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Sometimes My Son Reappears December 13, 2013

We’ve had growing pains, Kameron and I. I don’t like that he’s not my sweet little boy that he once was, and he doesn’t like that his mom is extremely hard on him. Thankfully, every once in awhile that sweet boy comes back, if even for a moment. Tonight he did, and I thought I would share.

Assignment: Write a letter to a Kindergartner from Santa about Christmas.

“Dear Kindergartner,

I am delighted that you wrote me this letter of your Christmas list this year. My elves are working on making and buying all the other children’s presents for this year, including yours. Mrs. Clause is in her kitchen baking cookies and our feast for Christmas Eve, which is full of mashed potatoes, green beans, pudding, and roast beef. Our weather in the North Pole is freezing compared to Indiana. The polar bears are cold even in their fur coats, the penguins are hiding in their igloos, and even the reindeer are feeling like icicles. Dasher is running all around the house. Dancer is dancing his hooves off. Prancer is not prancing but pacing. Prixen is eating all of the Twix chocolate bars. Comet is trying to fly across the sky. Cupid is showing love to me and everyone else in the North Pole. Donder is bonding himself with joy. Blitzen is sprinting at the speed of light. Rudolph is shining his nose to show positive energy. Meanwhile, I am checking my list to see who was naughty and nice.

I am getting ready with my sleigh, my sack of presents and coal, and I will be at your house very soon.

Thank you for writing this letter of your list to me and have a Merry Christmas.

Sincerely,

Santa”

That’s my boy….

 

Progress Report November 4, 2013

kam14Last week we had parent teacher conferences at Kam’s school. I remember going to my own parent teacher conferences, the fear, the dread of what the teachers might tell my parents.

Things were different when I was in Kam’s shoes. My parents couldn’t check my grades online. They didn’t get weekly emails telling them what my grades were. Progress reports were given to parents and the parent teacher conferences were so the teachers could hold our feet to the fire in front of our parents, or the other way around. It was definitely more intimidating.

When I got to school Kam met me in the hallway. I could tell he was nervous. Report cards had already come out, so I already knew what his grades were. He made second honors, which in my book is great, not so much in his book. He puts an incredible amount of pressure on himself about his grades; and pretty much everything else. Walking up the stairs I asked who he wanted to talk to, he said his home room teacher and Mr. Carter. I put my arm around him and said “I’ve told you Mr. Carter reminds me a lot of my professor Mr. Hanna right?” He said “yeah mom.”

Mr. Hanna was hard on me. It wasn’t because I didn’t get good grades, it was because he saw more potential in me than I saw in myself. He helped me get through school, when I wanted to quit, he would just tell me “oh that’s just bullshit.” When I went to school I was working full-time, going to school at night, and toward the end pregnant. I remember crying on the phone with Mr. Hanna not wanting to leave my month old baby to take finals so I could graduate. He probably said something like it’s 2 hours, get in there and get it done, it will be ok. So I did, and I graduated.

We went into Kam’s homeroom teacher. She’s very nice, saying that Kam is participating a lot more in class, and just needs to work on his AR (some additional reading they have to do every quarter.) I assured her that we were going to be working on that. She said that he was very polite, and respectful to the girls. I thanked her, we headed out down the hallway to Mr. Carter’s room.

Mr. Carter is an old school type of teacher. Instead of talking about what grades Kam had he asked him how he thought he was doing. Kam said “good.” Then Mr. Carter asked what he was struggling with, they chatted a little. I was looking at my baby having a grown up conversation with his teacher, I could feel myself holding my breath; taking in this moment. Then Mr. Carter said “what do you think mom?”

I told him that Mr. D and I were very proud of him, we’ve noticed he’s really grown up this year. Mr. Carter agreed. He said that “in sixth grade Kameron seems a little dazed, but he’s really come into his own. He’s more confident, he applies himself, he’s respectful to the girls, he has a real presence about him. You should be very proud of the way you’ve raised him. He’s going to Roncalli next year right?” I said yes, we’re very excited.” “Good, that’s good, he’s really stand out at Roncalli, he’s be a star there.”

As we got up to leave Mr. Carter shook Kamerons hand and told him to keep up the good work. He patted my shoulder and said “nice work mom.” An oddly familiar gesture, it’s exactly what my Dad would have done.

 

PA – Procrastinators Anonymous December 11, 2012

Hi my name is Stephanie, I’m a recovering Procrastinator.

Procrastination is a disease. It can be passed down from generation to generation. As a former procrastinator I feel it is my duty to stop future procrastinators by watching for the warning signs.

Not really, but really. I used to procrastinate a lot more than I do now. Every once in a while I’ll find myself slipping into procrastination mode especially around the (ahem) holidays or Fridays after three o’clock in the afternoon. When you have a profession that has deadlines (which most of them do) content writing, social media, there isn’t a lot of room for error. Procrastination is not your friend.

This post is not about me however, it’s about my 13-year-old, know it all, procrastinating son.

Kameron was all geeked up this morning because I promised him that I would take him to the video game store to pick up the new WWE game he’s been saving up for. He didn’t want to wait until Christmas to get it, and his mother wasn’t just going to go out and buy it for him for kicks. So chores were suggested to earn money in order for him to purchase the game himself. One thing about Kameron, if he wants something he is very (almost to the extreme) motivated to get it.

So when I picked him up from school he announced that “it was going to be a great rest of the day” because he asked me about 20 times if we were going to get the game. I asked him what kind of homework he had. “Spelling, literature, and my passport project.” The passport project was something he had worked on a little and I suspected that there was more on it to do than he would have liked to admit.

He started unwrapping the game even before we left the store. “Mom this is so cool” he said as we were driving home. I told him that we could work on the spelling and literature when we got home. After that he could play his new game for a while but when dinner was done he had to work on his passport project which he casually mentioned was due TOMORROW. “Ugh” I thought, something tells me this is not going to be pretty.

Disaster comes to mind now that I think about it. When Mr. D started helping him with the project I could hear Kameron whispering to him. I turned the tv down and started asking questions. There was a lot of work to be done according to Mr. D. So they started working on it together. About an hour into it, I heard Mr. D ask Kameron to come over and look at something. I knew exactly when that little booger was doing, he was playing that game while Mr. D looked something up. Sternly I said “Kameron are you playing that game?” He looked over the ledge of the loft and said “yes.”

I could feel my blood pressure rising and a hint of steam was beginning to come out of my ears.

“Bring me that game” I said. Kameron with tears in his eyes brought it to me and sarcastically said “I probably won’t get this back until Christmas.” I smiled and said “probably not – now get back to work.”

He was probably thinking in his head that he purchased that game. He saved the money, paid for it himself, so I couldn’t possibly take it away from him. Here is what he doesn’t understand, the game even though he bought it, is mine. The x-box that he plays the game on is mine. When you don’t do your work, or procrastinate until the last-minute, those things will be taken away from you for an undetermined amount of time.

Shit, I’m my parents.

When Kameron finally got done with his project we all had a little talk about starting projects earlier, working on a project a little bit at a time so it’s not so overwhelming, and being more diligent about planning his homework schedule.

He said he understood. I caught him looking over at his game resting on my dresser.

Yeah, the game is going to be there for a few days bud.

 

When A Pass Really Isn’t A Pass February 8, 2012

I’m not fond of Kameron’s religion teacher.

I’m not alone.  If you remember my rant on the parent/teacher conferences her line was the longest, and took the most time.

Do you remember “Passes?”  Not like a pass to the bathroom.   Test/Quiz Passes.  They were like the golden ticket of catholic schoolism.  I remember teachers giving passes out at Christmas time, pure joy came over everyone.  Even the meanest girls were a little nicer when test/quiz passes were handed out.  My definition of the “test/quiz pass”  say you weren’t prepared for a test, or you just totally spaced the test was Tuesday,  you thought it was Thursday.  Whip out the test/quiz pass – the heavens opened up and you could hear the faint singing of angles, it was glorious – it also meant you didn’t have to take the test or quiz.  Auto 100% –  nothin better than that baby!  Obviously there were some things that you couldn’t use them on, but the teacher would always tell you in advance.  Passes were sacred man, few were given out.  You held on to them like gold.  I remember selling one of my passes once, teachers wised up to what was going on and started putting our names on them.   Thanks for ruining the profitable fun, and the mean girls blackmail scam.

Anyway, Kameron had a pass that he had been holding on to for the right opportunity.  I get it, no sense in wasting a pass, it has to be a legit reason.   Which happened to be his religion quiz on Friday.  Kameron’s a funny little creature.  After making first honors this grading period he wants to check his grades like every day.  It’s good that he wants to know, I have a feeling the thought that pass thing was too good to be true.

Ends up, he was right.

Looking at his grades online he was like MOM – like he had hurt himself or something.  I come over and he said “look” pointing to the computer screen – at his religion grade.  33% on a religion quiz, well crapola.  He said “I used my pass, I used my pass.”  I told him not to worry about it and that I would email his teacher.  Long, heavy, sigh.

So I sat down and wrote this email:

“Mrs. _________,

Kameron’s latest quiz is scored as a 33%.  Kameron indicated to me that he used a quiz pass for that particular quiz.

Did he use a pass?

Thanks”

After about a half hour, I got this reply back.

“Mrs. Daily, I believe he had one attached but they have to score at least a 60% to use it.  I have that as a mark so that they will still study.  He will get his pass back with his quiz tomorrow.  If I don’t use it, I return so they can use it another time.

