He Just Wants To Dance.
But It's Tradition, Dammit

The Worst Thing Ever That Actually Really Wasn't

I have been writing posts nonstop in my head since Friday -- nothing I ever intended to commit to the keyboard and publish, just a endless series of disjointed paragraphs that bounced from topic to topic and argued with straw men and imaginary bureaucrats. On and on, my brain kept going and talking and spinning. It kept me awake and anxious at night and distracted and disconnected during the day -- all the signs of an obviously superior coping mechanism.

Those of you who follow my sporadic dispatches over at Twitter probably Know Of What I Speak.

Here, like a Band-Aid: On Friday, Noah's teacher unleashed a long litany of behavior complaints at me, many of which I was hearing for the first time, others which I thought were already being addressed, all of which together painted a very bleak picture of an overwhelmed, uncontrollable child with no attention span who simply could not function in the classroom. A child whose continued enrollment in the school was in serious jeopardy and was on a one-way track to being dismissed from the school.

Here, like a bottle of alcohol emptied on the open wound underneath the Band-Aid: Expelled. From preschool. Merry fucking Christmas! Epic parenting FAIL1!!1

Of course, I did exactly what any capable parent would do in that situation: I burst into tears, and then came home and spent the next 60 hours of my life freaking the royal fuck out.

I called the school district and formerly requested a new evaluation. I called the private speech center that I'd contacted several weeks ago and got a little screechy about how long I've been waiting for a therapist to call me and schedule THAT evaluation. I called some smaller, more specialized preschools and nearly threw up when I heard the tuition rates. We talked about moving. I emailed everybody I ever talked to at Early Intervention to see if there was any way they could help speed up the process of getting back into our current county's system. We purged our house of extra cluttered toys and distractions and outlined a plan for improving his attention span and adding more structure at home. I called my mom and whimpered that I just wanted someone to tell me what I should do-o-o, I'm not smart enough for th-i-i-i-s, why can't I figure out how to fix my ba-a-a-by.

On Sunday, we attended a preschool classmate's birthday party at one of those kiddie gym places. Despite giving Noah a pre-party briefing that rivaled most military operations, it did not go well. He was indeed, as usual, overwhelmed by the group, terrified of the organized games and activities, melted down at every single transition or whenever something happened that he had not been prepared for. (I spent a lot of time talking about how he would be asked to leave the play area and eat birthday cake, since that caused a lot of woe at the LAST birthday party we attended, but forgot to mention the possibility that someone might dare put a slice of PIZZA in front of him BEFORE the birthday cake was served, and Oh. My. Fucking. God.)

Jason and I were exhausted and heartsick by the end of the party -- Jason mumbled something about taking equity out of our house to pay for one of those special preschools, and since I could no longer even attempt to keep up a happy social party face, I broke down and shared what the teacher had said to me with a couple other mothers. Who then shared a few anecdotes of their own and stories they'd learned from previous years' families that painted a picture of a teacher who maaaaaybe gets a little crazy by December and maaaaaaybe a little dramatic about things and maaaaaybe I should go talk to the principal myself before, you know, losing my shit too spectacularly.

So...long story short, I saw the school's principal today, whose jaw dropped to the floor when I repeated what had been said to me, because: no. Not even. Noah is most definitely not at all in danger of expulsion. Never has been. The whole thing was a case of a preschool teacher gone rogue, off the rails, whatever. The principal has observed Noah many times, and she's never seen anything remotely close to the kind of behavior his teacher was describing or at the level where they'd start considering dismissal. He wanders away from the group when he is bored. He prefers one-on-one direction to large group free-for-all projects. He is easily agitated by transitions and easily distracted by everything in the world. Also, you know, he is THREE. 

There IS a child in his class who is causing the teachers and the school a lot of problems (pushing, hitting, using not-so-very-nice words), and Noah and I may have simply gotten caught up in a teacher's Terrible Horrible Not So Good Very Bad Day, and maybe she just really needs her holiday break.  And then the principal and I had a long talk about Sensory Processing Disorder and brainstormed some additional strategies that could be used to keep Noah with the group and help him through transitions.

Of course...I'm not an idiot. The behavior at Sunday's birthday party alone is enough for us to realize that yes, Noah most definitely needs some help. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in between Early Intervention assuring us that Everything Is Just Fine!! and his teacher telling us that Everything Is Just Terrible!! I am still anxious to get him re-evaluated. I am still exploring other preschool options, because GODDAMN.

But at least now I can go back to making up imaginary conversations between my deodorants in the middle of the night instead. So...back to normal! Hooray!

Comments

Jenny

Wow. Even with a Very Bad Day, that was a shitty way for that teacher to react. There's just no excuse for it, especially if it's just taking out another child's terrible behavior on you, when she SHOULD have maybe possibly been calling the other mom. Or whatever. Gah. How frustrating for you.

Alicia Millis

OH wow! I am so glad he is not going to be expelled, but serioulsy I am soo pissed at her for even hinting at that and making you worry like that! ARGH!!!

I am so glad you were able to talk to the principle, she sounds fantastic. I really hope you are able to get some resources in place soon. But it sounds like you are doign everything possible. You are doing great Amy, you are a great mom!! Noah is lucky to have you :)

HUGS

Daisy

I just want to chime in that he is 3! And marches to the beat of his own drummer! My favorite game growing up was either "Library" (reading alone) or bossing other kids around. I'd like to think I turned out pretty normal (graduate school, sorority in college, good group of friends...) You are more on top of things than most Mom's out there- and you are doing a pretty darn good job. Look how big he smiles when he's happy! Look how he doesn't try to smother baby E out of jealousy! Proof enough!!

