Friday, December 10, 2010

tonight, i drink beer through a straw

It would be so easy to blame Charlie. Because he is more relaxed with the children than I am and does not provide nor apply the same kind of structure, and dare I say, discipline that I do.


It would be so easy to blame myself. Because I am working full-time and I accepted a job that moved our family cross-country and now I'm in an office five days a week, when it feels in my heart like I should be home with our children.


It would be so easy to blame his birth order and fact that he has triplet siblings, 33-months older. It ain't easy being born the fourth child in to a family of triplets. It ain't easy never having someone the same age to play with. It ain't easy going to play dates only to have all the children - who are the same age as your siblings - run away from you, screaming.

It would be so easy to blame the people that seem judgmental and regimented. Since when has it become wrong for a child to grow at their own pace? Since when did it become standard to fret about a permanent record with a three year old? It sure seems like a lot of people do and I've met quite a few of them, recently.


Maybe I shouldn't have nursed him until he was two and a half years old.

Maybe I shouldn't have let him have a pacifier until he was three-years-old (and four months.)

Maybe I shouldn't have held him as much I did and made him cry it out, more.

Maybe I should have frequently spanked him when he disobeyed.

Maybe I should have put him in daycare from the time he was an infant.

Why in the world did we think it was a good idea to raise our children, OURSELVES?

My mother says to blame anyone or anything is playing the blame game and apparently, that's not a good thing to do.

Today was Henry's last day of preschool.

This morning, we were invited to school to talk about his progress. As Charlie and I sat at the tiny hexagon table, on tiny little preschooler chairs, his teachers gently concluded that they believe Henry has Sensory Integration issues and they are not equipped to handle him.

Yes, exactly ONE WEEK after he started preschool, he has been dismissed.

He's not running around and licking the walls. He's not fighting with the other children or screaming and throwing fits in class. He is, apparently, not talking as proficiently as the other three year olds, nor is he sitting down during circle time and following direction.

Henry requires more stimulation that the other children.


Apparently, he needs more than what the school can offer. He needs one-on-one interaction. We've been referred to Child Find and will be working with a counselor and I will gladly welcome whatever professional opinions we receive to confirm whether or not there is indeed a problem with our little boy. But during our meeting, the teachers said something that has stuck with me and ricocheted around my brain, all day.

"It's obvious that Henry really enjoys school and he does very well. Except for when it is time for him to sit down and pay attention and then he doesn't want to sit with the class. We don't want to tell Henry NO and very soon, we'll have to tell him NO and then he won't like school anymore and the last thing we want is for him to CRY."

I'm somewhat intelligent and have a relatively level-head.

(I think.)

I definitely do not want to be one of those stuck in denial parents who cannot see their nose past their face. But, newsflash: HENRY IS THREE. I've raised a few three-year-olds and what I recall is that I said NO a lot.


Who exactly are the Stepford children attending preschool these days that do not require the word NO? Since when did it become a bad thing to say the word NO?

Hello. Is this thing on?

Henry does not like the dentist, hair dresser, pediatrician. Henry was "excused" from the nursery at our church in California and now he has been "excused" from his preschool in Virginia. I'm holding hope that these are things that he'll outgrow. RIGHT?

Over the past few hours, I've done a tremendous amount of research on SI disorder and while Henry does throw fits and act up at times, I cannot see ANY parallel to the "symptoms" that Henry is displaying right now. If I did see any similarity, I would be the first to say, "AHA! I SEE A CONNECTION!"

But honest to God, there is none.


My mother tells me, and rightly so, if more than one person is saying there might be an issue, I need to listen. AND I AM LISTENING. But. But. I have no way of tidily wrapping this post up.

Tonight, all I can think is that my son was excused from preschool a week after he started, my husband and I are obviously blind to the significant issues that are plaguing him, and had things gone according to MY plan, I'd be 38 weeks pregnant.

On the upside, beer!


Through a straw!


  1. I'm sorry, Jenn. I really am. I know a bit of how you're feeling. I am currently having my third grade son assessed through a private company and it is really hard. What is hard is NOT that he may have attention or focus issues. What is hard, IMO, is distinguishing what might be an issue and what is normal for an eight year old boy. You see, this world that we live in now isn't MADE for boys. Well, it is made for boys like my son's brother- who does what the schools want him to. But it is NOT made for boys who want to move and use touch and motion and noise to learn.

    So that is my task, and yours. To distinguish what is normal but rejected boy behavior and what really does require some sort of intervention.

    Big hugs to you and email me if you want more info re: the company we are using or just someone to talk to. We aren't far from you.

  2. Drink up, girl. You deserve it.

    Didn't you say Henry's teacher is also one of your neighbors? Or was this meeting with someone else? It sounds like maybe they didn't explain their concerns very well, but maybe they were uncomfortable doing so due to the social relationship you have with them?

    Good luck with your evaluations moving forward, and after you finish that beer, stop and pat yourself on the back for staying open to all of this. It's not easy. don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

  3. my younger son started having issues at daycare at age 2. at 3 we got early intervention involved and a child psychiatrist. I took a 13 week leave if absence from work. his daycare teacher told me he had "issues". I told her she had "issues". at 7 his iq was tested and he scored in the g-t range (gifted and talented). at 8 he was diangosed with ADHD. he's now on meds and while I hate it, it helps him. it took yrs of people (teachers, friends coaches) telling me there was an issue until I finally listened to the second child psychiatrist (age 8). 3 is too young IMHO to formally diagnosis anything that's not glaring. he's a boy being a
    boy - and it sounds given his circumstances, developing at an age appropriate level. so tired of the push for kids to fit in some "mold" at age 3. keep him home til k like we all did. and we're fine, aren't we?

  4. Jen,
    First of all good job on raising 4 kids to three and beyond! I am struggling raising one!
    I don't think the preschool should be diagnosing children unless of course they have a licensed psychologist on staff. I do not understand how they came to this conclusion in a week! Do they not know that all of this is new to him? Please keep your head high! You will find the right place for him. Oh and I am pretty sure my daughters first word was NO!

