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I told Noah's preschool that we were dropping his enrollment back down to three days a week. And that no, we would NOT be taking advantage of the whole $50 early-bird re-registration option for next year, thanks. And then I reminded them that my account should have a credit for the cost of the after-school soccer program. You know, the one they kicked him out of.

It felt...ugh. Yeeshh. Uhggzzzaaaaa. I can't seem to spell the sound I'm making right now.

It felt like...colossal failure? Maybe? Not by Noah, of course, but by us, for making such a poor decision about his school in the first place. And by them, for telling me when I registered that they were familiar and capable of handling Noah's needs, and then proceeding to be unable or unwilling to make ANY allowances or adaptations for him. (Seriously. Kicked out of a soccer class for three-year-olds. Because apparently the point of the class is to really learn the rules of soccer and how to dribble and pass properly and Noah...wanted to run around the room? And kick the soccer ball wherever he wanted to kick the soccer ball? Dear Lord, you'd think he was still TWO, or something.) By all of us, since the year started out so promising and I can't figure out who is expecting too much and who is selling him short or if it's just a mess of All Of The Above.

His teacher never fails to tell me that oh, Noah reminds her SO MUCH of her autistic son and you know that thing he's doing right now is classic PDD and not just SPD and he doesn't talk to other kids and still won't sit for circle time and basically consistently paints such a bleak picture of him that lately I can't even deal with it -- I run into the classroom, shove his arms in his coat and hightail it back to the car.

We're doing our best, I tell her. I've taken him for evaluations, I'm on the waiting list for more evaluations. I've read books and websites. We've changed his diet and our discipline techniques and we talk talk talk talk talk to him all the time about what is expected of him at school. No, the school district hasn't called us yet. No, our insurance hasn't given us the green light for speech therapy yet. I'm not trying to hide from scary truths and I'm not trying to seek absolution for parenting shortcomings in the form of a handy-yet-squishy diagnosis. I'm just trying to parent a boy whom I love more than life itself, who day by day becomes more and more of a mystery to me, because I just don't have any answers.

At home, he is wonderful. He is funny and verbal and affectionate and imaginative. He loves music and books and being loud and being tickled and chased and stomping around the house like a dinosaur, or humming the Peanuts theme while dragging a blue blanket behind him "like Linus." He tells us he loves us, asks nicely when prompted and never fails to say thank you. He can tell us when he's sad or scared and remembers that he rode on Daddy's shoulders when we saw the fireworks last summer. We watch him at home and scrunch up our foreheads because doesn't he seem fine? He's fine, right? What the hell?


He is also a little ticking time bomb of meaningless routines that we're constantly trying to avoid disrupting. Don't try to put his coat on anywhere but by the front door. Don't serve that kind of juice in that kind of cup. When one of these routines is ignored, a switch gets flipped.

I tried to take him to the playground after school on a rare warm weather day, and while I told him where we were going and prepped him with some social stories about waiting for a turn on the swings and having to go home when Mommy says so...I forgot to warn him that I would be taking a right turn off our usual drive home. I made the turn and he screamed. And screamed. I pulled up to the playground -- a playground he's been to, a playground I swear we've driven to -- and I pointed at the slides and tried to calm him down and he screamed and screamed and screamed. I tried to get him out of the car and he kicked at me and screamed some more. My face burned as I felt all the heads in the vicinity turn to look at us. Mothers, nannies, some random landscaping guys. I tried to hold him and quiet him and tell him that everything was okay. His eyes darted around in terror and his body was stiff. He screamed even louder, and Ezra's face crumpled in his carseat and suddenly I had two hysterical children and Noah started repeating that he wanted to go home, over and over again.

I gave up. I drove home. I begged him to tell me what was wrong. I begged him to look at me. Are you scared? Are you sad? He wouldn't answer, except to say that he wanted to go home. We are home, I said. Mommy brought you home.

No, he said. I want to go home. I want to go home.

Okay, I said. Go home.

And then I went into the bathroom and shut the door and stared at the mirror with a baffled look on my face, because seriously. What the hell?


As hard as it's been to accept the fact that hoo boy, did we ever fuck up the preschool choice this year, that letting him graduate from the early intervention system was a huge -- YOOOOGE! -- mistake, the hardest thing right now is to accept that oh God, we have so many more choices to make, and what if we screw up again? The clock is ticking and time is critical and preschools need application fees and deposits and would we get those deposits back if he ends up qualifying for public services? If he doesn't qualify does that mean he should really stay mainstreamed? Or should we just pursue a private special needs school, even though I have NO IDEA how we'd ever pay for it? They cost more than my college, and we have Ezra now, and he'll need school too, and who knows what will be best for him and OH MY GOD, who the hell ever put ME in charge of raising TWO human beings?

Every day, I drive by a Montessori school that has offered Noah a space for next year. They need to know our decision in two weeks. I look at it -- a lovely school, with multi-age classrooms and no circle time and lots of one-on-one activities and Noah would be free to fixate on whatever he fixates on and I know a lot of sensory kids do really well with Montessori -- and then my chest tightens and I have trouble breathing because what if it's not right either? What if we're still where we are now next year, with a school that has essentially written our son off as just too special needs, as just not their problem, even as the school district punts us back into the mainstream because Noah doesn't meet their standards either? What if what it what if aeeeeeeiiiiiii.

