Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lots of stuff...

Bear with me if this post seems to be all over the place. (I'm sure it will!) I have many things on my mind today.

First, I had MOPS this morning. I like MOPS a lot, however, today's talk was on etiquette. Well, anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a pretty low-maintenance kinda gal. (I even had to look up how to spell the word - it's just not part of my normal vocab, ya know?)

I don't think there is anything at all wrong with practicing proper etiquette, but as a mom of 3... well... I'm sorry, but I am not going to bring out the fine china (oh wait, I don't even own fine china - unless Corelle counts?:) and make my children dress up for Sunday dinner. I think I'm doing swell if I can get my kids to say thank you! (Which they tell us a lot, just not to strangers very well, which makes it look like my kids aren't grateful for anything... but that's another issue for another time.)

So, do I really care if my children know to place their napkin on their lap? No, I'm just glad they use napkins. Or how to cut their meat? No, I'm happy if they eat it! Or if they know how to properly introduce someone? Not really. I'm happy if they include others and show kindness to each other. I think I value manners and respect more than etiquette. They probably go hand in hand, I know... Just not in our house. Does that make me a bad mom? Or just a typical Northerner? :)

Incidentally, throughout the whole presentation on etiquette, my 2-year-old was sitting on my lap, kicking her Tinkerbell shoes into the nice lady next to me (so sorry Amy), grabbing grapes off my paper plate and spilling my water. I had no lap left to put my paper napkin. I'm sure the speaker was cringing inside. She could have used me as a "what not to do" example. :)

However, I was convicted on one thing.

Thank you cards.

Yikes. I am horrible about this! HORRIBLE! For all of you out there that have sent me a wedding gift, or graduation gift, or baby gift, and you never once received a thank you card... I'm truly sorry. Please know I was grateful, however I am so terrible about mailing things. It's really no excuse, I know. Every year I buy a birthday card for my grandma, whose birthday is in July, and every year she ends up getting it in November, when we go to her house to celebrate another holiday or birthday. Like I said, I'm horrible. I did find out that I am not alone in this, though. I was surprised to find out that it is more common in my generation than I thought. Not really something to be proud of...
(Did I mention I'm horrible?)

Secondly... Kibby.

She was the one on my lap this morning. She seems to have developed an aversion to her classroom at church. Or to men and boys. I'm not sure which one it is. Maybe it's both. She cries and screams and will not stay in the room. So, today she sat with me. For the second time. I tried to get her to go in the room. Her little hands gripped the door frame as she screamed, "Noooooo!!!" But I still made her go. Well, I tried. I told the girl, "Just give her a few minutes, she'll probably calm down and start playing." Then I walked down the hall (feeling like a horrible Mom) to Kibby screaming, "MOMMYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!" over and over.
Seriously, I hope this is just a phase. A short phase.
Fifteen minutes later the girl brought her to me, apologizing... Kibby just was not calming down. So I took her, shuddery breaths and all, and wiped her tears and let her sit on my lap and eat grapes off my plate. Sigh. What else could I do?

I have been thinking more again about getting her evaluated. Maybe screened for an autism-spectrum disorder. At times her behavior reminds me so much of an autistic little girl I used to know. This girl must be a teenager now, perhaps 18, but I knew her when she was 8. And she showed the same emotional response to movies that Kibby does. She would role-play the "damsel in distress", screaming role of characters in movies she saw... she would act the scenes out. She did not initiate conversation or answer questions. Much like my Kibby. However, Kibby is 2, nearly 3. And Kibby is more verbal than this other girl, and makes better eye contact. Well, when she wants to. But not as much as other children. The problem is that I do not know what exactly is "normal" for her age. I do know that people do not always fit neatly into a certain diagnosis, but since I am not qualified to diagnose her, I don't feel I should. I just want to understand my daughter. I want to know why she is the way she is, and if there is anything I can do to help her.
Here is an example, a conversation I had with her this afternoon:

Kibby wanted to watch a movie.

She came up to me and said (in a sad, traumatized voice)
"Can I wanna watch? Can I wanna watch? Can I wanna watch? Can I wanna watch?"

I said, "What do you want to watch? A movie?"

She repeated, "Can I wanna watch?" (getting more emotional)

I said, "Which movie do you want to watch?"

Kibby said, "Can I wanna watch? Can I wanna watch?"

I said, "Which movie?"

Kibby said, "CAN I WANNA WATCH? CAN I WANNA WATCH?" (now in tears.)

I said, "Kibby, do you want to watch Tinkerbell? Or Snow White? Or Tomato" (she calls Veggie Tales "Tomato".)

Kibby said, "CAN I WANNA WATCH?! CAN I WANNA WATCH?!" At this point her face is inches from mine, and her tears are dripping on my lap...

I get up, and she crumples on the floor, screaming. Heartbroken and frustrated.

I ask her to come to me, over by the DVD player and the movies. I show her Tinkerbell. I show her Snow White... I ask which one. She repeats, "Wanna watch which one!"


I ask, "Do you want to watch Tinkerbell?"

She repeats, "Wanna watch Tinkerbell."

So I put in Tinkerbell, and she is satisfied. For now.

Do you see how this may get tiring? I keep thinking, I want her to TELL me, I don't want to just pick for her, or just guess. This happens SO much.

Other times, she appears to be doing fine. She will come up to me and say, "I'm thirsty, Mommy. Where's my drink?"

And she has been saying, "Thank you" to everything lately.

Well - least she is learning her manners.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I am terrible about writing thank you cards, or getting cards into the mail even. My intentions are good, and I wish I could be more organized. I am just not that qualified. I wish in our day in age, that people could accept a genuine THANK words. I understand the concept of the thank you card, but really...I am ok with people just thanking me in person, and I wish it was mutual all around the board. So, I can totally relate with you there.

That must be frustrating with not understanding your daughter. It is so tough when they are little. I, too, wish they could just tell us (without so much frustration). My daughter (20 months) does this too.