Tuesday, January 1, 2013

new year's note to self: short and long versions

New Year's Note to Self, short version:  
Put first things first and take a writing/blogging sabbatical for a couple of months.

New Year's Note to Self, long version:
Yes, Heidi, you are a poet & teacher who practices her arts blah blah blah, but you are also a parent--the parent of a kid who has distinct executive function challenges that keep getting more pronounced as life gets more complex.  But just like you told said kid, when you know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you don't sit back and say, "Oh, these things are hard for me so don't expect me to do them well."

Instead, top to bottom ed/psych testing is an opportunity for everyone to practice using their strengths to develop their weaknesses.  Right?  So you the parent need to model this.

Weakness:  responding flexibly when things don't go smoothly, efficiently and according to schedule.
Strengths: "goal-directed persistence,"  organizational and time-management skills.

You the parent need to temporarily clear the decks and free up some time and attention to focus on this child who needs extra frontal lobe in order to cope with the demands of 4th grade.  If you keep doing everything you're doing all at once, there's no frontal lobe to spare for him. 

The poetry will still be there in 60 days. (Heck, it holed up and hibernated circa 1985 and then popped out full of spring sap 15 years later.  Not to worry.).  But two months is a long time in the life of a 10-year-old who needs more patient reminders and less frantic screeching about missing homework and undone chores.

So, give it two months and see where the family gets.  Check back in around March 1.  "Everything will be all right in the end.  If it's not all right, it's not the end."

Love,
Heidi

9 comments:

Diane Mayr said...

I'll miss you, but I understand! Completely.

RuthWells said...

Oy. Sounds like a challenge, but one I'm sure you will meet with grace.

Renee LaTulippe said...

Good luck, Heidi! Sounds like you're doing the right thing. And you're right - the poetry will still be here (mine also holed up circa 1988 and didn't reappear until 2012, so not to worry indeed!).

I like that "it's not the end" quote - something I need to remember daily!

Wishing you and your son the best, and a happy new year to boot! :)

Mary Lee said...

Family first. Always family first. The rest can wait. We will wait...though we'll miss you terribly!

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

It's a lucky family you have there, Heidi. And you are wise to know what comes first. The poems are building up - "spring sap" is a beautiful metaphor for that! Warm wishes to you and your family as you work together with love...

skanny17 said...

Hi,

I am sure the teacher and loving parent in you will do a wonderful job helping get the strategies going for your child! You may even find yourself jotting a few poems in the wee hours, building little buds that will blossom later on. And kinders to greet you in the day. With my 40 years teaching gr. 5 and 3 plus K and 1 for one year each, I may have some ideas. Please contact me if I can help.
Janet F.
Have you read What Readers Really Do by Barnhouse and Vinton? And Opening Minds by Johnston? Two amazing books for helping kids in ways we don't all use naturally.......might have helpful ideas for you.

Liz Steinglass said...

Heidi,

Yes, of course, the poetry will be there. It's waiting at the tip of your fingers.

Best of luck,

Liz

Robyn Hood Black said...

We'll miss you - but as a mama whose youngest is about to leap from the nest and into college this year, I'll echo that the months/years go by quickly. Best wishes to your whole family, and can't wait to see what Heidi-fied creativity erupts this spring!

Katya said...

I hope the three months have been fruitful.

We miss you.