I haven't had an anxiety attack since before Noah was born, I told Jason the other night. But now I'm getting them practically every day when I pick him up from school.

It's just because we don't know, he told me. At some point we'll know. We'll get an evaluation that actually looks at everything, not just speech or this or that. Then we'll know what we need to do.

And then Noah wandered in with his teddy bear. This is Corduroy, he said. He lost his button. Jason didn't say anything, but swooped them both up and held them tight.


For now, what I think Noah needs is a couple days off from school and circle time and expectations that he just cannot meet right now, for whatever reason. Mornings where he can eat Cheerios in his jammies and not worry about someone trying to put his coat on in the living room instead of the foyer. Yes, he needs socialization (believe me, I'd yank him out of the school completely otherwise) but I also think he needs a chance to relax, to be his little quirky self to his heart's content.

A couple days a week where he can stay where things make sense, with a person who -- despite all her worry and hand-wringing and total lack of qualifications -- looks at his face and still sees nothing but infinite ability and possibility.




For what it's worth, I think you're doing the right thing, and I think you're doing the best you can. You'll figure everything out soon enough.

I also think everyone needs a day in their jammies while eating Cheerios. Or Cheetos. Whichever.


We made the wrong preschool choice last year. Really, really wrong. I read your post and remembered that feeling in my stomach every time I went in to get my daughter - that inexplicable feeling of fear, anger and stress.
This year we put her in a different pre-k and W-O-W. The difference in our daughter (and her mother) is amazing!!! I wish the same for you.
Oh - and I finally caught you on the Food Network last night. It was great!


The uncertainty hurts. It hurts SO bad. But as one who is six years farther down a similar road, I can promise that you are doing the right thing and it will get better.


Oh, Amy. Just lots of hugs for you. I agree with Jason ... it's so so bad right now because you just don't know. But you're doing everything you can to get those answers, and I'm not seeing even an ounce of fail on your part.


My eldest, an extremely sensitive boy, went through THREE preschool programs before we found the right fit. And then it was time for kindergarten.

I feel your pain. I do.

But, just remember it's only preschool. Sure socialization is super important but so is staying at home and getting hugs before they are off to grammar school all day long. But, you have already figured that out on your own.

*High Five*




I'm not sure what to say but I send you a extra big hug!



I have no assvice to give (not like that's what you need, or what you asked for!)

Instead, I'll tell you a joke and (hopefully) make you laugh, and hope that everyone is a-okay for you and the fam!

A blonde, a brunette and a redhead are running from the cops. They run into a barn and crawl into some burlap sacks. The cop pokes the bag with the brunette in it. She says, "Meow." The cop confirms that it is just a cat. Then he pokes the bag with the redhead in it. She says, "Woof." The cop says that it is just a dog. Finally, he pokes the bag with the blonde in it. She says, "Potato."

Oh shit! You're not a natural blonde, are you? :D


Sounds to me like that preschool just sucked rotten eggs. I'm sorry.

Y'know, if Noah is really terrific in 1-on-1 situations, he may not ever get evaluated properly. Can you film him during his day at school, or when you make a change in his routine?


Oh, Amy. I'm a school psychologist and if it were within the bounds of my license, I would come on over & evaluate him with every test kit I've got. Stories like your's are exactly why I got into this field, so that I can help match children's needs with appropriate services. Also, kids are cute and I like playing with them.
You should not be getting panic attacks from picking him up. Would you stay in a job where you felt like that everyday? Your job, and theirs, is to take care of your boy & help him grow. If it's not working for ALL of you, then move on: another preschool; home with you supplemented by playgroups (IE and self-organized); or whatever county services are available. I'm glad to see you're sorting through your choices. I think (hope!) you'll have some resolution soon.


Oops! *everything* not everyone


At the end of the day, parenting is about learning. Sometimes we make the right choices, sometimes we make the wrong one - learning from our mistakes, figuring things out as we go is important. It's when we stop admitting the mistakes, stop trying to figure things out that we fail. As long as you keep trying & learning you are succeeding.


((((HUGS)))) I can't even imagine, because I've never been there. I think you're doing the right thing by taking him out of school a few days a week. And remember, no matter how crazy things get, you're his mom. Everything you're doing is out of love, and you know him better than anyone else. If something doesn't work, you move on to something else that might, until eventually, you find the right solutions. Hang in there, hun.


I don't know what to say that doesn't sound cliché, but Noah's a happy little boy, it's right there in his eyes, so easy to see. You guys are doing SO much right! Good luck.


I'm not a mom, nor teacher, nor evaluator of children with special needs. But I know a good parent when I see one, and you doll, are a great parent. You are trying whatever you can to help your child with whatever he needs. And yeah, maybe what you tried didn't work, and yeah, maybe you made a mistake. But show me one parent that hasn't made mistakes. Even with a "typical" child, parents screw it up all the time. With a special needs child, the chances of mistakes are even greater. But at least you are doing something about it. You've recognized that this preschool isn't working, and you're moving him somewhere else. And that graduating from EI might not have been the best idea, so you're having him re-evaluated. It's scary and nerve wracking and horrible to go through, but you are doing a great job. I hope that whenever I get around to having kids, I'm half the mom you are. Because you are amazing.

