You can visit her in juvie in a few years

Rebel without a mute button
I think my kid might be . . . kind of a badass.  School started on September 1st.  She made it through the first day without incident.  On the second day, she found herself "in the yellow."  Her school uses a warning system based on a standard traffic light (made out of construction paper). Each kid has a clothespin with his/her name on it. The default is to have one's clothespin clipped to the green light.  When a student talks while the teacher is talking or screws around in the hallway, his/her clothespin is moved to the yellow light and a verbal warning is issued. If things deteriorate from there and more infractions pile up, the clothespin moves to red and a written notice is sent home.

My daughter spent a lot of time in the yellow last year. Her Kindergarten teacher adored her but couldn't overlook the fact that this kid o'mine . . . Cannot. Stop. Talking. She simply cannot. There is a progressive  school here in town that stresses engagement and alternative learning styles, and I've often wondered if she might fare better there - perhaps her gregarious nature is actually a benefit and not a hindrance. However, I'd have to provide transportation and just don't have a way to do that (pesky day job and all). So for now, we are trying to make her current environment work. After all, there are a lot of features of her current school that I really like. It's fairly diverse and the staff and teachers are great.

It's a struggle to find that balance between "you're awesome just the way you are" and "you have to listen when it's time to listen and not run your mouth during those times." So far it is not going all that well.  She was in the yellow on the second day of school and almost every day since. One day, she hit red and had to bring a note home. The note indicated that she had "screamed out" in class (which got her in the yellow) and then was horsing around in the bathroom (which got her a ticket straight to red).  I had to sign the written discipline notice and send it back to school. 

Her dad and I have tried a few different approaches. We've taken away TV and DS on days when she has gotten in the yellow. We've tried guilt-tripping her by telling her that she is making Mrs. S's job harder than it already is. Now we're back to last year's incentive program since we had moderate success with that. If she stays in the green, she gets a sticker. Eight stickers and she'll receive a reward. If she gets in the red, she loses a sticker. She made it one day in the green and then fell off the wagon the next day. So, I'm pretty sure I won't have to deliver on that reward anytime soon.

I told my sisters that they can visit their niece in Juvie in a few years. My youngest sister wondered what the security regulations will be and if she will need to leave sharp objects in her car. Of course, I'm just joking about Juvie. Or at least I think I am. I emailed A's teacher the other day to ask her about a reading assignment. I also mentioned that we are aware of our daughter's talkativeness and that we are trying to address the issue. She sent me a nice response. She said that A is "sweet as pie and very affectionate."  And she's right. The kid does not have a mean bone in her body. She's not getting into trouble for tripping kids on the playground or calling in bomb threats or something. She simply places a LOT of emphasis on her social life.

I am truly frightened about the teenage years. Truly.


Angela Z. said…
Too funny...just a quick note to tell you that my kiddo attends kindergarten at the alternative school in town and he tells me about a few kids in his class who have to repeatedly miss recess because they cannot stop talking....another "punishment" is having to sit at a table by him or even the alternative program cracks down on the can rest easy knowing that if you like your neighborhood school then it's not any different anywhere else regarding social butterflies ;) I'm quite sure she won't be in juvie, but she may have her own talk show one day!
I was going to say, it's not juvie you have to worry about! It's the social life in a few short years! lol

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