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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.

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Comments

Springsteen fan

Amy, don't forget that the only way you figured this out was to try to do your best--and you were being a GREAT mom and you still are. That's what you continue to do, even when you don't know exactly what to do. Sometimes you will get crap results, and sometimes you won't, but just keep trying. That's parenthood every day, with or without Noah's special specialness. Adapt and overcome. Like the Marines. We love you.

mama bell

I have a Noah too - he just turned 4! Been reading your blog for a few months... your Noah sounds much like my Noah.

I've felt and experienced the same things as you... My Noah aged out of early intervention, didn't qualify for the district's special-ed program, been to a million doctors - all of which are puzzled - he has sensory issues, but he's very verbal and we tried preschool for a WHOLE week and are preschool dropouts! I've read thousands of articles, books, and we finally decided he just isn't ready for school. Being home has been the best thing for him... now mind you, we do lots of homeschool stuff and sometimes I think I'm going off my rocker, but setting aside "safe" experiences for him (like a mom & me gymnastics class, a mom & me dance class, regular playdates, and trips around town) has been great for him and REALLY helped bring him out of his shell. Plus, just giving him time to figure out how to cope in new situations has made a world of difference and we're seeing positive steps forward!

I'm a teacher by profession and never would have thought that MY kid would have a hard time at a "real" school - as he calls it - or in social situations or in soccer (what a joke!) or with just effing changing something as mundane as the color of his toothbrush.

I've got a 2 year old and she's a whole different being - very easy-going, social, happy, eats well, etc.... amazing how one can do the same thing with both kids and they're still so different.

It's okay... you're your kids' best advocate and you know what's best for your family. Hang in there and remember that they're only little once, make life as easy as possible, and enjoy it.

Amanda B.

I'm totally on board with the visit idea.

Just an idea - print out a map of where you're going when you visit new places or go new ways to the park. You could put a picture of the park/store/preschool/grandparents on the page, label the pictures, paste it all together on construction paper, laminate them and keep them in the car. He could help make it too. Noah could pick the color he likes best. Certain colors help letters to be grounded visually for different people. It might help him transition better if he has a visual cue/reference. Sorry if this is long winded, I'm a teacher trying to help from Alaska. :)

bessa

You'll figure it out. And in the meantime, you just need to love him, which you're clearly doing. The clock is not ticking as loudly as you think.

Lorri

Aside from any special services he qualifies for, is there any reason to even send Noah to preschool? It sounds to me like he's getting everything he needs at home. As for socialization - honestly, a child growing up in a healthy home environment is learning all the social skills he needs on a daily basis.

I sent my 3 yo to preschool because it was the thing to do. What a disaster! We lasted a month and I brought him home. Never in a million years would I have thought we'd be homeschooling, but now 7 years later, he and his sister are normal, well adjusted children.

Even if you don't ever want to homeschool, don't discount letting Noah just be at home instead of going to preschool (special services aside).

chalkboardstudies

I guess I'm puzzled over your consideration of a Montessori school. They don't really seem structured for helping children with special needs. I read over their Standards pages online just now and it's not mentioned, unless they've recently added a special needs program. I always heard, and assumed, they normally had children attending there with a high level of autonomy who can focus and achieve the goals they are given with ease; i.e. they don't require a lot of supervision. If they've expanded their program to meet Noah's problems, that would be great.

Brandi

Go with your gut. That is all you can do. If he hasn't done well at the school its time for a new one. Ofcourse thats easy to say. But, you do need the help of professionals doing the evaluations to help pick the new school. The problem with evaluations is that one hr is not long enough to make a diagnosis. Here in CA school districts are required to do evals of 3 yr olds if a parent or doctor asks. My town has 2 preschools that are free for special needs kids who are speech delayed to autistic. Then there is a private school for autism. It seems like you've found every place like that near you and its just taking forever...keep harping on the school district and any free gov't programs because SOMETIMES they are better than the pricy private places.

Jess

I don't know if you've seen this blog (http://sometimeswedo.blogspot.com) but both you and she are wonderful mothers and from time to time she writes about the montessori school her kids attend, including just this past week or so.

Noah seems like a wonderful boy and that won't change.

Teri

That lady who wrote "eat, Pray, Love" says that if you don't listen to your body's whispers you will eventually listen to it's screams. Your body is screaming at you. Panic attacks when picking up your little boy are a big big sign. Can't you withdraw him completely until you find a better situation? I'm sorry you're going through such a hard time.

Plano Mom

From this post I can definitely say that you DO KNOW one thing FOR SURE - you know your child. That's all that matters, and you're a great parent BECAUSE you worry about these things. You're doing the right thing because you're NOT doing NOTHING.

Kristine

We made the wrong day care choice originally. He's no worse for the wear, but he's definitely thriving in his new digs. It might be worth it to try the Montessori out. I'm just saying that you're not alone - and you shouldn't beat yourself up for making the best decision you could with the information you had at the time. That's all any of us can do.

slrd

Without any knowledge whatsoever of what has been ruled out or what others have suggested, it sounds a bit like asperger syndrome. At least, the car trip to the park story sounds similar to what my cousin's symptoms are. He's fully functional, smart, he just doesn't do changes. His mother has to prep him for any little thing that might be different than his normal routine and should one thing shift, he loses it.

Whatever it comes to, I'm pulling for you. Here's hoping for a quick and ultimately beneficial reply.

Kate

I'm pregnant with my first, so I have absolutely no first hand experience with this. BUT my mother has often told me that she is so happy that she didn't know about some of the diagnosis out there for kids these days, because she would have for sure had my brother pegged for Asperger's Syndrome. My brother is now 32 with a family of his own, and a PhD to boot. And he is completely normal as he was most of his life.

Of course you're going to get him evaluated, and you should, but do not question your supreme awesomeness as a mother. And allowing him to be quirky and different is exactly the right thing to do. It's what makes him who he is. How boring this world would be if kids all grew up to be exactly the same, under some suffocating societal norms.

Enjoy your little guy. he's perfect the way he is.

