Monday, February 22, 2010

just call me defensive deidra

Yesterday, for the fourth week straight, Henry was kicked out of the church nursery.


But wait. Before I get in to that breaking news, I need to clear up something from my last post, or rather - the comments from my last post.

I'm not sure if I've written about it before, but the primary function of my job - other than managing soil and groundwater assessment and remediation projects (i.e., cleaning up the environment), is to make sure that the people who are out there cleaning up the environment (and staying within budget) are doing it safely. There's no doubt I spend more time attending meetings on safety and participating in conference calls about safety and reviewing and writing up reports about safety than I do any other task in my job. And because safety is such a linchpin of my "career" it finds a way of working itself in to every other facet of my LIFE.

I mean, other than an EMT, how many people carry around with them, at all times, a fully stocked first aid kit, CPR masks, a hand crank radio, flashlight and a reflective safety blanket?

So, I think it's important for me to clear the record that our kids don't stand up in the tub, except for when they are getting in and getting out. And even then, I stress that they have a three-point stance. As in, at least three parts of their body must be touching the tub at all times, until they are sitting down. Perhaps I'm totally wrong, but I have a sneaky suspicion I might have a heightened safety awareness relative to the average Joe. Or Josephine.

"Mom, do we really need to wear ANSI rated safety glasses, hardhat and reflective vests when we're playing with sidewalk chalk?!"


"YES. YES, YOU DO. What if there are people walking by that don't see you? And what if, heaven forbid, you press too hard and the chalk breaks and a shard of calcium carbonate flies up in to your eye and embeds in your cornea? What then? HUH?! WHAT THEN?!"

Rest assured my children are in very safety conscious hands. Although, for my own safety, I might need to start wearing a helmet when I sit down to check my e-mail because yesterday I almost fell of my chair and smacked my head when I read my cousin Regina's comment about driving the choo-choo in to the tunnel.

Did I ever tell you that Regina was once a nun??

Driving a choo-choo IN to the TUNNEL?

Oh. Dear. God.

And then, this morning, I received an e-mail from my mother that said, "Don't be surprised when your children start hiding things in their different body openings. It's like a cave down there and their job is one of exploration!"

Did you know that it was on my mother's bucket list to visit a nude beach once in her life and a few years ago when she was visiting me in California, she made it a point to tell me, with a wink, that for the first time in her 70-years, she didn't have ANY tan lines?

Nope. Not a one.
And I fell down and damn near knocked myself out then, too.

Perhaps it's genetics but I suspect I have far less modesty than the average Joe (or Josephine), too, considering I nursed Henry IN PUBLIC until he was 2.5 years of age. So the consensus is that at least for now, the kids will continue to take baths together - because it is easier for me that way and if the bubbles are up to their chin and I put foam soap on their heads, it alleviates all other discussion. Eyes UP children! EYES UP!


Other than that, I also want to stress that I've really tried to follow the children's cues and let them do whatever they want to do, regardless of their gender. I have NEVER denied my children whatever activity they've wanted to pursue. For instance, William has taken ballet with the girls.

Man, I was SO SLAMMED for this. Something about gender confusion and mixing my boy up in the head for life. Does any one remember?


Even now, the girls are taking basketball and karate with their brother because I try to be VERY gender neutral about sports and clothes and toys and toothpaste and whatever. But when William told me that he didn't want to take ballet with the girls, I wasn't going to force the issue and decided to bid adieu to my dream of raising the next Mikhail Baryshnikov.

(At least for now.)

For whatever reason, he didn't want to be the ONLY boy in a class with a bunch of five-year-old girls in tap shoes. I can't really say that I blame him. "Yeah, Mom, I think I'd rather stay at home and play with trucks and dinosaurs and maybe take a long walk off a short pier instead of listen to all of THAT racket!"


And although I love long hair on little girls, I've decided that it would be less painful to remove my teeth with pliers than let MY girls' have long hair. Hence the reason our girls' have hair cut to their ears. Oh my lands, my ears still hurt from the day when I had to brush out this rat's nest.


If William was interested in sporting a bob too, than I'd probably let him. But since he typically accompanies his father on trips to the barber, because NO ONE trusts ME to cut hair anymore (pfff!), he usually wants the same cut as his dad. I guess it's just a guy thing.


OK. Now. About Henry.
(The child. Not the dog.)

