…so I can deflate. This week has been very stressful to me, and it’s resulting in this uncomfortable, expanding feeling in my chest that burns and wants to erupt. Like swallowing a huge burning balloon. Last week was very stressful as well because I worked three evening shifts, which means I didn’t see M at all. The effects of that, however, are being felt much more keenly this week. My child is not a happy camper when I work a lot, and by a lot I mean a stretch of days. I have always worked three 12 hour shifts, but sometimes they seem to all bunch up together and that creates problems. If the very basis of positive parenting and gentle discipline is connecting, then we were definitely way behind.
The accident/potty problems at school have continued. Nap time seems especially stressful, and I’m not surprised. The teacher told me that M has started throwing things, jumping, and being defiant. Her raging temper tantrums at home are almost always at times of sleep, either nap or bedtime. I had to do away with nap time, and they may also have to give up on the notion that she is going to sleep. She does, however, need to stay on her cot and be quiet so others can sleep. Her therapist and I came up with a few ideas to help with that, which I’m going to discuss with the teachers ASAP. Most of it includes the use of a sensory “calm down” bin that she can use just at nap time, to quiet her mind and body while the others sleep. At home she needs sensory stimulation to sleep, as well, such as a bottle to suck/chew on, or a little gadget or gizmo that she can manipulate as she closes her eyes.
Our next issue at school is with drop-off. The clever child has developed many stall tactics because a) she is in an acute phase of separation anxiety now and b) she struggles mightily with transitions from activity to activity. We came up with some ideas regarding this, too, such as giving one hug and kiss, and not feeding into her insatiable desire for more and more reassurance. (I was told that the more you give, the more they need, and it’s only a bandaid and not a real solution to helping overcome anxiety. It also conveys to them that they do need a lot of assurance because it is a scary thing, which is the opposite of what you want to convey.) We may even need a more definite transition, such as someone meeting us at the door of the school (instead of us lingering in the doorway). Otherwise, I’m sure these shenanigans are going to become more deeply ingrained and a very unpleasant part of our drop off routine.
Our nun is getting shades for the windows to help make the room darker at nap time, and I’m going to send a small photo album of myself, M, and her grandma for her to keep on her cot in case she is missing us. The nun greeted us by the car today and filled me in on the nap time situation. She also told me she’s been “praying every night” for guidance to help M find her sense of peace in the classroom. I told her, “we will also start praying every night for YOU, Sister V!” which made her laugh. She is a lovely person who is really devoting all of her energy to helping M through her transitions. She always greets M with her sardonic but affectionate, “Here is my M, my child of God!”.
Well, we will be having a meeting soon, after I arrange it today at pick up. My days at work were pretty stressful, and to top it off M has had trouble sleeping both at bedtime and in the morning. I am emotionally a cripple when I get so little sleep, so I’m surprised that I’ve done as well as I have, but combined with my period, all of the above has converged this week to make me anxious. No panic attacks, but a medium level buzzing of anxiety at all times, and a lot of tearfulness. Even heart burn! I think my kiddo and I both need this long weekend off from school and work to re-calibrate and reset.