Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I'm failing.

My head is pounding.  My eyes are swollen.  My nose is running and I've shouted myself hoarse.

Just another morning trying to get my 4 year old out the door to preschool.



I don't know what happened.  At the beginning of the school year, he loved it.  LOVED it.  Loved his teachers, loved his new friends.  Loved walking to the playground, loved arts and crafts.  Couldn't wait for his turn at snack day.

Then we had Christmas vacation.  And come January, all of a sudden every morning was a battle of wills that escalated into a war of hysteria.  Every.  Morning.

It's March 18.  I've been fighting with him every morning since the first week of January.  I think I've reached the point of surrender.

Max never went to preschool.  Max is a well-socialized, smart and happy little homeschooler.

Milo is not Max.

Milo is aggressive.  Milo is willful and ornery.  Milo is grumpy and, frankly, a little unloveable a lot of the time.  He's been like this (and by that I mean pretty much impossible to live with) since....well....since about the time he decided he didn't like school any more.

Is school the cause of his change in behavior?  Or is hating school just part of him being difficult?  Is he just four?  Is that all this is?

When I ask him why he doesn't want to go to school, he says "Because it's BORING," and "Because it's too long until moms and dads come," which really gives me no insight into what's really going on.  I've talked to his teachers.  They say, "Oh, well, he's really fine when he's here....." but that doesn't really tell me much.  Is he fine, in that he doesn't misbehave?  Or is he fine because he's having fun, because once I frog-march him in the door and leave him, he actually DOES like school?  How can I really know the answer to that, anyway?

I have tried so many tactics.  I put him to bed earlier.  He won't go to sleep.  I wake him up slowly and gently with snuggles and kisses.  He burrows under the covers and refuses to open his eyes.  I whip the covers off and go all up-and-at-'em.  He screams "I HATE YOU."   I point out that he'll miss his friends.  He doesn't care.  I point out that he'll miss his teachers.  He doesn't care.  I plan fun things to do after school as bribery.  It doesn't work.  I tell him that if he stops going to school, he will have to school here, that Max and I do school when he's at school and it's not all playing Legos and watching cartoons.  He says he WANTS to do homeschool.  Does he?  Will he?  Or does he just want to be home, and he's saying what he thinks I want to hear?

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

I do know that I can't do this screaming crying morning thing any more.  I don't like being that person.  That's not the mom I want to be.  That's not the kid I want to have.  That's not the day I want to have.  I am moments away from notifying the school that he won't be returning.  I am moments away from resolving once again that he will go to f-ing preschool tomorrow if it kills me.

I really, really don't know what to do.  I'm failing, no matter what.


15 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. What Elie said. BOTH my kids make my mornings hell getting ready for school. D even tried to make himself vomit this morning so I would let him stay home. The discipline of getting yourself ready in the morning sucks, but the fact is, they need to see it. I have to resolve to get up well before them every day so I can be ready for them and show them that it's possible, even when abhorrent. They both know that Mom hates getting up in the morning. And T is 4, and he sounds awfully similar to M. Lots of aggression, lots of "it's boring," lots of negativity. I think that's a younger child. I don't remember being like that. But you are not FAILING. You are struggling. Like we all are. We have this expectation that we have to be perfect and that our children's lives should be as unrumbled as possible, but that's NOT possible. It's IMPOSSIBLE. The internet is ruining parenting. Everyone seems to be doing it better. Everyone has an opinion on how you should be doing this. No stranger emailed our mothers and told them when they were doing something wrong, or failing us. They sorted it out. You will too. And M will get on board. I know it.

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  3. You are not failing!! I have this battle all the time with Mason and Grace. Mostly Mason. Grace usually complains that something is sick, stomach, sore throat whatever.. Mason is more of the won't get out of bed, hide under the covers on the top bunk where I cant reach him and ignores me. If his teachers are saying that he is fine when he is there and that he is not acting out at school then he is just testing you. Do not give in to him. With Mason the thing that helps most is waking him up 30 minutes early, and letting him slowly get up at his pace. This has not been happening lately because I have been having such a hard time getting out of bed but usually if he can have that extra time in the morning to watch tv and slowly get up we tend to have less arguing and threatening. I hear it gets worse when they are teenagers. :)

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  4. I HATE the title of this. Colleen is right, you're struggling, you're trying, you're doubting each choice, but you aren't failing. That you ARE struggling over, agonizing over it maybe, this is a success.

    One of the things we saw as a failure in our parenting was putting John in daycare at one. He has had no choices. As long as he can remember, he went to "school" period. But WE had no real choice, it was both work or lose the house. So one of our struggles has been letting John know HE can make choices for himself.

    Milo has the opposite problem. He knows there are options and he wants to be the one to choose, I think. It's a natural 4 year old thing. I don't think this has a thing to do with pre-school, if he were unhappy there his teachers would know it and would have likely come to YOU before you asked them. I think it's a power struggle between yourself and a very intelligent and extremely willful little guy. Both those qualities will make Milo an exceptional person as he grows up, but they are going to make raising him within boundaries set by you and Adrian a challenge. I think you'd be best standing your ground on pre-school. You can do it, he gets that willfulness from you two. :-)

    Good luck, pal. Easy for us to say not having to deal with Milo every morning, but I think you're doing good by holding firm.

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  5. You all seem to think I need to stand firm and keep him in preschool. I'm not saying I disagree with you, but as a frame of reference, are you saying this because you believe it is important for me win this particular battle as a parent, or because you do not think homeschooling is a good choice?

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    1. I know for a fact he'd learn just as much at home with you as he does at pre-school. Re-evaluating pre-school over summer break (I presume it's over in a few months?) is a given. But stopping it now might show Milo that he can control things by making you miserable. I don't personally see this as concerning pre-school all that much. It would be a battle over something else if not this, I suspect.

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    2. So how do I get him up and out in the mornings without tears, hysteria, and self-loathing? I am just at my wit's end here.

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    3. I don't know, pal. You can only do your best to let the tears and hysteria be on his part alone and accept that a certain bit of self-loathing is part and parcel of parenthood, whether we truly deserve it or not.

      As a fellow parent, as a friend and as a determined fan of Milo, I feel for you. Good luck and be strong :-)

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    4. Sigh. Thanks. I'm girding my loins, I CAN DO THIS. He DOESN'T really hate me...he DOESN'T really hate me....he DOESN'T really hate me......

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  6. Hih! First of all, you are not failing - you are a great mom and we have all struggled with this. Can you compromise with him? He has to go to preschool, no arguments and then you can homeschool him in the afternoon? OR,he can "earn" afternoon homeschool time by getting getting ready for preschool tasks done in a timely manner. For example, getting up on time would + 15 minutes of afternoon homeschooling time, etc. I totally agree with your choice to homeschool but I also totally agree with what Jeffery said about stopping preschool now.

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    1. This kid, I can't crack him. He doesn't care about sticker charts and reward systems. If I take something away from him, he says he hates it anyway. I can't figure out THAT THING that will motivate him, that thing that will manipulate him into doing what I want while thinking it's his own choice. It's infuriating, and exhausting, and defeating.

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  7. Jen, can you drop him off like normal, then watch at the window for a bit? Henry went through something like this, and it ended up that he was sitting next to another kid that he just could not get along with. They were at each other like cats and dogs all day. Sometimes the teachers might miss something that a fresh pair of eyes could pick up on pretty quickly?

    You are not failing. :bighug:

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    1. I wish I could, unfortunately his school does not really have a set-up like that.

      Thanks for the reassurance :/

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So, whaddya think?