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.
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.
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.