Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nurturing Finn

Finn is having a rough week. Therefore, everyone Finn knows and loves is having a rough week. He's not one to bottle his emotions; when he's having a hard time, everyone else gets the brunt of his frustration...but mostly mama.

Finn was home with me for the two weeks around Christmas that the kids were out on school break. Right at the end of the break, just before he was to begin at his new Montessori school, he came down with what I think was the flu. He was really sick for 2 days and then spent another day recuperating before finally starting school on Tuesday. He went to school in a good mood and excited about his new school and new friends. Then, mama had the nerve to go pick him up from school. Mean mama! He cried and screamed the whole way out of school, the whole way home, took a nap, then cried after his nap until dinnertime. An unprecedented amount and intensity of crying, even for an intense little boy. Finally when daddy came home and brought his brothers, he seemed mostly normal for the rest of the evening. I chalked it up to a new experience and the fact he hadn't slept well while he was sick. Then the night came. He fell asleep without problem, but woke up at 11 pm and whined/cried/called for me for 2.5 hours straight. Oh, I went in there, as did Paul, dozens of times. He would calm down for 5 minutes at a time just to start up again as soon as we would start to drift back to sleep. It was torture.

The next day, he happily went to school eager to play with his new friends again. But that afternoon, the same crying and generally unhappy malaise when I picked him up from school. And it lasted for more than an hour. I had already made a bedtime plan that I hoped would at least address the sleeping problem because it's hard to fix emotional over-reaction when the babe is too tired. So our bedtime routine went like this. Warm and filling dinner, bath with lavender and sandalwood essential oils, Valerian and Rescue Remedy before bed, extra singing and poetry, lavender and humidifier in the bedroom, and two layers of pjs to keep him warm. And it worked. He slept for almost 12 hours straight.

{thank you little glass bottles of liquid sleep-inducing gold!}

This morning he happily went to school, ate a good lunch, took a good nap, then mama picked him up and ruined the show again (still can't figure out what's going on here!?). He calmed down finally, but not before spending 10 min alone in his bed then me rocking him silently for another 5-10. He still insists that he doesn't want me to pick him up from school so we agreed that daddy could try the pickup tomorrow (although what difference that makes, I don't know!). We continued the routine from last night minus a bath and added some favorite foods that Finn helped me make for dinner and an idea I gleaned from Heather, trying some relaxing yoga poses before bed. I only tried one position with Finn this evening. He laid with his back on the floor and his legs up the wall. I don't know that he relaxed very much since he was busy playing with the new eye pillow I made for him this afternoon, but maybe it will relax him the more often we try it.

{some of his favorite foods}

{his new recycled sweater eye pillow
with needle felted car and relaxing oils}

At this point, I'm happy to take any and all suggestions on the pickup transition. According to his teachers, he's perfectly happy and sweet the entire time he's at school so I'm not sure what's causing the pickup time meltdown, especially since it seems so directed at me. I'm definitely interested to see what happens when Paul picks him up tomorrow. I need a day to let my emotions balance back out again. You'd think by the time the 4th kid comes along that you'd seen it all but I guess that's not always the case.


  1. Poor babe, and poor mama!

    My littles are Montessori kindergartner and youngest grouper, and all I can say is that Montessori is exhausting. The girls adore it, but all that focused concentration? Plus mastering the social script? Plus hard physical play? Exhausting.

    Especially at first, mine would sometimes fall asleep on the five-minute car ride home, after 3 hours at school. And my little little will still fall asleep perhaps once a week at around 6:00-ish on a school day and stay down for the night.

  2. Joy, I've seen it so many times. The person the child loves the most is the one they lash out at when pickup time comes. I've seen kids run, scream, hit their parents-- all of it. He's adjusting for the first time to being one of many his age--that's hard in itself. He has to hold it together all day long, and that's hard. He's got to release all this anxiety and fear and CHANGE-- and you get it. If it were me, I would probably not do anything to change the routine-- you still pick up, in other words-- until he settles into it. Keep loving on him, telling him how much you love him, and then giving him a little space to get used to it all. It will get better! Grady went through the same thing-- is he eating the second you pick him up? Snack and school is often so different in quantity and at the time you eat from home-- hope it gets better soon!

  3. Oh Joy, I'm so sorry for you both. It sounds so frustrating. I think Melissa offered you some really excellent advice. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts.

  4. Hugs to you and Finn, dear friend...

  5. And because I actually thought about this all night long-- is it his ears? We very, very rarely see any of the traditional signs of ear infection with our kids, but that kind of behavior almost always comes with one-- maybe there's some pressure in his ears that he can ignore until he gets too hungry/tired/stressed? I really hope the adjustment gets smoother!

  6. Poor Finn! I hope he adjusts soon. I have a very intense young son as well, so I can relate to this behavior. I have no suggestions, I just wanted to say I hope things get better soon.

  7. i've been having similar issue with my 4 yr old who started preschool this year. not sure what to do!!!

  8. I think Melissa has offered some really good insight here. I am the assistant teacher at my son's montessori/waldorf school. And my son had a rough time the first couple of weeks and I'm there with him the whole time, but I was able to witness some of the complex social issues he was dealing with as a 3 year old too so I could understand why. I have a feeling you will find after a couple of weeks of this new routine, he will settle in but I wonder if you could be present for the last 20-30 minutes to provide some transition time and allow you to see what is going on socially at school a bit.

  9. How did I miss this post? It seems you have all sorts of wise words already, I'll just offer hugs.

  10. Hows it going now? I hope he is beginning to settle now. I was thinking maybe ts the transition? Maybe the pickup could go slower? get there early and hang in the classroom for an hour or so before you both leave tog? Goodluck. How wonderful to be so present, and what a gift!


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