Katie

totally have tears in my eyes reading this, amy. i feel for you - i know very little about your situation even though i'm a psychologist and theoretically should know something about all of this. all i can tell you is that i've read your blog for years and i think you are a great and wonderful mom and i want to give you a big e-hug.

Sandy

I am living this exact nightmare. We got our diagnosis of 'somewhere on the spectrum' TWO FARKING hours ago. I am at a total loss as to what to do next. What should I do about school next year? Public, private or fark them all and just stay home. I don't know what to do...so I'm here reading about you.
I'm sending hugs your way and, if I could, I'd send lots of chocolate and wine too.

lulu

You are amazing and you're doing great! I'm half-way through the incubation period of my first child, and I'm prone to panicky attacks of the "what if's" all the time. Reading your thoughts here makes me feel like no matter what happens, everything will be alright. You might feel like a failure sometimes, but know that you're quite the inspiring opposite. Thanks!

Meg

Far be it from me to assume to be an expert because I most certainly am not. Plus you didn't ask...but my gut feeling after reading your post? Pull him out of preschool. He's not ready and it's not right for him now. Not every child needs or benefits from preschool and it is not necessary for his "socialization." If you do send him to preschool, send him to the Montessori one.

There, problem solved, ok? Now give yourself a break.

P.S. Both of my children went to different preschools and they weren't Montessori.

Jana

OK. It's going to be OK. Really. It will be. You are doing what is right, and while it is scary as hell to think that you might make another choice that isn't right, the fact remains that you've got to keep on trying.

For what it's worth (caution: assvice ahead), if the Montessori is a true Montessori, I'd give it a whirl.

Katze

This part of your post really caught my eye:
"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."

That was my younger sister. Not special needs enough to get help from the district, too special needs to succeed in the mainstream classroom without help (though her issues are of an entirely different nature than Noah's). It was, I will not lie to you, a struggle for her to get through high school.

But.

She has since gone on to earn an associate's degree, and within the next year, she expects to finish a B.A. So I don't know what my point is, but maybe it helps to hear about it. Maybe I'm just rambling. Either way, I know you're going through a hard time, and I'm hoping that they end soon for all of you.

JL

Oh man, I'm so sorry. You are doing a great job. He will be fine.

Also, did anyone ever tell you the no good very bad horrible awful trying your patience threes are sometimes worse than the terrible twos? Part of it may just be that. (Not trying to simplify things at all btw.)

Redd

You are definitely doing the right thing. You're helping Noah find where he fits, that's the most important thing.
I also third the take him to the Montessori school and see how he does. Teachers there are generally more helpful and nice.
Good luck and know that you are the most perfect mother for Noah.

Meg

Far be it from me to assume to be an expert, because I most certainly am not. But my gut feeling after reading your post? Pull him out of preschool. It's not for everyone and it's definitely not necessary for his "socialization." If you do decide to return him to preschool, try the Montessori.

There. Problem solved, OK? Now give yourself a break.

P.S. I have two children, both went to different preschools and they weren't Montessori.

laura

my son, who just turned seven, has SPD as well. he qualified for speech therapy through the school district (thanks kansas!) but nothing else. we went broke sending him to occupational therapy.

you're doing the best you can. you're not a mind-reader, you're not a time traveler. you're following your gut and that's what you need to do.

and you love him and accept him. that's what matters most.

bad penguin

Maybe I just don't know much about kids Noah's age, but I think it is pretty impressive that he knows which way you are supposed to turn to go home. Obviously, the rest of that particular story sucked, but you know, he's obviously smart.

I agree with whoever said you and Noah should go try out the Montessori school and see how it feels.

Oh, and having seen kids three times Noah's age confusedly running around the field trying to play soccer, I call bullshit on them kicking him out of the soccer program. Jerks.

Noelle

YOU ARE NOT A BAD PARENT! Keep telling yourself this. Bad parents don't give a crap about their kids and you obviously care a great deal about your boys.

A couple of my thoughts, mind you I'm not a professional child development expert, just a mom. Maybe Noah is a little quirky. Some kids are. I volunteer at my son's preschool (he is five) and there are some kids who don't like certain things, like loud noises, balloons, extreme changes (like a substitute teacher), we try to roll with it. My son had (and still has) a difficult time expressing himself. If he is frustrated he will throw himself on the floor and scream. Mind you, he is five, he just can't find the words sometimes. Maybe that is what happened with Noah at the park. Maybe he really didn't want to go to the park and he just couldn't find the words in time to tell you so when you got there it ended in a meltdown? He is only three! As far as the classroom situation goes, maybe he is shy in social situations? That would explain why he's better with you and your husband at home and doesn't want to participate at school. Extreme shyness can be a real bitch, you know? Is it possible for you to go to school one day and observe him in the classroom? If the teacher says he is better with you there maybe you might want to look into a cooperative nursery school where the parents help out more in the classroom like I do with my son. As far as the soccer program goes, all I can say is this, my son is five and his school has a music class every Monday morning. It takes place in a large room where the kids sit on rugs on the floor. My son has yet to participate in a full class. Most of his time is spent running laps around the room. His teacher says he just doesn't have the ability to sit still yet and she rolls with it.

Go easy on yourself with your choice of preschool. So they suck. Try a new one next year.

Most of all, keep your head up. YOU ARE NOT A BAD PARENT! YOU ARE NOT FAILING ANYONE!

Mel

I'm currently in grad school to be an OT...And recently made the huge decision that I would be focusing my career on children with PDD, Autism, and SPD.

I so wish I were at the point now that I could give you useful advice... :(

I have my fingers crossed for you. From what I've read on your blog over the last year or so...I don't see how he could possibly be turned down for services from the public school. If you haven't already, you need to research IDEA laws. Though I'm sure you have. I'm almost positive that what he is dealing with, his diagnoses, would be covered.

Good luck.

Meg

Rarely do I emerge from lurkdom to comment, but my gut reaction after reading your post? Pull him out of preschool. It is not for everyone and it certainly isn't necessary for his "socialization." I sometimes think preschool is more for the parents than for the kids - it gives them a break for a few hours a day! If you do decide to send him to preschool, I agree with the others to give Montessori a try.