  5. Oh Gee,I just read my life a mere 4 years ago...(Minus The beer and straw bit!)
    I had three kids under 4 and a preschool teacher who put the wind up me about my Son it then meant "i" Who leaves no stone unturned then went to a Pead/Pysc and Play session weekly with the Pead/pysc and other additional proffessionals who were clueless as to why I was there....My Son they felt needed...Wait....Ready?....To socially and emotionally mature more!
    And now here he is a at 8years old and so more intuitive than most boys and such a great fella,School love him and he is doing so well.
    Sometimes BAD BEHAVious or oddities are just part of being a Individual.
    I never regret putting my son through his Testing ect...As it gave me a chanceto feel like what we had presumed was in fact the case.
    All the best.

  6. I'm sorry, Jen. I feel really bad that you are going through this emotional roller coaster and it is making my own heart hurt. I mean, WTF? Right? Against all odds perfectly normal premature triplets, then a full-term naturally conceived singleton with an issue? How does that HAPPEN? Does this ring any freaking bells?

    Okay, take a deep breath. Get the evaluation with Child Find. See what they say. If worse comes to worse, SI is totally something you can work with. IF..... and I say IF he qualifies, he will go to preschool through the school district where they can "handle" him. I'm still a little stuck on the diagnosis after one week of school. I sat in on many a class with three year olds and they must be reminded to sit down often.

    But, okay. Now you are going to get the evaluation and then if there is a problem, you are going to kick its ass. You are a bulldog, Jen. I don't know anyone who is a bigger advocate for their children. FUCK SI.

  7. I'm going to go out on a limb here and tell you that you appear from your blog to be awesome parents. Kids need time to adjust...My son stayed home with me the first three years of his life. He started preschool this past August and is still adjusting to his situation. You have changed your sons whole entire world with the move and starting school. My 3 year old boy throws atleast one fit an hour, won't let anyone cut his hair but his dad, clings to me with the fear of God in the Dr.'s office. Since starting preschool and attending for 4 1/2 months he is talking plain as day,expressing himself verbally, FINALLY sitting still at school and can follow instructions only if he wants to. DO NOT LET a textbook (or google:) define your child!!!!!!

  8. First, my creds- mother of five, including 7 & 5 year old boys and 17 month old triplets. Music Professor.

    So sorry. If this helps, my oldest son had an awful time in 3 year old preschool. He did not talk, and walked around the room doing nothing during "choice" time. Unfortunately, the teachers never thought this was something I should know. After months of him crying every time I dropped him off at school, I made the teachers sit down with me and talk. They then told me about all of my son's "issues" and suggested I have him evaluated.

    I walked out the door and never looked back. Switched preschools the next year. My son (who, incidently, was really reading at age 3- not just signs, but books)has loved every school he has since attended and is gifted academically. He did not really "catch up" socially until first grade, but is now a confident and well adjusted second grader.

    Trust your instincts. My only regret is that I allowed him to attend that preschool for seven months, afraid to push the teachers for more information. I will never hesitate to advocate for my children again.

  9. My heart is heavy for you. Worrying about our little ones is so hard!

    That said, I have worked in infant mental health and special ed as a therapist and I would get all the free county assessments you have available to you, consult with a developmental pediatrician (chez perky in the DC area has a one she LOVES), and possibly, if you still do not have the answers you want, get a neuropsych eval (these are pricey but your insurance may pay.) Evals and tests are info. After you have the info, then you can decide on an action plan or if you even need one. Also, he may qualify for free special ed preschool. The teachers I have seen in these programs are amazing, degreed and credentialed and with such a heart for young children. Many children grow out of needing services by age 7 so all of this may also be very temporary.

    Wishing you peace with this-
    Cali (old poster from baby steps)

  10. Wow. Of course I don't know your child. But he does sound normal from what you tell.

    I had never heard about this disorder and it seems too broad to be so easily diagnosed (after a week? how many actual days, two? during which they could not even say "no" to him? And because a three year-old does not want to sit down for some silly activity? Seriously?!)

    And please, do not torture yourself with those what ifs about nursing or keeping your child at home. THere have never been so many infants in daycare from weeks old and the world has never seen so many crazy disorders. It does not add up.

    Counseling may not hurt, but I would just try another school.

  11. So sorry for what is going on with Henry. As parents we never want to think that something might be wrong with our children because in our eyes they are perfect. You are in my prayers.

  12. Jen,

    Out of Sync Child..great book. If he has Sensory Disorder, you'll identify it with that.. but just because he doesnt want to sit i class? Well that sounds like a little boy who wants to play, and is 3.. it sounds like every one of my boys at 3.

    That said.. my oldest had SID and after we got him help through Child Find we had a TREMENDOUS turn around. He is now 12 and while he still has SID (shoot so do I) he lives with it and is a very pleasant young man (maybe I'm biased).

    So Im glad you are getting some other opinions and investigating it, but also glad you are not jumping to conclusions that he isnt a normal "baby" of the family.

  13. My son sounds a lot like Henry. He has sensory issues and that's it. He had trouble at one preschool (spent a lot of time in time out because he couldn't sit at circle time and wouldn't stay in his seat at his table) and we moved him to a preschool that had only 6 students and he does amazing now.

    He did sensory therapy for about 6 months and it helped. It probably helped me a lot more than him, because it taught me a lot about how to help him focus and pay attention better.

    It turns out that he does a lot better in smaller groups where there is a LOT of structure. Noise and chaos cause him to act hyper.

    In circle time at his new school his teachers had him sit next to them where they could hold him on their lap or just touch his hand or leg until he learned to sit like the rest of the class (his new school is great because they knew about his issues and worked with me and his therapist).

    His therapist described his issue to me as an immature brain system that hasn't quite figured out how to process all of the stimuli that is coming his way all of the time.

    She said it would be like me trying to read a newspaper in a wind tunnel. The therapist helped me view things through my son's eyes which helped me figure out which situations should be avoided (bounce house parties are too much for him) and which activities and situations would be great for him.

