This is a hard post for me to write.  Today is probably one of the roughest days I’ve had in a while.  It all started with a trip to the dentist and ended with a late check in at school.


I took the boys to the dentist today (they did great).  After a few x-rays it was shown that both of them have cavities… When i heard that I automatically felt like the worst mother in the world.  We brush our teeth twice a day everyday in our home.  As a matter of fact, I started brushing my boys teeth at about 6-7 months old because I wanted them to be use to doing it when they were older.  So to hear that they have cavities, it was like being told “YOU ARE THE WORST MOTHER EVER”.  My oldest has one and Nick has two.  The doctor said that its probably because they don’t floss regularly.  In which they don’t.  I mean seriously, flossing their teeth is like pulling teeth the with the way they act sometimes.  But instead of enforcing flossing I say “okay guys, next time we are flossing”, but because I’d rather not go through the hassle I usually just skip it all together.  So now they have cavities and its my fault…


Then after leaving the dentist, the boys insisted on going to school (at 11am).  After dropping Nicholas off to his class, I went to do the same with TJ.  Before leaving out of the class, TJ’s teacher wanted to have a few words with me.  She asked if I work with him at home with letter recognition and writing.  Again, I swear I do.  But, I must confess, Nicholas catches on to things a lot faster than TJ.  He is more of my hands on guy.  His memory is excellent and his interest in learning is greater than TJ. 

TJ’s teacher asked me if he had been in any type of schooling prior to starting Kindergarten.  She said most of the other students had been and they are already writing their names and TJ isn’t.  Okay so no, he hasn’t been to daycare or Pre-K or anything.  That’s what I was for.  And I see now that I failed.  I failed him.  But how can I fail one and the other child does great when it comes to the same matter at hand?


I’m starting to rethink my entire decision for staying home.  Maybe me staying home wasn’t what was best for my boys.  Maybe I should have  put them in daycare.  I’m sure someone else would have done a better job than me.  All I know is that at this very moment, I feel like I have failed my baby….


Unknown said...

When I read your post I thought of an old saying. When you know better, you do better. You start from here and make a change. You are not a failure, we all learn day to day. I completely believe that you can overcome this challenge.

Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

I'm sorry to hear you've been having such a tough day. I must tell you, though, that from reading your blog posts it shines through how much you adore your children. You've not failed one bit.

nina@themissadventuresofnina said...

Oh, don't say that. You have not failed them at all. Is just one little pebble on your shoe and now you know you can get some flash cards and make a game when you are out with TJ...Like in the supermarket: "lets see if you can find the first letter of your name"

This happens to all of us wheter you work or not. I feel like a bad Mom for having stayed with the oldest but sending the little guy daycare. Parenthood is a learning experience for all of those involved.

Also, each child is different, thats what makes them unique and wonderful. How boring to have all the kids act the same.

A BIG Hug to you. IT will get better!!!!

Oh, and the Dentist? I have 7 (YES SEVEN) Dentist in my family and next year it will be 8 with BIL and I still got cavities when I was growing up. Right now I have to FORCE my 15 month old to brush. You win some you loose some...

Carly {Honey and the Moon} said...

Girl, you stop worrying! Two things...

1) My parents taught me to take care of my teeth at a very young age as well. They even made me do the dreaded flossing, and guess what? As a kid I had at least one cavity each time I went to the dentist. Our dentist is a family friend and assured us that some people just have teeth problems and there isn't much you can do about it.

2) I'm currently studying to become a teacher, and while in all of our classes we learn that things like daycare or pre-k can be very beneficial to students, we also learn that students will still move at their own rate no matter what. Yeah, some kids know how to write their name before they enter kindergarten and others learn while they're in kindergarten...all that matter is that they learn how to do it! Just start working with him a little more at home, he will pick it up.

Your care for both of your boys before they entered school was great, I'm sure. You wouldn't be this upset if you hadn't cared for your boys in every way that you knew how.

Okay...stepping off my pedestal now. You love those kiddos and that makes you a great Momma! I hope your day gets better. xo

Unknown said...

I'm not a mommy yet but I do know one thing for sure - when you're doing your best you can't let other people make you feel bad about it!

