Friday, August 22, 2008

My Daughter's Preschool Teacher is Psychic

A photocopied sheet Miss E took home from Preschool today was one of the most reassuring, and yet scary pieces of parenting targeted information I've read in a long time!

That Miss E's teacher sent this home this week in particular is such a coincidence, and one for which I'm very grateful.

For fear of contravening any copyright laws, I can't reproduce the text here, however much I wish I could because I know there are readers who would benefit from it. The only reference to a publisher I can find is 'Totline Fun Just for Threes' - you may turn something up via Google if you're interested in exploring more.

Basically, the information outlines typical three-and-a-half-year-old behaviour and highlighted that this is often a repeat of what parents see in the 'Terrible Two' stage.


That's exactly what we've experienced here, and has been the major source of my frustration because I kept saying to myself - 'we've been through this -we've made progress - why is it happening again?!'

[Such a misnomer anyway. 'Terrible Twos'. In this house it started WAY before two, and we're still waiting for it to end!]

So this information is reassuring because it tells me that the challenges we have felt with Miss E of late are not particular to her, or to us, they're typical. It's not that I never expected to deal with challenging behaviour once we'd got a grip on the tantrums and moved away from them, I just never expected that it was normal for the full blown, scream your head off, throw yourself down wherever you may be, hissy fit, to come back.

This information sheet has highlighted a couple of other behaviours that Miss E has that we've noticed, such as nail biting, and stuttering, or really just taking a long time to say what she has to say because she's starting the same sentence multiple times. While these didn't concern us too much, it's reassuring all the same to understand that these are not unusual for this age.

The sheet also gives advice on how to help your child in this phase, and it focuses on the parents' attitude rather than on techniques specifically - but parental attitude could probably be the answer to a whole heap of child rearing challenges I suspect.

Reading this piece also gave me affirmation again that we haven't caused or contributed to these challenges through ineffective parenting. Aside from comments and emails from readers, and one local friend - I have to tell you not one other parent I know has admitted to me that they went through the same thing. Anytime I'd talk about how frustrating things can be here, I'd get sympathetic looks, and 'gosh, I don't know what to tell you, we never had to deal with that', or I'd only hear reports of how fantastic their kids were, never any of the negative stuff. Now I wonder, are their kids really as angelic as they lead me to believe? Or is it they chose not to talk about the more challenging aspects in parenting their preschooler for fear that I would then learn that they aren't the perfect parents they project themselves to be? Maybe they just chose to highlight their kids' good aspects because that's the more positive thing to do? The latter is something I vow to do myself, and it is much easier to commit to this in the context of understanding that we're doing okay on the parenting front and that we have a perfectly normal three year old. (No doubt you'd all be glad not to read about me bitching about having a hard time managing my kids, right?)

I'm scared though, because nowhere on the sheet does it say when it will end! You know, you hear a lot of 'this too shall pass' in relation to this kind of stuff, but that doesn't cut it when you want to know when? Will it end when she's four? (by which time her brother will be hitting two, Lord help me!), will it end when she's four and half, or will I have a whole new set of issues then? - (don't answer that!!)

I know, I know, I'm hard to please and always looking for the impossible answers. What can I say? I'm goal oriented - I can work better when I know there's a definite end in sight and I develop my coping strategies accordingly. Funny how kids don't make it easy to have things so clean cut, huh?

Back to the Psychic Preschool Teacher - She's great!

I have blogged before about my concerns with Miss E's previous Preschool experience and was anxious that she'd have a better year this year. With no disrespect to her previous teacher, I can say that I am very impressed with Miss E's new teacher, who is also new to the school this year. She is very organized and focused and her classroom is so well set up and geared towards three year olds having fun. I think this bodes well for the year ahead and I couldn't be happier.

Between the responses I got to my recent posts, and the information sheet that came home today, I have to tell you I'm breathing a big old sigh of relief here, and am a WHOLE lot less anxious about how Miss E will behave. If she misbehaves? I won't sweat it - I will learn all I can about handling it, and about helping her handle things - but I won't be embarrassed or harassed about it anymore. I am much more relaxed about the whole thing, and without the aid of alcohol or pills (okay, I might have lied about the alcohol.)

This first week back at Preschool has also brought much calmer days in our household. Back to a structured routine and a bit of a break for all of us means a much better mood all around. Again, I trust that this is a sign that all will go well for the year ahead.


Iota said...

Great to hear you feeling more positive. Sounds like you have a good preschool teacher there (unless she's part of the plot to groom you for appearance on Supernanny - not psychic, but acting with inside information!)

It's a pity your local moms can't loosen up a bit. I think there is something cultural about this. Not that there aren't loads of smug mums in Britain (can't speak for Ireland), there are, and lots of keeping-up-appearances goes on. But I think we do like to laugh at ourselves more, which leads to a sharing among mums of those awful moments, and a good shared laugh about it all. Helps to keep us sane, and then those laughs can turn to sympathy and practical advice.

Maybe the new preschool year will bring a new friend or two.

Annie said...

Iota, it's a combination of people locally and people in Ireland who have perfect kids it seems.

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't hurt SuperNanny's feelings. ; )

Kimberly said...

Oh my. I needed to hear this! Thank heaven it's not just me!

Domestic Extraordinaire said...

I am so glad to hear that Miss E is doing better, that you are feeling better about things and that she has, what sounds like, a fabulous teacher.


Tracey said...

Parenting means learning to constantly readjust your expectations from one month to the next. She will surely grow out of the hysterical fits, but it may not seem like it for months. Then, one day, you will pause, tilt your head and realize that "Hey! It's been weeks and weeks since a serious meltdown!! Hoohah!! She must have outgrown it!!" only to jinx it and have her regress due to some unknown change in her life.

I'll be the FIRST to admit that my kids (eldest especially) was an angel at 2 and a devil at 3. Terrible two's? I don't think so. You can FORGIVE a 2 year old for flipping out as they're still babies. But a 3 year old? Well, they're "supposed" to know better, right?

Sadly, not so...

slackermommy said...

Sounds like an awesome teacher!

Anytime you want to feel better about your parenting skills shoot me an email. My kids have done it all and have left me wondering what I've done wrong on many occasions.

Sus said...

THANK you. I was starting to rack my brain about what in the world we were doing wrong that our newly-3-year-old was such a disaster!

PS. I am always suspicious of parents who insist their children never went through difficult phases. Seriously, I don't want to be friends with those people.