End of term and teachers who know your kid.

It’s hard to celebrate the end of the term when your kids are not there to celebrate with you, but celebrate we must. The kids are on holiday in Durban with their grandparents, having the time of their lives. I do so love that they get to do this, I am so pleased that they get to build these memories with their grandparents.

Anyway, I received a call from a certain 6 year old yesterday morning to remind me to fetch his report (truthfully I had forgotten) and to say hello to all his friends at school, which I duly did. I am pleased to report that he had a really good first term. For those of you who know my story, you will know that Big School was a Big Deal for us. I was stressed about the school, about how he would settle in, about the transport to said school which is faaaar out of our zone. And now we’re at the end of a term and it feels like we’ve been doing this forever!

The only “negative” on his report is that he tends to talk too much and thus needs to be reminded to focus. Now I wonder where he gets that from? Ha.

When I phoned to give him the good news, I didn’t even mention this blip on an otherwise excellent report. I didn’t want to rain on his parade and I know ALL about that blip and we are constantly working on it. I have the same blip on my life report too, ha.

Which brings me to my next point. What excited me most about his report, is that his teacher sees him exactly as I do. Let me elaborate on that… there was a time when Liam received a report from school and it was not pleasing. I couldn’t reconcile the school Liam with the home Liam. And it wasn’t a case of “I think my child is an angel” when in fact the child needs a straight jacket. No. I truly didn’t think they had summed up my kid properly. The report made me think that he needed Ritalin or something similar and that was not the boy I knew. Of course I took it up with the principal and we sorted it out and by the next report I had taught them how to word things appropriately (HashtagKiddingNotKidding). My point is there is nothing worse than people not “getting” your child. I know that mothers often look at their children through rose tinted glasses and often need someone to point out the truth; quite frankly I wish my mother had told me years ago that I can’t actually sing, but there are also times when you need to step in as a parent and say NO, that is not my kid, I don’t think you’ve engaged with him enough to know that that is NOT my kid.

Our Mrs V gets my Liam. Besides this report card, our one-on-one meetings always leave me feeling warm and fuzzy, EVEN WHEN the report is negative – because it’s always been about something that I had already picked up at home and she confirms it for me, and I know that she is seeing what I am seeing and we work on it together. I love the words which were used in this particular report card. She didn’t say he is a distraction, she didn’t say we need to calm this child down with whatever is at our disposable, she didn’t say that he is making it unbearable for the rest of the class (which I am sure he does at times)… she always makes me feel that we can work through this together, that my boy is perfect and just needs polishing (which he needs a lot of). The Liam I know and love, is the Liam she is getting to know at school, and the fact that these two Liam’s reconcile, pleases me no end.

I guess we all have our quirks and idiosyncrasies and as an adult I mostly don’t care if people get me or not. Let me say that differently: as an adult, I don’t let it bother me too much if people don’t get me. But as a child, when you are misunderstood, or the adults who play vital roles in your life (teachers, coaches, grandparents even)  don’t know how you tick and you don’t have the verbal or emotional capacity to deal with that, it can be really hard on you, and harder on the parent who DOES know and knows your potential. So having a teacher who wants to know your child and wants to draw the best out of your child is such an amazing blessing, and one that I do not take lightly.

I know teachers are different, I also am aware of the fact that our kids will have to face these challenges in their lives and not everyone will “get” them. In fact, it’s probably a good character building lesson to learn. But for now, with all the other stuff this shiny new Grade R six year old is going through, I am so glad that we landed ourselves in the butter with a lovely teacher.

For those of you who were wondering how we’ve solved the transport issue, we tried many ways including me dashing out during the work day to take him to aftercare at Hannah’s school (no brainer that that didn’t last long) and have eventually settled for two morning drop offs, aftercare for the Mr at his own school at an exorbitant price,  aftercare for the Miss at her own school, I leave work earlier to collect both kids, and unrivaled peace of mind. Ah.

My son is 6.

This post is almost a month overdue! As is tradition in these parts, it’s time for the annual birthday post where I get soft and gooey and say all the wonderful things about my wonderful child. If you don’t want to hear about how I have bred an angel of a genius of a most precious human boy, you should look away now.S7300530

Dear Liam

How did we get here? You’re six. I am in disbelief at how the years have smudged and blended into a mass of beautiful memories far too quickly. I remember your born day as if it was yesterday. I remember you as a boisterous toddler who didn’t sleep. Ever. I remember you as a smart pre-schooler who smashed through your milestones, like tying your shoe laces, with ease – yes, those things aren’t important but they are important to you, and me. I can’t believe that you can read and write,  I can’t believe that I can phone home and ask you to take stuff out of the freezer for dinner. That you can go into the corner store and buy bread and milk when we need it. You are a boy.

liam 1
Those hands. Those are big boy hands. This makes me both happy and sad.

Six years old is a big deal. You’re in big school, you make your own sandwich if you’re hungry, you make your own bed, you clean your own room, you bath yourself from beginning to end, except for the bit where I rub lotion on your back because you can’t reach – 6 year old arms are still rather short.You are my right hand man and I’d be lost without you. Thank you for holding the door for me, thank you for putting the kettle on for me, thank you for emptying the dishwasher – all without me asking you to.

You and I have become allies, and it feels good to always have someone on my side. I hope you know that I am always on your side, cheering you on, supporting you and assuring you of my undying affection. You are my favourite boy, sometimes when I look at you, I still can’t believe that you are mine, that I had a hand in your creation. You are perfectly and wonderfully made, the fingerprints of God are all over your perfection.

Even when the pressures of motherhood engulf me, there’s never a moment when I wish you were not mine.

liam 5

So what did you do for your 6th birthday?

Since you were little, I’ve baked your birthday cakes (except for that one year when we ordered an ice cream cake) and this year was no different. It’s a labour of love I plan to keep up for as long as you will let me. This year’s cake was your best, although you tell me that every year. You enjoyed the day with some of your little friends and the following day we went out for your obligatory Spur birthday lunch. On your actual birthday which fell on a  Monday, you marched proudly into school carrying your two dozen cupcakes. You were the centre of the birthday ring and the whole class drew you something special and your teacher made it into your birthday book – what a treasure! You loved all your gifts and you shared so graciously with your sister – good boy!

liam 6
Photo cred: the lovely Marcia from http://www.the123blog.com

Happy birthday my little love, as my own mother says to me, I’ll love you until the Lord takes me home.

 I’ll end with a quote from one of our favourite books, it’s the Blue Fairy talking in Pinocchio… she says:

Prove yourself brave, truthful, and unselfish, and someday, you will be a real boy.

You’re a real boy in every sense of the word.