Monday, February 17, 2014

I Cried At My Son's Teacher Conference

Today Amy Bozza of My Real Life joins us for Motherhood Monday with a post about trying to find the attention balance when you have more than one child.

Amy Bozza, author of the blog, My Real Life, lives in NJ with her husband and four children. Amy is a middle school administrator, writer,  blogger, and piano teacher who has been published as a contributor in the best-selling book I Just Want to Pee Alone. You can find Amy on Facebook at My Real Life or at her blogs at My Real Life and Bozza Writes.

I Cried At My Son's Teacher Conference

Teacher conferences for Baby and Monkey in the Middle were last week.
I went in pretty confident that I knew what the teachers were going to say.
Both boys are smart, do well, need to slow down, pay more attention to detail and write neater.
Monkey in the Middle (3rd grade) is all about structure and the rules, has a lot of friends and seems happy.
Baby Monkey (1st grade) doesn’t talk much, but enjoys his friends and seems happy.
I was dead on with both conferences.
However, at Baby’s conference, I was thrown a bit of a curve.
Nothing terrible.  Nothing of extreme concern.
His teacher mentioned that they have a chart on the board where kids move their name magnets to show who is buying lunch and who brought their own lunch.
When the kids come in, in the morning, the first thing they do is move their magnet to the appropriate lunch space.
Apparently, if Baby Monkey doesn’t get there first, he rearranges the magnets so that his can be on top.
When they read books on the carpet, he makes sure he weasels his way in between everyone so that he can be front and center.
She said, “He never does anything wrong or breaks the rules, but you can tell that it is very, very important to Baby to be first.”
And, while it is age appropriate (what first grader doesn’t want to be first) the fact that he is rearranging magnets to be first and weaseling in-between people got me thinking.
He’s such a laid-back kid.
And he’s kind of had to be.
He has an older brother who has anxiety and requires a lot of our time and attention.
He has a younger brother who is a toddler and requires a lot of our time and attention.
He often gets his needs attended to second.
Or third.
Or fourth.
And he never complains.
It’s outside of his control, and so he goes with the flow and lets it go.
But, at school, by moving those magnets or smushing in-between his friends on the carpet, he can control being first, and so he does.
And as I thought about it on the way home, I started to cry.
This kid is such a good boy, and yes, there are great lessons to be learned in having to wait your turn and be patient and realize that you aren’t the center of the universe, but every now and then, we all deserve to be the center of the universe, and I want to be sure that he knows that he IS the center of our universe.
He’s not alone in the center of our universe, but he is there, and I don’t ever want him to feel like he’s hovering on the outskirts and we’ll get to him when we’re done with everyone else.
So, I gotta do better with my Baby Monkey.


  1. So spot on, Amy! I find myself doing this dance constantly. MY oldest is diabetic which, although not critical at all times, does require some extra attention, my youngest is, well, the youngest. An "oops!" baby that pulls focus from the older two because they CAN do for themselves. That leave my Slim in the middle who some days very mush feels his "middle child" status.
    I really love how you put it--that they are each "not alone in the center" of your universe, but there nonetheless. Perfectly stated. We must definitely make them aware of their places there.

  2. I hear you, we have similar dynamics at our house too!

    1. Thanks, Anna. I have a feeling there are more of us than we know!

  3. This is a wonderful piece, Amy. My Little Man is also a laid back middle child who doesn't demand attention - so we have to be REALLY vigilant about pro-actively giving it to him. This piece really made me stop and think.

  4. Sometimes it's those outside observations that make things clear, huh? You are a great mom to see his behavior for what it is, and set to making it right. What a lucky boy!

  5. Simply beautiful! I've cried, too...I think we all have at some point for at least one child. Pinned to my "parenting" board on Pinterest so all parents can have this reminder!