Hello Korio
22. 10. 2015

So this is a lot of stuff wrapped up into one.

One of the last posts I wrote on my previous site was about how I was spending so much time in the car and it was slowly crushing my will to live. The whole day was broken up into small, barely usable chunks and I was in the car too much, Penny was in the car too much, and I just hated it. I wasn’t getting enough sleep or enough time to do a single gottdanged thing and it just wasn’t a sustainable arrangement. Well, it’s all different now.

Instead of Penny spending 3 mornings a week at an in home care and also 3 hours, 5 days a week in pre-k, she now goes to the daycare attached to the pre-k, 5 days a week. Phil drops her off in the morning, leaving me sleeping (well, it rarely works out that way, but that’s the intent) and she goes to daycare from whenever she arrives – usually around 7 – until 11:30, when they send her in to pre-k. After pre-k, at about 2:30, she goes back to daycare until we pick her up. As a result of this, I’m able to get the 11 hours of sleep per night that I require (I know, it’s a lot, but it’s a whole thing that’s not worth getting into) and I also am able to work a more reasonable schedule as well. I’m happy to be working, we have more money, and she has tons of friends at both daycare and pre-k and is enjoying spending all day playing with other kids.

Of course I’ve had the standard mental crises over the whole thing, alternately being thrilled with the whole arrangement and devastated that I’m going to MISS HER ENTIRE CHILDHOOD because she’s away for the whole day, but it really is for the best. Everything is working much more smoothly, aside from the small detail that a full day of playing is a little much for Penelope, so the couple of hours we do all get to hang out every night are kind of full of tired four year old, and I’m not going to go into any uncharitable descriptions, but you can imagine for yourself a small, hungry, tired person with poor impulse control.

She’s getting to do all kinds of fun things in pre-k and in daycare. She’s gone on some field trips and she has learned all kinds of songs that she sings non-stop, all day every day. Lots of art projects and the like and hey, I’ve found out I’m not sentimental about my kid’s daily art projects, so that’s a positive point in the future of my household and its risk level for saved art avalanches. She also has a Halloween carnival coming up and Phil is going to volunteer to help out with it. Leading up to the Halloween events, they’re having 5 days of themes, you know, the usual stuff. Today was Crazy Sock day.

We picked up some crazy socks for her the other night. They’re knee high Rainbow Dash socks, except they’re for bigger kids, so they’re actually thigh highs on Penelope. Since I like to stay asleep in the morning until I have to get up to work, I try to lay her clothes out the night before. If I don’t, she’ll go to school dressed, but there’s no guarantee she’ll look like a non-hobo. So it’s just easier if I set it out. Last night, I chose an outfit especially to go with the high socks – a straight navy cargo skirt in a heavy sweatshirt material, and a cute lighter blue striped shirt with a little bit of a puffy detail on the shoulders. It was adorable and was going to be super cute with the socks.

This morning, before I started work, Phil messaged me to tell me there was a big spider in the laundry room but he couldn’t get it because it ran under the washing machine. While I was accusing him of leaving me here asleep and alone to die, an email came in from him. As I was opening it, he said, “I saw the clothes you left out for Penny, but I picked out a different skirt instead and then the shirt looked weird so I picked a different one. I sent pictures.” As he was saying that, I opened the email.

Crazy

I have to tell you, I felt faint. I said to him, but I laid out clothes. And he reminded me how Penelope said that one of her teachers said to always wear shorts under your skirts. I remember her saying that, and that’s one of the reasons we own so many skorts, but I picked out her clothes knowing that. I picked out a straight skirt that doesn’t fly up, and her socks come up to her butt anyway. I don’t know if I was more bewildered by his choice, or aggravated that he second-guessed what I’d laid out, as if I hadn’t considered all the information and Penny’s needs. Obviously, neither a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but I did remind him that the way she is dressed reflects on me, not him, whether that’s fair or not. And I know most kids that age dress kind of nuts, and Penny does do her fair share of dressing kind of nuts, but I wanted to tone it down a little for Crazy Sock Day, so that the crazy could be focused on the socks. Instead, it’s just full on crazy child day.

BUT WHILE I WAS SAYING ALL THIS TO HIM, a second photo arrived. There had been additional changes made to my choices before they got out the door.

