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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Cart

This week has been tougher. We still have not yet had a full week of school since before winter break due to weather related school closings, teaching institute day, and holidays. I would love it, if we could get a routine down. While these kids do not have the behavioral issues that the Fab Four did, they do have a listening problem, as in they don't listen. They completely tune me out. It doesn't matter if I'm using a calm voice, a frustrated voice, or a yelling voice. It is as if they just can't hear my voice at all.

It is sooo frustrating. We stopped at the grocery store tonight. Now I realize four kids is a lot to traipse through the grocery store. So when the kids are with me I try to only get a few essentials and get the heck out. I don't know if its sensory or attention issues or lack of attachment but these kids would not stop walking right in front of the cart. You know, as in: the cart is moving forward so I'm going to pick now to walk in front of it. I assigned two kids to one side, one to the other (Smiley was in the cart). Then the two kids were fighting and so I separated them. And then they walked in front of the cart. We turned down an aisle, walk in front of the cart. I seriously considered letting the cart run them over. I reached my boing point as we were leaving. They raced to the automatic doors and you guessed it, cut right in front of the cart.

So I stopped. And I said, "Go ahead. Get it out of your system before we get in the parking lot. Cross in front of the cart. Ok now do it again." Which of course meant that now I had their attention and they didn't want to do what I was asking. So I stood there and waited. Sarah seemed to think this was funny. I think she has a nervous laugh. I assured her the face I was wearing was not one of humor.

This is frustrating because in addition to feeling like my directions are being ignored. I don't get a response from the kids and they aren't connecting to me on a deeper level. I know this will take time given their caregivers have constantly changed. The "I'm going to tune you out" kept on going once we arrived home. But I stayed calm. I tried to re-direct. And then after explaining my expectations, I moved on. I literally said, "I'm disappointed but I'm moving on. These issues are over."

These kids are hyper-vigilant due to their neglect. They are terrified of giving the wrong answer. I know part of what we are struggling with as the adults is that the kids don't feel connected to us. We have to work to overcome that. We have to provide safe places for that bonding to take place and we aren't going to get there if we spend an entire evening going over poor choices.

The attention seeking behavior was out in full force at bedtime. Sarah produced a blown up photocopy of a tooth x-ray (seriously, its scary how much stuff there is in my house that I have no clue about) and wanted to know where to put it 10 minutes after she was to be in bed. Stella has a pajama day at school and despite me telling her 5 different ways she needed to bring me the matching pajamas that she wanted to wear so I could wash them, she handed me mismatched pajamas that didn't fit her. So I'm left with the decision: let the natural consequence of kids looking at her for what she was wearing happen or finding the pajamas for her so that she could get into bed and not become ostracized. I'm not sure she is capable of talking responsibility for her actions at this point so I took care of the PJs.

I need to read up on neglect. Anyone have suggestions or sources they would like to share?

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