Saturday, May 17, 2008

Smash the Pumpkin

It seems to be a reoccurring thing that Drew wants me in class at the same time as him. He used to have fits if I tried to be in class with him to keep him under control, and finally I gave up, and let the teachers try to do their job. It's always been hard to not say something from the sidelines, but I would be nipped in the bud too many times, and I'd just get frustrated, because as his mom, I do know what works and how to get him to comply more often than not.

This whole year has been a growing year for Drew. This time last year, he not even taking classes, because he had such behavior problems. It was a nightmarish time. Being in TKD Fun Camp helped, because SW set a precedence with some personal attention that made him understand that his behavior wasn't going to be tolerated, and she'd be giving him timeouts (with my permission) often at first, but less as time went along. All year, both in school and at home, he's slowly but surely been coming around. Being that he has ADHD and all, it's still a problem to keep him focused all the time, but he's come a LONG way from a year ago. Some of it might even just be maturity as well, but it's been a better year as we all persevered.

Today was a good example of that. Drew actually likes having me in class. Not that we weren't bonded before, but now we're much closer than before, and it's finally clicked that having a mom with a 1st degree black belt is very cool, and that she's an instructor trainee/in leadership helps in that he can get individual attention as well. I can say to him, "Drew, pay attention," more often to keep him focused than the instructor can during class. He likes working with me as a partner, and I can make sure that things he's been doing wrong and overlooked get corrected.

He's been making good progress in In Wha #2. I know for me, I like it MUCH better than In Wha #1, and it appears he's starting to agree with that as well. Since I was in class, and RA was teaching, we worked on a few of the hand movements that were the "tricky" parts to the latest section. But since I was in class, RA made sure to single me out, and make me do 1st degree stuff, rather than just go get a workout doing color belt stuff. That's fine, I didn't mind. I just didn't feel he HAD to feel obligated to do that. Whatever. Anyway, since we were by the mirrors, there were a few times that I had to remind Drew to pay attention, and he would listen and do so until he was distracted again. But for the most part, he stayed focused. After doing a few drills with the arm parts that were the "tricky parts", I was sent off to work on my form with JK along with a 1BR, which was fine. I didn't need as much attention, and I did do my form a few times. JK gave me a few recommendations on some things that needed smoothing out, but he said that otherwise it was looking good. I pretty much know the worst parts of what I do, which is mostly the jump kicks and the two spin hook kicks. A lot of that has to do with my bad knee.

But anyway, I was separated from Drew, and I didn't hear him being yelled at to focus or anything. The section of IW#2 that they were doing was the "Show the cookie, take the cookie away, smash the pumpkin" part of the form. Drew really took to that section, as he learned it this past week, and he's really getting that section down. Then again, he's getting all the sections down.

Before you knew it, class had ended (it's only a half hour class), and I can from the other floor and we bowed out of class. I asked how he did, and he said he behaved himself very well. LS, who was at the front desk, said he really behaved himself well today, and even RA said that he was doing really well today. RA said he was getting tired by the end of class, but he was doing great. Drew even returned RA's high five when offered, which is not something he used to do in the past.

I think it's not only that Drew is finally behaving in class, which has been 3 years in coming (yes, we started with this whole TKD thing 3 years ago already), but I think the whole TKD thing is starting to click for him. He's starting to actually pay attention and learn the forms and the new moves. He's actually starting to see that with each graduation, he gets to a new goal of getting to the next level of learning. He's starting to feel personal success not only in being recognized in behaving better in class, but also in learning the information and acting like a much better example of the black belt attitude. And that's what makes me happy. He's finally starting to like TKD. I don't believe in pushing children, but sometimes they do need to be strongly nudged. I did give Drew some breaks from TKD. He's even getting one for most of the summer. He'll have the intensive "boot camp" at the end of June, but then he won't be taking regular classes for the summer (hence why he's going to boot camp). He'll get a full belt in one week, which is cool. When he returns in September, he'll be at the halfway mark in his color belt curriculum. So, depending on how ready he is, perhaps this time next year, or at the summer of next year, he'll be ready to test for his black belt.

Yeah, having Drew's favorite part, "smash the pumpkin", and understanding it, and knowing the form and where that goes, is priceless.

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