Tuesday, October 29, 2013

McKenna Summary: 4.5 Years (plus one month)

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This is a summary for McKenna between the age of 4 years 6 months and 4 years 7 months.

EATING
She is eating a good variety of food. Things are good.

SLEEPING
Sleep is good. We are using her "okay to wake" clock in the mornings again because she started waking up and yelling for us, which is a problem since her room is next to Brinley's. So she isn't allowed to call for us until the light is green. I have it set to go green 15 minutes after I typically get her. Tricky me! 

Rest time is so tricky. She does love to sleep, so she will cozy up into a nice nap, but when I wake her up, she cries and asks me why I don't just let her sleep longer. Ha! This is really only a problem on the day she has dance class--I have to make sure I start waking her up with plenty of time to get her awake and chipper before it is time to leave. 

PLAYING 
All is well here in our daily play times.

PRESCHOOL
She is still being great at preschool.

EMOTIONS/BEHAVIOR
Remember those lack of emotions I talked about last month? Did I forget to knock on wood? I think so! This month has been such a passionate month for emotional outbursts. I have never seen a child throw a tantrum like McKenna did this month. Wow am I glad it was my third child instead of my first. I might have curled into a ball and cried if Brayden did that. As it was, I literally laughed and really wanted to video it all so I could laugh later. 

We actually had two big days of outbursts.

Outburst One--Soccer Game
We were at a soccer game of Brayden's. It was our first time playing at the field we were at that day. When we got there, I told the girls they could play at the playground. Once I sat at the field, I decided the playground was too far from the playing field. I went and told the girls to come over to the field with me. McKenna was NOT happy with that. As we walked to the field, she would stop and refuse to move. At one point, she started screaming, "I want to play at the playground!" Whew!

Outburst Two--Swimming Lessons
We had made great progress at swimming lessons early this month. I decided we had spent enough time gently waiting for McKenna to face her fears in the water--especially considering she had been fine and then became scared. It has been months. So I decided if she did cooperate with her teacher and do her best, she wouldn't play in the water after her lesson. That motivated her and she did awesome! She even passed off a new skill.

The next week, she decided to test my resolve on the new rule. She did well for 15 minutes and then decided she done and absolutely refused to even try to do anything else for her teacher. We got her out of the pool and had her sit with me. I told her if she would like to do what her teacher asked, she would be allowed to play, but if not, she would sit by me.

And the tantrum of all tantrums ensued.

She cried and screamed. She threw her goggles. She sat on the ground and kicked her feet. She walked to the edge of the pool and considered jumping in (I am glad she didn't). It was so over-the-top that I was actually just flabbergasted. I told her if she continued screaming, she would go straight to bed when she got home. She continued anyway.

This went on for about 15 minutes before my husband took her out to the vehicle.

In the vehicle, he had a nice talk with her. He totally kept his cool and turned this into a great teaching moment. He asked her if she knew why she didn't get to swim and why she would be going straight to bed when she got home. She understood and was able to explain it. She went to bed peacefully that night.

The real test will be tonight at swimming lessons...we will see if she really did learn. We have talked about it since and she plans to be compliant. We will see what happens when it is time to speak with actions.

SCHEDULE
Here is her schedule. She has preschool three days a week and church one day a week, so she doesn't really have consistency from day to day exactly. Here is a school day schedule.

8:00 AM--wake up. Get dressed. Eat breakfast. 
9:00 AM--go to school
12:00 noon--get home. Eat lunch. Free play.
1:30 PM--sibling play with Brinley
2:00 PM--Independent play time
3:00 PM--Rest time
3:30 PM--I check on her. If sleeping, I let her sleep. If not, I let her get up.
4:00 PM--Chores. Then possible computer time or TV time or free play
5:30 PM--Dinner
7:00 PM--Start getting ready for bed
8:00 PM--in bed

On days she is home, we do a nice long bath in the morning and also do learning activities. 

12 comments:

Stephanie Kirby said...

I am totally cringing with you. My son has had 2 temper tantrums at school in the last month. He was homeschooled for kindergarten and is now in first grade at a small private school, so he is still adjusting. He threw a major fit over a tire swing. A teacher had to physically remove him from the tire swing. I am so embarrassed! What did you do at the pool with McKenna? Were you ignoring, scolding, physically trying to stop her? Also, isn't it just so nice of them to throw these fits away from home? And of course mine did it when I wasn't there to deal with it.

Sarah said...

My daughter will be 4.5 years in one month. She has room time for an hour at 2:30. More often than not, she falls asleep. When her alarm goes off, I wake her up. The problem we have is that with the nap her 8/8:30 bedtime is a battle; she won't settle down sometimes til 9:30. If I don't allow her rest time (that becomes nap time) she is terribly disobedient and if I don't watch her she falls asleep in the 5pm hour while I'm busy making dinner. Do you have any thoughts on the best approach? This has probably been going on for 3-6 months.

