Thursday, October 8, 2009

Avery chronicles.

Well, I just got home from dropping the kids off to school and I am a wreck...naturally Chad skipped town just in time to avoid all the drama.
It all began this morning when I had to wake Avery from what appeared to be a very deep slumber. I knew the day was getting off to a rocky start and said a silent little prayer that it wouldn't continue throughout the rest of the day.
(Those of you who have spent any length of time with Avery know that she is, well, a DIVA. She is the moodiest child I've ever had the privelidge of knowing (see I'm so spent, I can't even remember how to spell the word priviledge). There are times I just stare at her and wonder if she is bipolar. One minute she will be telling me I'm the worst and meanest mom on the entire earth and the next she'll she putting her arms around my neck giving me a hug...and that's on a good day).
Don't get me wrong I love the kid, I just know how...unstable she can be at times.
Anyway, I tried rousing her with no success. It took me about five minutes to get her conscious and surprisingly she seemed in a rather pleasant mood...perhaps because I came bearing chocolate milk as a gift. She drank her milk and watched a little T.V. and when I felt the timing was just right I suggested she go and get dressed for school. That's when the SHEESH hit the fan. I swear I saw her eyes turn red and horns sprout out of her cute little skull...the wrath of Avery was upon me. Immediately I went into "hostage negotiator" mode; strategically choosing the things I said so as to diffuse the situation..."what do you FEEL like wearing today?", "tell me what you WANT to wear and I'll go get it for you...your majesty"(I didn't really say that last part, but I thought it).
Listen, I know what you are all thinking...get a backbone lady. How can I, the parent, allow my six year old to have such control over me?
So, I'll try to explain my side as best I can. It isn't that I'm scared of Avery or that she has control of me's not like that. But, almost every morning since school started I have had to listen to Avery tell me that she doesn't have anything to wear, that she never looks as "fancy" (her words) as her friends, that she isn't pretty, that she doesn't like her mouth.
Really, it isn't about clothes at all, that's just how it manifests itself. What it really is, or what I think it is is insecurity; insecurity due to a new situation, a new teacher, and new friends...
So, bearing that in mind, when she melts down at the proposition of getting dressed I know it's just those doubts and anxieties coming out. I have only just put all of this together as recent events have enlightened me. Twice this year already Avery has missed school because she refused to get in the car even. She would just stand the hall and sob. The first time it happened I let her stay home because I didn't know what else to do and I just assumed that it was her trying to adjust to being in school a full day. That was a couple of weeks ago. This week she missed her second day. Again, I let her stay home because she'd been sick over the weekend and I assumed she was still feeling a little "under the weather". That day started out much like today, with her crying about not having anything to wear. That's why, today, I pushed aside everything I'd ever been told about children and not letting them call the shots, and just followed Avery's lead. I wanted to be as supportive as I could be even if meant I become a pushover.
Finally, after twenty minutes of negotiating and suggesting she got dressed...not happily, but she got dressed. She continued to cry that she didn't like what she was wearing while I brushed her hair...and while we gathered backpacks and got into the car...and the entire time we drove to the school.
At this point I began worrying that perhaps she doesn't think I think she's pretty. Maybe I haven't told her often enough how cute and delightful she is. So I made a point of telling her how beautiful I think she is and that it didn't matter what she wore because she would be pretty regardless.
We finally got to the school and I thought that all was well. Carter hopped out of the car and went on his merry way, but Avery just sat there. Then she informed me that she wasn't getting out.
I had tried so hard to avoid this situation and yet there we were anyway. I pulled the car into a parking spot and turned off the engine. I sat there contemplating my next move. I told Avery that we would spend the entire school day in the parking lot if she didn't let me take her into the school. She just sat there. At that point it was ten minutes after the late bell rang and I knew that the office would be calling to find out why she wasn't in class. So, I called them instead and proceeded to tell the secretary that I was sitting in the parking lot and not sure what I should to do. She put me on hold for a minute and came back on to tell me that they were sending out a guidance counselor. When Avery realized what was happening she burried her little face in her arms and cried.
I tried to pull myself together and greeted the TWO STRANGERS as pleasantly as I could. One of them leaned inside the car and asked Avery a series of questions..."what's your name?", "what grade are you in?", "who is your teacher?", all of which I had to answer for her. Somehow, miraculously, she was able to coax Avery out of the car. I gave her a big hug as she cried on my shoulder and reassured her that I would be at home if she needed anything at all. Then they took her hand and left...and I just stood there.
I was immediately overcome with guilt as I watched my little baby leave me, crying, with no one but strangers to console her.
They went into the school and I climbed into the car and lost it.
Now, here I sit, confused and frustrated and wondering what is going on. Why is Avery struggling so much? Have I raised her to be so incapable of handling new situations? Perhaps. Have I neglected to give her the attention she needs and this is her way of demanding it? Likely. Does she have some genetic mental illness? Possibly. Has a teacher or classmate at school said or done something? I hope not. I have asked her if anything has happened at school to cause her to not want to go but she hasn't been able to give me a "valid" reason.
On a happier note, since I've been sitting at the computer spilling my guts, the school has called to tell me that she went to class. And for that I am glad. I just hope that it doesn't happen again...and if it does that I won't have to enlist the services of my front office cronies.
Now, I am off to do some soul searching, some deep contemplation and to take a hot bath...cause I NEED it. Plus, it might come in handy later for when the wrath of Avery is upon me once again this afternoon. Wish me luck.
P.S. I would love an outsiders advice on this matter. My judgement is obviously clouded by a little thing I like to call...emotions. Hmmm, I wonder where Avery gets it from?


Stephens 8 said...

Oh my dear...Avery sounds like a very healthy and typical girl. She is just having a hard time adjusting to so many changes in her life, school full time, a new baby...sister even, life is hard when you are girl. The good news is that Avery is strong headed and has strong feelings, so...if directed the right way, Avery will become..strong headed with strong convictions! You can do it! You are just post-partum and everything seems sooooooo much harder than it is...beleive my I know. Pray...pray and pray some more, the Lord wants to bouy (sp?) you right now. As for Avery, just love her, and let the Holy Spirit guide...Love to you my dear friend and lots and lots of hugs.

6deans said...

Oh Erika I feel your pain it is so hard to parent on days like today. Rachel cried and actually chased my car once out of the school parking lot when she was in kindergarten for 8 weeks. I remember just leaving her and having her kick and scream while the teacher held her. Mrs. Harding told me to let her come home and she would have to stay in her room all day...luckily that worked for Rachel because she never acted out again. It sounds like you have done that already with Avery. You are such a great mom I am sure this will pass and anyway you handle it will be the best. On a side note it was super fun seeing you yesterday. I miss hanging out with you. Love ya EM

Malea said...

I don't have girls. So now, I don't know if I should because the image that you painted of two strangers leading your tearful little girl opened my own tear ducts, and made my nose all
burn-ey. I already read the follow up. So I'm glad you are feeling better. No words of advice, just lot's and lot's o' cyber hugs from me.