Smoke stack lightning


Third full week of January. Winter has finally arrived for real, with sub-zero wind chills and much longer commutes due to accidents. I’m trying to get more specific my daily and weekly goals but don’t feel like I’m getting much done, though I am shaking a lot of trees. That being said, I feel everything is on the verge of change, and it will be interesting to see how this year plays out. I’ve begun to shed the holiday weight gain, so that’s something.

My victories are small and measured by my own yardstick. My son had to read a book aloud to his class. We selected the book a couple of weeks ago. His father had suggested a really, really easy, toddler-level book and I rejected that, knowing D is a better reader than that and so why not push it a little. I have no idea the kinds of books anyone else picked with/for their kid. Sometimes working in a vacuum makes you set your own rules. So we selected a 30-page Level 2 reader and I made him practice reading it aloud several times. He didn’t want to practice, and a few days ago said the practice was boring. I pointed out that his most recent evaluation from the teacher indicated he was very good at reading and deciphering even very advanced words, but that his comprehension and ability to describe what happened in the story was lacking, so when he read it this next time, he needed to really think about the beginnings and ends of sentences and how to convey to me, as his listener, who was speaking. Maybe use a different voice when one of the characters talks. His reading was yesterday and the teacher was really impressed, said sent a note saying she could tell he had practiced and this was a great advancement from the same task earlier in the school year. This, to me, is important. Fighting with my son about whether or not he’s going to zip his coat or let me tie his shoes is just not a battle I think is of maximum importance every minute. Last night at a store, where we stopped to get me some medicine as I have been having a lot of problems with my GI system, an older lady came up to me. “Is that little boy your son?” she asked. “Yes.” “You know, both his shoes are untied.” “Yes, I know. He doesn’t want me to tie them.” “He’s going to trip and fall! You can’t go around with your shoes untied.” “Yes, I get it. However, I pick my battles and this is one he’ll have to learn the hard way. He does NOT want me to tie them.” “Well, you can’t just let him go around that way,” she said. That’s when I gave her the withering look that my father perfected, which indicates if you keep talking, you could get punched in the face. We walked away from her and left. I pointed out to my son, again, as we left, how what he does and how he looks reflects on whomever he is with; me or his Dad, and you get comments like that from people you don’t even know. I said you can be your own person and make your own decision about your shoes or getting your coat zipped up, but know also that it looks foolish to others, and you may get criticized. He purposely wears two different shoes every day, for example, and I am fine with that. I used to do the same thing when I was in high school. He owns the oddness of it and I support it.

Later in the evening, I had to take him to the PTA meeting with me because I can’t afford a sitter right now. I brought some puzzle books for him but he was hopeful some other kids would be there – there are usually one or two others, but not always. I set him up near where the adults were meeting, reminded him to be on good behavior and how it will reflect on both of us, in front of his school principal and a couple of teachers along with the other parents there. He couldn’t have been better behaved. There was a family that came, with a girl around D’s age and their very tired, angry toddler, and the toddler set to screaming and screaming as soon as they arrived. It was very disruptive but finally, the family gave up and left.

D didn’t have anyone to play with, and finally got the puzzle books out of the backpack, with the jellybeans I sneaked in as well, and did puzzles quietly until it was time of us to go. This is a huge victory for me. I have always wanted this type of kid, but have never had it. I don’t know if he’s finally maturing in such a way that he can do this occasionally or if incidents like the encounter with the woman at the store back up what I’m telling him enough that it hits home, or if it’s just a combination of stuff but to me, that was much more important than whether or not his shoes are tied every second.

The way the rest of my week has been going, this may be my only victory. I look up every day at the smoke stack on my building at work, stretching into the gray sky. I miss the sun but am not yet loathing the cold, I’m just dealing with it. Like everything.

Gonna get out of town next week, I believe. Pack my bags and go.


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