Miss Grace

I made the wrong daycare choice for Gabriel when I first went back to work. And then I was so frustrated with the in-home that I put him in a center, which was also wrong. And then I moved, and he was somewhere lovely but NOT QUITE CONVENIENT ENOUGH, and now he's in a preschool and honestly that's fine but it wasn't what was best.

All you can do is try. All anyone can do is their best.


I just wanted to comment on the "I want to go home thing". I don't think it's that strange or that unusual. I did it when I was a kid - I still do it now and I'm a 22 year old ivy league graduate (and current Masters student). It doesn't reference home per se (at least for me)...but that weird squishy feeling that you can't explain. I still think 'I want to go home' when things aren't going well, when I'm upset, when I'm frustrated, or when I'm just TIRED. It's a way to express unhappiness and just not feeling right.

I know it's not much - but I figure it might help to know that that one little part part isn't all that strange. Sure, I was a weird kid - but I grew into/out of it, and today I'm a pretty decent adult. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened to me if I was born 15 or 20 years later - maybe we just put too much pressure on kids to be 'normal'. (I'm not really referencing your position, but just some other things I've seen over the years of working with kids - sometimes kids are just quirky.)

jive turkey

I have no idea what to say, except that I can FEEL through my computer screen how hard you are trying, and how much you love your boy. And those are not small things.


i just want to say we all love and care about you and your family and are sorry you are going through this. If there was anything anyone of us who regularly read your blog please know we would do it so fast your head would spin. My only piece of assvice is Don't blame yourselves. You are super spectacular in my book but you are not all knowing or super human. You and Jason always put your boys first and try your best at providing everything you can for noah's situation. don't give up but dont beat yourselves up either.
I pray for you and your family every night.


The more I research some of these "special needs" situations, the more I think that more than occasionally a child is mislabeled.

I think all children have the ability to be picky - when they're really picky (such as by not letting you put his jacket on anywhere else in the house), they're the ones in control of the situation.


Big hugs for you. You're totally doing all the right things. It took 3 schools, and two moves to find the right school for my son. My son who got suspended 7 times in 3rd grade - not because they thought it was effective, but because they were unwilling to try anything else. He's on honor roll right now (4th grade), and getting ready to take tests to see about advanced placement in fifth grade. His school rocks and he tells me at least once a week that going there is like going to heaven. It all works out in time. But cry when you need to, and make changes when you need to. Stuff you already know - just remember through all that the ends do justify the means.


Oh, my heart hurts. I'm sorry this is all so hard. Give yourself permission to take some time to figure it out. And know that you will. Figure it out.


You're an awesome mom because you love your son and are willing to investigate all the options to find what works best for your family. Just thought you should hear that!


I have to say, special needs or not, this school seems a bit unreasonable in their expectations. I hope you find a place that is a better fit for him and for you, and I would tell that teacher to shove it and that you don't need anymore of her very unhelpful help, thankyouverymuch.

And if it makes you feel any better, my four year old -- who hardly ever throws tantrums -- broke into a huge, monster, not to be consoled crying fit when I told him to get out of my seat in the minivan and into his own because, and I quote, "I WANT TO LEARN TO DRIVE A CAR! I'LL NEVER BE A GROWN UP! WHEN CAN I LEARN TO DRIVE A CAR. YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO LET ME DRIVE. WHY CAN'T I DRIVE? WHEN AM I GOING TO GROW UP?" So, it's not just you, honey. It's not just your kid. It's horrible when it's happening to you, and I know you have more of it than some others, but you didn't do anything wrong to cause that tantrum at the park. Preschooler brains are mysterious and confounding (some more than others), and you did the right thing to bring him home then find a place where you could hide. Hiding is good for parents now and then. Hiding keeps us sane.


Can you and Noah go try out the Montessori school? Go there for an hour or two a couple of mornings, see if that's a better fit for him? If that school won't let you, maybe you could pretend to be scouting other Montessoris in the area, and visit them, just to see if that kind of program is a good fit?


Oh, my heart just breaks. For you and for Noah and for all of it. It sounds like three days a week of circle time is plenty. And Noah having that comfort of knowing that Cheerios in jammies are totally ok the other days of the week.

You'll make the right decision. Because despite the lack of an entrance interview, all moms just make it work. It's what we do. Good luck!


One of my daughter's play therapists once explained that she fixated on certain things and ways of playing as a way to do what she was good at and keep things in order in her head.

I don't wonder if your smart kid just knows what you know about the current school---that it isn't quite the right fit and that dang teacher lady wanting to spread the autisticooties.

It should be fantastically reassuring that he is an amazing kid where he feels safest. It just takes a different set of skills for him to organize himself in strange/unfamiliar/new settings. Other kids and their unpredictable ways--well they just don't make sense to him. I guess in that way maybe something more orderly like Montessori would really help.

I'm rambling. You're the best mom ever. Seriously.


Long time lurker coming out to say that this broke my heart a little and I too, think you are doing the right thing. You are doing what you think is best and that's always the right thing.

You inspire me.


love you, am here for you, you are an amazing AMAZING mom, you know that, that's all. xoxo

bethany actually

Yes, it's true that this is a critical time in Noah's life for getting him as much help as you can,'s also true that is is only three. He is still a BABY in many ways, as all three-year-olds are. He's had some huge changes in his life in the last few months, with Ezra and all that entails, good and bad. But he has parents who love him fiercely and are determined to do the very best for him. You are doing all you can, you really are. You are getting him all the help you can muster and he is growing and learning and being loved by you every day. Eventually, Noah's social skills out in the world will catch up and he will more closely resemble the sunny, talkative boy he is at home with you. I just know it.

