2006-01-27 - 5:21 a.m.
YAH ! I just checked my direct deposit and I have earned enough to both pay my attorney, re-enroll the little girls in Preschool at the town which starts the new Activity Class next week and runs it until Feb 20th, AND ALSO send out a check to my BRO!
I am also excited to be taking a day trip today with all the little ones to Buffalo as it is a day off school for Sadie. We'll visit with Katerina and Soren for a few hours then head back home. I have Christmas gifts from some of Westely's relatives to give them!
There is a teacher training this morning. A speaker is coming to Sadie's school at 8:15 AM to talk about how to work with kids who are ASPERGERS or have AUTISM in coping with transition and changes in routine!
I laughed as I read that immediately after rifling off an e-mail to WESTELY in which I talked about those very topics in relation to KAtie! I was discussing how the change of STOPPING PRESCHOOL adversely affected her! I would LOVE to be able to sneak in to the lecture! (But not at all possible)
In discussing the importance of preschool with him Westely actually said he thought she WOULD benefit from a GOOD SCHOOL. HE said he would be willing to send her to one of the very best schools here! I was floored! I said "WHAT??? YOU Tell me this now after I have been arguing with you and you won't fork over the measly amount for the cheapest program I could find anywhere???"
He said in response "Yes I won't pay for that. Its a waste of money- Its basically babysitting. All they do is arts and crafts. Its not school. I'll pay for a place with a REAL curriculum."
And he named the school he would like to send her to. Of course they have a wait list, and I am willing to bet he TOTALLY underestimates tuition. He also said he would pay for KAtie, but not Raitlin as he thinks she shouldn't even go to school yet. I hadn't mentioned my call to the PRESCHOOL that was running the ad for a teacher's assistant. I need to discuss that with him, but I don't anticipate he'll be that interested unless he is totally impressed by the school.
I swear he is such a snob sometimes! I told him so in my e-mail in which I said I think the PRESCHOOL she has been attending IS A GOOD program that is under-utilized in our community where people ASSUME it is so cheap in order to enable access to all that it therefore must be substandard! The thing is, the teachers there ARE CERTIFIED in EArly childhood education. The one started the program over 10 years ago when her daughter was in PRESCHOOL. At that time the teacher GAVE UP a job with a district TO STAY HOME. She started the PRE K with the town in an effort to be home with her daughter while providing a few hours a day of socialization and PRE K activity. She knows what the hell she is doing in the class! She has lots of experience and is terriffic! She BEGGED me not to stop sending Katie as she RECOGNIZED her "special needs" yet ALSO has the tact and good communication of CAREFULLY sharing her input with me (NOT KNOWING THAT if she told me she things Katie might have TROUBLE in school LATER if we don't keep her in a socialized setting now that I WOULDN"T BE SURPRISED TO HEAR IT!) She did say that she thought some kids just need that place and space of their own and then they can thrive and do well. She did say that KAtie WAS DOING WELL and benefitted from coming to PRE K activity Class WITHOUT her siblings. She said everything in a Positive manner to encourage me to keep her in the program SHORT of telling me she thinks Katie may be a bit DIFFERENT and IDENTIFIABLE as a child with "Special needs" THAT's OK Though as the longer I can NOT HAVE TO BE TOLD THAT the better as that just indicates that we are doing a decent job as parents of addressing her needs.
But I DO BELIEVE keeping Katie involved in social settings is REALLY INTREGAL to her present and future success! SHe in fact HAD A HARD TIME the past few weeks with being cooperative in going to the busstop for SADIE. (TODAY WE WERE IN FACT LATE AGAIN AND AFTER A GOOD WEEK AND A HALF OF KATIE IMPROVING I DID DRIVE HER AS IT WAS PARTLY MY FAULT! HAD IT BEEN ONLY KATIES FAULT WE WOULD HAVE WALKED TO SCHOOL! BUT KATIE ONLY MISBEHAVED AND HELD OUT GETTINg READY AFTER WE WERE ALREADY LATE AND SHE KNEW IT, AND AFTER I HAD TAKEN A PHONE CALL!)
The call today that I took which I deemed important was from the local children's librarian who called to talk to me about YESTERDAY's story hour experience with Katie and Raitlin.
