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The frustrations of Testing

By Delia, Contributing Writer

Sometimes I feel quite helpless as a parent.  Last night was one of those times.  My 10 year old daughter was melting down in a big way and everything I did seemed to make the situation worse.  It all started because I farted on her blanket.  Albeit not on purpose but I did not even realize that I was sitting on it.  Well I started laughing, not at her but at the situation, and she starting getting upset.  Well, things just escalated from there.

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photo by eslfuntaiwan (pixabay)

No matter what my husband and I said to her she seemed to start crying worse.  Now, these meltdowns have been going on for a little while and we have been seeing a therapist to try to help us help her.  So I try to pull out the bag of tricks that the therapist has suggested and nothing works.  She just continues to cry.

I had to insist on her going to her room to try to calm herself and she escalated more.  When she came down, she was somewhat calmer but escalated again.  She had herself so upset that everything that her father and I said just wound her right back up.  She was so upset that she could not fall asleep more than two hours later.  She finally fell asleep after 9 o’clock which is over an hour late.  I finally calmed her down by lying with her in bed with music playing.

While trying to put my little one to bed, I think I found out what part of the problem is…PSSAs.  My daughter puts entirely too much pressure on herself and does not like the testing environment.  She cried that she did not want to go to school today because she did not want to take the PSSAs.  If this continues during the rest of this week and the upcoming weeks of Math and Science PSSAs, I will definitely have to opt her out of PSSAs for next year.  She did not go through this last year but I guess there is more stress this year.

I can’t tell you how frustrated I was.  By the end of it I wanted to burst into tears with her.  I had to keep my cool though so that I could help her.  If your child is going through this, know that you are not alone.  If you feel helpless in trying to calm them down, know you are not alone.  I have sought help and am praying that things start to improve soon.  

 

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Why do all my kid’s Barbies live in a nudist colony?

Recently, Crankles has become obsessed with all things Barbie! Granted, some of this stems from Sissy having a large collection of them and Crankles wanting to be like Sissy. The large reason is because she recently began torturing us with Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse. (Yes, I realize my first paragraph has probably caused some sanctimommies to spontaneously combust because I let my kids play Barbies and also because I admit that my kid watches too much of an animated show. It’s okay, let’s move on, shall we?)

As I was saying, Crankles likes Barbies. Actually, let me back up and say that she just likes playing dolls. She also likes to undress them. She has quite the imagination, and all the dolls go on grand adventures…naked. What is it with all the nude dolls?

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Photo by Erika Wittlieb (pixabay)

My older two did the same thing. In fact, I still find clothes belonging to dolls that my son has long since put away. I just don’t get it. I don’t remember my dolls ever belonging to a nudist colony. Actually, my Barbies were all pretty bad-ass warriors with elaborate plot lines. I kinda struggled playing Barbies with my friends, mainly because they could not follow my story lines. However, that is a story for another time.

It is not that she cares about their bits and pieces or anything like that. She just hates for them to wear clothes. I find myself searching for their outfits at night because my office is in our homeschool/toy room, and the first thing I see when I come into the room is a bin full of Barbie bums.

Still, it is kinda cool that she has elaborate story-lines for her dolls, and she is not even three. Her latest is that they like to perform magic shows. Maybe I should focus on that instead of the sea of naked dolls that has once again invaded my home.

So…how many of you have kids that do this too? How many of you dress the dolls at night when the kids are asleep? What kinds of weird things do your kids do? Please feel free to share in the comments below!

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The Importance of One on One time

Tomorrow (weather permitting), my big kids have theater practice for pretty much the whole day. This gives me and Crankles the perfect opportunity for Mommy and Kid Date! I do this with all my kids. I find some time and take them out for lunch or a movie. Sometimes we go shopping or go to the park. The important thing is that we are doing it together and without the others.

Crankles gets a lot of my time as she is little, but she does not get the one on one time with me unless we do things like this. She is little, and she is not much of a people person. She also hates shopping and being in public. Starbucks is our special place. We get a treat, and I sit and talk to her. I do not get out my phone, unless she wants me to take her picture. (If you do not believe me that she likes to have her picture taken, please see yesterday’s post.) She looks forward to it, and I love seeing her face light up when she sees scones! (If they do not have scones, cake pops and cookies are acceptable to her, but not banana bread.)

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For Sissy, we go window shopping. Sometimes we do movies together, like when Neverending Story hit the big screen last fall. With Bubby, he and I get to do some cooler things now that he is older. Last fall for one of our dates, we went to one of those haunted forest places. I think this summer, we will probably do paintball. Most of the time, we go to a diner. The important thing is to find something you can do together and have fun with it.

My kids look forward to these times, and I do too. These are the times where the kids open up more about their feelings and what is going on in their lives. Crankles does not do this so much yet, but she is little. It helps you continually bond with your kids and let them know they are special even when sometimes it does not seem like it when a million things are happening at home. As our kids get older, it is our chance to connect or re-connect, to be completely focused on them.

I know life gets busy, and sometimes it is hard to fit everything into it. However, this is one thing that if you can fit just one a month with each kid, you will be glad you did.

What do you like to do with your kids for one on one time? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below.

 

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Adventures in mud pie making!

I was going through pictures and almost forgot about this set from last fall. Crankles discovered how cool mud was that day! While toddlerhood can be frustrating at times for parents and toddlers alike, it really is a magical time where they are really exploring the world around them.

I picked some of my favorites from the day and hope you enjoy them too!

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Check out my hands Mama!

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Look at me as I make duck face Mama!

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Oh no, Mama! It is Baby Godzilla!