He was kicked out of the nursery for the FOURTH week straight. And I've gotta tell you, I'm quite upset about the whole thing. But not nearly as upset as Charlie who thinks that the people in the nursery know us and are comfortable with us and are way too trigger happy about paging us five minutes in to the sermon and telling us that our son is an endangerment to the other children. My baby, an ENDANGERMENT?!


Perhaps the problem is that I should have stayed with him the very next week after he was kicked out the first time, so I could see what was going on myself. Charlie has stayed with him twice and he said that the other kids were just as rowdy as Henry and the nursery was short staffed. But I'd like to see first hand what all the hubbub is about. And I will now that I no longer have to stick around and take notes on the Marriage Series (two more posts coming up, the best ones yet, hopefully later this week).

In regards to Henry ... we talk to him, we work with him, we put him in time out for hitting and screaming and other behavior that causes us splitting head ache pain. And for the most part, he really is a very GOOD little boy. For the past six weeks, we've been taking him to a tiny tots tumbling class that meets one day a week and although the class is for children between the ages of 6 and 36 months, I feel like our little guy is way more advanced than the other kids. Although, I've also noticed that when it comes time to sing little songs or bang little sticks, he won't sit still AT ALL. But what normal two-and-a-half year old boy does?

Seriously, is there a single 2.5-year old boy out there that sits still, when not eating or sleeping or buckled firmly in to their carseat?

Oh. Your 2.5-year old son does?

(Hopefully he won't always be weird.)

Anyway. According to the church nursery director, if other kids get too close and in his personal space, Henry pushes them down or smacks them on the head. And I'm thinking, "Isn't that what normal two-and-a-half-year-olds do? Especially two-and-a-half-year-olds that have older siblings at home?!"

Apparently NOT.

Gosh. I thought he was so adorable and cuddly. Maybe we're actually raising a TYRANT?


So next week and in to the unforeseeable future, I'll be hovering over my 2.5-year old in the church nursery, because clearly we have a problem here that I must nip in the bud, but to effectively do so, will require that I deprive my soul of the weekly message, WHICH I UNDOUBTEDLY NEED. But I also can't help but think that maybe if ALL the children wore a puffy coat like Henry, there would be far less risk of anyone getting hurt?


What say ye, parents of variable aged children?

Have you noticed behavioral issues with your youngsters because of things they are picking up from their older siblings or are we totally blowing it over here?

Oh, oh. I might have just opened myself up there. I better make sure we have a sufficient stash of chocolate and wine before I read any comments...


  1. Uhmmmm......why can't the church nursery workers handle it? I'm not familiar with church nurseries as Catholic Churches don't have them. The kids come into mass with the parents.

    Just wondering if Henry gets any time without the trips. Can you take him on a playdate with a friend and leave his siblings at home. Might get a good indication of what is going on from that, and you can spend some one-on-one time with him teaching him how to react in situations like that.

    Time out might work, but I reckon a fair amount of coaching and practice will work better...and that unfortunately takes time.

    Alternatively, you could just put all the other kids in safety vests, hard hats and hearing protection. :-)

  2. Hey Jen,

    I will have to come back and catch up later...

    Just wanted to stop by and say...YES! THANK GOD! for Chocolate! AND thank you for being there...I know you are with us.

    Love to you and the family,


  3. Oh my poor traumatized pelvic floor.

    Struggling to keep things gusset safe while I giggled like mad.

    First visit here, already know it won't be the last.

    Sarah - British mum to a mini Italian nationalist in deepest, darkest Lomellina.

  4. I have no experience with this but I really enjoyed this post : ) I'm off now to read the comments from your previous post (train in the tunnel . . . . )

    : ) Jeremi

  5. Go safety girl

    We used to go to a 4 wheel beach with landcruiser when we lived in aus. My husband thought I was insane when I hammered in steel posts and danger tape from car down to waters edge fencing off 100m of private beach space. It stopped any 4 x4 driving (teenagers) in front of cars and stopped my nightmares.

    Don't worry about henry being kicked out. Tolerance levels can be pretty low when it's volunteer staff. If you took him into the service would they kick your family out or try to get more helpers in the nursery.