CrazySockDay2

What. Phillip. Ok, you know what, fine. Today is just crazy day, full stop. Yes, I do totally understand this is not a big deal. Really. I do. I’ve sent her to school dressed kind of questionably myself. But like I reminded him, if someone’s going to think something weird about it, they’re going to think it about me, not him. And he was in her room last night when I laid out her clothes. I pointed them out to both him and her multiple times, because they’re the exact same person in two different sizes, people who need to be reminded of basic things over and over because they’re just entirely too busy thinking big complicated thoughts about fun things to remember little details like where their underpants are. And that’s just them, it’s who they are and I kind of like both of them just the way they are, so again, fine. But when I’m going to all the trouble (well, “trouble”) to lay things out and create schedules and make arrangements because it’s just not their style (well, his, as he’s the adult and she’s a child) to focus on those kind of details, I kind of really need him to stick with my plan. Like when I was doing all the driving with our one car and had to get everyone to where they needed to be at the right times as well as work around my own inconvenient work schedule, I’d give him EXACT TIMES when he needed to bring the car to me, based on the complete schedule. Say I needed it at 10:45 so I could make a stop before I picked up Penny to take her to school. He would show up at 11, knowing that I had to be at the school at 11:30, and deciding that would be plenty of time. WHY DO I MAKE THE PLANS IF YOU’RE JUST GOING TO FLAUNT THEM If only one person is going to make the plans, YOU MUST STICK WITH THOSE PLANS, PHILLIP, OTHERWISE YOU LOSE PRIVILEGES.

In this particular case, Phil has lost the privilege of patterns and if he wishes to dress Penelope, he can choose a plain, solid color skirt and any blessed t-shirt he wants. But the dots and stripes are now off limits to him. He’s totally fine with this.

This isn’t really a huge annoyance. And like I’ve told you before, no real husband and wife fights would ever be posted on this site, because why would I do that? This is just a thing about his personality and I think it’s so funny to see how it’s reflected in Penny and the way her mind works. The two of them, seriously. I’m going to be following them both around forever carrying lost shoes and a meticulously filled in day planner in full on nag mode for the rest of my life, while they just think about… you know what, I have no idea. They’re not detail people, but they’ve both got a lot going on in their heads. I wish they would dedicate some small part of all that brain power to remembering what day of the week it is and what I just said two seconds ago, but you get what you get and you don’t get upset, right? Also, they’re both cute and I like them, so I’ll keep them and keep following them around.

So here’s the last thing. Penelope’s kind of a bit of a class clown, we think. We don’t get to watch her while she’s in pre-k, but we do watch her gymnastics class, and she is really invested in making other people laugh. I think she’s right on the borderline of being a good listener and maybe not being so appropriate in class, but she has a parent teacher conference coming up next week, so we’ll probably talk about that right after I tell her teachers that my husband is the one who dresses her. She’s very chatty and very social and very funny, and it’s possible she might need to tone that down in a classroom setting, but she’s only 4 and there’s plenty of time to work on that if necessary.

One of the things she does – and we think it’s to make people/other kids laugh – is that she smacks herself in the forehead. When she started doing it, we didn’t think anything of it, but she’ll do it over and over, like four or five times, usually laughing or making a joke, and we’ve started asking her to not do it. Well, if you look at those pictures above and you can tear your eyes away from the shoes – oh man, the shoes on top of it all – you can see that there’s actually a little bruise on her forehead. At first it was just a sore spot, and when she mentioned that, we started being a bit more serious in asking her to stop hitting herself. But now she has an actual bruise. 

She usually whacks herself with the heel of her hand, but sometimes if she has like a lid or a little plastic plate in her hand, she’ll use that. And even though we’ve asked her to stop, it seems now that it’s become a kind of habit. She does it almost reflexively in certain situations. It seemed harmless at first, but now she’s gone and left a dent in herself. Also, we were pretty sure it was just to be funny and get a laugh from other kids when she started, but then why would she keep on to the point that she hurt herself? Phil especially is on her to get her to stop doing it, but scolding her doesn’t seem to be working. I’m not quite sure how to handle it from here – I feel like if we get TOO mad/yelly about it, she might just, you know, hit herself in response. But if we’re too gentle/laid back about it, we might not be able to help her break the habit. Also, there’s that underlying concern about her hitting herself and why she’s doing it.

If you’ve got any ideas on these topic, I’d love to hear them. Did your kid do it? Did you? How did you make it stop, or do you have suggestions on what might work even if you haven’t dealt with it? Is it something to be concerned about, or just a passing thing? Passing things are my favorite kind of thing.

10 responses to “Banned from patterns and a dented head.”