Mommy Attorney

Wow. My little one is so much littler (6 mos) so I have no experience whatsoever. But, Noah is a great kid, and way to be proactive. And this post also makes me realize that maybe I shouldn't be so freaked out about her not rolling over yet. Because really? In the long run? She's 6 MONTHS!

Just like Noah is THREE.

Thanks for reminding me of that.

Marinka

You know what? It's the teacher's job to make things work, not just for mainsteam students, but for everyone. He's three. Doesn't he have a new sibling? (sorry if I'm confusing you with someone). I'm sorry that you're having a hard time, but I swear, not everyone should be a teacher.

Kyla

I'm glad things are so terrible, but I know that kind of stress and I feel really lucky that our evaluation team was able to get KayTar into the district PPCD class this year. She is the highest functioning of the group, medical issues notwithstanding, but it has been really great for her. I hope you guys are able to tap into some additional support and services.

Christy

I wish I had some sage words of advice, but I don't. Just know that you are a good mother and Noah is lucky to have such caring parents in his corner. Everything else will work itself out.

Arina

Glad to hear that everything is manageable. Hang in there! (And maybe get a voodoo doll of the teacher?! )

Marinka

p.s. why do you have more than one deodorant?

Stacy

So glad that you talked up the food chain at the school.

As you are getting the xtra help for N keep in mind that three year olds are, well, three. It has its charms, that age, but it also has its distractions.

Glad that you are feeling more level.

ToKissTheCook

Parent or not...I am constantly amazed at the power of other people sharing what's really going on in their own houses. The whole "what's normal" thing obviously gets amplified with kids, particularly Noah's age because so much is in flux. That said, thank GOD you talked to other moms and then the principal. And I'm sorry you had to have a heart attack in the process but at least now the calls have been made!

Jen

wow that's insane! Stupid crazy teacher. I'm so glad you were able to talk with the principal and hopefully get a plan together to help Noah. He's such an adorable little boy!

Maria

He sounds so much like our little guy. S's behavior has pretty much shit the bed since baby brother arrived on top of his usual quirky issues. (He's now not only the kid who wanders off and won't concentrate, he's also the kid who randomly pushes and hits other kids.)

I'm glad the principal set things straight. This shit is overwhelming all the time, but moreso than ever, I'm finding, this time of year, and with a new baby to boot.

Kristabella

Wow. I'm glad you talked to the principal and got it worked out.

And you're right, HE'S THREE. There's a reason people use the saying "I have the attention span of a three year old" when they talk about getting distracted by shiny things.

Colleen

ugh ugh ugh on that teacher!!! So sorry she gave you an entire weekend of obsessive aggitta. :(

Hopefully EI will reevaluate Noah and see that while maybe he isn't the worst case, he still needs some help because this sort of thing is hard on him too. Noah and Gavin sound very similar...they do great in one-on-one or very small group interactions, but large group? activity centers where you change every x minutes? No way, Jose!

(assvice alert!) Don't know if this has already been tried, but the few times I've gotten my crap together to create a visual/pictorial schedule for Gavin, he handles the transitions (in-class and otherwise) a lot better.

Miss Grace

I saw your tweets and I'll admit I was worried. Glad to hear it's not as bad as all that.

Anonymous New York

That is awful. I am so sorry you and Jason had to go through that. I hope they fire the teacher if she has a history of this kind of behavior. Or at least get her classroom support. Her behavior was totally unacceptable. You responded as well as anyone could have under the circumstances. I probably would have been a little stabby.

Starbuck

I'm so glad the principal was able to dispell some of those nightmares the teacher presented. And it sounds like you are feeling a whole lot better, too.

And hooray for deodorant conversations and the normalcy of Amy!!

Tracy D

I don't comment often but follow your trials with Noah obsessively. I have a 3 yo who is eerily similar to Noah. I have to ask.... is the teacher being disciplined at all for going so overboard and being so WRONG in what she said to you? Cause, my god, she should be. You have enough stress with the whole situation without her making it worse!

Just wanted to let you know that there are many many kids very similar to Noah... mine being one of them. Noah actually speaks better than my Braeden! Hugs to you and I can't wait to read more of the deoderant digests.

Kyla

I totally meant "AREN'T so terrible", by the way. Otherwise I sound kind of like an ass. LOL.

Sonja

What a horrible, horrible thing for that teacher to do to you. I hope she gets a serious talking to. Parents are already desperately in love and protective of their children. To insinuate there's something wrong is just... wrong. And you've got a new baby at home. Your life is already in a tailspin while you figure that out. And Noah's life too! Perhaps some of his acting out could be about, oh, I don't know, his whole world getting shaken up about 2 months ago?

I would talk to the Crazy Lady teacher myself and tell her that the principle can address any concerns about Noah with me in the future. Since Ms. Crazy Lady has no authority (or sense) anyway.

Amy

Oh Noah. I just love the snot out of that little guy. I hope the Storches have a very Merry Christmas and my new year's resolution is to hang out with Amalah more. Yes? You like?