  6. I am going to second the recommendation of Nuture Shock by Bronson and Merryman. Someone mentioned it when you posted about racial awareness. It covers that topic beautifully. But it has a section on self-control that discusses a pilot program called Tools of the Mind. You could easily implement some of their methods in your home. Since you asked... I do believe that you need to get a handle on Henry's behavior. I believe that it is inappropriate (to occur so frequently, I mean... every 2 1/2 year old has his moments!), and that you and your husband should not be making excuses. That is my opinion.

  7. Jen - I'm not sure it's so much what he's picked up from the older kids as to maybe he's just his own self? Patrick never ever pushed, hit or otherwise misbehaved like that - Matt did not learn his ways from Pat that is for sure - but Matt is much more forceful, and likely to lash out - like yesterday he kicked his brother because he didn't like something he said!

    I think Henry is probably just being himself - and not necessarily learning his behavior from the others - he's his own person - right or wrong!

    Good luck with nipping it in the bud!

  8. I have a daughter Henry's age (june 2007) and I also have twin boys that are 7 1/2. My daughter is bossy, loud and talking in complete paragraphs at home. At her Mother's Day Out class and her ballet class, she is utterly bashful and completely quiet. I swear her teachers don't believe me when I tell them how she is at home. So, she is loud and bossy at home, but an angel when we are out and about. Needless to say, we are out and about a LOT these days!!!


  9. I wasn't with other children, except siblings and cousins, until Kindergarten. On the first day, I had to go to the corner because I gave a little boy a fat lip because he wouldn't move. There are more examples of that from my childhood - and my sweet, darling little boy has this too. He is wonderful and kind and all things good except when another child invades his space. Especially other boys - that may be because he stays with girls during the day. He doesn't care if they are older or bigger, he will pull out his fists or start pushing. I wish that was one thing he didn't get from me, but I take full responsibility. I have learned how to play well with others and have become what I believe is a nice, kind person. I talk with him about controlling his temper and using words instead of actions. We'll get there, hopefully before college. Good luck.

  10. I somehow doubt that Henry is a tyrant, although he may have better defensive reflexes than other kids his age because of the older sibling issue.

    I love the term "variable aged children". I've been looking for something that captures exactly that thought.

  11. I started taking my little guy (May 2007) to an art class. You know, make a mess on paper but not at home class. Turns out no. Turns out it was paint a rainbow and mold a ladybug for 2-3 year olds. He ran around the room once before we started, painted a swirl, made a worm and we were asked to leave. All the other mums made the ladybug and painted the rainbow and their kids sat on their labs rather than playing snakes and ladders on their mums.
    Point is: Some kids sit and some kids run and jump and move. Babysitting a kid who sits is easier.
    Teach Henry to stick his arm out to ensure personal space and then to use his words loudly. Surely they can't complain about that and it allows him some control over his environment. We had a girl kicked out once but she "bit a child so hard he had to go to the hospital." That is a danger to others.

  12. I don't think you need to defend yourself. There are always at least one or two people determined to write snarky comments, and I think they probably enjoy doing so far too much to be deterred by your response. As for Henry, are you having this issue anywhere other than the church nursery? If not, then I suspect the problem is not with Henry but with the nursery staff/environment. If so, then I would work on it. And for what it's worth, I do think a 2 1/2 year old of either gender should be able to sit still for a song or two, but that can depend on the situation; I definitely think that the teacher and the group energy can either help or hinder the attention-focusing process. Good luck!

  13. I'll be gentle ;)

    We have a VERY rambuctious 2.5 yr old and face the same problems. So far, he is our only so I don't think Henry is necessarily picking up behavior from the older kids as he is just acting as any 2yr old would.

    We haven't gotten kicked out of nursery yet but the only person that will watch him for over an hour is my mom. No other family members. Just her. At least its a few hours a week just me & hubby :)

  14. .....shaking my head.....seriously? Do these nursery supervisors understand 2yo behavior at all? Sounds like they are short-staffed, but overall do they use any discipline.

    At that age, two of my four kids were biters. It was just how they handled the situation at 2yo. Not acceptable, but with some guidance and discipline (and me pulling my hard out behind embarrassed cheeks) it went away.

    I'm sitting with Charlie; they are calling you way too soon.

  15. I don't know Jen. Austin is younger than the other kids, but he acts OLDER not younger. By acting older, he does not hit or push. He is more MATURE. My age gap is not as big as yours though, so maybe that is the difference? I would do exactly as you are doing by going to the nursery. Good job!

