I just got done reading an article that Linds texted me from Dirt & Boogers and it really resonated with how Nolan has been since he began kindergarten. I suggest you go ahead and read her article as it’s more well thought out and written far better than mine. I am going to basically touch on the five points she did and associate how it hits home here.
It has to do with your child, in this case Nolan, being a rockstar at school and being so stoked to go every day. And then coming home and becoming what seems like an overly sensitive basket case with a (sometimes) mean and shitty attitude.
I’m using Amanda’s five ways to stop the attitude but adding my twist on her article, not attempting to copy hers.
- Greet Without the Questions. Fortunately, as I’ve mentioned, his teacher emails us every day right after school the questions we should ask and every day he’s reluctant to answer them or gives some huffing and puffing. So we put it off until dinner and he’s been more than happy to oblige.
- Feed Them. Absolutely, positively, 100% one of the first two things he says when he gets off the bus is: “Dad, I’m hungry.” Over the summer, he got into a habit of grazing all day – some fruit here, a few carrots there, some cheese crackers – you get the idea. At school this doesn’t fly. Lunch (11am) an afternoon snack are the only two times he gets to eat in the eight hours he’s at school. I pack his lunch with a sandwich and two or three of the following: a fruit/veggie, a cheese stick, a granola bar, cheese crackers, applesauce, pretzels, etc. And for his afternoon snack he gets one of listed snacks not in his lunch. But by time he gets home at four o’clock he’s gotta be hungry. So a snack is a must!
- Allow for Downtime. He was just at school for a long time, he needs to unwind. Sometimes he’ll whine, “Dad, what can I doooooo?” and I tell him anything he wants. Today we rode a trike around the driveway and painted a little bit of the bench we made for him to sit in while he waits for the bus. Then Austin woke up and Nolan declared it time to go inside, where he played with train tracks for an hour. Kids gotta be kids.
- Be Consistent with Rules and Consequences. He knows that he needs to be nice to Graham and that the shitty attitude doesn’t fly but sometimes he can’t help it (the attitude, not the meanness). He’s got his chores so he can make some money to purchase a LEGO Police Station. He’s usually excited about unloading the dishwasher but not about cleaning the living room before bed. And he loves running out to the end of the driveway Sunday mornings to get the paper.
- Connect and Reflect. One-on-one time is important and despite me waking Graham up today so he can watch Nolan get off the bus, I usually use the time before the two little guys wake up for that one-on-one time with my oldest dude. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes, sometimes it’ll be 20, but whatever it is we both enjoy it.
So yeah, he’s sensitive but there’s clearly a reason for it. And sure he’s an asshole sometimes. He’s 5, I get it. Today he screamed and broke down crying because Graham, who’s lack of speaking has been well-documented, has learned to say “Noles” and does so quite frequently. Nolan had enough of his name followed by nothing, and broke down. My heart sank as he whimpered to me why he was crying, a big step for him since he doesn’t verbalize his feeling particularly well (can’t the same be said for almost everyone?). So that was good to hear despite it being tough to hear.
He’s a kind-hearted kid with an unlimited yet vivid imagination so today I wanted to try something that was gonna blow his mind. We did the Skittles Science Experiment after dinner so naturally, while I bathed Graham and Austin, he drew me his interpretation of it. On a Post-it. With highlighters. Note to others who read this and wanna try the Skittle thing: use a round plate or shallow bowl.
(Basically all you do is place the Skittles in a circle and fill the center with warm water so that the bottom of each Skittle is immersed in water. Slowly, the colors pinwheel to the center and the kids will be freaking amazed.)