There. Problem solve, OK? Now give yourself a break.

P.S. Both of my children went to different preschools and they weren't Montessori.

Diane

My sister has been working as a daycare teacher for years and I swear it jades their sensitivity and also gives a false sense of superiority to quite a bit of the teachers and directors in the field. More often than not, a lot of these women don't even HAVE kids, and then the ones that do/did think that their way of mothering and teaching is the only way and that the rest of us suck at it.

I agree with the parent/commenter who said to trust your little voice. You should not be having panic attacks about picking Noah up. If you are not going to unenroll him until you've found the best new school for him, and don't feel comfortable telling the teacher to get off her high horse, then tell the director to do it for you. Then get out of there and move on to the next school. Because it can and will be so much better than where he's at now. Period. You aren't a failure. Noah isn't failing being a little boy. THE SCHOOL is. Their attitude is a failure. Their lack of action and follow through on promises is a failure.

(Let me preface this with - not all schools, daycare centers, teachers, or administrators are awful. Most are average/ok. There are some fantastic teachers and schools out there. But now and then, there's a real gem of a crappy school or teacher -- or both!)

Once there's an issue with a school director or teacher over something at preschool, when we mothers are getting our feet wet, it's almost impossible to give that trust and comfort level back to the school. I've yanked my son out of a preschool program b/c of unsolicited 'advice' and criticism about my son from a director. Where do these people get off in thinking that the only way to postulate news about our children is in a negative form?? They happily take our money then turn around and somehow manage to find nothing nice to say about our children? Really, how hard is it? I mean, for parents with children in preschool, our kids are fucking 3 and 4 years old. They are not adults despite repeated attempts to train and peg them as such by daycare providers. I came to the conclusion that the negativity from 'bad' teachers and directors is because these people are unhappy in their own lives and make themselves feel better by passing their unhappiness around. They should really reconsider their career choices.

If the Montessori school will let you do a half day or something with them free to test the waters for Noah (which they should, considering how much they cost, let alone how timid you are about choosing a new school now), I'd take them up on it. Then get your money back from the crappy school and make a complaint about them to the Better Business Bureau so another family doesn't have to go through what they put you through.

Amy, you are not doing a single thing wrong. Neither is Noah. He needs more help, but there is nothing wrong with that. Be his advocate first and in doing so, get the courage to be your own. You are a far better example of a mother than what you give yourself credit for, and perhaps should start doing.

Carrie

Dear Amalah,
Thank you for having confidence in your ability as a parent to give your son what he needs right now. With the value of preschool so emphasized these days (and I'm not saying it doesn't have benefits) I think sometimes we parents forget or haven't been told that we are also quite qualified in the field of our particular child's development.

Meg

OMG Amy, please delete all those extra comments of mine. I kept writing them over and over again because I didn't think they posted!

toni ferrick

Holy Cow! I had 4 kids and none of them went to preschool! They just went to indergarden when they were 5. Yikes did they get gipped?

mommymae

that soccer bullshit pisses me off. my 1st graders don't even know what the fuck they're doing. oy!

i'm sorry it is so hard on you. you will make a decision and it will be the best one you can make.

Colleen

Iknow exactly what you are feeling...I went thru the same thing with my now 8 year old. In preschool (age 31/2=4yrs) the 1st school I chose for him wanted him evaluated. The were convinced he was ADHD/Oppositional Defiant/Autistic/etc... I just knew him, as him. He was silly, liked some things a certain way, loooved routine, seemed to be in outerspace at other times, and active. They were very concerned that he didn't know how to use scissors, or write in a journal on the second day of school, among other things. I am a School Psychologist and I was baffled by their professionalism...but as a Mommy, I was hurt and anxious all the time. Turns out, the eval showed nothing except that he is able to learn and understand fine. His age was the problem because he was a December birthday. I kept him in preschool (somewhere else!) for an extra year and the time to mature has been well worth it. I don't know when Noah's b-day is, but you may want to consider this extra time to grow if he has a fall/winter b-day like my son.
He still experiences some anxiety (I won't tell you about the Firedrill in the beginning of this year!) but he is more of a leader in his class, and fits in fine. Follow your gut with Noah, don't be afraid to ask questions and not take no for an answer. Your boys are precious!

jill

Hugs and more hugs. :-)

My oldest son (10) has SPD and my best friend's eldest son (8) has PDD. Between the two of us, I know exactly how you feel... so defensive about your gorgeous gorgeous wonderful son, so angry at the system he's in, so outraged at unrealistic expectations (he's THREE!!! Soccer... pah), so bewildered by unexplained behaviour, and so confused about what's "normal" and what's "not". And so, sooo anxious about the future, about decisions, about what will be, and paralysed with choices in case it's the wrong one.

I also believe that you are doing exactly the right thing... cutting down his days, protecting your boy, and to heck with what the school thinks.

It's so difficult with these little ones to know what is the right thing, and the truth is, I suspect it's like most parenting - we do the best we can for our wonderful children, we pray, and then we fly by the seat of our pants and leave the rest up to the grace of G-d.

FWIW, I think the Montessori school sounds wonderful. My SIL is a Montessori teacher, and if there had been a Motessori preschool in our area when my son was younger, he would have been in there like a shot.

You are a wonderful wonderful mom, and you have the most amazing, most gorgeous, most wonderful son. More than anything, him knowing that you think he is the sun, the moon and the stars will be the thing that keeps him steering straight through life.

You go girl. Kick preschool butt and don't worry... nothing is as urgent as you think. :-)

Hugs again, and lots of love.

Jess

Since I don't have kids feel free to tell me to take my assvice and shove it...but I've been reading about you and Noah for a while now and I think a.) that you're doing such a good job parenting that little guy and b.) that you're putting WAY too much pressure on yourself to be right all the time. All our parents made mistakes and of course they regret them, but they learned and so did we from them.

I also think that the rest of Noah's life will be about following rules and structure and order. He's TWO! I think the Montessori sounds like a great option for a guy like him. There's way more freedom and once he's in the real world of elementary school he'll be expected to follow such strict schedules...maybe he should just get to be a kid now?