  1. Ginger says:

    Ok, so the head hitting thing. This is RAMPANT in my kid’s class(he’s in 1st, for reference). They all do it (and they did it in his kindergarten class too). It drives us bonkers, we can’t really seem to find a way to make him stop, but we saw his class (he didn’t know we were there), and I swear, more than 1/2 of them were doing the head hitting thing around each other. I think it’s just to get a laugh or other reaction, so we’ve stopped reacting at all (OMG SO HARD, because seriously child, stop hitting yourself!) & it seems to be happening less? Maybe?
    Anyway, that’s all a whole bunch of no help, but it makes me think it’s more of a social/peer thing than something to actually worry about?

  2. Wendy says:

    My son started doing the head hitting thing in kindergarten/first grade, first to get laughs and then I think it just sort of became a habit. I’m not too worried about it, though it kind of annoys me, as I suspect it will pass.

    I think this just means Penny is ahead of schedule and will get it out of her system earlier. Yeah. That’s what it is.

  3. Jess says:

    Callum hasn’t done this particular thing before, but he’s done plenty of other things where we were like GAH HIS MENTAL HEALTH THERAPY STAT and then eventually they’ve all just… gone away. We did take him to an eye doctor because he was doing this forced blinking thing repeatedly for months. The eye doctor did a full exam and declared everything perfect, and a week or two later Callum had totally stopped doing it. So… that’s not actually helpful, but you know, 4-year-olds are weird, the end.

  4. Katie says:

    First, I totally read that as Penny is kind of an “ass clown” and hey, that read a little differently.

    Second, for the head hitting, I think it probably depends upon what seems to be the motivation. If she’s doing it to get a rise out of you or someone else, I would probably ignore it as much as possible. If she’s doing it somewhat subconsciously, I would offer her another reaction. Like, if she’s upset, tell her to stomp her feet or clench her fists. If it’s like a fun thing, maybe teach her how to snap? Sometimes giving them an alternative way to physically display frustration or pleasure or whatever the sensation she seems to be needing the stimulation for, can reduce the unwanted behavior.

  5. Swistle says:

    I have one kid who went through a whole line of passing things. The good part: they all passed, and in fact I’m having trouble remembering what they were. But they were bothersome at the time, and I remember worrying. I took him to the pediatrician for one of them, and then later mentioned to the pediatrician that THAT one had gone away, to be replaced by ANOTHER, and the pediatrician said that was pretty normal for some kids: that they get “tics” and just sort of…do them for awhile, until they just sort of stop.

    • Swistle says:

      Oh, Jess’s comment above reminded me: forced blinking was one of them. Another was repeating his last few words in a whisper-echo: “I did my homework at school *switches to whisper* at school.” Another was giving his head a shake, like trying to get the hair out of his eyes but there wasn’t any hair.

  6. Cherie says:

    Oh my goodness, I came over to say that my son does the head-hitting thing, too, and then I saw all these comments about head-hitting and…wow. It’s like when I get concerned that my kid is the wildest thing in the world and he’s going to need to be tranquilized to get through life and then I take him to a birthday party and see, oh, no. He’s just a five-year-old boy. They’re all mostly like that.

    I’m relieved, I guess, is the point.

  7. Kara says:

    In Man World, I think that outfit “matches” because there are polka dots on each piece.

    I let my kids dress themselves everyday for preschool, and as a result, my youngest frequently wore a gold lame’ party dress with purple leggings and an over-sized navy hoodie. She was stylish. From kinder on in our district, they wear uniforms, so pre-K is the only time they can dress themselves for school.

  8. Lawyerish says:

    Kids are so weird, man. F has picked up similarly odd and annoying habits, seemingly from other kids (I noticed the other kids doing them for a while, and then she started). I did take her to the ped for an eye tic because F told me her eye HURT, but her eye was completely fine and the tic passed. Now she does kind of a mouth-pursing tic that I notice comes out when she is feeling socially nervous (like THAT will help). I have not mentioned it to her at all and I am hoping it will pass soon. The ped said it’s common for kids to have passing habits and tics, and as mysteriously as they come, they will go away. She recommended not to even address it with the kid because it might make it worse — although in our case, none were self-harming so I don’t know what the reaction would be to the head-hitting.

  9. Ack, I could feel my blood pressure rising throughout the outfit story because that is the exact kind of thing that would result in a fight between Justin and I. I let Lucia dress herself pretty much any day expect the “special” days because she also has uniforms in her future, but I like FULL PARENTAL CONTROL on the special days.

    As for the head hitting…sounds like the exact kind of attention getting BS that Lucia would also pull. Ignoring things doesn’t work on her, because she is testing boundaries and would probably try it with a hammer or something the next time. When I’m working on eliminating a certain behavior I have to set clear expectations that every single time she does it, the consequences will be x, and then I reward if she has gone so many days without doing it. Which is as exhausting as it sounds but being super consistent with rules is the only thing that works on her ever.

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