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Thursday, October 21, 2010

A$$es & Attitudes

I don't recall blogging about this.  Posting to my myriad message boards yes, blogging, NOPE.  So to explain...

A few weeks ago, I received "The Call" from Divo's Kindy teacher.  "Mrs. W, I have Divo and a friend here in the office with me.  They were spitting on one another and all of the equipment on the playground and that is not acceptable.  I just wanted to let you know what was going on."  Umm, kayyyyy.  So, what happened?  I mean, I do NOT condone spitting in any way shape or form, but come ON, they were spitting just because it's fun to forcibly hurl bodily fluids?  Really?

I called back and got essentially the same story, but a plethora of additional information:
  1. Divo is not finishing his work in class, and it's not coming back in his homework folder.  He won't pass if he does not complete his work.
  2. Divo is exhibiting bullying behaviors toward the other children.  This is NOT acceptable, and must be dealt with ASAP.
  3. Divo has been losing recess privileges due to his disruptive behavior in class.
Soooooooooowuh.  This information led to several reactions by mom & dad, be they good or bad:
  1. Homework and unfinished class work WILL be completed AS SOON AS YOUR BUTT WALKS IN THE DOOR I DON'T CARE IF IT'S HOME OR NANA'S HOUSE.
  2. There is NO EXCUSE for hitting/spitting/pushing/shoving/tripping/otherwise acting like an asshat towards anyone.  This includes your brothers.  You have lost the privilege of attending your very first school field trip to the pumpkin patch. 
    • This resulted in a full-blown tantrum, complete with wailing, flailing, stomping and door-slamming.  F.U.N.  He lost TV for that.
  3. I e-mailed the teacher after speaking with Divo's pre-K teachers about their experience with him (see below)
  4. Divo AND Whinemaster got into a slug-fest and they both lost the privilege of Blackbeard's night (which was to be a fun family outing with the big boys, but, welp, we all lost out on that and ended up staring at each other over the dinner table, because TV got taken away too, thanks babe.)
Now, I don't profess to know any all the answers, but after laying down the law, it occurred to me that D-lite and I never actually asked Divo what was going on or why he was acting like an asshat.  So I did, the very next day.

MomFail - Divo, can you tell me why you aren't finishing your work in class?  Kindergarten class?
Divo - Because it's too hard and I can't DO IT (insert wail here).
MomFail - Divo, is it that it's too hard, or that you don't have enough time to do it?  Are you rushing and getting frustrated?
Divo - Mom, Ms. B goes too fast at whiteboard time and I can't do it like the other kids and I get mad when she keeps going and I'm not done yet.
MomFail - Divo, did you know that you can raise your hand and talk to your teacher ANY time you have a problem or a question?  Did you know that it's ok to do things a little different as long as you end up the same? 
Divo - No.  I can? (insert AHHHHH sound with breaking dawn graphic here)
MomFail - Yes bub.  Any time you have a question or you are having trouble, just raise your hand and ask the teacher for more help or more time?  She can't know you are having trouble if you don't tell her so.  It's her job to teach you, so asking for help is important.  I know it's harder for you because you use a different hand than most of the other kids when you write, but that doesn't make you wrong.
Divo - But what if she doesn't help me enough, or what if the other kids get mad?
MomFail - If you don't get enough help, bring your work home for mommy and daddy to help you, or Nana.  I really don't think the other kids are going to get mad; some of them probably need more help or time too, and are just too scared to speak up.  You know how some of your friends just turned 5 right? 
Divo - Yes, but so?  I don't want them to be mad at me.
MomFail - Well, you have been 5 for a whole year, and are going to be 6.  Remember how sometimes you need to look out for and help Whinemaster and Thing because they are littler than you?  It's the same at school.  Sometimes the bigger kids (you) need to speak up because the littler kids don't know they can.
Divo - So it's like I'm helping everyone if I ask questions?  I won't get in trouble for talking?
MomFail - Yes.  The only time you get in trouble for talking is when you don't wait your turn to speak, or you forget to raise your hand first to get permission. 
Divo - okay mom.  I'll try it.  And I'm sorry for the spitting trouble too, but there was a really big spider on the play house and wes trieding to get it off but the girls was scared and then it was crunched up cuz of the spit and it was fun to try and hit it with my spit and then me and Hoodie1 got in trouble for the spitting.

Did you follow any of that?  Still with me here?  Okay. 

I had run into some of the pre-K teachers while dropping off my other two Princes of Destruction, and sent an e-mail to Divo's teacher.

"I recall that Divo's pre-K teachers mentioned that he is easily distracted and becomes bored with activities fairly quickly if they aren't stimulating enough for him, and that he seems to do better being closer to the teacher, rather than out in kid-land all of the time.  They also reminded me (since I ran into them this morning dropping off my other two) that he really needs his recess time to decompress when he hasn't done much active learning (vs. quiet learning at stations or circle time)."

Thankfully, this teacher is very receptive to parent involvement, and seems more than happy to hear what has worked for other teachers in the past.  She's moved him closer to her at circle time, and has actually had the other K teacher come in to work with Divo one-on-one with writing, as her own children are leftys and she's got lots of time in teaching to leftys.  I've also made him a primer of sorts to help him practice both his writing and his sight words, with simple 4-word sentences (I will not spit) and he seems to enjoy doing that, as he's always asking where the book is.

It's been a couple of weeks, and Divo's behavior has been expemplary.  Has he had a few lapses?  Sure!  Has he been unduly penalized because of them?  Nah.  He has actually earned back his field trip as of last night, and has just overall seemed more calm and settled since our talk.  I must also say, D-lite spent and afternoon with Divo over haircuts and Starbuck$, and that too, seemed to make a big impact.

I think we have a tendency to forget that he's only almost 6, and not 16.  He is, in many ways, mature for his age, but we can't keep expecting him to act like it.  He's 6 for crying out loud.  He's going to have the occasional tantrum, he's going to cry, and he is going to act inappropriately at times.  It's our job as parents to TEACH all 3 Princes of Destruction what is and is not acceptable behavior, attitude and affect.  We too, are a work in progress as parents and, well, we are learning that maybe the way we were raised, while good enough for our parents and us at the time, isn't the best way to go about raising our boys.  Just sayin.

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