3 under 3

10 things about Tiernan, aged 5 and 3/4

Posted on: March 30, 2013

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1. After nearly a term at school, you seem to be getting the hang of the routine. We’re still investigating a few things to see if there is anything we can do to help you focus better in class, but your teacher has reported that you’ve been having some really good days. Hopefully that means things will turn around soon.

2. You just started soccer again and you are loving it. It’s amazing to see the difference a year makes in your skill level and confidence. You aren’t at all afraid, you just get in there and take the ball, using your body to push your way through (and sometimes your elbows, but we’ll work on that). You’ve even scored a few goals. It’s great to see you having so much fun and doing really well.

3. You constantly make noises. All the time. It’s like you can’t stand it if the noise level in our house drops below a certain number of decibels, so you keep it up with a steady stream of silly nonsense. Boop Boop. Blah Blah. Poop Poop. Waaaaaahhh!

4. I really embarrassed you at school last week, accidentally. I’ve been helping with reading groups in your classroom on Thursday mornings. As expected, when I’m working with your group your silly behaviour tends to intensify. Last week, you started with your noises and non-compliance and I admit, I was at a bit of a loss in dealing with it. It was an odd situation; I knew how I would deal with it as your Mum, and knew how I would deal with it if I were your teacher. However, being in another teacher’s classroom, I didn’t actually feel I had the authority to act on my own. I thought about swapping activities with another parent helper so that you could do your work without my presence. But instead, I decided to briefly discuss it with your teacher. This was a mistake, as your teacher then called out to you to do your work, and you looked up to see me standing next to her, effectively dobbing you in. I’ll never forget the embarrassment that came over your face. As I watched your cheeks turn red, I could feel the sense of betrayal you must have been feeling. I am sorry. It won’t happen again. We made amends that afternoon. I explained that I asked the teacher what to do because I was in an awkward position. You said you liked me coming into the classroom like the other Mums, and that you would help me do my job properly by doing your best to concentrate. We’ll see how we go next time.

5. Your drawing has improved dramatically since you started school, and I love receiving pictures you have drawn and hearing your explanations about them. This one is a monkey with an Easter egg:

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6. Recently we have been trying something a bit different with you when it comes to discipline. It probably breaks all the parenting book ‘rules’, but it seems to be working. When you are getting really silly at home and not listening, I step in and talk to you before you do something that gets you into trouble. I let you know that you need to settle your behaviour because I can see it is building up, and I don’t want you to do something you’ll regret. I let you continue playing, but if the behaviour doesn’t stop, I intervene again and give you a chance to go and cool down in your bedroom for five minutes, knowing that you’re not in trouble. At first, you refused to go to your room because you just thought it was the same as going to time out. But after trying it a few times, I think you have started to appreciate the difference. For starters, you’re not in trouble, I’m calmly talking to you (rather than yelling, which I know I do too often), and the five minutes is a bit more flexible than with time out. When you’re calm, you come out. I feel this approach allows you to understand where the limits are as you approach them, rather than after you have crossed them. It also allows me to deal with you calmly because I’m not angry yet. No lines have been crossed, nothing is broken, no-one is hurt. It’s a work in progress, but I think it helps, especially when I time my intervention just right.

7. I’m really enjoying having real conversations with you more and more often, as you gain the maturity to understand and want to be involved. One thing you’ve wanted to discuss a lot lately is Jesus. You’ve been going to scripture classes at school, and it seems you’ve actually been paying attention. Despite this, you recently told me you don’t think you believe in Jesus. So we discussed what that means, and that it was perfectly ok not to believe in Jesus. We also discussed how some people, many of our friends in fact, do believe in Jesus and that is also perfectly ok. The important thing is that we respect each other’s beliefs, and our own. I admit I’m slightly apprehensive, sending you to scripture and allowing your young mind to be filled with someone else’s strong beliefs, which I do not share. However, your Dad and I decided that scripture never did either of us any harm, and that we would rather you have some understanding of Christianity so that you can make up your own mind when you’re older. It would be even better if other religions were also taught at schools but at this point that seems too much to hope for. I’m a bit excited that your school does offer Ethics classes, though, from years 3 to 6. So we’ll be trying that out when you’re older.

8. Recently, at your Nanny and Poppy’s, you found a photo of one of your cousins, and you asked if you could keep it so you could remember him. I love how very deeply you love your cousins, and it breaks my heart that we have not been able to resolve our problems with their parents so that you can grow up with them.

9. You’re still a big cuddly baby. I love holding you in my arms, all squished up into a ball on my lap, and rocking you like I used to when you were a baby. It’s hard to believe you will six soon.

10. Pre-wrapped packets of biscuits (Tiny Teddies, Scooby Doo Snacks, Pony Snacks) have been a part of our lives for a while now. I shudder to think of their nutritional content. I do. But they’re also very handy and easy to chuck into a lunch box, and I do hate packing lunch boxes. We usually rotate the snacks on a weekly basis, so every third week we have Pony snacks living in our cupboard. They come in a delightful pink wrapping. One day you came home from school and asked me not to pack them any more. I knew why straight away but wanted to tease it out of you, so played dumb. I asked whether you didn’t like the taste anymore. You did. I asked whether you didn’t like My Little Ponies anymore. You did. I asked whether you didn’t like pink things anymore. You did. Then what was the problem? The boys at school said they were for girls. Yep. Now, I could have just told you that was nonsense and continued to pack them. But instead I let you know that, while I thought those boys were wrong, I understood if you didn’t want the Pony snacks anymore. I said I didn’t really think it was so important to worry what those boys think, but if you weren’t comfortable, that was fine. You decided not to have the Pony snacks. I was sad. I mean, not too sad, because they are really hideously awful. But, they are no worse than the Scooby Doo Snacks or Tiny Teddies. So I was sad that you are already conscious of what other kids think and are modifying your behaviour to suit. I hope you’re not modifying your own opinions too much, though. I don’t think I have too much to worry about, however, because after a few weeks of no Pony snacks, guess what happened? You told me I could put them back in your lunch box. The subject hasn’t come up again since. Good on you, my clever, brave boy.

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