Sunday, May 20, 2012

Abby's Big Book of Questions


I want an Abby cheat sheet. Scratch that. I want an Abby book of questions. Tonight I would have read the "What to do when..." section more than once. She seems to be going through this phase (please Lord, let it be a phase) where she doesn't quite know how to express her frustration - especially when it comes to not being allowed to do what she wants to do. I understand that, I get frustrated and crabby when I don't get to do what I want to do, but Abby has started getting physical when it comes to letting her feelings out. 

She isn't destructive, but she will hit (sometimes me, but most often the floor, table, etc.), stomp, yell, and generally throw a tantrum. Once she calms down she will be sorry for her behavior, but it is in that moment that I don't know how to help her. I know it always helps for us to remain calm (which I'm sad to say I don't always do), but how do I help her understand when she is at the hight of her emotions? 

You know, it is so much easier as the teacher to look at things objectively. I know Abby doesn't always have the words to express herself, and I'm sure she doesn't always feel that she has choices and control of what is happening to her - something I know that children need. Maybe this is just her getting older, and us holding on to her "little kid" restrictions. That's where the "Abby's Book of Questions" would really come in handy. 

Today Abby really had a great day, the whole day wasn't a battle. She spent the morning at home, because I was busy at church and knew I couldn't keep an eye on her too. In the afternoon we went to a group Confirmation party out at my school. All she wanted to do was head to the playground - I don't blame her, she's a kid, and kids love playgrounds, but we didn't go there to play, so I told her she needed to come in with me to greet people. She started the "wet noodle" at the door, but I have to give her props because she recovered quickly. She still was not happy with me, so instead of going into the party, she plopped down in a chair outside the gym (with arms folded), letting me know she had no plans of budging. Okay, I could deal with that, especially since a few of my students were sitting right next to her. I knew she couldn't go far before I would hear about it. 

As I made the rounds, delivering cards, one of my lovely students came up to me and asked if she could take Abby out to the playground adjacent to the gym. Um...YES! Abby was all for that, especially since it didn't involve Mom. I was able to visit, while Abby played with some of the kids from the party. I suspected that it would be a problem once we needed to leave, but we were both enjoying ourselves, so I would save that for later. I checked on her periodically, and saw that she was having fun so I left her to it. 

Soon the time came to leave and preparing for a battle I went searching for her. Surprisingly it was easy  to get her to come with me, a simple promise for an ice cream cone was all it took. We said goodbye to some friends and that's when she decided she wanted to go home with someone else. Instead of climbing into our car, she climbed into our friends' car. Thankfully, they are wonderful people that love Abby dearly, so they offered to bring her home. 

Before long they came rolling up, and all the kids got out. Did I mention that Abby was covered in ice cream? That little charmer had finagled an ice cream cone as well as a fun ride home. We all played with Bruiser for a bit and then headed into the house. 

The day was filled with fun moments like these, but as we sat down at the dinner table, Jason asked if we push her too hard. He'd noticed her behavior when it comes to expressing her frustration too. Bedtime was not a shining moment of restraint and compliance for Abby and I, but Dad intervened and eventually I went back up and she fell softly asleep in my arms. As Abby's parent I want to make life easier for her, I want to take any pain (both physical and emotional) away from her. I want her ride to be smooth. I want her to not have to learn lessons the way I learned so many of mine - the hard way. I know we will find our way, even with out the big book of questions, but oh, that would be so helpful right now.

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