Lisa

The last part of the last sentence says it all. Continuing to view him with optimism and promise is the very best thing you can do for him. Because he IS a promising and precious little boy with great parents. He will be fine. I know it's tough to have a child with any differences...it is such an intensely personal thing no matter how we attempt to intellectualize it. You are NOT alone, and you're doing a fabulous job.

Tamara

Amalah,

Our kiddo's story is Soooo much like yours (he's now seven) that I keep trying to Stop reading your blog because I just want to talk to you so much, and provide some helpful (?) words because boy would I like to help you (or others) going through similar things.

Tamara

Oops, I meant to say, stop reading your blog only because I find it so frustrating to read about someone going through nearly the same issues I have (and right now! right in front of me!) and not be able to offer any kind words (or god forbid, assvice). Hell, I wanted (and still do) want all kinds of advice for my not-so-typical kiddo.

Kristen

I've been lurking on your blog for years and finally had to break my silence on this one. I am so sorry you are going through this. Your son sounds so much like my son at that age. We have done countless evals and the conclusion is that he is *quirky*. Not enough to be special ed or autistic, but just enough to struggle a bit in school.

I made the wrong choice for my son with his first preschool. I had the similiar feelings of panic every time I picked him up. I couldn't sleep the day before a conference. The whole thing made me a wreck. Finally I accepted that my son must feel the same way. Looking back, I think the teachers were a bit negative, and their expectations were unrealistic. I have him in a new school and he loves it. LOVES it. Don't be afraid to change, even if it costs you money. It is so worth the mental energy you save.

I also have to comment on the teacher thing. My son has someone very similiar in his life, with an autistic son. She is constantly observing my son and pointing out every negative characteristic. It's like she's on an autism witch hunt. I know my son is smart enough to pick up on it. I finally decided that this energy was just not good for him, or for me. We kind of avoid this person now. If his own teacher is like that, I wouldn't blame you at all for pulling him out. No matter what their issues, kids are little sponges that pick up on things like negative projection and judgement, just like we do. I say run from this lady. RUN!

Amanda

I found this blog for the first time today. I am heartbroken, and encouraged. I feel like, with the exception of the issues with putting his coat on in the same place every day, I could have written this same thing myself. We're only at the beginning of the very long road, as we've just had our EI referral, but for some reason it makes me feel so much better to see that I am not the only one who is in a complete panic over my son's issues at preschool. Thanks for letting me into your world - it really helped.

Julie @ Angry Julie Monday

I'm totally there with you. It seems all we ever do is schedule dr.'s appointments. My son was diagnosed with ADHD and OCD in March. The doctor suggested Autism also.

It's amazing how much he's changed in almost a year. He will be 4 in May. You need to find what works for you. Even if you have to change preschools 4x in a year. We kept getting calls from Caden's school about his behavior. He was acting out and biting other children. We've found some good teachers to work with him, and understand his issues about scheduling, leaving him alone, etc. He is much better.

I hope you can find ur happy place.

It's hard being a mommy!

Erica

Oh, dear, this is hard. You are in such a hard, hard, difficult place.

Hang in there.

At the end of the day, what kids need are parents who love them, and beyond a doubt, Noah has that. You have already given him the most important, most enduring thing. You are giving it to him, and you will continue.

You will also keep trying, keep doing, and there will be good decisions and not as good decisions and when he is grown up, what will matter is that he had parents who loved him no matter what and he will know it.

Hang in there.
This is really, really difficult, and hard, hard work. And you are doing it. A+ 100 for you!

Laura

Hi- keep listening to your inner voice and keep pushing. The school does sound like it's not living up to its promises. As a special ed. teacher, I cannot believe his teacher is telling you what she thinks he has. It is so very not her place, even if she has years of experiance! (I've thought things about my students before, but would NEVER have the nerve to say it to the parents- I'm not a doctor)
My advice, if you can, is to get an advocate to come with you to meetings/appointments/evals. Advocates (sometimes just the threat of one coming) have ways of making things happen NOW. (sure, being on the other side of it's annoying, but one I always support my parents on)
Also, the idea of video taping him when his routine is disrupted is a great idea.
Best wishes and hugs!

Tamara

Here's some Assvice!

1) even though it's very expensive (until you can *maybe* get insurance to cover it), your local teaching hospital/university probably has an autism testing group. Whether or not Noah has autism, he does have autistic-like features (which can be different, and doesn't mean he has autism).

Point is, once you get a medical evaluation, (and potential diagnosis... which will be wrong probably because it just will...but that's not relevant at the moment)...

insurance will then *maybe* be required to pay for a speech path etc.

Also, you might get a case worker (a medical professional with intimate knowledge about autistic issues) who can help you deal with the behaviors. And that would be god-send. (I freakin' love our case-worker) They can also help with resources and information.

Mrs. Tantrum

Breathe. First off he is THREE, not THIRTY THREE and I will gladly hop the next plane to the left coast to kick some butt of the people at that school who are trying to make Noah and the other children there anything but. Secondly I put Bacon in a co-op preschool at three and he was KICKED out, because he couldn't sit at circle and a bunch of other BS. Later we found out he had Asperger's which doesn't mean much now, BUT at the time I was out of my head. I also learned that he is going to have his whole life to be in school, so if he isn't there now wait another year and try again. If you can't find someone who can work with his needs, then you need to keep searching, because they need to realize that he is special (as all kids are) and needs a little bit different guidance and more time to blossom.

The time between 3 1/2 and 4 1/2 was MUCH better. He still has his stiff as a board tantrum moments, but we know how to smile and wave when those hit.

Good luck. I'm thinking of you, and if you need anything....I'm on the right coast ready to kick ass and take names.

Kellie

I could have written this word for word 3 years ago. I felt every word you wrote so deeply and I get it.

I am feeling for you with what's going on. All I can do again is promise you that you will get through this time and get some answers. You just have to go through the fire right now.

The driving story made me laugh (I know it's not funny)because my son would do that same thing. It was so stressful and we both would just look at each other and cry, not understanding what the other one was thinking. It was awful.

