February 20, 2009 6:00 am
Graham goes to school two days a week, mostly to give him a break from us and vice versa. Those six glorious hours are much needed around here. Elliot and I spend them bonding without the threat of a beat down since her brother is off site.
We recently started time outs with Graham. We waited until now to do so since we didn’t think it was fair to punish a kid who was acting out because of his ear infections or insomnia. Instead, we tried to distract, remove and replace but it just wasn’t working anymore. When Graham started sleeping again and received a clean bill of health, we began the process of hard core discipline. We’re following the book 1-2-3 Magic for our action plan. The book basically warns parents that half of the kids out there will fall in line and the other half will step it up a notch in the defiance department. Guess which category my little angel falls into? Since starting the book, Graham has been pushing our buttons left and right. This morning, he waited quietly until he got my attention and then said “Mama, no touch” and proceeded to smash on the off-limits stereo receiver. I calmly followed the discipline practice and he soon scored himself a time out. He happily served his punishment in his room while I stewed over his lack of caring.
Since Graham is only two, his school is less like “school” and more like daycare. We’ve recently taken to calling it playcare since we’ve noticed a new trend. As the year has progressed, his teachers have shortened the lesson time and extended the playground time. I’m pretty sure Graham is solely responsible for the change in schedule since keeping him cooped up indoors isn’t an easy feat. Twice in the past month, his teacher has told me that he’s been “challenging”, which I know is teacher talk for “your kid is a little asshole”. I get it, he is challenging, he will examine any situation he’s in and immediatlely search for a breach in security. This could be anything from finding an open door to escape to knocking over the trash can or eating a handful of mulch. He wears me out on most days but deep down, I know it’s just his personality and it’s up to me to challenge him in return. You’ve gotta love a kid with spunk.
Over the past several weeks, the teachers have stopped bringing the kids inside for circle time at the end of the day. Instead, they have us grab their stuff and then pick them up directly from the playground. It’s easier out there since they can just let the kids be and stand by and keep watch. The past four or five times I’ve gotten there to pick up Graham, he’s been running around the playground with a helmet. Not a cool Spiderman Helmet, one of those dorky Styrofoam helmets. The kicker is that he’s the only kid out there wearing one.
I laughed it off at first but then I started wondering why they were suiting my kid up and not doing so to any of the other kids. Was he that much of a daredevil that they had to keep his head protected at all times? Perhaps. Today when I picked him up, I nonchalantely asked his teacher why he had a helmet on. She said it was because he liked to ride the tricycles and they didn’t want him getting hurt. I get that but he’s never been anywhere near the tricycles when I’ve picked him up. Maybe they’ve discovered some secret to keeping my Tasmanian Toddler safe. Maybe they like getting the last laugh at how ridiculous he looks as the only helmet-clad kid running alongside the “normal” kids. All I know is that I’m considering investing in a pair of helmets for my kids to wear at home. Hell, maybe I’ll get myself one too until we get this discipline thing down pat.