Monday, February 2, 2009

Because Logic Can Sometimes Fail You...

There are times when I am forcefully confronted with the differences between my children.

I am very much aware that my kids are two different people. After all, look at the names I've given them; the Impertinent Daughter and the Impossible Son. She is inventive, a quick thinker, a little brash at times, stubborn, loving, and though a bit prickly at times, she has a good heart. He is generous, never met a stranger, quirky, stubborn, good natured, and easily hurt at times. And both of them are very bright, full of mischief, and transparent as water (fortunately for me).

But... they are two different people.

Today, I was trying to help Mr. Manzie with his math homework. Now, our district has a light to no homework policy for students. This is very frustrating for me as I see homework as (1) practice for the kids and (2) a way for parents to keep up with what they're learning in the classroom and, more importantly, how it is being taught. Since he always brings home spelling words, and a reading assignment, I only have a very vague idea what they're doing in math, though I do try to keep up by hitting the school's website, hitting his teacher's webpage, and then taking time to talk to his teacher as much as possible. Still, as I said, it gives me a very vague idea what he is doing in class.

So, when he came home with a D, tottering very close to an F, in math, well... I wasn't surprised, but I was frustrated. We've been going over flash-cards, and math problems on the computer, etc... but... we evidently missed something.

He brought math homework home today (after I asked the teacher between clenched teeth to please send something related to the math they were doing in class home so I can help him), and, well...

My kids are two different people.

Logic works on the Impertinent Daughter. If you said to her, "9 + 9 = 18, so if you take 9 away from 18, that would be?" and she'd frown, thinking, then say, "It's 9." You say that to the Impossible Son, and he looks up at you, smiles, and says, "Um... 17?"

So, you rephrase it and say, "If 9 + 9 = 18, then 18 - 9 =...?"

"Um... 19?"

I had to remind myself that in a lot of ways, he's a more visually oriented person than Miss Priss is. And that logic doesn't work on him.

Why do I say this?

Well, I breast-fed both my kids. When it came time to wean Miss Priss, we were able to talk about it, well, about as well as a near three year old and an adult can. We talked about what weaning was, and how she was getting to be a really big girl, and that we could take it slowly by reducing nursing by one feeding a week, etc, and picked out which one she felt she could give up. Took six weeks, but she was weaned. Had a little party for her, it was great!

When it came time to wean Mr. Manzie, he wasn't having anything to do with logic or reasonable discussions. He wanted to nurse and that was final! So... I had to tell him I was running out of milk. I cut him back one nursing each week by telling him, "Oops, I'm all out of milk today, sorry!" And then, when we were down to one nursing, I had to put Band-Aids on my breasts (no, not on the nipples... OUCH!!) and tell him the milk machines were broken, and there was no more milk to be had.

It was a sad day in Little Man Land when the Mama Milk Machine broke.

I had to keep that in mind while trying to help him with his math homework. And I'm not saying I've figured it out yet, but heck, if I have to, I will dig out the Legos to get him over his mental hump, especially since they are working with adding and subtracting double digits. Think visual aids, Auntie!

I just have to remind myself, what works with one child won't necessarily work with the other because... they are two different people.


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