Friday, 19 October 2012

Life in the School Lane!

It's been a real whirlwind here of late.  I wrote about some of the reasons why in my last post "Dreams of What Might Have Been"

The biggest cause of change, and resulting chaos, here has been Katie starting school.  I can't quite believe my little girl is in Year R now.  Where has the time gone?  I have been looking at pictures of her when she was 2 and 3 with her little bob and she looked so young and small.  Now she is growing like the proverbial weed.

I was warned that Year R is a baptism of fire.  I was prepared (mentally at least I thought) that my little lady was going to be tired and be needing earlier than usual bedtimes.  I was even prepared for a worsening of the witching hour (or two).  It's been that, and more, though.

Katie is tired. There's no question of that.  But does being overly tired lead to her falling asleep earlier, or even at her normal bedtime, though?  Oh no!! My daughter is messing about until 9pm some nights, unable to mentally calm down sufficiently to fall asleep; getting out of bed; appearing downstairs; running around upstairs.  Tiredness has also brought with it major rudeness and belligerence and refusal to do anything when asked without the retort "Shut Up Big Fat!" attached to it and hands over her ears!  I'm not sure where she's got the "fat" thing from because we are careful not to even mention that word in our house.  She's twigged it can be offensive though (heaven help me when she learns the "F" word!) Our house has been renamed "Meltdown City".  Katie can go from happy to total meltdown in Guinness Book of Records time.  One minute she is fairly OK and then, if something is said that she doesn't agree with, she is on the floor screaming and kicking and shouting and crying.  It's quite phenomenal (if a little disconcerting; slightly dangerous; and a little bit funny) to watch.  It doesn't help that Daddy comes home from work just before bedtime so all the work I have put into getting Katie relaxed and quiet and ready for bed is blown away in 5 seconds flat.  On the plus side, Katie often sleeps a bit later in the morning than she used to.  I do a fairly good job of picking my battles but, some days, there are just far too many to choose from!

On top of the tiredness, the other big issue is that Katie is missing me. The school day is long compared to life at pre-school. She is one of the older children so she is already full-time.  She is used to being at pre-school until 1pm.  Being at school until 3.15pm is a long day for her.  She is missing the life we had when we used to be together and go to play with friends in the afternoons. She is missing the stability that she had grown to know and trust. She had started doing a ballet class at her school but I have now agreed to stop this because she didn't want to be away from me for an extra hour a day.  There is so much change for this little person to cope with.  She has had to get to know lots of new people; teachers and friends.  She has become more clingy with me and has started rejecting Daddy again. It's almost like she feels safer being openly angry with Daddy because that is familiar territory than being angry with me.  We are having lots of cuddle times and snuggling up watching TV together or reading a book or playing a game after school.  Just trying to keep it all relaxed. She is also having school dinners, which has been a big (and majorly positive) change because she is now eating all sorts of foods she wouldn't entertain eating before (she copies the choices of one of her friends and now seems to have vegetarian things every day!!).

Katie had to have a day off school this week because she had spent Sunday with the Upchucks (there is a tummy bug going around the school which I have also now succumbed to).  Monday was the best day we've had together in ages.  She didn't feel particularly unwell so she helped me do housework and we sorted out her playroom.  She was polite and friendly and a real delight to have around.  It became apparent the following day when she went back to school that she had twigged that being unwell meant time off school, which in turn meant....time at home with Mummy.  I think I was being courted on Monday.  On Tuesday Katie was sent home from school after not quite reaching the toilet in time due to residue effects of the tummy bug.  The "delight of a child" that was at home on Monday certainly didn't come home from school on Tuesday.  She was a right royal grumpy-nut and hyperactive little wotsit!  On Wednesday Katie said she didn't want to do ballet anymore and didn't want to go to school.  She asked if she would come home if she had a pain in her tummy.  I twigged what was going on so agreed. after a bit of thought, that she could stop ballet for the time being but that coming home from school when totally well was not an option.  I highlighted to her (as I did on Tuesday) that being at home during the school day meant laying quietly on the sofa and that I wouldn't be playing games with her because I had my normal household jobs to do.  It would appear that being allowed to stop ballet has actually had the desired effect because she has remained at school now for the rest of the week (although did ask to stay home this morning).

