Olivia came home with a note from school yesterday. It had a frown circled and beside it was a description of behavior that is not acceptable at school.
She refused to hang up her coat and backpack. Even after the teacher told her to do so several times. When the teacher went to ‘help’ her do this task, Olivia refused to walk with her and stuck her tongue out at her teacher repeatedly.
She ended up on the timeout chair.
This is not the Olivia we know at home. I don’t know what is going on. Maybe she’s more comfortable at school these days and is willing to push her boundaries but this is not the way to go about it.
I tried to ask her why she behaved this way and she just shrugged. I’m not sure she even understands what I’m asking. Which is part of what is so frustrating with a child like Olivia. She can be so verbal, appear so cognizant of what’s going on but then she pulls something like this and then can’t even explain why.
I don’t want to put words into her mouth so I hate to ask leading questions. Instead, I ask questions like, “What is happening at school that makes you feel like you should do something like that?”
At one point, she told me she was going to put her whole class in jail. I asked her why she’d want to do that and she replied, “Because they hate me.”
Oh. Oh my mommy’s heart just broke right there.
Except then she grinned and said, “But I’ll put my teacher in a princess castle instead.”
Why would she say her class hates her? Where is this coming from?
My mom suggested that Olivia might need to be homeschooled. Great, sure, no problem. Except, who is going to do the schooling? Me? I’m at work 40 hours a week, and that’s not including the half hour drive each way every day.
Then my mom pointed out that O’s currently in school all of three hours a day anyway, so I could work out a schooling schedule for the evenings and weekends.
Again, great plan, but who will care for her while I’m at work? Tom actually does work too. Yes, he works from home and so he’s able to care for her during the morning hours before sending her off to school but he needs those afternoon hours to get work done too. I know on the days the girls stay home with him, he struggles to get anything done. I understand that. I can’t get much done beyond a load of laundry or two while home with the little hooligans.
So…homeschooling probably isn’t the solution.
Quite honestly, I think Olivia needs the structure of school. She needs to learn what is appropriate behavior and what isn’t. And I have every confidence that she’s capable of learning this. I know she’s got it in her.
I just need to figure out what’s motivating these outbursts of naughtiness. She hasn’t been like this at home. She’s loving, obedient, playful.
I do wonder if she was trying to be playful instead of defiant and doesn’t yet know the difference.
I hope after the discussions I had with her last night, the ones Tom’s having with her today and the fact that she lost fingernail polish privileges for the next few days she understands that this is not funny, it’s not a game, it is not acceptable.
I guess we’ll see.