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23 June 2008 @ 06:59 pm
A broken flower at Summer Camp  


It was the first day of Summer Camp today. Keith was holding Ms. Laurie (thank God one of the teachers was an Aide in his previous class in Gingerbread PreK) crying when I entered the classroom to pick him up.

KEITH: My flower was ruined, ruined, RUINED. It's all ruined now. I snatched the flower and the flower was broken, I want my flower. It's ruined.. (he kept repeating the same tone and phrases, sometimes adding false story into his episode of melt down) My friend broke it ...
ME: ... no, no, nobody broke it. It's okay, calm down, it happens sometimes (trying to calm him down when I was holding him walking out of the classroom) ...

We were walking out of the classroom and on the school's playground, towards the car. We stopped once in a while so I could make eye contact with him to calm him down.

KEITH: I made a flower for you mommy but it's broken now, there is no petals.. that's not a flower... I made a flower for you mommy but you're sad now I don't have a flower for you.
ME: Oh thank you Keith, I'm not sad, I'm happy you were making a flower for me. It's okay ... next time you can give me another flower. It was an accident. It  was nobody's fault.

Now we're in the car, it was just the two of us. Usually when there are only us, I speak Bahasa Indonesia with him. Most of the time, I then switch to English especially if the topic involves school and his other activities, in order to get him used to talking about his activities in English. I noticed that most of the time it was hard for him to switch to English when all he knows how to say it is in Bahasa Indonesia only or vice versa, especially while he was overwhelmed with his own miserable feelings.

KEITH: Can we go to the old apartment now, I want to pick a flower for you... I had roses but my flower is broken, it was for you mommy. Can I make a paper flower now? I want to make a paper flower.. first you start with the paper and then you make a flower. I'll get a time out at home now (still sobbing dramatically and keep regretting about his broken flower) ... oh that's a flower, can we stop now? I see roses, I want to pick a flower for you mommy... (he kept talking on and on between the broken flower incident, flower paper, and wanted to pick a flower)... can we go back to the old apartment please, please, please, ... I want to pick a flower for you...
ME:  Keith kita udah pindah, enggak bisa masuk lagi ke apartment lama. Udah jangan nangis Keith, nanti kalo nangis terus Keith enggak boleh masuk summer camp lagi...

I was trying hard to be as calm as possible, most of the time it  was not easy for me keeping my level tone in the middle of his meltdown. I was thinking weather I have to be switch my tone from nice to be firm and controlling probably if I show him that I'm the one who is in charge and he'd listen to me then can control himself. But then I remembered that he felt depressed and was sure that he got a time out when we got home. I then decided to go with a different approach. I will go along with him, let him get a wild/public flower if possible then I will tall to him about this flower incident when he's ready to listen to me.

ME: Keith, mama mau ke mall, Keith mau anter mama ke mall?
KEITH: Iya..

He's still repeating the same exact phrases on our way to the mall. He asked me to play the CD that liked, he was a little bit distracted and talked less and less about feeling sorry about himself. I can feel that he showed a little bit of confidence about the situation because he repeted more about getting another flower. It also showed that he was not all lingering about his mistake anymore and decided to do some positive thinking. It took a while for him compared to other kids in the same situation, but I think it was a good sign. It was him by himself decided to control his emotion at that point and I'm glad that it happened that way instead of someone else forcing him to surpessed his emotion and didn't learn anything from the experience.

We arrived at the mall. Keith's started to talk about something else but when he spotted some tall plants with flowers, he was thinking about choosing one of the flowers for me. I wanted to say no but I was watching him first letting him to decide. He seemed already knew that I would've objected if he asked me to get one of those flowers. We were still walking towards the enterance of the mall. Other than those flowers that were planted on the ground, we were also passing by some of  plants planted in pots. Those huge pots have crawing plants covering the dirt on each pots and that plant have tiny white flowers all over them. Keith decided to picked that flower and he gave the flower to me. He wanted me to put the flower on my ear. I put it on my ear for a second then I was afraid I'm going to lose it and cause the initiation of another meltdown episode. So I put it on the front pocket of my purse. He then noticed the flower was missing, I told him that I didn't want to lose it and he was okay with it. He then showed that he almost will live today's flower incident behind.

In his case, the same exact meltdown can reoccur but a lot milder, more like whining, but still bothers him and gives him frustration. We'll then try to as much as possible let him control his own feeling even though it usually takes a while...

When we were in the mall, I talked to him that it was not okay having a meltdown in the school. I told him that accident happens sometime and he can say.. "Oh well, it was an accident". He actually can handle disappointments and changes in other circumstances, that was how he usually reacted to it. If he had a chance to ask the why question, we than tried to discuss the rationale behind it and he most of the time cooperate and encouraged to use his logic in order to control his disappointment and frustration.

