Mindsets…Yours and Your Childs

As I continue to expand my blog and community Facebook page, I devote a certain amount of time per day perusing through Flipboard and a few of my favorite pages to find things to blog about and share.   One of the articles I came across today was about mindsets and how you speak to your children can encourage them to be successful.  Normally, I would have shared this article on my Facebook page and moved on, allowing for the discussions to begin, but since I’m now focusing harder on getting Henry up to speed, I find myself needing to blog about this article, which I will include at the end of this post.

As many of you know, my children are with me daily, even though they are both in school.  I had the opportunity to put them both on the same days of the week, thereby allowing me some alone time, a chance to recharge, and even accomplish a few things I’ve put on the back burner since becoming a mom (MY BOOK that I’ve desperately attempted to edit over the past 4 years).  My husband and I discussed this option and we decided it best to separate the boys and allow for me to have individual one on one time with them.   So, as I’ve stated before, Henry is a T/Th student, while Davey is a MWF student.

When Davey was 4 months old, I quit my job and decided to be a stay at home mom.  I immediately jumped into my role, taking him to the library for story time, reading to him profusely, quizzing him on animals and their sounds, and even stepping out of my comfort zone to join a playgroup with other moms and their children.   I perused through the internet and pinned like crazy on Pinterest all sorts of ideas to get my child ahead of the game.  I’m not one for wasting time.  I have to be productive in everything I do, even if that productivity is only perceived through my eyes.

By the time, Davey was almost 2, he was enrolled in a Mother’s Morning Out program.  I was in the final trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and eager for a little breathing room and to get Davey into a routine that was all for HIM before Henry came along.  He was well ahead of the game when he started.   He was speaking at a 3 year old level, enunciating words, and learning how to grammatically speak correctly.   He knew his letters in order and randomly as well as numbers, shapes, and colors.   I was proud of him and my ability to get him there.

When Henry arrived, for obvious reasons, I was unable to devote all of my time to just one child.   I still worked with Davey, especially during the first couple of months of Henry’s life when he was nothing more than an eating, sleeping, drooling, and pooping mess.   I continued to build upon my foundation I had started with Davey and by the time he started actual preschool, he was ahead of the game, and still is.   As for Henry, I’ve struggled.

It’s hard to teach Henry the same things that I thought Davey, because Davey is always there and he wants to answer the questions.   He wants to please me and he wants to show me that he knows his stuff, displaying his fixed mindset, which discourages Henry from answering my questions.    When I ask Henry what color this is, I get, “I don’t know,” but he really does know.   How do I know this?   Because when I’m NOT trying to sit down and teach him, he’ll pull out a yellow crayon, for example, and say, “mom, I color this sun yellow.”   He knows his stuff.   I just haven’t figured out how to get him to sit with me and let me teach him or to show me that he is just as smart as I know he is and can be.

Henry has been in school for 4 days total so far, meaning that I’ve had 5 days (not counting Labor Day) with which he and I could work on the basic concepts every preschooler should know.   I had started the approach of the fixed mindset when teaching him, since that’s what worked best with Davey, and as a side note, Davey displays characteristics of both mindsets dependent upon what he is doing or working on.  Unfortunately, it appears that the fixed mindset doesn’t work with Henry and he needs to be challenged instead of taught in a basic setting.

He told me this week, while shoving flashcards of letters and numbers across the table, “I not want to do this.”   We’ve bought him a LeapFrog, but he doesn’t use it.   Davey loves ABC Mouse, and so I set Henry up with his own Avatar for it as well.   Nope, he’s not a fan, so I’m finding that I have to step outside of the box and find ways to be interactive and that includes walks in the park where I may take leaves and make a letter “L” out of those leaves.   He then will find rocks and make letters out of those, so you see he knows his stuff.

So, the article that inspired this blog is here:

If You Want Your Kids To Be Successful In The Future, Talk To Them In This Way

It doesn’t go in depth nor is it judgmental, it just helps with finding other ways to encourage your children to be successful.

Of course, dealing with Henry, has given me a new level of respect for teachers as I never really looked at the fact that each child is different (it’s obvious, I know, but I haven’t really considered it) and what these teachers must do and go through to reach each child, to help them to be successful and to learn.

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“Fall”ing in the South

This is my favorite time of the year.  I love the beautiful colors of the trees, their constant metamorphosis into the rainbow of warm canopies.   I love the cooler weather, the ability to roast marshmallows in the backyard without sweating off 20 pounds (however, if that were true, I think I could enjoy that).  I love the smell of pumpkins and apples, cinnamon and cider.   I love fall, but I love it more in the South.

The great thing about the South during the fall is that you can get up in the morning, layer on a coat over short sleeves, and by the afternoon shed the coat and walk around in warm comforting sunlight.   Fall in the South is wonderful.  My boys want to be outside ALL. THE. TIME.   They’re not crying about it being too hot or too cold.   It’s quite literally perfect.   The only problem is that Fall doesn’t seem to last long.

One of the bridges at Falls Park.
One of the bridges at Falls Park.

So, knowing that the days will soon be getting shorter and our window of opportunity to enjoy the cooler weather closing, I’ve decided to start taking advantage of every free moment.   Over the course of the past week, we’ve had bike rides, picnics, and planes.

Since we live so close to the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Northern Greenville County, I try to get the boys out at least once a week.   Davey hops on his bike and Henry and I tag along behind him.   I love how the trail, which is old railroad tracks, looks at times to be carved into a mountain, the rocky terrain shadowing us on either side.   With the changing of the season, the trail is filled to the brim with leaves.   It’s a great sight to see.

Biking on the trail.
Biking on the trail.

Last week, after enjoying a run on the trail as it winds through Falls Park in Downtown Greenville, I decided that I would treat the boys to a picnic.   My original intent was to hand make a lunch, but then reality sunk in and I remembered quickly that I’m not a Martha Stewart, but more of a Savannah Guthrie, so I shouldn’t push my luck and just be grateful I have the wherewithal to actually do a picnic.   Instead of the hand made lunch, which I had romantically envisioned in my mind thanks to my binge viewing of Madmen episodes, I stopped at Chick-Fil-A.

Hamming it up in front of the Falls.
Hamming it up in front of the Falls.

I packed a blanket, some snacks, some books, and loaded up the wagon.   We parked near the Governor’s School, and strolled through the park, over rock bridges and onto some of the softest grass I’ve experienced this side of the Mason-Dixon line.  The boys grabbed chicken nuggets and playfully ran about the park, picking up sticks and leaves along the way.   We even had an opportunity to feed the ducks, an excitement beyond measurable proportions for Henry.

Run, Henry, Run!
Run, Henry, Run!

That day was quickly followed up by a day out at our favorite café and park, The Runway Café and Park at the Downtown airport.   Three WWII era planes were scheduled to fly in around 1:30, so once again we took in the beautiful Fall day, sat outside on the patio, ate our lunch and watched some pretty awesome planes land.  And while mommy was super interested in the planes, my boys really just wanted to run around on the playground, soaking in every last little ounce of Fall they could before it’s gone for another season.

WWII planes.
WWII planes.

Unfortunately for us, rainy weather has moved in yet again, cutting into our fun outside.   Stay tuned for all latest indoor adventures in Dreaming of Mommyhood.