I’ll cut to the chase. Sidney is challenging Tom and I. We are helping Sidney to understand our infinite love while helping her to overcome her deep need to control.
Some of her behavior is due to milestones, but as I told my mom, given Sidney's background, it's more complex. Each time Eli hit a milestone between 3 and 4, he had no impulse control. Sidney is mimicking the same pattern. Changes are many in her small world as she masters potty training, eating well, and going to school three mornings a week. But, if I learned one thing parenting Eli, it is, if one thing goes well another will change.
On Wednesday (I am a cockeyed optimist, but Wednesday was a rough day…..see more on Eli’s ER Experience in the next blog), I sat in my car waiting for the appearance of tiny backpack clad bodies in the door. Instead, Sidney’s teacher walked her out alone. “She was on the sad pad three times." Sad pad? This couldn't be good. "I figured you would want to know. I would want to know,” she said. Lagging behind in the conversation, I asked “what’s a sad pad?” I was informed it’s timeout.
Sidney was kicking in line for the bathroom, knocked over her friend’s block tower, and threw books. What? Really? I am the mom of the kid going in time out? Frankly, Eli never steps out of line in school, figuratively or literally. It was humbling to hear this information.
Sidney is testing. She conquered manipulating her teacher, so she’s taking it a step further. Remember the story about the teachers stool? It’s representative of her ability to coerce her teacher. If the rule for everyone else is the stool is off limits, it should be off limits. If I am hearing this, I can imagine, there are other areas, she has wooed her teacher.
So, in the midst of my complete chagrin, and figuring out how to deal with this shift in behavior, I folded laundry while Sidney “read a book.” Reading a book means, Sidney goes through the pages and makes up her own story. This is another developmental milestone. Book completed, Sidney turned to me and said, “I want to learn to read.” She’s too smart for her own good.
Dynamite comes in small packages. If the constant explosions can chip away this need to control, what remains will be remarkable.