Yes, sadly, the ornery monster has possessed my son again, or should I say, that monster never really left? To say this hasn't been a challenging phase in my motherhood would be a huge lie. I'm being challenged to the core every day learning patience inside me I didn't know existed, and holding onto the good and adorable things to remind myself that it's all worth it.
Today was one of those moments though where my confidence as a mother shattered. We've been doing an extraordinary amount of travel these past two months, and overall little r has been hanging in there. Between our excursions though, we've been creating our own adventures right here at home. I'm not really sure what the source of all the craziness is exactly, but I hope I either figure it out soon or that this phase ends quickly before we all go mad!
So, what happened today, you ask? I had the dreaded conversation with little r's kindergarten teacher that made me defuse from the inside out. She was actually quite friendly about it, but to put it mildly, little r has been pushing her limits as well. Knowing that I'm battling this at home is one thing, but finding out that he is being a monster at kindergarten makes me feel like I'm clearly losing control. Am I really a bad mother? Why is my perfect little child being such a monster lately? I'm at a loss...
First of all, little r has some serious issues with sleep these days. Bad dreams have made sleepy-land a scary place, so it takes quite a bit of coaxing to get the little man to nap or to go to bed at night. Some days are better than others, and some weeks are great while others are downright awful. I know there is a happy medium here somewhere, I just need to find it. When I read stories of what other parents go through with their toddlers, I think this is nothing - we have such a minor issue on our hands... but when my child is making himself so sleep deprived that he's not behaving at school, that becomes an issue that needs to be addressed, well, at least in my mind.
The good news is, he's not aggressive and he really seems to understand right from wrong these days. The whole "learning from your mistakes" is starting to take effect. That aside though, the kid just refuses to listen. This is frustrating for me and I have definitely figured out ways to become more effective at home, but this must be beyond the bar for his teacher at school when she is trying to conduct a class in an orderly fashion. Today he decided he was going to color all the walls. WHAT?! He did that for the first time at home last week and honestly had no idea there was anything wrong with it. In fact, I actually felt a little sad that I had to reprimand him for it because he was making a pretty picture for me... But I had to respond in a way to teach him that coloring on the walls is not acceptable. We had a discussion about it and a brief time out. He now knows better. I guess he thought his teacher had different rules?!
My child has more energy than any living being I have ever known. Everyone tells me this, and it's exhausting the teachers at kindergarten because they are terrified he is going to hurt himself. He climbs all the furniture in the classroom and refuses to listen to anything they say. Oy... It can actually be quite impressive sometimes how he chooses to use that energy and how independent he has become. I suppose this independence is a little more than his teachers would like to see at this age...
So, I'm not really sure what to do... I've tried many different approaches. I know that consistence is key, so it's possible all the traveling could be at the root of the discipline issues and certainly isn't helping us create good sleeping habits. I have read often that sleep is at the core of so many problems in children, and adults for that matter, so it might just be one of those things where we work hard to get him into a good pattern.
In all fairness to little r, he really is a great kid. He's sweet as pie, personable, independent, kind-natured, and respectful. He has learned to share, says "thank you" unprovoked, and plays nicely with other children. I have a feeling this orneriness is just a phase we will need to put up with for awhile as he discovers his personality and the world around him. I'm afraid to let my guard down though, too much anyways, because it's important to me to have a child that can behave at school.
If you have any suggestions, I'm all ears... Mostly though, I think I just need to continue finding my patience and following my motherly instincts. Right now those instincts are telling me something isn't quite right, and I need to get to the bottom of what is unsettling my little man.