There is no change to Katie's after-school behaviour and I suspect we will need to dig in with that for some time yet. If there are any ideas that people have for helping her calm this mental hyperactivity down I would be delighted to hear them. It would seem that being physically tired does not mean that Katie will simply fall asleep (I've already tried that one!). On the plus side, Katie is very well behaved at school.  Her peg has been on the Rainbow for the past week and apparently she even helped tidy up the other day (really? that was actually Katie?).

I will just add a little comment on how much I've had to get my head around since Katie started school as well.  Things like actually getting to school on time (we've not been late once yet which is a major miracle for me!). Which days she needs to return library books and homework (yes homework already!).  Who to speak to in the school about this, that and the other.  How to help with writing and reading practise. Not to mention having to face get to know the playground mums (I can foresee another blog post about that at some point!).

Just to end on another smiley note though, Katie brought home her first list of words to learn yesterday and she had already learnt them all when we went through them last night.  She is so excited about learning her letters and now plays "I-spy" like a pro.  She is keen to create words and practise her counting.  I feel so excited watching her starting to learn to read.  I can't wait until the amazing world of reading and writing and all that it brings is opened to her.

P.S. I should also note that I haven't made any progress whatsoever with my planned list of things I was going to achieve once Katie started school full-time (well other than ironing during the day and doing the odd bit of yoga).  I think I actually needed a bit of wind down time if I'm honest........ 


11 comments:

  1. How about foot massage after school - would she go for that for even just 5 mins? Or some homeopathic remedy in some orange juice.

    Re the playground mums things - I look forward to your post as we'll have that to come.

    x

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    1. She's loving the foot masssages Sezz!!! Good idea! xxx

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  2. Oh it's tiring for you too isn't it?
    Mini is often still mentally wide awake loooong after his body has had enough. And it gets worse as the week goes on with Friday the worst as he really is tired by then but excited about the weekend, and generally bouncy! We haven't had many as late as 9pm though...

    No tips with the tiredness I'm afraid - we're still working through it and he's in Year 1 now.

    It's lovely seeing them learn though isn't it. I love it when Mini reads to me...and he's always so proud of himself too!


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    1. Oh tiring it is Vicki!! LOL My brain is wired as well half the time. Friday is gymnastics day here so she's physically exhausted after 2 hours after school but then really excited as well. I guess we have to ride it out and see where we end up. I beat myself up too much for not handing it all well enough. I'm sure there's a magic trick that someone's not telling me about LOL xxx

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  3. Really feel for you with the tired but wired thing. School has probably been one of the most challenging parts of the whole adoption game for us (sorry!).
    I know mine are older, but when J struggled so badly with transition to secondary school the school allowed him to do some half days. Made a big difference to his energy levels and gave us more time for quiet bonding. Also gave him the message that despite him being challenging at home I was choosing to spend more time with him. Just a thought..
    Hope things calm down soon.

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    1. Thanks Sally. I have been considering that and am torn between that feeling and Katie thinking that she can have time off school and whether that might then bring more problems. I have been toying with the idea of asking to take her out for one afternoon a week for the coming term. Will think on it some more as I don't want to undo all the attachment work we have spent the past few years doing with her. She keeps saying how much she misses me :( xxx

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  4. Hi, I've just found your blog as we are considering adoption to add to our family. I've read it from start to finish and you must be so proud of your little girl and how she has developed over time. I also have a live wire child who gets faster as she gets more tired and we use sensory play to calm her. Our favourite is rice, coloured with some food colouring to make it purple and then adding some essential lavender oil. Then let her play, pour, make letters and relax. Lyndsay

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    1. Hiya Lyndsay. Great to "meet" you here and thank you for your suggestion. What a great idea. Will definitely try as my little lady is totally bonkers today LOL Good luck with your own adoption journey. Would love to hear how it all goes. Gem x

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  5. Thanks for linking this up to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out on education Gem. x

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  6. my youngest struggles with being awake even when he's really tired. I have found that a warm bath followed by a massage helps him sleep. Hope things have improved by now and you've settled into your school routine.

    Thanks for linking up with the weekly adoption shout out.

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    1. Yes we are much more settled now Sarah. I've been using the Sleep Balm that Vicki at The Boys Behaviour recommended. Katie loves it and it really helps her settle down. She still refuses to accept that she is tired though - even when yawning and mid full tired-induced meltdown!

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