Linsey

Thank you for sharing Noah's SPD struggles with such honesty. It gives me a better level of understanding and patience. Your insights and experiences help us be better parents to our children and friends to other mothers.

Laura

Amy - You are doing a very good job with your children. EVERY child is DIFFERENT, their needs are different, their reactions are different and their learning process is different. Do not forget he IS only 3 and this too shall pass. Each child I have come to know learns at a different pace and just because Noah is still a "young" 3 does not mean that he is in some sort of turmoil, it means he is transitioning at his own pace.
Hang in there and tell that stupid teacher to fuck off. :-)

Nancy

Ugh on that teacher! Isn't it a shame stupidty doesn't hurt?! Maybe you can get him in another class at the preschool? One where the teacher doesn't take her bad days out on precious little boys and their mothers? Expelled...puh-lease! She's obviously never seen him dance. :)

Kristin

As a former preschool teacher, I'd say that for a kid with sensory issues and a brand new brother, who is THREE, he doesn't sound so off the charts. I bet it's way closer to "Everything's Fine" than the other. Also, by this time in the year, there is definitely a good chance she was just all used up. That doesn't excuse her freaking you out like that. But still.

Maggie

At a school conference one year a teacher suggested our 7th grader son was on the path to juvenile delinquency as we were surely aware and we needed to nip it in the bud. We were in shock and went to each of the other teachers he had asking if they had any problems with him. Guess what? No they did not. He has always had a "strong" personality and she probably didn't like him. He never had her as a teacher again and we learned to do a little investigating before believing the worst. You will always be Noah's best advocate.

Sonja

Eeeek. This is why I was afraid to talk to parents when I was a teacher. Seriously. Parents and teachers should only talk with a third party observer/translator present. I say that sort of tongue in cheek, but it's so hard to fit all the subjective perceptions of a child's behavior into words that will not be misunderstood.
Sorry she ruined your weekend. It sounds like she didn't mean to, however, so there's at least that!

Beth Camp

Amy - I am so glad that the reality is NOT what the teacher portrayed! I really want to encourage you to continue with all the great proactive steps you were taking because, really, if the help is available grab - all you can. My son, now 9, was very overwhelmed by birthday parties at age 3 (we stopped going to them) and made it into Fairfax County Special Ed preschool by 4 and was diagnosed with Aspbergers at 5. And you would never know if you met him today. He is very high functioning, completely mainstreamed but I had to be a bit of a she-bear sometimes and I know you have that in you. Keep up the awesome work you are doing. Your boys are so precious - I love reading about them.

JoAnn

You know, my son who is in 1st grade had a kindergarten teacher like that. Last year was the school year from hell for me because while yes, I know he struggles following multi-step directions- he was a boy, and 5, and just wasn't too interested in school work. His behavior was never a problem and he doesn't have sensory issues and he is very social and friendly. But she actually had the nerve to try and diagnose him with something and the whole year was spent with her listing all the areas he fell short in. I hated her! Fast forward to this year- a teacher with a completely different approach and attitude and understanding that kids are different and grow and develop at different rates! Imagine that! So I understand your pain- as a mother you just want to fix it. But you don't know how. Because you hear different things from different people. But you're doing your best. And when someone finally figures out what he needs you will move heaven and earth to help him. I know. Just know I understand how you feel.

Beth Camp

Amy - I am so glad that the reality is NOT what the teacher portrayed! I really want to encourage you to continue with all the great proactive steps you were taking because, really, if the help is available grab - all you can. My son, now 9, was very overwhelmed by birthday parties at age 3 (we stopped going to them) and made it into Fairfax County Special Ed preschool by 4 and was diagnosed with Aspbergers at 5. And you would never know if you met him today. He is very high functioning, completely mainstreamed but I had to be a bit of a she-bear sometimes and I know you have that in you. Keep up the awesome work you are doing. Your boys are so precious - I love reading about them.

PattM

I feel for you. My now 11 year old daughter has Aspergers. Just substitute "Emily" for "Noah" at the birthday party......been there and its no fun. The special ed department of your school district is your best resource. Use them and any and all resources they offer.

mtngray

Man, that's rough with the whole teacher thing. I used to teach school, and there were days when every kid in the room got on my nerves. Happens to the best of us. And that was in middle school. I don't know what I would have done with a class full of preschoolers.
But I never would have just unleashed that on a parent. It's not very professional. And frankly, not a nice thing to do. We parents have it hard enough!
So as a parent/teacher, I think the whole thing sucks, and I hope you're able to work through it with the teacher, the school, the evaluations, and everyone else.
Good luck. Your sweet Noah needs a little help, plain and simple, and I hope you'll be able to get it for him. Hang in there!

Heather Z

I don't have much to add that the other commenters haven't already expressed. But I wanted to say that if a child is having challenges in preschool, it isn't because the parent is failing. It's because the school hasn't figured out how to meet the child's needs. Also, I taught for many years at an integrated preschool affiliated with a university that had a strong child development program. We had a sliding fee scale for families. Perhaps there is something similar in your area?

Lisa

If you are going to switch pre-schools, it must be to St. Columba's. It will be life changing! Call them, talk to them - they are great. And they offer quite a bit of financial aid. Both my brother and sister's families got aid and they can afford to live in Bethesda and Chevy Chase (not exactly the low rent district!).