I'll pray for you guys!

bethany actually

Yes, it's true that this is a critical time in Noah's life for getting him as much help as you can,'s also true that is is only three. He is still a BABY in many ways, as all three-year-olds are. He's had some huge changes in his life in the last few months, with Ezra and all that entails, good and bad. But he has parents who love him fiercely and are determined to do the very best for him. You are doing all you can, you really are. You are getting him all the help you can muster and he is growing and learning and being loved by you every day. Eventually, Noah's social skills out in the world will catch up and he will more closely resemble the sunny, talkative boy he is at home with you. I just know it.

I'll pray for you guys!


We've been to many daycares (kicked out repeatedly) and now one developmental school and I truly think the teacher is as important as the school. Andrew finally got into circle time because a university professor was observing and suggested a chair. A chair? Who knew? Some kids won't sit on the floor and participate. I know this teacher seemed like she would be perfect because of her experience but it's ok. Keep trying and you'll find the best fit for him. There are also lots of speech therapy exercises you can do at home. Google - child led speech therapy - if you haven't tried that yet. I find new stuff each day. Some works, some doesn't. PDD-NOS is lonely place for the moms and sometimes what you need is someone to tell you, you're doing everything you can and you'll get through this together. You will.


You're doing what you think will be best for him and changing it when it doesn't work. That's the right thing. You are totally already doing the right thing.


Also, I've got to say that my oldest is quirky in some of the ways Noah is, and I worried when I had my second about how he would handle it. They are 7 and 4 now and I have to say that having a little brother is the best thing that ever happened to the older one. The little brother does not care about needing the toys lined up a certain way or wanting to play tag but not actually wanting anyone to TOUCH him or food not touching or whatever. I'm not trying to be a jackass and say it'll fix everything. but I think it helped the older one. A lot.


I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time right now. My son also had it tough at a regular preschool when he first started. The school itself is great (I'm sending my younger son there in the fall), but he just didn't fit in. Fortunately I got him into a speech school offered through the school district after only a couple of months into the year. From there he was diagnosed with autism and moved into the special needs preschool.
I know how hard it is when you don't know what's going on with your child and how to help. Hopefully you'll get some answers soon. Waiting and wondering is the worst part!
I've known many typical children who had several tries at different preschools before they found a perfect match. Definitely don't think you have to stick it out with one place.
Hang in there!


Obviously I have no advice for you, but if my 25 (almost) years of parenting have taught me anything it's that you rarely regret listening, really listening to that little voice. Right now yours is talking, at least about what you think you should do right now, and I think you have pretty good instincts. I'd listen.

Alicia Millis

hugs. it angers me that his teacher keeps making remarks like that. it is so not her job, nor does she have any qualification to make a judgement on your sons health. that drives me mental. There sure is a huge load on your and Jason's shoulders right now, I am sorry for you. But you are doing so awesome, I think this choice you have made to keep him home some days is exactly what he needs, a place he is comfortable in, I think it will be good for both of you. I hope all the things that need to get done do happen for you and soon. Keep up the great work though, you are doing terrfic, even though some days you may feel you are not. hugs


I also think you're making the right choice by giving him a few days off and looking at other options. We're only starting the pre-school merry go-round this fall, but if Owen's teacher gave me negativity every time I talked w/ her, that would be a total red flag and I would pull him in a heartbeat. Plus, really, who expects 3 year olds (and even 4 and 5 year olds for that matter) to actually be able to sit still and listen long enough to learn how to play soccer? And unless they are a total holy terror and hurting other children on purpose, who kicks a 3 year old out of a soccer program? Isn't pre-school supposed to be a safe environment where our little ones get to get the hang of things before going on to big school? .

Sorry, I got incensed on your behalf and out came the inner mama bear.

Hugs and hope that you'll find something/somewhere that appreciates and loves Noah for who he is.


School choices are tough and sometimes you have to try a few before you find the shoes. Sort of.
You will find the right path. You both will.
(((((Hugs)))) to you, Mom-alah. You love your boys more than life...and that is enough, truly.


Just wanted to say I'm sorry it's so stressful. I hope you find the right fit for everyone.


That school was not the best and you had no way of knowing that b/c it sounds like they lied to you. You guys are doing a good job. Noah is young, this is unfamiliar territory and many "specialists" and educational personnel hesitate to call anything, anything at his young age.
Hang in there, you ARE doing a good job.


Best wishes.
Good thoughts.
Karma telepathy?
Whatever it takes, I'm sending it.
You are good parents. I know 'em when I see 'em.


WHY dont they make it easier to fix these kinds of problems?!!!!

were going through some of this stuff as well with my five year old and i just wish the solution was EASY. not, maybe he needs x, maybe hes just young, maybe he needs xyz, maybe he should be held back.

i hate maybes. i like definitive solutions. and worse? i like them YESTERDAY.

although not as good as chocolate, the crackers im shoveling into my mouth at a record speed are helping. sorta. i cant drink at work, unfortunately.