Michael and Yvonne said...

yes well DD2 is my one who does meltdowns. Thankfully she only had 1 episode ever in public (at preschool) and it was a 1x deal. The teacher came and talked to me about it when i picked her up. Yes, it was kind of embarassing but it turned out to be a good teaching moment for her.
But she is a major tester (and spirited type) and is naturally more defiant natured. VS DD1 who is naturally obedient natured (with of course normal phases)....but they are nothing alike! (And once I did video a fit BTW!) I worry as I think she may have a hard time in life with her nature as she can be argumentative and a know-it-all. I am trying really hard to be proactive and work on these traits. Like i said i do think some if her nature naturally, but definitely I do not want her to grow up with these traits! I think we all know people like that and they're not too popular! They often have relationship issues, problems with employment,etc. (And to be fair I do think strong-willed can have it's good side as she maybe will be a good leader, perservere,etc). Do you have ideas on how to work on these issues? The know-it-all and arguing nature are my biggest concerns (and I don't think it's a phase...she's been like this).
Thanks!

Valerie Plowman said...

Stephanie, I mostly ignored. I told her screaming and throwing a fit wasn't okay and if she continued to do it, she would go straight to bed when we got home. Then I just watched her throw her fit with as little emotion as possible. Then we removed her from the situation.

I think if she was my oldest I would be totally mortified, but having Brayden and Kaitlyn around makes me feel less like the fit is a reflection on my parenting because they are quite good :) It allows me to have more confidence that I am taking the right steps and she is more of a "Parenting 5050" child than a "Parenting 1010" child. She is my PhD :)

Valerie Plowman said...

Sarah that is a rough situation! You have a sleepy head on your hands.

I would try to find the best time of day for her nap. Then figure out the best length.

The next step is to work with her to stay in bed at night. Bedtime is bedtime no matter what. You could consider allowing her to look at books for 15 minutes or so before lights out. Staying in bed is an obedience issue--she should do it even if she had a nap that day. So just be firm in that.

Valerie Plowman said...

Yvonne, I think you are right that these traits can be strengths if applied in the right way. I feel that way about McKenna's tenacity and stubbornness; so long as her goals are good, she will be okay. She is so stubborn she will stick to the right path.

I would approach this with your daughter with the idea of kindness toward others. Explain other people don't feel good being corrected. Explain that she doesn't NEED to correct someone every time she knows they were wrong. She likely has a strong sense of justice and has a hard time seeing something that isn't true be accepted as truth. I am totally that way and even as an adult have to verbally (in my head) talk myself down from correcting things I see are wrong.

Also, have you seen that idea of "Before you speak, THINK"? You run through:

Is it...

True
Helpful
Inspiring
Necessary
Kind

If it doesn't fit all of those things, you don't say it. The two big ones she will need to focus on are Necessary and Kind. She knows it is true, she believes it is helpful, but often it isn't necessary and often it will just leave the other person feeling bad.

Michael and Yvonne said...

thank you, love the THINK. Yes i'd seen that before somewhere a while ago, and thought it profound. So maybe can discuss with her and hope it sinks in.
To some extent I think that would help DD1 as she is a first-born rulefollower and sees things as right vs wrong more (and can have a bossy tendency, at least with family). So that would be fitting for her too.

I am not 100% sure that is DD2. She is a button pusher who likes to annoy people. And she is argumentative. She wants to always have the last word for everything. We all probably know people like this and it's very annoying! I think it is more control as she wants to have the lost word. (And for example if she is being ugly and has been sent for alone time she tries to make it seem like she is ignoring me and not listening to me vs being sent to isolation..so she always tries to take control). I have tried to convey to her that people don't like that she won't have many friends if she is always arguing and having the last word. I am not sure it's a sense of justice to her vs control or just having the last say about things. On top of that, like i mentioned she likes to annoy. She can dish things out but cannot take it at all! So you probably know people who are insensitive to others but are sensitive to themselves.
Yes, it's a challenge! But i do think it is very important to work on these traitis with her!

Sarah said...

Thank you! Great suggestions.

Kelly said...

I need to go back and re-read your posts on swimming. My son who is around the same age has started to fear his lessons because he is afraid of doing the dives to the bottom (3 feet) for the dive toy that they are practicing now at his swim level. He claimed an upset stomach last week and I'm not sure how we should approach this fear with him. I'm paying for the lesson whether he attends or not so I'd like to get him there and hope and pray he will be cooperative.
Also, what clock is it that you use that shows green for her wake time?
Thank you. Always love your posts especially these with Mckenna being the same age as my oldest.

Valerie Plowman said...

Aaahh I see Yvonne. That is a tricky combo. McKenna is a huge button pusher, but she also has a sweet heart so she isn't ever out for anything but fun (but obviously she doesn't get that having buttons pushed is often NOT fun for the one being pushed). She also is really humble and has no problem admitting she was wrong.

I will think and see if I can think of anything. If not, and you want to, remind me and we can do a "help a reader out thing." I bet there are readers who either have worked with a child like this or who were a child like this and could have some tips for you.

I am sure it will be one of those things you are working with for years. Some day it will pay off :)

Valerie Plowman said...

Kelly,

We are kind of at a loss for her in swimming at this point. We had swimming this week. She was willing to give it a try, but then when my husband gave her a push, he was a bit too strong about it (wanted to give her a good push for some good success) and her goggles came off halfway to the wall and she panicked. It wasn't good.

She really is super scared. My husband thinks she progressed too far too fast--so she can swim better than her maturity can handle and she is too scared. I think it is entirely possible. So we are kind of thinking we need to stop lessons for her for a while and just take her swimming for fun and let her work through and past the fear without pressure to progress. That is our current thought.

Michael and Yvonne said...

thank you so much, i'd appreciate that a lot. I totally agree that this will be something i will be working on for years!

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