I was apprechiative that she did call me to talk about this and offer some assistance. Yesterday after the story hour she commented, "A tough day!" and I OPENED myself up to her input by asking HER if Raitlin's behavior had been TOO DISTRACTING and if I should have removed her from the room EARLIER. I thought it the courteous thing to do- to ask to get a sense of what the librarian's threshold and limits are! (Sadie at one point laid down on her belly when listening, but I didn't re-direct her to sit as the other kids were as the only spot left on the rug where she HAD tried to sit happened to be OUT OF THE LINE OF VISION of the book! She COULDN'T SEE the book being read- she SHE MOVED! ALL The kids sit on the perimeter of the rug on an animal that adorns it. She was at the far left of the semi-circle of children, and just out the range of where the book the librarian held could be seen! So I hadn't re-directed her for that but was aware that when another girl moved her butt forward, off the animal that HER MOM had re-directed her! AI even thought her mom was a bit OVER THE TOP nitpicky and thought to myself "These are THREE YEAR OLDS!" I mean, its one thing to expect SCHOOL APPROPRIATE behavior in a 5 year old, but I think in this world of UBERPARENTS with only one kid on average that the expectations at a library story hour are just a bit much for the developmental abilities of ANY THREE year old! I really think all those who are made to sit like that at age three just might end up neurotic OCD types--- and HEY THAT MEANS THEY WILL MAKE GREAT LIBRARIANS!
But I digress....
I swear the WHOLE problem is that NO ONE HAS MORE THAN ONE OR TWO KIDS ANYMORE! SO when I go anywhere WITH FOUR it is just SO OVEWEALMING for the rest of the world!
Katie ALSO had a moment of deciding she just didn't want to do what was being directed by the librarian. Now I know KATIE and I know there is really no point in a power struggle over whether she is going to jump up and shake her wiggles out with RAFFI if she darn well doesn't feel like it in the moment. I also know when to recognize ODD Oppostional Defiant Disorder which is a thing often found with some ADHD kids who end up IDENTIFIED. I also know that while medication may be a great thing for me as an ADULT that once identified the rest of the world starts to DRUG these three and four year olds for not sitting still and for not shaking their wiggles out with RAFFI when they darn well just don't feel like it.
At some level I UNDERSTAND why.... but moreso I think THERE IS SOMETHING FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG about insisiting that these issues are SO SEVERE that such little ones need to be medicated and that there is intolerence for different social development among children.
I feel like WHERE THE HELL CAN KIDS ACT LIKE KIDS AND BE ACCEPTED?
Now the truth is I KNOW the answer!
Another aside... in the Early Childhood Reasearch Center where KAterina and Soren went years ago I hit it off with the only other mom who actually LET HER KIDS PLAY IN RAIN PUDDLES! It seemed a shocking and disturbing thing to the other parents who found the puddles such a source of stress! But at the time it was the funniest thing- I WAITED for everyone to leave (or so I thought) AND THEN brought out my kids to tromp and play (so as to not cause CHAOS with the other kids and their mom's who DID NOT Allow this!) and then we met THE OTHER MOM and her kids who DID THE SAME THING! SO we had many puddle hoppin good times together from then on. Westley and Sadie and I even traveled and stayed with this family once. Ooops... main point- they are a RIDICULOUSLY structured ORTHODOX JEWISH family in some ways yet let the kids play and have fun at appropriate times!
BAck to the library issue: SO the librarian REALLY wants to share her expert parenting wisdom. You see SHE ASSUMED that I NEVER address behavior with my children! (DESPITE THE FACT I REMOVE RAITLIN REPEATEDLY FOR INAPPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) She ASSUMES that I don't address the OTHER THINGS that SHE THOUGHT I should have handled with removing from the room: like the sprawling, and the excited commenting about the content of the story being read which Raitlin occassionally does.
But what she fails to realize is that there is a fundamental philosophy difference about what we each think is ACCEPTABLE in a three year old. And that doesn't mean I won't ADDRESS the behavior just because I don't Take the kids out at EACH transgression. I told her on the phone I could do that- but warned that to do so would necessitate that ALL FOUR of them leave which could be EVEN MORE DISRUPTIVE.
So she kind of got that catch 22. I said "IF its really important to you that Raitlin sit on her bottom we can address that behavior- and I would guess that after about three weeks of removing her she would get it and then sit still from then on." ANd then I pointed out we COULD ALSO then work on the talking out-- which could take ANTOHER FEW WEEKS. (AS we couldn't work on that CONCURRENTLY-- as you see Raitln would already have been removed from the room)
So in a sense I am PLACATING the libraran and doing a little experiment. We'll see just how helpful her recommendations are. YOU see I am going to PRETEND that I haven't had almost a dozen years working with people with disabilities (many kids) I will just PRETEND I haven't had a dozen years of experience parenting.