'clink'. heres some internet clinking of glasses full of yummy wine.


I usually am a lurker (lurking for like 3 years now), but two things made my want to comment today.

A. You're doing great with Noah, I promise!



My Heart is hurting for you. I'm sending hugs your way. Noah knows he is loved and that is the most important thing right now.


My heart aches for you. This motherhood gig is hard. But you're totally winning it, even when it doesn't feel like it. This agonizing you're going through is a sign of that.
After a few days in his jammies, can Noah visit the Montessori school? So he (and they) can see if it fits?
Whenever I'm trying to talk myself out of the worries of motherhood, I remind myself of two things - this growing business is not just for the kid (it's for me, too), and that kids are resilient, much more than we tend to give them credit for, regardless of how they fight change.
Good luck!

Jessica V

The idea of testing out the Montessori school is a great one. I would hope that if you talked to them about your situation they would be understanding...and would ultimately want Noah to find the best place, whether it is at their school or another location. Also, I'm sure that while Noah's current teacher thinks she is being helpful, she could benefit from you asking her to cut it the eff out (nicely of course!). Sometimes people just don't listen to what they are saying and don't think about how their comments, assvice, etc. can impact others (being the author of a hugely popular blog that gets comments on a regular basis, I'm sure you have NO experience with this phenomenon!). You are so within your rights to explain to the teacher that you are working to figure out what is best for Noah, and that it is stressful enough without her not-so-helpful commentary. Good luck Amy - we all know you are a really great mom who is trying every day, just like the rest of us, to provide our kids with the best start in life.


You have not failed Noah, the school, who made all kinds of promised they did not keep, failed Noah. I wish you would have seen Michael at his soccer class. A "normal" kid. Never participated, not once. Drove me crazy. Coach could of cared less. School is wrong, not you.

I'm always here if you need to talk, or cry, or drink.

And call my sister, she will help you with the school stuff. Or send me an email you want me to forward to her.


I'm sorry you're having such a hard time. Know that you're not alone, even with us "not special" kids - what you describe is sort of like a more extreme (but not much) version of m 2.5 year old, anyway. She has no trouble in school but definitely with the asocial behaviors and routines and random objections to new situations.

So, part of it sounds just like toddlerhood for the rest of us. And you know, it's not like you're throwing him into any institution or anything - it's just a classroom, and what else can you do but try again?


Good luck with it all, Amy.

We all think you're doing great. It's the system that's failing, not your or Jason. The system is fucked, and the system makes you run in circles to get things that you don't actually qualify for while pushing you do to things that would be easiest for them. The system is broken, and it's not up to you to fix it. It's just up to you do to the best you can by Noah. And you are.

(I sound a little like an aging hippie. Down with the man!)


Isn't there a different way for Noah to get socialization? I don't know all the ins and outs of your situation, but plenty of parents homeschool and unschool and those kids don't all turn out socially-weird. This is not really so much of a suggestion as it is just wondering aloud.

It's going to be alright.

Sprite's Keeper

The best I can glean from this is that no matter how much you think you had a hand in screwing up your son, you can't screw up love, which he has in spades. The fact that you have his best interests at heart and are his defender and warrior for all the foes he's up against (evil "not my problem" teacher maybe?) shows just how much fight you have in you. Keep fighting, Amy!


FWIW I was a regular babysitter to a kid who was EXACTLY like this including the intolerance for changes in his routine. He once hit me HARD with a very hard plastic toy because I had put together a puzzle in the wrong order. We're talking a 3 year old. When I'd send him to his room there were times I wondered if I needed to let him cry/ scream it out or call an exorcist.

This child is not--I repeat, NOT--autistic. He wound up taking a readiness class between kindergarten and third grade and still has to work hard sometimes to manage his emotions.

But he is most certainly NOT autistic.


You're doing the right thing, Amy. You know why? Because it works for your situation. End of story. No explanation needed.

There are all kinds of possibilities for Noah. Some potentially good, some potentially bad. But you know what? You will cross those bridges when you come to them. One day at a time. One moment at a time.

Everything really will be okay. *hugs*


You are amazing, and wonderful, and a fantastic mom. Go with your instincts. You won't be sorry.

Call me if you need me. Love you guys!


This is the most touching thing I have read in a long, long time.


I'm a regular reader but not a regular commenter. Just wanted to say that it's clear how overwhelming this is for you and I know I would feel exactly the same way in your position. But I hope you won't beat yourself up over choosing the "wrong" preschool. You are making the best decisions you can with the information you have at the time. Things will become clearer and you will have more and better information as Noah gets older. I imagine it must be easy to doubt yourself but it's obvious that you are doing your very best to give him the best chances in life and your confidence in him and love for him will go a very long way! And special needs or not, he's not the only one who just might not be quite ready for the full-blown "school" atmosphere at his age. Lots of kids have trouble adjusting. I guess what I'm saying is, it sure seems like you're doing everything right and you must possess insane amounts of patience to not be slapping his preschool teachers upside the head every time you see them. :) Hang in there!


And one more thing. My BFF, who is a rabbi and is infinitely wiser than I, and had her own baby girl this morning, always says, we do the best we can, and when we know better, we do better.


Amy, I know you are going to get a million comments from everyone saying how awesome a mother you are and how lucky Noah is, I just wanted to add mine to that list. You are doing a fantastic job and you know what, he'll be ok, even if the preschool isn't right. It happens.

