Run For Cover! She’s Gonna Blow!


Is it a full moon or something?  Did I miss the memo?  Is it “Cranky Ass Kid Month”? Because my 5-year old is behaving extremely strange.  She is normally a well-mannered, polite, happy kid, with the exception of a whiny phase she went through a while ago.

I feel like I am walking on eggshells around her.  I’ll just go ahead and say it.  She’s being a bitch.  That’s right.  You never know what’s going to set this mini-time bomb off.  Nothing is making her happy lately and she’s been reacting in ways that I thought were for a much younger child.  If you ask her to do something, even things she previously loved doing, she freaks out.  She throws herself down and screams.  The kind of spazz-out that’s sort of funny at first.  You try not to laugh, then you laugh and make it so much worse.   No words actually come out of her mouth, just wild animal sounds.  Ask her to do something she already hates?  Her reaction is nothing short of thermonuclear war.  She even tries to HIT ME!  Oh yeah, I nearly lost. my. marbles. when that happened.  The flip from good mood to holy terror(ist) takes only a nanosecond.  She even lost it on us at the grocery store last week and she’s never done that before.  Hence the eggshells.

Jeez! All I wanted you to do was brush your hair!  

Of course we’re working on the discipline part of it.  She’s not too old for timeouts to have an effect on her.  And consequences are flying too.  She loses bedtime stories and TV time (which only make the freak outs worse which is, like, so awesome).  But we stick to our guns.  What I want to know is what’s causing this shift in her behavior?  I’ve written before how much Kindergarten has changed her, mostly for the better, but could school be at the heart of all this?  I know she has never been so tired in her life.  But is that it?  Is there something else going on?

She is very closed-mouthed when we talk about how school is going.  I know she’s getting extra help with reading because I’ve discussed it with her teacher. (In Kindergarten. I know, right?)  But other than telling me that she likes lunch and recess the best, I don’t get much out of her.  When she’s super tired and cranky, she tells me things like “Nobody plays with me at recess” or “I’m the worst in my class at math.”  How much merit do I give these things?  In context, you should know that she was in the middle of getting disciplined when she dropped the “nobody plays with me” jag, and she was fighting doing her homework when she hit me with the “bad at math” tears.  I’m beginning to think that school is stressing her out.

I’m going to speak to her teacher about all this soon.  That is, if we all survive long enough living in Cranky Town.  I want her to love school.  But what if she’s just not that kid?  I don’t need her to bounce out of bed and blow sunshine out of her butt.  But I just want to know is it normal for her to behave this way?  She’s too young to be this stressed out about school, if that this is about.  As her mom, and someone who naturally wants to fix others, I want to make this all better for her and find the solution.  And since we could be dealing with her self-esteem, coloring how she views school and learning in the future, I feel a huge pressure to “get it right.”  I don’t want to blow it.


Oh sure, she looks sweet…
Photo credit: K. Stevenson


13 comments on “Run For Cover! She’s Gonna Blow!”

  1. Kriste’s aunt and 32 year veteran second grade teacher here! Let me weigh in please….Sarah is absolutely right. It is ridiculous what we expect of five year olds these days and many times it is made evident by behavior problems at school! Sounds like Zoey is holding it together all day at school only to unleash it all on you at night. This is much more common than you know, even as they get older.

    Homework in kindergarten? Are you kidding me? What are we thinking? All day kindergarten should be teaching kids social skills and to love learning through songs and projects, how to hold a pencil and color inside the lines. It should be a time when they get to learn how to use scissors, glue, be creative. Common Core my ass. These kids are stressed to the max because teachers have to teach to a test, then “assess” them to death. I find myself apologizing to my class quite often when I have to give them yet another test in order to collect data, which, by the way, I don’t even need, because I know my kids and their abilities, thank you very much. What a waste of time, energy, and learning opportunities. Sometimes we feel like we test more often than we teach!! Ridiculous! *(we secretly call it a WAFWOT…What a F!$@#ing Waste of Time)

    DEFINITELY talk to her teacher and don’t wait. I had a long note from a parent today telling me about problems they were having at home similar to yours and it was homework related. The poor stepmom was so stressed about what to do and apologized for “bothering me” about it but wanted my advise (she is a great stepmom). It was so sweet, she ended it with “You are a wonderful woman” LOL! Anyway I called her at the end of the day, told her she should never worry about bothering me, that this is my job! 🙂 We talked about cutting down her math homework for a while. I told her the last thing I want is tears and tantrums at home at night, upsetting their family time. She was so thankful! The point is, I couldn’t have helped her if I didn’t know! If she hadn’t written the note, I would have no clue that there was a problem. I want to work with families, not torture them! LOL!