I will ACT like I am oblivious that she THINKS she is TEACHING ME.... and ACT like she is SUPPORTING ME AND OFFERING assistance! So I told her that I am going to tell Raitlin and Katie that we have a meeting with the Children's librarian for her to go over the rules of storyhour with them, as they didn't seem to understand them and that their behavior was not acceptatble so they are not welcome back to story hour UNTIL THEY MEET HER TO LEARN THE RULES and them commit to trying to follow them.
I will do that. I will meet her as I set up next TUE afternoon.
But next WED I will go to story hour, as we have often done on WED.
And the fact that we haven't been there in a month, and the simple fact of this change in routine and the kids being our of practice which is THE REAL REASON for the so called "bad day" will just be lost on her. So the fact that with consistency and routine the kids will NATURALLY get the rules, but they FORGOT as its been a while WILL BE LOST ON HER... and the fact that their behavior would have improved and in a few weeks WHETHER SHE INTERVENED OR NOT they would be BEHAVING as they SEE the expectations being met by OTHER KIDS and the SAME EXPECTATIONS will have been REPEATED and REINFORCED by me etc... will be lost on her.
So I will LET HER THINK her intervention was helpful. I figure it can't hurt.
And AT WORST she'll give some horrible advice and I will then have the pleasure of FOLLOWING it--
So I will set the tone from the beginning that I am willing to TRY HER SUGGESTIONS, but will be CLEAR where I have NOT DONE things because I don't think they will be useful in the long run. So if she indeed wants the kids to be expected to be perfect and wants me to remove them at the first instance- I will do that!
I see this REALLY AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH THIS NEW CHILDREN'S LIBRARIAN a few things.
MAybe she'll realize that WITH FOUR KIDS you CANNNOT DO THE SAME THINGS YOU CAN WITH ONE
MAYBE SHE'll come to APPRECHIATE my methods when she sees that her suggestions are going to inevitably result in TOTAL DISRUPTION Of her whole story hour. I mean I KNOW THAT WHEN I TELL THE FOUR GIRLS WE ARE LEAVING, because of Katie's and Raitlin's issues IT CAN BE NO LESS THAN A 5 to 10 minute process AT BEST and it is more likely a 15 minute process when someone has a misbehavior. THat REALLY WILL BE A DISTURBANCE during story hour! MULTIPLE WAILING SCREAMING CHILDREN
But the thing about it is-- the kids will end the experience no worse off.. They will get over it! And so , although the librarian and all those moms of one are in for a shock if they insist I expect my kids to be OH SO PERFECT and want me to be as finicky as they are--- we'll still end up as healthy and non neurotic. They might be a bit tramatized though! IT might be a bit much for them to see mayhem when they insist I TRY their methods.
We'll see.... Maybe I am wrong and the girls will be angels. But somehow I don't think so. I think it more likely that when I am busy with one the other will go off. That's what happens. And in this weird place NO OTHER MOM has ever offered to assist! That's the odd thing! In VA there were TONS of large familys and they all had this empathetic sense to volunteer to help out and everyone did so with each other! I never went to the library and had a problem as if I had to take one kid screaming out to the car the other moms said "I'll keep and eye on so and so" So it was REALLY EASY to be proactive! We spent many story hours where KAtie and I were in the car while Sadie stayed inside. Then later, Raitlin and I were in the car while Sadie and Katie stayed for the end. It was EASY to remove the offending child and the other moms as well as the librarians were very comfortable with that.
The other big issue here is that the librarians and I guess other parents ARE SO FREAKED that at times I have taken one kid out of the room to discipline and enforce limits and HAVE LEFT the others in the story hour room (which I think no big deal as THEY ARE WELL BEHAVED And I CAN SEE THEM FROM THE CRACK IN THE DOOR FROM THE ADJACENT ROOM!)
They are freaked I let the 15 month old toddle about and look at books and puzzles without her attached to my nipple or hip.
The parents here in NY are just SO MUCH MORE PARANOID than the ones in VA! The kids HAVE MUCH LESS FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT in public places.
Maybe it is the difference between rural and urban. MAybe its a difference between even 10 years ago and now. (I don't recall this being such an issue with Katerina and Soren)
So I guess it comes down different parenting styles.
And the librarian hasn't yet recognized its really NEVER a good idea to try to become involved in other people's parenting! SHe THINKS she is outlining some reasonable expectations for what she should be able to expect behavior to be of the children going to her story hour. I am SURE I will AFFIRM all of those REASONABLE expectations as GREAT GOALS to teach kids! But in reality, as I pointed out to her- its just like CHURCH or any other social setting, At times it is indeed MORE DISRUPTIVE to INSIST on those expectations to be met.
