Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I just hope it lasts. But that may be overly optimistic.

E has impressed her dada and myself in a myriad of ways since starting preschool. She counts to 12 in French and sings a whole bunch of new songs in both French and English. She uses big words and has a surprisingly good grasp of the adverb. She has lots of friends and cleans up after herself and manages to come home most days not covered in food and boogers. We're proud. In fact, as one parent said to me the other day, we're mostly just hoping that having her at home isn't undoing all the work they're doing on her at school. But there is one hiccup in this story.


E has almost always been a good napper. And since she whittled it down to one nap she's been a pro. She goes down like clockwork, at about the same time every day, with no complaints, and sleeps for an hour and a half. Boom. Just like that. And when she started school, things were going fine for the first little while.

Then she got comfortable.

That's the trouble with kids like mine. 9 times out of 10, if you take her out in public and plop her into an unfamiliar setting, she's perfect. Well behaved, obedient, cooperative, all that good stuff. It's at home on her own turf where things get dicey. So when school started and it was a new place with new people, she was golden. But now that school has also become "her turf", she's starting to play fast and loose with the rules a little.

According to Ms. Natalie, who has the distinct pleasure of overseeing naptime each day, it started with the talking. I didn't even bother feigning surprise. Talking became telling jokes, which naturally led to laughing. Wriggling ensued. And when the other kids decided not to play along and maybe catch a little shut-eye, well that's when she would start tapping the other kids cots, poking them and singing loudly enough to wake them up. Oh man.

This has been going on for weeks now, and I feel powerless to stop it. Every morning before school I remind her how important it is to listen to her teachers, especially at naptime. And every day after school we review her naptime behaviour and discuss where it went wrong and what to do differently. And every day it seems to escalate. Of course I'm not there so I can't deal with it as it happens, and Ms. Natalie can only do so much with a roomful of other kids to worry about. Sometimes she takes away E's stuffed animal...which only leads to crying and yelling...which can't be an improvement.

Last week I started bribing. If you listen to Ms. Natalie at naptime then you can have candy when you get home. Didn't work. If you listen to Ms. Natalie at naptime then you can watch a movie when you get home. Didn't work. It did, however, result in an HOUR LONG screaming, flailing, crying tantrum when she didn't get her movie. What mystifies me still is how much she wanted the movie, and how she still told me the truth about naptime. I wonder how long it will take for her to wise up and fudge the results.

Yesterday was the start of a new week and I thought I'd put the ball back in her court. When she woke up she asked if she could watch a movie with breakfast. Nice try. But I asked her what movie she wanted to watch. Finding Nemo. She is LOVING that movie right now. I, once again and without much conviction, explained that if she behaved at naptime she could watch Finding Nemo after school. I reminded her about what happened last week when she really wanted to watch a movie but couldn't because she hadn't behaved well at naptime. She assured me that today would be different.

My first flicker of optimism came when we walked in the front door of her school and she saw Ms. Natalie. Right away she said: "Ms. Natalie! I'm going to listen to you today at naptime!" I could see Ms. Natalie doing her best not to roll her eyes. "I hope so, E." Then she told Ms. Veronique that she was going to watch Finding Nemo after school because she was going to behave at naptime. Accountability. A second flicker. When I picked her up from school, the first thing she said was "I listened to my teacher at naptime!" I was a little skeptical, so I pressed for details. "Did Ms. Natalie take anything away from you?", I asked. "No! Because I listened!" she replied. "Did Ms. Natalie have to say anything to you?", I inquired further. "She said: You're doing good so far!"

Success! E got her movie and mama got the sweet taste of victory, along with an uninterrupted hour to make dinner. Today, if all goes well, it looks like we'll be face painting.

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