Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another Preschool Move for Ethan

No, I didn't take him out of yet another preschool. He wasn't kicked out for his insanely horrible behavior. He was just moved to another classroom.

About a week ago, Ethan had another one of his "days." These days are far and few between, but when they happen, it can only be described as a chaotic disaster. He becomes completely irrevocably uncontrollable. He hits and kicks and screams and all sort of other things. And the first time it happened, they made the mistake of telling me in front of him that they cannot restrain him, even if he tries to run out the door. Naturally, being Ethan, he doesn't forget a thing, so he was running for the door.

We don't know what triggers these episodes. Everything can start perfectly normal, but a tiny thing like not being able to have a book, can set him off. Something he can manage on most days becomes impossible. There's no talking to him. There's no reasoning. He just goes a little crazy and I honestly believe he loses control of himself. When it happened, they called me to ask me to come get him because no one could get through to him and he was becoming a danger to himself and everyone else. I hate these days.

So as I've racked my brain endlessly, all I can come up with is that his unwillingness to go to bed and his propensity for waking early catches up to him every 3 to 4 months. I have no solution.

It doesn't help that there have been a lot of changes at school. His favorite teacher moved away, so he got another teacher. Unfortunately, he didn't connect well with her (she's great, but a little abrasive). He doesn't mesh well with the other teacher already (she, too, is great, but easily overwhelmed). Ethan's quite good and finding that one spot, that one button, that he can push. And he pushes. He's very persistent and overwhelming to even the calmest people when he wants to be.

So they did what they thought was best and let him go to the other preschool classroom. He fell in love with both teachers over there. He quickly attaches to certain people and always has. He'll hug a stranger without hesitation and loves to touch. He loves to be held. He loves to hold hands. He doesn't understand personal space. He's kind and sweet and so adorably loving that when he attaches, people instantly become enamored with him. He listens to these people and wants to make them happy.

And so, after observing him and his interactions, they have if the move could be permanent. I was hesitant because this classroom, while still a preschool, has younger kids in it. But this school meets children's intellectuality on an individual basis. They observe and encourage and help them grow and explore at their potential. And while most "gifted" kids gravitate toward older kids, my son has always gravitated toward younger kids. He often defies logic. So I said yes, let's move him, because I want what is best for him. I want him to enjoy preschool and the time he has left before entering the world of public education where the expectations will change and where he will be required to sit and do worksheets. They don't do worksheets here. It's all hands-on learning.

So far, things are going well. He seems to be fitting in nicely. And the teachers seem to enjoy him. They're aware of his strengths and weaknesses and the issues they may encounter. They are all on the same page and are working toward one common goal: to help Ethan learn to handle his emotions better while giving him the freedom to learn and explore in his own way. They are amazed by some of the things he does and says, but I am often amazed by him as well. And Ethan is a rather amazing child. Despite all that high energy and overwhelming presence, he really is a very loveable child and has a history of becoming a "favorite" quickly. Sometimes I wonder if he does it on purpose with the knowledge that it'll help make up for his infrequent rages. But then, I know that's giving him just a bit too much credit.


  1. Wow! Ethan sounds just like two of my 4 boys. They are both highly gifted and easily upset if things don't go their way or if there are changes in their routines. For them it was a communication issue. They were communicating and teachers and fellow students weren't doing what they wanted. Haha! It made them mad and tantrums ensued. It's really tough to hear all those negative comments about your child. Focus on the positive. There will be progress.

  2. Have you ever considered busting his ass? I took a while and read up on your site. Ethan has a world of difficulty ahead of him and I feel that it is you as the parent that has left him without the tools to deal with normal life-situations.When Ethan wants/doesn't want to do something, you cater to his wants. He needs to do as adults with his welfare in mind tell him. We don't always get to do what we want, when we want. A child needs to understand he is a child and his decision making skills are about as developed as Lindsey Lohan's. Once Mamma is out of the picture,and he is an adult, how is he to deal with life? Employers won't cater to his type of behavior, and as you will soon find out, neither will public educators. Grab him up by the neck, and let him know in no uncertain terms that Adults are in charge for his own good. Ethan is only special to his family and a handful of others.He may be the world to you, but to the world, he is just another sucker, just another number. I say this as a person that used to be just like Ethan, male, intellectually advanced, HYPER, tons of discipline problems. The world is a giant place and he will find no harbor for this degree of ill behavior. I am afraid that one day you may find that you have given Ethan a great handicap by never having the courage to say ENOUGH! As i read your blog,(and Ethan's history of physical outbursts) I can assure you that left unchecked, his violent outbursts will climb in severity and frequency. Hopefully a judge isn't the first to curtail this child's behavior.You are the adult, you must have the courage and intestinal fortitude to let you children know that your love is unconditional but your authority is absolute.

  3. It's almost like that occasional outburst releases him of every tension he's been holding and building up. I hope the new classroom will be just the thing for him!

  4. I'm glad they found a solution and happy to hear that he is doing well in the new class. Crossing my fingers that it stays this way.
    I don't know who Bill is but I know for a fact that you are wonderful parents and he doesn't know a thing about Ethan! ((HUGS))

  5. Having often heard advice from people like Bill, I just wanted to say you are doing great, and don't stop sharing! I have a 6yo is sweet as can be; when she is good, she is very very good, and when she is bad, she is horrid! There are certain consequences that are more effective than others - taking away her bedtime audiobooks and music is the most effective (though not always) - while "busting her ass," so to speak, has absolutely no effect. When she takes a stand, absolutely nothing will break it, and people who haven't lived with this don't have a clue.

    Glad the new class is working out well! It is so often about the personal connection rather than the grade level...

    1. While you know I understand (a little) of what you're dealing. I too was a VERY head strong child - I have to agree with Bill on the fact that you have to have control over him EVEN when he's taking a stand. Maybe 'busting his ass' doesn't work - or isn't for you but that's not to say he should ever think he got away with it.

      At only 4 knowing he can control a situation and the adults in his life is a very scary thing. I can't imagine 'wining' at that age and having to learn deal with others later in life as a teen or adult. I was the child that would laugh after I was spanked so I know how a head strong kid can be - but allowing me to WIN was the worse thing in the world my mom could have done. So while Bill might be a little bias, I do see the point he's trying to make. It's only going to get harder to control his actions the older he gets and the more battles he wins. I'm still not under control… as you know.

  6. You got some interesting responses on this one! I bet you weren't expecting that.

    I think it's great that he found a better fit in terms of his classroom environment and that he is doing better at school. I think different things work for different kids and if this works for him then great.

    As for "busting his ass" I think you know that you need to work on being more consistent with your discipline of Ethan (and Dylan). I think in that way, you will show that you are the parent and thereby you control the situation.

    At the same time though I think kids do need to have some control of things - or at least feel like they do. Without that, they feel helpless and frustrated and that's not good!

    Good luck!