Friday, October 10, 2008

Oh GOD, here we go AGAIN.

We're having a hard time with BOY again. It's been a rough year, this year of being 4. He transitioned really well to the new preschool. He loves new places and new things. And then...well, he's been having some difficulty. Always with transitions. At pick-up time: Leaving an activity that he's engaged in when it is time to go home. Ignoring my request for him to come with me. Ignoring the teacher's request to leave with his mom. The honeymoon is over.

Yet, did the honeymoon ever exist? We have had challenges with BOY from the moment he was born. Some not of his own making - like being born with a cleft lip. But, it was a parenting challenge. The fear. All the unknowns. And it all turned out beautifully. We survived. The 2 surgeries are long behind us, though the memories of our anxiety linger.

BOY started scooting himself across the floor on his tummy at 4 months old. By 6 months he was doing the army crawl. When GIRL was born, BOY, a mere 10 months old, started walking. And he has been moving ever since.

Perhaps it is ironic that this past Monday during his first movement class at school, BOY couldn't stop moving. In fact, he was racing all over the room, apparently overwhelmed by the multi-stations of activity. He disrupted the class and would not stay still to listen to the rules. His teacher was stunned because she had never seen him like this before. Her words. And my thoughts? Oh GOD, here we go AGAIN.

Yet, I did like it that she said she'd never seen HIM like this before. Certainly better than being told in all of her years of teaching she had never seen a child like this before. THAT being told to us at his previous school.

I talked to his teacher this morning about something that might help at the next movement class on Monday. Rather than immediately trying to just control him - obviously he shouldn't be racing around the room and disrupting the class, but trying to take him aside and connect with him emotionally. It looks like this is hard for you right now. Can you tell me what you are feeling? These are some of the phrases that we learned from the woman who helped us last year with BOY. She was receptive to the ideas and said they would be having an additional teacher to help with the class on Monday.

I also talked to her about his difficulty with transitions. That when he is engaged in something that captures his attention, it is very difficult to disengage him. She said they had noticed that. I mentioned that when his energy and focus is chaneled into something positive, it is wonderful, but it is challenging when we are wanting him to do something else and he doesn't want to do it. She agreed. Again she said that Monday threw her, because she was just so surprised by his behavior as she thought he had transtioned so beautifully to his new environment.

As we were switching to the new preschool, I said this many times to friends: It will be good to have fresh eyes on BOY. Good for him. Good for us. And if those words are coming out of my mouth, I need to believe them. Even if the feedback is difficult. Our first parent/teacher conference is in two weeks. I am trying to remember to breathe until then.

He really appears to love his new school. Several of the boys and one of the little girls have gravitated to him right away. BOY has that magical quality, his imagination and his sweetness. An attractive combination. His playfulness is contagious.

He has almost produced as much artwork in the last few weeks as he produced all year last year. I'm not sure if he has just matured or if he is finding the art program more fun, but he is producing something just about every day. And last week he wrote his name with his teacher's assistance. He wrote his name! This is a first! Of course, he wrote it vertically. Of course he did. I wouldn't expect anything else. He sees life from different angles. And I have to continue, though exhausting as it is, to try to balance a firm hand with him yet not squelch his spirit. It is daunting. But, I don't think I have a choice...

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  1. JCK, I have been there. I'm still there. It's so hard -- those sensory issues and transition issues.

    big hugs to you.

  2. Hurray for BOY! Writing his name is a great accomplishment! It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job being his advocate and helping the teachers to help him meet expectations. He is lucky to have you in his corner.

    On a sidenote.. I once told a preschool teacher that keeping my wild child in line called for a "firm hand" (almost exactly what you just said) and with a shocked look on her face she said "We don't use spanking as a discipline tool here!" Despite my protest that I didn't mean spanking and my attempt to explain what I had been trying to say, I was looked at as the resident child abuser the rest of the year.

  3. I am there with you. I think it is a boy thing. Or maybe kids from SAHM who have always been the center of things.
    My son had a hard time from the first day though. He is a challenge to his teachers. I just hope they don't groan when they see us coming.

    Wonderful on the name writing. That is a big accomplishment for such a little guy.

  4. I agree with Ellyn, BOY is acting like a boy. Since I had my Dino, I have read lots of material that talks about how boys are failing because the education is geared toward girls who tend to sit still much more. Boys like to move, explore and when they are into to something, they don't want it to end.

    I know where you are coming from in regards to teacher comments--it can really hurt and you think maybe something is wrong. Don't let that good to you!

    And writing his name--that is amazing! I know kindergardeners who cannot do this.

