Thoughts on a Thursday: Meeting her where she is
full disclosure: I may have posted on this before. It seems warranted again. I don’t get my 3 year old. Not at all. She’s like a foreign invader into my once quiet world. She shrieks, she squeals, she jumps up and down, runs in circles and flops into things.. then whines and asks for us to kiss whatever she’s banged up. Mommy’s kisses still make everything better, which is a bonus. Putting it into context.. I was.. NONE of these things. I was quiet. I was bookish. I rarely yelled, and only jumped and ran outside as far as I can recall.
Dealing with such a difference in personalities is… challenging to say the least. It doesn’t matter how much we punish, which punishments we use, or how often we simply just tell the kid to sit down and shut-up for 5 seconds so we can talk to each other (yes it does end up being that bad, I haven’t spoken more than 20 words to my husband without being interrupted in at least a year)… she just IS. She’s like that and I don’t know what to do with her. Most of the time? I yell. Recently on a random facebook post, I heard about this book and we just read it yesterday. I’ve successfully said ‘mom is growing a tail’ and it has made her understand bad behavior much more than yelling. The US version was in our library system.
I used to pray for patience, hoping my patience would make my child ‘be’ better. After all, it seems everyone else I know has an infinite well of patience, and they have perfect kids. Quiet, respectful, not running… but..she seemed to get worse and worse. I got more and more frustrated. So now? I pray to understand both my girls, and to meet them where they are instead of trying to force them into my own mold. I pray for them to be good people. I pray that I can teach them good things. I try and find common ground. I try and let up a little on the type A that has reared its’ ugly head since baby #2 was born. I let the screaming go a little bit during the day. I give her one or two laps before I ask her if she’s supposed to be running. Obviously, the warm weather has helped, when you can run and play outside, you do a little bit less of it inside.
Probably the most important is that I’m finding some things we can do together, or she can do alone. I’m printing out coloring pages on her whim (she mentions riding in a space ship, I ask her if she wants a coloring page of a space ship– and then print out one of those with buzz lightyear on the other side). This of course I encourage her to do when she needs to be quiet or she gets too handsy with.. well, anything. I get ‘preschool’ books out of the library and have her sit with me and read them. She does really well with them. Unless she’s cranky about reading, those are some really good one on one times. Reading one or two short books will usually get her interested in flipping through others for 15 minutes or so. Sometimes? Mom just needs a break. Especially if mom has a book she wants to stick her nose in, too. Common ground. See what I mean?
I’d love to find more common ground. We both like to be outside. I love watching her learn. We already do library story times and there will likely be one this summer at one or both of the closer libraries that have a lot of activities for a week or more. I had a lot of fun with that, even though I was hugely pregnant, she seemed to take it all in and that was nice. One of the things I considered was teaching her how to write her letters. I put out an inquiry on facebook and got a couple of ideas, but I wanted some specifics topics I could go over with her while she learns her letters. For instance, putting a few books relating to a topic in our library bag, and then doing some coloring pages and other activities throughout the week, interspersing some ‘practicing’ of the letters that are our focus. Kind of an ‘all around’ learning that sneaks writing in the back door. Any other suggestions for things she might need to learn would be appreciated as well. She knows colors, shapes, letters, and can count to 50 (we just found out!) with help! She’s memorized some words and tries to guess at others– but if there’s a big hole of ‘she doesn’t know WHAT!?!’ that I need to fill, I’d love to know about it!
Would you please provide some suggestions for me? If you know anyone in pre-school teaching, that home schools, or just has a lot of kids that they have taught some ‘summer’ fun, I’d love for them to chime in, so please share this with them! I will give an example: B for bugs. Books on bugs, go on a bug hunt, coloring pictures of butterflies, naming some common bugs, worksheets with B, practice writing a B (oh dear I didn’t think about upper and lower!)… now I need A-Z!!!!
Can you suggest some A-Z topics. Feel free for them to be as general as possible. For example I could think of P for princess or pirate (plenty of books on both), but I could use T for treasure as well, so we could do both topics with different letters. Help!?!