Tuesday, July 14, 2009
In the weeks leading up to Ellie's school holidays, Ellie's behavior was becoming more and more difficult to manage. Her teacher called me in for a meeting, because Ellie had become so challenging at school. She had latched on to a friend in an obsessive way, becoming teary if separated even by one friend between them at circle time. She didn't want to work anymore; she only wanted to cling to her friend...and her friend wasn't enjoying the over-attention. Ellie claimed to be "too tired" to learn, which was a red flag for me since she has always loved to learn new things (that has been her idea of a good time since she was a wee bub). She became so difficult at home that I was truly at my wit's end, even succumbing one weekend to abject misery and the desperate need to escape my life for just a few hours. It was not pretty, and I really didn't know what to do. The idea of two and a half weeks of school holiday seemed monstrous in some ways. What on earth would I do with this person who resembled my Ellie but really wasn't my Ellie anymore?
Then, school holidays started, and she has been the happiest camper from the first minute! How did I miss it? She needed a break! She was overtired, overstressed, and generally overcooked. Since she's not even four, it didn't really occur to me that she'd be needing a break from school. Before she started school, I thought five days a week from 8:30 to 1:30 would be quite a lot, but once we were doing it, it was just what we did. I forgot. It was simply getting to be too much. When she told her teacher she was too tired to learn, it's because she was too tired to learn! Hello? How did we miss that?! She needed a break. Now, she wakes up happy every day and stays that way. Yes, there are still little I'm-three-and-I'm-nuts breakdowns here and there, but nothing big enough to make me flinch. She loves her cubbyhouse and the revamped playroom, and she is happy to play on her own or with her sister or with me. We have played and played and played. We have enjoyed trips to the beach, to the animal farm, to the indoor playground, to the zoo. We have invited friends over for playdates and have been to other friend's houses for more playdates. And we have had lots and lots of downtime. It's been wonderful! My happy girl is back, and I'll be more mindful in the future.