Sunday, April 19, 2009

A little more about tea

I really do appreciate the responses so far to my pondering and pontificating about the tea party yesterday. Good points have been made, specifically that we never know what a child is dealing with outside of our current situation where we observe them. I do not mean to assume that a child that I deem as misbehaving is being "bad" or that that her parent is lacking proper skills. It is understood that there is always information that I'm not privy to, and that's why I did not think poorly of the moms there based on the daughters' reactions.

There was a point yesterday when Braska started yelling, crying, tears and all. She gets upset when there is a piercing noise, especially a child's scream. One of the little girls, I think she's 5, did not want to sit in a chair when she arrived and became quite agitated to the point of screaming over and over. Braska fell apart, and even though this is a rare happening, it's no fun, as you can imagine. The little girl's mom was obviously trying to calm her daughter, seemed kind of embarrassed, apologizing to me for upsetting Braska, but there was nothing in that situation that could have been helped. I felt bad for her as it was such a small room there was not a way to deal with it discreetly. She got a high chair for her to sit in, and there was not a peep from her the rest of the time.

Braska's reaction is one of those things that I can't control at all. I can't discipline her for it. I can only comfort her and remove her from the triggering event until she's calm. She's upset, not acting out or defying me. And it's that realization that makes me think that some of the other behaviors that were shown might have been in the same category. Reactions to the environment, not so much "bad" behavior.

There was one instance, when one of the older little girls was playing with a display of obviously very fragile tea sets. It made me a bit anxious because her mom was on the other side of the room and not paying attention at all, chatting with some of the ladies. I kept looking back and forth, from the girl to her mom and back to the girl. Like I was telepathically trying to will the mom to notice. Then when another mom, who was talking to someone, got in the way of the little girl, the girl hit the lady several times on the back, then moved around to the side and smacked her on the arm 3 or 4 times. Hard. The sound was almost shocking. I caught myself staring with my jaw a bit slack. I looked over at the girl's mom, and she had not noticed at all. The mom who was on the receiving end of the slaps moved away and let the girl continue to play with the tea sets.

What would you do if you were the lady getting slapped by another mom's daughter? I know it's not like she would discipline her, I don't mean that. Would you want to be told of this if you were the girl's mom? I would. No doubt. That is unacceptable in my book, to slap or hit an adult repeatedly (or at all) and I'd want to know so I could address it and keep a better eye on her at least.

I'm not sure why this little sliver of a Saturday morning is sticking with me so much. But I found myself organizing things to work with Braska on specifically as we move forward the next few months. I figure it can't hurt to work on appropriate social behavior, and I'll just have to have a plan B in place for how to handle the times that the best laid plans don't pan out.

One last thing comes to mind... I know that even before I had Braska, I had very high expectations for how she would act. Before I got that diagnosis minutes after her birth, I knew my little girl would be a well-behaved little girl. There are alot of factors that go into behavior, and I'm well aware that things may change as we encounter different things. But as far as it falls on me to teach her well and guide her as she grows, proper treatment of adults, other kids, and her siblings and parents will be very high on our list of priorities. The same goes for Kinlee. Time will tell how successful I am.

For now, I'm pleased that we're often complimented on how well Braska behaves and adjusts to whatever we're doing. I'm pleased that her personality is so easygoing. She is 2, though, and things may change very soon for us. She's already showing signs of independence and a little disobedience here and there. I get laughed at alot by those of you who interact with us and think I'm way naive about how kids act. Especially Braska's therapists. They think I'm crazy. It's true that I have much to learn, and I think you're probably right that I'm quite blessed to have such a compliant, cooperative child. There's more than one of you who have told me that you hope Kinlee gives us a real taste of reality. Maybe I just need to stop overthinking things and take it as it comes. Ha! There's a thought! I'll give it a try...


  1. Good observations. There are circumstances that can affect the behavior of even the best of kids, such as fear or illness or fatigue. But there is never an excuse for a child to be abusive, whether to an adult or another child. The child should be stopped and the mom should be informed.
    Sometimes we all have a tendency to allow a special child to "get away with" poor behavior because of their "specialness". Proper behavior should be expected of all children, no matter their diagnosis. Deliberate misbehavior of any kind can be, and should be, controlled. Left unchecked, willfully unmannered children become willfully unmannered adults.

