Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pushing Her Boundries

We know that it takes my daughter time to transition. Even when the big transitions seem to go smoothly, especially at first, Londo and I are very aware that there are going to be issues. The Pumpkin needs a lot of advance notice and time to adjust to the thought of something new. If it's a big thing, like a new schoool, we plan way ahead (usually). We also know to allow for time after the transition for her to get used to the new situation.

This is the fourth week my daughter will have been at her new school. (Or as she calls it, "Another new school" just to twist the knife in her mama's heart. Heh.) Her teachers say she's doing great. Apparently, she is learning the rules, starting to do the "work," adjusting to the Montessori method, getting along fine with the other kids, and generally doing fine. I'm betting they don't believe me (or probably simply don't even remember that I told them) that the Pumpkin needs time to transition.

So things are going pretty smoothly at school. Guess where the difficulties with the transition are showing up? You know it's at home!

Of course, in addition to the school transition, she's also 3.5, which is supposed to be the start of (yet another) period of disequilibrium. All I know is that things are (yet again) really tough.

She's contantly arguing and being contrary. She's throwing things and specifically doing things she knows she not supposed to. She kicked the dog on purpose. She pulls blankets that the Pookie is holding on to, knowing it will make him fall. And most lovely of all, she's started spitting. Which, it turns out, is one of my hot buttons that I didn't know about until she looked right at me and spit at me this morning! URG!

Londo says that time outs aren't working for him, and they only work for me in the sense that it sometimes gets her out of the downward spiral of bad behavoir that she gets into. It certainly doesn't work as punishment, because it takes some effort, and therefore interaction, for us to keep her in time out. Which turns it into a game for her and just cranks up our seeing-red factor. We are going to have a talk, probably tonight, about what we might actually work for punishments, since we feel she is old enough to get in actual trouble for kicking the dog, throwing things at her brother or spitting at us.

I know, I know, that it's their "job" to test their boundries. This is what pre-schoolers do. I know, I know, that she does this with us because she knows we will love her no matter what, that she feels comfortable enough with us to let out her emotions, have her tantrums and push her boundries.

But frankly, it's exhausting and SOOOO frustrating.

The good thing--actually, the really great thing is that she is so awesome most of the time. She is able to do so much! She's like a little person now, not some baby or toddler. She can think things through, she remembers a ton and notices details, she can play in more imaginative ways and even by herself, she is interested in books and puzzles and arts and crafts, and she is able to have interesting conversations.

She's funny and smart and an amazing child. I want to concentrate on that, but I do still have to vent about those boundries that she pushes. It's her job to push them, I just wish she didn't take her job so seriously and wasn't so darn good at it.


Becoming Mommy said...

I feel your pain. We too are going through transition. Sasha *had* been doing beautifully in preschool. The past few days though he's been difficult with them and with us. He seems more passive aggressive than Pumpkin and so no spitting or anything. But lord help us...he'll plop himself down and simply refuse to do ANYTHING.

So we tell him if he can't be a big boy, those big boy things like his games and his movies have to go into storage. I start collecting them in a trashbag and once he realizes I'm serious he changes his tactic.

At school he evidently just tells them he's sick/hurt so he can avoid doing anything he doesn't want to. It's the nurse calling every single day


Jac said...

We are having some issues with the transition to pre-school as well. By all accounts, he is managing very well with school - but we, too, are seeing the effects at home. Luckily, he's just turned 3 so I think we are in a period of equilibrium (small mercies), but his sleep has gone to pot, he's complaining about tummy aches and bad dreams (day and night), and he's crying and clinging to me when I leave for work in the morning (first time that has ever happened since I returned to work after my mat leave). He's generally sweet and not TOO defiant (not like he was at 2.5) but emotionally I can see that he's having a rough time, and I am too. I doubt the new baby arrival is going to make it better.

Anyways, sympathy. It's amazing how these little people know EXACTLY which buttons to push.

Cloud said...

Oh, good luck with the discipline talk. That is hard.

I have to say, one of the things that shapes our Pumpkin up when she's just testing boundaries is to say "Mommy needs a time out" and going into our office and closing the door. I discovered this because I was losing my sh&% with her one day over something annoying but not major. I put myself in time out before I made the situation worse, and she actually apologized when I came out. Weird. I don't do it often, because I think it would stop working. And I think it only works because she's such a social little girl that it drives her nuts to be left alone.

Melba said...

Ugh, the discipline talk. We're not there yet... Rose doesn't do things "on purpose" like kicking the dog or knocking over the baby. All her issues are still related to not wanting to do something she's told to do (like eat supper or go to bed) or vice versa. Counting to three and time-outs still generally work. But the tantrums... gawd I thought by now they'd be getting better, not worse. Her tantrums are just so intense and long. Ugh.

I'd love to hear what you come up with though for the spitting and kicking and bowling-over-brother-ing. I'm at a loss as to what we'll do around here when that stuff starts.

Cranky Pregnant Woman said...

Wait. I thought 3.5 was a period when they start being human again.


Anonymous said...

Yes apparently the terrible toddler years drag on ...

We are dealing with defiance. "No" to everything even the most simplest of things. I'm trying to think of it as preparation for the teenage years -- the consequences of him not following our direction now are minimal. Trying to lay the foundation for either obedience, compliance or at the very least understanding so when he is a teenager, perhaps, HOPEFULLY, the really bad consequences can be avoided.

mom2boy said...

Oh yeah, I can relate. Apparently Tate just learned how to whine. I guess I should feel lucky I'd escaped it until now but dear sweet jesus, the whining makes me want to rip my eyelashes out!! I walk away, he just follows me adding a fake cry for effect. I stop, get eye level, have a conversation - nothing doing, still the whining about what he wants or couldn't have. I know it's temporary. I know it's temporary. I know it's a phase. It still makes me want to run from the room screaming. And yelling No at me happens way too much. Tips anyone?

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