There are two opposing values at play here as well: The expectation that as a parent one should NEVER leave a child out of arms reach, and that as a parent one should ALWAYS OFFER guidance and re-direction and consequnces for inappropriate behavior. THe reason they are opposing values is the fact of having more than one child! When having mutliple childre, to ALWAYS offer a consequnce NECESSITATES EITHER LEAVING THE OTHERS unattended momentarily (that is unattended as in not in the arms length of the natural parent!), OR BEING TOTALLY DISRUPTIVE of the whole social function in order to impose a consequence for the child.
I have resolved those opposing values by AT TIMES leaving some kids while discipling the other one, and at times letting go of the desire to address a behavior IN THE MOMENT so as to be present FOR THE OTHER CHILDREN and so as to NOT DISRUPT the activity.
But that is clearly not been acceptable.
SO I think it will be funny to see what suggestions are offered.
ANd if indeed there are none useful as I expect I think then we'll have to see what transpires next!
AS WESTELY recommneded I am adding one other thing to my RESEARCH list:
CAn you see us being asked to LEAVE a story hour due to a three year old talking out or laying on the rug? As I told WESTELY, Can you IMAGINE me REFUSING and telling them that we have a LEGAL RIGHT to remain so long as my child't behavior has not posed a threat of harm to self or others? Can you see me encouraging them to just TRY TO CALL The Police to see if they REALLY CAN KICK US OUT??
I have envisioned it.
I mean... what should one expect of a library other than it being a fount of knowledge and a place of excited learning!
I may have an opportunity to expand the knowledge of the librarians - not only about parenting, but about legal rights of taxpayers!
I ALREADY helped the local town office to learn about that after I called to inquire about looking at the books of NY STATE LAW. They now know that they have to allow access to that material. (Although no one else ever asked!) I haven't been back to look at the materials yet as I was waiting for Preschool to resume again as I PREFER to have only three kids in tow rather than four.
OH- but JUST IN CASE I AM WRONG... and JUST IN CASE MY PARENTING REALLY COULD IMPROVE... I did look up some parenting and child development books and am seeing if I can borrow them from the library! And I think it ironic that this whole thing likely started with the OTHER UBER LIBRARIAN who was the idiot who tried to rush me off the TEEN computers into the childrens room when I HAD to use the computer one day a few weeks ago as I couldn't upload a picture from home of a shortwave radio I sold on E-BAY. I got $175 for that radio! That is what is paying for Preschool this round! I was at the library then with discontented children who were upset when I was on the computer and the librarian basically came over with her oh so helpful parenting advice of "Are you just going to ignore her?"
I INDEED HAD INTENDED ON IGNORING THE ATTENTION SEEKING BEHAVIOR WHICH WAS BEING DONE TO GET ME OFF THE COMPUTER I NEEDED ALL OF FIVE MINUTES ON!
That day WAS A FIASCO...as I was encouraged to go into the children's room , which had a FILTER SO I COULDN'T ACCESS E-BAY, and then had to cart all the kids AWAY from the puzzles- BACK to the teen computers... which didn't work well, as it understandably meet with resistance! So I left the kids there with the puzzles and ran out to the computers (which are in SIGHT of the puzzle area-- but not within and arms reach! OH MY!! NEGLECT???? I SWEAR THAT's what the idiot librarian who ushered me into the children's room in the FIRST PLACE thought! So then I get the photo up fast, and go back to tend to kids. BUT THEN AFTER WE ARE ALL READY TO LEAVE IT OCCURS TO ME THAT WHEN I REVISITED THE E-BAY SITE THAT SECOND TIME on the teen computer THAT MY PEROSAL INFO HAD AUTOMATICALLY APPEARED ON THE PAGE! SO THE *^&&*** IDIOT KNOW IT ALL UBER LIBRARIAN HAD THE DAMN MACHINES set up TO SAVE ALL pages and cache them -- WHICH PUBLIC LIBRARYS GENERALLY SHOULD AVOID DOING! So I SAT DOWN AT THE STUPID MACHINE YET A FOURTH TIME-- SOLELY TO GET TO THE SITE AND CLEAR IT OF MY PERSONAL INFO And RE SET IT UP AGAIN with nonsense so the next person to visit E-BAY on the public machine doesn't automatically end up on my account! When I sat down THE FOURTH TIME, is when the youngest really protested and when the idiot librarian came over and asked in horror if I was going to ignore her!