    Kids like this can be trained to focus on one thing at a time and ignore the other stuff.

    I was so relieved when I had my son evaluated and they told me the issue was SID. It is not a personality/ attention issue. He was born like this and we can easily help him overcome these issues.

    Please view this as a positive thing. If Henry does have SID it is a fairly simple thing to work on with therapy. It will help both of you understand him better and improve his performance in school and other group settings.

    My son is one of the best students in his class now (behavior wise). Just today his teacher told me that he was helping the other kids with their letter sounds. He loves school and his teachers treat him with respect.

    We were almost exactly where you are one year ago! I would have never thought that it was possible to have turned things around so quickly! Thank Henry's school that they gave you a head's up on this issue and start tackling the issues now. You will be amazed!


  14. I don't think this is anything you or Charlie did or didn't do so don't blame yourselves!

    Henry is who he is! He's a beautiful child full of life. you know him as his parents & his teachers know him as a preschooler. They've probably seen hundreds or thousands of "typical" preschoolers. If they are saying that Henry is not "typical" or what they usually see it might be out of the ordinary...I'm just saying this from a special education background. Having worked as an OT for over 20 years, I can usually pick out kids that are outside the "typical" or "normal" range of what is expected within a few minutes.

    My son is 6 & just started kindergarten this year too. Our neighborhood school is great & his class only has 15 children but almost half are low functioning who require special services. Most of the parents in our neighborhood are in the charter schools or private schools so they don't attend the neighobrhood school & now the school district is busing kids in from very distressed areas...we're living the 'Waiting for Superman."

    Anyway, you sound like you're in an afflulent area & can afford services. I know it's hard but try to hear what you find valuable & go with it...whether it's a service or therapy you may find something that is valuable & fits with your family. i"m sure the staff will have recommendations for you & although it's overwhelming just receive the info...hold it & then reflect on it & see what works for you & sounds like it will work for Henry!

    Thinking of you & your family & wish you the best!! T

  15. Hi, Daily reader, very infrequent replier (sorry!) But as a pre-school teacher I am HORRIFIED at your recent news regarding Henry.
    I have many years experience and while I can usually assess very quickly if a child has issues I am not qualified to diagnose and would never, ever suggest to a parent......let alone after only 1 week that their child might have "insert whatever disorder".
    Um Henry has a hard time sitting for circle do lots of 3 year olds, especially when they have only been at school for a week!!! Regardless of whether Henry has any issues or not this was not the Pre-school for him.
    Hopefully you have another school in your area with a bit more understanding of pre-school children, and if they feel Henry has any issues I hope they gently point out specific behaviours, and suggest options to assist Henry in overcoming those and if necessary further assesment, but exclusion!! If we excluded every 3 year old who had some trouble with settling in we'd have a very empty pre-school. Even if Henry has whatever they have decided he has, what about inclusion. We have children with all sorts of special needs, including behavioural and children on the "spectrum" and we have no special training for this. Although we of course have learnt along the way and ask for assistance from organizations in our area whose job it is to do this.
    I am so mad for you and sad for Henry!

  16. Oh MY! I teach 3 year olds and his behavior is very normal for his age. After one week, they have decided they can not have in their school-you should RUN and never look back. Wish you lived here I would gladly take him in my class.

  17. There just is no way to take the sting out of this. I can't imagine what you and Charlie are feeling now. Try and look at it as the beginning of good things for Henry. Sure, it is bringing a lot of pain and worry, but God willing, in the long run, this will be the start of a very positive life change for your precious boy.

  18. Dear Jen,

    I don't even know where to start with this comment, other than to say I am thinking of you and sending you big hugs....


  19. if you can afford it , skip child find (so its not in his record) and go to Skill Builders LLC(sensory and speech) in Annandale...or MindWell (psy. testing and therapy)in Chantilly.

    They did wonders for my kid.

  20. Go talk to the professionals and see what they have to say. But, also keep in mind - he IS three. I've seen several instances where schools don't want to deal with children who act like children. As you said, they want stepford kids. My friend told me that her school tried to tell her that her son had ADD. Of course, he didn't - he was acting his age. And your mom is right - don't play the blame game. No one ever wins that one.

  21. I have a child with SI issues. We started noticing things weren't quite right at about 6 months old. I bugged my pediatrician everytime we took her in for a check-up and at 18 months they finally gave us a referral to a children's OT & PT center. And I was right. Moral of the story, Jen . . . trust your instincts. Henry may not have SI, but he may have a form of ADHD or he just many be a very active three year old. Good luck and I'll be praying for Henry and your family. Hugs!

  22. They don't want to tell him NO??????? I am dumbfounded. Seriously? He might CRY?? What kind of preschool was this?

  23. Umm...obviously I am in no way qualified to make any sort conclusions about your son. But what the hell kind of preschool doesn't want to say "no" to the children? I mean yes, not being overly negative, not wanting to create an atmosphere that a child will not like, ok, I undestand that. But to not say "No, you may not play with those toys right now. It is time for circle time and you must come join the class." How is that going to damage him? That's what preschool is about? Teaching children to function in a structured environment. It is easier for some than others, but certainly not everyone is going to obey directions without question the first time. They need some firm guidance in many cases, to learn how to sit in a circle, follow instructions, listen quietly, etc. That's part of the POINT of preschool (in my opinion). It seems really strange to me that they don't want to use any language or action that could be slightly more forceful (than doing nothing). Of course a child is going to love a place where they are allowed to do anything they want without interruption! Home would be more "fun" if that were the case, too! But kids learn to love preschool, even with rules and structure. It just takes practice.

  24. I'll admit that per earlier posts, I had been wondering about sensory issues. Of course, you won't know until you get an eval, but if he is having some SI stuff going on, it really is no big deal. A good OT and you'll find what balances him out in no time. It really is not a big deal at all. Totally managable. In the meantime, no sense in beating yourself up with worry or wonder. Just enjoy him for who he is....