I am excited for the day when you guys get a full eval. and really get some help. Until then, I am thinking about you guys.

Debbi

Just wanted to share my story - my now-5-year-old was so much as you describe Noah when he was 2-3. We did EI and evals and got a PDD diagnosis - butbutbut - after a year of OT and some speech therapy, we started him (at 5) in mainstream, full-day preK, and he LOST his PDD diagnosis 2 months later. He's still quirky, he still won't wear shirts with faces on them, and he still struggles with transitions, but he is SO much more "normal" and happy and accommodating than he was a couple years ago. The choices we made in his treatment were not all perfect, but no one wrong thing we did kept him from developing way beyond where we (and the drs) thought he would. Hang in there - Noah sounds like a great kid and your best effort is good enough, I promise!

Tamara

Yet more assvice!

My husband recently bought this book (below), and told me he would babysit the kids while I went to the coffee shop and read a specific chapter out of it (the one about managing autistic behaviors).

Firstly: to have my husband do this meant, whoa, he actually thinks this is super important. Also, I've read just about every book about autism already (before I had kids!) and he knew that. So it'd take a really good reason for him to ask me to read this one.

So I did. (Side note: Our son isn't really autistic, but he does have autistic features. And for example, I have started to dread spending time with him for fear of his tantrums (mild to most, but still very hard to deal with, for me and my husband). He'd tantrum about all kinds of things. It put me on edge all of the time. which is putting it lightly. He's an absolutely amazing and endearing person, and the fact that I've started to dread being with him for fear of the tantrums was starting to tear me up inside.)

the chapter in this book was amazing about talking about and ways to deal with the tantrums, and point of this all is:

Noah's screaming... I soooo get that. and I really want you to read (at least) part of this book because it'll help. It really really will.

Link below.

http://education.ucsb.edu/autism/OvercomingAutism.html

Rachel

I'm so sorry things are rough right now. I think it sounds like you're doing everything you can for Noah and that you're a great mother. You're in my thoughts.

Sarah

Thank goodness Noah has such amazing parents. I don't know if I believe in that whole "everything happens for a reason" business, but it certainly seems to me that you are MEANT to be his mother, and fight for him and advocate for him and love him so much, no matter what. He needs that and needs you and you are doing great, Amy:-) Strength and peace to you guys.

Monica

I could have written almost every word of this. It's as hard to read as it is to write. I'm so sorry you're going through this. We did end up pulling our son out of pre-school way back in October. Our intention was always to find him a new one, but I felt such anxiety about how he would be treated that here we are practically in March and he's still home. I'm not convinced that I'm doing what's best for him. He could use more socialization, for sure, and less time playing the Wii. But, I feel kind of frozen with fear.

I find it difficult when people say that I know my son best because while that is true, I don't always know what it best for him out there in the real world, you know? I don't always know, for example, if I'm being naive in thinking his issues are simply not that difficult to handle in a classroom setting.

I'm sorry. I'm not helping. I just know what you're going through and it seems we're both trying to find our way out of this. You're not alone, for what that's worth.

Tamara

http://www.stixrud.com/about.asp

Ok, I can't vouch for the group above, but if you want to pursue more formal evaluation for Noah, this group might be a good place to start. (Silver Spring, MD)

Kris

I read your blog daily but rarely comment for fear of sounding like an ass...but here goes. I am a teacher, and taught pre-school for YEARS. I am appaulled with the school that Noah is currently enrolled at. From what you have said you can't even imagine how much I dislike THOSE people...they are completely no where even close to professional!! Anyhow, I think a change of school is absolutely warranted. It could be no worse than your current situation but chances are it will be 150% better as a number of commenters have said! If I might also say the next time that teacher talks about HER autistic son punch her in the face for me. That is so unprofessional. A TEACHER does not diagnose autism or any other issue like of special needs, she should keep her mouth shut and stop causing you so much stress! *big breath* LOL. From what you've said, you are doing AWESOME for your son. Don't discount the things YOU are doing and how great that is. K.

Tamara

Hate to be a pest,
(and I'm not saying Noah has autism, really, only saying that the resources out there for autism will probably help his as well.)

Check out this link for what looks like to be a really nice site for MD support for autism.
-Tamara

http://www.pathfindersforautism.org/NewlyDiagnosed.aspx

MsCellania

Go visit every school in which you're thinking about enrolling Noah, with Noah. Leave Ezra with his dad or babysitter (cringe, but you need to concentrate on Noah for this). See what the teachers do with young Master Noah.
I've been in your shoes. Not quite out of them yet, at 7 in first grade. But my little love slug gets better and better. He did go to a special needs District preschool for 3 years (got an extra year). We've had speech therapy, OT, some energy work and cranial-sacral work, all of which has helped.
Do you have a local developmental disabilities center? They got us tons of therapy, partially funded by ADA, also State, City and private funding. Then our school district took over when he turned 3 and qualified for district preschool.
And, I don't know what others have said in their responses, but I would talk to the Director of Noah's current school about his teacher's attitude. She's way off base. Any time you are avoiding a teacher, the school has a problem. And it's not your child...
You are going to make GREAT choices for Noah. Have good faith in yourself, because you and your husband care about your beautiful sons, and they came to you for good reason - you are equipped to parent them.

JZMom

I'm reading this late and haven't read all of the comments and maybe everyone else has already said this but OHMYGAWD GET HIM OUT OF THAT SCHOOL NOW!!!!!!! I promise - schools aren't awful, horrible places of torture where people don't care about individual children and their parents. We are GOOD PEOPLE, I tell ya!
When my nephew was in kindergarten, I went to a TEAM meeting on him because my brother was so frustrated by the teacher, but more by his lack of understanding of how schools work and what he really could ask for. I'm a teacher, and know how to work the system, so I said that I would go as his advocate. (We didn't say, until the end, that I was James' aunt.) At one point, I turned to the teacher and said, "Do you even like James?" My brother was initially horrified, but in the end glad that I had asked...the question needed to be out there. It also let my brother look like the normal one, no matter what crazy-ass demand he made. I think they also were afraid he would have me come back. Needless to say, James had an AWESOME teacher for first grade.
Let me know if you want me to come to Noah's school. I can kick some ass, and you end up looking good in the end.

alison

I think you should take him out of his preschool and figure out another way for him to interact with his peers. It sounds like the school gives you the creeps because you know how they feel about Noah. He's a smart boy and I'm sure he feels it too. Nobody wants to be where they feel left out or different, and if they're making him feel that way, then he shouldn't be there. Shame on them for making a little boy feel that way.

