Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Trouble with Gracie

I usually like to make September resolutions because I love September 1st so much. But this year, my thoughts are only, "Gracie at school; Gracie at school."

Yesterday, there was another trip to the principal's office, for Gracie and for Robby and me. Her teacher was gone yesterday so she had a sub and apparently she felt that gave her free reign to do whatever it was she wanted to do. All morning she was chasing another boy, standing in her chair, and a slew of other things that became too much for the poor sub to handle. Then, when another teacher came to pick her up to take her to the principal's office, she refused to go, but when she eventually got there she threw a tantrum. So she stayed in the time out room all during lunch, where she continued to stand in the chair and on the desk and generally be disruptive.

Luckily, it was Robby's day off so when the principal called me, Robby and I talked and decided to go in for a meeting with the principal to figure out what he thought we should do, because she was going to be sent to another teacher's classroom the rest of the day, once she calmed down and started following directions, and if she could still not behave herself, I was going to have to pick her up early.

We met with the principal and a counselor who'd observed Gracie and it was actually a really positive experience. I was so glad Robby was there because, at the very beginning of the meeting, it was all I could do to keep from crying (what with the pregnancy hormones, and all) and Robby just kind of took over and said everything I wanted to say. They were both so nice and genuinely waned to figure out a way to make Gracie's school experience a successful one, without sacrificing the learning of other children, which I totally understand and am on board with.

We talked about taking Gracie to the doctor to check for ADD or some other attention disorder and the counselor gave me a behavioral sheet to fill out and Gracie's teacher would fill one out too and we'd send both to the doctor so he could see how she behaved in both environments. I suspected something like this, but didn't know when an appropriate time to have her checked would be. I'm grateful to know the people who work with Gracie feel I can take her in now. It's just another thing that might be able to help her.

The other big problem was her humming and general noise making. Sometimes she's totally aware of it, but sometimes she doesn't have any idea that she's doing it, which makes it difficult to correct her. So that is the first thing we are going to work on. We had a big ol' talk about it this morning and she repeated everything I said back to me. I told her when she could hum, like on the playground at recess, and when she couldn't hum.

I'm hoping for the best today but I got some great ideas from the meeting yesterday about consequences for Gracie and incentives for her so I'm feeling good, as of right now, about figuring out how to best work with and corral her.

Any tips to keep your kids from constantly humming? The only idea I came up with was giving her a set amount of time on a timer she could watch where she was not allowed to hum, then afterwards letting her hum all she wanted, if she didn't hum during the allotted time. That's mostly for practice at home. Any other ideas would be greatly appreciated.

And prayers and well-wishes are always accepted. I think we have a long road ahead of us.


Sadie said...

I'm sure you've heard of the different ways people and children learn. Here is a brief summary of some of them:
My Liberty is a musical learner. She is a constant whistler. She doesn't even know she's whistling... and it's constant. From sun up until sun down. I've even heard her whistle in her sleep! The link above describes the musical learner perfectly. I am constantly reminding liberty not to whistle in class but it still takes her awhile to remember and the teacher has to remind her when she starts whistling without realizing it.. and she's 7! So it may take awhile. Liberty also has to have music on to do homework or she can't focus. Without sound and music she displays ADHD tendencies but with music they go away. It is really fascinating to watch and learn about. There is a lot more information about musical learners if you google it. Good luck with cutie pie Gracie and I hope you can find the best solution for all.

Jess and Josh said...

Hey Mel...
I read your blog this morning and then came across this reading this afternoon. Hope it helps in some way or another....

When a child repeatedly acts out in a particular way, find the positive in it and help her use this "power" for good, not for evil. Christine Herring, a third-grade teacher from Monroeville, PA, recalls one girl who was ¿ber-bossy, which caused her classmates to reject her -- and led her to misbehave. "I told her, 'You know, you have a strong personality, and someday you could be President. But the problem is, to be President, people have to like you. Your friends don't like it when you're bossy. So think of yourself as a President-in-training, and start really working on respecting your classmates, listening to them, and knowing when to use your bossiness.'" Once Herring had helped the girl understand the best times to use her strong leadership ability, like when organizing a game, things went more smoothly.

If your child can't sit still, his superpower might be "energy," which you can direct him to use at the right time and place (for the fastest cleanup on record, maybe, or when he's out in the yard). If she's a cutup and disturbs other diners in the restaurant with her Hannah Montana medleys, praise her ability to make people laugh, but give her an outlet where her superpower will be appreciated -- a musical-theater class, for instance, or an evening performance for you and your husband. If she breaks into song at the wrong time, you can say, "You're not using your superpower correctly," says Herring. "They start to get it after a while."

Tina McKinnon said...

The trouble with Gracie is that she is sooooo sad... and never has any fun!! NOT! She is delightful, but of course I live 2 1/2 hours away from her classroom! J/K I am so glad you have such a good resource in that school to help her/you funnel her energies and 'fun'... love you!