Thursday, July 15, 2010
Called to the Principal's Office
Things aren't better in our household with my daughter. I know we just have to ride it out. I know we just have to weather this storm. I know that in a lot of ways, this has been building in her for a while. I know that this is all related to something- a growth spurt or who knows what. I got a call from Teagan's school. We have a meeting with the Director/Owner this morning. On Tuesday, Teagan had a difficult time at naptime. Jeff picked up at the end of the day and was told that Teagan had refused to sleep and also woken up her friends. But Jeff let it go- figured school had handled it and he wanted to keep the peace at home for the evening. I got a call from the director, Lori, today. The Tuesday incident was more than just refusing to sleep and waking up others. She threw a trashcan. Picked it up and threw it. This morning, after talking at home, discussion was had about what Teagan could do instead of nap during naptime. This was, obviously, before we all knew about the trashcan incident. Once Lori knew about the trashcan incident, she had a long talk with Teagan. It was decided and agreed that Teagan would rest on her cot for 30 minutes and then could go and play with the quiet play group (provided she rested quietly on her cot). She fell asleep. When she woke up, she asked to go to the bathroom and then go play with the quiet play group. She went to the bathroom and came out without flushing or washing her hands. The teacher sent her back in to do both. Teagan flat out refused. "No." She was instructed again. "No." She went in the bathroom and just stood there. The teacher came in behind her and asked her to please flush and wash. Teagan stared her down with a smirk on her face. The teacher eventually had to flush the toilet and send Teagan out of the bathroom because another child needed the toilet. The teacher then let Teagan know that she wouldn't be going to the quiet playgroup since she wasn't willing to follow directions. WAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIL! Woke up the entire room. Only halfway through naptime. And she continued for the rest of the day. Making bad choices and having to sit for "brain breaks" and missing out on playing in centers. And informing the teachers that she liked sitting out and not playing. So this morning, Jeff and I will meet with Lori and Teagan. Here's what I'm noticing with my girl. Give her an inch and she is going for the marathon. Start building up her personal responsibility and independence- which is what she wants- and she is going to try and force that "being the boss" thing in all aspects of her little life. Given that she is only 5 years old, she hasn't yet figured out that you aren't always the boss of every situation. Or that kindness and respect will gain you more responsibility and independence. I feel so torn. On one hand, I want to give her the independence she wants. I want to encourage the responsibility that she can thrive on when she chooses. I want to have fun with her. I want to be more laid back and be able to simply say, "That is your choice, here is your consequence. You chose it!" On the other hand, it feels like I'm constantly in this corner of having to be a stern, disciplinarian, strict mom. I don't want to feel angry and yell and be frustrated as often as I am. I'm tired of having to send her to her room or hear her shrieking and wailing or listen to her excuses. I want to have fun and do fun things and laugh and enjoy my kids but I have a daughter that can make that really, really challenging. I'm confident that we will come up with a plan that will work and get Teagan back on track. Often, she just needs a reminder that school and home are strongly connected and that she doesn't get away with stuff at school and have no accountability for it at home. This parenting stuff... it's hard. It's so freakin' hard. EDITED: The meeting went well. Lori is fully aware of what we are doing at home with our family rules and chore chart. Lori created a similar chart for Teagan at school. There will be a check in 3x per day. If Teagan has a morning of good choices- smiley face. Naptime / quiet play time is made up of good choices- smiley face. Afternoon centers and activities are good- smiley face. We are adding a line to the chore chart- 3 smileys at school. Her school chart is posted where we can check it when we pick her up. We had a good conversation with Teagan about what is expected of her and what her choices are. It's funny... I was talking with a friend at church last night about all of this. She's a mom of 2 teens and someone I really respect and like. And her initial response was "Well, what is going on at school that she would act out like that? Teagan doesn't have those kind of behaviors, does she? She doesn't act out like that, does she?" Oh yes. She does. I've had other friends be very disbelieving when I describe a meltdown or series of events. Teagan has a very public face and a very private face. Honestly, I think it's quite a compliment, in a weird way, to Little Explorers that Teagan is acting out there like that. So far, she's only felt safe enough to let that anger out at home. At home and at school, Teagan gets the guidance and structure she needs to get through this rough times. She knows it, we know it, school knows it. I think there is a lot to be said for growth and development, too. There are times when little bodies and brains have to grow. Teagan hits a serious rough patch about 3 times a year, maybe once a quarter. It started when she was 3 1/2 years old. We just go through a rough patch of a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months. I'm wondering how much of these rough spots are due to brain and body growth and development. And if there are strategies that would better serve her. Or maybe I just need to chillax a bit and stick to the plan we have in place. Yeah. It's about all I can handle right now.