I think giving him a break from school would be a wonderful thing. Sounds like he and you need a break, some time together to just enjoy the precious, amazing child he is. You will get an evaluation that will give you guidance and ideas of how to proceed next. Try to hang in there until then. If you need to pull him out of this school, then do it...what's he got...3 more months? Not worth it to torture yourself.

(((HUGS))) to you, and Noah, and Jason and Ezra (just cause he's cute and squishy :)


And that sounds like a perfectly good idea to me! Only you and Jason know what's best for Noah. You two are the ones who live with him day in and day out and who love him more than life itself. No one is going to make a better choice for Noah than you.

Relax and do what you think is best right now. If it changes and you find out a year from now that another choice would have been best. Let it go. You are only human, and that is plenty good enough.

He's only three, and so many kids are just not ready to be in school all day for 5 days a week! That's totally fine.

Wish I had the magic answer for which school to choose, but I think you'll do the right thing, whatever it is. If you're not happy with the teacher/school he's in- change it. That doesn't make you a failure. It means you had a problem with that school and so you made a change hoping for a better match. Totally ok.

Oh I wish I could just hug you Amy. You're trying so hard, and I know you love Noah so much. He loves you too and you will both be just fine.


What the heck kind of "soccer" class can you possibly have with three year olds? seriously? I hate the pressure of putting little teeny kids in organized sports. Just let them run around and kick a ball, for fun and exercise. It sounds like the school has issues, not you.

And for what it's worth, five days a week of preschool is a LOT. A lot a lot. Especially for a little guy Noah's age. You're doing the right thing. Sometimes kids get rigid about things--trying to be control about things they feel they can control--when they feel they're being overcontrolled, such as they are in school. So yeah, I think maybe a lot of his routines could be reaction to the school environment in general.

Noah is an aweseome little kid, and you and Jason are awesome parents.


You are a wonderful mother, and please don't second guess yourself. There's a lot that can be cured by jammies and Cheerios and a martini.


amy, i've commented a few times before. once i wrote you a VERY long email about my son who had VERY similar issues to noah. my son who if i gave his twin sister more french fries on her plate than his would arch his back and throw himself on the floor and dissolve into hysterics, my son who also would not get out of the car if we went a different car route than the one he was use son is now 17, a swimmer and on honor role in his junior year. we all survived and he is STILL filled with millions of quirks but that's all they are to us and to his friends...quirks. As he got older he was able to handle life's little curveballs a lot better than when he was 3 or 5 or takes infinite patience to parent and if i can offer any advice to you it is to do what YOU feel is right in your gut and to stop beating yourself up over any decisions you make, you are doing the best you can.


You really do have some of the best readers. The comments pretty much sum up anything I had to say. And I agree with them all!

Parsing Nonsense

Your son's preschool teacher sounds like a jack-ass. Aren't they supposed to teach tact in preschool classes? You're doing great, and one day you will have the answers. Keep your chin up!


My heart breaks for you. I know how scary it can be to raise a child and worry that you're not making the right decisions. Just try to block out everyone else, as your intuition usually knows what's best for your child. Until then, hugs to your whole family.


I love the last paragraph of this entry. It made me cry and cry. I feel that exact way when I look at my boys, and it literally breaks my heart to think of anyone ever thinking anything else of them.


I don't have any advice, but I think you are doing the right things.

Also, if you ever want someone to tell the moms/nannies at the playground where they can put their judgey looks, just say the word.


Oh, Amy. I only know what I read here, but I truly think that Noah is FINE.

My eldest is "quirky" and his teacher thought he might need to see a psychologist, but NO. He's unique, not in need of "help"

The fact that Noah is fine when he is at home is a testament to the fact that he is FINE. YOU are fine.

It will all be fine.


I certainly can't offer anything that hasn't already been said. You inspire me, you're an amazing mother who's making all the best decisions she can make and doing the best she can under the circumstances. It'll get easier when you know more, in the meantime, big e-hugs are coming your way!

Hang in there!

Dixie La Pierre

Please go see the Montessori school. I think the preschool is a bad fit. The teacher going on and on and on about her baby, that is well horrid. Your baby having meltdowns, you having meltdowns. Oh Sweetie. If I were there, I would distribute teddy bears, hot chocolate and pizza and hugs to everyone. It will get better.


You are doing such a fabulous job with your little guy. I just ache for you reading this. It really sounds like his school is the one messing up. They misled you into enrolling him and now he has to deal with it most of all - not fair. I really hope the Montessori school is better for him - I think it sounds good. Like you said, no circle time. Child-led learning is a good way to go for many kids.


Another comment about how lucky Noah is to have you and Jason and Ezra and vice versa. You have not failed at anything.


You know what, he has you and he will be ok. Because you are the Mamalah and you are definitely doing the right thing...the worrying and second-guessing and the loving. You guys are in my thoughts.


Big hugs. You are a wonderful mommy and Jason is a wonderful daddy and together with your fabulous boys you are a fantastic family. Pleez do not hate yourself for choosing this preschool. Yes, it's a shitty-shitty school and it has been one hell of a bad experience, but they lied to you and have been major-ass bastardz, whereas you have only been lovely and pretty and caring and fantastic and a great mommy.

