It’s never good when you get two phone calls from two different schools in one day – an hour apart. 

The first call Hun received, we happened to be eating lunch together and it was from the elementary school – Monkey was in trouble.  Neither of us was surprised to see the name of the school pop up on caller ID.  She had given us grief the night before (Thursday) and had woken up still mad at us.  She tends to hold onto her grudges a long time and others tend to take the brunt of her emotions.  Friday was no different – Monkey took her anger at us out on the kids in her classroom by making them feel bad about themselves.  She’s already been in trouble for bullying last year and this year isn’t any better it seems….

The second call I received, I was shocked about who it was for – Buddy!  Whenever the middle school has called during the past 3 years, it has always been about Rowdy.  In fact, when I was done with the conversation with the principal, I called Hun up and told him the middle school had just called me.  The first words out of his mouth were, “What did Rowdy do this time?”  He, too, was shocked that it was Buddy that was in trouble.  Buddy had been talking to kids in his class and made an inappropriate motion which the teacher saw.  Buddy was confused as to why he was in trouble – he’d been answering the other kids’ questions truthfully – but understands now after talking to the principal, Hun and I.  He’s still in trouble, but at least now knows to never do that again and why.

All of our kids have their own personalities and quirks, so expecting them to behave the same or even similar, is asking a bit much – don’t you think?  We know their emotions and attempt to respond appropriately to each child.  As with any sampling of people, some are more difficult to work with than others.

With LaLa, she responds best with positive encouragement and allowing her to make her own decisions and choices.  She needs the time to think through her options – time that’s sometimes hard to give her in this “give it to me now” culture.  When she’s in trouble, she knows she’s going to be grounded and takes it calmly – even if she doesn’t agree with it, she has never screamed at us or slammed any doors.  Tears may flow, but the typical drama of teenage girls is absent from her.

Buddy responds best with calm explanations that are based in fact.  He doesn’t know how to process emotion or abstract ideas.  Yelling at him will cause him to shut down and he’ll be impossible to talk to until everyone is back to being calm and rational.  He knows when he has done something wrong, but cannot always understand why the action was wrong.   Again, abstract thinking will trip him up every time and multiple explanations in different ways from different angles will help him.  He’ll take his punishment calmly as long as he understands why he is being punished.  He’ll even do any discipline assigned without complaint because he knows he was in the wrong.

Rowdy is caring and empathetic and wants to help everyone, along with being ADHD; and he wants to be in charge at the same time.  He wants to do things his own way, but will get mad at himself and takes it out on others when he fails because he refuses to take counsel from others.  He loves to debate – which is often confused with arguing – and will twist and turn words to make his point.  He is just as Type-A as I am, so we’re always butting heads and “debating”.  On the one hand he resents me for it because I usually have the upper hand (just from sheer experience and age), on the other hand, he respects me for it because I don’t talk down to him, remind him to use words properly and to say what he means and mean what he says, and I teach him how to talk to others without disrespecting them.  He prefers to argue his point when he’s in trouble because he can usually wear people down with his “debating” – unless he’s “debating” with me, he knows he won’t win – I won’t let him when discipline issues are at the core of the problem.  He hates to be stationary, so punishment by grounding to his room is torture for him.

Monkey is our drama queen.  She slams doors, she screams, she cries, and she will refuse to talk to anyone until she gets her way (or until she gets tired of us ignoring her outbursts).  She thinks acting this way will get her what she wants and is confused and gets angrier by being punished instead.  We’re not quite sure how to handle her just yet, or what will actually work with her.  So far, everything we have tried hasn’t worked, or at least hasn’t worked for long.  She’s smart enough to figure out ways around the “punishments”.  Even her teachers are having a hard time with her and she’s only in 5th grade.  I know we need to figure her out pretty quick or it’s going to be a rough stretch of teenage years with her.

Because Monkey got into trouble on Friday, Hun talked to Jetsam about the issues when she arrived for visitation Friday night.  Based on the conversation I heard, no discipline action will happen while Monkey is at her mom’s house – at least, there has never been any before, so I’m not expecting any to happen this time either.  In fact, Jetsam slyly implied during the conversation that we were the reason Monkey acts the way she does.  If I had been faster, I would have called Jetsam out on that statement, but too little too late I’m afraid.  We, Hun and I, have a week to figure out what, if anything, we’re going to do when Monkey gets back to our house.

This week, Hun’s kids are at Jetsam’s house for Spring Break.  On one hand, we’re going to have a calm, easy week with only Buddy to deal with.  On the other hand, when they get back, it’s going to be chaos. 

I wish I could say I love chaos – but I can’t.  At least it makes for interesting blog posts!!!