  16. I had the same thought as one of the annon comments....are you having issues with his behavior at home too or is it just in the nursery. My twin boys are just a few months shy of 2 and one is a hitter and the other is an intermittent biter. The biting started when another boy at daycare bit him (a loooong story) and he was defending himself. The hitting though is another story. He is a pretty defiant little guy and a lot of it has to do with being in his space or taking his toys etc. He seems to be a kid that very much needs his own space. He is totally different when he isn't around his brother, the agressive behavior seems to be gone since his brother isn't in his space. Maybe that is part of what Henry needs, his own space. I know it's tough since you are in a small home, but maybe send the big kids out for the afternoon and get some one on one time with Henry.

    Otherwise stand outside that nursery door and see what is happening for yourself and don't be afraid to confront a nursery worker on their interactions with Henry. I'm sure he is a little ball of energy, but you can't tell me that there isn't something else going on at this point. 4 weeks in a row seems excessive and really how long do they have him in there....if it's anything like our service it can't be for more than an hour or so and if they can't handle him for an hour, something else is going on!

    BTW my verification word is wooker...just thought it was too funny not to share :)

  17. Well, if had red hair I could understand. My sweet boy was kicked out of better places than your Church. Nursery school and Kindergarden, BUT I always paid in advance, when they called me to complain about my darlin, I just said I am paid in full, handle it!

  18. Seriously?
    I say find a new church! JUST KIDDING! I think you're right for hanging around next week and seeing what the issue is. My 2 1/2 year olds CAN get pretty pushy when people are up in their grill or take their toy. We went to they Y today for the first time in over a year (them...not me). I was sure they'd be calling me off the treadmill to tell me someone was poopy...or crying...or not playing well with others. Hang in there. You're a great mom. Your precious little Henry is fine. He's normal. And you may miss a few sermons now...but think about how many sermons you won't miss once you figure out what's going on in that mysterious nursery.

  19. It is very difficult to handle behavior issues in a child that is not your own - even more so with a room full of children and few helpers.

    This is not a popular view, I can tell, but I'm going to stick up for the nursery workers. I regularly work the nursery and you really have to balance what is in the best interest of all the children. Sometimes that means calling some parents back in to help deal with a child.

    Are the nursery workers members of the church? If so, that means they are giving up their time in worship to help with other people's children. It is a rewarding job that can also be difficult and open them up to criticism, as evidenced by some of the comments. Most people who work the nursery really love children and are very patient.

    I'd wait and see what you notice when you observe Henry next week. I do admire you for being objective and realizing it may be an issue on Henry's part. Believe me, we've all been there.
    I myself had a biter. Not happy memories.

  20. Yeah . . . Tucker punched my friend's little 4 yo in the face at the park the other day . . . talk about your Mortified Myrtle! They are not "good" or "bad" or whatever . . .they just need some instruction on socially acceptable behavior. That's all. Most 2.5 yos lack impulse control entirely. In Tucker's case .. . . he is a 5 yo that lacks impulse control! Hang in there. Teach Henry - he comes from a loving home with caring and attentive parents - he'll learn.


  21. BUBBLES!! That's genius, Jen. Never would have occurred to me, LOL. Your solution is perfect.

    I don't have any answers about the sibling-causing misbehavior, as I only have one, but I think it's the job of the nursery staff to keep him from "endangering" the other kids, and vice versa. From what I understand, you go to a very big church, right? So I'm assuming the staff is paid, not volunteers? If so, I'd go up higher to address the issue. If they're volunteers? Meh, I doubt there's much you can do.

    I have the opposite issue. We sit blissfully through the whole service thinking our baby is happy and playing, then we go pick up our hysterical toddler who has been crying for who knows how long. I appreciate their effort in trying to calm her down, but obviously it didn't work. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE PAGERS!!!

  22. Okay, I'll weigh in...

    I have two sons. One is exactly Henry's age. The other used to be :) Neither of them ever exhibited that particular behavior (we have a different list of undesirable behaviors they apparently chose from). We are in a playgroup where nine of the other children are currently 2.5 and another nine USED to be. Of those eighteen, ONE of the other children does behave that way., I would not say "that's what two year olds do." Is it unheard of? Obviously not, based on my informal, non-scientific observation of 20 children. Apparently, according to me, it is normal for 1 in 20 kids to do that. And I'm always right. Right?

