I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Just another day in Paradise

I had a meeting yesterday with school nurse supposedly about Ellie's eating. They were concerned because when she has had packed lunch she always seems to be hungry. She is in a phase right now of limiting a lot of foods and not eating ones she used to. I thought we were there to discuss food and diet. 

They started talking again about her not brushing hair and occasional not clean clothes (she *is* a messy eater) and how it could cause problems for her in high school singling herself out. 

They mentioned how she often doesn't have a drink with her and I said I thought you gave her water in school and that we are on a budget so if she drinks all her juice she has none for school, a natural consequence. I said she used to bring a bottle but it always came home full and I had expected the school to encourage her to drink. 

They mentioned not doing homework and how it could be a problem in high school. I said she is only in primary two!

I explained that we don't force her to do her homework but we do talk and read at home about lots of different things especially numbers and language. I asked her if she had heard of Alfie khon and the idea that homework is not so necessary at this age and is just more pressure. She kept bringing up high school being an issue if she doesn't do these things now. 

She asked if we sit together to eat and what happens if they don't finish their dinner do they still get a 'treat' and suggested rewarding them if they do eat. I tried to explain how I'm working towards the girls having autonomy and an understanding of their own body and hunger etc and how we don't make them perform for rewards and sometimes we sit together and sometimes it's just not possible with hubby's working hours.  

She asked about what disciplines we use for bad behaviours I asked what she meant by bad behaviour. I gave her the example of bed time not working and how we discussed together what we could do to make it work better. She told me her own story of controlled crying. I really cant believe its still advocated?? I said I would never in a month of Sundays do controlled crying that there was a lot of research out there now to negate it and she got all bristly and told me her 16yr old was 'perfect' and then she mentioned Triple P *sigh* (I am plagued by Triple P, I hate it) and I explained we do natural consequences and don't use rewards and punishment. Also Triple P advocates time outs which we definitely don't do!!

They brought up again how Ellie is by herself in playground by her choosing and how they try to engage her in play with other kids but she refuses. She asked how things were now after we had spoken to her teacher about Ellie feeling bullied and I said she is not refusing school just now and the teacher was going to investigate things so it helped to talk about it. 

She seemed impressed with how I spoke to Maia when she started to get noisy.  I said she could go through to the nursery or sit quietly with me. They kept 'quizzing' her knowledge and asking about going to school. If she was looking forward to it etc. Maia I know has had enough of that question since she repeatedly tells me she is NOT going to school!!!

I'm fairly sure she just thought we were lax parents who let our kids make their own decisions and run their own lives without any thought, care or input from me and that it would come back to bite us. She kept saying how she's heard we parent 'differently'. I should have asked what she thought that meant. 

I felt under scrutiny for my parenting techniques as usual and I'm afraid I wasn't very forthcoming and up for defending myself. I'm also exceedingly tired just now, so it seemed kind of pointless trying to justify our lives when I'm feeling this way. I'm thinking Millie wearing her split crotch EC pants (with a nappy) didn't help my case!!!

Its just as well I'm not so vulnerable to 'mainstream' parenting techniques because she was being all reasonable and clearly thought I was making problems for myself and should do things her way. 

I actually don't feel I handled it well at all, I felt sullen and pouty and probably did some WTF type eye rolling. I wasn't vocal enough in defence and advocating for us as a family because there didn't seem any point and I was too tired to have to justify my parenting. Again.  

Thinking back on it after, I was pissed off it wasn't more about food and felt like an attack, so, at pick up, I bravely went up to the acting head and said 'I thought the meeting was about Ellie and her diet I was a bit shocked to have my parenting under scrutiny and feeling I had to justify my parenting style. I felt bamboozled and totally unprepared."

She smiled sweetly and said 'yes the nurse noticed you were not receptive to advice but really it's all in the spirit of trying to support you'

I mean, who IS receptive to parenting advice when they didn't ask for it??

I'm too tired and weary to be too angry but FFS it was meant to be about diet.  I know they were just trying to find a way to support me. A cleaner, a cook, a driver and a tribe would be a good starting point!!

I'm trying not to take it all too seriously but maybe that's my problem. Ellie out of school is happy confident lively friendly communicative little girl who is oblivious to societies hang ups. As any bloody kid should be.

She's only 6 FFS!!

Meltdowns - not today
Losing the plot - just once after Ellie refused to get me a nappy whilst she was already upstairs 
Breastfeeding - realising I offer one more than other so am lopsided

1 comment:

  1. Hugs to you! What lucky children you have. Its a pity more professionals don't have the same respect for you as you have for your children.

    I had a similar conversation with a well-meaning headmistress re rewards/treats. My youngest has dyslexia and after some sessions with a brilliant paed chiropracter, he started moving up reading groups. Conversation went: XXX is doing so well, have you given him a reward? me: 'Whatdo you mean? her: Well, does he like video games you could get him a video game. Me: actually he is so proud of himself, I dont want to devalue him by 'rewarding' him. besides, he makes an effort whether he is rewarded or not - its unfair to give him the impression that he is approved and acknowledged only when he gets results that please me. Im not sure she got it at all. Then when he started refusing school, a psychologist advised 'tough love . Again I put on my blank/dumb face and asked, so how does that look when my kid is curled up having a panic attack? (brought on by teacher cruelty eg asking her to please read the questions in a test as he couldnt read the whiteboard - he has Erlins syndrome,which is a light sensitivity made worse by flourescent lights and on a white board, the white is prominent/print 'recedes. This teacher refused to help saying 'that will disrupt the other kids' resulting in 'other kids' calling him a retard and him worrying that he had failed the test).
    Psych then said, have you ever had to do controlled crying? Umm , no. WE are going through that with our baby at the moment. I forgot my dumb face and lost my shit - " you fucking aren't!?!!. Have you not read the research about the impacts on infant mental health?
    On my way home I started to giggle - I had a lightbulb moment - now he probably thinks the reason my kid is refusing school is because I have NEVER had any boundaries.

    Its tough advocating for our children when we are taking a gentle path - hang in there mama, you have lucky kids - by highschool your now 6 year old will shit all over the poor kids who have had the stuffing knocked out of them. BTW - dont they have drinking taps at school where kids can get water?