This afternoon started out fairly crappily - she'd forgotten her stuff in her classroom. Again. She has a real problem with forgetfulness - lost three or four jeans jackets last year. Keeps losing (but mostly re-finding) books.
So she lost her TV time. Because not only have we Talked About This, but her homework is to read for half an hour and write about what they've read - Elayna said her teacher hadn't given them any other homework today - and the book he's reading is in that classroom. No homework done = no TV.
So she goes all stompy-stomp off to her room.
About half an hour later, I knocked on her door, went in to talk to her. Laid down on the bed behind her and said, "I think that you're disappointed in yourself when you forget things, and that's why you get so angry."
Floodgates. Open. Fwoom. "I feel so stupid!"
"You're NOT stupid. You just have a hard time remembering stuff. So do I. So I just have to try extra hard to remember."
"I DID try extra hard! Because I found [book lost last week], and I promised myself I wouldn't leave anything behind today, because I wanted to show you that I found the book..."
So we talked, we went over that. Reassuring her that she is NOT STUPID. That moving up to fourth grade can be stressy. And she says, "I feel like I'm in high school! Because I keep moving around and I'm not in my classroom enough."
Hm. Well. Here we have it. "Why are you moving around? Where are you going?"
"Discovery, and math & science, and gardening and drama club, and band..."
"Okay. The reason you're getting moved around in math & science is to give your teacher more time with you, because she doesn't feel she has enough classroom time with you. Gardening and drama are both after-school-only, right?"
"Band is every day now, right?"
"Okay. Well. What do you think about stopping band?"
And she bursts into tears. "I don't know!" she wails.
"Okay... from your reaction, I think you've already thought about this."
"Yes. But I don't know!"
"That's okay. You don't have to decide tonight. But listen - third grade to fourth grade is a HUGE transition. And I am *really* proud of you right now... because you knew something was wrong, you figured out what it was, and you've been thinking about how to fix it. That is very smart and very mature of you."
Not every kid her age can do that - assess a stressful situation, determine the cause, and examine alternatives. That's huge, in my book, that she's processing like that. Why is she stressed? Not enough time in class. What can be done about that. Prioritize - Discovery (gifted program) ranks above Band in her mind.
I think the only things that have kept her from discussing this with us before now are that she's worried that we'd be disappointed, and that she doesn't want to be a "quitter". But I assured her that it's very mature to realize that she's taking on too much and to take steps to give herself the best and most appropriate school environment possible.
Since she's not ready to just step up and say "no band", I suggested that she take a week off. She worried that she wouldn't be allowed to do that. I told her to tell them to call me if they had a problem with it. And I can send in a note.
Also that I can ask for a meeting with her teacher, so that all four of us - Yendi and I, her teacher, and, of course, her - can sit down together and figure out how best to modify her schedule so that all of her needs get met. This is a teacher who gives out her home phone number and just asks that parents not call her after ten, and says that sometimes she's out on Sunday. I do not think that arranging a daytime weekday conference would be problematic... she does seem to be honest when she says she's available anytime, and she truly does seem to love these kids. So that's four people who truly want the best for her, and we want to make that happen.
I can't even begin to express how proud of her I am. She's nine years old, man. And she was able to identify and take steps to solve the problem.
She's got mad skillz.
So yeah - I think no band, at least for now; I told her she can choose to get re-involved next year or later this year if she decides that she wants to do that and can handle it.
And I think it helped her immensely to hear the idea from me. This poor kid has been explodey over this, it seems. And I don't know when she'd've figured out how to talk to me about it. I knew there was *something* eating at her...
But she was the one who figured out what, and how to fix it.
I'm all misty-eyed. My smart and self-aware girl.