There was one teacher at my son's preschool who was going through menopause and every child was a problem child for an entire year. I swear all of those parents should have gotten a tuition discount for having to listen to her rantings and ravings. Two years later my second son is at the same preschool and she is a totally different and far more pleasant person.

Good luck. And, yes, he is only three. And sensory issues can and do get better.

Ellie

Have you ever heard of Social Stories? (Google it). My dd is 14 and has Aspergers, and social stories have been a LIFE SAVER in getting her prepared for out of the ordinary situations like parties. In a nutshell, you make a story starring your child, written in present tense and 3rd person point of view that tells EVERYTHING you can possibly imagine that might in your widest nightmare happen at the event. As in, "On Sunday at 4 o'clock, Noah and his mommy, his daddy, and his baby brother, were getting ready for a birthday party....." and on and on. It works because you can repeat and repeat and repeat until they GET THE POINT about what will happen.

Heather

The only person that requires expulsion (and I hate that word. It's the "ULLLSHUN" part of it that just...makes me cringe) is the teacher. It is a part of her job to keep it together during times of stress. And if she cannot, she should find a job elsewhere.

GAWD it pisses me off that she said those things.

MommyNamedApril

so sorry you had to go through that. my 2yo is speech delayed and a little funny(?). the doc says i can give him one more month to make SERIOUS progress and then we need to start EI. *sigh*

claudia

Amy - I'm sorry I didn't have time to read all the other comments, but without sounding all "it takes a village-y", isn't it wonderful that the other moms you spoke with at the birthday party were able to offer a unique perspective that was closer to the truth about the teacher going whacko? I would have reacted exactly as you initially did, but I'm glad you spoke with the principal and got some other ideas. cheers!

Ashe

My sister had a teacher similar to that with one of her children. The woman pretty much accused my sister of being a terrible mother because she was having to move the kids from one school to another and even tried to accuse her of abuse. It was all kinds of ridiculous.

*m*

Reading this made my stomach hurt. I remember this sort of parental preschool angst. Thank god you talked to the principal.

My son, who was diagnosed with mild PDD-NOS at 4 yrs and was very speech-delayed and had social issues similar to what you describe, has come SO far since those days. As others have said, keep on advocating for him. A lot happens in these early years. He may need some help, but he is still so young. He will come along. Believe me -- I've seen it happen.

Jessica  Gross

Okay...I know I don't know you, but feel like I do since I started reading your blog many months ago, but I just wanted to say that I am sorry you guys are going through a tough time. You are a wonderful mother and obviously so concerned and in touch with Noah's needs. He will be okay, he is only three and he has a super Mom!

Kristin

I'm so glad you talked to the other parents and talked to the principal as a result. Good luck getting the evaluation fast-tracked.

Kate

Perhaps it's little consolation, but I learn so much from reading your blog. Your honesty is brave and inspiring. Maybe people overreact to children with Noah's sensory abilities because they aren't aware that they exist. Well, now I do, and let me tell you what an education it has been. To me, you are a super mom who works and mothers and puts up with a lot of crap. I am currently giving you a standing ovation.

just beth

Good for you. You know, taking charge and calling everyone and speeding things up. Because while that teacher (THAT. TEACHER) shouldn't really be a teacher (you HAVE GOT to be able to handle your shit, people. I mean, they're THREE.) hopefully the best thing to come out will be the county (or whatever) got a kick in the pants from you.

Grrr.

(Oh, i'm growling FOR you, not AT you.)

xo

b.

Monica

Screw paying tuition; your county should provide these services for FREE. Keep calling child find every single day. Go back to freak out mode and go bananas on them. They will give you whatever you want just to get you to leave them alone.

We love our free county preschool. FREE FREE FREE FREE FREE.

PEP Intensive Needs Class (PEP INC)
PEP INC serves children with severe communication and sensory integration needs in a structured, curriculum and play-based class with related services integrated into the classroom. Class sizes are smaller than a PEP Classic, and there is a special education teacher and two paraeducators. Classes are held five days per week for three hours. The children served by PEP INC often are overwhelmed by many people or are unable to focus without a very structured environment. A major goal of PEP INC is to prepare the children for a larger class such as PEP Classic or another preschool program. PEP INC classes are paired with PEP Classic in order to provide exposure to larger classes when a child is ready for more interaction with peers.

Elizabeth

Oh sweetie. It was like Noah not being able to handle the preschool party which led you to talk to the other parents which led you to talk to the principal was the light at the end of the tunnel. But I hope the preschool teacher apologizes to you because DAMN. She wasn't even talking to the right parents of the right kid!

Wishing you, Jason, Noah and Ezra a Merry, stress-free, presents for the VERY deserving you, wonderful, happy Christmas!

Sprite's Keeper

Sorry, but that teacher should be hanged by her patience, which is obviously on a short rope. Grrrr.
Glad you jumped the hurdle!

Heide

You know, I'm a teacher, although at the college level. And I have to say, you can't unload like that, at a student or at a parent, just because you're having a bad day. That teacher owes you an apology, and the principal needs to help the teacher -- not just Noah -- with strategies for holding it together under stress.

Hang in there, amalah. You're doing great.

Badger

Great post, with an even greater ending. Preschool principals rock, and man, are they patient. For what it's worth, we go to a super expensive preschool, and although I nearly vomit when we have to pay tuition, I have to admit that my kid has advanced leaps and bounds under their guidance. I agree with the prior post that good preschool should be free, but, where I live, it's not unfortunately.