I hope he's doing better tomorrow. Learning from experience, Keith doesn't do very well with adaptation and changes. In his previous prek daycare in Chicago, he had accidents since the first day that they leave the kids at the first hours of the day at the 4 yr old room, before moving them back to their 3yr old room. It was only a couple of hours for a week (as the process of introducing the new teachers), he still showed that he couldn't handle it well. The same thing happened during his first weeks in his last preschool (Gingerbread). It was hard to call him during transition of activities and according to the teacher, he took a delay of responding after he was told. The teachers started to think that he might have a hearing problem!

He is not a morning person (we're hoping summer camp will make him one if not close, just in case he get a AM Kindergarten class, that's also our effort to make transition to 1st grade smoother... we even encourage him to went to bed early but no luck), he woke up an hour or two from his daily routine this morning. I was nervous for him today, I kind of knew that his first day won't go as smoothly as expected. I stayed in the classroom as long as it was allowed, to make sure he was okay but this kind of expected. I was more worried that he would get insecure from sharing the toys with other kids. I saw that he tend to get intimidated by other kids yelling like "don't touch it!". That kid shouted to no particular person, not even to him. Keith, right away, would mimick what that kid said and started to get nervous and whiny. At that point, I knew it was going to be a long day. I hope he'll have a better day tomorrow.

Disclaimer: Information presented above is not created to make any argument and contains personal opinion. The purpose of this writing is solely as a personal journal for the writer's reference.

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jobir on June 26th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
Ke, gw pernah baca di buku mgn tidur, katanya supaya anak mau tidur cepet dan bangun pagi, pas trainngnya seisi rumah harus ngelakuin yang sama. Semua kegiatan dihentikan, lamu matiin, rutin tidur dikerjain dan semua masuk ke kamar tidur untuk tidur. Pagi2 semua bangun pada saat yang bersamaan. Katanya awal2nya anak mungkin nangis dan bingung, tapi kalau bermalam2 dilakuin, lama2 anak akan ngikut juga ritme itu dan nanti2nya bisa disuruh tidur sendiri seblon ortunya tidur. My two cents, semoga ngebantu.
kitoratorakitoratora on June 26th, 2008 04:18 pm (UTC)
oo gitu San... wah thx... dari bayi khan si keith udah keliatan senengnya tidur malem and dibuatin ritual/rutin enggak bisa majuin body clocknya dia.. terus kalo dia allergi khan tidur ama gue. Eh jadi bener tuh body clock jadi malah setiap abis trip and abis alergi (yg tidur ama gue pas bed timenya dia, bukan tidur di cribnya, pastinya pas bedtimenya dia) dia ngantuknya kayak udah di set, body clocknya maju...

Dari pengalaman gitu, gue kalo mau majuin body clocknya si Keith ya gitu lagi, gue musti tidur ama si Keith (tapi rumah masih rame soalnya Wan masih kerja sampe malem, tau deh si Wan), kadang2 Wan2 kalo dia capek kerja ajah bukan karena niat ngelonin lol. Sama sekarng juga gitu lagi, gue tidurnya bareng dia. Hari pertama itu paling susah, tapi besokannya udah enggak rewel kayak orang kurang tidur... udah biasa lagi. Sebenernya gue masih ada ganjelan, walo pun itu work buat gue, sebenernya bikin susah pattern dia tidur sendiri apa enggak... dari pengalaman sendiri siy enggak (dia suka tanya, mama capek? ngarep2 gue tidur ama dia, gue kasih alesan kalo gue kelonin dia, karena gue capek lah, musti bangun pagi kayak dia lah, jadi si Keith enggak expect itu bakal jadi all time thing) tapi ya namanya enggak ada konfirmasi dari expert, nah denger tips elo yg dapet dari buku ini bikin gue lega and yakin untuk ngelakuin ini terus buat majuin tidurnya si Keith... (musti di tune up terus soalnya kadang2 loose). Scrapbook gue siy udah sebulan kali nih enggak dikerjain, khan gue kalo kerjain malem...siangnya fulltime buat si keith, sekarnag malem juga lol...yah gpp gue khan emang full timenya jadi SAHM :)

Thanks San ((hugs)) xxx
ckristantockristanto on June 26th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
Repot jg elo ya Ke ngadepin drama king gini. Tp bagusnya elo udah siap sama tools yg bisa bikin Keith calm down. Salut deh sama elo, sabar banget :)
kitoratorakitoratora on June 26th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
Enggak sabar gimana Cin, gue juga setengah mati juga nahan enggak jadi bentak2 dia...khan kita refleksnya kalo anak cengeng sepanjang hari gampangnya bentak2 tuh kalo gue siy lol, abis kesel juga khan.. tapi ya gitu dari yg gue baca, kalo ngadepin itu anak kita musti super cool. Jadi dia ikut calm and gak niru kita. Ribet deh...
Thanks for the support Cin... ((hugs)) :)