Friday, August 11, 2006

Some Advice Please...

I took Owen to school the other day, as usual, and asked his teacher if I could come in and meet the speech teacher. She said okay, and I came in with Tess. As I did, I spoke to the other teacher, who when Erik asked her how Owen was doing she said, "how is Owen doing? How is Owen doing? I'm not sure how to answer that question." So I asked Owen's teacher what she meant by that comment. Then, it all came out. The teacher took me aside and said she's been having a difficult time with Owen and she's not sure this is the right environment for him. And slowly, my faith in the school system begins to crumble.

She told me that Owen has some behavioral issues, especially when he doesn't want to do something he will throw it (i.e., when he doesn't want to color, he throws the crayons). Then she said he will do things to get attention, like get up and run for the door, standing by it while the rest of the class sits and does the lesson. She said she finally started ignoring him and he stopped doing it. But, he has a difficult time with scissors and she and the OT thinks he needs clinical OT (well, duh, don't we's their system that said no), and that she doesn't see any progress with Owen. She told me that he is operating at the level of a 1-1/2 year old. But, she said when it is something he likes, like story time or songs, he does well. "He's very smart," she said, which made me feel happy, all while I am thinking he's going to get thrown out of preschool for being basically Erik's son: smart, but not wanting to do the work when it gets hard.

So we continued to talk, and she told me that we need to start setting limits with him at home and not helping him with things. She told me that we need to expect of Owen what we will expect of Tess. "Look, I'm not telling you how to be a parent, but if you feel sorry for him and you continue to do things for him, it will not benefit him." She's right, but of course, I don't know how to address these things. First of all, Owen has been usurped with a new baby who is breastfeeding, and seems permanently attached to me, and second of all, he is three years old and is just now entering the "terrible twos." So, how do I discipline him?

Oh, and to top it all off, I have realized that he hears very little of what we are saying. The reason I know this is that I have been testing him by saying things soft and loud. When I talk softer, he only catches the one word I say loudly and repeats it. If I say the whole sentence loudly, he repeats it all. Now, I wonder, how much of his acting out is frustration because he doesn't hear us and when he does say things, we can't understand him because he learned the words with fluid in his ears?

I feel as if I have already failed at being a parent. The last two days, I have been trying really hard to insist he do things, like use his fork, pull up his underwear, etc, but I feel as if it's all about me bossing him around and I don't feel as if I can have fun with him. It's as if I have become the general, and I know he knows that things are different.

I just don't know: do I discipline him as a 1-1/2 year old, or do I discipline him as a 3-year old? And to be honest, how the hell do I know the difference, since he is my first child? Lately I've been wishing that he was the second child, so that I already had experience in this whole arena. To top it all off, I wonder if he will ever grow and get beyond this level of understanding. I see so many kids who are 3 years old and they seem like these little grown up people. Will Owen ever be that way? Am I fooling myself into thinking he will be more than he is?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take one thing at a time. The hearing will be taken care of once the tubes are in -right? Which will take care of his ability to process the request once he hears the request. Which will allow you to address his behavior once he is able to hear and process the request. it sounds like he has a silly sense of humor and is very smart - this might be tricky in dicipline. Get out the naughty chair! Also, no book was given to us when our children were born so a parent is NEVER a failure as long as he/she continues to learn from the hick ups in the road of life. You said yourself that he is entering the terrible twos as a three year old so dicipline him as such. By the way - you are in charge and can be the general and a playful parent at the right times. Take one thing at a time - you can do it!

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to post--we have a lot in common. I have a three-year-old son with DS and we found out at five days old.
I don't have any answers but one thought...even thought I have one older son, I still am mostly clueless, with all my children! Each one is different, each has strengths and weaknesses unlike the others. So you do as best you can. Which you are doing. Just keep trying, as that's all we can do as parents.

8:45 AM  
Blogger The Imperfect Christian said...

I struggle with this as well. Do I punish her as a two-year old or as a younger toddler?? I use time outs and I started her at one minute time outs. I slowly increase it as I see it benefitting her. It's a tough area to maneuver around. Just follow your heart and let Owen be your guide!

12:32 PM  
Blogger Naomi said...

we should get together, sounds like out boys have a lot in common. Email me at naomi (dot) dixon (at) gte (dot) net and we'll get the boys together or at least chat on the phone.

6:04 PM  
Blogger Shelley said...

Oh dear - I could see both my twins in your post - especially Hananh - who I have a dreadful time disciplining - she is oblivious to 'tone' and the word 'NO' at any volume is just a joke to her. I don't think it is because of the DS though - I blame her father! So much advice - it isn't always helpful - so here's mine - listen to it all but ultimately follow the pajama mama's - your heart and your love for Owen will find the way. Good luck

4:28 PM  
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6:43 PM  

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