    About the one boy in playgroup who does that...the invisible "bubble" that needs to be around him at all times is nearly visible it is so well-defined. Any child who steps into that bubble gets smacked. We meet weekly so all the children seem to have learned to stay out of his bubble. In a church daycare that's just not going to happen. I bet the triplets have unconsciously learned to stay outside his bubble though.

    It is understandable that Henry might have 'space' issues given the number of siblings he has in close age range. That doesn't mean you should let it go. I second Rosemary's recommendation...coaching and practice.

    If you find something that works, let us know. I'll try it out on my own children's embarrassing behaviors.

  23. My 2.5 yr old daughter is a brat. She whines, shouts, won't share anything and has a freak attack if any other kid looks at her things. Its annoying but totally age related, I hope. As the youngest of four with an 8yr age gap, its difficult not to worry has she been spoilt but on the other hand I can remember my older ones being as difficult and they have turned out wonderful, well, most of the time.

  24. yeah, I say just sit with Henry a few Sundays and see if you can get a handle on it. Short-staffed volunteers don't have the time or patience to correct behavior so the easiest way of dealing with it, for them, is not to. :(

    I have a 5-year-old daughter and a 3-year-old son so I don't deal with nearly as much chaos. We also got lucky in that ours had the wicked good verbal skills at 18 months old so we never had to deal with the ultra-tantrums/terrible twos.

    I think it is normal for some personalities to more assertive but aggressive behavior can be tempered a bit (esp. before the child gets older).

    Both of my kids have told me, "I'm not so and so's friend because he/she hits and yells." I always feel a bit bad for that kid. There has to be a reason for the behavior. On the other hand, I don't want my child whacked on either.

    Henry isn't the only one. He's just having a hard time getting his point across sometimes and is dealing with it in an aggressive manner perhaps?

    Just my opinion.

  25. Bubbles and foam soap, you may be on to something here...

    And, uh, Henry sounds normal to me. I'll go with your idea of the nursery staff being a little trigger happy.

    Though, I must say, as a Catholic, I now wish we had nurseries. My second daughter, 13 months, is STILL screaming bloody murder through half of the service because she wants to get down and run-a-muck. This past Sunday we left long before Communion because a) we were tired of her screaming, b) the dirty looks by the other people around us were getting a bit old, and c) her diaper leaked and her butt and my lap were both wet.

    Some Sundays, I wish my kid was in a nursery. :)

  26. I missed the bathing post! How did that happen? Anyway, my two cents - we've bathed our girl and boy together ever since the boy was about a year old and able to handle himself in the bathtub (girl was 2 and 1/2 by that point). It started to get kind of weird about 6 months ago, but we just told them to keep their hands to themselves. But then my daughter turned 6, and put her foot down on bathing with her brother. She wanted her own space, and to be a grown-up, so she takes supervised showers now. And my son now has the whole tub to himself to play with his plastic sharks. Life kind of works itself out like that.

    Okay, church nursery. NURSERY?? At 2 and a half?? In our church, Henry would be in the 2's class with kids his own age, trying to do a craft, attempting to listen to a Sunday school lesson, going to singing time and trying to sit still and maybe sing, and eating goldfish crackers and making a crummy mess all over the carpet. Just like all the other 2 year olds. What age does the nursery at your church cover? Would Henry do better in a more structured class, do you think?

    Now, my son (now 4.5) is the learning-disabled rambunctious kid who spends half of Sunday morning on time-out. He's not doing so hot. Fortunately, his Sunday school teachers in the Pre-K class are his grandparents, who know how to handle him, and love him very much. But my dad did call my cell phone yesterday morning and tell my husband (who answered it) to GET DOWN HERE because the boy was on time-out for the 4th time and needed a parent to straighten him out. Not that it really helped. Giving him food helped, though - he'd refused to eat anything for breakfast, and his tummy was probably turning itself inside out.

    This is the same kid who is failing RECESS at his special-ed preschool. He's too young to be officially diagnosed yet, but I'm starting to think that he will be declared ADHD before too long. But bottom line, he pushes the envelope (even when authority figures like Grandma are around) and does poorly without structure.

