Little Man is very impulsive, especially in public situations and around other kids. He angers very quickly and has trouble keeping his hands to himself and responding appropriately when he is not pleased with someone else or something. Miss K talked to me about what she did with him and how he responded (he did well with lots of encouragement) and I told her how much he likes to ne a helper. She let me know he had to go the Director's office, Miss T (not his first time). Miss K also told me he is incredibly smart for his age (kind of freaky smart - my words, not hers); which is something I have been told by many people. Overall it was a good discussion and reaffirmed for me that he is in the right place and appreciated for who he is, while being guided properly.
I felt compelled to let her know he has two older sisters (she said she would have guessed he had older brothers). She told me Miss T let her know we are aware of the issues he has and that we are working on his anger. I felt compelled to let her know we have been working with a pediatric behaviorists. I guess I was trying to tell her we are not rookie parents coddling an out of control, mean child. I was trying to justify my parenting and express to her that we understand the challenges.
After never having any major behavior/parenting issues with the girls, this is a very humbling place to be. Tears stung my eyes as we left the building. As my blond hair boy bounced happily to the car, I was holding back tears and looking up and crying out in my heart "why." It is very troubling to me that a preschool age child, MY preschool age child… MY little boy… needed one on one guidance for the bulk of his five hour day at school. This is not a daily occurrence. But for it to occur at all crushes me… angers me... humbles me… and leaves me pondering Little Man's 14 or so years of schooling ahead of us.
I know Little Man is made perfectly. It is me who needs to adjust my thinking, my perceptions, my expectations. It is me who needs to appreciate him for who he is and what he can show me through these challenges. There is a story that runs through my mind at times like this. It is a reminder to me that if I am constantly justifying myself, joking about his behavior to shadow my embarrassment in public and not embracing him for who he is all the time, not just when he is sweet; I will miss out on so much. I don't want to miss out.
Here is the story…
Welcome to Holland by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability- to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this…
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip -to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.” "Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”
But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around… and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills… and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandt's.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy…and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss.
But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely hings …about Holland.