Mummy yelled at me and I cried (The Sequel)

I may have become a little irrationally cross yesterday about running late for an appointment with the reading recovery teacher at the Sprogs’ school. I may have yelled with frustration when Sprog 2 couldn’t do up her seatbelt, forcing me to pull the car over after reversing out of the driveway like a madwoman (yes, I know Husband, you’ve told me not to do that). In my haste,  I may have left a VERY IMPORTANT FORM at home, giving Sprog 1 permission to attend a visual arts workshop that was being filled on a first-come-first-served basis (which she missed out on last year because we were on holidays and had her heart set on attending this time round). I may have asked at the office for a replacement form and been told they didn’t have any, but it would be fine to submit the form later in the day.

One of the school mums may have texted me to say: “Was Sprog 1 ok this morning? Just saw her walking to class crying”. I may have returned to the school to give Sprog 1 the missing form, only to be told that it was “too late, I missed out”. Sprog 1’s eyes may have welled up with tears all over again. I may have gone to her classroom, begging and sobbing – oh yes, I did – for them to reconsider, without succeeding … in accomplishing anything other than embarrassing myself.  I may have felt extremely guilty and given both Sprogs with milkshakes that had lolly snakes tied around the straws as peace offerings at school pick-up. I may have realised that it would be preferable not to yell at my children irrationally in the first place and remember to submit their permission slips on time.

But it was definitely an important meeting I was running late to attend. Sprog 2 has finally been assessed as being literacy-challenged enough to require one-on-one help, for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. The reading recovery teacher wanted to run through the program with me.

I was interested in what the reading recovery teacher had to say in light of the whole “have you thought about repeating her” discussion I had with Sprog 2’s teacher a few weeks ago.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the discussion – other than Sprog 2 being in the lowest percentile band in her 170-student-strong year – was my daughter’s reaction when she was asked to paint a picture for the teacher. Apparently most kids go a bit wild, colours here and there, mad strokes all over the place. Sprog 2 divided the paper in half and meticulously painted one half blue (water) and the other half yellow (sand). Then she stopped. When the teacher asked why, she said she needed to wait for the background colours to dry before she did the detail work (well, she didn’t say it quite that eloquently, but that was the general idea). So the teacher had to wait until the next day for Sprog 2 to complete the picture. The teacher and I both agreed that this points to a certain level of perfectionism. And perhaps one of the reasons she is struggling to read is a fear of messing it up.

I asked the teacher if Sprog 2’s inability to say “r” might be an issue as well. “Alright”, for example, is “awight” on Sprog 2’s tongue. But the teacher hadn’t picked up on that because Sprog 2 doesn’t speak much. Which is funny, because she’s Little Miss Chatterbox at home.

It’s odd the personas that children create for themselves in public that bear no relationship to the ones they have in private, at home.

The challenge between now and Christmas is to advance Sprog 2’s reading by five to eight levels. And for Mummy to stop yelling irrationally and making her children cry by forgetting important paperwork.

I am crossing my fingers tightly. Perhaps I should cross my toes as well. I’m a bit wobbly on all fronts.

And, goddamn it, I still feel like such a heel about that bloody art class. Hardly slept last night … lots of guilt-fuelled thrashing around, torturing myself about what I should have done … which doesn’t bode well for my no-more-irrational-yelling resolution.

12 thoughts on “Mummy yelled at me and I cried (The Sequel)

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  1. Hang in there. This stay-at-home, kid raising business is a lot tougher than anyone ever imagines. Let’s focus on the positive at least you now know where your daughter has to get to with her reading (AND she’s getting the help she needs). A goal is good.

  2. I had trouble saying my Rs properly when I was little. I remember being picked up on it a lot by my parents and other elder relatives, and getting quite embarrassed about it. But I eventually got the hang of it.
    Would there not be some other visual arts type of workshop – even on a weekend – you could find for Sprog 1, as a consolation prize? Art Gallery of NSW might have something, among others.