 

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When you live with a toddler…

…It is kinda like living with a pint-sized dictator. They make no sense. Their word is law. It is subject to change, and if you do not tow the line, you will be punished (usually with thrown food or flailing on the ground while screeching in a high-pitched noise). Let’s take a look at all the ways I have been awful to my tiny dictator this morning, shall we:

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1. I tried to help her get dressed. In my defense, I tried to give her one of her precious pairs of handmade wool pants she loves.
2. It was somehow my fault that she could not get her arm through the armhole.
3. The oatmeal was taking too long to cook.
4. She wanted more oatmeal, and we had to make more. (Note, she ate more than the 10 year old)
5. I had to wash her hands after she used the potty. (She pooped and kept touching her bottom…Eww gross!)
6. I wanted to re-heat my coffee (because apparently she just wanted to cuddle nurse ALL DAY LONG)
7. She had to get her own plate for snack. She did not like the color she chose. She did not want me to have a plate.
8. I dared to heat her Pop Tart that she asked me to heat.
9. Sissy tried to play with her, and I let her.
10. It took me too long to get her Pull Up because I forgot to refill the basket.
Yup, I am just awful, am I not? I should be punished by being forced to watch Nick Jr for the rest of the afternoon.
I hope you all know this is completely tongue-in-cheek, and if you know the struggle is real, don’t forget to share with your favorite mom of toddlers!
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When you feel like your child is being overlooked

By Delia, contributing writer

(Delia’s story starts before Christmas break last year. She will be sharing more about her story and outcome in the next several weeks. Enjoy)

I graduated from college more than fifteen years ago. During my years spent receiving my degree in special education, the paper that I learned the most from was one that I wrote for my class on learning disabilities. It turned into the largest paper I had ever written- 35 pages with fifteen pages of appendices.

It was entitled: Cerulean Sky- The Twice Exceptional. It documented the under-represented populations of students who are gifted with learning disabilities. It made me realize that every student’s intelligence is not a black or white issue but there are many shades of gray. A student can be exceptionally talented in art but struggle in academic pursuits or may be gifted in math but struggle to read.

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Photo by mintchipdesigns

Needless to say, I never imagined that 16 years later I would be struggling with my daughter’s school to get her the help that she needs. My daughter, Sweet Pea, is extremely intelligent. I had her tested for gifted the summer after first grade because she seemed to innately understand multiplication and division. However, as time went on, I noticed that she had difficulty focusing at home to complete homework and chores. As the years progressed, her problems with focus migrated into school as well. I started receiving notes from her teachers complaining about her distractibility.

Her teacher last year seemed to complain about her behavior more toward the end of the year. I figured it was time to seek some help. I had the school complete the ADD evaluation forms and I completed the parent form. I scheduled an appointment with my pediatrician and went in thinking things would be resolved. Unfortunately, I got into that appointment and was blindsided by the pediatrician that according to the teacher’s form there was no problem. Feeling utterly confused, my husband and I left that meeting and resolved to wait and see what happened in third grade.

Well, this year has been the worst. Within the first three or four weeks, I received more than ten notes. Sweet Pea was getting more and more frustrated with school. My husband and I decided it was time to contact the local psychologist that our pediatrician had recommended and start the process again. Many more forms were sent this time. We, including Sweet Pea, filled out the forms and returned them quickly to the doctor. As we waited to hear from him that the report was finished, things got even worse.

Sweet Pea started coming home upset about school. She whined about getting in trouble for talking and being off-task. She expressed to me that she was bored most of the day. Things escalated last week to the point where she felt physically ill Thursday morning. Luckily, my husband was on second shift that week and was able to calm her down before she had to go to school. Thank God that this is the last week before Christmas break. The activities they are doing in class are distracting her and keeping her interested.

I had contacted the gifted teacher at the beginning of the week about having a meeting before the break, but was told that wasn’t possible. I dropped off a copy of the evaluation report within an hour of receiving it Wednesday. I spoke with her teacher on Friday about more challenging work and received the answer that she needs to complete her third grade work first so that she can give her a grade. Needless to say that left me more upset.

It is now the last half day of school before the break and I have yet to hear about a time and date for our meeting. I am not feeling very hopeful about resolving this issue without a very angry Momma Bear coming out at the meeting. I hope that the administration is ready for a fight. They are not dealing with an uneducated momma here. I have a degree in special education and am doing my research. They better be prepared to change their archaic view of what gifted education is supposed to look like. I will not be satisfied until they do.

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To all the moms of young explorers

I sometimes feel like I need an extra hour to get wherever we need to be. It is not intentional for me to be late. Heck, sometimes I have everyone ready to leave early. Then we head outside. Miss Crankles has to look at “Just one thing.” The next thing you know, we are 15 minutes late to where we need to be.

Then we get somewhere, and she insists that she has to walk. It would be so much easier if I carried her, or if her brother carried her, or if I wore her, or maybe put her in the stroller (and yes I am fully aware of the run on sentence here). However, I want to actually get into the building. I take her hand. We walk slowly to wherever we are going. She has to stop to examine the garbage on the ground. It is apparently some lost treasure. I don’t know. I just want her to hurry up. I just want to get where I need to be. I just want to walk faster than a snail.

It is then that I need to remember that this stage is so short. She will not be like this forever. The world is so new to her still. She just wants to explore. She wants to see this beauty that I take for granted. She wants to see “treasures” and imagine that they are something super cool instead of the milk cap I see.

She will have this limited amount of time to be a little kid. Then she will be a sassy tween like her sister or maybe an angsty teen like her brother. Then she will be an adult, and the world will not seem so bright and new as it seems to her now.

So for now, I will let her explore. I will take a deep breath and try to get us ready just a bit sooner so we can walk a bit slower and not rush. Maybe I should try looking at the world through her eyes and see things differently too. Oh…to be that innocent again. It really is a very short time.

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