Wednesday, June 23, 2010

She's Come Undone

It's been a rough few days here at Casa Ryan Jyoti.

A little back ground.  The babe's school is divided into the 10 month and 11 month programs.  Last week the 10 month program ended and the 11 month program kids (like the babe) had a few days off.  They were back at school this past Monday in consolidated classrooms with a change in the teaching line up.  The babe is lucky because she kept one of her best teachers while also acquiring a new teacher.  The babe has changed classrooms but many of her friends are still with her in the 11 month program.  Sadly, the babe has hurt 2 of her close friends in her class this week.

Yesterday I left to pick up the babe and was expecting the usual drill.  Except it wasn't.  I was told that the babe's new teacher wanted to speak with me.  My heart started thumping and I felt like I had been called to the Principal's office.  I knew it wasn't going to be good news, and it wasn't.  The babe had bitten one of her friends.  The bite did not break the skin and they did not suspend her.  So there I was holding onto the squirming, whiny little guy, while trying to figure out what happened, and trying to hold an appropriate conversation with the teacher.  I gotta tell ya, it was hard to keep it together. 

We had our last soccer practice after school so I decided it was important to finish up that commitment and deal with punishment when we got home.  We talked about what had happened in the car ride and I felt we had made some progress.  Soccer was great (a substitute coach made a huge difference) and gave us the fresh perspective we needed.  I felt that my husband and I had gotten through to her by the end of the day.

I had pretty high hopes for today and didn't expect to see the babe's teacher coming down to talk to me again at pick up time.  But there she was, wanting to talk to me about the babe's behavior.  Apparently the babe was hitting one of her friends today, and didn't stop when the teacher got involved.  Not good.  I was told the same thing again.  The babe needs to work on using her words and to communicate her "message" instead of using her body.  And again, I am sitting there trying to hold the squirming little guy, while holding an important conversation with the babe's new teacher.  Oh, and yes, I'm trying to keep it together again. 

The babe was there for the whole conversation this time.  I started asking her some questions but she wasn't really listening to me.  I then asked why she wasn't paying attention to me and she told me that what I was saying was "boring."  The teacher is standing there watching and asking the babe to listen to my message, and I am just sinking into the ground.

Things got worse in the car ride home.  Despite the fact I was armed and ready for a trip to the park, I had to cancel this venture as it no longer seemed appropriate.  The babe was not happy with this and proceeded to cry and scream the whole way home.  She then threw her water bottle to the front of the car.  The bottle hit the gear shift and the car went into neutral.  Then she took off her shoes and threw them at me (one at a time).  And then a few toys from the entertainment basket I keep between the kids car seats.  Seriously, what was I supposed to do?

We made it into the house in one piece and I explained she was going to be punished.  No TV, no dessert, no bed time stories.  The next 3 hours were filled with many highs and lows.  I kept trying to talk about what was happening at school and to figure her out.  Just when I thought things were on the up and up, the babe bit her brother's wrist because she was angry at the fact I wasn't going to let her "wash" any more dishes.  Needless to say I was in shock.  After all the discussions we've had about not hurting other people and using our words to communicate our message, it felt like nothing was getting through to her.

When my husband got home and I gave him the down low, the babe was punished; left in the stairway to scream and cry.  It was really rough and I just focused on getting the little guy to bed.  My husband gave the babe a bath and put her to talking, no stories. It was so hard and she fell asleep still doing that snotty nose/shake thing you do after you've been crying for a long time.  It breaks my heart and I am at a loss.  I hope the message has gotten through to her now.

The thing I don't understand is that we were doing so well.  Since the biting incident last month, we had been on an upswing.  We were enjoying our time together and I thought we were past all this garbage.  But the time off last week, combined with me leaving last weekend, and starting in a new classroom with one new teacher this week has apparently thrown her back into her multiple personalities.  One girl is the sweetest, kindest most intelligent and considerate kid.  And the other is just a mean, physically aggressive psychopath.  Days like this make me question my parenting abilities and leave me with a twisted stomach and tightened jaw.  It sucks to feel so helpless. 

I am going to keep trying to help the babe use her words and give her "messages," because I really don't know what the alternative is right now.  I just went up to check on her sleeping, and it's amazing how peaceful she is now.  She's my baby girl and we're going to sort it out. 


Kimberly said...

Good luck, Christine... being a parent is so hard! seems like in some ways it just keeps getting harder!

Mamabeing said...

You are doing a great job--stay the course! I think you are right on when you say this is because of the change at school and you going away. It's hard for the wee ones to make sense of those feelings--just help her understand and learn new ways of expressing it. That's all you can do...she's learning, you're teaching, but it takes time. She's a deeply feeling little gal, sounds like. I think I'm still learning how use my words properly myself.