Everybody has bad days, just be thankful for the better one tomorrow! ;)

Bex said...

Toughen up Mamacita. If you get this bent out of shape over cavities and handwriting, what are you going to do when they become teenagers? Who's standards are you trying to live up to, the dentist and the teacher? You are having a bad day..here's a virtual hug and a shove out the door. Stick to your guns and don't let the small things eat you up. You have people to inspire; and I don't mean us blogfans.

Jade @ Flip Flops + Pearls Design said...

Please don't ever say that you have failed! Being a mother is one of the hardest jobs and from what I read on your blog, you are a wonderful mother who is dedicated to her children!! It happens to all of us...one day, we are super mom and the next we feel horrible because something happens with our children and we think it's a direct reflection of us. In no way are your son's cavities or learning abilities your "fault"!! Give your little one a little bit...he will be right on pace with everyone else!

I hope your day gets better!

xo Jade

Erika Ward said...

Please don't feel bad. By no means have you failed as a Mommy so don't go there! Use this dentist experience as a teaching opportunity for everyone. Your boys will probably become even more active in their own dental care as well as encourage their friends.

Regarding TJ vs. Nick, kids all learn at different paces and some you have to encourage a little more and require individual attention. You are just having a "moment" today, but be prepared for them when they get home (without the defeated attitude). Head up Mama, you're the best and will always be!

Decorchick! said...

Oh man, I hope you aren't serious. You are so NOT a failure!!! It was a blessing you were able to stay at home with them and not sending them to daycare. Think of all of the germs and illnesses you prevented! haha. I think our purpose is to stay at home if possible. I plan on homeschooling Emma and I'm sure I'll catch a lot of flack for that. Everyone will say they need the "social interaction with other kids." But seriously? Do I want her acting like all of the other kids? No. But anyway, you are totally not a failure and are a great mama. Each kids learns at their own pace. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and if he can't write his name yet, no.big.deal. He will get it. I bet he is much stronger in other areas that your other boys aren't.

So don't worry! And cavities? Big whoop! It's like people who eat an apple a day or take their vitamins each day but still get sick. No matter how hard you try to take care of yourself some things just happen.

Hang in there girl! xxoo :)

R said...

I have two boys and a girl. My boys are in 2nd and Kinder this year. My oldest draggs his feet and about throws a fit every single day we have homework and my Kinder is asking to do homework of which they don't get much. They are just two opposite personalities.
As far as teeth goes I'm going to attempt to make you feel better by telling you my sister in laws nightmare. She brushes and flosses her kiddos teeth to the point of pinning them to the floor to do it. Their last trip to the dentist resulted in 4 cavities in each of the girls and her oldest at the age of 9 had to have a root canal and crown. Some people just have great enamel on their teeth and others don't. It's just one of those things.

Having a teacher ask you in just the first couple of weeks why your son isn't farther along in writing his name - I would be asking her what she is going to do in class to help him and what you can do to help him at home. Let him write his name in his dinner (I know it sounds crazy - but it does help) or in the bubbles in the bath. He'll get it. And that teacher needs a good knock up side the head. Good greif.
Hold your chin up high and clear those storm clouds away. I have a very negative mom who knocks me down alot about how I parent and what I do with my kids because it's not her way. Know what I tell her? "I've managed to keep them alive for 8 years so far and they seem pretty happy so I must be doing something right." A big virtual hug to you and tomorrow is a new beginning.

Chedva @Rooms and Words said...

Oh no Lakeitha, please don't feel like that! Everything has its pros and cons, and I'm sure what you gave your boys while they were home will benefit them no less than writing their names. You can always work with him a little more on his letters, and I'm sure everything will be fine. Sometimes teachers say somethings (as they should, right?) and they don't get the impact it has on us parents.
Please don't be hard on yourself.
Hugs and kisses,

Mingz said...

Failer girl NO!! Let me say, I remember when my ten year old was in 2nd grade and they said he didn't recognize 26 of 33 key words and that maybe we should have him tested for learning disabilities. I said hell no! He is now in 4th grade last year A B honor roll. Reads like a champ. Some kids learn differently. My son would not sit and read after school, it was not him, so I had to find alternative ways to get his attention...by getting computer software games that interested him. There are plenty of children who have not been in day care prior to school. I think that society makes mothers feel like a failure if they don't work outside the home. They think our kids should be rocket scientist as soon as they enter K-5 and thats just not true. I also think that SOME teachers have gotten lazy, they find it easier to teach a child that they feel is "easy to teach" then a child that may need a little more help and guidance.

