A Little Ray of Sunshine

As many of you have noticed, I’ve been a little miffed recently.

My son Chewey has been quite the little demon at school, apparently. If it were up to me, I’d keep him home, because he’s been delightful, but alas, I have to work. It’s been convenient because I’ve actually had some time off.

I thought today would be another bad day.

We had a meeting set up with Chewey’s old school this morning, in an attempt to get our money back. In my post from yesterday, I mentioned that I was changing my tactics: I let M deal with it.

Now M is a cop, and no one (except for our daughter) has a better stink eye than he does. He makes girls cry with the power of his glare. I’m not kidding. It’s happened before. Not to me, though, because I am impervious (well, not really, but I’m used to it).

I warned them that I was the nice one, but I don’t think they believed me, so I let M go by himself. I didn’t even bother to address our concerns with them today. And it went fine… After making everyone in there uncomfortable with the power of his evil eye, they have agreed to refund this month’s tuition, along with giving us back the money for the music classes Chewey never got to take. So that’s good.

But that’s not my ray of sunshine, though it did bolster my spirits. No, that came in the form of our old day care provider.

These people cut their teeth on my daughter’s tantrums, and Sea Monkey’s tantrums could be vicious. No one has the stamina for fit throwing that Sea Monkey does. Two hours of screaming was not unusual for her–two hours straight, too. And while I knew about their complaints, they implemented the strategies I set out for them, didn’t complain about how long it took for me to put the stuff together, and were OK with taking data for me (yep, we went the “antecedent, behavior, consequence” route). I should have left Chewey there, and I thought about it, but it was so much farther from our house, and on those days when I couldn’t pick up the kids, it was hard for anyone else to get out there to pick them up, as it is about as far away from M’s work as we can possibly get.

But they took data for me. And through that data, we could see what was setting Sea Monkey off, and then we could change how we approached that. And, low and behold, the tantrums mostly stopped (they’ve completely stopped now that she is five and a half and is on a completely artificial color free diet and has prescription antihistamines… Fall is not a good time for Sea Monkey, but I think we’ve gotten her largely under control. But Sea Monkey is another story).

When I showed up there (I called first, but as I was driving there), I felt at home.

 They welcomed me back. When I explained Chewey’s situation to the director, I laid it all out for her: “He hits, apparently he bites, and he’s in trouble all the time.”

Her response: “He never bit anyone here!”

I know. I know. But I still laid the whole thing out. I explained his issues: the lack of friends (which they knew about, but he played so well with Sea Monkey’s friends last year that we just kind of let that slide), the physical aggression, the talking back, and the boredom. And do you know what she did? She put Chewey in a class with older kids. Bigger kids. Many of them will be younger kinders come July, and most of them are a good six months older than Chewey.

I went and talked to his teacher, who is, incidentally, one of his teachers from his old room. She potty trained him. She dealt with Sea Monkey before him. I’ve been to her house. I saw their curriculum, and I feel pretty certain Chewey will be a busy boy. He will even have a job his first week on board: he gets to walk the lizard (and no, that is not a euphemism for anything untoward–it’s an actual lizard named Spiney).

And all of the stuff that I’ve made? They’re OK if I bring it in, and OK if I don’t. They’ll make adjustments for him. And they’re totally fine with jumping through the hoops of my “antecedent, behavior, consequence” charts. Because his last place, all they would say was, “Chewey threw a fit.” Every time I’d ask why, they’d say, “It just came out of nowhere.”

This is not a diatribe against them, but I would like to point out: No fit comes from nowhere. There is always a reason for it, whether its escape, avoidance, attention, or somatic. Chewey’s not that great with transitions–I’ve known that since he was four months old. When we’re getting ready in the morning, I know I have to tell him a good five minutes in advance that we’re leaving. I know I need to have a routine with him, otherwise he gets upset.

So does his new (old) day care provider.

I love them.



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