Monday, May 17, 2010

A Conversation With Rachel

Rachel will often express her love for me in over-the-top terms. Tonight she was in the midst of doing that, and here was our conversation.

Rachel: "I love you so so so much, and I think you're the best person in the world. {whispered} Even though you're a little crabby sometimes."
Me: "Well, thank you. I love you, too. I've worked on that and I think I've gotten a lot better, but I'll keep working on it."
Rachel: "Okay. Good luck with that!"

Friday, May 14, 2010


Apparently Ben knows what "angry" means. He was being so cranky and fussy this morning, especially after he and I got back from dropping Rachel off at school. He kept asking for crackers, even though I was sure he'd had enough to eat. I think eating is one of his coping mechanisms to deal with feeling frustrated, especially since he's too young to know why. (Plus I still do that, and I'm old enough to know better.)

He asked for applesauce, and since he hadn't had much fruit yet, I was happy to put him into his high chair and get some out. But then when I had the applesauce ready on a spoon, he didn't want it. He'd keep saying "Applesauce!" but turning his head away when I tried to give some to him, so I'm not sure what he was actually wanting.

I got him back down, and he just walked around, looking for something to get into or bang on and fussing and wailing. I said "Are you angry and frustrated?" and he said "Angy! Angy!" I played with him for a little while and he was okay then, but if he didn't have my direct attention, he'd start fussing and looking for trouble.

That's a typical thing for him when he's getting tired and in need of a mid-morning break. Since he's outgrown morning naps, I sometimes take him upstairs and put him in his crib for a rest time, to give him a chance to wind down and give myself a break from the fussiness, and that has worked beautifully.

So this morning, I picked him up and told him "I think it's time for a rest," and as I carried him upstairs, crossways in my arms, he said "Angy!" The boy definitely knows what that means, but I'm glad that he was able to express it with a word, because I think that helped. And after his rest time, he was a much cheerier little guy, laughing and playing and singing along with me and making animals sounds.

I'm hoping for a really good nap today. I have a dish to make for our small group and Ben's birthday cake to bake so that I can decorate it tomorrow for his party on Sunday.

And now I'm feeling like a slacker parent because I haven't blogged anything about him turning 2. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Logic of a Child

Boy, parenting is a challenge. At Rachel's school, there's a thing called the "Think Chair" A student needs to sit in that chair to think about what they've done if they've been disobedient. Lately, apparently that's not been enough and a number of students have also found themselves missing recess.

That was Rachel the last two weeks, a number of think chair moments and missed recesses. The most recent parenting course -- the one that isn't "God's Way" (dun dun dun) -- says a problem and its correction (if correction occurs) stays where it happened. That is, we don't repunish when she gets home. But, we've still talked to her because it didn't seem like it was actually working. And after that, the next day Lori got a thumb's up from the teacher when she went to pick up Rachel. There were some good days.

Until today.

Apparently today Rachel colored all over her hands with the markers. This is something she's been talked to before. Who knows if it's a big deal in the grand scheme of things or not. Maybe it leads to coloring of other things like library books or desks or other students' clothes. I dunno. Either way, it's the rule of the classroom that you don't do that. When in Rome... So, yeah, she got to go to the Think Chair and lost her use of colored pens for the rest of the week. What she did next, in her anger, was much worse. I'm not sure how Lori found out about it, but I'm guessing it was a phone call home.

Needless to say, all the pens went away here at home as well. The incident unmentioned didn't involve pens, but it was obvious that leaving something like this at school really didn't make sense because at the heart of it, it's about disobedience and a lack of respect for authority. They also say "She's only five. She doesn't fully have logic figured out yet." I digress briefly as we wavy-screen-it back to a conversation we had a few months ago.

I don't know how to type the sound Wayne and Garth would make as they went back to something in the past, so, ummm... ~~~~~

(paraphrasing - I can't stop to look it up or I will get dinged for the "distraction" if I slow down or stop my writing. If I go under 55 words a minute the computer blows up)
Me: I'm going to need to take money from your account to pay for the lamp you broke.
Rachel: Well, I'm going to take all your money.
Me: You can't. It's not here. It's at the bank.
Rachel: Well, I'm going to go online and I'm going to get it all.
Me: You can't.
Rachel: I'm going to watch you when you go online and I'm going to get your password. I'm going to watch you all the time until I have your password.


So when they say that her logic isn't fully formed, that's a headscratcher to me. I mean, yeah, she's got her plan for how to fraudulently steal her own college money (there isn't much) but she doesn't realize that there are consequences for things.

I cannot tell you how many books I've taken away tonight. And I hate taking away books. But the little bookworm will not stop reading. She smuggles them into bed, she smuggles them into the bathroom, she will read them instead of doing just about anything we ask her to do. So I take them.

Fortunately, she's stopped throwing stuff at home. Because if she throws something that belongs to her, it's gone. For good. Until she flips that back around on me and starts throwing stuff she doesn't care about.

She's incredibly smart.

It's just going to be a challenge to channel that energy into positive things. I will give her credit, she's been extremely passive when her little brother's been aggressive. He seems to get moreso when he's sleepy, biting and scratching and pinching, but just in general, he's a little boy and he plays hard. Banging, headbutting, being loud, he plays hard. And when he's mean to her, she may protest, but she doesn't respond in kind. That is actually quite heart-warming. On the other hand, when she starts protesting, we do have to point out that if she weren't laying on the floor (that's what I was doing when he clocked me in the mouth the other day with something and drew blood) he wouldn't pull her hair or flop on her back. So she's not usually physically aggressive, which is great, but there's going to need to be a lot of work done to help her to cope with anger wisely, and to get back to being obedient and respectful.

I don't want this to seem all doom and gloom. Prayer is always appreciated, but this is not one of those "wit's end" situations thankfully.

(cross-posted from my blog )