This note said he had hit someone on the playground, then had a hard time staying still in time out. And it requested that we make an appointment to talk to his teacher, Miss E, because this has been becoming more frequent. I made an appointment for this morning at 8am. Tai is not yet 4 and we're already going to the principal's office. SIgh.
Needless to say, I was nervous about it and I think Tom was too. I was starting to worry that they were going to say that Tai is clearly not ready for Montessori and that he can't handle it and we'd need to find another preschool. Finding a preschool sucks. Finding one after getting kicked out of one? I don't even want to think about it.
Tai headed right in to play while we got called into the classroom with Miss A, the director of the school. Miss E met us there a few minutes later. Actually, Miss A did most of the talking. She was really reassuring, and told us right away that Tai is completely normal in his behavior, that this is the age for some serious testing. But she wanted to make sure we nipped this in the bud, because it seemed to be getting to be a habit. Apparently, though they send notes home for things that involve other kids, when it's something more minor - like interrupting circle time, or work time, we don't find out about that. And he's been doing a bit of that, too.
Miss A suggested that time-outs and talking don't work so well at this age. She suggested a tool she called 'Consequences for Actions'. Basically, we are making too big of a deal about the things Tai does wrong. We spend a lot of energy explaining what he did and why it was wrong, and blah blah. He just likes that he gets our attention. Instead, on days where we get a note, when he asks for something that evening (dessert, TV time, a game, whatever) we say, "No, I don't feel like X tonight. You made some bad choices at school today and I am disappointed." Leave it simple and keep an even tone. Don't argue, don't engage. Just remove our energy from him. Then, later at bedtime - read stories as usual, give lots and lots of hugs and cuddles. Let him know we love him. Just remind him that he can make better choices and then we can have more fun together again. The next day - don't bring it up again. When dropping him off, we can just say, "I know you'll make good choices at school today. Have fun!"
On good days, tell him how proud we are that he made good choices - though don't go too over the top with praise. Once in a while, unexpectedly, we can give him a little extra good thing - a trip to a special place, an ice cream, etc.
I think this will help. Miss A swears that it still works on her kids, even at 19 and 24. She says there's always something to take away (opportunities to make extra money, TV, car privileges, etc) and when the kids think about it - the long term gain is better than the short term misbehavior.
There was a minute or two where I felt like this could be a little... withholding of my love. The more misbehaving he does, the cooler we should be with him. (Until bedtime.) I'm not so good with this. I'm going to give it a try, withholding stuff more than my affection.
I should probably quit saying that I'm tired. I suppose it should go without saying that even though it's only 9:15, I have been ready for bed for at least half an hour. Man. I don't remember being this fried when I was pregnant with Tai. I've had a couple more small bouts of nausea, but they were transitory and not that bad. I was feeling a little nervous about not feeling sick (I *know*! When did anyone ever think I would say that? I'm shocked too.) but I have been reading this book called "Hands Off My Belly" about pregnancy and birth myths and in the 'early pregnancy' section the authors talked about how not everyone is sick in the beginning. Nausea and vomiting can correlate with a pregnancy that sticks, but it is not completely hormonally caused. Like - I was assuming if I wasn't sick, then my hormones must not be very high, so I would be more likely to miscarry. This is not necessarily true. Not to mention, it's just the beginning of my sixth week, and plenty of people don't start getting morning sick until around now. It could still be coming!