Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A New Book, Dating and a Not So Perfect Dad

Heather and I went on our 2nd date, this time we went to Thai Ginger (the first date was Lunch at Quiznos). I think it went pretty well, I had thought of all sorts of things to talk about but got to less than half of them because I was so nervous I kept forgetting things I wanted to talk about. Not to exaggerate, Im not being overtly nervous, possibly enough to be noticeable, but I definitly felt like it was effecting my memory in regards to what to talk about and caused me to be silent more ofthen than I should have been.

Or maybe I am just overanalyzing my own performance. I had fun and I think she did as well, we mentioned some ideas for a future date, we hugged and parted ways at the end of the evening. Even with as much dating as I have done over the past 10 months or so, I don't feel like I know how to do it, esspecially beyond this point (the 2nd date).

Im not looking to rush ahead into anything, but at the same time I don't want to neglect the situation accidently. I want to spend more time with her if we are going to keep this going, which I want to do, but I really don't know how to read her yet. I am not really sure if she is still interested or not, I think she is, I hope she is. I really want to break us out of the normal date situation because I think I would psych myself out less and be more comfortable.

We'll see if a third date comes out of it, I am confident, but I feel like I am standing confident amidst a thick fog, vision is low.

Like I said, I think Im just psyching myself out. Its just a third date, we'll see if it happens, and if it does happen Im sure things will go fine. I hope so because I really do like her and I would like to keep getting to know her.

On to the next subject!

I am reading a book called 'Imperium' by Robert Harris. I was intending on reading this book and one other book at the same time, but I've had a hard time putting this one down so I will just keep on with it and read them one at a time.

This book has been amazing so far. It happens around 50 bc and follows the main character Cicero. The events are semi-ficitonalized, but it is based on real events, starring real people. Cicero was a famed Roman Senator and exceptionally popular Orator. He lived during the time of Julias Caesar. The story is told from the perspective of Cicero's slave Tiro, also based on a real character. Aside from being a Roman Senator, Cicero was essentially a Lawyer. The first half of the book led up to what I can only say is the birth of modern Courtroom Dramas, it was amazing, and the fact that it really happened (if not in the way described in the book) is even more amazing. Many of Cicero's Speeches (of which there were tons) are still available (probably in Greek and Latin) today to be read.

Anyway, it is very well written so far and I would highly recommend it to anyone. This is the 2nd book by this author I have read. The first book I talked about awhile ago and was called Fatherland. It was a good book, but not nearly as good as this one. Fatherland followed a German Detective in the late 1960s in an alternate reality where Germany managed to retain most if not all of the areas it conquered during World War Two. The story followed the Detective as he unravels a coverup that goes all the way up to Hitler.

Ok and on the last, but most important note: Being a single parent is hard, I still don't feel fully prepared to be doing this and I am not sure if I will ever feel that way. I feel like I am failing the boys, and I feel like I am not always trying my hardest.

Scouts is a good example, no one know more than my regular readers just how much I was looking forward to putting my kids in cubscouts. Even going so far as to counting down the last 18 months or so until Jadon was eligible.

Unfortunatly I didn't realize how much of it would rest on my shoulders. I knew it was all about parent/son participation, and I was prepared for that, but I wasn't prepared to be the leader of our Den, that was never part of the plan and I am just not pulling it off the way it needs to be done.

On an upside, I think things are starting to come together better and it really feels like we are becoming more motivated and organized as a group.

We are working on Jadon's Pinewood Derby Car at the moment. We finalized the design yesterday and I finished cutting it out last night. Today Jadon, with my assistance, sanded it down in places, making it smooth and also working on the design a bit more. Tonight I sprayed a black primer on it and tomorrow Jadon will paint it. It gets Weighed on Thursday at the scout meeting.

Anyway, the main thing I am failing at as a parent is the education of my children. To top that off I feel like I failed myself in that same regard, I never ever understood why education was so important, why good study habits were so important or any of that.

I've spoken about Jadon's Struggles with reading and writing and tonight I came to the conclusion that he has fallen behind far more than I had previously realized. He was completely unable to spell any of the spelling words I needed him to spell for practice and I have to say that it frustrated me quite a bit.

He doesnt understand basic concepts that he has been learning since the beginning of the school year, and even has issues with concepts he has been struggling with since Kindergarten. At times I've felt like he has done better, but he hasn't maintained a consistent pattern.

I am very dissapointed with myself for not accepting this sooner. With how lax we were with education during the coarse of the divorce and how obviously summer and even two week breaks set him back.

He is reading below his level, and any time he switches to a different font he seems to have new troubles. He is stil swapping B's and D's regularly. He already has proven to be more socially oriented and less worried about academics.

Its time for a change, and not at school (though I readily admit that the school system is far from perfect and only increases in ridiculousness as you progress through it. A college degree may have been useful, but going to high school was bullshit, it was a travesty).

Its time for a change at home. As we were practicing his spelling words (of which he could spell none) I suddenly realized just how little I was actually doing and just how bad the situation had gotten. I would say I had an epiphany, and I started ranting about it aloud with such intensity that I almost upset Jadon. I tend to be very strict and very hard on the boys about being responsible and it has made them somewhat sensitive to my... speeches?

But fortunatly Jadon wasn't just listening to the tone of my voice, which was intense, he was also listening to the content of my words and he understood quickly what I was talkiing about and not long after we started, he seemed to be on board 100% with what we were doing.

I intend to practice with the boys every single week night, reading and writing. They already read nearly every night, esspecially Jadon, he brings 5-10 books per night home and reads them all each night (taking approximatly 30 min.), so mostly the writing. We will practice Spelling the words, pronouncing the words, writing the words. We will practice lots of related things as well. Accomplishing things, and working hard in this will earn the boys time to spend on special activities, like playing video games. Jadon, despite being tired, stayed up an extra hour past his bedtime tonight to word on our new way of doing things as he became very enthusiastic about it.

The main thing is I hope to instill a better study habit in both the boys. Something I never had. And the main reason, and the main theme which Jadon and I talked about, is instilling in the boys the importance of reading and writing, and doing it well. I railed off a list of things Jadon can't do right now simply because he doesn't know how to read and I indicated to him that reading is the only thing standing in his way. He actually got very excited and I think that we are on the right track.

I hate that I've allowed us to fall so far behind and I hate that despite knowing how flawed our school systems are, I put so much faith in it. Tristan does not have the same struggles as Jadon, but he will be in an identicle system at home.

I already feel that Jadon has shown progress, just in the time we spent the first night. One thing I did to change things up, I took the eraser off of Jadon's Pencil. He was shocked actually, but I was so tired of seeing him fumble through something, see that it was wrong (or have it pointed out to him) and then erase and fix it. It has been a long standing rule in my house that for homework we don't erase mistakes, but it hasn't been maintainned because he obviously does so at school. Which i have no cntrol over. But its important to be able to look back and see what you have done wrong and I feel like Jadon understood what I was trying to do and I feel like he understood that its ok to make mistakes, as long as you acknowledge them and learn from them. Another important concept I have always tried to instill in them and I am hoping to translate into our new Study program.

Anyway, thats enough for now, I will talk about progress and specifics once we get a week or two into it.

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