I hope you get some answers soon.

TodayWendy

Big huge hugs. Noah's going to be just fine. You'll get all this figured out, and it sure sounds rough, but in the long run you're going to get him into the right spot and he's going to be totally fine! And thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one who totally panics and figures that nothing will ever be ok again, ever.

Beth

Have you been hooked up with a neurodevelopmental (or just plain developmental) pediatrician yet? In my experience, they're great at ferreting out details, doing testing and helping you to advocate for services (if you need any). We are fortunate enough to have three of them where I work.

(I'm sure you've heard every suggestion in the book about Noah. Your job is hard enough as a mom. I'm just coming from my perspective as a pediatrician.)

Jenn

I've commented a few times, just because I relate so much to what you're going through (been through) with Noah. Our little one is almost 4, with no diagnosis. However, we've done the speech/social/cognitive therapy, and then he "graduated" early intervention...woohooo..except, no, not really- we'd like him to keep making progress. I made a craptastic preschool choice for him last year- in the hopes of just getting some (more!) socialization- only to be greeted with "Cade had to see the principal...again...today". It broke my heart. So this year, we took a deep breath, opened our wallets, and sent him to a Montessori school. Now, it's not some miracle cure, but it FITS for Cade. And thank God, Hallelujah- they get his quirks-he thrives in the solo work, but they also have some circle time so he can work on his socialization part, too. So anyway, this is an awfully long way around saying- you will find what works for Noah. It might take some trial and error, but what doesn't with parenthood, right? Hang in there...

Jeanette

He's two. Does he really *need* to be in preschool?

Screw preschool. Take him to the park or Burger King playground for socialization. Have play dates.

Seriously. Preschool shouldn't make your life miserable. Obviously he thrives and blossoms at home where he is relaxed and loved.

kim at allconsuming

OH DUDE, my heart is hurting because we too have been in exactly the same place - different child, different special needs but same whatifwhatifwhatifwhatif mantra.

What can I say? What can I tell you?

Nothing you are not already doing because you and Jason are the best parents this little man could ever ever hope for.

Yes, mistakes get made but you know what - you have seen they were mistakes and guess what - you see the mistake and you adjust, change course, look anew, investigate other options.

That whole sense of time and the PRESSURE of it all? All I can do is hold you close in my heart and tell you that that does ease and that the wrong kindy for a year is not the disaster it feels like it is at the moment. Because when he is 8, 18, 35 he will not go, 'you know, if you just hadn't dumped me at that god-awful INEPT kindy for that year I'd be a Rhodes Scholar by now'.

I know that doesn't make it any better, but hopefully that it comes from the mother of a child with significant special needs and learning difficulties it might ease that vice grip on your heart just a little.

Also - a friend who had a special needs daughter much older than Oscar and who worked as a counsellor to people said to me - warned me even - that we would reach a point of burn-out around the age of 3 1/2 - 4. Both he and me she said. And that you need to take a breather, slow down and just let the kid be for a while.

Jasper - who is my 3 year old (born about 2 weeks after Noah) is at pre-school two days a week, next year will be three and the year after that will be school. So cut yourself some slack there too about how many days he's doing.

OH, so much else I could go on and on about. But most of all - do exactly what you're doing and try to piss-off out of that place he's at as soon as you can.

OH - one last thing - Oscar briefly went to a pre-school where the director was all 'we can handle him' and then was all 'he's still mouthing toys, he's having toileting accidents, the other children are doing this but he is not, the staff can't handle him blah blah blah' and I actually took it all on and had anxiety attacks about it - until a mother, who was the P&C pres, came up to me one day after yet another conversation w/ the director that almost had me in tears and said, 'I just overheard what she was saying to you and that is just unacceptable'. I was all - what? Is it? I mean, he's not like that at all at home and etc etc etc.

It took that third party to empower me. To make me say, how you are talking to me about my child is totally unacceptable. That we know full well his limitations and issues - just as we know his personality and his positives.

It went to the pre-school council (it was church run) who were HORRIFIED - and anyway, an already long story short - she was fired! Anyway, they offered us a place at their sister kindy (while the whole process was underway of warnings etc) and when we went up there it turns out the staff adored him and weren't having any issues at all it was the director who just didn't get it.

I'm telling you this as a way of saying to you - you can say to this woman (or someone above her?) "You know, I dread coming to pick Noah up because all I get from you is a litany of what he can't do, did wrong. Perhaps - as we are all aware of his issues - you could let us know what went well or what he enjoyed during the day?"

I'm serious. This woman has no idea she's making you feel this way and sometimes these people need a wake-up call to look for the good rather than the bad (because they think highlighting the bad is showing you that they are paying attention and recognise all his issues).

OH DUDE, if only I lived close by.

stephanie parnell

My heart goes out to you as I read this. My pastor's child just got diagnosed (finally) with what is "wrong" with him and it has been a very long journey (he is 6 or 7). I say that not to make it even more stressful for you, but because I believe you *will* get Noah figured out. I have seen my pastor's wife break down so many times in desperation, whispering in bewilderment..."what is wrong with my child..?". Just know that you are not alone Amy (her name is amy too ::grin::).

