Anna says her brain doesn’t work any more.
She’s been really proud that all year in Kindergarten, she has managed to finish her desk work every day so that she can do “Choosing,” where the kids get to do whatever they want. If they haven’t finished their desk work, they don’t get to do Choosing.
But this week, she’s having trouble.
She says she was too distracted to finish her writing. She said, “My brain is not listening. I told my brain to tell me what to write, but it wouldn’t do it!”
I thought that was kind of funny, to be honest. But we dove a little deeper.
Had she eaten her lunch? yes.
Did she get enough sleep the night before? yes. I checked this out with Brian, not Anna.
Exercise? Oh yes – she does several workouts on the xbox every night.
So what’s the problem??
It turns out they were supposed to write about the chickens they are rearing in the classroom, but she didn’t know what to say about them. We brainstormed some techniques, like having a couple creative story ideas that she could draw from. She seemed encouraged.
But then the next day, she brought home a math page full of incorrect additions. This is not like my daughter! She does so well in all of her schoolwork, it’s just weird to see this. Finally today, her Spanish teacher told Brian that Anna wasn’t paying attention in class. It must be pretty bad if she mentioned it to Brian.
Brian talked to Anna about it after Spanish today, and asked her what she thought the problem was, or what we could do to help her.
“Why are you asking me? I told you – my brain isn’t working! How am I supposed to know the answer if my brain isn’t working??”
But what can we do?
Since she’s eating, sleeping and exercising I know that her physical needs are taken care of. It’s got to be mental or emotional. Brian tried to ask her if she was having trouble with any of the kids at school, but she didn’t seem to want to talk about it. And she did get emotional when talking about her frustration with not doing as well as she likes on her school work.
So when I finally got home (10.5 hours after I left this morning!), I determined to spend some time with Anna, just doing art and chatting. Anna is very motivated by art, and it occurred to me that having some unstructured creativity time might help her get to be more herself again. I sighed a bit, because I kind of had a stressful day and I really just wanted to drink wine and go to bed. But there was no question – my daughter needed to spend some time with me.
Whether or not it would help her “brain work,” I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that my girl could use some mama time. I called my own mama to discuss my art solution idea. She always knows the right thing to do to reach kids so I wanted to know what she would do in this situation. She agreed: Anna needs art & mama, not necessarily in that order.
I’m out of canvasses and watercolor paper, so we just spread out a bunch of paper and started coloring. I have no idea if it will help Anna in school tomorrow, but it was fun to create some pictures with her. She opened up a little about school, but this wasn’t about effecting a giant breakthrough – it was just important to spend some time together being creative. Turns out, it was good for me, too. I could practically feel the stress dripping off of me as I colored. Or that may have been the wine. Who says you can’t have wine while coloring??
A little hot chocolate and some therapeutic coloring with your mama can go a long way. At least, I hope so.