    There are boys who sit still and do what they are told. I don't know any myself, but I am told they exist. Maybe my soon-to-be-born baby boy will be like that! I can dream, can't I?

  27. Personally I have worked in church nurserys and we usually give timeout for a child who is having trouble hitting or harming any other child. We usually only page the parents if a child is sick or has been crying for 20+ minutes and there is no hope.

    I think the nursery staff needs to undestand that Henry is a BOY and that he may need to be taught not to hit/kick/be mean. Some kids need to know good/inappropriate behavior.
    Good Luck!

  28. Ha ha - I love Aunt Grace's response - you rock Aunt Grace! I totally get how you and Mrs.Cooney are sisters!

  29. Here are my thoughts, as an Infant and Toddler Early Childhood Educator (and lurker!). I have worked with children from birth to three for almost ten years, and currently am working in the Toddler Room of a daycare centre, with children from 20 months to 30 months.

    In a group centre we would have someone "shadow" Henry. They would stay within arms reach to attempt to stop the behaviours before they happen, and also to look out for triggers and find out why Henry is doing this. A church nursery probably does not have enough staff to do this, so I think it is a good idea for you to do it yourself.

    They are probably kicking him out week after week because his behaviour is exactly the same week after week. If you can manage to change the behaviour, he would most likely be allowed to stay. I highly doubt they are kicking him out just because they can. If they are responsible for a large number of children, they have to look out for the other children's safety. If they can't have someone one-on-one for Henry, then they have to ask you to take him out.

    You also have to look at it from the other parents' point of view. If one of your children were getting hurt every week, you would probably write a post about "the nursery bully", and either blame the parents or blame the staff for NOT kicking him out.

    Maybe Henry needs something different than your other children. Maybe 2 or 3 days a week in a 2.5 hour preschool program would be good for him. As much as you guys love being at home with the kids, maybe it would be helpful to him to have different teachers. Parents are always shocked at how much their children pick up in daycare/preschool... things that they would never be able to do at home, like sit for a 15 minute circle, walk around town holding a rope, etc. My 2-year-olds sit for 20+ minute circles. It can be done, they just need to be trained to do it, and one hour a week in a church nursery is not enough to do it.

    Which brings me to... They cannot change his behaviour in one hour a week, but if you go with him to the nursery and shadow him, you can. If you see him about to hit or push someone you can give him words to use instead or teach him how to include the other children if they are coming close to play with him. And then you can reinforce that at home, over and over again. Eventually he will get it. 2.5-year-olds are definitely able to use their words and learn how to deal with situations without being physical.

    Those are all my rambling thoughts on this. I'm not going to go back and re-read and edit it because then I will chicken out and just delete it all! I am not saying that Henry is a tyrant, and I'm not saying it's all your fault and you're a horrible parent. But I am saying you can definitely fix this with a bit of work! Good luck!

  30. I second what MicheleS 2 1/2 year old seems waaaaaay more mature than my twin boys did at that age. I have attributed it to the fact that she is a girl AND that she sees her older brothers behavior all day long. Does Henry act older/more mature than the triplets did at that age? I also agree that if he is getting "kicked out" that often they may be understaffed. Doesn't sound like he's doing anything totally out of character for a 2 year old, just that they aren't handling it so well. Am curious to see what happens when you are in there!


  31. I think that it may have to do with him being the youngest child. I notice signs of my almost 2-year-old daughter becoming a tyrant. The truth is, we baby the hell out of the kid. She is definitely our last one and we just want to soak it all in. However if other people, including other children don't treat her like their one and only center of attention, then they're just asking for trouble.

  32. When my son was 2.5 we went to a "mommy & me" class once a week. He loved the outdoor time but he would NOT sit on the rug at story time. So I would trudge outside with him where he was supremely happy. He just needed a lot of activity, and was too young for the "sit" part. I shed many a tear out on the playground while all my friends and their kiddies were inside. Now he is 33 and writes songs and music for the childrens tv show Yo Gabba Gabba, and is the voice of Muno (the red one). Henry will get through this stage, but it isn't much fun in the meantime.

