Friday, May 01, 2009

The One About F*&k Me Fridays

Fridays around here blow. While most of America looks forward to Fridays eagerly, I dread the day. Friday is my Monday.

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Eggroll attends a local program in the morning. She loves it there, and for the most part I love having her there. And then there are FRIDAYS.

My child is an extraordinary child in so many ways. She is bright, engaging, intelligent and beautiful. But, like many post-institutionalized kids, she bears some scars. The first involves food. After 10 months with us the "hoarding" that some kids display has not improved with the Eggroll, if anything it's gotten worse. She will literally eat herself to the point of illness if allowed. The second is initiation. While most three year olds will tell you what they want, get a toy down, or make requests spontaneously, my child will only do those things if forced to. We have a rule in our house, don't ask, don't get and it has worked fabulously for her..... as long as she's here...

Three mornings a week while at "play" her every whim is catered to. She does not have to speak to get what she wants, she doesn't have to use her table manners, she merely points, looks at the caretakers, or cries. And it works...every damn time.

Then we have the food thing. Seriously, the way they feed children is horrifying. More horrifying is the fact that they are following STATE mandates and guidelines for nutrition. Wednesday the children dined on a lunch of breaded chicken nuggets, rice pilaf, bread and butter, canned fruit, and milk. Yesterday, they were treated to a delightful meal of salsbury steak, mac&cheese, bread and butter, canned fruit and milk. Can we say carbohydrate overload?? And the portions?? OMG!

Now lest you think that I'm not mother of the year, know that I have looked into other programs, and they're all about the same. Unless I want to pay 15k to 20k a year for private pre-school, I'm pretty much stuck with what I've got.

But on to the subject of this post which is F*&k Me Friday. We begin our day with a 5:30am call from the Eggroll, who not only has to go potty, but has generally wet whatever she has on. A quick trip to the potty, a fast change of clothes and sheets, and back to bed she goes. Usually crying for two reasons. First she has wet herself and second, she would really like to get up. F*&k me!

Upon the second awakening, it's time to get dressed. More tears as she is denied the super special Elmo undies (those are a treat for when everything is dry). F*&k me! Then it's down the stairs to begin the day. She puts herself in the chair, which she has pulled away from the table and then sits down. Moments later there is crying because her chair is too far from the table. I will ask her what she needs and there is more words... F*&% me! After several minutes of prompting and cajoling she spits out a "help, push chair in please". Yea! Moving on.. Next comes an unprompted request for water. We're doing well here... and then....nothing! And I mean nothing...for what seems like hours at a time. There's pointing...there's naming of objects....but there's nothing else. I make breakfast and she names everything on my plate. Then she requests a toy, I ask her if it's time for that toy, she says it is... F*&k me! I have to honor her request. It's supposed to be good for her comprehension. More requests, all for different toys, each time she's asked if it's time for that toy, if it's time to play. Each time she answers yes, each time her request is honored. F*&k me! Breakfast falls by the wayside... tears ensue....

This will go on for hours, currently, I'm on my third hour at the kitchen table. My ass is numb, my work isn't done and my kid is staring vacantly out the window. She'll point, I'll ask "what is it?" she'll refuse to answer, I'll point out that she needs to answer, she'll cry... it will continue this way until naptime. F*&k me!

She knows how to do all of this. She knows the names of so many things, she knows how to request, she knows how to initiate...until Friday...on Friday she is clueless. On Friday she waits for someone to read her mind. This afternoon will be slightly easier and tomorrow will be easier still. By Sunday we'll be back to routine, Monday we'll enjoy it and Tuesday...well Tuesday is the first step on the path to F*&k Me Friday.

I can't help but wonder if it's worth it. I know that she needs the socialization that those 3 morning provide, but I can't help but wonder. I lose a whole morning with my child just waiting for her to do what she's capable of. I spend the rest of my time as disciplinarian, correcting that which was allowed during those three days. (Seriously, hands IN the food???) And I spend a lot of time dealing with the fabulous mood swings that a good kiddie carb crash brings on. And I wonder if it's worth it...

I'm disheartened by what I see in our kids educational system. Rather than lifting children up, the system seeks to bring them all down to the same level. For example...normally, my kid has impeccable table manners. She actually came to us that way. But she's not praised for that, other children are not encouraged to be like her, it's perfectly fine if her and their skills suffer. Same thing with speech. I'm sure there are other children who speak much better than she does, but it's just fine if she never improves. The herd mentality wins every time. Sad but true...

I'm disheartened by what I see our kids eating. I'm not against some good mac and cheese, but could we balance that with something that's green perhaps? Instead of having kids name all the food groups, might we actually feed them something from all of those groups?? I have to laugh when I hear parents complain about potty training, bed-wetting, behavior problems and the rest...especially when they're handing their kids a juice box to wash down their nuggets and fries with?? Anyone see the connection? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

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