Monday, March 14, 2011


It's been one of those weeks. And it's only Monday.

It's parent/teacher conference time again. I haven't set up the boy's conference yet because I can look up his grades online and except for the ever present "F" in Algebra, there is nothing to be too concerned about. His teacher has already informed me that he'll have to take Algebra again next year because the ability to understand it involves a different way of thinking and she says that his brain just "hasn't made that switch yet." Which I understand, I suppose. But I'm not at all comforted by the fact that I still don't understand Algebra so obviously my brain still hasn't made that switch. Sigh.

But. The girl. The girl. The girl. The girl. Here's the thing: I have no illusions about my children. I know their strengths and weaknesses and I don't try to cover them up and pretend they don't exist. We all have strengths and weaknesses, that's what makes us human. I know the girl likes to talk and doesn't like to follow directions. These are things that we are constantly (daily, hourly....) working on. But when I asked the teacher if Lucy is ever a behaviour problem in class and she said, "Well....she can be", it was kind of a shock.

She said that the girl is never mean nor is she really a troublemaker, but she talks a lot (yep) and she "has trouble staying on task." When I asked her if any of this effects her ability to learn she said, "Oh, absolutely not. She's incredibly smart. She's a very fluent reader and I can tell that her brain is constantly in action." She also went on to say that the girl is a total free spirit who thinks for herself. All good things. But it's hard to focus on the good when she's disrupting her classmates and can't keep her butt still during circle time. When I asked the girl about all this she said that circle time is "boring" and that she knows all her letters and sounds. This may be true, but it certainly doesn't mean that she can keep her friends from learning. (I really hate it when parent's justify their kid's misbehaviour by saying that the child is "smart" and "just bored." Whatever. Kindergarten is 2 1/2 hours long, it's not going to kill her to be bored for a few minutes.)

So now I have another conference with the teacher tomorrow to try and work out a behaviour plan for the girl. There is a program here offered by the school system where a behaviour coach would meet with Lucy at school and for an hour a week at home. Her teacher said that Lucy isn't really the typical candidate for that program (I guess because she's only mildly naughty, not awfully naughty) but she sees no reason why she wouldn't benefit from it. Anyway, I'll find out more about that program tomorrow and then decide if it's right for us. I don't know how I feel about being the parent of a child who needs the behaviour coach to come home with them. Actually, I do know how I feel. I feel shitty. I feel like a shitty, shitty parent. But I may be making it out to be more than it is. We'll see.

Lucy is also supposed to meet with a speech therapist later this week to see if she needs therapy for her stutter. Her stutter is an odd thing. It comes and goes and she doesn't do it at all when reading. Her teacher seems to think that because she is such a verbal kid, that the stutter really only shows itself when she wants to talk but hasn't yet mentally decided what exactly it is that she wants to say. If this is the case, then it will go away as she matures. While I tend to agree with the teacher's initial assessment, I'm excited to see what the therapist has to say.

In other girl related news:

*She downloaded a nasty trojan virus to our desktop computer. Jay's going to have fun fixing that over the coming days.

*Because of the occasional accident, she still wears Pull Ups to bed, but she hates the feeling of a wet one so after she goes in it, she wakes up and changes her Pull Up. I told her she had to stop doing this because some nights we were going through as many as 3 Pull Ups. Of course she didn't stop, she just started hiding the pissed in Pull Ups. I found dirty Pull Ups all over her room. In the shopping cart, the pretend oven, the toy bin, etc.

So yeah, this one has been keeping me on my toes lately. I have been completely drained and exhausted, which is why I've been MIA around here. But spring break will be here next week and to say I'm looking forward to it is an understatement.


~*Gumbo Soul*~ said...

The Girl actually sounds a lot like our girl. The two things she gets in trouble for the most at school is A)talking too much, B)not following directions (probably because she's too busy talking) but her teacher says all the same things about her as far as it affecting her ability to learn. You are not a shitty parent. I WISH they would send the behavior therapist person home with us. Maybe I could get an hours worth of quiet while I cook dinner and feed the babies! LOL

Dysfunctional Mom said...