  25. All I have to say, is that if he needs it, Early Intervention works great and the earlier the better. Good luck

  26. Call Jm. Remember, she knows everything about living with SI -- and helping the youngster with it in a firm, loving, full-health way. He is great in school and the sweetest thing ever, isn't he? And she knows Henry's life environment as well as anyone. Call Jm.

  27. Where I live, the towns all run their own pre-schools for 3 and 4 year olds. Their purpose is to get kids that may need more help ready for kindergarten. A friend's nephew went because he had delayed speech. They also populate the class with 'model' students. (My niece pays a daily rate to attend as a 'model' student, while those there for other reasons do not get charged.) The preschoolers have access to all the services offered at the Elementary School (speech, pt, ot, etc.), if needed. Maybe the Child Find will refer him to something like this.


  28. Henry is three.

    Three is too young to be put in a box, Jen.

    You know what I think; the rest I will email to you privately so SOME here don't think I'm angry or confused or whatever they think. I've lived through something similar and think my experience can be helpful to you. I'm not angry at all.

    But this is clearly simply not the right preschool for Henry, and not the right preschool for any three-year-old I've known either.

    I do think that children who are in daycare from day one (or nearly) are much better in institutional environments.

    And I'm not sure an institutional environment is what YOU want for Henry. It doesn't have to be so.

    See if you can find any play-based preschools in the area. You may not be able to. Regardless of proximity to DC, you are still in the south, essentially. Montessori is also an excellent option, although he might be a little young still for it. He could stay home and do a Montessori school next year.

    He's only three.

    Oh, and also? There's another "pathology" for being stubborn and insisting on attention a lot. This "pathology" can also be related to having two parents in the Sciences. See if you can guess what it is? We even use cutesy acronyms, like HG and VSG . . .

  29. A preschool that's afraid to say "no?!?" Henry is lucky that they "dismissed" him. How can you teach a child if you can't tell him or her "no." Having been a teacher, I know all about how to phrase things positively, but sometimes, you just have to say NO!

  30. Hey Jen,
    One of our 4 year old triplets has sensory integration disorder. He didn't really talk at all until age 3 and then it was still slow coming. He definitely has more tantrums than our other three children (even the 2 year old). And his biggest struggle at school is sitting during circle time. There are things that can help. We tried therapy and didn't really feel like it was best for him. Our other option in FL is a special needs preschool which didn't seem to fit him either. Somehow, we believe through a lot of prayer, he ended up in a 4 year old pre-k class with a teacher who has a lot of experience with special needs and a lot of patience.
    I'm not sure just how much extra attention Henry needs, but it sounds like they just don't want to put in the extra effort to meet him where he is at. That is what Carter's teacher has done for us and we have seen an indescribable difference in him the past four months. When you find that place for Henry it will make a huge difference.
    There are lots of varying degrees of sensory processing disorder, but we have discovered some little things that have helped our son.
    I'd love to share more of our experience with you if you would like.
    I know you already know this, but be careful about what you are reading online. There is some really good information out there, but some scary stuff too that is probably not applicable to Henry.
    I'll be praying for you.

  31. I'm assuming that this wasn't the public preschool. I'm in MA so I'm not sure what the school systems are like in VA but here the public preschools work with kids who have issues. One of my girls has spina bifida so she receives PT and OT. Her triplet sisters attend the school as peer models. There are kids with issues across the board. I wish you luck!

  32. Mary Stewart12/11/10, 1:41 PM

    Delurking because I understand what you are going through. When my son Thomas was just four we signed up for a two day a week preschool at a church. We knew he needed the social time and structure. He failed miserably and I cried everyday I had to send him and prayed he would get sick so I wouldn't have to. They just didn't get him or like him, if you ask me. How sad is that. We always kind of suspected there might be some delays in areas but we didn't know where to turn. Well, Parents As Teachers, a nationally known program, was our answer.She told us about their Three Plus Screenings which we did and he failed, well he just would not cooperate. That led us to our school districts Early Childhood program. They tested him and found certain delays and he qualified for their school and he blossomed.He started kindergarten this fall just like your big kids and he is doing great. He entered with an I.E.P. in place and there is talk of ending it because he is doing so well. All because of the early intervention he got.It was so scary, still is, but every time I run into our Parents as Teacher instructor I say we would not be where we are if it were not for her. Henry seems like a little firecracker ( as he should) and you will find the right setting for him so he can flourish.Every kid is different and some can not be forced into that square hole that a lot of times schools want them to fit.My daughter, now four , would have done fine at that first preschool(over my dead body) because she is a rule follower.I hope this makes enough sense. I don't comment often but I just felt the need to reach out.There is so much more to my story and so many of my tears shed because you just want everything to be alright.
    Love him, love him,love him.
    Mary Stewart

  33. I had a lightbulb go off while reading this, Jen. My son, at age 3, also loved preschool BUT did not like circle time. He wanted to be running around and playing all the time. He was (and still is) a very active person - and loved physical activity more than anything. The preschool dealt with him (and then his kindergarten teacher did, and then he was sufficiently "broken" to do as he was told). Today he is 34 years old and writes music for Yo
    Gabba Gabba (and is the voice of Muno). When he was 3 I would have never dreamt of this (oh, the tears that I shed!). Your family is wonderful, and you will all be there for Henry come what may.

  34. Ok. As a former preschool teacher...either Henry has issues so serious that you are the QUEEN of denial or the school needs to get a clue. Unless it's the first one a week is not enough time to make that kind of assessment. Also, the school should - after giving the child time to adjust - call someone into assess. As teachers we can usually spot a problem, but every school I've worked for has used us to refer not assess a child. The sequence is usually:
    1. Teacher spots potential problem.
    2. Teacher documents and attempts behavior modification.
    3. Teacher speaks to director and gets parental consent for an evaluation.
    4. Child is evaluated.
    5. Conference with the results between parents, school, and - depending on the results - specialist to decide the next step.

