So the Vampire started her new daycare today, Monday 10/18/10. Yes, I was able to find care that fast - because the grace and mercy of the people who work at 4C. I am trying not to judge this daycare by it's proverbial "cover" but it is tiny. The playground doesn't have much space for children to run and play. The facility it's self is cramped and cluttered looking. It is also affiliated with her former daycare, as the director of the former daycare is the senior director of this one. So I am scared on many levels when stepping into this new situation. Is the daycare environment right for her? Will she stop biting? Will her reputation proceed her, and cause her to be treated poorly by the staff? Will I be able to spend an entire week at work w/o having to run and pick her up before 11:00 every single day?
Now I am wondering... Will I have to find a new daycare again at the end of this week? She had a biting incident today. I don't understand the drive behind her biting passion. The people with the IEP screening felt that she was well within average levels, and she didn't need their care. Dentist says teeth are all fine, and there is no reason for her oral fixation there. Pediatrician says that biting is a phase that some children go through, and she will stop in time, to just hang in there, and one day this will all just be a bad dream. Therapist says to bring her back in, and she will start working with her again. I now have a diagnostics screening with a panel of behavior specialists, in the hopes of getting her in to see a speech pathologist, because a friend of mine feels firmly that she needs to see a speech pathologist to begin communicating instead of biting. I miss a lot of work, and time at work, just because she can not seem to stop herself consistently instead of eating other kids.
So I wonder what I am doing wrong. Today I feel like it is my fault she acted out because I spent the morning yelling at the girls because they were not listening to me at all. Have you ever had that happen to you? When you say to your child "please go put your shoes and socks on, so we can leave". They smile. They nod. They eagerly run and actually dig a pair of socks out of their drawer, and grab the shoes from the front door. You feel like your child heard you and you are happy that they are listening... you finish putting your make-up on... and walk into the living room... to find them sitting on the dog reading a book - one shoe is under the couch, the other nowhere to be found, and neither socks have graced either of their feet. You gently remind them "I asked you to go put your shoes on, you may read the book when you are ready to go to school. Please get your shoes/socks on. We have to leave soon." You turn your back to urge the five year old to finish brushing her hair, and let her know that you are going to brush your teeth, then you will help her with fixing her hair. You check on the three year old again... no socks or shoes on. A little more of a stern reminder this time "Put your socks and shoes on like I asked you, or I am going loose my cool - we have to go!" Again, child ignores your plea for cooperation. At this point. I lost my cool. I yelled at her to put her shoes and socks on because I am becoming very angry at her when she does not listen to me. She tells me "don't yell at me!" I tell her, then please do what I ask you to do the first time! I don't know what makes me angry more, that I actually believed she would listen to me or that she didn't listen at all.
That happened at least four times this morning. In different situations of course - but I had to yell at her four different times. I went to work feeling like the worst parent in the world, and when Uncle M called to let me know that she had bitten someone... I felt like it had to be my fault, because I yelled so much this morning. I have tried so many other methods instead of yelling. The beat the timer method doesn't work because the Drama Queen usually wins (she's faster cause she is bigger) and Vampire gives up. I try to do it just for Vampire, Drama Queen feels left out and throws a huge fit. I try getting them up earlier to give them more time to get the tasks that I have requested they do. They just take all that extra time to goof off and refrain from listening. I've sunk to the low level of "If you listen to everything I ask of you and are good, I will give you a piece of candy before we leave." Yeah... candy before breakfast... bribery... how can that be good? Getting out the door in the morning is like trying to wrestle a badger from his hole in the ground. I've read a few books on parenting tips. Grandma's rule "If you don't do this, you won't get this." Doesn't seem to phase them. Time outs when you're running behind getting out the door are just not feasible. I can see it now... "hey boss - yeah, I'm going to be 15-20 minutes late today, I had to put a child in time out a few times." Sometimes it's like they don't listen unless I yell. Is it the tone of my voice? Is it that easy to ignore me? What good am I as a parent if I can't command some form of respect from a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old?
So IF I understand the policy at this school correctly, it's three bites and she's out. She's down one... and it's the first inning... I feel like I should start looking for another Child Care Center now. She told me today that she wanted to stay with papaw instead of school. I told her that is not possible, as both papaw and I had to work, and we could not spend the day with her, so she had to go to school. She wasn't happy with that answer, but didn't complain anymore. I am so tired. I wish I could pinpoint the reasons behind the bites. I wish I could understand what is going on in her head and help her learn how to suppress the urge to hurt someone to get her way. I wonder if this is something that is just inherent in her personality, or if this is something learned. I saw her bite her sister to get her attention when she was barely walking, before I was "mommy TT"!!!
People praise me for doing good and right by these girls. They seem to think I'm some sort of saint for having stepped up to the plate and being the person who decided to raise them. I don't feel that way at all, especially on days like today when nothing goes right, and I spent the first hour the girls were awake, yelling at them. Everyone has their bad days - but I can't help but wonder... Am I contributing to their problems? Am I the reason the biting hasn't stopped? Did I do the right thing by them in agreeing to raise them or is something in my personality making their lives worse? I don't wonder these things cause I want out of this. I adore those little girls, and would lay down my life for them before I would give them up. I just want so much for them, and don't want anything that is wrong inside of me to make their lives worse. Uncle M tells me that I am better than most, and no one is perfect, but if I am better than most, why can't I pull that gorgeous little blonde out of this aggressive streak and help her see the beauty that life can be when you are nice to people? Why can't I help our brilliant Drama Queen understand that it's not normal or good to argue and fight against every situation that she doesn't like (or doesn't think she will like)? I am such a perfectionist by nature, raising kids is not a science, but I beat myself up constantly because I can not be a perfect parent. I want to help them. More than anything in the world. Do I have to look inside myself and fix something there before I can truly help them?
On the flip side, we had a fairly good weekend! On Saturday we went to a local Arboretum and took so many wonderful photos of these my girls, their brother, and their cousins. Mom was so happy to have most of the grand-kids together, and was missing only 3 to have her complete collection. Maybe next year.... I know she would love that. We went back home and worked on carving pumpkins after a huge spaghetti dinner. It was lovely to have my brother and his wife (and their three children) over for it all. I miss my siblings so much. The kids trashed the house, and I told them they have to clean up their mess of toys before they could go home, and I have had to turn a blind eye to the closet in the girls room... because it was where they shoved everything when they cleaned up their mess... but the kids all had a blast playing together and just being kids. Mom got quite a few photos of the children up to their elbows in pumpkin guts. I love them! We didn't make it to the zoo like we were hoping, and now I am hoping that the rain will hold off this weekend so we can try to go then. It is HallZooWeen, and the kids can "trick or treat" there, it will be a dry run of the costumes. Most of Uncle M's Hatter costume is all put together. The stripes are all glued onto the Vampire's costume. My costume is a little more put together. If only I could pull the emotional issues of these kids together like I can Halloween costumes. Here is to hoping and praying it gets better soon!! I feel like I am running out of avenues to help the Vampire.