Mariana Perri

I most definetly DO NOT LIKE Noah's teacher...

Hillary

Well, thank goodness there was a happy ending to that story. I was feeling so bad for you. Poor little Noah; he's only three. Yay for an understanding principal and BOO to the teacher.

amy

may yr holidays be stress free and loving and gorgeous and don't ;et yr mind wander to any of this during yr time together...you sound like such a strong and GOOD family...everything is going to be alright... xo

Mirinda

My now 6 year old middle child actually DID get kicked out of K3 preschool. That was nice. Not.
And guess what? He's pretty much normal now (other than a bit of an attitude) And can I just say this? Just make an appointment with an occupational therapist to address the sensory issues. You don't need EI or anyone else to give you an eval for that. We waited TWO years to do this for my son and it was a mistake.
((((HUGS))))

willikat

I do not have children, but from my point of view, he's an awfully damn perfect little kid. I have faith he'll be just fine.
As a sidenote, I was afraid of EVERYTHING, (and I mean everything) including other little kids, when I was little...I was not a normal child, but I grew out of it to be a pretty social kid, and adult.

lisa

Your post reminded me of a story my cousin told me about her son - in this case it was 1st grade. everything was fine, all his teacher conferences all year were fine, he was a lovely boy. all fine.

until the final conference of the year. now - he doesn't follow, he doesn't listen, he cant keep up, he hasn't learned to read at all: AT ALL. He is a total failure.

Solution: let this teacher have him again for 2nd grade ...
still no reading. Still no solutions, lots of drilling, tutoring, testing, school says nothing wrong, he just doesn't apply himself.

His mom took over, had him independently tested at great personal expense (which is total bullshit!) They uncover problems and direct them to a summer program which, for the next 2 years gets him from 2 grades behind in reading in June to 1 grade ahead in August. (He then consistently lost ground each year) Mom finally took the coursework (at her own expense) to be trained in the method they used in the summer and taught him herself after school. He managed (with his un-timed testing accommodations) to get into the private middle school where she works.

Now in his second year there he almost made the honor roll, (and he's stopped taking un-timed tests) he reads for pleasure (thank you harry potter!), He gets a little grumpy about all the homework, but he does it and he values learning almost as much as sports. He is happy successful and well liked.

His mom reminds me of you and your's and Noah's struggle. Keep fighting the good fight. It is the path to success. But gosh it is hard and we don't as a society put nearly enough into teaching an nurturing children. If we did, maybe we wouldn't need to do all this corporate bailing out and police action spending we stupidly do now.

Also, never feel guilty about getting these early services - the sooner the better.

debidebi

you are a fantastic mom.

Ginny

I'm glad, too, that the other moms were so helpful. That's not always the case...you're very lucky! But, if this teacher has a rep for an annual Christmas Freakout, why don't they get rid of her? That's not a quirk...it's a glaring, frickin' disaster!

Marnie

OMFG, what a horrible weekend! I'm so sorry, and can completely empathize with the schtuff that must have been going on in your brain and stomach all weekend long. Makes me want to run out and buy Pepcid just thinking about it.

That teacher needs to get her head chewed off. Seriously. My daughter has been in the "no way you're even remotely qualified to be teaching this age level" hell-that-was-preschool. It took a while, but the parents' cumulative complaints finally got her out of there. There is an enormous difference in both the teacher and the class between the "I shouldn't be here" teacher and the "I was totally meant to be a preschool teacher" teacher. I do understand that Noah may need something extra/special from a teacher, but, seriously? The "I'm totally meant to be a preschool teacher" teacher can handle that and more.

You'll find the right path, either there or somewhere else. And, in the meantime, lots of hugs for all of you.

Ursula

Perhaps this has been discussed, but didn't you really like his teacher because she knew a lot about sensory issues and kids and had one of her own? Wasn't that why you enrolled him in more days of school?

Maybe I missed a post...?

Amy

I'm so happy everything worked out in the end. I really am. Hopefully his teacher gets the break she needs so that she is again able to focus on being a TEACHER and not something a little higher up her pay grade. I understand your freakoutedness, it's pretty much how I handle EVERYthing. (And yet, I still can't figure out why I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Weird...)

PS: Merry (early) Christmas!

tina

Did the principal say if she was going to discipline or at least TALK to the teacher for totally freaking you out like that? That's just insane.

amalah

Ursula - No, you didn't miss a post. His teacher has a sensory kid AND an autism spectrum kid. Which I guess is why I took her assessment of Noah as seriously as I did, and why it wigged me out so badly.

andrea frazer

First of all, glad Noah isn't going to be expelled and so sorry about what you went through. The next thing I'm going to say is not an cop out, but I'm assuming you're a bit tired with a newborn, so while you might have been really frustrated or alarmed, you might not have been so panicked with a normal amount of sleep. Also, from what I can tell reading your stuff and just your overall vibe, you're a super smart person who maybe, and I could be wrong, is a bit of a perfectionist. And of course you probably know that your son is going to make his own way, but like we all do, we want the best for our kids. And while everyone has a different version of what "the best" is, most of us, when exhausted with the demands of motherhood, don't see twenty years down the road at how great our kids turned out despite being possibly EXPELLED from preschool.

But in the end... and I swear I'm almost done... it's not about that teacher or you or us or anyone else. It's about Noah. And you are obviously a caring, wonderful mother who will find that balance.