    And honestly, unless the teacher is using teacher speak to try and ease communication with you, not wanting to sit down is not grounds for dismissal. Henry did not go to daycare. He is not used to following directions in a classroom setting. My advice, not that you asked for it, take a step back and ask yourself honestly - Does Henry have a problem? Am I in denial? And then either seek help or look for a new preschool. If he needs help not getting it will be to his severe detriment, but if he doesn't it can be just as bad because, again as a teacher, the label doesn't go away. Even if it's just a side note in the teachers' beginning of year files, he will be the kid with SI until he leaves the public school system.

  35. By all means get him evaluated. However, it really sounds like the biggest thing he needs is speech therapy in my opinion. That and some more time around kids his own age in a structured setting.

    He is 3. Of course you need to tell him NO. I told my 3 year olds no more times a day than I could count. If going around the house roaring and yelling makes you abnormal than I guess I've got a strange boy too. My 4 year old stomps and roars every day. Generally he is pretending he is a dinosaur. If Henry's yelling has to do with imaginative play that pretty much makes him normal in my book.

    How can they say they can't handle him after only one week? Little boys are notorious for not wanting to sit still and pay attention. The teachers should know how to handle that. I guarantee it involves the word NO. In addition to getting him evaluated, I would look for another preschool.

  36. They dismissed him because he won't sit still at circle time?? That's ridiculous. This is his first week at any preschool ever. How is he supposed to learn the rules if they don't gently guide him to do so? You need to check out some other preschools in the area. I would recommend looking at Living Savior Preschool and Christ Lutheran Preschool and King of Kings Lutheran Preschool (gotta love those Lutherans... they are very inclusive and love every child as they are!). Child Find could help too, but it takes quite a while to get the ball rolling on that one. And personally, I did not think Child Find helped my son very much. It all depends on the particular therapists and teachers and schools that you get assigned to. I'm sure there are some great ones, but we had some very mediocre ones. I much, much, much preferred regular preschool and private therapy for my child. So, I think you should try out other preschools while you interact with Child Find. you will be able to find a preschool that will love Henry and understand that he is only three years old. Trust me, Jen, there are plenty of other choices in the area! May I ask which preschool you had him enrolled in? Let me know if you want contact information or other recommendations.

  37. I think the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of "he's three" and "he has sensory integration issues"...from what you've written, he probably could have benefited quite a bit from stricter boundaries, especially, but you do know your kids best and you seem like a sane, sound-minded individual who is not one to overlook much. I hope you and Charlie find an answer to the "Henry question" - for what it's worth, my husband and I are directors of a preschool and we don't dismiss children lightly. I have to believe the preschool does know, somewhat, what they're talking about. On the flip side, many in the industry are quick to blackball those fringe kids who just don't fit into the nice neat molds of "normal", "ADD", "autistic" and so forth. Sounds like Henry is definitely his own little person! :-)

    Good luck - isn't this parenting thing a treat? ;-) (We have four ourselves.)

  38. I am now 44. AT the age of 3 I too was asked to leave pre-school though truth be known I was EXPELLED. At 3.

    I was then put into 'big school' which you could do back then and I never looked back. It was then obvious I was bored out of my brain.

  39. Remember that you're the expert on your child. With that said, the doctor that observed him during a visit, his preschool and the church nursery are giving you observations that they make. If it were one random person who gave you feedback or even two, I wouldn't give it another thought. Because 3 separate professionals from 3 separate settings are giving you the feedback, I would most definitely follow up. It is never easy, as a parent, to hear that the heart the walks around on the outside of our body may have an issue. Another thought... preschools don't excuse children for not sitting down and staying focused. If that were the case, the rooms would be EMPTY!! Maybe they were trying to spare your feelings with the details?? Just a thought.

  40. Beer with a straw sounds like a good start ;-).
    Sorry to hear about your rough day. In my experience, many preschool teachers know a lot less than they should about kids who are outside of the standard mold. I have no idea whether your Henry has any true issues or not, and it sounds like you are planning to go ahead with having him evaluated, but sometimes you have to shop around for a good fit from the school even with kids who don't have any sort of official label.

  41. Get his hearing tested first, then get his speech evaluated and then find a different pre-school!! Shame on them for not working on an intervention plan first with the parent's!! Of course, children need to hear the word "no!!". I've worked with children over 20 years and there is absolutely no reason they should have asked him to leave after only 1 week in school. Especially, since they didn't address any of their concerns with you and Charlie first!! Don't play the "blame game". Just make a plan and take some action!!!

  42. Umm...I can't say whether there might be a problem with Henry or not. But as the mother of a 3 yr old girl, I can, and do, say NO an awful lot. As do most of the other parents of 3yr olds we know. And my lovely child is not a big fan of sitting still on anyone's terms but her own. Hope you are able to find a happy balance soon for everyone.

  43. SouthernChick12/11/10, 6:06 PM

    I can honestly say, as a preschooler teacher who has spent the past month and a half of my life dealing with an increasingly violent 4-year-old... to the point of having to physically restrain this child to keep him from harming himself or others, I would SO welcome Henry with open arms! He sounds like every single one of my other children who have reverted to do every single thing they're not supposed to because hey, if that kid's getting attention for acting poorly, maybe we should all act poorly too. Ugh.

    I really don't understand how or why they are kicking Henry out though? That doesn't make sense unless they truly don't have the means or the knowledge to deal with a child with any small issues. I mean if Henry's only issues truly are being non-verbal and refusal to sit during circle time then they're speaking of 99% of the children in my very typical preschool class. I just really don't get it.

    Do you have a local head start that you can look into?

  44. Wow! I can't believe they have a classroom full of 3 yr olds and they don't tell them "NO"? I don't think looking into SI issues is a bad thing, but I also think that sometimes teachers are too quick to label a kid that's not the norm. I have a friend w/ a 3 only child...he's smart, speaks clearly, interacts well w/ older kids and his preschool teacher also thinks he may have some issues that would land him on the autism scale. He gets excited and is very active...hmmm he's a 3 yr old boy...isn't that what they do? I have 4 boys and have loved reading about Henry. I think he's the cutest thing. Enjoy having him home again.

