It’s My Potty and I’ll Cry If I Want To

School has been a roller coaster.  I think I may invest in some torn jeans and temporary tattoos for Stella.  On Monday when I picked her up from school, I was told that she had been removed from class due to tantrums and brought into the office to sit a while.  The school wasn’t sure she “got” that this was not a desirable thing.  Probably not.  She’s not even 3.  They also reported lots of random shouting, refusal to eat lunch that day, and even some “head banging.”  Excuse me?  Other than dancing around the living room to the Ramones, my kid has never “banged her head” on any occasion, even during the most obnoxious tantrum.

Yesterday, I was called to see if I could come in early to speak with the director about Stella.  Sigh.

The lady was nice enough.  They wanted to know if we see the same “problem behaviors” at home that they’re seeing at school.  Yes, Stella bellows.  We do time out at home.  She sits on a stool to eat her meals and will sit still.  She has recently started slapping at us if we tell her no, but is cowed easily thereafter.  She is deliberately challenging authority.  Yes, SHE LOOKS US IN THE EYE.  Yes, SHE HAS CONVERSATIONS WITH US, albeit not as well as other children.  No, SHE DOES NOT BANG HER HEAD.

I oscillated between being angry, defensive, anxious.  I don’t want to seem as if I’m making excuses for my child, nor do I want to think the worst.  I don’t want to be in denial if there is a problem, nor do I want to Stella to become some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.  I was forthcoming about our experience with Early Steps, the language delay, and speech therapy although I really really never wanted that to come out.  Yes, there had been some early concerns about being on the autism spectrum.  No, we didn’t have any/many of those same concerns at this point.  She speaks now.  She makes eye contact.  She points.  She’s emoting properly.  Blah, blah, blah.  We came up with some items to all focus on.  I do believe the school wants to help us work with Stella.  But being called or called in 3 times in under 2 weeks??  Shit.

Shit.  Shit.  Shit.

Felix had to come with me.  He sat in his carrier, grinned, and farted loudly through the whole conference.  I love my little boy.

The peanut gallery.

The peanut gallery.

I’m not an expert on this stuff, but I’ve read a whole whole lot at this point.  I don’t think there’s anything majorly of fundamentally “wrong” with my daughter.  Yes, she can be a handful.  Candidly, Will and I don’t seem to be the best disciplinarians in the world, although to be fair, we are doing everything we’re “supposed” to be doing: time outs, being consistent with boundaries, ignoring whining, giving her warnings before transitioning from one activity to another, making her look us in the eye when we’re communicating something important, keeping instructions succinct.

I love this school and want her to go there.  Same with Felix when there’s a slot.  It’s expensive but it’s so cool.  They sent a cute book home yesterday, laminated with pics of all the kids in her class, her teachers, the lunch room, napping, etc…  Tomorrow is water day, and Stella gets to go to school in her bathing suit for sprinkler play outside.  She is going to go bonkers with happiness when that happens.

I was afraid to tell Will about any of this, as he worries more than I do.  That’s not right.  He worries differently than I do.  He tends to spiral in his own head and get depressed whereas I get pissed and want to research and do something.  It is hard to go back to the same place with the same worries that we had a year and a half ago.  I get angry at the lack of answers.  If something is wrong, I want to name it and address it.  But in our case, it’s so damn nebulous.  Stella can be a pain in the ass.  There.  I said it.  She does seem to be more difficult than many other children.  But I’ve also seen behavioral brilliance from her, when she goes places with us, walks calmly, holds our hands, enjoys the activity.  She can do it.  So this must be a matter of her choosing not to behave rather than being unable to do so.

Stella always does things her own way as demonstrated while sliding with her father.

Stella always does things her own way as demonstrated while sliding with her father.

See?  She can sit quietly.

See? She can sit quietly.

I do think all of this is OK but we clearly need some new strategies.  I wish I could find some expert to take her to, but I wouldn’t even know what or who that might be.

But lest you think it’s all doom and gloom in the land of Stella, we had an amazing breakthrough this morning.

Wait for it.

Stella successfully crapped in the potty.  At long last, a deposit was made.  It was so random and unexpected, but man, we needed a positive event.  Between me getting called into the principal’s office yesterday and Stella waking up and running though the house hollering at least 4 times randomly in the middle of the night, I was in a bad way this morning: not feeling good, being worn out, worrying about Stella and school.  It was a good morning to be shitty!

Her long-awaited first poop present: her very own little watch.  She's obviously delighted.

Her long-awaited “first poop present:” her very own little watch. She’s obviously delighted.

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About larva225

Working mom. Is there any other kind? Geologist. Nerd.
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8 Responses to It’s My Potty and I’ll Cry If I Want To

  1. Meg C. DeBoe says:

    I worry about my kids and their behavior a lot too. Most recently when my sister-in-law told me they were horrible for our mother-in-law when she babysat them; that they didn’t listen to her and ran wild over her (they do love to scream – we’re working on it). I was horrified and embarrassed. But, they behave differently at Grandma’s; Grandma doesn’t discipline like us and they get away with more there. I’ve realized that sometimes it’s not all on the kid, but also their environment. Yes, ideally we’d like our kids to behave wonderfully even if we’re not there, but let’s be realistic – a 2-5 year-old is going to do whatever they can get away with; impulse control hasn’t even occurred to them yet. Maybe Stella’s teachers aren’t as consistent with the discipline as you guys are? Maybe with so many other kids in the room Stella is just trying to get some individual attention? Maybe she’s trying on different behaviors she’s seen in the classroom? I would certainly log the concern and develop a game plan, but don’t stress about it too much. As a mom with two little ones who each have their own brand of epic tantrums, you are not alone. Congrats on the poop by the way!

    • larva225 says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, on poop and otherwise. Stella has had a big year. First a new baby brother and now school. I’m hoping these are growing pains, and that if we just white-knuckle through these next couple of weeks things will improve!

      • Meg C. DeBoe says:

        Ooooh! A new baby brother? That just may be the ticket. My daughter was 2 yrs and 4 months old when we “ruined” her life by bringing home a baby brother. She acted out, regressed on the potty training, and had a lot of moods. I think she was just pushing the limits and making sure we still cared enough to keep her in line. She craves attention, so we had to find positive ways to give it to her. Her teacher at school also chatted her up on being a big sister and what a cool job that was. It was a lot of ups and downs and regressions through that first year with the new baby. hang in there! She actually likes her little brother now 😉

      • larva225 says:

        Thanks, Meg. It feels so good to hear that kind of thing right about now!

  2. Amber Perea says:

    I’m not going to give you a bunch of BS that you already know. But hugs, because I’m with you, Momma. I don’t have any great “it gets better stories” or words of encouragement other than I am totally and utterly with you .

  3. my27stars says:

    OH MY GOODNESS HOORAY FOR POOP!!!!! 🙂 You will all get through it, lady. Just enjoy your babies whenever you can, and take each tantrum or issue one at a time. And breathe.

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