No one is perfect. We can only love the hell out of our children and do the best we can. I, for one, am thinking only good thoughts for you.

I'll stay tuned!

kimblahg

just wanted to say- i've been through the various therapists, evaluators and teachers with my kids (sensory/speech issues) and there is so much wiggle room and interpretation in their opinions. i've also been reduced to a nervous, crying wreck over one teacher telling me my oldest son was autistic which she had no diagnostic or medical basis for her statement (didn't know that at the time). hang in there- you are doing the right thing. that teacher? needs to be reeled in if not fired. if she goes that nuts by december, she needs a different career.

Jessica (from It's my life...)

Thank God for other moms and rational principals. I'm not going to diss on the teachers, because Oh. My. I could NEVER do her job.
Getting him extra help can only, well, help, right? School sadly only gets harder and the expectations more severe, better to give him lots and lots of tools for dealing now so he can face the rest later.
Glad it's not as dire as you thought. That's the merry Christmas silver lining right there.

Heidi

Hugs to you. Even before you went there I could knew it was the teacher. Seriously, you don't just dump ALL OF THAT on a parent BAM! Lady needs a break, that's for sure. I am so glad you were able to talk to the other parents and the principal.

My son (now in K) went to a small co-op -- 12 kids, 2 ft teachers and minimum 2 parents at all times. So 4 adults and 12 kids, and the teachers have been at it for 25+ years. They rock. One very bad day when I was preg with my second I got a call to COME GET HIM RIGHT NOW. Wait...school is out in 20 minutes? Now? NO, YOU MUST GET HIM NOW! HE IS HYSTERICAL! I tell them I will hurry but I am 10 minutes away. GET HERE NOW! I get there and he's totally calm, no evidence on his face either that he's been "hysterical." WTF? The two parents wonder why I am picking him up early. They are shocked when I tell them. They say he cried for 30 seconds after falling down but that was it and they were there for the whole thing. They do point out that the teachers had a bad day with another student, and I felt so much better having two other adult witnesses to what happened. Anyway, I think even the best have bad days and overreact, but threatening expulsion is WAAAAY over the limit.

I am sure it's hard, but you guys are great addvocates for Noah, and because of that he's going to be fine. THere will be hard times, but he's going to be fine in the end, because you will get him the help he needs. Seriously.

Backpacking Dad

Got a call from my daughter's DAYCARE teacher late on Sunday night that OH MY GOD THERE IS A SERIOUS ISSUE THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS RIGHT NOW.

We weren't home. We got the message late and didn't call him back but spent the entire fucking night sleepless: What if she gets expelled from DAYCARE???? What do we do? Is she broken? What a prick! Who calls on Sunday night? Argle bargle argle bargle.

Ain't no crazy like a parent's head crazy. Hey. Ho.

NancyPants

Holy crap. This beezie really put you through the wringer, didn't she? Once again I have to just say how grateful I am to be three days older than dirt. I didn't even go to kindergarten, much less preschool, and when I did act up I just got a talking to and/or sat in the corner. Now I'd be in therapy and on Ritalin, waddya bet.

He's three, and he has a great mom and family. He's going to be Just.Fine.

Now, about those deodorants...

Angie

I thought this was the teacher who has a son with SID and another with PPD? Right? Who got him to fingerpaint? And now she's all... blah-blab-DOOM cakes? What? Holy mixed messages, Batman.

I'm sorry. That sucks.

Meghan

Hang in there. My daughter, who is now 12, has many disorders including Sensory Integration Disorder. There were some tough years but she is now able to get through most situations on her own. I had to really become an advocate for her in our school district and put my foot down when necessary. Remember you know your child best. Don't let them phase you out of a program until you are completely sure it's the right thing to do. It is much harder to reenter a program than to stay on until it feels right to leave at your choosing. You have rights as a parent, ask about them and know them. Use them to your advantage. These rights will allow you to find the right teacher and program for your family. Don't give up. The day you see your child get along like all the other kids make it all worth it.

Cara

I think I'm glad I wasn't that teacher after the principal found her at the end of the day. On the other hand, WTF, Woman. You deserve every bit of the tongue lashing I hope you received.

Jojo

I love reading your blog. You really cut right through all the niceties and say what's really happening inside of you. I can so understand the angst you suffered through based on the teacher's less than professional moment. I really wanted to skewer her, even while sort of getting that she was probably having a really bad day. But I can totally relate to how awful she made you feel.

I always try to make the best of bad situations, and I see something positive about the hell you just went through. she made you go all momma bear on everyone, and hopefully that will lead to quicker and more intensive help for Noah. Even though you feel a bit better now, I think you should keep up the fight - after the holidays - to get Noah all of the help that you can.

The first time I met my husband's nephew, he was about 2.5. He walked in the house, looked at me, saw a complete stranger and FREAKED. He screamed and started clawing at the door frantically trying to get out of the house. They finally had to pick him up and take him to a separate room to calm him down. I felt so bad for both he and his mother. I just wanted to leave so that he wouldn't have to be faced with the whole thing.

Fast forward 10 years. His parents went through all of the battles you are going through. They never gave up, and they eventually got him all of the services that were available. He's a quirky kid, but he's also an amazing kid. The last time I saw him, he and his younger brother played with my 2.5 year old for about an hour, and had a lot of fun. This was at a crazy party with about 30 people running around. You would never have guessed it was the same kid.