  45. What in the world is going on in Virginia??? The dr. and the school are looking for those come in a can and push this button when they should do something cute, polite, or intelligent children. I am with you, these people are interacted with Henry for such a short time they have NO IDEA WHAT (if anything) is wrong with him. UGH! To me he seems like a little boy and the baby at that. The pediatrician needs to go. You better ask around on that one. And this preschool, seriously, they only take angels. One week for any child at a new school is not long enough for them to form an opinion. Henry seems to focused and likes to do what he wants. He's three and actually I know some 30-50 year olds that will throw a fit and not sit down when you tell too. I'm sorry you are running into this. Some of what you write about is what I went through (single) when I moved from PA to TX. I love it here now but it was a big change.
    I would try a Mother's Day out scenario if that fits with your schedule and it may help Henry to only go a few times a week.
    And for the record - you have done nothing wrong by being the best mom you could be.

  46. Oooo Jen my heart goes out to you. I have no advice. I have no babies. Much love and prayers for you and your family.

  47. The only other thing the teachers told us about Henry is that he'll bolt when they go to get him for a certain activity. As in: he runs the other way as fast as his little legs will carry him. But again, I don't think that's outside of the norm for a three-year-old. He thinks it's HILARIOUS to run away from people. His siblings did, too, at that age ... hence one of the reasons I kept them on LEASHES.

    We need to know the whole story, so I'll definitely bring it up with our neighbor and make sure she's not leaving out any details at the risk of "hurt feelings."

    The fact is: I see no good that comes from trying to sugar-coat something like this. I'm trying NOT to be overly sensitive and am doing my best to look at this situation as objectively as I can.

    Of course we're going to love Henry COMPLETELY and regardless of what happens, but we also want to best be equipped to help him as effectively and efficiently as possible.

    In some ways, I think he is very advanced for his age. Consider, he was totally (day) potty trained at ~18 months. I was still struggling with the triplets and Henry was DONE. And while he can sing the entire alphabet and several Christmas songs, maybe he doesn't talk as coherently as other 3.5-year olds? There are some components of his behavior that appear immature, but I think that's largely a function of him being the BABY in the family.

    Leeann: You NAILED it. "To distinguish what is normal but rejected boy behavior and what really does require some sort of intervention."

    Thanks to everyone for giving us so much feedback. We really appreciate it.

  48. You may also want to consider that some type of prejudiced view your neighbor already had of Henry or your family might have played a role in such a quick and seemingly absurd dismissal.

  49. Whether or not there is an issue here, this brought something to mind that I read recently. The author stated that schools are made for girls. He goes on to explain that most boys cannot learn best by sitting still all day. They need to be up and stimulated by physical activity. He said (and did talk about it more) that the best way for boys to get to school is to conform to it. He does not think this is the way we should be educating our boys. Jen, I know you're not alone.

  50. Jen, I'll echo the chorus of "Wow, after just one week?".

    But, I also want you to quit beating yourself up. If there ARE issues with Henry, then breastfeeding till 2.5 and not letting him CIO will have been a great benefit for him. If he does not have issues, then you have built an amazing bond upon which you can start working some limit and boundary setting activities. Any "discipline" (oh how I hate that word) you do will work much better coming from an attached, trusting, close relationship with a mother who knows him through to his bones.

    If there is one thing we do know about you for sure Jen, is that yo know how to fight for your kids.

    (Usual caveats about breastfeeding not being the only way, yada, yada, yada, which we all know and respect but which somehow on the internet turns into a flame war which no-one intended!)

  51. I haven't read through all the comments, so forgive me if I'm repeating something someone's already said.

    My son is now 7, and though never dismissed from a care facility or preschool, definitely has some sensory issues. He also had issues settling down and did more so when he was younger.

    May I suggest the following book, "The Way of Boys" which is written by a Boston area therapist who was finding a lot of parents bringing their boys in for evaluation because of suggestions that the schools were making regarding issues of behavior.

    I found it tremendously helpful in keeping my boy's behavior in perspective, as well as explaining to me what it is that may actually be going on in my son's brain.

  52. Oh, Jenn.. you poor thing. NOT what you need.

    My son (now 5.5) sounds a lot like Henry, I have suspected he has some sensory issues, but I had the opposite problem (here in the UK), in that they just told me it was a 'boy thing', and his behaviour was just bad parenting (Yes, really!).

    I rejected the place at our nearest preschool (where all his friends went) and sent him instead to the nearest Montessori preschool, which only had 6-8 kids in a session, with a 1:3 teacher/child ratio. Pricy, yes. Worth it, YES. It was a very tactile place, very boy-orientated (most of those 8 kids were boys), very hands-on, NO sitting down (REALLY?! Sitting down at 3?! Ha!). After 2 years of this preschool, he is a totally different child. It has been the making of him.

    He is now in Year 1 of school. He is 2 years ahead in Math, and Literacy (he has the reading age of an 8yr old, though he couldn't even read 6 months ago). BUT. He STILL can't sit still. He had his hearing evaluated recently, and they said that it isn't a physical issue, more of an 'integration' issue. He can hear the instructions physically, it's just that all the information going into his head at the same time cannot be processed, there is too much 'white noise' (read: classroom environment) competing with what he NEEDS to hear, for him to behave.

    YET - he is by far and away the best behaved child in the class. No, he doesn't sit still, no he sometimes doesn't follow instructions; BUT he has never hit, punched, kicked, retaliated, disobeyed or been rude, and his teacher loves having him in the class, as she know what boys are like (there are 7 boys & 1 girl in his class). Unlike some of his classmates, who couldn't behave if their lives depended on it, and actually behave worse than the one Autistic child in the class.

    Sounds like even IF Henry has issues (which TBH I don't think so from your comments), the PRESCHOOL is the issue. They obviously have unrealistic expectations of a 3yr old boy.

    So... I would get him checked out, for your piece of mind. Sounds like the USA has a much better intervention/screening program than here (read: we don't have anything like what we need in this country!). Once you have had him screened and you feel vindicated, search for a preschool that will 'let boys be boys', and not have utterly unrealistic expectations for a small individual, but work WITH Him to develop his potential.