You are doing the right thing for your family, being home with your boys is not a failure, not even close. He will do fine and he will be fine!

Myssie@PendletonMarket said...

This makes me sad. You are not a failure!! Here are my thoughts...some kids just get cavities. If it makes you feel any better, my 3 year old had to have one of his front teeth pulled because of decay. We brush his teeth every single day, twice a day. It just happens. And remember, they are just baby teeth!!

And as far as the handwriting thing...the teacher needs smacked upside the head. For Real. I'm pretty sure that handwriting is her job. ;) I can give you this piece of advice...don't compare your kids, as hard as it is, it is just not good. My kids are at the extreme opposites on the learning spectrum and it does no good to try to compare them. They are two very different people and they both learn in very different ways. With C, I can show her something one time and she has it. With W, I have to show him over, over, and over again and he still might not get it. It's just the way they are made. ;)

You did the very best for your kids and for your family by staying home with them. It is a luxury that some families don't get. You have not failed!!

ps. They had dry erase boards in the dollar spot at target that looked like writing paper. Have TJ practice on that while you are cooking dinner!! ;)


Oh goodness. Well, I don't have kids, but my parents do. They parented us all exactly the same and we couldn't be more different. You love your boys and you do the best you can for them, that's all there is and that's all there ever will be. I'm confident that is plenty!

Take a break for yourself, I'm sure your deserve it =)

Kim@Chattafabulous said...

Oh no! It hurts to think of how much you are hurting and the things you describe are through no fault of yours! My youngest started middle school this year and struggles with math and has struggled with many subjects since she started school. She will struggle for a bit then all of a suddent she "gets it" and does great! Kids learn in different ways! Some are hands-on, some are show-me, some learn through repetition. This certainly does not make you a bad mother! And as for the cavities, some people are burdened with having softer teeth, and are prone to have more problems than others. Sending you prayers and hugs. You are a great mom, I am certain of that - just ask your kids!!

Laura Ferry-Jimenez said...

ok, I just had to comment, I'm one of your more "silent" followers/stalkers. :)

(1) yes, cavities can be avoided but also genes play a big role. in my opinion. my family are big toothbrushers AND flossers with at least a cavity or two at each visit. my dentist in New Orleans knew not to lecture. haha.

(2) I'm a SAHM who wonders the same bc we don't do enough "education" stuff either. my first child absorbed stuff after hearing it once, my second not so much. haha. but the way I see it, everyone is usually caught up by first grade. and that's what kindergarden is for - to learn!!! if he knew it, you'd be testing him to get into first grade.

I can go on, but it's not fair to compare one kid who is normal to others that maybe had a slight advantage. my daughter was the youngest and while always bright, she had problems with maturity in beginning of the year. but that's because she was being compared to kids 8-9 months older than her - it's not a fair comparison.

ok, this has gotten way too long... I'll go back to being silent. :)

- laura

ps: copying your big boy room idea but for a GIRL - I wasn't going to say anything til it was done. I hope you like it. I think you're doing great! :)

Annapolady said...

I'm sorry you have had a rough day. I haven't read any of the other comments yet (will go back and do so in a moment) so I apologize if I'm repeating anything that's already been said - but these things are normal parts of childhood and not a reflection of your parenting skills.

Some kids get cavities. Some catch on quicker. Some do X and others do Y. We are entertaining guests right now who have two children who eat the exact same organic, vegetarian, carefully thought out diet... they have two completely different bodies and fall differently on the weight scales. Each person in the world is unique and the stamp put on by their parents is simply part of the whole.

Hang in there. :)

Janell @ House of Fifty said...

Okay, first here is a big hug! Second, what comes to mind is a comment I've heard a friend in the neighborhood say on a couple occasions, being the mother of three grown boys.

"as parents we take far too much credit for our children's successes and failures. they are going to be who they are regardless of what we do or don't do."