 Mrs.________.”
So the pass isn’t really a pass. (Insert expletive here)
I felt my blood pressure going up…. a scene from Sweeney Todd ran through my head.  I knew their had to be a reply, but not from me.  I diverted to Mr. D because I know when I can’t write an email.  (That’s what ages gets ya.)  I’m sure he wrote a very diplomatic response to the nonsense that I’ve since deleted from my email.
I told Kameron not to worry about it.  He has the rest of this grading period to make up for the mishap.
So a pass isn’t really a pass anymore.  That  sounds like a line straight out of  a Seinfeld episode.
 

The grade says it’s perfect, but it ain’t right October 29, 2011

Filed under: I am still learning — stepheppichdaily @ 2:14 am
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My son, my son, my son. 

At times it’s endearing how much alike we are.  When Kameron and I click, it’s truly magical.  When we don’t, well, I can sorta understand that concept of  mothers eating their young.  Sometimes, like today, he calls me out on my own stuff, like stuff I’ve tried to teach him.  Let me tell you, it pisses you off.  In the moment you want to strangle the kid, but later when you’re telling the story, or writing about it, you just kinda have to laugh at yourself.  (I guess he showed me.)  Like something that I would complain about to a friend, and the friend looks at me and says, yeah, but you kinda do that too.  Then I’m left eating my own crow.

Most of you know that sixth grade has been a struggle.  There was the cheating on the test thing that we had to live through. The planner issue, (where he has to write down all of his assignments for the night) forgetting it at school.  Leaving books in the locker when they should have been brought home.   The homework, the freakin homework is unbelievable.  I just don’t remember having this much homework in sixth grade.  Mr. D and I, we divide and conquer the homework.  I take all the English/Lit work, Art, Spelling.  Mr. D handles the Math, History.  We split the Science most of the time.  Kameron can have anywhere between 4-5 subject a night.  It’s tough, but we get through it.

Recently he had an assignment to recreate a Fairy Tale.  I guess they got to choose which story they would put their own special twist on.  From what Kameron told me, most of the kids in his class chose “Jack and the Beanstalk.”  Not my son, shocker, he wants to stand out.  He chose “Little Red Riding Hood.”  Probably because he did the play “Into the Woods” over the summer and thought he would have a seemingly advantage because he knew that story/play so well.

When he told me what the assignment was, to have to put his own spin on the play,  my immediate thought was awesome.  We renamed the feared Wolf,  Ezekiel, and made Ezekiel a vegetarian wolf.  So Granny doesn’t die. In fact,  Ezekiel ends up making a vegetarian stew for Red and Granny to enjoy.  By the time we put the rough draft together Kameron and I were laughing our heads off.  A Vegetarian Wolf – who thinks of that?

The final copy was due Tuesday.  I typed up the paper for Kameron.  Which I probably shouldn’t have done, but, I figured, he knows how to type.  The anticipation of another two hours of homework was validation enough for me to get it done, one less thing to do.

So when I picked him up from school today, he had a scowl on his face.  I thought, uh oh.  I knew it was report card day, but we get weekly updates on grades, plus we can check progress anytime we want.  It’s not like when I went to school, when if you were paying attention you should know what your grades are before you got the dreaded envelope you had to had over to your parents.  I knew where Kameron’s grades were, and knew he made second honors with a 3.1 GPA.  So I’m wondering what the scowl is all about as he approaches the car.

He got in the car and heaved a heavy sigh.  I smiled and said “how’s your day bud?”  Without saying a word he pulls a paper out that has some red markings on it.  I looked, it was his version of Red Riding Hood, it looked ok to me.  Even better when I flipped back to the last page I saw that his grade was and A+, 50 points out of 50 points.  I looked at him and said “Kameron, this is great bud, you got an A+, that is awesome!”  Not concerned with the praises I was giving him, he rolled his eyes and said “LOOK.”  I looked, yep, it’s still an A +, but that wasn’t what he was referring to.  He was referring to my typing error in the first sentence of his revamped version.  He pointed at the paper and said “MY” “Mom?”  I looked again, it was true, I had accidentally typed my instead of may in the first sentence of his paper.  Never mind that him and a friend spilled a drink all over the computer I was using and sometimes, the damn keys stick. No one cares about that.  In my defense the error was unintentional, but I could see that Kameron was not happy.  I said “bud, I’m sorry, but look, you got an A+, that is awesome!”  Not interested, he said, “Mom, we can’t make mistakes like this.”  What the hell do you say to that?   How could I possibly get mad at him for pointing out my mistake? Part of what I do is write.  It was the way he did it, it was like looking in the mirror, it made me proud, and scared the crap out of me at the same time.

So hey, problem solved.  No longer is Mom going to type out the finished product on Kameron’s assignments.  I suggested he hire and editor, he wasn’t interested.

And he’s only 12.