  2. OK. So YES. I would DEFINITELY have been all over Georgia if she was doing what you described. KNOWING that Georgia has a short attention span, and KNOWING that I do not like rudeness, or other forms of social...whatever. I keep my eyes on that girl LIKE A HAWK. I am also a writer (like you) and an observer and I am OFTEN in that situation where I see other kids doing things they ought not be doing and I get SO uncomfortable. It's such a tricky situation. I would MUCH rather be put out than anyone else because of my kids (i.e. like I mentioned about leaving a situation). Georgia used to get compliments about her behavior all the time--in fact she still does. But it has become MUCH HARDER to "tame" (terrible word, I know) her since she has become so mobile.

    I dunno. I could go on and on. I think we are actually on the same page, but I am self-conscious because lately it's been harder to keep Georgia on the straight and narrow! hahaha (Listen to me, like she is drinking and partying!)

    P.S. I was raised by a Marine AND I am a Virgo. That's all I'll say about that. :)

  3. ok now, hitting just isn't ok - with my experience with preschoolers I can tell you that it's normal - but it's not ok. if I were the mom being hit I would have loudly said, "Oh, sorry we do not hit people" and would have taken her hands in mine. if mom then noticed me intercepting her and came over to take care of it, great... but if not I would have gently taken the gal back to her mom and told her what happened.

  4. I am agreeing with Tricia. Vince used to be a STAR at behaving, but when he started to move around a lot more, he is just a lot harder to 'tame'.
    Hitting is never Ok, but it is alsoa natural (i think) respons to frustration in kids. OR maybe not freudian natural, but i mean till the kids have LEARNED that hitting is not Ok, they try it.

    I was thinkimg about your tea-deal all day (Almost night over here now), and I understand some of your points. But mostly I am just a little (lot) surprised that they set up a Mother daughter TEA for kids that agegroup. Seriously, with or without 47th chromosome you are kind of asking for trouble if you are also using delicate porclain... Just my though...

    Cheers fr Austria

  5. The hitting issue is something we talk about a lot around here!
    If Xander doesn't know someone and they get in his face, he hits...or yanks their glasses off their face, or pulls on their necklace or, well, you get the point. What is interesting to me as that the person NEVER tells him to stop. And then, when I tell him to stop, they always say, "It's ok."'s not!!! It's like people think he should get a "pass" at knowing how to behave because he has Ds.
    It all goes back to what I say all the won't be cute when he's 20 and it's not cute now!

  6. It does amaze me some of the behavior that I see. I'm totally with you - I expect both Dominic and Delphine to behave well. I do my best to give them good tools and a good example to follow.

    That being said, there are moments that are more difficult with Delphine. She's definitely testing the waters these days - but I still feel like she does well.

    I'm sorry to make this reply all about me, that wasn't my intention. I guess that I just wanted to say that I was on the same page as you.

  7. I find myself watching how other's parent and probably being overly critical. I relate a lot of my discipline techiniques to my teaching in a rough school district where the kids had no structure and no disciplie at home. I had very high expectations of my students and I have high expectations of my children. I think if you have low expectations, then you will get "low" results. I feel sorry for moms who do not have control of their kids, or seem to be afraid to tell their kids "no." I feel like that does a huge disservice to the kids. So, have expectations for your kids, if you don't, no one else will!!

  8. I've hesitated to post but you know me ... I just can't stop myself. What I don't get from is why the children would be expected to behave any other way. First how BORING for a child of that age to sit through this type of event. Second who puts down fragile anything with children this age. Third let's face it,this event was for the parents and not the child. In theory this "sounds" like a photo op and not a good time for a child and especially for a child with special needs and/or sensory issues. Children want to be down, playing and exploring. I didn't take Chase out to eat until he was older and could tolerate sitting and waiting for food. He learned manners and how to behave but I did it at a child's pace in the environment that was conducive to both of us coming out winners.

    I am sure the idea of a tea party was fun but in reality it set everyone up for some type of bad response. Granted no child should hit anyone but obviously the mother wasn't paying attention and for that - I blame mom not the child. Children are going to behave in ways that make us hang our heads in shame at some point in life. Chase pulled a stunt at school that was so out of character that I was humiliated because he knows better. Kids do what kids do and I hold my children accountable for their actions. But I try to place them in situations that are pleasing to both of us.


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