Michelle

Ugh. I'm a teacher of three-year-olds, and I can't help but think that anyone who expects them to 'kick the ball the right way' must either really enjoy saying the word 'no' a lot, or is looking for a one way ticket on the bullet train to teacher burnout.
You are making the right decision to look elsewhere.
I believe in my heart that all teachers should look at their students and see 'nothing but infinite ability and possibility'... I'll be sending out lots of positive thoughts hoping that you and Noah find one of the good ones soon!

swankette

As the mother of a four day old who is still occasionally a bit astounded that they actually let me take the kid home from the hospital and he is mine (and my husband's) to take care of over the next 18 years I just want to say a big THANK YOU for being willing to post about all of these issues that you are going through, because I can sincerely see that you are trying to do the best for your little guys and sometimes you might not get it right on the first try, but you just keep trying until you do get it right, and you still love them through all of that and still have some outstanding little guys.

Because when it's 3 am and I'm giddy with sleeplessness and my little guy is crying and I just can't figure out what to do to make it stop it makes it a LOT easier to know I'm not the first person to go through this. And that makes it a hell of a lot easier to get through the night.

Katie

I can't figure out how to say what it is I want to, except that Noah is such a sweet and delicious boy, and I wish for everything to fall smoothly into place for him, and I'll be cheering you guys along every step.

Anna

Amy, I'm a nursing student and I am totally aware that I know next to nothing at all, but the way you describe Noah, he just does not fit the typical "mold" of an Autistic kid. He really doesn't. I really think that he might just be at the wrong preschool! I can't believe they'd kick a little kid out of pretend soccer classes, seriously. This is not the Olympics. Hugssss to you.

Maureen

I think you're a great mom. Hang in there. You'll find a way.

Dayna

I think so many of us can look back and say we made wrong choices. You do the best you can with what you know at the time and when you know better, you do better.

I kept my 2nd & 3rd (twins) children at home until they were 4. They had early intervention services from age 2 and the county people thought I was CRAZY for not wanting to put them in preschool prior to that, but it didn't feel right to me.. they were not good communicators and they just didn't seem ready. A lot of people (including all the professionals at the county) argued that school was exactly what they needed. They went to 4K, did fine and then went to public Kindergarten, met a ton of friends whom they adore, and are now 1st graders reading and adding and subtracting and interacting like the rest of the bunch. We had sensory issues and low tone and all kinds of labels but y'know.. you just really have to follow your heart and while there is so much pressure to do the RIGHT THIIIINNNNG, sometimes the right thing is just relaxing and letting time iron things out. You'll know. ;) He's going to be fine.

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake

Amy, I hesitate to comment, but here I am. I have a son that has been questioned if he's autistic, Sensory, Aspergers, ADHD, OCD, what the hell, we don't know! We turned down the school's request to evaluate him because, well, a multitude of reasons, which is why I often free strange commenting on posts like yours here.

I know no two kids are the same, and that's especially true for these different kids. But if it helps any, I used to deal with the certain juice/certain cup thing - he outgrew it. The turn the wrong way/freak the fuck out? BTDT - he outgrew it. He wouldn't play with preschool classmates - he plays fine with kids now, albeit differently. I could go on and on about clothing, noises, crowds, birthday parties...

I'm not going to minimize your struggles by telling you it'll be fine since it turned out fine for my son - that'd be stupid for me to say. Our paths are similar, but not the same. I just want to let you know there is a light down this parenting tunnel.

What has helped me most with the anxiety and stress is to not go too far into the future. I ask myself what do we need to deal with right in this moment, and I deal with it. Otherwise, it's completely overwhelming. Oh, and also discovering our son is hypoglycemic was a HUGE factor in balancing out his seemingly "light switch" moments. Even now at 8, you can forget rational behavior from him if his blood sugar gets too low. I often wonder how many previous behavior issues would have been minimized if we discovered that tidbit before he was 8.

I think you are spot on with the down time and removing undue stress for him. You're doing a great job.

(Sorry for the epic-length comment. I try to avoid them, but, gosh, I know this pain.)

Kristen

I have been in your shoes. (Well, mine are probably larger because you look like a skinny minnie, and I'm well, not). But seriously, when my Annie turned 18 months old, it was like looking at a different kid. The Tantrums! She refused to make eye contact, would only repeat what she was told and it almost cost me my relationship with my mother when she insisted that my child was autistic. School thought she had hearing problems. The blessing? My pediatrician. He told me they were all full of shit. That Annie wasn't autistic (we had the evaluations to prove my mother wrong) and that in today's world, there is such an emphasis on the "normal" way to develop. Not everyone adheres to that timeline. Not everyone progresses at the same rate. Noah is different. Plain and simple.

Plus- he just had a baby brother come into his house. That alone, is a freaky thing to deal with, and most kids don't start showing signs of "transitional distress" to a new sibling until the new kid has been around for six months. Seriously. He's had his world rocked, and needs some time to adjust.

Hang in there. It does get better.

mere

Thank you for the end.

Daisy

Hey Amy? You are doing a good job.

You and Jason are *both* doing a good job.

You care and that is what counts. Noah is and sweet and healthy and has a sweet healthy baby brother and you know? This will be something you will look back on and go "Yup we did something about that" as you watch Noah go to prom or move into his freshman dorm in college.

You'll make a decision and it will be the best one you can make and then you go with it until it is time re-assess again.

All I'm saying is that there are a million kids out there who would be more than lucky to have you as a Mom- but for Noah & Ezra *they* get you as a Mom which makes them pretty darn lucky.

christine

Amy, I see it too. And the answers are out there. In the meanwhile, hug that precious boy tight and know that you are doing the best you can.

tutugirl1345

First of all, once Ezra's off the boob, you might want to get some Xanex for those attacks. Yes, being slightly high around your kids isn't great, but its better than frantically grasping on to something while you try to stay upright and breathe.

Second, I'm not a mom. But as someone who is just wriggling out of the clutches of her parents, I can tell you this: My parents made a lot of mistakes when they were raising me. I was there first born. It was bound to happen. (I'm betting even the Duggars make mistakes with their youngest every once in a while.) But despite mistakes about choosing who to care for me, what environments I learned best in, etc, I still came out a smart, well adjusted person with a great future ahead of me. If you choose a preschool that's not the perfect fit for Noah, you are not ruining his life. As long as you are around, and hugging him and telling him you love him, you can't screw up that much.

