(Cross-posted from the PW-protected blog.) Hannah is adjusting amazingly well to kindergarten. She loves the school, seems to get along with all her classmates, gets nothing but stars for good behavior, and even enjoys her after-school program.
The biggest challenge I've faced so far was the fact that she was so clearly overstimulated in the afternoons when I'd pick her up. Every day, she comes out of that after school program skipping, jumping, talking non-stop, singing, waving goodbye to friends, asking a million questions, running in circles - and that's in the five minutes it takes me to say hi and sign her out.
No sooner would we get in the car and buckle our seat belts, than Hannah would pick a fight. She'd ask a question she knew I'd respond to negatively, and before I could even pull away from the curb she'd be in full-on melt-down mode.
She did this for the first four days.
I know that kids - especially HSPs - take in a lot of stimulation all day and need a safe place to release all the tension and worry and fear and anger of the day. That safe place is often their parent, who isn't going anywhere no matter how ugly they get toward them. But still. I'm only human, and acting as a lightning rod for her daily frustration simply wasn't a viable option.
I told Dr. Luz about the situation and she had a great suggestion. Hannah needed some sort of transition activity or ritual. Something that helped her acknowledge that she was returning home and switching from one set of rules and people to another.
So I chose a song that friend had put in a compilation for me. It's not the most obvious kid's choice. It's a little punk-meets-pop-meets-girl-power-anger - The Ting Ting's "Shut Up and Let Me Go".
I explained to Hannah that it wasn't okay to pick a fight with Mama every day after school. That I understood she was worked up and over-excited from her long day at school, but that we needed a way to get out that anger and frustration that wasn't mean or hurtful. I explained that we would listen to this song every day as soon as she got in the car, and that she could scream it and sing and be as loud as she wanted to, but that this was the only time she was allowed to say, "shut up."
It was like a freakin' miracle.
Since then, she hasn't picked any fights. Except, of course, for the one day I couldn't get the CD to cooperate.
I just had to share. If you've got your own tricky transitions, I'd look for a magic bullet song or activity of your own.