Claire gets easily frustrated. When she reads she tends to rush and that seems to cause her to forget looking at the last letter of a word or close to it and the next thing we know she’s turned shot into shit.

I sent a letter to her teacher asking her if there’s something I can do at home to help, and her teacher responded basically saying that I need to relax. That she is reading at a level higher than what’s required of kindergarten and I should enjoy it so she enjoys it.

I do enjoy it. Honest. I read to her, but I like having her read to me so that she can improve and perhaps enjoy reading by herself.

But when I read the response, I finally heard it. I’m pushy.

I’m not sure if it’s the first child syndrome or what, but I just want Claire to have every opportunity to figure out who she is and what she likes. I know she’s only six, and trust me, we spend more time having fun and being superheroes than doing educational stuff, I just want to make sure she’s not left behind.

When I was in school all of my friends were very smart. Still are. They went off to Harvard and Yale and all those fancy universities and got their well deserved degrees. I went to massage therapy school because I was terrible at school. I hated it. Learning bored me and tests always psyched me out and I always felt under prepared. But because my friends were smart, I was smart by association, and most people thought I was in the top 20 of our class. Ha! Far from it.

I don’t really remember being pushed much on my education growing up. And it’s not that my mom or step dads expected me to fail, I also don’t think anyone for that matter really expected me to find greatness where education was involved. It’s no ones fault but my own.

I was jokingly told by a lot friends, “Good thing you’re good looking.” I was mostly sure they were joking, at least.

But when I really look back, most of it stems from the fact that I found little joy in reading.

Please know I wasn’t an airhead. In fact, I was smart when I cared to be. Or at least enough that I did get into some honors courses, but I wasn’t on a road to scholarship town, if you know what I mean. I graduated with a GPA of 3.2, or at least that’s what my final transcripts say. I do remember a time when my mom was worried if I’d graduate or not.

Never fear, ma.

I found joy in art and band, not in English or history. (Which seems to me, my art and music education is still finding me joy all these years post graduation.)

So I worry. I know what kind of road all my kids have ahead of them, and while I’d love to tell them how awesome school is, it’s hard for me to do it enthusiastically. So I have her do small activities. She’s currently doing an after school hip hop program and she loves it.

That’s my favorite part about Claire. She loves most everything.

So as we were driving home from the gym yesterday I told her that I’m sorry if I’m too pushy. That if she ever feels in over her head or that it’s all too much, she has to tell me. Because I will listen. She told me that it makes her happy to know that I’m on her side. I then told her that raising her has been a team effort. And that I’ll always take her needs first. That seemed to make her happy.

In the mean time, I look like an over analyzing mother who pushes her daughter far too much. I’m not that person. I wonder if part of it is that Claire is such a people pleaser that I’ve pushed her so far that that’s why she gets so frustrated. That I’ve sort of broke her.

But then I think it’s just stuff for her to discuss with her shrink later on in life. That’s what we do to our first children. We wreck them and then later pay for their psychiatric bills, right?

So as we were driving home, and we’re discussing the we are a team mentality,  Claire then starts to tell me about how she really would like it if I could host another spinathon for the ARL and she wanted to make a banner for all of kindergarten to sign as a show of support.

Then it hit me. Pushy as I may be, my kid has a kind and honest heart. I can’t make her be that way. I can guide her and point her in the right direction, but just like reading she has to take her own cues. She may never be a book worm; I can’t win them all. She is sweet and means well and is enthusiastic and is a lot like me. And I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

I just hope she gets Matt’s patience.


About Cassie

Two sisters from two misters. What could be more fun?

Posted on January 14, 2014, in Cassie. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. She’s far too young to be broken. Sounds to me like she’s just right.

  2. That doesn’t sound like pushy to me, it sounds like you were legitimately asking for help for a problem she’s stumbling on. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Claire will let you know if she’s pushed too hard – she carries her emotions on her sleeve. (And that’s a good thing I think!)

    You are both good people and you will figure all this out together. At least that’s what I tell myself about Sarah and me. 😉

  3. I do the same thing with my children (well, maybe not M so much yet): encourage them to try things so they will find something they like. I don’t consider it being pushy; I consider it being interested in letting my children develop their own loves and interests.

    It may be an oldest child trait, too. Flora gets *instantly* frustrated when she can’t do something right away. She’s started chilling out, and also continues to pursue things she knows she is good at. Kate is much more chill.

    I worry because neither Dan nor I are patient. My kids are doomed in that arena.

  4. I think you’re doing really great – you have a high level of self-reflection and are able to notice when you need to change something (and I don’t know if that was the case here or not, I am talking generally here…). I love it that Claire knows you are always on her side – you are such a great mom!

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