Looking forward to Wednesday

Both kids did wonderfully in the worship service again! It was more crowded this week so I think sounds might have been more muffled even if one had played the drums on a chair. However, I didn't have to send anyone to the bathroom today! Eric went because he had to pee and Ryan was ok with not going with them. He just sat in my lap. Eric occupied himself (because we forgot to bring something extra) with the pens in the chairs the church provides for us to fill out attendance cards and prayer requests. He collect 4 different pens from our row and tried to exit our row. I stopped him.

"You can walk up and down our row, but you cannot go past my purse, OK?"
He showed me his handful of pens and whispered, "I need to find sixteen more."
I whispered back, "OK, but do it when the service is over." Which he forgot to do afterwards.

They both did great with the whispering! Ryan was smiling at me with his little cheesy smile (see banner above) and whispering to me that he loves me in 2 language, neither of which was English! "Te Amo" "Mahal kita" Yes, he's only 2.

Wednesday is our first in-home session with Eric's school teacher. I'm so glad that it was postponed to this week because this morning I got called out of Sunday School class to attend to a matter. It seems that Eric was not happy at snack time and he ultimately spit on the table and hung out under the table and wouldn't get out. There were about 14 children in the class - all 4 and 5. During the looooong walk from my classroom to his, his teacher was recounting what happened that led her to throw her hands up and come get me.

"So what happened right before all this?" It was snack time and he didn't want to eat (which makes sense to me because he snacked in the worship service). She told him he didn't have to eat but he had to sit at the table and that is when he did the above. Oh and he hit a little girl too. My response, "He probably was trying to say what is wrong but can't and when people didn't get it, he got angry and took it out on the person who was closest."

She opens the door and I see he is sitting in a chair about 2-3 feet aways from the table and she continues to talk. He's looking at me kinda stressed and I smile at him and wave so he knew I wasn't mad, and then asked if we could go back in the hall to discuss it (NOT in front of 14 preschoolers). She said she was trying to be as patient as possible but when he spit on the table, she didn't know what to do because the other kids were watching and they know that isn't acceptable. I looked at her with the most sincere look and said, "I don't know right now how to tell you to handle that. The best thing to do is tell him "Let's take a walk" and remove him from the classroom. That way the kids don't think he got away with it." But she can't leave the other students with one other teacher. So she suggested that I come and walk with him, which means he would probably not go back to class.

"Well he seems to be fine now, so I'm going to go back to class. I'm meeting with his teacher this week and I'll keep you informed on the strategies she gives me." Sending him back to me doesn't seem fair (to either of us) if it can be handled in the classroom. I'm not sure I completely agree with my "Let's take a walk" theory would be best for Eric and how his classmates would see him - not that 4 year olds judge, but they are honest, and they do tell their parents what happens. And unfortunately parents do judge. Been there.

As soon as I opened the door to my classroom, the bell rang so I got to sit in the last 5 minutes. As I sat there I felt my face get flushed. Oh no! Jen, don't cry. It's not your fault. You don't have to have all the answers. Quick, someone say something funny. And someone did and that was that. Deep Breath. Go get your son. Thank the teacher.

On our way out I thought, well I guess if I had been there I would have asked him more questions to find out the real reason he was melting down. That's what we do in the heat of the moment right? But when I'm in the heat of the moment with a teacher, I don't know how to slow my heart rate down to transfer that knowledge to her and break through the frustration barrier that I know she had (she kept repeating over and over again that he spit and hid under the table). I guess I'm so green that I still feel a little attacked because I'm helpless if I wasn't there during the meltdown. We went to Buddy's BBQ for lunch and I asked him what happened in class today and he said,

"I pushed my chair back."
"What happened that you did that?"
He replied in a broken sentences that made it sound like the teacher did something to him, which I knew wasn't true. Those open ended questions really do not work...

"Were you sad?"
"Because of snack time?"
"Because you were not hungry?
"That is OK to not be hungry during snack time, but the smart and friendly thing to do is to sit with your friends while they eat and maybe talk about your trains. Can you do that next time?"
Cue: Avoidant behaviors

Yeah, it was a little long winded. I got that "smart and friendly" thing from Attwood's book The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. I think it is so funny that I use it all the time! I'm sure he heard me say it, but I shortened it just to get a response.

"Just sit with your friends and talk about trains, ok?"

Then we role played it and he got it. Too bad we have to wait until next week to see if it works.
Maybe on Wednesday I'll learn a new strategy.

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