Sunday, March 28, 2010

Further adventures in motherhood

A little over a year ago I wrote about my amazement at how well my awkward homeschooled boy fit in with his fellow Boy Scouts. Now I've come to a new checkpoint on the way to his adulthood: seeing that my boy has a life completely separate from mine; a life in which I have no part.

Through his association with Scouts he was invited to join a robotics club, part of the First Tech Challenge league. This is a high-school level group, but the individual teams have flexibility and can recruit younger guys. So, my 6th/7th grader* happily joined. There are some other middle-schoolers in the group as well, so it's not like he's a baby compared to everyone else. He is the only homeschooler, so far.

Still, I wondered how he would do. And I don't know for sure, because I'm not involved. (Except to the extent that the team leader asked me for help in recruiting more homeschoolers for the team.) I figure he must be doing OK because he's still going, and because his team leader wants to find more homeschool kids to join. Oh, I get little snips of information that lead us to the conclusion that he's a useful member of the team. But I really don't know much about it. It's his life, and I'm just not a part of it. I am stunned to hear that he is teaching newer kids programming. I didn't know he could program well enough to teach someone else. How did that happen?

It's a weird experience for me. I don't think of myself as a helicopter parent though I know I have those tendencies and have to work to keep them in check. When he left for a Scout campout this weekend I had to have his dad drop him at the carpool meeting place; I knew if I went I wouldn't be able to resist one last reminder or lecture or question in front of the guys. I witnessed another Scout mom do that once and I never, ever want my kid to roll his eyes at me the way that boy did at his mother.

It's not so much that I worry about his safety; no, I worry about potential (and minor) troubles. He had to cook breakfast for his patrol this morning. What if his carton of eggs broke on the way? Were they packed properly? Would the cooler keep them cold enough? When my husband pointed out that the expected high was 48 and the low 21, I wondered if the eggs would freeze overnight. My husband is a very patient man. He just looks at me and smiles in that kind way that we smile at... well, never mind. If I thought the kid would have checked his phone for messages, I would have texted him numerous reminders. But I know that the phone stays packed away, to be used only if really necessary. Which is as it should be. Scout camp is not for texting, even it's to reassure Mommy that the eggs are fine. And what if they weren't, anyway? The boys would eat more sausage, scavenge other patrols' food, and come home hungry. And he would learn how to pack eggs properly next time.

So he'll be home in a little while and I'll ask how camp went. And he won't purposely withhold information but he won't find it necessary to fill me in on every little detail. I won't be satisfied that I know what he was doing every minute, and that he was doing it well. I know this is just a little taste of the future. I'm really glad it happens gradually.

*Homeschool note: I am the type of homeschooler who doesn't pay too much attention to grade levels. My boy would be in 7th grade if he had gone to school with his age peers in kindergarten. But in Oregon, compulsory attendance starts at age 7, and a 7 year old can be enrolled in 1st grade. So, he is registered a year behind his age/peer grade.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wake up!

Thanks to Dadvocate for waking me up and asking how things are in Two Kid Land. (I like that.) I was surprised to see I haven't been here in over a month.

Things are good. There are new distractions, but it's good.

My last post was about The Brace. My little girl is doing really well. She had her first followup appointment with the orthopaedist and he said the brace fits perfectly; the pads are pushing in all the right places. So no adjustments are needed; that was a concern. It's doing it's job, which is to keep the spine from curving more. Her curve pre-brace was 27 degrees; with the brace on, it's 13. In a few months she'll have another x-ray without the brace to be sure that the curve is not getting worse despite the bracing. The expectation is that with the pressure of the brace off, the curve will revert to 27. So, we'll see. There is no medical reason to believe that the curve might go away completely... but we can pray for that too.

And her attitude is good. She has gotten to the point where she sometimes taps her trunk to be sure she's wearing the brace - it's become that natural to her. We know that hot, humid August might be a little problematic. But right now it's OK.

And man, does she have good posture!

The Boy Scout is off this weekend at his troop's annual cooking contest. Each patrol makes dinner and judges (adult leaders) sample and declare a winner. My Scout also has to make breakfast for his patrol tomorrow as part of a rank advancement requirement. He made 2nd class and is feverishly working on his 1st class requirements. Once a Scout reaches 1st class, the real fun begins. They can start working on merit badges. And I am eyeing those merit badge worksheets for my own homeschool purposes. We've already used some but tying schoolwork into Scout requirements is going to make everyone's life that much more enjoyable.

He is also involved in a robotic club about which I know very little. My boy (closer in age now to 13 than 12) has a life completely outside mine now. More about that later, I think.

We've had some not great times - massive sinus infections for 2 of us, with one having had surgery already and one coming up. A long-anticipated trip to see friends had to be canceled. We are unhappy about the state of our government.

But all in all, life in Two Kid Land is good.

Thanks for asking!