Monday, January 31, 2011

Girl-chick: Spirited

We have had to deal with a contradictory child all weekend past. If I told her the sky was blue, she would probably turn around and tell me it is actually a mottled pink.If I told her it was snowing out, she would most likely retort that she was boiling. to. death.


My five-going-on-fifteen is quite a handful. Don't get me wrong, she's no more special than the five-year-old next door whom I am sure also gives her parents five kinds of grief before breakfast. Some days, she's a bag of tears by the doorway, absolutely refusing to proceed to do whatever it is we have asked. Tonight, she had a melt-down because she was in the middle of crafting after baths and had to finish up what she was doing but didn't quite finish up in the time allocated to her.

We don't sla-bam the kids with stopping or starting any activity. We don't just pick up and say, "OK time to x... or time to stop y...". We recognize early on that both kids do not handle transition well. They like to be warned first. Our days involve many many periods of yelling at reminding the kids, "Five more minutes! Five more minutes and then we have to go!" - we're the crazy parents who sit by the side of the park with reminders. If not, we're guaranteed to have a show!

As luck would have it, our favorite nursery school teacher is also a child psychologist! She has been a faithful dispenser of sound advice and timely suggestions in times of behavioural changes in the past two years. We relish parent-teacher interviews with her simply because she knows our child. Down to the very core. She manages her behaviour and sets her on the right track.

Why am I writing about this? We certainly aren't the only parents with these tricks or have these trials so far. To the outside world, our kids are well-behaved, well-meaning little girls. They know their "please" and "thank you" and "excuse me". In fact, all our friends drop their jaws in awe every time my children ask, politely, "May I please be excused?" at the supper table. They know their manners.

Oh yes. I am writing this because I have found a book that appears as if it was written for me. The parent of the child who fits the description to a T. "Raising your Spirited Child" was loaned to us by our very friendly nursery teacher. I have so far only read through the first few chapters in which she gives an intro as to what a Spirited child was; someone who was more demanding, more intense, more loud, more rambunctious - just more. It's like she snuck in and wrote a chapter on my child. Word for word. I find myself nodding in agreement with her more often than not. I can hardly wait to get to the rest of the book that will hopefully show me how to cope and how to deal.

This all makes me wonder: what was I like as a little girl?

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