Schools of Engagement

As one would expect, Stella is learning things at school.  Some will no doubt be useful to her as she navigates life.  Other things may not be so useful to her, in that she hates time out.  If it’s possible, Stella’s dining habits have become even more revolting since being in preschool.  Sure, I affectionately called her “Ricky Raccoon” during mealtimes, but now?  She’s really into cramming lots of food into her mouth, chewing it for about 2 ½ minutes, deciding she has extracted all flavor from it, and spitting it out.  Her favorite spittoon is my hand.  It’s like more disgusting Fruit Stripes gum.  That stuff was amazing for the first 30 seconds.  Then, you just wanted it the hell out of your mouth.

Her bellowing has also changed in character.  Now rather than random and incredibly loud “Aaaahs,” we get “Waaa!  Waaa!  Waaa!”  Like a cartoon baby.  Only this cartoon never ends.  I can’t blame school on the whining.  She did that already.  It’s like living with a giant mosquito.  It’s just a constant drone.  I tend to be better at ignoring it than her father.  All the books say to ignore it, damn it, but they neglect to say how long you have to endure ignore it before it stops.  Will is ready to start throwing her in time out each and every time.  If he does that, I won’t see my daughter again until she’s 12.

Deep breath.  Here’s where the blog changes in character.

We’re still struggling.  She’s had some really really good days at school.  And she’s had some really really awful days at school.  I’ve already been called several times to either pick her up or arrive early enough to meet with the school director to discuss her behavior.  It’s been suggested that maybe we only send her half days for a while to help her adjust.  I declined that, as A) I’m sure they wouldn’t only charge us half the tuition for half days, B) the things she needs to work on – sitting at the table at lunch and napping with other kids present– won’t be learned at home, and C) how the hell is she supposed to adjust if she’s not there to do it?  She’s also not making eye contact or communicating properly.  She talks, but to herself rather than others.

We all agreed to work on sitting properly, staying on her mat for quiet time even if she doesn’t nap, and eye contact.  The funny thing about Stella, though, is that if you want her to make eye contact, she won’t.  I swear she does it on purpose.  If I watch for it while we’re interacting normally?  No problem.

Thursday she had a pretty epic tantrum.  Sure, all kids tantrum.  I have to say, though, and not in a braggy way (sarcasm), that my kid’s tantrums are bigger and more spectacular than most kids’ tantrums.  You can hear her from outer space.  Well, on Thursday she had one on top of playground equipment.  The teachers, afraid she was going to fall off and injure herself, tried to intervene.  One teacher thought Stella was going to bite her (and no, my kid has NEVER been a biter.  Maybe another new school trick?  I think Stella wanted the teacher to pick her up based on the description, but I wasn’t going to argue.).  I was told “She scared me.”  I didn’t think to ask if the teacher was scared for her or of her.  I suppose it doesn’t matter.

Friday was better.  Stella didn’t get a trip to the office and apparently “used her words more.”

I’m so weary of this.  We just can’t seem to get any equilibrium with this school thing.  Seriously, she has had some good days where it’s reported that she’s done everything “right:” eaten, napped, and communicated.  But then a Thursday comes along and it feels like it’s all eroded in an instant.  It won’t help that she only goes to school 3 days this week; the school is closed Thursday and Friday.  Next Monday will probably be a train wreck.  Most almost-3 yos going to preschool/day care for the first time have adjustment issues.  Ours just seem to be different.

I’m also weary of not knowing what or if something is wrong with my daughter.  Depending on what I read, she’s either typical, spirited, “on the spectrum,” ADHD, or suffering from ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder).  There is a hell of a lot of overlap in every one of these things.  Depending on the day, she could have all or none of them. Some days, I’m convinced she’s a brilliant little girl who just happened to speak late.  Other days, I’m terrified that there is something wrong and that we screwed up by getting her out of the Early Steps program.  Regardless, I have made a pediatric neurologist appointment for her.  Only it’s not until August.

Realistically, I know these things:

  • Even if something is wrong, it’s not anything catastrophic.  We will just need some resources to help, especially with behavior modification.  I may also as a parent have to adjust my expectations a bit.  I’ll say this right now:  I don’t want to do that.
  • As much as I’ll probably want to punch her out for doing so, the neurologist may say she’s not able to tell us what’s wrong.  That also seems to be par for the course in the literature.  This age group is tough to diagnose.

I’m just tired of not knowing.  If it’s something, let’s fix it – as much as we can.  If it’s nothing, then we’re just cream puff parents who have an out-of-control daughter and we simply need to kick her little butt into submission.

In the meantime, this school thing has to get better.  There is no plan B.  I’m just seriously hoping my kid is a little savage who simply needs the structure of a group setting to curb her obnoxiousness.


About larva225

Working mom. Is there any other kind? Geologist. Nerd.
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6 Responses to Schools of Engagement

  1. Meg C. DeBoe says:

    Hang in there!! My fingers are crossed that the docs can tell you something useful in August!

  2. 0hMissFit says:

    You just hang in there! I think everyone is very quick to decide something is “wrong” with a child. I have found, after raising 6 kids, that they are their own little person inside and they only know what you (or someone else) teaches them. Stay strong (easier said than done at times!) and know that consistency is key. Just calmly keep the clear rules enforced and you will see that your brilliant little daughter will grow and excel in life! Do not always listen to others, you know more than you think you do. Trust yourself, you’re a wonderful Mommy!

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