Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Nutmeg, Preschool Delinquent

After I put Pebbles to sleep tonight, I walked to the drugstore and bought some chocolate. It's been that kind of day.

You know it's gonna be that kind of day when you wake up and you have to steam your eyelids open because that icky allergy thing is back, and then you get on the machine at the gym and find out that the President is preempting Oprah. But it actually went downhill from there.

The problem is Nutmeg. When I picked her up from school today I was told she had spit on one of the teachers, after being asked for the past two days not to spit on the floor. And she's been hitting kids.

I think she's the naughtiest kid in the school.

In a way, it's validating to see someone else have trouble with your child, because for the past two years I've been struggling with her at home on certain days. Seeing her get in trouble at school tells me, yes, this is a difficult child. It's like if you keep getting low scores on a math test, and later find out it was a college-level calculus test and you only went up to geometry.

But in another way, I'm all overwrought and beating my breast and asking, why, why, why? Why is my kid like this?

She's in a kind of stressed-out, naughty, prone-to-hysterics period, which seems to happen for several days at a time now and again. More pronounced since she started preschool. She's having a lot of crying fits and contrariness at home. She took a nap this afternoon, thank the lord, but then she woke up crying loudly. I had already had enough of Overwrought Nutmeg before this, so I just shouted up for her to come down when she was ready to stop crying and talk, and then I turned up The Shins to drown out her hysterics. Eventually she did stop and come down and communicate, with a few teary relapses.

Then tonight, she is crying in her bed, saying she's scared to be alone. Scared that it might thunder.


So of course now is when we start wondering, what are we doing wrong? Is this a matter of not getting enough sleep at night or not getting a good breakfast? Have we disciplined her too harshly or not enough, or is she exposed to too much anger at home? Or are her high-strung, anxious genes just bubbling up?

There have been many days when she's done just great at preschool. I'm not freaking out at this point. But I am keeping a concerned eye on the situation. I am also keeping a spare Cadbury English Toffee bar in the refrigerator for my personal use during the rest of this episode, or, if I'm lucky and it's over, for the next one.


Red Headed Mama said...

Just remind yourself, Cadbury is better than Heroin. Kidding! Totally kidding.

But as parents, we must take one day at a time. Though well researched, our children are sometimes a mystery. Just when you think you have them figured out, they switch it up on you.

You're a good mama. It'll just take time for the Nut to settle out.


Kori said...

No advice. No words of wisdom. Just a hug going out your way, and a thumbs up about your choice of chocolate.

Nutmeg is a great kid. You are a great mom. We love you both!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this! Found your blog when surfing for advice about Oak Park -- we're thinking of moving there. I also have 2 girls - 3 and 1. My 3-year-old seems to have periods of tantrums (just crying over every little thing) whenever there's a "transition" in her life. It's completely frustrating and *I* want to throw a tantrum over it. You sound like a great mom to me!

Bert said...

Honey, you're a great mom. And Epu is a great daddy. My disclaimer is that I'm not a mom, but I was trained in all of this developmental childhood stuff. So... I'll add my two cents. It could be the varying emotions of the transition to school. It could be that Pebbles gets to spend some time alone with you and the Nut is really feeling that, since that's always been her job. Scared to be alone? Maybe it means, "spend some time with just me"? I'm sure you do that, anyway. The Nut is smart; do you think she could talk to you about this in one of her calmer moments?

Notta Wallflower said...

Don't blame yourself, as parents. Honestly, you could do everything "textbook" and still a kid is never perfect. I have a phrase I use with K when he starts blaming me for his problems (yes, wait until Nut is old enough to blame you herself!) - "I'm done apologizing for this - it is what it is and I did the best I knew how". Obviously, the issue of parent blame is near and dear to me and I deal with it continually. So on one hand, I can tell you not to blame yourselves, while knowing that it's very hard to avoid. But you have to figure that every kid comes with their own personality and they all go through their phases. I'm just glad you have chocolate - at least you're prepared. :-P