Monday, February 23, 2009

All Signs Point to Yes

You know, I've discovered another one of those secrets that other parents do not tell you before you have children of your own. And it was, and continues to be, quite a shock. I had no idea how often I would feel like I have no idea what in the hell I'm doing.

Sure, there have been times when I've trusted my gut and I turned out to be right about something, but there have been many, many more times where I've worried myself sick about whether the path I've chosen is the right one.

Bubba's eating habits -- his pickiness, to be precise, was one of my first worries. But those, for the most part, have straightened themselves out. I make what I make and he's required to eat some of it, but he doesn't have to clean his plate. But he doesn't get anything else either.

But it's dealing with Punkin, particularly here lately, that I wonder if I've lost all my skills. I'm constantly questioning whether my course of action in dealing with her temper tantrums are the best path. Her strong will feels like it's breaking mine. And I don't know what to do. I try to let her do for herself as much as I can but there are times when I simply must take charge and she often will just go beserk. We just had one of our bedtime go-rounds and right now I'm feeling frazzled, unhappy and very unsure of myself.

In addition to all this, we're now faced with the decision about whether to start her in pre-k in the fall. Her birthday is the day before the cut-off date, but because school starts so freakin' early around here, she'll still be three when she starts pre-k. And frankly, I'm not sure that's a good idea. She's definitely smart enough, but I really worry about her emotional maturity. I spoke to her teacher today who seemed to think that it would be a good idea to go ahead and start her, but she went on to warn me that we need to keep in the back of our minds that the possibility could exist that because she's starting early she might have to repeat a grade at some point. She said that this was only a possibility -- but sheesh! I feel like repeating a grade, even a very early grade will stigmatize her.

Ugh. My brain is tired from just thinking about it. I just wish that sometimes I could appoint someone else to make all my decisions for me. Any body interested in helping me? The pay is crap, but I can give you some wine and I bet we'll have a pretty good time.


Lauren said...

I know just how you feel...hang in there...Im sure you're doing a great job.

And I would consider the possibility of taking the position... except that wine is out of the picture for me for the next couple of months...(wink, wink).

Sass E-mum said...

I say yes to the pre-k. She sounds lively and robust enough to enjoy the challenge.

And if she's still having tantrums - just think, the time out YOU get will her much easier to deal with.

Also, before you worry about redoing a grade, a good teacher will have a number of tactics for dealing with all sorts of children. If they ever suggest that she's difficult, ask them to explain what their strategies have been so far and what they might do differently.

Of course - I am NOT speaking from experience. I rarely let that hold me back from giving an opinion.

Red or white. Or rose. I'm easy, thanks.

ImpostorMom said...

I feel your pain with the tantrums. Just last week my sweet boy has totally sprouted horns and I fear we're just getting started.

I don't have any solid advice about the preschool cause we're just not there yet but I think that if you suspect she's not really ready then she's probably not. If it were me I'd think it would be better to have her start a year later than have to repeat a grade. Even if that is a remote possibility.

I was always the youngest in school because of when my birthday was and when I started school. I can't say I hated it but I didn't love it.

calicobebop said...

Tough decision. Muffin has been in Pre-K for two years now because her birthday is just after the kindergarden cut-off date. At first I was afraid that she wouldn't be challenged enough but I have to say that her confidence has really improved. So, it's always going to be a compromise isn't it? Why can't it be easy!!?!!?

Laura said...

I hear ya loud and clear. You know my struggles with Annie and kindergarten. Just yesterday I thought that I should have left her in pre k one more year.

But ya know...I think these little people of ours will be just fine. We are only talking PRE K and K...right? We haven't sent them off to the wrong college choice....yet.

I always thought that after the baby was delivered, directions should come out along with the placenta.

Katie in MA said...

I'm in! We can have some kind of job-share. You make my tough decisions and I'll tackle yours. We can share the, wine. And be much happier! Comisery loves company...or something close to that any way.

All that's to say, I've been there. I think you're doing a great job. I know you're only showing peeks and glimpses through you blog, but it sounds like your kids are doing great and reacting in age appropriate ways. That's a good thing! I don't have any easy answers, except to say stay consistent with how you decide to handle the tantrums and she'll get the hang of it. Not soon, but she will. And maybe if you do put her in Pre-K, it will help. Another person besides Mommy and Daddy will hold her accountable for her actions and she'll see that she DOES have to behave. And she'll see her peers getting the same treatment (punished for acting out, rewarded for behaving) and she'll realize she's not the only one who has to behave.

And if that doesn't work, we always have the wine. :)

Dysd Housewife said...

If you have the option of starting her later I would do that. We started our son too early and he is paying the price for it now with a constant struggle to keep up with the other kids who are nearly a year older than he.

1blueshi1 said...

Parenting is definitely a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. Zac did two years of kindergarten and that was AFTER a year of preschool. I wish I could tell you there was a magic formula where x plus y equaled a perfect child that would never inspire any parental pain or heartbreak...but girl you know that shit ain't happenin'.
A lot of it is just her age. I used to go through much the same thing with Bookey and things have calmed down SO much since she hit five.

Lulu said... got such good advice here, I'm not sure that I have anything to add. Unless you want to trade a 19-year old for a 3-year old. I'm pretty sure they're about on the same maturity level.

Michele said...

Hi there,
I don't think I ever even held a baby until my own almost 13 years ago but I sure have learned and will help :) I may ask for a Corona as wine gets me really buzzed. And a headache :(
I say sign her up. That will give you a year to decide if she starts Kindergarten the following fall. And teachers can't hold the child back a year unless YOU AGREE and sign off on it and you would have had plenty of conferences discussing that. I cannot imagine that would happen. I have only seen it happen with truly failing grades.
I say, they have to have the cut off date somewhere whether it is 9/1, 8/15, 10/1 or whatever, someone will be the youngest. In elem school there will be those who are the youngest and those who are a year older....but it all averages out by the time they are in 3rd grade. said...

I'll be right over. I know exactly what to do.
OK, no. Lies on both counts. But didn't it make you feel better for a second?
I wish I knew for sure what to tell you, but I kind of think that maybe she should stay home for one more year. This way she'll go from being the youngest kid in class to one of the older ones. That's always an academic advantage.

Esme said...

You know your daughter better than the teachers do, and you will make the right choice, even though it's so stressful right now!

We're going through some preschool/preK issues in our household right now, too, as you know... Hang in there. You are doing a great job (tantrums come with the territory)!