Thursday, November 12, 2009

Homework Paired with a Medium-Bodied Merlot

When I was in the second grade, it was also my second year in this country. I was conversational by then but I couldn't read my homework assignment and no one in my family could help me. My older brother who barely knew more English than I did and my mother who knew even less would spend hours together trying to figure out one problem which probably went something like:

Jane has two apples. Sharon has three apples and gave them to Jane. How many apples does Jane have? No one in my family could do this.

We all cried. I wanted to just die. It was important to all of us that I complete my homework despite my language barrier. We were given no assistance either. I was just left to hand in incomplete and incorrect homework for a couple of years. There was a lot of shame.

Now that I have my own children and English is my first language, homework should be a cinch, right? If you read my last post on homework, you know that is very untrue. In fact, I really really hate doing homework with Logan. It really tries the patience that I don't have. I am distractible and irritable by nature so his tendency to wander and his behavior irritates me to no end.

I try to be encouraging but it is so hard to fake it. Sometimes, I fake it so hard, I feel like my face will rip open. He probably knows that I'm pushing it.

What is interesting is that I know he can do the work but for some reason, he does it wrong or in a roundabout way. Strangely, this makes me want to do more homework with him sometimes. I want to keep trying to see if he can get it right and I want to push his intellectual boundaries even further.

I think what bugs me the most is the fact that I must sit next to him and sort of be his "reminder person/attention-giver." I try to walk away sometimes and when I come back, either he's gone or the homework became a mess.

I've decided to revise my homework checklist to make it more kid-appealing with graphics and I have also decided to add sit ups to my pre-homework routine. I chose endurance exercises of cardio activities because I think that could actually over-excite him. I'm not sure but I'm giving it a try. Right now, I'm eyeing a chin-up bar. It will help him with his low-tone too.

Also, I want to say that even though I'm not looking in the mirror as I'm helping him with my homework, I must look so miserable and visibly annoyed. I do not want to look like this but it is so hard not be so annoyed to the point where I'm actually feeling angry. I know that a glass of wine can loosen me up and help me put things in perspective but I wonder what I'm teaching Logan as I'm drinking my wine. I wonder if he'll ever understand that wine helps me cope with the torture of doing homework with him. I don't think I want him to know that.

Either way, I'm going to look at this in a short-term perspective and get a few bottles of wine for homework. I also have a benzodiapene to help me but I am not sure which is more effective and/or addictive. All I know is that once I lighten up, he'll perform much better. The homework may even be finished faster. Still, I think in my new checklist, I will leave the wine part out. Hopefully I will wean myself off and just drink wine with friends at parties like normal people.

P.S. It was my father-in-law's birthday a couple of weeks ago at a crowded Chinese restaurant where I had almost no control over the menu. I never drink wine with my in-laws because they just do not drink but I didn't care. Let them stare and speculate over my pain. Feeding the two of them in these places is a nightmare but I had no option other than to attend. Luckily my grown nephews helped a little but otherwise, no one else helped us (my husband's sisters and brothers-in-law). I don't blame them. I think they just don't know to say or do because the situation is so awful. I had one and a half glasses of wine only because Logan knocked over the last half of my 2nd glass all over me. Luckily, I still had one and a half glasses inside me so we were all able to make it without having a nervous breakdown. Hooray for red wine!

Photo: This would have been a wine moment for sure if I went by myself. The American Museum of Natural History had a Halloween event for kids. I imagined crowds, noises, running after a boy who doesn't respond to his name but a school friend invited us and I really wanted to challenge myself and Logan to do this. And luckily, that day, wine wasn't necessary. I was with another special needs mom and just her company as well as her lovely daughter's smiling face reduced my anxiety and let me enjoy the moment. He actually did great that day. Everyone had fun. Here Logan is pictured with Biscuit. He waited on line to take the picture too! I was proud of him but doesn't Biscuit look like he's about to pounce on him?


Kathy Rainwater said...

Ha! I saw your post on Twitter only moments after finishing a THREE HOUR math session with my 9 yo son. I am the MOST impatient person on earth when it comes to teaching. Especially math.

I completely identify with you, except I usually have a glass of chardonnay. =)

To his great credit, he not only wanted to finish, but did. I'm the one who wanted to call it quits. But math isn't the end of the world, right? Isn't that what calculators are for?

Hang in there - there will be better days.

Elyse Orecchio said...

Man, hats off to the moms who homeschool their special needs kids, cuz the one hour of homework per night sure is enough for this impatient mama.

What did you end up feeding the boys in the Chinese restaurant, I haven't tackled Chinese food yet because Theo would just want to pour the soy sauce on everything.

Now you've got me eyeing a chin-up bar!

Hartley said...

We have had a chin up bar in the doorway near our family room/kitchen for years. I highly recommend it and find every special needs mom that sees Gabriel use it, quickly buys their own. LOL Get it!

And just FYI, if you can only drink red wine at parties and with friends, I too have a problem. :)

Hang in their Jen, you're doing GREAT! If you are interested, I am giving away free sensory-friendly clothing on my blog right now. Free is good.