    1. Ooooh, that must have been so cute! That’s half the problem – we haven’t done anything about correcting the R thing because it’s a bit adorable. I know, not good parenting. Oddly, she doesn’t seem to pick up on it when Ruby corrects her, she thinks she’s saying it the right way.

  3. Are there any other options for a visual arts workshop? Maybe look online or in the community newspaper to see if someone else is offering something similar. Such a pain that they wouldn’t reconsider. If at first you don’t succeed with tears, try going back with a big stick. Re: the reading – I find that amazing that they teacher has picked up on the perfectionism. So great that they look at various attributes of the child when they need to address some area of concern. In spite of the obvious reading challenge, I would feel very confident in the combined teachers efforts to help your sproggie.

  4. The external visual arts option, I agree, is a great idea (yes, you need to make up for the oversight) but the extra reading though, as adults, we may think it a great idea, but what about the child?
    So…to throw a cat amongst the pigeons, something to think about, because, sometimes as an adult, we are not seeing it through the eyes of the child. Where we think we are helping could be causing more emotional issues later and focusing unwanted attention on them at school.
    Once the other (smarter ones who already can read very well) children find out, well…we all know how cruel kids can be without necessarily even realising it at that age. Sprog 2 may end up resenting the extra help in school because of possible ridicule, plus, what she reads in ‘reading recovery’ may be absolutely boring for her so she won’t want to try.

    She needs something that will keep her interest for her to WANT to learn that next word so she can continue with the story…even if it’s a comic to start with. Once the words come easier then the desire to expand to short stories, small novels…well, you get the drift.

    Yes, this comes from experience, on the advice of a teacher (my sprog’s kindie teacher) who was 3 years from retiring waaay back when my own sprog was in Yr2. She pulled me aside and, for the above reasons, ‘suggested quietly’ that even 3 days a week reading “something of interest” with mum, dad (or anyone else) in the privacy of home would go soooo much further for my sprog than being pulled out of the classroom for a ‘special’ lesson.

    I am personally glad that we didn’t go ahead with the ‘program’ suggested by her then Yr2 teacher and worked at it, at home. My sprog is now 16, in Yr11, and reads a Jodi Picoult novel in 3-4 days, max, in between homework and assignments. This also worked on a friend’s son who starts high school next year and is no longer the “Special Ed” kid at school.

    As for the “R’s”…try playing the “accents” game. Every afternoon/evening, everyone at home has to pick an accent from another country & everyone has to speak English using that accent for the rest of the evening. Start with one that has very little use of “r” like a Chinese accent, progressing to Italian, Spanish and Russian. This was suggested by a friend for son no.2 (now 26), is a lot of fun playing it as a family and you’ll have her rolling her R’s soon enough.

    It’s no answer to your problems, just other options to think about, but it won’t be easy. As parents, most of us try to do the best for our children. With 5 kids, now 16 through to 29yrs, I think I’ve earned my stripes through experience. Back then, I was just a newby mum as well, but I was open to other options through other mums with the experience of their own kids.
    So, before people jump on me, I’m just another mum offering other ideas and options. I’m sorry, I don’t do ‘short form’ either, so it turned out a bit lengthy, but it’s a child that needs help here and anything that may help is a bonus.

  5. We suffer from the perfectionist child syndrome. Both No 1 & 2 are perfectionists. I had to point it out to No1’s year 1 teacher (I was a bit annoyed at that) but No2’s teacher spotted within a couple of weeks and has been encouraging him to experiment and take learning risks! With us it is expressive writing that is the challenge, they both struggle with it.

    1. Fortunately that’s something we have under control. Sprog 1 may be in the bottom maths class, but she’s in extension writing. Although she was very miffed today because one of her classmates tried to tell her “extension” meant she needed help with it!!!

  6. Oh Alana!

    Once more you’ve written about stuff that I can so readily relate to but that I’m usually too embarrassed to admit to i.e maniacal shouting at un-deserving children (well, actually, no, they usually deserve it a teeny tiny bit) and being hopeless at staying on top of school forms and excursions. All that school stuff is so boring – even if it’s important!

    Sending lots of positive Reading Recovery vibes your way!

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