Monday, September 19, 2011

Kinder Care

My lack of posts of late is not because I don't have a million ideas swirling around, but because I haven't had the time or presence of mind to sit down and translate them into actual words. Here's my best attempt.

Last year, we made the decision to retain H in Kindergarten. As an August boy we understood that he would be the youngest in his class and that might go over like a toot in church, but that's how we roll so we sent him anyhow. I don't regret that decision because he learned a ton and I became a better mother to him, which I attribute to being able to appreciate his sweet quirky self a whole lot more when I wasn't bombarded with it 12-14 hours a day. Over the summer, we had a great time and I didn't ever feel that 'when is school going to start?!' panic that so many of my friends described to me.

Then school started. For the first week, he was the model student with a normal amount of testing his limits and missing his mama. Then the shenanigans came to a head and culminated in the use of the 'D' word by more than one person at his school. That's right; they were calling my little cherub defiant! Okay, so I know that he's stubborn, willful and really likes to do his own thing, but defiant just seemed like such a harsh word. And, that's when I realized that if I, as his mother, didn't advocate for him and take the bull by the horns, then who would? I don't know how many of you have had to take 'the call' from school, but I started to dread that number flashing on our caller ID. We had stopped watching TV during the school week at the suggestion of a friend, my kids are asleep every night by 7pm and we practice 'the family meal' at night with healthful breakfasts at home and lunches packed each day. I don't know what else I could be doing while still maintaining my sanity (and three blogs, a marriage, a running training schedule, a 3 year-old, Clifford the big black dog, the rest of my household and a small knitting business, ha!)

After a consult with his pediatrician and collaborating with his teacher (who I really like) on an informal behavior plan that was very concrete, Mr. H has had a much better time at school and is even starting to (gasp) enjoy it! He has two things to focus on: Listen and Follow Directions.

I found an article online about living with strong-willed children that gave me goosebumps as I read it because it could have been written about H. He's a super smart kiddo who's pretty quirky, and has a huge heart. However, he's a six year old boy who doesn't seem to understand (or yet care?) how all of his actions affect other people. Being super concrete, setting specific limits which are consistently enforced, along with physical exercise after school everyday and trying my very, very hardest not to raise my voice with him have all seemed to culminate in positive behavioral change. This could be just a honeymoon phase, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed and my voice to zen-like tones in hopes that this school year is the true gift of time that we intended it to be.

School should be enjoyed, especially kindergarten! I'm finally starting to see how fun school can be for him, so here's to a banner year for Mr. H (and his mother who would most likely be put on Zoloft if I cry one more time when his teacher calls.) What fun has the new school year brought for your family?


Crafty Mama said...

Oh, Sara. Your blog post and attached article on Strong-Willed Kids could not have come at a better time. Will is in his second year of preschool and we have had so many of the same problems that you have written about. Thanks for posting it!

Sally HP said...

Oh, I'm so glad it helped! Most of the behaviors are age appropriate for pre-school, but it's always good to get a strategy in place :) Solidarity, sistah!

Janice said...

He is such a good boy and I'm glad your school year is going better:) We miss you!

Sally HP said...

Janice I took him to the doctor for his 6 year today and he was talking about one of his friends. The doctor asked him who his other friends were and he said 'They're all in Massachusetts.' :( I need to plan a trip with him out there, possibly in the spring when Davis opens, but it's not crazy expensive to fly.

Anonymous said...

I think it's probably a good thing that he went to Kindergarten early and repeated that rather than repeating Preschool, but every kid is different!
Last year I dreaded picking Toby up from preschool. We stayed in a bad environment far too long.
This year we have received a couple of calls from the teacher, but not seeing the bad behavior we did last year. For us, it was all in the environment/teacher.
Good luck! I'm so glad he's enjoying school now! :)