Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A first

When Kevin and I made the decision to move our family back to Maine, we didn't think twice about putting our kids in public school. Not even for a second. Mairead was also adamant about going, she wanted to be with her friends and she wanted to experience real school. The thought of my kids being in school did excite me, though I love having them home with me, too. We figured when school started, we'd have two very tired kiddos. While Mairead was in preschool, she'd crash every night, and Lilah requires a lot of sleep. Well, since starting school, you've read about the adjustments we are all having to make like most families with kids starting school - you know, with our schedule, bedtimes, frazzled mornings,less flexibility, and just more structure to our day.

Six weeks into the school year and we're still adjusting. It hasn't been easy. I am trying to be patient, but when I see the effects it has on Mairead, it makes me second guess what is best for her and our family. Mairead continues to ask almost daily if she can stay home from school. I try to reassure her that she is not missing anything at home, but she tells me she wants to stay home so she can have some mommy time. Kevin and I questioned this excuse and wondered if this was just her way of making us cave and let her stay home. The other night, she asked if she could stay up late with me to watch a movie - I had to say no. It was a school night and she has been coming home from school completely out of control....I'll explain later. She really needs her sleep, so I said no, even though, deep down inside, I wanted to let her. I really, really did. Because I miss her, too... 

Over the weekend, my parents babysat the kiddos while we went to a Scarborough Education fundraiser nearby. About an hour before we left, all of us went outside to play, but Mairead was missing. Kevin found her in her bedroom sobbing. At first he thought she was upset because we wouldn't let her wear her snowsuit in the dirt, but after talking to her, she sobbed saying she didn't want us to go out. She wanted us to stay and be with her. WHAT? My heart sank. All these times she asks about staying home and wanting mommy or daddy time is for real - she is craving it, and it's not her way of getting us to cave. This seriously broke my heart. I honestly cannot remember a time that Mairead has ever cried out when we were leaving to go out on a date.....we were just saying a few weeks ago how lucky we are to have kids who don't scream and cry when we walk out to door.

Not only did we experience her out of character behavior last night, we've also been noticing more crying, outbursts, and hyper behavior. She never gets in trouble at school, and does very well, but the minute she comes home, it is as if she cannot control her behavior anymore. She runs around like a chicken with her head cut off, screaming and just completely crazy. Trying to discipline her is very difficult - she actually told me one evening "You don't mean that. You'll just forget" when I told her she would not be having any play dates for the remainder of the week. She has been saying mean things to her siblings, for example, she told Lilah that next year when she's in school, she will not sit or play with her while in school. What???? I was so angry. She and Lilah are generally very close and it just breaks my heart to see talk to her sisters like this. Yeah, they certainly can be mean to each other, I expect that, but the things she is saying is just so out of the norm...When I pick Mairead up at school, she looks so unhappy to see me, while I see all the other children running with excitement and smiles to their parents. It makes me kind of sad. I wish she looked excited to see me at the end of the day. While I am so incredibly grateful that she is such a good student in school, I can't help but be a little frustrated that I get her sloppy leftovers - the child who cannot keep it in anymore, or thinks it's funny to be mean, or cannot listen or follow directions. Most mornings, we are still struggling with eating. It took her 42 minutes one morning to eat breakfast, and she didn't even eat a half yogurt. I was forced to send her to school without breakfast. She then came home with nothing drank all day and uneaten food. The kid is not eating enough. I know she's busy talking - but she has to eat, right???

We are unsure what to do and are trying to be so very patient. If things do not improve soon, I am thinking maybe a parent-teacher conference may help? I need reassurance that she is actually doing okay in school...the lack of eating, drinking and her behavioral changes at home really have us concerned!


  1. I posted this on my cousin's Facebook just now. She's going through the exact same thing with her son and she's at a loss. He loves school, loves the teacher etc's the sloppy leftovers issue. The quick to cry, doesn't want to play with siblings, wants to zone out and be left alone, tantrums and the whole nine. She doesn't think she's cut out for homeschooling but since she's my cousin, she knows it IS possible. When do parents get to the point where liking school and doing well just isn't enough to stick with public school? That's the tough line to decide.

  2. It's such a fine line, Bahar....and when we do we pull the plug. I wouldn't think twice about pulling her out IF Kevin was home, but I am it 24/7, and have four kids. I don't think the homeschooling community is very active here, and friends are very important to Mairead. While I know she'd still remain in contact with her current friends, how long would that last? How long would it last until they started to maybe make fun or give her a hard time? While her friends are great, and we are close friends with their parents, we still question this.

    I hate that she is different. I hate that I don't get any quality time with her. I hate seeing the annoying social influences on her. It drives me insane.

    I hate seeing her sad. And begging me to stay home. But, she continues to say she doesn't want to be homeschooled..........aghhhh.

  3. My heart breaks while reading your most recent post! I know that you are an amazing mother and I know that you are doing your very best- Parenting is HARD- SO HARD plain and simple- our hearts are our children and we want everything for them!! I feel for you Steph and Kevin too-- All I can say is that it must- must be a stage- Blythe (4) although she is not in school full time- she attends VPK ( voluntary pre kindergarten) every day from 12-4- has the same issues- terrible behavior in the afternoon actually even before school- she does not want to go- has diarrhea most days before hand and has thrown up twice at school because of how worked up she makes herself. I have another issue though- I could pull her out no problem keep her home give her all she needs- BUT she needs the social aspect- she is very much a shy child- has trouble interacting with others- communicating... I have asked her to be moved to the morning class so that maybe waking up and going right away she will not have a chance to dwell??
    I and writing all this just because I want you to know that you are not alone. Mairead knows you love her and I believe that she knows she is not missing out on anything when she is away- you make that clear by taking her out of school to do special things like the apple picking- I believe that it is just the rebellion- the pushing the boundaries- she seems like a strong willed child- I could be way off but those are just my thoughts- from reading your blog-- stay strong my friend :)

  4. As this is Mairead first year of going to school, I will tell you that we had this same issue with Olivia last year. It was a terrible year. She was awful at home but perfect in school. To the point at conferances Mike and I said (joking of course) you are talking about Olivia L. right?? She said she was kind, listened, responsible, etc. All things we knew she was capable of, but wasn't showing us at home.
    She didn't want to go and I always hated to tell her if I was doing anything with Owen during the day because I knew it affected her so much.I felt like I had to keep secrets.
    I heard the exact thing from Olivia last year with the "you will just forget" comment. Exact same! And at a party I heard another girl say it to her mom....uughhh. She would come home with hardly any of her lunch gone at the beginning of the year. I talked to her teacher about it and she said it sometimes takes them a bit to figure out to eat quick, they don't get a lot of time.
    Olivia only went to preschool for a few mornings a week and the rest of the time was with me, so it was a huge adjustment and not a smooth one.
    With all that being said though, we are having a great year this year. Sooo very different. Her behavior has been awesome! She is loving school, seems unaffected to leave and having me at home with Owen, she is actually excited to go. It has been awesome. I hate to say that it took us a whole school year to get here, but I wanted you to know that we went through the same thing and have come out on the other side and you guys will too!!


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