Big, big, big internets hugs. And hope.


Now, I don't have children, let alone children with special needs. However, I saw the word Montessori and had to delurk. I went to a Montessori school from 16 months to 6 years. Montessori schools are THE BEST type of preschool education. I'm sure you've done all kinds of reading on it, but I can't stress it enough. They are good for all kids: smart kids, slow kids, special quirky kids, totally normal kids, because they really stress letting everyone do everything at their own pace in their own way, while challenging them to do their very best. They focus on the joy of learning, and teaching children HOW to learn within their own skill set. I truly think that Montessori will be a great option for Noah. He's a bright kid who needs a school that understands that despite his differences. The Montessori method is known for doing that. I hope this makes you feel a little better, and I really hope you have as good of a Montessori experience as everyone else I know has.


I'm so sorry that everything is not going better for you. It will be easier when you have some answers and stop spending days in that haze of what if's and maybe's.
It will get better. You will make more mistakes but you will also do your best to fix those mistakes. We all try to do the right things. We try to take all the information we have and spin it into the best thing for our kids. Sometimes we're wrong. And then we start over. You can't beat yourself up over it and eventually (I hope) our children will realize how everything we did and tried to do was in their best interest even if it didn't work out as perfectly as we hoped.

Hugs. And you made me cry. at work. again. Thank god I can blame it on the pregnancy hormones. Good Luck!


Made. Me. Cry... Because WTH. Ugh.. Oh I don't even know..
I understand that you're frustrated and it makes me frustrated also... With the school.. with the school district... With everyone you're frustrated with...
Really? 3 year old soccer... Really? Really? Really? to all of it and to all of them.
You're not doing ANYTHING wrong. The school is wrong.
You're doing an AWESOME job with BOTH your kids...
Keep it up and eff everyone else..


I'm sorry you're having such a tough time. Those teachers ought to be ashamed of themselves.

I am a trained special ed. teacher/ABA therapist/inclusion specialist (whew! what a mouthful) so if you'd like to send any questions my way I'd be happy to answer them.

Jen L.

Noah has one great thing going for him: Excellent, loving parents. The fact that you think these things through so thoroughly and take time to make sure he's okay speaks volumes about what kind of parents you and Jason are. You're doing your best, which is all anyone could ask or expect. You know Noah better than anyone--you'll figure it out. Lots of hugs being sent your way.


You are doing a great job. Noah is wonderful and is going to be so much better than fine. Hang in there Amy.


I think you need a dirty reason to laugh (as emailed to me by my super religious tea drinking friend this morning - which makes it 400 times funnier and my laptop screen quite dirty after I spit my coffee on it):

A sexually active woman tells her plastic surgeon that she wanted her vaginal lips reduced in size because they were too loose and floppy.

Out of embarrassment she insisted that the surgery be kept a secret and the surgeon agreed.

Awakening from the anaesthesia after the surgery she found 3 roses carefully placed beside her on the bed. Outraged, she immediately calls in the doctor. 'I thought I asked you not to tell anyone about my operation!'

The surgeon told her he had carried out her wish for confidentiality and that the first rose was from him: 'I felt sad because you went through this all by yourself.'

'The second rose is from my nurse. She assisted me in the surgery and empathized because she had had the same procedure done some time ago.'

'And what about the third rose ?' she asked.

'That's from a man upstairs in the burn unit. He wanted to thank you for his new ears.'


I second what everyone else has said about your being a wonderful mother, about Noah knowing he is loved, and about you trying your very hardest for him and that mattering an awful lot.

I'll also add that while it's true this is an important time developmentally to be around other kids, you're absolutely right that he could also just need a few more days at home. One of my best friends "dropped out" of preschool and spent 3 mornings a week having tea parties with her mom in the back yard. She still had some play group and other social interraction, but she just liked being home, with its comfort, familiarity, and routine. She came out of her shell more in 4th and 5th grade and in college she was the social chair of her sorority. I'm trying to downplay any of Noah's unique and very real issues that you are so right to be proactive about, but just wanted to say that not having a great preschool experience happens and is not necessarily a reflection on his future social abilities.

Thinking of you and hoping you find some comfort in knowing you're doing everything you possibly can- 20/20 hindsight be damned. The most important thing is that Noah knows home is a warm, loving place where he feels comfortable enough to be himself.


I am a special needs high school teacher, and if my students had belonged to parents like you--parents who CARED and ANALYZED and drove themselves crazy trying to determine the best choice/school/next step, I guarantee they would not have needed our classroom. Every single person on earth has special needs and needs a particular kind of setting to feel comfortable and learn, and you are doing a beyond-exceptional job figuring out what Noah's needs are.


I know it would be a hual for you, but I think this would be an amazing place for Noah. They even have a county special needs worker in the classroms every single day b/c they work with many children with many different needs. Please call and talk to Melissa, the director.


I cannot believe he got kicked out of soccer for doing exactly what was appropriate. My kids are 5, almost 3 and 16 months. Soccer at that age is running around. As a friend of mine put it, it's like watching a bunch of atoms bounce around. The fact that they could not understand that speaks volumes. And everyone picks the wrong preschool at first. The first one is the test kid. For all of us. As are the second and third.


it's going to get better. promise...


I think you do know and you will always know and you said it in your last paragraph. Which includes the fact that you can never REALLY know and if you're waiting for certitude, the cows will come home.