I responded by looking at the teary eyed librarian and saying empathetically "You look really upset! You look like you have tears in your eyes. Let me give you a hug to make you feel better"
I Guess that was a bit over the top! But it was so damn clear that she was accusing me of being an umempathetic parent ignoring the needs of my child that my passive aggressiveness just kicked in!
And THEN I SAID "I'm really sorry if I have upset you. Perhaps we've had a misunderstanding. Why don't you tell me what I have done to upset you so, so that we can clear it up."
She said something about how I had misunderstood her--- OH SO PERHAPS I WAS MISTAKEN IN MY IMPRESSION SHE WAS CALLING ME A SHITTY NEGLECTFUL MOTHER.... hmmmm
Maybe I was mistaken in my impression that she thought she knew more about parenting than me.... hmmm.... Maybe LEsbian uberlibrarians REALLY DO KNOW MORE ABOUT PARENTING THAN ME???
MAYBE WHEN A PARENT HAS SOMETHING THEY JUST HAVE TO GET DONE AS ITS IN THE BEST LONG TERM INTEREST OF THE KIDS THEY SHOULD JUST GIVE UP And instead PLACATE the children by ALLOWING MALADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR OF CHILDREN TO GET WHAT THE CHILDREN WANT.
MAYBE BY RESPONDING TO SCREAMING THE CHILD WILL LEARN NOT TO SCREAM
MAYBE I AM MISGUIDED IN MY INSISTANCE THAT THE CHILDREN TREAT ME WITH RESPECT AND TALK TO ME IN A REASONABLE MANNER AND TONE OF VOICE IF THEY WANT ME TO RESPOND.
But then again-- MAYBE NOT... PERHAPS IT HASN'T OCCURRED TO THOSE EXPERTS THAT AT TIMES IT TAKES WORKING THROUGHT THE TOUGH MOMENT IF YOU DON"T WANT TO ENCOURAGE THEM OVER AND OVER AGAIN!
MAybe the librarian doesn't realize that by NOT FEEDING INTO my daughter's desire to run up and down the ramp, and by not allowing her to play in the libary that it indeed compelled her to scream... but that the other alternative was TO ALLOW HER TO USE THE RAMP AND STAIRS LIKE A JUNGLE GYM. SHE EVEN LIKES TO CATAPULT FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER AND WILL TRY TO DO SO WHEREVER SHE CAN -- IF ALLOWED! AND THEREFORE IN ORDER TO GET MY STUFF DONE WHICH WOULD HAVE TAKEN ALL OF FIVE MINUTES HAD SHE NOT INTERFERED TO BEGIN WITH, but INSTEAD TOOK AT LEAST THREE TIMES AS LONG AND ALOT MORE TIME THAN THAT IN THE TOTAL AGGREGATE OF MOVING FROM ONE AREA TO ANOTHER which CONFUSED AND ANNOYED THE KIDS... THat I JUST HAD NO OTHER CHOICE THAN TO RIDE OUT THE MOMENTARY DISCONTENT SO THAT I COULD GET THE INCOME TO GET THESE KIDS BACK IN PRESCHOOL WHICH WILL DO WONDERS FOR THEIR SOCIALIZATION SKILLS!
BUT MOST OF ALL, MAYBE THE LIBRARIAN DOESN'T REALIZE that UNLESS A CHILD IS BEING HARMED ITS REALLY NOT HELPFUL TO INTERFERE IN PARENTING.
AND MAYBE SHE DOESN'T REALIZE THAT AT 16 months IT IS NOT UNUSUAL FOR KIDS TO SCREAM IN PROTEST.... As at that age they have limited language. SO ThIS NORMAL developmental behavior isn't really such a disturbing one. AND MAYBE she doesn't get it that NOT GIVING INTO THE DEMAND of a toddler is DIFFERENT from IGNORING A CHILD! Maybe she doesn't get that a 16 month old IS NOT A BABY.... and indeed is at the age where they are not harmed by learning some social norms. (BABIES ARE INDEED TOO YOUNG FOR THAT!)
But maybe- just maybe, its librarian's like that one that pick out those amazing documentarys that I love to find. Parents certainly don't have the time to find all the fascinating offerings of the counter culture alternative media types. So I have to understand there is indeed a place in the world for us all... and a library is USUALLY as fine a sanctuary as any for those smart folk who have no clue about children-- I just wish THEY WOULD STAY AWAY FROM THE DAMN CHILDREN'S AREA !