Wednesday, March 19, 2008

To The Office

The rooster got in trouble today. Basically, he got the preschool version of being sent to to the office, which, since that's pretty much next door to my own office, meant I got sent home from the office, with one angry, aggressive little boy. We were out of there before noon.

Anyone who knows anything about us knows why this happened, right? (And I'm talking the micro why, not the macro.) Yes, let's all say it in unison, now: deities. About 20 minutes prior to the rampage, (and I later heard that the administrator in charge of preschool offenders had been looking for me for -- YES -- about 15 or 20 minutes) I, knee deep in a research lesson with 60 delightful fifth graders, said, LIKE SOME DEATH-DEFYING FOOL, "This is just about the most fun I could ever have at work. I love this project." The perfect signal to my exit from the project, would you not agree?

What on earth is happening to my little boy? Up until about a month ago, he was difficult, but charming, and he saved most of his negativity and aggression for home life. Sure, his teachers dealt with a lot from him, paticularly that he could not share or handle circle time, and that he had terrible trouble communicating with kids. NOW, however, we have a boy who screams, "AHHHHH! Ahahahaaaaa!" at the drop of a hat. He grabs toys from others and taunts them by holding the coveted object over his (tall) head. He hit another child with a shovel. (Thank goodness it was a flimsy plastic one, but STILL.) Kids avoid him. He spits. That is so disgusting. I can't figure it out, I can't get to the cause, I surely can't stop it, and so I'm so freaked out that I've gone all ... detached. I'm not crying, I'm not aching, I'm not ... here. Not exactly here. Something inside got turned down way low, dialed back to inaudible levels. Of course, perversely, I like it, I relish the relief. But I am smart enough to know it's not a good sign. It's numbness, and that isn't healthy. It's the kind of sensation that finds me offhandedly commenting to my husband, out of earshot of the kids, "So what time you think he'll get thrown out tomorrow? Because I really have important work to do at school." WHO SAID THAT? It might have been me, but it was not my real voice, if you know what I mean. I love my boy, so big, forever, but I've disconnected today, and I need to fess up to that right here and right now if I hope to reconnect.

When I picked the rooster up, I tried every thing I thought was "right." I told him that he couldn't play today, because he was hurting and scaring his friends, but that I know he is a good boy, and I'm going to help him feel better, so that he can make better choices tomorrow. Okay, I chunked it for him so that he didn't have to hear all that at once, and I repeated it infinite times, with lots of synonyms. I had him repeat to me several times why we were going home early. "It's not okay to hit friends," was his general reply. I didn't want him to feel like a bad person, but I also made sure not to make the day too fun; I didn't want to make him hope for escape from school every day by doing the same actions. We checked out picture books from the library about anger, feelings, hitting. I asked him about his feelings. I gave him lots of love. But the whole time, as he alternated between more loving than I've seen in weeks and going full tilt mad on me, I was struggling to find me in it all... I wasn't really connected, no matter how many times I pinched myself.

And nothing I did helped anyway - not for more than a few minutes here or there. And I knew it wouldn't. Which sentence that I just wrote is scarier? I do not know. The scariest thing of all is my innermost fear that whatever troubles the rooster is something worse than autism, something that will only grow as he does.

The only thing I know for sure is that tomorrow will, without any doubt, be just as bad as today. Maybe worse.

But, since I've already done a miserable job at parenting, let me at least do something for those fifth graders I had to abandon. They're all researching different topics, and it gives great joy to my inner geek. Some kids still need information, and "experts" they could interview would help a lot. So, dear blogosphere, if anyone out there knows about any of these topics, or could point us to resources, I'd LOVE to put you in touch with a darling researcher, age 10, by email or phone, at your convenience:
Appalachian music and dance (West Virginia)
blue crabs (Maryland)
fluorescent rocks (NJ)
Fairystones (VA)
Salem Witch Trials
Eli Lilly
Robert Frost
Texas City explosion


Anonymous said...

Oh there is so much I want to say to you....but I just can't.

However, I CAN get your 10 year olds in touch with people who have personal experience with the Texas City explosion. I grew up in LaMarque which shares a main road with Texas City. My "adopted by love" grandmother was in Texas City that day and she tells a wonderful and heart wrenching story about that day. You can email me at karameiaks @ netscape dot net

Anonymous said...

My son was asked to leave his preschool and if you ask and look around, I'm willing to bet there are countless kids from this little cyber circle who were also shown the door for similar reasons.

I know you think it's bigger than autism, scarier, etc., and that's pretty scary to think about--but give it time.

Sending you a hug.

PBear said...

We got kicked out of latchkey. Then they tried to kick him out of lunch. I spent almost as much time at school his kindergarten year as he did. He practically had his own chair in the principal's office one year. When we finally left the school (a private, Christian school) it was hard not to see the sigh of relief on the principal's face - oh good, one more problem child out of the way.... So don't worry, we've all been there, done that, got the t-shirt, etc. :-)

Think of it as a growth spurt. Remember when your kids were infants, and suddenly they just couldn't eat enough? If you were nursing, you felt like nothing more than a 24 hour on-call dairy cow? And finally after a few days you would remember - oh, he's 3/6/12 weeks old, GROWTH SPURT! It's the same kind of thing, except mentally - he's processing new things, and it takes energy, and it takes understanding - which he doesn't always have. So that increases the frustration level, which increases the rage, which increases the acting out. Then he'll figure some things out, things will calm down again, you'll think things are fine (taunting those deities :-) but voila, he'll go into another spurt. It's not the deities, it's that he has to have good periods to absorb the information that causes the bad ones - then he can start again.

Fun, isn't it? (NOT!)

Hang in there... we're all praying for you here.


redheadmomma said...

I'd like to comment here that you made me smile when you were spouting off about that miserable parenting job of yours. ;) What other parent would have it together enough to explain why he had to go home, ad nauseum, WITH patience of a saint and without weeping or throwing things? Certainly not me. What other parent would THINK to go to the library and get books out on anger, et al? Which I think is f-ing brilliant, by the way, and something I would never have thought of. I'd have been too far into panic mode to be that reasonable. You are doing a great job in this time of crisis. A GREAT job.

I remember when my kiddo was dx'd and I felt like I had just been thrown into freezing water - I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think, I couldn't do much of anything. So I detached & I just went into action, and only later did that grief catch up with me (hence the start of my own blog). I think that your detachment is totally normal, and we understand more than you know.


Joeymom said...

Blue crabs are delicious.

For more information (other than "They are delicious") I'd suggest: