Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lessons learned

The Big Guy has been terribly out of sorts lately.  Not himself, always upset, quiet, yet insistent nothing is wrong.  Over the last month I have pulled him from the occasional day of pre-K to give him a break.  I've also tried to make extra time and special trips for him without his brothers.

I feel like I can't win lately.  If I get the twins something matching I will often pick up a third for him.  It usually makes him happy.  Over the weekend he ended up mad at me that I got him the same shirt as his brothers for the race.  Because now?  He wants to be different.  Which is fine with me.  But I know had I come home with matching shirts for the boys and not included him he would have been upset.

Over the weekend I thought I had a breakthrough with him.  He was finally admitting what was bothering him.  Problems at school.  I felt so relieved.  Having discussed this ahead of time with him, I went into his class to speak with his teachers yesterday morning.  I know school ends this week but I really wanted to get to the bottom of what is going on.

Cut to my shock as I'm told the incidents he's describing not only are not happening, he's making up stories.  And in addition to those stories he's making up he has recently been giving the teachers a hard time.  Refusing to participate, eye rolling, not talking to classmates.  Absolutely shocking to me.

I apologized profusely.  Sure we were getting attitude at home and dealing with it but it never occurred to me this was happening in school.  I suddenly felt like it was a huge mistake I sent him to pre-K for 3 years in a row.  The twins will only go for one year.  When the Big Guy got diagnosed with cerebral palsy so young I told myself I would not let anything hold him back.  Ever.  He would be ready for school no matter what it took, and if that meant 3 years of pre-K to stay on top of things that is what we would do.  Now I feel like not giving him a break has left him bored and aggravated.  His teachers assured me I had done the right thing but I was not sure anymore.

The Big Guy has always been truthful.  He's not the child who would lie to you.  He's friendly, helpful in class and always wants to learn.  When I meet other classmates parents, I always hear 'Ohhh, you have the Big Guy!  We always hear about the Big Guy!  Everyone likes him so much!'  I had that kid who if the teacher was out and there was a substitute that day?  He would 'help' by telling them everything they needed to do and when.  Maybe I should say that's how he was.

Never would I ever have said he would be the kid slumping in his seat, not speaking or making eye contact.  Complaining about being bored while also not participating, acting too cool for school and his classmates... rolling his eyes at teachers.

Last night my husband and I sat him down.  He of course denied everything with a straight face, which only made me more upset.  'I'm true!' he said over and over.  (Which in his words means he is telling the truth.)  This morning I told him he needed to apologize to his teachers, because we do not ever behave like this.  It did not matter that there were only 2 days of school left now, we were turning this attitude around.

Taking him into school he knew what he had to say.  I was surprised when he grabbed my hand and pulled back at the door to the classroom.  'No mom, I'm scared', he said as he wiggled from his backpack.  I dragged him in and at that moment - as bad as I felt for him - I knew I was doing the right thing.  He stood in front of his teachers with his voice breaking and told them he was sorry for 'being pouty', not paying attention, rolling his eyes and not participating as he gripped my hand tighter.  His teachers thanked him for apologizing and told him they knew how hard it was for him to do that.  I then added that he would be behaving the next two days and he nodded his head. 

Leaving the classroom to wait outside for class to start he would not even look at me.  Inside I felt terrible.  I kissed him on the head and said goodbye and left him in the hall with his friends.  Hard for him, but hard for me to make him do that.  I didn't feel like taking away TV or a favorite toy would teach him a lesson.   I am really hoping this is something that sticks with him, because I do not ever want to have to do that again.

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