    Anyway, just my 20c worth. Good luck xxx

  53. ARgh, Blogger just lost my long post. Succinctly put - change preschool. I have a son who sounds remarkably similar to Henry, and he's now a smart cookie in Yr 1, 2 yrs ahead in both math and language. Sounds like the preschool has utterly unrealistic expectations, and Henry needs somewhere small and nurturing. Have the assessments done to make you feel better, but also look for somewhere that will better suit a boy who sounds just like any normal 3yr old! Good luck xxx

  54. Jen -

    I'm with Debbie - call JM. If it is SI - she's got to be a great resource.

    Also - "Out of Sync Child" book - which I'm sure you've found already - is your SI bible.

    And if its SI - big deal? Seems like every other kid I know has this? So keep in perspective. And there is lots of info on SI so should be no prob to manage.

    However - here is my .02 on the preschool -- WHAT PRESCHOOL 1) diagnoses a kid in 1 week, 2) dismisses the kid in 1 week, and 3) isn't set up to deal with SI??? I think this preschool did you a favor by letting you go!

    Love -

    Mom to Eraser-ear boy, Jessica

  55. Jen,
    I can really relate to this. I have a 2 and a half year old who is slightly behind in talking and uses conduct to express his frustration. Especially for little ones who are intelligent but lack the language to express themselves, the tantrums can be worse than "normal." We went to a developmental pediatrician, who was on the fence about whether we just had a very independent kid with a speech delay or whether he had some other issue. He gave us a diagnosis of a pervasive development disorder so that we could get speech and occupational therapy for him. It has worked wonders. He is learning how to sit and wait patiently, how to follow rules, and his communication is just growing by leaps and bounds - all things that I think will help him when he becomes school age. Also, they have given us some great techniques for helping him develop speech, to be successful in different environments and to help us in dealing with the tantrums. Plus, he usually has fun at the therapy sessions and loves the therapists. So, I guess I would just say, try not to be too discouraged. All kids have different needs, but frankly, I think a lot more kids could use the kind of "therapy" my son is getting. Even if my child does have some issues in the long run, I do not accept that it means that he cannot have a wonderful and fulfilling life, where his parents do everything in their power to help him meet his potential. I suspect the same will be true for Henry, whatever the "experts" say. Best of luck.

  56. Hi, Jen,

    I also wanted to give you a link to a film made by Erik Linthorst, a CA screenwriter who created this film when his son was diagnosed with SPD.

    Still thinking of you and sending you even more virtual hugs-


  57. Was that an honest to goodness quote from his teacher? I am appalled at this school. What 3 year old does NOT have issues sitting in circle time. Honestly it sounds laughable. If this would be on his "permanent record" in any way ie anything connected with the school system etc, I would skip all that and if you feel he needs to be checked go the private route.


  58. I know a little boy with sensory issues that is reading at a third grade level and he is only seven. He is also incredibly intelligent and way more advanced than most kids his age. Even with all that his problems are not because he is bored. He can not control his impulses and creates havoc in the classroom setting. He also does not socialize well with the other kids and is often the outcast of the group. Like one of the commentator said, therapy can help the parents more than the kids.
    Get him tested and go from there.

    Lots of kids have problems and chances are there will be even more problems as they age. I think as parents we think it gets easier as they age, but in my opinion it only gets harder.

  59. Barry McDonald Jen. He talks about many things including the wide range of traits in children. I think that a week with children who had been in the preschool for a longer period, would emphasize potential issues with Henry. Those issues could and in all pobability will resolve with age. My little guy can't do circle time but then with structure and routine and two amazing teachers he now does (3 months later).
    He's three. you can test hearing, for autism and physical issues. Not adhd. Read Barry's website, send questions. He is amazing.

  60. Hi Jen,
    I'm really sorry to hear about this. But I do think that the sooner you get him fully assessed, the better. If you are uncomfortable with having that assessment done through the local school district, then find a reputable pediatric psychologist (either through a pediatrician's referral or through a university) to do it.

    In my case, the catalyst for finally getting my 5 year old assessed was my daughter's elementary school principal - who also happens to be the mother of a teenage Down's syndrome son, a former special ed teacher, and my husband's cousin. (Long story.) She had never spent any time with my son, but within two minutes of meeting him, she looked me dead in the eye and said, "I think he has Asperger's or is on the spectrum. GET HIM TESTED."

    I had been dragging my feet, because I knew that he was already in special ed preschool for his speech delay and getting the appropriate help in a high-intervention class. And all the research I had done on the internet about autism just didn't add up for him. He was so social, and loving, and friendly. He just couldn't talk well enough!

    But because I respected the principal's/my cousin-in-law's opinion, I finally went ahead and got the assessment. And I learned that there is MUCH more to autism and all the other disorders than you can find on the internet. And sometimes, when a child is not "severe" in any type of behavior, and could well be behaving within the range of their age and gender, it takes a person who does not know the child at all, who is trained to look for those red flags, to do a proper assessment.

    In retrospect, I can see dozens of red flags when it came to my son. But in the moment, they were within the parameters of a two-year-old, or a three-year-old, or a four-year-old... it was so hard to determine what was my active boy burning through his energy and what was the autism. I couldn't have told you at the time which was which. I can now. But the only reason I know the difference is because someone who didn't know him at all was able to connect all the dots through interviews with me and my husband, having us fill out standardized emotional tests for him, and doing some play-testing one-on-one with him. I wish I'd gotten him help sooner. But I can't change anything now. We can only go forward.

    I wish you luck, and offer up my prayers for some answers.

  61. I would suggest looking into a Montessori school in your area. Before I had my son, who's now almost three, I knew nothing about Montessori. When he was 18 months, we enrolled him in our local highly-rated Montessori school and I just cannot say enough about how wonderful that learning and teaching method is. Prior to that, we had one bad "daycare" experience and I was despairing of finding a good fit. Don't be afraid to keep looking until you find the right fit for your child and family!