    BOY rocks (and so does MOM!) :)

  5. Our son was like this at school (and everywhere LOL) until we cut sugar out of his diet. He is a different kid!

  6. Make sure you read "Raising Your Spirited Child" (if you haven't already). It's a lifesaver.

  7. "in all of her years of teaching she had never seen a child like this before "

    gosh, I hope not! the uniqueness of every child is what makes life so special : )

    One of mine had a lot of trouble with transitioning (both drop offs and pick ups). I remember 4 yrs of age being surprisingly difficult and tantrummy.

  8. My first born, was the same way. Anytime there were big changes we dealt with new behaviors. He grew into maturity. I don't know if that makes sense. But one day, it all fell into place. I hope that is reassuring for you. Being 4 is hard. It really is.

  9. I'd look on the teacher not having seen him like this before as an indication that he's gaining more control.

    Of course he's going to backslide somewhat. But having them be so surprised by the behavior definitely means it's outside the norm they've come to expect from Boy.

  10. I know you're doing a great job as a mother, and I'm sure Boy will be just fine...try not to worry.

    That being said, parenting is NOT EASY and sometimes it is UNBELIEVABLY difficult. I hear you.

  11. he wrote his name!! That is awesome!!

  12. oy. firm hand vs. quenching spirit. where IS that line? if you figure it out, let me know!

    good luck!

  13. There are certain aspects of each of my children that I kind of pretend don't exist (just little things mostly) and it is amazing that despite the fact that I do not warn new people they encounter about these things, they still notice anyway. A new environment sometimes masks them for a while, or can bring them out more, but it changes nothing in general. We are as we are.

    But yes, boys should just be running around really until they are about 6. Not all but the majority. My eldest son's first report when he was 5 said that he was either under the table, on the table or taking the table apart - never sat at it. And yes, I did worry that he was different, well not sure what I worried about but I worried!!

    Writing his name is great. It'll all be fine in the end. I love all their differences and challenges (after the event!!)

  14. I love the way you're handling this. It is right. Relax.

    Once, I brought my then 4-year old son to his then 3-yo sister's pre-ballet class, because...well, I don't remember why. The studio owner and the teacher enthusiastically invited him in. And he ran all around the room, just like you describe of BOY -- and worse, somehow transmitted to the little girls that they ought to do the same! It was bedlam! The studio owner and teacher were flesh-and-blood definitions of "rueful." But 14 years later, the sweetness of the memory literally brings tears to my eyes.

  15. I know you didn't ask for advice, but I had a question for you. Do you always pick him up at a certain time? Are the other kids leaving then? If you always pick him up at the same time, the teacher could mention to him, "Mommy will be her in 10 minutes, she'll be here soon." Then, Mommy will be here in 5 minutes. Also, If your cell phone has an alarm, when you get there, you could tell him he will have five minutes more to play, and when the alarm goes off you have to leave. If other kids are leaving, you could ask him to help them carry something out to their car.
    Good luck! Let us all know how things go.

  16. when he is engaged in something that captures his attention, it is very difficult to disengage him.

    I am wondering if there is a way to have the thing that he focuses on travel with him, so that the separation isn't so abrupt. So if he's engaged in a book, or a toy, then can the toy or book go with him in the car, only to return again tomorrow?

    I think in a way this ability to focus is a good thing! Concentration. Hell, I wish I had that trait myself!

  17. Well, the boy sounds like a challenge. Good luck! All kids have their issues, some more than others. Hang in there!

    Congrats on his writing his name!

  18. I was going to recommend the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" as well, but Jenn beat me to it. Although it sounds like you already read it, given what you're telling him. You recognize he has transition issues and know how to deal with it. Both of mine fall into the spirited category, except that the Queen is an extravert and DeBoy is an introvert. I just finished reading it (again) and recognizing myself in a lot of things (sensitivity to clothing, etc.). They come by it honestly. They're both totally irregular when it comes to sleeping an eating. The book is somewhat helpful in that it makes you realize you're not alone.
    The Queen writes her name from right to left. Or in a circle. I haven't seen her write it vertically yet though. BOY is all right. Yes, you're exhausted. I am too. And we'll stay that way for awhile according to what I understand. But speaking as one whose spirit was squelched early and often, I agree with you, we have no choice.

  19. Two things:
    1)You should get the book:
    "Boys SHOULD Be Boys",
    by Meg Meeker, MD
    (She also wrote a great book called "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters")
    2) Have you considered Homeschooling? Unschooling, really...Boy seems to be the perfect type for Unit Projects, learning through personal interests and being able to move around...
    (I know, shameless plug...)
    Pax, Elizabeth


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