Oh, and I don't want to forget to add that his transition when his baby brother came along was harsh. Until his brother started to learn to talk. Then boom, he started to develop right along with his brother. It was amazing.

Kelly

I must confess when I read "parent-teacher conference" my stomach just balled up in knots. I'd rather have thrush and drink orange juice than go to one of these things. Frankly I believe they are a complete waste of my time. I believe that it's a great IDEA but the actual application of it sucks.
I have attended MANY of these conferences the last 15 years with my son. What has been consistent throughout is that during a parent-teacher conference I've deduced that it's basically an outlet for the teacher to vet frustrations on every freakin' thing that your kid has done since school started-- it doesn't matter if your kid has learning needs/physical-mental challenges or not. Out of the past 11 years in the "global" school system, I've had exactly ONE conference that was actually conducive (not all positive not all negative). Eleven YEARS. There's been nothing but "he talks too much; he doesn't talk enough; you need to read to him; he spit; he said, "...this [classroom activity] is 'gay" (which he was to serve 3 days of in school suspension for "sexual references," etc. ad nauseum.
I do believe that parents need to partner with teachers/daycare providers as they do have our children for most of the day but it's truly disguised as a way to allow the teacher to vent. So pretty much take it with a grain of salt as you know your child better than anyone. So...continue to be an advocate for your child(ren) and remember to go with your gut (it's usually the right choice)... lastly, simply love your kids (as I know you do).
I apologize for the length of the comment but I also understand the frustration, angst, heartache and hurt words cause. Hang in there!

Karen

Oh for crap's sake. This makes me so glad we homeschool, because I'm sure my own three year old's language issues would have sent a teacher having a bad day into a TIZZY. (Thanks to what I read on your site, we got him off the sippy cups; only straw cups and then only if we are traveling. He is finally drinking out of a regular cup, and his pronunciation is improving.)

Wandering away when bored...hell, I do that. I hate it when teachers take their bad days out on parents who are already worried enough, thankyou.

Hilary

I am so sorry that happened to you- I second Heide above who noted the teacher owes you an apology and the principal ought to help the teacher keep her shit in check. I could never, ever be a preschool teacher but I mean if I was? I would try HARD not to be such a pig-faced ass to a parent or child. I hope you have a lovely Christmas!

tutugirl1345

I hope the principal rips that teacher a new one.

Noah is incredibly lucky to have parents like you and Jason. I have faith that y'all will get everything to work out for the best.

mamadaisy

gah! that %*#@ teacher!

my son has sensory integration disorder. at age 3 he was a lot like you describe Noah's behavior at the party. we had to prep him for everything in advance, and god forbid something happened out of order.

we tried to limit his activities somewhat to reduce overwhelming overexposure (one major outing per day, not a list of 5 errands). he had a year and a half of OT to integrate vestibular and proprioceptor whatevers. OT was a MAJOR help. he is six now and doing very well.

You're doing a good job! Noah will be ok! good mommy!

Trish

Sending you some happy Merry Christmas thoughts.

And I love your imaginary deodorant conversations.

Floyd

Oh boy. How exhausting for you all! I think you're doing a great job of fighting for your son while not killing anyone....I would want to wound and maim some "professionals".

However, I just went back and looked at Noah doing his dance in the last post and that's enough to make me grin from ear to ear.

Hang in there! And tell Noah to keep dancing!

feener

my 4 year old has spd, and sees an OT, i am seriously trying everything for her. it is so hard to watch her have meltdowns.

Jeanette

He is only 3....school isn't required at age 3 even if EVERYONE ELSE is enrolling their child in preschool.

If it is too much for him, maybe you need to keep him home until pre-k or kindergarten. Alot of what they teach in preschool you can do at home, and wait for maturity to kick in so HE will be ready for school.

Or homeschool, which is fabulous!

bad penguin

Well thank goodness. Preschool expulsion seemed awfully harsh. And besides, is there a rule that kids have to like group projects? I never liked group projects, and here I am, a fully functioning adult.

Seriously though, it sounds to me like you are doing everything right for Noah -- getting him help where he needs it, and generally standing up for him when that is what he needs.

Liana

Oh Amalah! Nothing to add or offer here except big HUGS and bucketloads of sympathy...and my added hopes that sweet Noah DOES get the help he needs and that his teacher maybe gets her OWN re-evaluation. (Hmph!)

(And I admit- I'd love another dramatic deodorant post! Those are genius, absolute GENIUS. :)

Trista

My 7 year old son, Jayden, does not have SPD..but I do remember the whole transitions thing. He was terrible at them. My doctor told me that it was actually the opposite of ADD..He was so focused on what he was doing that he didn't want to move on. Said it was normal for most young children. But GOD, the screaming!

And he was horrible at parties, a nightmare to shop with, ruined a trip to Disney, cried when left in Sunday school class, melted down at preschool, had issues with messiness, was a perfectionist....all by the time he was four.

One his fourth birthday, I looked around and everyone was having but Jayden. He was frustrated, annoyed, crying....And it clicked, he is not a people person. He doesn't like crowds, plays better with one or two kids instead of a group. It's his personality.

We have come to terms with that..He is bright, a straight A student, and has few good friends. He is probably always going to be a loner, maybe a little socially awkward. He still doesn't do well with groups or organized sports but we are ok with that.

