Saturday, April 12, 2008

How my kids have changed

Since they have entered public school in August there have been many changes.  At first, I prayed that it wouldn't change them too much.  Especially #2.  He entered a completely hostile environment when he entered middle school.  I knew he would be teased and I knew he wouldn't be the most popular kid on campus, and the kids around him did not disappoint.  They have teased more often and more meanly than I thought was possible.  My husband assures me over and over that he endured the same stuff, but I am not so sure it was quite this bad.  The kids are so much more sexual in their teasing, so much more deviant.  They go out of their way to find the really gross stuff to tease about.  With that being said, #2 has been stressed.  So, along with the normal hormones that he has surging, he is not always the pleasant, helpful kid I knew 8 months ago.  In fact, at times he is just completely one of those "pain-in-the-butt" teenagers.  He still solicits hugs but won't do that in front of anyone from school.  He still likes to talk to me and his dad, but sometimes that is about things we don't want to hear.  Sometimes I have to brace myself for his conversations about what is going on.  I feel the "mama bear" coming on, wanting to rescue him, save him from these  horrible kids.  I ask him if he wants me to home school him next year but he feels that school is something he needs.  He is challenged there.  He is making good grades and experiencing success in that area.  He is well-liked by the teachers and enjoys pleasing them.  He likes the mental stimulation he receives.  So, I guess we take the good with the bad.  But he is inherently changing.  He is growing up.  It makes me a little sad.  For the other kids, the changes have been more subtle.  

#4 likes to do more things, now.  He is branching out, becoming more confident with his peers.  
#3 is more at home with her friends.  She is sometimes more motivated with her academics although this comes and goes.  Her behavior at school is good and she has learned to get along with those she doesn't like. She is also more anxious about her school.  

#1 is more confident, more self-assured.   With his changes came some independence.  When we go somewhere, he is quick to wander off and look at what he is interested in.  He doesn't as readily stay with the family.  He is still enjoying his elephant obsession, but since he has been in art at school, it has come out in his art.  He is more focused on getting his work done in the afternoon so he can play Wii or do K-Nex or just spend time by himself.  I see him doing things he never did before like noticing cars he likes and talking about stuff more.  He talks to me a lot when it is just him riding in the car in the morning.  He tells me about school, his teachers, his classmates, the things they like.  He tells me that he prays in his room that he will do good in school ("OOF" moments).  He, of course, obsesses about whether he is riding the bus or riding carpool that day, about being on time, about the clocks being set right, about what my schedule for the day is (he reads my calendar).  These things, don't bug me as much because he is not there all day to do this.  

Come to think of it, maybe I have changed as well.  I guess I don't mind the changes so much as long as they don't change their values, belief in God or behavior (too much).  I want them to "own" their faith and this won't happen if it isn't challenged in some ways.  I stress about being able to raise the kind of adults I want to "produce" with them in this environment, but I guess I have always had to leave that in God's hands.  Now is no different.  God made them, loves them more than me, and will be faithful to bring them through no matter how painful the days ahead.


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