I'm the same way with Algebra.
I hope the conference re: the girl goes well. She just sounds like a smart kindergartener to me!

kraftykash said...

Hang in there! Sounds like an over achiever teacher to me. Don't do the thing where the person come into your house, that will suck (nicely put). As far as the pull up thing, I have a certain girl that peed the bed til 2nd grade. I was a bed wetter too. My Mom would FREAK OUT. So I took the laid back approach. She was responsible for getting everything cleaned up, that was it. Hang in there.:)

Tammie said...

theresa: either our girls could be best of friends, or else mortal enemies who should never meet. and i never thought about that---i should just think of the specialist as a free baby sitter.

Tammie said...

kash: i totally appreciate your comment about bed wetting because im clueless about it. i never did it and neither did my son, so i was getting frustrated by the whole thing, but i guess it really is more normal than i think. but yeah, the clean up SUCKS, and maybe i should make lucy take more of a part in that aspect of it.

Stephanie Meade Gresham said...

I certainly know what you mean about being irked when parents use the excuses about their kids being "too smart" or "not challenged enough" in kindergarten when behavior is an issue.

On the other hand, you're most certainly NOT a shitty parent. And I know this because I agree with you quite often on your posts about parenting and stuff...and I'm not a shitty parent- so there.

Furthermore (I love saying that), the chatty ones are more fun to be around. I know from first grader is always coming home with a "yellow" warning for talking or distracting others. I just keep thinking she'll be on Broadway or something when she grows up. Lookameeee!

On the peeing thing... maybe put the pullups in your room? If she needs one in the night, she'd have to come wake you up, but at least you can keep track of how many she's using on a more pro-active basis? And certainly ask her to help change the sheets. That shit's for the birds!

Anonymous said...

Rough week!! Poor you. I can sympathize with the Boy -- I had terrible math problems, even though I was technically "smart enough" to understand. My brain just doesn't work that way. And the girl... I don't have kids so I don't know what to say to that except that you are DEFINITELY NOT a shitty parent! Good lord, no. Some kids just could use a little extra coaching or whatever. I'm with Theresa: view the coach as extra help around the house! :)
(love the squirrel header!)

Anonymous said...

PS: that was me -- my computer is being weird. -Daph

Tammie said...

you all are leaving such helpful comments and i so appreciate it. i've been putting off writing about this for a while because the whole thing just made me feel kind of cruddy.

steph: thank you! and i agree, our chatty children will be thanking us in their academy awards speeches. :) and yep, i hid the pull ups so now she cant find them.

daph: i'm horrible at math still. i can do all the basics of course, but the more advanced stuff leaves me dazed. i feel bad for the boy because when he asks me for help i cant do it AT ALL.

Bridge said...

So many hugs to you! I am in similar boats with my kids- the boy with algebra and a kinder who has just made a shift into being more "cooperative" at school.
The boy's algebra recently rose miraculously before baseball season. I think I might take a freshman college algebra class to help the younger kids when they get to Algebra since I cannot even begin to make sense of it right now.
I used to pray that I just kept from crying at Parent Teacher conferences. I am not always successful with that crying thing- what they think really matters to me- and they can really rock my world. I wish you and I could walk to the brew pub for a pint and mom therapy session.
p.s. my middle daughter wore no underwear to school and ripped a hole in her pants today and my husband is at war with a neighbor about where he parks his truck. see?! we do need a beer date.

Jessie at Luna Pacifica said...

I would highly suggest that you research gifted children. The traits and qualities that gifted children have--and the struggles--really sound like your girl.

(Gifted children are often diagnosed as hyperactive.)

Sorry for a choppy response. I'm tired!

hester said...

