Sunday, January 09, 2005

But we don't live in Arkansas...

First and foremost: Thank you for the kind encouragement. Which I honestly wasn't fishing for, but which I sure as heck will take with open arms and a whole lot of gratitude.

Just for the record, I don't think the teacher is an Evil Betty with a cap B. I do think she is overwhelmed having 24 kids and no full-time TA. I heard her say once that she gets overly emotional, and I think this is probably true. Speaking as an overly emotional person, the danger there is that you're going to blow things out of proportion and have a hard time dealing with "oppositional" kids without taking it personally. I sympathize--I lose my patience with The Boy more than I'd like to admit, and I am only dealing with him and his sister, not trying to deal with him and 23 other kids. So my desire to remove her from his environment is nothing personal. One of my neighbors had her son in this teacher's class last year and also had trouble with her. My neighbor is also in the teaching field. (I have a feeling maybe this teacher doesn't like dealing with parents who want her to follow their line of approach, as opposed to parents who are willing to play by her rules?) Anyway, my friend's son had a different problem: He's one of those kids who wants to get everything perfect and will take forever to complete a project because he wants it to be just so. He would get his card flipped to yellow (and if you don't know what I mean by this, I'm so happy for you) for not finishing the work quickly enough. Also, for some reason he needed to go to the bathroom often. She often wouldn't let him go (I imagine she thought he was goofing around in there or doing it just to waste time) and he developed a urinary tract infection as a result. And the one other mom in the class with whom I'm actually friends (we were friends before the kids started school)--her daughter manages wonderfully but she and her husband don't like teacher because they think she has "favorite" parents. My friend said that when she volunteers, teacher won't talk to her directly. She also often tells me, "I don't think he's weird, he's just a boy." I love her.

Wait. I was saying how I don't have anything against the teacher really. Um...yeah.

Anyway, I did try to get The Boy out of her class at semester break, even though it would have meant switching over from 1/2 day to full-day Kindergarten. But the school is at its limit and there was a waiting list (what does that tell me?). As it turns out, it's probably for the better. I've since heard that the two other options probably wouldn't turn out much better. One is actually our teacher's "mentor" and apparently as hard-line as this one is, and the other is a new teacher and I've heard she's having trouble. This all makes me want to go back to school and get a teaching degree, frankly. I actually might do it in a few years, when the kids are both in full-day school and it wouldn't mean putting them in longer daycare hours.

Part of my trouble is that I waffle between thinking, "Oh, he's just an active boy!" and really, really worrying about him. I grew up in a family of women, so I have absolutely no reference as to what a "normal" boy this age is like. I know I had a horrible temper and that later on, I did have some emotional problems, but I feel like I've dealt with all that fairly well (with the help of some therapy and no need for medication). However, his father is currently on about 6 meds and his therapists are trying to decide whether he's bipolar or has a combo of ADHD/depression. And to complicate things further, we both had traumatic childhood experiences, so were we messed up because of genetics or because of the trauma? Damned nature vs nurture. So...I don't know. Up to now I have been seriously against using any of the ADHD meds, not because I'm anti-med but because he's so young and can't really give us his own opinion. But I've talked with a bipolar friend whose take on that was, "You know, I was messed up at that age, and now I resent my parents for not getting me help sooner." I think if you compared him to most other kids, he's more impulsive, has a lower comprehension of consequences and of his body and how it operates in space, and has quite a bit of anger. So for now, it's OT and talk therapy. I'm going to set up more playdates for him to try and help him develop personal relationships; he does better one-on-one and I think strengthening friendships will help. Looks like there's also a social skills class at school that we hopefully can get him into either immediately or next year, and when the OT thinks that she's gotten him as far as she can, we're going to see if he can handle Tae Kwan Do to continue his physical development and focus. And I'm working on my parenting skills (thanks Krup, for the book recommendation. I picked it up and have started reading it.) But I have to admit, he turns 6 in August, and...I'm thinking about meds. Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd really really like to hear about it. I'm so freaked out by the meth combos, but does anyone have experience with Strattera? God, they're all so scary. But I look at him, and I see what a bright, curious, enthusiastic kid he is, and I don't know. I just don't know.

Okay, so again, me rambling. Bah.

