Thursday, September 12, 2013
She's inquisitive and wants to know everything about everything. She is bright and tries to be kind (that's really hard some days when Beanie is your little sister), and is eager to please and takes everything to heart. She is so very earnest and literal and sweet.
Lil is a child whose favorite word and question is "why". She always wants to know. Sometimes she becomes so wrapped up in the knowing she loses sight of the lesson and wanders off in another direction entirely.
My biggest beefs with my girlie are her distractability and lack of focus.
Let me explain the latter first.
If an assignment is something of interest to Miss Bit, she'll dig right in and focus for hours. However, if it's a homework assignment that is too easy for her (and one I think should take no more than ten minutes to complete max), she'll fiddle and faddle and piddle and I'm left feeling like a drill sergeant as I am continually redirecting her to please just get it done. (I find setting the timer to be a big help in these cases.)
As for her being easily distracted, I'll ask her to do something (or tell her as the case may be) and she'll head off to do it, and before I know it, she's lost in the weeds, playing with the cats. Every. Single. Time. ARGH!!! And, because she's stopped to play with the cats, she's forgotten what it was she was supposed to do in the first place. Double ARGH!!
Because of her literal nature and her need to know, I spend much of my time trying to be logical and help Lil problem solve. Often we will trace back to where the breakdown began and figure out what she can do differently the next time.
I hate to yell at the girls, and the girls have said they don't like it when I yell so I've been working hard not to. I have found that working on a problem logically also helps me to maintain my cool.
We accept that mistakes happen. We consider mistakes/failures opportunities to learn. (That said, when you make the same mistake over and over again, there's no more learning there, that's just making bad choices and bad things are going to happen.)
Yesterday afternoon was a miserable day in our house. Lil became upset over something rather trivial and spent the next 45 minutes wailing at the top of her lungs in her room. And, no, I don't exaggerate. 45 minutes.
She recovered only to lose it again over something else. All told, the child spent an hour and fifteen minutes howling and crying yesterday. I did lose my cool. I was upset. When she gets like that there is no reasoning with her until she is calm.
Calm. That's the key. My Bitty is an introvert. Her batteries are drained by the end of the day and she desperately needs down time to recharge. However, I don't think she's quite figured that out yet. I will quietly and calmly tell her it is time for her to take a break in her room (I'm not even angry, I fully respect her need to do this) when she becomes overly frustrated and upset. I'm trying to give her all the tools she needs to be successful, and this is one of them--recognizing when she needs a break.
The first month of school is a long and exhausting one for kiddos. They're trying to settle back into those routines, and the days are much longer than they remember. I know my girls are worn to a frazzle by the end of the day. This was surely a huge part of Bitty's difficulties yesterday.
She is a child who needs sleep. A lot of it (unlike her little sister...). We moved her bedtime to 8:00 this year because she's older and we thought it might be nice for her. However, given the day we had yesterday, B and I had a serious talk with her and told her we'd bump it back to 7:30 if we felt she just needed a bit more sleep. We also discussed the fact that some people just need more sleep than others (looking at you here, Jess) and that Ellie obviously does not need as much as Lily.
Now, just because I understood why my child was acting like a screaming terror doesn't mean I have to accept the behavior. We've been having loooooong talks about personal accountability around these parts. If you make a mistake, own it. Learn from it. Move forward. Don't blame your mistake on somebody else because then you are the victim and can't fix it so it doesn't happen again.
Lil and I had a long chat about how and why the events of yesterday afternoon escalated and what we can do differently next time. We decided that Wednesdays will be a down day from friends. Sydney and Nicole are invited to come over and play Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays, but Wednesdays are for family time. (I should point out here the girls were not visiting yesterday, thank goodness!)
I'm so grateful Lil has reached a point where we can have reasoned and rational discussions with her. I so hope I'm doing it right because, I have to tell you, so often I feel I'm just not what she needs, that she needs so much more and I'm doing it all wrong. This parenting thing is HARD!
1. A MUCH better day this afternoon! Because of yesterday's meltdown, we decided no friends over today as a consequence. We had a lovely afternoon.
2. GF's 94th birthday today! :o)
3. Walking. It's so lovely to be out and about and see so many familiar faces. :o)
4. Ellie has slept every night this week without her lamp on. This is HUGE. Hooray!
5. Having a parenting partner. It's hard enough with the two of us working together, I can't imagine going it alone. Kudos to you who do so. Truly. It's wonderful having someone to bounce ideas off of and back you up when you decide something. It's also wonderful to have Brien and his oh-so-logical brain to help with Lil and her oh-so-logical brain. The child did not fall from the daddy tree, that's for sure.
6. College football. Ahhhhh. All is right with my world. ;o)
7. Oh, before I forget, a wonderful Ellie speak I'm going to miss when she corrects--"cal-i-pitter" for "caterpillar". :o) She's a very hungry calipittar, don't you know?