I think there is a lot of truth to this. Janell

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La Monica said...

Hugs to you Mama! I am a SAHM and I know exactly how you feel. My oldest is 3 and my youngest is 20 mths. I often feel guilty because she has a little cousin who is 6 weeks younger and has been going to daycare/preschool. Her little cousin appears to be more advanced than my daughter. And on top of that, my daughter often talks about wanting to go to school so that just adds to my guilty.

When I'm really feeling bad about it, I try to remember that where our little cousin is advanced in some areas, my daughter is more advanced in others. So while my daughter may not know all of her colors and shapes (still working on those), she's still a well-adjusted little 3 year old who loves to read, is well-behaved (for the most part), and has a wonderful imagination. All of the tools she'll need when the time does come for her to go to school.

Just remember that there are probably a lot of intangible benefits that your sons get as a result of having been able to stay at home with you that don't necessarily manifest themselves in handwriting exercises!

Anonymous said...

I think you are a great momma! You spend time with your kids, and you have made a commitment to them and your family. Everyone has bad days. Besides, it could've been much, much worse. Don't sweat the cavities, just keep brushing (AND FLOSSING) ;)

Remember, what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, LOL!


Anonymous said...

Ask TJ's teacher to give him a Learning Style Inventory, so that the both of you know how he learns best...it will tell you how to reach him academically and at home. Here's a list of Different Learning Styles: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic. Check out www.starfall.com! Also make SchoolBox your bestfriend! Your a great mother! Staying home takes energy, dedication, time, love, and patience. Chalk it up to a learning experience and be ready to "fail again!" Cause we're human! I fail ALL the time....I just try to recover the next day!

Anonymous said...

I really like your blog and I am so sorry you had such a rough day..I too have three boys. My youngest both have little to no enamel on their teeth- so they have had quite a few cavities. My youngest actually has had dental surgery twice- this is because of the genetic enamel issues compounded with asthma medication.. (and we were brushing twice a day, and flossing, and using a special flouride mouthwash). I know how you feel!! As for your kindergartner not knowing his letters and being able to spell his name yet, that is not something you should beat yourself up about. My youngest is just now going into first grade, and you know they are all different and learned this at their own pace... I think you are doing a great job even though I have never met you!! You love your kids so much and I think you are doing a fabulous job staying home with them.. God bless you and thank you for such a great and inspiring blog..I hope you're feeling better about things.

Dayka Robinson said...

i think you're being WAY to hard on yourself, lakeitha! oral health in general is genetic, and your kids may just be more prone to cavities--it's not necessarily a reflection on you! to be honest, i don't floss a lot and have never had one. one of my good friends in fanatical about her teeth, and she still has cavities--go figure.

i agree with what many have said about the reading issue, and i think we even talked about this months ago. all kids are different, and that's not a reflection on your parenting skills. someone gave a great suggestion about having him find letters in his name at the grocery store, and i think tj would love that! he's so energetic and outgoing, and is always looking for a way to be your helper. use that to your advantage and make it fun for him. i hope you're having a better day!

Stacy of KSW said...

Oh man, I wish I could give you a great {{{{{BIG HUG}}}}} right now. So your kids have cavities & one can't write his name ... but I bet they have values they would have never learned in daycare. I bet they feel safe & secure and loved and are thriving in far different ways than you even imagine. Letters & writing will come, its sort of part of teh process but the things YOU taught them, the things they wouldn't have picked up from any daycare or preschool ... those are the things that will make your little guys into wonderful men!!

He'll be writing in NO time & as for the cavities ... some kids get them, some don't. I don't think here's much you can do about it. You do the best you can and that's all you can do :)

You are a wonderful mother and don't you doubt that for one second ...

and just so you know ... I have days where I feel the very same way. (shh, it's our little secret) Two of my kids were in daycare when they were young and I was Active Duty military. The child I quit work for and stayed home with doesn't speak yet, is pretty anti social and doesn't meet many of the milestones other kids his age are doing. I feel like it's me, like I made him this way. But then I go to bed, I pray and I wake up and do the best I can ... they'll catch up soon enough :)

freefalling said...

