What Do You Do With Spirited Children?
"Mama, I don't like the doctor appointment."
My daughter said that sullenly as we walked out of the door of the pediatrician's office this afternoon.
They didn't get any shots, and they usually love the doctor (weirdos), but this time it took an emotional toll.
After the weighing and the eyes and ears, the doctor came in. And she checked them physically and said everything was fine with a big old beam on her face.
But it's not fine. I know it's not fine. And if the ped's office had been paying attention to me throughout the last year, they would have known it's not fine either.
"What about their speech?" I asked. (I wrote a couple of years ago about how my daughters' were slower in speech than some other kids, and I've done speech update posts in the form of cutesy "aww, little kids' words" posts about every six months since then. But they weren't just cutesy. They were also for me so I could keep a record of how they were or were not progressing without intervention.)
"Yes, well, they do seem to slur some of their words and sounds together," she replied.
To which I nodded.
"They also can't get her and she right," I said. "They use she for everything." (This is a change. Last year they used her for everything, and at our correcting, they replaced her with she. But it's all or nothing, it seems.)
The doctor was able to get them to use she in a sentence incorrectly, and looked at me, puzzled.
"That's not normally a problem we see," she said.
"But what does it mean?" I asked.
She didn't know.
And she still would have let us walk out the door, but I pushed and so she put in a referral for speech evaluation. But had I not said anything, she wouldn't have. Remember to speak up. It's important.
But the hardest conversation was yet to come.
"What about their behavior?" I asked.
Of course, what I wanted to say was, "What about how they lose their shit all the time?" but we must use tact in these situations. They're delicate at best. And at five, my kids know exactly what's going on.
I've long come to terms with the fact that I have what kind internet mommies call "spirited" children. (Yes, scare quotes).
And last year, I had to go pick them up from preschool no less than five times throughout the course of the year because they just completely lost their shit. They get tired of using their words, and if an adult doesn't see their point of view, instead of accepting that, they throw a tantrum that would put any two year old to shame.
And it's not like that ever, ever, works, so I don't even know what the hell.
Excuses are: they're very competitive, they're perfectionists, they're sensitive, and up until a few days ago, that they were two or three or four.
But now they're five. And that shit ain't gonna fly in kindergarten.
The doctor had a rather stern talk with them. Complete with telling them if they couldn't hold it together, they'd get kicked out of school and have to go to school with all the bad and mean kids. Which kind of made me go o.O
Anyway, by the end of it, one of my daughters was in tears and seeing her cry made me well up and it just sucked all around.
It's not on them to do better, of course.
It's on me. Having lived with them 24/7, I let myself get pulled into their nonsense, I try to reason with the beast that unleashes instead of just ignoring it.
I expect them to act like rational human beings and I treat them as such, even when they're literally puddles on the ground. And when they do get to that point, I get frustrated, because, seriously, what the hell, kids? What even is this nonsense?
And they sense it and clearly that doesn't help anyone or anything.
And obviously that's not the right way.
They start kindergarten in less than a week, now. And the speech people aren't going to call me for two weeks, probably, if they even call. (I'll have to hunt them down after that.) It's not that they can't talk, and interestingly, they can read very well. But I need them to feel as if language is their friend, moreso than crying.
Anyway, the doctor said if they can't get it together, she'll recommend occupational therapy, but to wait and see.
Wait and see.
They've been telling me that, you know, since my girls were two. And I'm between a rock and a hard place because I don't think there is anything atypical about the girls. I truly think they are right-down-the-line typical, just fiery, spunky, "spirited" if you will. But I need to do a better job. And to do that, maybe I need help.
And if I need help, well, haven't I waited long enough and seen enough?
I just don't know. But I know that I should have pushed for speech evaluation last year, and I didn't.
Kids are hard. Life is hard.
My kids are so much more complicated than I am.
I hope I can get it together myself, and do right by them.