I just wanted you to know that a lot of what Noah does just may not be because of his SPD...a lot of what you describe is normal for a child his age and could just be his personality. And that's OK!

And try not to be too hard on the teacher...she has a hard job. Could you imagine having to tell a parent that there is something not perfect about their child?

Is she understaffed? I was told that a good preschool will have one assistant per every 5-10 kids in addition to the main teacher.

Just some random thoughts!

Bailey

I just started reading a book that you may want to have a quick look at, as it may help with some of the behaviours you describe as Noah having. We also have a Noah, who has the same type of reactions, and he is almost 6. This books helped. Good luck!
Said book:
Raising Your Spirited Child Rev Ed: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, and Energetic
by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka

Punkin152

My goodness. That story floors me!!! As an educator myself, someone needs to take said teacher out back and whip her with a cane pole. She's unprofessional and way out of her league if that is common for her. Very bad day or not. Good luck. Remember he is 3 and all things work out in time.

Jenny

I have worked at an elementary school (in the office) for many years, and know all too well just how overwhelmed teachers can get, especially at this time of the year. But this teacher had NO FREAKIN RIGHT to say what she did to you. It infuriates me the way teachers tell parents what may happen, without talking to an administrator about it. Sometimes they just want to feel like they have more decision making power than they actually do - which is pretty much NONE. It sounds like the principal was completely blindsided - not good for little Miss Teacher!! I'd love to be a fly on the wall when the principal has THAT chat with her!! You're principal sounds wonderful, and yay to you for taking it to her! All kids have their own way of dealing with things - they just need to keep plugging away to find the magic approach with precious Noah.

Deanna

"He wanders away from the group when he is bored. He prefers one-on-one direction to large group free-for-all projects. He is easily agitated by transitions and easily distracted by everything in the world."

Hum. That sounds a lot like me. And I'm 40.

Sarah

I'm sorry you were given such an awful time. The many ways in which you strive to do your utmost for Noah are impressive.

iambellaluna

Chin up Am. Someone needs to slap that teacher back into teaching school. I don't care how Very Bad Her Day is, that is so inappropriate & unprofessional to blame any of her Need-Holiday-Breakness on her 3 year old students. Especially 3 year old students who are struggling. Perhaps she should teach another grade of older children??

I hope you get everything straightened out soon! I'm rooting for you guys.

lisa

I don't have any advice or anything I just wanted to let you know that I pray for you and your family and applaud all that you and jason do to help noah. I pray he gets how ever much or little help he needs. And please don't ever forget how wonderfully spectacular a mom and dad you two are.

karen

Also, social stories are genius. Do it. It will help.

jess

I'm sorry you're going through this from my experience with delays in my son it's a long road that is constant battle, but there are many rewards too.

Also, merry christmas to you and your lovely family!

MamaCass

I am always reminded of my daughter when you describe Noah. Really, you could pick any birthday party she's ever been to and that story would apply. Thanks for sharing. It's nice to know that we aren't the only ones trying to help an innocent little one function with friends and have fun. We, too are told that she doesn't really need much help any more, and that she is fine...but those people at EI are not at the birthday party, or preschool for that matter, right!?

Grace

One birthday party (these usually last 2 hours or so) left you "exhausted and heartsick" (you are so good at expressing it in words. I have been there and that's exactly how I felt). Add many hours to that experience and put yourself in charge of all the kids in the room and then ask yourselves: Is the teacher bashing and criticism deserved, posters?

Having a hard day doesn't make you a bad mother...or a bad teacher. Maybe her mistake was in talking to you while she was upset instead of talking with the principal or another teacher, but she has to let you know what's going on at some point. I used to send my husband to pick up my first child from kindergarten because he didn't take the teacher's reports nearly as personally as I did. Those were difficult days, but we made it through and I am pulling for you (and that teacher) to make it through, too. You are doing all you can and you are helping countless others with your blog. We are all in this together..and that includes the people (not saints, not robots, not miracle workers, not superhumans) who teach our children.

Rachael

Wow. I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that, and right before Christmas! I'm glad it turned out how it did and Noah is not expelled!

Julia

I am so sad that a teacher would do this. I have the perspective of a mom who went through some similar situations with my oldest. His K teacher was not a nice person, my son told me "Mrs G is the only person I know that doesn't love me" AAAaaarrrgghhh! don't they see what they're doing? scarring little people? his freshman math teacher thought he should be in special ed math because he would not/could not focus. He is a math tutor in college. I have the perspective of looking back and knowing it gets better but it still makes my stomach hurt for you.

Christina

I'm glad it wasn't as bad as you first suspected. But at the same time, it seemed to have served as the kick in the pants to possibly get Noah more services.

My husband's aunt told us that Cordy might have been asked to leave the preschool she ran if she wasn't family. It was that talk that led to an eval for her.

What I'm trying to say is this: Good things can come from bad situations. And I am glad that it was just a loopy teacher and not the will of the school that Noah should leave.

Kim

It sounds like preschool just needs some more dancing time.

I saw that video.

Noah is THE KING of dancing and I don't know of any person who couldn't use a little more of watching him dance.

Nice work, by the way, of being your kid's advocate. He's going to be fine with parents like you and Jason. The only reason I'm totally not freaking out at the story is because I know you're going to be with him every step of the way, championing him and Ezra too, of course. That doctor the other day was right. You're doing so great.

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