My goodness you are hard on yourself.
These things are part of life.
Things would be very boring if life was perfect all the time.
There are a million things worse than a couple of holey teeth.
And TJ's an individual - he's just doing things HIS way.
Let go.
You can't control everything.
Just focus on all the wonderful things in your life.

ash said...

One of the hardest things about having kids (to me) is feeling that people are judging you, whether they truly know you or not. So I've learned, you CANNOT judge yourself based on what these people do or say. YOU are the boys mother, you are doing the best you can...who can ever do any more than that?

I have to say, shame on that teacher for speaking to you in such a way. I'm sure she didn't mean to be so accusatory (hopefully not), but it sounds like it came across that way. Yes, preschools are pushing all this early learning stuff, but all the research I've come across says that as far as literacy goes, ages 6-7 are actually the optimal times for kids to grasp things like reading and writing. My son is almost 6, and no matter how much we read or talked about letters in the past, he had no interest in any of it until a couple months ago. And now? All of a sudden, he's trying to spell words on his own! He was just always a "numbers" guy - literacy was not one of the things he was into : )

There is so much more to life than school, I can't stress that enough. In my family, some of the people who have been the most successful are those who did not do as well in school. Go figure : )

And the teeth issue? I definitely think it's true that some people just have more issues with theirs, no matter what they do.

You're the one raising your boys, and it sounds like you're doing a great job. Please don't ever doubt yourself because of others. Just keep loving them and teaching them the best you can. They're lucky to have you!

Shermi said...

I taught my son to read at 3 years old because I always heard that boys are more natural at math and don't like to read. Now he reads like a college student (he's 12) but math is a struggle. This is the hardest job on earth no matter if you do everything right, they can still have issues. I work with my son everyday and because he has problems focusing although he tests like a genius he struggles in classes. My sis doesnt work with my nephew at all and he is almost an A student. You didnt fail your child he probably just learns differently and when you find out what works for him, that's what you will do. Thank God you were able to stay at home with them, time spent means more than anything.

Abigail Prescott said...

Your post went straight to my heart! All of us moms struggle with how to do our best for each of our children, sometimes with varied results, but I think it's evident (even to a total stranger like myself) that you haven't failed!

A couple of facts that might cheer you: although kids who've attended preschool have an academic advantage when they begin kindergarten, the advantage evaporates by the time the reach the 3rd grade. Secondly, preschooled children have a higher incidence of aggression, anxiety and a host of other social problems far less common in youngsters who remain at home longer. You gave your son much more than a host of hourly workers could ever have done, so please never consider yourself a failure for giving him more of your love and attention!

Most teachers, even good ones, want all their students progressing at the same rate b/c it's easier to manage, but that doesn't mean your son isn't progressing at the pace that's right for HIM. The important thing is that you continue to work with him and give him the love and encouragement he needs to thrive. On a final note, I can highly recommend The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading as a great resource -- super easy and very effective with our 5 year old. Take heart and best of luck to you and your boy!

Unknown said...

Oh honey, that's just pitiful! Why is it that the least little thing puts us over that, "I have failed my babies" edge? My baby is only 8 months and while I was still pregnant we found out he had kidney issues. I felt like a failure and he wasn't even here yet. Then when he wasn't sleeping through the night at 6 weeks, I was just sure that it was all my fault. Then when I had to go back to work, and put my child in day care, I felt like I had failed my child. When he doesn't do anything as soon or as well as any other kid, I assume that I have failed.
But the reality is every kiddo is different. Some have softer teeth, some have bad eyes, some have bad kidneys, some don't learn how to write their names as quickly as everyone else. You are doing your best. You are loving your boys.

And that's all that really matters! Hugs!

Malena said...

You have not failed either of your babies!! You are obviously a loving mother who does the best for her sons. Floss?? You'd think I was pulling my 13--yr olds' teeth to this day when I make him floss.

Stay home?? I would LOVE to be a stay at home mom. It wasn't in the cards for us. You stay right there for those babies so you're the first thing they see when they get up in the morning and the first thing they see when they get home from school.

And write his name? Yeah, lots of pre-k kids can do that. I did. BUT that's what kindergarten is for!! The teachers need to realize this and stop expecting everyone to be at the same place all the time.


Malena in TX

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