    I will end this just by saying I’m sorry that education has come to this. Pressuring and pushing kids for no good reason. If we spent just one year (kindergarten) teaching kids how to behave, think independently, learn social skills, enjoy school; with the ABC and 123s thrown in, we will make them better able to live in this world successfully and by the way, research shows that there is plenty of time for them to learn to read when they are ready, and for most kid, that would be about seven years old. Signed, the old lady teacher…voice of reason…who nobody listens to. I’ll keep squawking though!

    1. Thanks Aunt Nancy! Glad to see you are your same spunky self-tellin’ it like it is! I definitely was worried that I was going to be bothering her teacher. Glad to hear your side of it! Right now her homework is a couple of worksheets that need to be done throughout the week and 20 minutes of reading per night. It can be “you read to them” or “they read to you” so most nights, I use our bedtime stores to fill this requirement. I have read her bedtime stories since she was born, so this is normal. The only difference now is that she recognizes some of the words! I don’t put any pressure on her to read to me. If she chimes in, great, if not, no big deal.
      You go right ahead and keep squawking! I’m listening! I’m so fortunate to have you teachers in my family! Always telling me what’s what. I think you made a few friends on the blog too! You’re not alone in your opinions, for sure. Thanks again.

  2. I believe it really has to be the stress and transition of being in school full time. My son is a 4 yr old kindergartner and he’s the same way. You can ask or say anything to him in the evenings and he just falls apart.And now with time falling back, things have been super crazy! I really wish they let them have nap time during the day.

    1. Glad you agree! Actually, since this is the first year in our district for all day kindergarten, the teacher was going to try to see if anyone wanted a rest time when school first started. I don’t know if it was mob mentality or what, but she never had anyone interested in slowing down! Oh well. Good luck to you and thanks for commenting!

  3. I second talking to her teacher! It totally does sound like stress about the academic and social demands of being in “real” school. Sigh. I soooooo wish we could just let young kids be young kids! I do think full-day kindergarten is excellent for consistency of care and socialization, but I wish it allowed for much more time for play and social interaction. Just my two cents but I will never understand pushing reading on such young kids. The typical range for beginning to read is around 4-7 years old. I can definitely get behind kindergarten being very supportive of emerging reading skills such as letter sounds and blends, rhymes, etc, but full-on reading instruction in kindergarten, in the fall no less, makes me batty.

    1. Thanks Sarah. It really is a lot of pressure for them in this structured full day setting. At first I thought it would be good for her, but now I’m not so sure. Her teacher is really good, so I’m sure she’ll have great suggestions but she’s tied to the common core curriculum and the standards that have been set for them. During open house we saw the classroom schedule they go through daily. I was shocked at how much they cram in to 20-minute intervals. I was also surprised to get a call from the teacher letting me know that because she did poorly on her assessments, she was getting early reading intervention. I appreciate that they are helping her, but what kind of message does that send to her? It’s just nuts.

    1. Thanks Jenn. It’s a good thing she’s cute! LOL I could tell you it gets easier, but I’d be lying! Sorry! That’s why wine was invented.

  4. Oh man Kriste that completely sucks. I don’t even know what to say that would be helpful other than I think you’re right to talk to her teacher and find out how things are going. Maybe she is just really tired from the school day?

    1. Thanks Michelle. She is really tired. This was bad before the time change and now that she’s waking up even earlier, she’s not getting enough sleep. It’s been crazy!

  5. I’m so sorry Kriste! I hope for you it’s the transition to full-time school. For ours, it was so incredibly exhausting. Now my son’s in first grade and daughter in Kindergarten. When we don’t have meltdowns until Thursdays and Fridays, it’s been a terrific week. When I see the work they do, I am amazed at how much they have to give in their 6 hour days. It’s not the kindergarten with 3 recesses and naptime that I (vaguely) remember at all. One friend instituted a 30 minute nap/quiet time after school for her daughter and felt that was the cure. For us it was a whole lot of grinding teeth and saying “we will not break their spirit, we will not break their spirit” until 8pm each night. Good luck!

    1. Sharlene you are so right about making it as far as Thursday and Friday without meltdowns. It’s like a bell graph. Monday and Tuesday stink, Wednesday is usually good, then we roll down hill to Thursday and Friday. Lately we don’t even get the Wednesday break. Last night was a disaster. She was yawning while screaming! So definitely a tired kid. It’s a lot for a little kid to handle with this full day kindergarten that has a definite packed schedule. Love the mantra! Mine last night was more like “I will not lose my shit!” and “It’s just a phase!”

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