Oh Boy.

I have a heavy heart but I think this is ultimately a good thing.

Cutie Pie’s’ lab school class met at Publix this morning for a field trip.  The class was divided into two groups because there were so many people.  We were in the second group.  One of the rules for the behind the scenes tour was wearing a hair net.  As I anticipated, Cutie Pie flat out refused to wear his.  He whined, wiggled and threw himself on the ground every time I tried to put the hair net on his head.  I tried showing him that his friends and I were all wearing the nets and explained that he couldn’t participate if he chose not to wear it.

I was exasperated by the time the first group finished their tour.  EVERY OTHER TODDLER WAS WEARING THEIR HAIR NET!  How was that possible?!  I thought for sure we would not be alone with this rebellion but, alas, I was wrong…

Our group was composed of four parents, four children and our parent educator, Ms. Eva.  Eva ended up going on both tours.  She came over to join our group when the first tour was over.  The tour guide immediately began the tour as soon as Ms. Eva joined us and the guide didn’t seem to mind that Cutie Pie wasn’t wearing his hair net.  She just told us to stay around the perimeter.  Basically, avoid getting near the exposed food.  No problem.

When we entered the bakery, I attempted to put on Cutie Pie’s hair net again.  He refused.  Again.   So I took a couple of photos of the bakery employee making icing rosettes for a cake.  Eva asked me if I wanted her to take our picture and looked suspiciously at Cutie Pie.  I said no and explained that Cutie Pie refused to don his hair net.  Eva told Cute Pie that he had a choice to either put on the hair net and go with the group or leave the area.  Cutie Pie refused to put it on, of course.  So, we went to stand outside of the bakery.

I tried to reason with Cutie Pie several more times to no avail.  I was hopeful that Eva would come support me in trying to get Cutie Pie to cooperate.  My kids can be  much more receptive to a third party than to me.  Eva didn’t really look back.  She continued on with the group.  I watched them move on to another station and figured that we should probably leave since my child was not willing to put on the darn hair net.  I waved at Eva a couple of times and finally got her attention.  I motioned that we were going to leave.  She barely acknowledged me.  Frustrated, I collected my uncooperative, wiggling, whining toddler and made for the door.

I wasn’t expecting miracles. But I did expect a little bit more involvement from Eva.  Her role as lab school parent educator is to help guide us through difficult toddler behavior not just push us out of the group and ignore us.  She had already been on the tour.  She knew what was going on.  My kid was the only one freaking and I felt completely closed out.  I wanted someone to wait for us or make a suggestion or throw us a bone or something. We don’t even go to lab school on Mondays.  I changed my plans to be able to go to the field trip today.

Instead of experiencing the field trip, I wrestled my child to the car.  He didn’t want to be carried and he didn’t want to walk.  He wanted to go on the tour with his friends but didn’t understand why he couldn’t go.  He kept saying “Go Publix!  Go Publix!”  and I kept trying to explain that he had to wear a hair net to “go Publix”…  Cutie Pie was a sobbing, wailing mess by the time I got to the car.  The hair net was a shredded pile of mesh fabric and elastic on the floor of the backseat.  Cutie Pie was doing a back bend so that I couldn’t strap him into his car seat.  I was finally able to bend him in the middle long enough to fasten the straps but it sounded like he was dying.  I’m sure the shoppers in the parking lot thought I was beating him.  It was a disaster.

By the time I started the car, I was shaking.  I was so frustrated I wanted to cry.  Instead, I went home and composed an e-mail to Eva stating that I wanted to withdraw from the program.  It’s been a long time coming.  Cutie Pie’s lab school class is big and loud.  As a slow to warm child, Cutie Pie is most often on the sidelines clinging to me.  He’s not getting as much out of the class as he should.  Eva seems overwhelmed by the class most of the time too.   Today’s field trip was the last straw for me.  If I can’t get support from the parent educator when I need it most then what the heck am I doing in the class?

I hate quitting anything that I start but this year’s lab school class was making me crazy.  It got to where I would dread going.  I don’t need that kind of thing in my life.  I needed lab school when Wildman was a little one.  I was a first time mom and needed the support of other mom friends as much as Wildman needed socialization.  Cutie Pie has Wildman, his cousins and other friends for socialization and I have a good base of mom friends now.  Lab school isn’t such a necessity for us as it once was.  I still miss the early days though.  Wildman’s lab school class was small and the moms and kids were wonderful.  *sigh*  I wish it could have been like that this time around.  It’s been a big disappointment for me this year and it makes me heavyhearted.

I stand by my decision though.  I think this is the best move for our family and my sanity.  I expect that I’ll feel liberated next Wednesday when we don’t have to go to lab school 🙂

The kicker?  I spent time last night cutting out a bazillion pink hearts for this month’s shape!  Argh!


Frazzled Not Dazzled

I need a kick in the butt. I need refocus. Have you ever felt like things are getting a little out of control? I’ve been feeling that way lately when it comes to parenting my three-year-old. Exasperation, frustration, being just plain tired of difficult behavior has been wearing me down. This is no excuse for slippage but it’s where I’m at. I’m the parent. I need to always have a handle on the situation. Now, I’m not one step from calling up Supernanny or anything. I’ll admit I’m probably overreacting. But my lack of patience with my child needs to change. It’s not good for either of us.

Let’s talk about Becky Bailey and Conscious Discipline. I had no clue who Becky Bailey was or what Conscious Discipline was until I began taking Wildman to Lab School when he was 9-months-old. Lab School is a program through our local community college for children and parents focusing on education/emotional intelligence/respect for children as individuals/creativity/discovery. It’s firmly rooted in the principles of Conscious Discipline.

Let me clarify: I’m not one for formulaic parenting. I don’t think there is one right answer or method that can be found in a self-help book. Following what feels right and what works for my family is what I try to do. But one can never be too educated right? I try to take bits and pieces of different philosophies and apply them. Conscious Discipline is more of a set of guidelines for nurturing compassionate, well-adjusted children. If anything, I’ve reminded myself of a few tips for dealing with difficult situations. And that’s reassuring.

Does anyone else find themselves in a rut from time to time? I think I just need to chill a bit and maybe shake up our routine to keep things interesting… *sigh* Where’s that handbook that was supposed to come with children?

P. S. Happy Memorial Day!!!!

P. P. S. I really liked the new Indiana Jones movie!