and cheered for him!  I was so proud of how he never gave up.  It was hard.  He knew it was hard.  He wanted to quit.  He didn't.  That to me is the greatest lesson he could learn from this experience.  Life's hard, you might want to quit, but don't.  Don't quit.  Believe in yourself and finish what you start.  And finish strong he did, he ran all the way through the countdown of 5....4....3....2...1! 

After it was done I got him a drink and some orange slices and told him how proud of him I was.  He, being the critic that he is, was disappointed that he didn't run the most laps of all.  But I introduced him to the idea of a PR-personal record.  This was his PR and next year, next year he can work on beating his PR.  It's not about beating all the kids in school, it's about doing your very best every time.  It's about always giving everything you got and he definitely did that today.  He gave it all he had and he did amazing!  I couldn't be prouder to be his Mother.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Like looking into a mirror

Paulo is a lot like me, in a lot of different ways-some good, some...not so good!

Today though he surprised even me.  I went to wake my sleepy boy at 6:30 like I do every morning and I hear these words slip out of his mouth....just five more minutes.....

Now, if anyone actually reading this could ask my Dad he would tell you he heard those exact same words come from my lips every single morning!  And he would go back downstairs for five minutes then tromp back up the stairs to wake me.  He was my original snooze button.  He did this over and over and over, for years!  And now, like so many other times, I know now what it felt like to be one of my parents!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I so do not have time for this!

It's been hectic the last couple of weeks.  The first thing that lands on the chopping block when life gets hairy is my gym time.  I decided to adjust my schedule a little this week to work out in the morning because our evenings are full of birthdays, anniversaries and soccer practice.  Then I woke up today...with a familiar twinge of pain in my lower right back.  That twinge progressed while I made breakfast to the all too familiar spasm.  The 800 MG of Ibuprofen is keeping it down to a dull ache.  I'm just frustrated, I try to switch my schedule around so I can still work out and my back says nope!  No go lady!  I shouldn't be surprised though, life's been hectic, I had my husband's birthday party on Saturday and all the cleaning/prep/clean up that go along with that I'm sure added to the strain.  I think this is my body's way of telling me to slow down, but really, can't you just send a card or something?  Write me an email, send a carrier pigeon, something, anything except the back going out! 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Growing up is hard to do

Empathy: Identification with and understanding of another's situation, feelings, and motives.
Kindness: The quality or state of being kind.
Respect: To feel or show deferential regard for; esteem.
These are three things that I have always felt Paulo had in abundance. He feels things. He loves deeply. When another child is hurting or upset, he wants to help. He still remembers the little girl at preschool that had separation anxiety, when she’d cry; Paulo would run to her cubby to fetch her blankie. Last year, when a classmate’s pet died, Paulo went to him to tell him how sorry he was about the loss and offered him comfort. He’s a very, very sweet soul.
I worry about that sweet soul being trampled to dust in school. I want to shelter him from any and all unkindness and I hate it when I can’t.
Last week a classmate said something mean to him, told him he was stupid-actually he told another boy to tell my son he was stupid-bullying by proxy perhaps? This is a sadly familiar situation; in Kindergarten he had a similar conflict with two tablemates. I had to ask he be moved away from those boys. When Paulo shared his story last week with two of his Kindergarten buddies one of those boys told my son that “pretty much everyone” hated him in Kindergarten. Ugh! Cut to the quick! That hurts. Words hurt. You cannot erase something cruel once it’s said it’s out there, forever, and held in the heart for good.
We talked about this situation from a number of different angles. First being the boy that called him stupid, number one, are you?  No. You’re not. You’re extremely bright.  Number two, children say mean things looking for your reaction. If you allow yourself to get upset, angry, cry, etc., then that fuels the fire so to speak, so it’s best to practice your bored face and walk away. If this boy cannot be kind to you then avoid him, there’s no need to play with a child that is going to turn around and say something cruel. I told him if he felt compelled to he can tell this boy that he really wants to be friends (because despite being insulted by this child he wants to have him over for a playdate to try to make friends), but he cannot be if he’s going to be mean to him. I know the teacher was involved in the situation and Paulo tells me there have been no more conflicts-yet.

The second part, the whole everyone hated you bit, we looked at from a logic stand point. I asked him to name the children that he knew liked him and he rattled off about 10 names off the top of his head. To which I pointed out that was over 50% of his Kindergarten class, therefore this boy was obviously mistaken. I’ve tried to instill in him that not everyone will like him, and he will not like everyone in his class, but I expect there to be common courtesy and respect. We also talked about how to be a good friend, showing respect, courtesy, caring, listening, etc. The thing is, he knows how to be a good friend, but sometimes I feel like his classmates need a few lessons.
Yesterday he had a rough day. He was very emotional at bedtime and cried in my arms worrying that he’s not doing well, that he is not fitting in, and he’s lonely in school because the boys that he really bonded with last year are not in his class this year. I wish I knew what to say to make it all better. And sometimes I wish I could just keep him home, shelter him from all cruelty, and home school him! I would love a Mommy Magic Wand to wave and take away all his fears and insecurities. It would be great if that same wand could instill some empathy and kindness into the hearts of his classmates. I worry about my boy’s sweet soul, I do not want him to lose his empathy-there’s a shocking lack of it in our society today, but at the same time I want him to be able to protect his heart, to thicken his skin a bit so to speak, so that the cruel words that slip from others mouths so easily do not become part of his identity. It’s a delicate balance, keeping the heart open to others yet not an easy target. This growing up stuff….it’s tough.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Challenge, phase two

I reintroduced wheat to my son on Saturday.  It did not go well.  I made him cream of wheat cereal, which he gobbled up, loved the stuff.  About 15 minutes later he jumped down from the laptop and ran for the bathroom.  Shortly after that the coughing began.  A wet phlegmy cough.  And after that the nose plugged up.  A few hours later, his tummy hurt.  I think it's safe to say we will be continuing our no wheat policy for Mr. P.