I won’t post about another sad news event. Besides, my friend Nan (@wrathofmom) said something fucking brilliant on Twitter yesterday: “I do this crazy thing: I read the news without making other people’s tragedies all about me. A lot of people on Twitter need to try this.” Yeah. That.
I felt like it was OK for me to write about Rehtaeh, because it happened in my backyard and it was part of a larger narrative facing us all.
The bombings at the Boston Marathon don’t affect me personally. They are a terrible tragedy. So was the bombing in Iraq yesterday that killed 33 people. And the earthquake in Iran this morning that has killed dozens. And what goes on in Syria every single day. As a citizen of planet Earth, of course I feel for the victims and their families. But I’m not going to pretend that I’m wandering around in a daze today, because I’m not. And to say that I am is, I think, both self-serving and dishonest, not to mention incredibly disrespectful.
It’s been a while since a good old-fashioned update on the dayhome kids! So I will do that, and as per usual, I will try to balance out Bloody Annoying & Obnoxious Behavioural Patterns (TM) with pleasant or nice things, lest you think I spend every day in a state of teeth-grinding frustration. (Ed. It’s only every other day, duh.)
The Good – he is completely potty-trained now. Hasn’t had an accident since we instituted the sticker chart system. Also, because he’s not constipated anymore, I don’t have to institute hazmat procedures every time he has a poop.
The Bad – turns out that his behavioural issues that we’ve been struggling with all winter were not because of the potty-training problems. He is still defiant, angry, and a tyrant in the playroom. He’s far too willing to default to physical aggression when he’s challenged in any way, including when I ask him to help with clean-up time or when one of the other kids walks into the room.
The Good – dramatic sobfests with extra pouting have decreased markedly since the sticker chart. Her parents report better behaviour at home, too. She’s affectionate with the toddlers, generous with her time, loves art projects and storytime, and always greets me in the morning with a huge, winning smile. Also, her speech, which was very garbled and difficult to understand as recently as Christmas, is getting much clearer and she’s making more of an effort to use ‘big girl words’.
The Bad – I said the pouting had decreased, not disappeared altogether. She’ll still pour on the pouting and whining if she’s thwarted. The downside to being a quiet kid who likes crafts and puzzles is that getting her to play outdoors is incredibly frustrating for all concerned; she’ll beg to go outside, and then once we’re out there she’ll whine that the sun is too sunny, that it’s too cold even when it’s warm enough that most of us have ditched our jackets, that the slide is too high and the sand in the sandbox is too sandy. I know it’s been suggested by some of you that she might have some sensory issues and as she gets older that seems more and more plausible.
The Good – She loves playing outdoors now, after a bumpy start during the winter. She’s getting over her nervousness around my dog and cat. She’s big into hugs – BIG into hugs – and has never once cried at drop off time. She genuinely seems to like it here, and that’s really gratifying.
The Bad – She’s a total daredevil and doesn’t learn from her mishaps. So, she’s fallen off the small table in the playroom, several chairs, the picnic table; she’s been knocked clean off her feet by kids trying to use the swings; she’s bashed her face on any number of large toys; and she’s gotten herself trapped in the toybox repeatedly. Each time, I’ll pick her up, dust her off, and comfort her tears of rage. Then I’ll watch her go do the exact same thing again, with the same result. She’s got persistence, I’ll give her that, but yeesh.
The Good – He has stopped complaining about being ‘bullied’ at school. The first six weeks of his public school career he got off the bus in tears every. single. day. It took some time to get across to him the difference between ‘bullying’ and ‘another kid bumping into you and knocking you down while everyone is playing tag’. He’s made more friends his age and seems to be finding his niche in his peer group. He’s unfailingly patient with Daisy and George, and is starting to show an interest in playing with my dog.
The Bad – He is and always has been whiny, and that’s still a problem. Less so with me, because he knows I will not tolerate it, but he whines at his parents something fierce.
All in all, things are reasonably stable here. We’ve got our ups and downs, our good days and bad days where I dream about closing the doors and going to work at Starbucks. But we have a routine, things are predictable, and as everyone gets older my ‘job’ is less about hands-on constant attention and more about facilitating happy, healthy interactions among a group of diverse and often-interesting kids.