Monday, February 22, 2010

Today: Just Another Day

  • 4 thrown pencils
  • 3 stomping aways
  • 9 pencil tips broken by grinding it into the paper
  • 65 the number of minutes she spent in her room after storming away from the work
  • 1000 dB level of the screams (they actually hurt my ears)
  • 23 the number of screams
  • 4 the number of times the table was pushed violently
  • 5 the number of times the paper was folded or rolled in anger
  • 8 the number of times she screamed "I don't know what you mean"
  • 8 the number of times she cut off my explanations with screams
  • 2 the number of times the paper was torn
  • 2 the number of times she tried to hit me
  • 6 the number of wrong answers given after refusing to listen to examples because she already knew how to do it
  • 4 the number of math pieces lost to throwing
4 the number of carry-over math problems done
3 the number of reading comprehension questions answered

This is how Flurpee, 8, and I did school today. This is pretty typical. Except she actually did some work.

After finishing the math and reading comprehension, she played a game of Crazy 8s with her dad and was pleasant as could be.

I think I'll try a game to start the day, more coffee, only 1 math unit, then another activity, then a little more math, and another activity, and the last bit of math, and see if breaking it into smaller pieces with someting fun and no-pressure in between can defuse her 'tantrum mode'. I also think I might try physically compelling her to sit at the table even if she wants to storm away. Usually I let her go because I think she needs time to calm down, but I suspect she goes off and has realized that she can avoid a lot of work by not responding to me or coming back downstairs.

Though I am still very uncomfortable with physical compulsion in that way. I am also playing with the idea of putting off lunch until the work is done which puts the choice back in her court without physical coersion. Or perhaps I need to do both. Flurpee, oddly, actually has a better positive reaction to physical limits than other kinds. She seems to settle and calm more quickly when I prevent her from hitting by grabbing her arm or prevent her from ripping her paper by removing it from her. This has always intrigued me psychologically.

The end of the day was much better.


Daisy said...

I've had days like that with my 10yo daughter, and it always seems to be over math. Uugh.

Kim said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know I've had my older have melt downs, but the 8 yo just has such stamina. Thank you for sharing. Perhaps mine is more frequent and more intense, but even knowing someone else has a kid who can even get close is reassuring.

Ms. said...

Same here with my 10 yo, over math. Lately we have a reprieve - she likes fractions - go figure (pardon the pun).

My heart goes out to you Kim! Keep up that sense of humor! And maybe Dad should do the math from now on... ?

Deb said...

Kim, we have days like this, too. I LOATHE them. I always end up talking in my head (and sometimes out loud, I can't help it) to whatever child was pulling the scream-fest: "You wouldn't scream if you were in school. You would focus. You would sit there nicely and happily and do your problems, and get them done a lot faster than you do with me. You wouldn't interrupt a teacher who tried to explain something to you. You wouldn't give in to the tears; you would master yourself so that you wouldn't embarrass yourself."

Mostly, I master myself so that I don't say that out loud. But not always. When I let myself say it out loud, I try to say it factually and objectively, not longingly.

Hang in there. We're with you.

Deb said...

P.S. I hide chocolate in my desk for occasions like that. Not for them, for me.

Lynne said...

Is it something with the name?

Deb gives excellent advice here. I like to start off with a few deep breaths before suggesting the same to my daughter. Otherwise something far uglier and unproductive always comes out.

And yes - it's always about math. Do you think it's related to our love of math?

Kim said...

Thanks for the great comments! It is nice to know I'm not alone.