  62. Seriously? That's awful! Is there another preschool that Henry could go to? Surely there must be!!

    My DD (4) has attachment issues, sensory issues, OCD tendencies, and a host of other differences, and both of her daycares (we moved this year) have worked with us. No, it hasn't always been easy, but it's worked so far.

    My DS (2.5) has hit and kicked and bit and has only been sent home once. For the rest of the day.

    That's just awful and NO reason for Henry to be kicked out of preschool. Find another preschool that is SANE and realizes that children are children. Ugh.

  63. I know nothing about SI or whether Henry has any issue, but wanted you to know that everything is going to be all right.

  64. We are a military family raising 4 boys. After working in daycare/preschool for many years I can say this is normal behavior for a 3 year old that has had his world turned upside down by the move and his mother being away during the day. Also being the baby of the family and a bit spoiled as all last borns are, he's behavior is very typical. Our new generation of child rearing is to get them evaluated and on medication if they do not conform to some teacher's idea of normal behavior. This is such bull. They need to come and work with military children that relocate every 2-3 years, then they would have a better understanding a child's reaction to new environments. From your writings he seems very normal. Get the evaluations, but realize that if he does not conform to the model tests during the brief snapshot the evaluator sees him, the reports may not be favorable. Also, before you engage the county service, find out what strings are attached. Once evaluated if you do not agree with their recommendations, they can engage Childrens Services to force you to comply. Once in the system, this evaluation will follow him all through schools.

  65. Obviously, I don't know you guys well enough to give any opinion on Henry and whether or not he has any "disorder". That's up to you and your family and the professionals. But I found it absurd that the teachers didn't want to set limits or discipline him at all because they didn't want him to dislike school? Honestly, kids are not as stupid as the world today seems to think they are. I'm pretty sure that the teachers setting some limits won't ruin a child on school for life. Didn't for me, anyway (back in the days when there was still a threat of a paddling from the principal if you misbehaved). As you said, he's only three, and a boy, and one cannot immediately decide that he has issues that need professional attention if he'd rather play than sit down. Anyway, best of luck with all of it.

  66. Jen, you can't change what happened in the past you did what you thought was right for Henry. So don't beat yourself up.

    Just look to his future and all the amazing things you'll find there.

  67. I don't know anything about SI, but I agree with the other commenters who said that the preschool did you a favor. That is absolutely ridiculous that they "excused" him after one week when he wasn't doing anything bad like hitting/biting/kicking, etc...How about an adjustment period for goodness sake? I don't even know you, but I am glad, for his sake, that he isn't there anymore.

    And this is just a thought, but how would he do with the triplets if you did "circle time" and the other activities he didn't want to participate in at home to let him practice?

    Hope you guys get some answers and you find a better preschool for him eventually.


  68. I know others have already suggested a heavy reading load, but I would also suggest looking at chapter 8 of the book "Nurture Shock" - the whole book is brilliant but ch 8 talks about the effectiveness of using pretend play (and how best to structure pretend play), in order to increase self-control. This seems like it would be helpful for this situation, regardless of whether there is a bigger issue or not. (The chapter is only about 20 pages and I'm sure you can get a copy from your library if you don't want to buy it).

  69. I haven't commented in awhile, however I've been keeping up!

    Gosh I felt that I was reading a post I wrote. Miss P, coming up to 5 yrs old in Feb, tries every inch of my patience every day and I use the word NO! in every sentence.. and have been for the past 4 years. Everyone keeps telling me its "being 4" or that it is a phase.. but is it? Is the tantrum because we can't watch Max & Ruby (because it isn't on any channel anywhere!) simply being 4 or is there more to it, especially when it is the third tantrum in nearly as many minutes? Or the obsession with touching everything simply being 4 or does she need the sensory input from everything she is touching? Does picking at the Christmas tree, the cat, her sister's things, flinging open the doors on the tv armoire and slamming them shut repetitively, opening and closing the fridge, cutting up every inch of paper in 30 seconds flat... all in a space of 15 minutes ..all 4 yr old behaviour or does she need all that input?

    I have spent the past year discussing it with various professionals, her teacher, her daycare provider... all keep telling me she will grow out of it.. but I keep reminding them that they don't have to deal with the other children doing the same behaviour, how can this be normal? She was 10 weeks early and had a high high reaction to any stimulus in the NICU/SCN and I can't help but think there's more to this.. but is there?

    Such conundrums our children provide.

    I feel for you Jenn.. I hope that you get some answers and I know all of us that have commented with similar dilemmas would love to hear what happens.

    On another note.. I will be moving to Virginia probably in the next 8-10 months.. and we'd love to have all 4 over for a playdate once we get settled. :-)

    Happy Holidays to all of you!


  70. You may want to check into Joy School. It is a cooperative program for 3,4 and 5 year olds that promotes the social and emotional well-being of the child while learning. In areas where parents can't take turns teaching the lesson, sometimes one parent will be the teacher and you can pay for Henry. Google it and if you like it, twitter and see if someone local to you knows more about it and if there is space somewhere. Good luck! I think Henry is just a highly active child who has been challenged to keep up with older triplet siblings!

  71. The first step I would take is to call Child Find in your area. It is for children 3 and up that may be delayed in areas of speech development or other type of "milestones". They evaluate your child and refer for the appropriate resources which are often one on one or small group activities in a local elementary school. Sometimes there are home interventionists. Good luck!

  72. I second TS' suggestion of Nuture Shock. Ch 8 discusses the Tools of the Mind curriculum that I mentioned earlier. It really is amazing stuff.

  73. Bottoms up! Oh wait, don't do the bottoms up thing if you are really using a straw. That would ruin an already long day.

  74. I read your post and two days later got to a chapter in the book "Sway: The Irresistable Pull of Irrational Behavior" that addresses medical diagnosis and labeling and all sorts of interesting things...I recommend it to you as another resource to help keep an objective mindset as you work through this newest challenge in your life. I won't say more because I don't want to "sway" you!!