Yes..a tough week indeed. I hate how maths is kind of logical and sometimes fun in a puzzle type of way until half way through highschool and then it becomes illogical and messy and my brain just didn't get it. My classmates hated me for asking questions like "But what IS sine? What does it mean?". So I truly sympathise with the Boy.

You are definitely definitely not a shitty parent. You sound pretty amazing and balanced to all of us. Take comfort in knowing that the Girl is smart and strong and won't let the world push her around. I had a (childless) friend visit for 5 hours today and Greta interrupted and demanded my attention for nearly the whole time. My friend was a bit taken aback and I felt like a bit of a failure. Oh well...tomorrow is another day. Good luck with the stuttering and the bedwetting. I reckon she'll grow out of both when she is ready. (Sorry for the lengthy comment)

Anonymous said...

Oh man this is awesome. That part in parentheses about parents saying the kids are bored and blah, blah ought to be made into a poster! (seriously) My daughter (third grade), talks non stop while at home, even in her sleep. School however she is very quiet and holds back. I'm hating myself right now because of how angry I get during homework time. My daughter struggles a bit with math and I find myself thinking horrible things when she continues to struggle with the same concepts over and over. I definitely feel like a shitbag parent these days.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

I have no children so have no advice but I will share this.

I had to be evaluated when I was a kid because I was a chatter - surprise?! - I also had a stutter and a speech impediment.

A year ago I received some of my old report cards and other documents etc. I found the therapist said that my brain was moving faster than I could get the words out and that my stutter came and went because of this fact more than it being a true strutter. Does that hold water? I don't know but it made me laugh. the word smart was always used. (what did they know!)

While I didn't disrupt class per se I was told to be quiet a lot. There were a lot of "talks too much in class" on my reports. I know, no surprise to you huh Tammie? In my career of choice it sure helped me! :-)

sitting on the mood swing at the playground said...

I would love a behavior coach to spend an hour at our house a week. A free spirit who thinks for herself--fabulous--I would think that alone is terrific parenting.

Right now I would rather tackle Algebra than hidden used nightime pullups.

victoria said...

aww, you're a great mom! Lucy sounds like an Indigo Child. She's adorable, I bet she scores some points for that! :-)

Tammie said...

bridge: you have no idea! my husband also had a war with a neighbor regarding parking. what is up with that? too funny.

anon: my daughter talks in her sleep too! there are some days when i literally hear her voice morning, noon, and night. also, i think horrible things throughout the day about my children. i think its more common than we think. :)

hester: ive been feeling like a failure a lot too. hang in there.

devorelebeaumonstre. said...

I'm having a giveaway on my blog for a pretty ring from bobbins & bits if you'd like to check it out. :) x

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

Poor you....From my experience, it's the girl who will give you that run for the money, so to speak. I'm still getting that "run" from my 17 year old. I'm literally counting the days until I can drop her off at college. I would love to sit and gab face-to-face with you someday. Oh these trials and tribulations.

Penny said...

She sounds a lot like Eli too! He never.shuts.up and we know he is smart but gets in trouble at pre school for not staying on task and distracting the other kids! He starts kindergarten in the fall so we are just hoping he doesn't get kicked out! Eli also tries to talk so fast and so much sometimes he just says the same word 10 times in a row like a record skipping!

I think these kids will make great is just getting them there....

Dani said...

I teach kindergarten children every day, all day. From what you are describing, your girl does not need a behavior coach. She sounds like she would be one of my star students.

I have two kids now that I could write a book about.

One pulls out his hair and eyelashes and hits himself in the head when he's angry. This is better than the alternative, which is he beats the shit out of someone. I check his backpack every day for weapons and he goes everywhere with me for the other students' safety. Yes. He's 5.

The other child sings Michael Jackson songs at the top of her lungs and does head spins...all during our learning time on the rug. She will bark, stick out her tongue, yell at others, and all manner of disruptive behavior.

So, no. You aren't a shitty parent. And your girl is chatty. If I were her teacher I'd thank my lucky stars.