Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I can't believe that it was just a month or so ago when Linda and I went on vacation and got a chance to relax and get away from the stress of everything. While I'm glad we went, and got to do a lot of cool things and eat a lot of good food, from a stress perspective, I might as well just have stayed home. Sometimes life sucks that way.

The object of constant consternation in our home is my daughter who just got herself kicked out of daycare because she won't stop gnawing on her classmates. In all actuality, she wasn't kicked out of school, we removed her, for two reasons. First is that the school's way to treat the biting was to call us every time she bit so that we could come get her and take her home for the rest of the day. Seeing how she usually bites in the morning, we are essentially paying for her to be home all day long. The second reason we removed her was that perhaps a change of venue is what she needs to get it through her thick skull that she can't bite people.

The aforementioned daycare strategy wasn't working, so we had little choice in the matter. To make matters worse, or better depending on your viewpoint, she doesn't do this at home, not with her brother, not with either of us, not when she has friends over for play dates. Given that she is three years of age, we've been told that we can't punish her after the fact because she won't associate the crime with the time, so given that it only happens at school, we can't punish her for it come 4:30 w. If we could, I guarantee that it would stop because girlfriend is well acquainted with the corner at home and that has nipped most things in the bud. We told her school that she needs a firm hand, due to her stubborn will, but to them that means they talk to her about how we don't bite our friends and then they release her back into the wild, visions of steak sauce drenched classmates dancing in her head.

The irony of the situation is that she's still not eating, so her classmates are pretty much the only things she will bite.

When daycare calls to tell us that she has bitten, one of us, usually Linda, goes and gets her, reads her the riot act, brings her home, has her sit in the corner for an hour and then, well, that's about all we can do. It isn't healthy or easy to be angry at your kid all day, and I don't know if it would do anything anyway. On Friday, I pretty much ignored her as she played while I worked, making sure that she wasn't getting into any trouble, and she was fairly happy, even with the restrictions I placed on where she could go and what she could do. All that has happened is that Abby has learned that if she bites, she gets to go home, endure some punishment and then is away from school, which she doesn't like in the first place.

Now, I'm not saying that it is the school's job to raise my kid, however at the same time, given that, at this age, the punishment has to be immediate, I'm a little irritated that their way of dealing with things up to this point has been to basically "talk it out" and then offload the problem entirely. I'm even more irritated that we've been paying for her to be at school only to have her come home at 9 in the morning. Our family and our pediatrician seem to think that there's something about the current school that she doesn't like, hence the biting and the going in her pants (she's fully potty trained at home too, by the way) which, while I may agree with, I also think that life is filled with instances of having to be somewhere you'd rather not and the solution isn't to then take a dump in your pants and bite someone. Obviously this logic has to be adjusted for the three year old which can't be reasoned with, but even so, my initial thought is to tell her to just get over it.

Hopefully the new school will either address the biting more directly or she just won't associate those kids with tasty treats and we can stop worrying about her being kicked out. Even with that, it'll still be a pain in the ass as her brother will be at the current daycare for two months, which means two different schools for pick up and drop-off every morning and every afternoon. Plus, her new school costs more and is open less, but given that Ben will be in public school, and treated to a boatload of vacation days, we'd probably have her home anyway when he is to make it easier on all parties involved. Given how poorly he reacted to his new school at the kindergarten registration process, I'm hoping that he doesn't think he can get out of going there by biting other kids because there is no other place to go. Once they leave daycare my days of paying for school are on hiatus until college.

So it's been a stressful time at home, and a time with no real answers. Maybe the new school will help things, maybe it won't. We have an appointment with a developmental pediatrician at the end of the month to see if she's just mean or bat shit crazy to boot, which hopefully we'll be able to cancel because being at the new school will fix things. I'm thinking it won't, and she still doesn't eat much, so even if we have to cancel that appointment, I'm sure having a tube put in her stomach is also down the line, leading to more stress and sleepless nights. On the plus side, it's just sixteen short years before she leaves the house. *sigh*

Add to this the fact that today I started my diet to lose these confounded pounds and you have one stressed and grumpy individual. Usually I'd eat to deal with my stress, but I can't do that, and I have no idea where to buy crack if I even wanted to go that route. Not to play into every psychotic gamer stereotype, but GTA IV helps somewhat. Stealing a motorcycle and practicing wheelies on the airport tarmac is oddly therapeutic, and I don't have to harm anyone in the process. Hooray for nonviolent theft!


Greg said...

An interesting glimpse at what I have to look forward to. Right now, we have a perfect daycare situation, but I'm under no delusions that it will last forever.

I won't delude myself into thinking I have any advice to offer, but I will wish you luck.

Brandon said...

Well, with Ben they were fine because he was a much more easy going kid. If your kid is, for the most part, doing what they're supposed to, this place is fine. It's when things aren't working that their inflexibility becomes an issue. I'm not asking that they beat my kid or anything, just that they put her in the corner when she acts out. That's not asking for much, especially when we know that we've had success with it at home.

Greg said...

Well, if they're not doing what they need to do to keep customers, then screw 'em. They're losing your business. It just sucks that it's such an inconvenience to you.