  33. For what it is worth, I have a similar family structure (triplets and then a singleton three years later). My little guy was way more aggressive than my triplets at 2 1/2 and I think, in retrospect, he was frustrated because he lacked their verbal skills and resorted to biting and hitting since he could never match their abilities. He calmed down once he started preschool at three, but I'm pretty sure he would have bitten someone if he had been in a nursery at 2. Once he started preschool, it was really odd - we thought he would be very advanced socially since he spent so much time with older children, but it actually was almost the opposite. Since he had never been on a level playing field with his peers, he didn't know how to initiate a friendship or play with someone in any way other than bossing them around (sort of how he was pretty regularly treated). We had also spent so much time telling his older siblings to be "nice" to him that his teachers said he acted more like an oldest child than the youngest of four since he was shocked if someone took a toy from him, etc. and not nearly as able to roll with the punches as they usually saw in a youngest child. He is now in kindergarten and still working on his social skills - to this day, he prefers chatting with adults to interacting with kids his own age, but he is making progress (and has luckily put his biting days behind him).

  34. One of many cuzzins!2/23/10, 9:45 AM

    OMG...You just wait kiddo...You are so gonna get it from me. How many people read this blog thing of yours??? You've totally blown my cover...what if by some fluke my hubby reads this and finds out the real truth about my past? Huh, what then missy?

    Now...on to your that little bundle of joy. He's excited to be with new faces and new toys...and he's two!! What's all the commotion about? I think you should SPY on him to get your own sense of what he's doing. He probably does need a little limit setting and that, as you know, is easily taught with consistance and tons of patience.

    If it were me, I wouldn't even send him to the nursery area. He'd be with me at Mass! Crawling under the pews and on the kneelers while sipping a juice box & eating raisins. I used to bring religious story books & coloring books of the Saints to help pass the time. If my children got too loud, I'd whisper to them and distract them with something from my bag of goodies. If they got out of control, we'd exit the Church, take a short walk and then return to our seats. Not surprisingly, with my past and all, we always took the children to Mass and sometimes it wasn't easy, but for the most part, they conformed and knew what was expected of them.

    And btw...your Mother was my Godmother first...and all I can say is WOOT WOOT Auntie!!

  35. First of all, I absolutely love Aunt Grace's comments, and I plan on using them myself! :)

    Secondly, I volunteer in our (very large) church's nursery once a month, in the same class as my 2.75 year old b/g twins. And yes, we have been kicked out twice and it was horribly embarassing.

    However, as a volunteer, it is a pain in the butt to fill out the "incident" report each time a child is hit, kicked or bit by another. And yes, we have been the hitters, kickers, biters and receivers of hits, kicks and bites.

    I try to calm myself with the thought "If my kids never make mistakes, I will never have the chance to correct them." Depending on how hormonal I am at the time, it sometimes helps.

    And this is purely 100% opinionated, but I think all of the drastic measures that keep kids from hurting each other are a bit over-rated. I don't want my kids to be wimps, and I do want them to stand up for weaker kids if need be, and to learn impuse control. Seems like a few shoves in the nursery keep kids real and normal, and possibly teach them a few life lessons. Like don't take that big kid's toys or you might get hit!

    As always, a huge fan of your blog.
    ~krissy from pittsburgh

  36. I think that you must throw the binkey away---Henry cannot communticate with that in his mouth. Then when he is separated from the Trips, he feels ---well---different. You will straighten him out in no time.
    The flu bug is in Florida and Janine and ML are both sick.
    The Nudist

  37. Take the BUCKY away?!

    But MOMMMMM!!

    He's my BABY!!!!!

  38. I only have one child but when Joey was 2.5 we had just moved back to the UK and he had just started nursery and it seemed like every other day there was a comment about his behaviour and how bad it was. Obviously with daycare you are paying them so they are duty-bound to not kick the child out unless they do something really reprehensible but I am pretty sure that if it was a church-type nursery, Joey would have been kicked out every single time he went. My son is fabulous but he is high-spirited and precocious and that doesn't all sit well with alot of people.

    Anyway, I digress. Sounds to me like Henry is perfectly normal. (As there is such a hug range of normal behaviour at that age.) Joey doesn't have any older siblings so as one of your other commenters said, it might not even be learnt behaviour, rather who Henry is. As one of my friends commented to me a while ago when I was stressing about Joey's behaviour, as mothers we put WAY too much pressure on ourselves about our children's behaviour and that is essentially what makes us good mothers, even if it causes us stress. The very fact you care enough to blog about this is a sure sign that Henry will be just fine in the long run! ;-)