Art museum! He loves art. His dad's actually quite good with art, and though The Boy's no prodigy, he enjoys it. So the local art museum has started a once/month family day, where someone gives you a little tour and talks about the displays, then you have about an hour in their studio to do your own art. We went, and though we did have to have one "leave the room" talk and I got indigestion worrying about him touching the exhibits, he was so excited. He kept asking questions and wanted to see everything, and the tour guide said she didn't think he was too hyper so we can probably go back. And after the tour--wow. He was SO pumped to do an art project, and he's been rifling through our art supplies ever since. It really lit a fire under him. I signed him up for the museum's upcoming drawing classes; he tried one last quarter and really enjoyed it (the painting and sculpture not so much). He came out of that class with a beautiful (to me, at least) charcoal drawing of winter trees, which we gave to his dad for Xmas because, hey, he didn't get any artistic ability from me.

Last exciting child-rearing moment for now: At breakfast, he says to me all casual, "Hey, Mama, when I grow up, will it not be okay anymore to tongue-kiss my sister?"

Yeah. That's the question you want to hear your kid ask over waffles.

Me: isn't okay to tongue-kiss your sister now. And where did you hear about "tongue-kissing" anyway? [!?!!!!!!!???*!@!?]
B: Well, you and Papa used to kiss that way.
Me: [Ahhhhh.] Well, buddy, that way of kissing is just for grownups. When you're a grownup, you can use your tongue to kiss anybody you want, as long as it's okay with them.
Me: But not your sister.
Me: 'Cause moms and dads kiss each other that way, but no matter how old you are, you don't kiss your sisters or brothers or moms or dads or kids that way.
B: Oh. Cause I was just thinking, when I was grown up, I'd kiss you that way.
Me: [Thanking God that I'm actually aware of the Oedipal complex and so am only freaking out on a measure of 5 out of 10 instead of 148540 out of 10] Well. No. That won't be happening.
Me: [Because I can't leave well enough alone, in case you haven't caught on to that yet] Kissing with tongues and touching private parts is only for grownups who aren't already in each others families, other than being married to each other or having a special grownup relationship. Your private parts belong to you [blah blah blah, etc, etc, until his eyes roll up in the back of his head. But I think he gets that he won't be frenching either his sister or me any time soon.]

Well, happy bloggers, thanks again for letting me vent. Now I must go and attempt to clean the children's bedrooms while they're out with their father. I will accomplish this task...and then the apocalypse will come.


trisha said...

You could try the Feingold diet or whatever it's called first. Or wait, that may be the diet for allergies. there is some kind of diet plan that helps ADD/ADHD/LMNOP symptoms.

I am still pretty much gluten-free. I went g-f when we tried to cut out the gluten in R's diet. I feel a million times better, and I am just a regular-type person. My dh has the ADD but he was never medicated. The kids used to bully him and stuff. He may have been better off w/ meds. He has told me he would have been better off with coping and studying strategies, too, but that was when he was a little older.

I was screwed by both nature and nurture.

Hugs and junk.

Psycho Kitty said...

Yep, we actually are already on Feingold, although in a sort of half-assed way because the Ex hasn't been too good at sticking to it. The red dye definitely sets him off. Plus we've tried to lower his sugar intake a lot, and we've quit dairy for the most part (we still do a little cheese here and there), and that seems to have helped a lot (and the dairy has also made a big difference in his sister's constantly runny nose, yay). When I work off the nerve to put him through some blood tests, I'm going to ask the doctor to run a full allergy scan and also check his zinc levels.
Thanks for the input. I truly appreciate it!

Krupskaya said...

OK, so I read the "Ishmael" post first and told you to get a book I see you already have now. :p Sorry. I hope it's helpful -- I thought it was a godsend and while I'm not anywhere near remembering all those helpful hints when something happens, I think it's brilliant.

As far as tongue-kissing your sister...yesterday John asked me, "When can Maia and I have a baby?"


"A baby.....sitter. A baby sitter! I couldn't remember what it was called!"

Whew. Blood pressure, going back down now.

anbruch said...

Wait a second, being yellow carded for not completing work quickly enough? WtF? Really, I thought the card system was for behavior not academics.

I also like the values being put forward there: do a half-assed job just to get it done rather than taking time to get it done properly. Judu is a perfectionist, too, so I clearly have a vested interest here, but it does strike me as going more than a bit overboard.

But then again, I think the whole idea of grading kindergarteners is moronic (and I'm thankful that Judu's teacher resists grading as effectively as he can given school policy).