Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Consider Me Good and Vented

I'd like to vent. I know I said I wasn't going to post negative stuff about the kids here, but M. is working and I can't watch the interesting TV shows we have recorded without him, and I've pretty much read the whole internet now, so I'm left with blogging. And I could write some nonsense, as I had planned, about things I like lately (to make me feel better?), but I just don't have it in me. I'm feeling crappy, and I don't want to post about my new obsession with large dangly earrings (though I do, in fact, love them). So instead, I'll just go ahead and vent.

About how my son is the worst-behaved kid in school, (there's a tracking chart, so I've seen proof), and how that frustrates me and makes me feel like a terrible mom and also, shamefully, embarrasses me. I'm embarrassed that my kid is now THAT KID. The one that causes trouble and makes his teachers growl when I ask how his day went. Has them sighing and giving me dirty looks when I inquire about what, exactly, Finn did to earn him the shameful red circle on the behavior chart.

It's my scarlet letter, though, not his. He could care less that he's the only kid in a class of 17 that got a red circle instead of a green circle.

Maybe it's better that he doesn't mind.

(Circles are stupid.)

(I don't really mean that. It's a fine shape.)

I'd also like to vent about how Finn doesn't like school, and how that's likely 90% due to the fact that he is forced to "nap" (not that he sleeps) for 2 hours a day, and this kid doesn't have any desire to nap AT ALL anymore, so he tries (or doesn't try, in many cases) to repress wiggles and noises and talking and he CANNOT do it. Not that I am trying to make excuses for him and say that is normal kid behavior, or that no kid could do that. It's just that my kid? Apparently cannot do that.

And he is doomed to nearly a whole year and a half more of weekday "nap time," until he can reach freedom and Kindergarten.

Tell me, are there daycare centers out there that allow some of the kids to NOT nap? Maybe take the non-nappers to a separate room and give them SOMETHING TO DO TO QUELL THE NOISY MIND?

I don't know that eliminating the napping problem would help with all of Finn's behavior issues, many of which involve, as documented here in the past, NOT LISTENING. Like, at all. And showing off. And being firmly in the "follower" camp when classifying people as followers vs. leaders. As long as the leaders aren't grown-ups, in which case Finn does NOT follow. Or rather, listen. Or whatever. Point is, it's damn difficult to get him to do what you want him to do, if YOU are a GROWN-UP. But if you're a kid with some kind of sneaky kid plan, he'll follow you in a heart beat.

And I realize that allowing Finn to not nap at school might not fix THOSE problems.

I don't know what will.



But maybe it will help him like school again.

I feel like all I do is yell at him. And I hate that.

I don't want to be that parent that complains about how the "system" is to blame for my PRESHUS SNOWFLAKE'S problems. I know we need to work on Finn's behavior, I just don't know HOW. How do I get him to show some respect for adults, to listen to me and M. and his teachers, without crushing his spirit? Because so far our tactic is to take away all the joy in life (if joy in life = watching TV and playing outside after school and family fun time which is no longer possible because we are too busy yelling at Finn for every little infraction to try to impart some knowledge about how to be a good person). And it's not working.

We can't even get to the point where we're rewarding good behavior, because there just hasn't been any to speak of.

He's such a sweet, smart boy. Granted, one who smacked his mama on the butt today for no reason, but still. Sweet and smart.

How do I keep that, and get rid of the not-so-good stuff?


  1. Hang in there...I'm sure his behavior is not due to anythng you are doing wrong! And about the naps, you know your son better than anyone, maybe you can tell the center the nap time is not helping him or anyone and urge them for an alternative (maybe a portable video player in the teachers lounge?). anyway I could have written this post about my 7 year old son who will not listen to adults, dislikes school and who has me yelling way too much these days and I'm sure he'd have a bright red circle around his name if they kept track that way!

  2. It seems crazy to make a kid lie still for two hours! Not every kid naps! Charlie stopped napping around age three and there was NOTHING I could do to make him sleep. He couldn't even sit quietly in his room! It doesn't seem unreasonable that there are other kids in the school with the same problem, does it? Is there not a room with some books and puzzles they could use? I'm totally on your side here! Bored kids are not well-behaved kids, in my opinion.

  3. Our school has the kid lay on cots with books for an hour, then they can quietly color at a table for the rest of the time. But I hear ya, Alex's worst days are when he does not nap because two hours of quiet time is ridiculous for a 4 year old.

    I hate to burst your bubble but we just found out our kindergarten has nap time for the first quarter. I wanted to scream out loud when they said that at orientation!

  4. I still have a good sleeper so I can't empathize with that although I'm pretty sure my daycare has a separate room for "non" sleepers. Anyway, I too worry about Cameron's behavior, mostly because she is a little queen bee and I worry about her terrorizing other kids. So far I'm told she is a "helper" when she is with the younger kids but that's why I push so hard to move her up early...the older kids will put her in her place!

  5. Let's talk....I can't help you with the napping situation (and yes, Kindergarden is still going to have some kind of quiet/rest/nap time- he's obviously doing full day? But maybe I can start helping you with the other stuff- or at least help you with some of the questions you need to start asking of the teachers and your pediatrician

  6. Ha...I'm at my "other" google idenity just came up!

  7. Thanks, H! I'll grill you when I see you next month :-).

  8. He is 4.5 right now, right? As my own son approaches 5 (July b'day) he becomes far more reasonable and less volatile.

    If I had to circle his name for the past year it would be red 80% of the time too. They have their moments, but it is a rare kid who can spend an entire day in a structured setting at this age...there's a reason kindergarten starts at 5!

    All in my opinion -- I am not an educator, merely a parent who has observed that too much structure can be as bad as not enough and any imposition of "YOU MUST" results in a big old F_YOU from a 4-5 year old.

    On the bright side, his transition to kindergarten might be easier. And he might be more challenged there.

  9. I had this issue with my six year old. He was CRAZY. Disobedient. Disrespectful. I was ashamed of what my little boy had become.

    I kept up with my guidelines and discipling when he stepped over those guidelines, exhausting as it was. And it passed, very recently. Kids sometimes go through hard patches too and test us. Hold strong.

    And the naps? I would find a different school, if you can or talk to the teachers. Out of the 4 boys in our family, two of them are just NOT good sleepers, not nappers, just don't need that much sleep. And there's nothing wrong with that!!

    PS I am addicted to dangly earrings too!! So fun!!