I know that years from now when my oldest reads this she most likely will be mortified, but if a mother does not embarrass their children at least once in their lives, are we really living up to our title of mom?
I think I’ve done Devi a horrible disservice by holding her back from kindergarten this year. With a November birthday, technically she was not old enough to start school, though from an intellectual standpoint, she was more than ready. Petite in stature, perhaps slightly behind in social skills and experiencing the newness of adding a toddler to our family, I felt that another year of preschool was the best solution, ultimately having both my girls under the same daycare/preschool roof for that first year together. With a schedule full of other activities and extra scholastic things we do at home, I thought we could keep Devi engaged until September. Sealing my decision were thoughts of the issues that arise in preteen years in middle school and high school where the maturity of being older for your grade would hopefully help her in a world where it seems children are growing up at an accelerated pace anyhow.
Picking Devi up from school last Friday, I could see THAT look written all over her face. Staring up at me, those wide deep eyes alone, told an entire story of disaster without even uttering a single word. Further examination revealed, no stamps on her arms earned at dance class...not even one! When pressed for the story, a mish-mash of facts started to surface, but trying to put them in chronological order was not happening. About this time, the familiar tone of daddy’s cell phone announced a message had just been left from the principal of Devi's preschool. Heavy sigh. That could not be good. When in doubt, go to the source, I always say, so we called the dance teacher at home for the low down.
Fortunately, the dance teacher still had a very vivid recollection of the day. Apparently, Devi decided she was going to be the dance teacher and began giving instruction to the other children. Darned if they didn’t start following what Devi was telling them to do rather than teacher C. The instructor took Devi aside and explained that if she wanted to grow up to become a dance teacher that would be great, but today, in this class, she was not the teacher. That is when Devi made the poor choice to start talking potty talk. For the life of me, I will never understand why the word “butt” or “poop” uttered outside the confines of the room where those words are appropriate is so hilarious, but to everyone in the dance class of 3-5 year olds they were. No one falls down on the floor in hysteria saying “skillet” or “spatula” outside the kitchen, right?
Okay, so her second sentencing took place and she was told if you are going to use potty talk, you must stand in the bathroom (a time out spot), rather than on the dance floor. One upping them again, Devi had clear view of the kids’ faces from the bathroom’s door jam and began making funny faces at them, causing yet another disruption of laughter amongst the class. This infraction landed her in the baby room to sit in the corner alone.
With the full story disclosed, we had Devi take the phone receiver and apologize to the dance teacher for each distraction. In the end, she promised to try harder during her next Friday dance class, having good listening ears to earn one stamp and good class participation to earn a second stamp. We also followed up with a parent/child meeting with the principal on Monday morning to review expectations, acceptable behavior and consequences so that everyone was on the same page.
The next three days were like heaven. Devi was well behaved, therefore doted over, and profusely praised for all of her good choices, good behavior, and good listening ears. She was even rewarded, becoming the teacher’s helper during snack times, acting as a good role model for the younger children in her class. Eureka! I thought we had that one nipped in the bud.
Then came Thursday. Not new at dealing with our class clown, I am surprised at how short sighted it was of me to think that the problem was solved. Lets just say poor choices were made leading to issues sharing toys - "the banker took all the money so how could I play", helping to clean up - "I did not touch or hold those specific items", and eventually spitting. Yes spitting....because it made the kids laugh. This is not to say that she just hacked up a loogie and let fly, oh no, no, she is much more imaginative then that. The story was much more calculated, involving her giving a lecture to friends on the proper, or rather, improper ways one holds one’s mouth when playing the recorder or other musical instruments. Touche.
In truth, I think she is bored out of her mind. This is her second year in the same preschool program...my fault, I was so excited about having both kids under the same roof, I did not take into consideration that Devi is being taught the same curriculum as last year, but with kids that are a year or more younger than her. She can read, but they the class is learning letters...again. I was just recently told that they have to ask her not to blurt out the answers before the teacher has a chance to finish asking the question, so that others can have the opportunity to answer. I had really hoped that the extra school activities and all the extras we do at home would fill this void. Sigh. I think that getting into trouble gets her attention, though negative, she is eating it up. The girl loves the drama of it all.
Poor choices and bad behavior for whatever reason are not acceptable; however, and it makes me be more of the kind of momma I don’t like to be. The mean momma. The momma who has to enforce consequences and take things away, though we try to use the reward system as much as possible.
So today is Friday again. Please, Lord, help her make some good decisions today, so we can have a nice Friday evening, minus family movie night, which she has all ready had taken away. Tonight, I've called a family meeting to write our Ross rules on poster board to be prominently displayed in our home, hoping it will help guide us in the right direction. Meanwhile, her homemade Valentine’s are on the line today...teetering on the rim of the garbage can if she can’t hold it together at school, while I precariously teeter on the edge of the big decision of whether to switch preschools in order to keep her love of learning alive or at least give her a change of scenery.
Because all of life's challenges teach life lessons, one might wonder what I’ve learned. First of all, I love the tenacity of my child with all my heart and she knows it, reciting, “You may not like my behavior mom, but you’ll always love me, right?” Yep, pumpkin pie, you got me hook, line and stinker! I’ve also come to realize that gray hairs don’t just pop out of the surface of one's scalp, but rather sprout, develop and grow deep in one’s soul after weeks like this AND that wearing dreads does not keep those wiry strands of DNA concealed, because just like horsetails, they are as persistent as my child, able to pop right through concrete in the dead of winter. Open to suggestion on both counts - behavior issues and hair color, I will close with...
Miss Clairol, good thing we are friends, because for 100% coverage, it is going to be a three box month.