Sometimes, I wonder if maybe the problem is that we expect WAAAAY too much of kids at a much too early age. When I was a kid, in the small farming community where I grew up, there was no such thing as preschool. Your first experience with school was when you were 5 years old, and by then most kids were old enough to handle things like sitting still and following directions. If some kids were a little slow to mature at things, they had usually caught up by then. Sometimes, I wonder if the reason that so many kids are diagnosed with so many more things these days is because 30 years ago, when you just wanted to stay home with Mommy and your little brother and eat some Cheerios in your jammies, that was a-okay. Nobody thought it was because your kid needed more socialization and more help from specialized programs. It was because he was THREE-YEARS-OLD and sometimes 3-year-olds just aren't ready to be big kids yet. Sometimes they need a year or two more to mature, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! Or maybe I'm completely of base. I don't know.

I guess I just wanted to show some solidarity. If you think he needs more time at home with you, you are the Mommy, and you know him best. Trust your gut.


I'm so sorry things are so hard :( and wish I had the magic answer for you. But just remember that you are doing a great job. Even though this school experience may have been traumatizing for you, it doesn't mean the next one will be. Keep trying different things and following your instincts, and you will find what works for Noah.


I do hope that you hang in there and sending good thoughts your way!

I want to say that my son did soccer this past fall and they did some teaching of the rules but mostly the 3 year olds all ran around and kicked the ball and did not pay attention to the "coach". I guess I feel like that is how 3 should be, you know? It is likely more intense with Noah but he sounds so much like my son in many ways.


Okay, so I don't have kids, but my brother is autistic, so I have 28 years of half-assed vicarious experience, and let me tell you, you are doing the right thing.

Absolutely doing the right thing.

It is not the teacher's job to offer her judgment about what's wrong with Noah. It is her job to teach Noah. She seems to be piss-poor at it. So, tell her to stuff it and take Noah somewhere else.

Is that Montessori? Maybe. But everyone else who has said that you should go with how you feel and how you think Noah feels is right. Try Montessori. Ask them what happens if you get the funding/classes/etc. that you're working on. Ask all sorts of obnoxious questions. You're his MOM. You are ENTITLED.

Also, FWIW, I still have a picture of me from preschool. I am standing, in a smock, in front of a tub of water, shaking cornstarch out of a shaker into the water. That's it. Not interacting with other kids, just playing. I think it was a lot simpler when we were kids, so if cheerios and pajamas helps, go for it.

And the haters can suck it. So there for my 32-year-old maturity.


My heart goes out to you.
We've had some issues with change and transition with one of our twins and I bought the book "What Your Explosive Child is Trying to Tell You". I haven't read all of the book yet but what I have read makes sense - especially when it comes to navigating transitions. I included the link below. Oh, and my boys did soccer for the first time last fall when they were just about to turn 6. All the kids do is run around and kick the ball when it comes to them. None of them know the rules, nor do they care to. It's supposed to be fun!! Good luck to you.

Her Bad Mother

Oh, sweetie. I know. I don't know, *exactly*, but sort of, and my heart is all clenchy for you.

(PS - if you do decide to explore Montessori, remind me to send you the link to a post I wrote last year about trying to make that decision for Emilia - who is, um, spirited - there were a lot of super useful comments about what to look and what to avoid for kids with different needs.)


Operation Pink Herring

I still need those mornings to eat Cheerios in my jammies, with no expectations and no demands... and I am 28. Who DOESN'T need a mental health day (or three) once in awhile?


I would try the Montessori school. Both my boys went to one and I have nothing but wonderful things to say about it. It was expensive but well worth it. You know, not all things work for all kids. And that's fine. It's just hard to tell that to a teacher that assumes they know everything.


It seems like these schools just want their students to fit some sort of "perfect child" mold they arbitrarily create to minimize the work they have to do. He doesn't want to sit in circle time? Gasp! How abnormal! Are you kidding me???? I find a child who doesn't always want to be part of the group to have leadership qualities. This is just one example of many. I think you're doing the right thing and following your instincts fits right into that. I have a 2.5 year old in Montessori and if you have any questions on it, please email me and I will be happy to share. It was difficult to start at first, but now it's his favorite place to be and he's learned much much much! Any questions, don't hesitate to ask....and don't listen to parents of children with autism or PDD when they tell you something is "classic" as far as symptoms go. I know they mean well, but having a child with any of those disorders does not an expert make. EVERY child is different, and only YOU know yours.

Christy Thomas

Don't blame yourself for picking the wrong one, you never know it's wrong until you give it a try.

I think you're doing the best you can with what you have. And your son probably knows that and loves you even more for that.

One day at a time.

PS. My 2nd is just a couple weeks younger than your 2nd. It's fun to read what he's doing and know mine will be doing that soon!


I raised a special needs girl--some things worked and some things didn't. But, I think it is important not to let the school treat you like you owe them something. Noah is their client/customer/charge. If they cannot care for him, move him out as soon as you can. (You wouldn't tolerate this behavior from your hair dresser! You'd go to a new salon without feeling guilty because you would know it was the hairdresser's job to meet your needs.) So often with special needs kids, time is your greatest asset. We didn't even begin help for our kiddo until she was four--and now she's grown, with an apt., a job, and a dog!

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