Saturday, September 27, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #125 - Not So Funny Edition

Another week, another span of time without very much Sweetie hilarity.

No - this week we've really been working on Sweetie's attitude. She's got a big one. And we're beginning to see how it's liable to get her in trouble at school if she's not careful.

Her attitude about recess, for instance. Apparently, recess for the Kindergarteners is either longer or shorter, depending on what other activities are going on that day. But when Sweetie started alternating between beams of joy when recess was a long time today, and Miss Grumpy Face when recess was too short today, I took it to be a thing of perspective - recess is always the same length of time, it just seems longer or shorter to Sweetie depending on what activities she's able to fit in during the allotted time.

But at Parent Orientation night we did find out that the length of recess does change from day to day. Okay - whatever.

Anyway - I'm sick of picking up Miss Grumpy Face and hearing her tell me that school was not that great because she couldn't play at recess for as long as she wanted. At the same time, I'm tired of hearing how great school is on certain days - solely based on having a longer time to play outside.

One day this week as I waited second in line in the line of cars at pick up time, I saw all the kids, along with the assistant teacher, come out of the building and stand under the awning - as is the usual practice.

But Sweetie wasn't there. Hmmmm.... maybe she asked to use the bathroom just the minute before. 

Nope. Soon enough Sweetie and her teacher walked together out of the school and headed for our car... Sweetie sporting the Grumpiest of Grumpy Faces.

The teacher briefly explained to me what the hold up was - the two of them had to have a talk about what it means when the end-of-recess whistle blows, and about getting down from the slide and into line as soon as possible. Something like that, anyway... Sweetie was too busy putting in her own 2 cents for me to hear precisely what the teacher said.

We'll work on it some more tomorrow., the teacher told Sweetie. No huge deal. And that was the end of that.

Except that she had to deal with me at home. Mama interrogation.

Best I can understand it - it's the same ol' thing. Recess was over before Sweetie got to do what she really wanted to do. And she didn't like it. Again I had to restate to her:

School is not about recess. School is about learning new things.

I know. You already told me that before. But I already know my letters and numbers. I already know all that stuff.

Whoa. She's right. And from what I've seen of the work she's brought home - it is all stuff she's known already for a very long time. I had to quickly rethink my line of argument.

You're right, Sweetie. You are very smart. You do know a lot of things. You're a great reader. And you already know some math. But you do need to learn to play by the rules better and to listen better. It's important for you to go to Kindergarten to learn how to play fair and improve your behavior.

I ended up advising her to always ask her teacher at the very beginning of recess each day if the recess was going to be a long one or a short one. Then - no matter what the answer - play on the thing you love most, first. If it's a longer recess and you get to do that activity again later in the time slot - great! But even if it's a short recess, at least you got to play the best thing once.

I taught her a new word too - adapt. She needs to learn how to adapt - how to adjust to how a situation is, rather than how she wants a situation to be. 

Over the last few days, "adapt" has become an oft-used word in our house. If Sweetie starts fussing and whining over almost anyway, I stop and tell her only that one word - adapt. It works for so many scenarios, not just recess. And it's something Sweetie has desperately needed to learn to do for a very long time.

Of course, yesterday it poured all day and I offered to Sweetie that she probably wouldn't even have recess because of the weather. That, or they'd have inside recess in the gym. Either way, she was going to have to adapt and - if some form of recess did exist - ask ahead of time about the length of time she'd have to play.

Just my luck - no recess at all. Which worked out well for Sweetie - she had more time to play at Choice/free play in the classroom. But still, you better believe that I'll be reinforcing her new word and her new recess time "assignment" for all of next week and beyond.

(Oh - and Hubby and I will be asking her more often - Did you learn something new today, or did the teacher talk about something you already know about?) We're very anxious for Parent/Teacher conferences to see what they think of Sweetie's placement.)

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