Amanda

It seems like Noah is just trying to maintain structure within the chaos - with the perspective of an innocent three year old. He is loving and respectful to his family, because you reciprocate with compassion and unconditional love. It sounds like the pre-school has the higher-than-mighty misconception that behavior should be black and white, right and wrong. They are trying to put him "into a box" rather than fostering his unique idiosyncrasies that guarantee there is only one Noah in the Universe.
It sounds like at 3 years old, Noah is incredibly observant to notice a slight change in routine. Imagine the possibilities for the future if that ability is coddled rather than criticized?
When did there become criteria for being normal? We create standards to compare every person against the majority. Then we feel guilty when we do not measure up? Who has been granted the authority to be close-minded and judgmental? Whose right is it to decide, with any degree of certainty, that someone is “normal”? What does that even mean?
*** OK, Ending rant***

Please try not to feel anything resembling failure. You give your son 100% of your best intentions and love and opportunities. What more should you be expected to do?
And from my perspective, skewed as it may be from my computer through your blog, you seem to be pro-active and innovative, while just aspiring toward the best for your family – whatever that may be. The possibilities are endless.

Lena

My two daughters started Montessori school this year and it's going really well for them. They are not forced into circle time. They work with what they want to work with and they socialize with whom they want to socialize with. The teachers are compassionate, calming, and the total environment is totally different from the other preschools I visited. The simplicity of the environment put both of them at ease, the older who has some issues about things being done certain ways and didn't used to socialize as well with others because of sensitivity and the younger needing routines, simplicity and freedom within structure because of her two-ness. I observed for 2 hours on 2 occasions and knew that it was the best option. Check with the one by you. Ours has had success with students with special needs. Research what montessori is (you probably already have) and visit yours...

Also, you are absolutely doing all you can to find the best for Noah and Ezra. The uncertainty is the hardest, and I wish you peace along the road.

Kris

First, I really just want to cry for you. I'm sorry and I really hope he gets what he needs. I don't think there's much that can be said that you haven't already thought of.

And second, I hope he enjoys those 2 extra days at home. My 3 year old seems to enjoy hanging in his jammies around the house too. Oh, and it always includes snacking on something.

Good Luck!!! Having kids is so much harder than we could ever imagine, mostly from the worry.

EdenSky

If there's anything I could possibly say to make you feel better, please insert it here:______________.

Lori

(((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))))))!! I can't stand it...and I wish I could fix it for you. Follow your heart Momma....you know him better than anyone....

Elizabeth_K

I'm so sorry. You are doing everything right. He's beautiful.

Habbala

I am sorry you're having a tough time. But you are doing the right thing. It's insane that kids are all expected to fit in these little boxes at the age of three.

Montessori is AMAZING. I used to babysit a little boy like Noah, and it was so cool to see him build confidence because he wasn't always getting in trouble at the "mainstream" preschool.

lolismum

Hope things improve soon at your end. I do not directly work on autism, but I do work in the field of neurology. Your description of Noah's behavior is very consistent with Asperger's. It's not textbook /here's a diagnostic magazine test Asperger's, but it certainly sounds very much like it.

missmismeliss

I just wanted to let you know how much I love reading what you write. You're not perfect, you freak out about things, you share your fears--it's incredibly refreshing.

Also: Keep your chin up! You chose Noah's current school based on what they told you they could do for him, that was NOT a mistake. They simply didn't do what they said they could and sound like they didn't quite live up to the understanding and know-how that they promised and now you're looking for a better option. You really are doing the right thing. Knowing that Noah is who he is and letting him be who he is--even if it's just a couple extra days each week at home--will never be the wrong choice. Hugs.

heidi

He is perfect. And you are the perfect parents for him. That's all you need to know. The rest will work itself out.

Sensfaction

I can relate to the disappointing discoveries of the once "perfect" day care. Our son was enrolled and we had to take him out as he was hit and punched a couple times. Not an experience he needs to go through at 2 1/2.
Heaven forbid your 3 year old wanting to run around and have fun. Shame on him, how DARE he.

Kristen

It sounds really, really rough. Still, from your blog I can tell he's a beautiful, wonderful kid and you're doing the best any mom could possibly do for him. He's lucky to have you and you him! Wish I had something clever or helpful to say (especially since I'm usually just a creepy lurker, and I came out of my little shell to ramble nonsense at you.) but I don't. Just one mom sending cyber-support to another. Keep trusting your instincts- that cheerios and jammies idea sounds just right.

April

There is a book by Jed Baker called "No More Meltdowns" that I am currently reading-very short, straightforward and filled with info about what causes meltdowns (mentally), how to to help the child deescalate the meltdown, etc. Lots of bullet lists and repetition for people like me who have the attention span of a gnat. Also, have a look at anything by Tony Attwood or Temple Grandin (there is a great lecture by her on youtube). But know that you are doing the most important thing already, loving your child for exactly who he is. Keep looking for a preschool that fits him, actually keep looking for the teacher who fits him. We found a public school that fits our son, including a great teacher and wonderful special ed support staff including a child psychologist. The schools do exist and you will find the right one for him. Hang in there.

julie rives

Move to Dallas!! As a preschool teacher and director for the last 25 years, I get really angry with preschools who try to make Harvard graduates out of 3 year olds. They need tons of love,lots of time to play and explore, lots of opportunities to interact with their friends, and people who always believe in them! Don't ever stop being an advocate for your child--he sounds terrific!

Leeann

Amy, I just love you. I love you and Jason and Noah. (and I'm getting to love Ezra but he's still new-ish.)

I love the way you write. You capture the deep love, confusion and pure anguish of parenting, especially when things are going not-quite-right. I've had a week of a few not-quite-right moments myself and I quite literally have fallen to my knees and cried with deep heaving sobs. All I want, all you want, is to have our children be healthy and well and happy and we will do anything to get them there. The problem is knowing what the F that something is.

You will get there and in the meantime, you will love that perfect, gorgeous little boy to bits and he will know it all the way down to his perfect little toes.

Love from a fellow mom in the DC corridor-

Leeann
niccofive.blogspot.com

sjb

I don't know if anyone has ever given you a link to Flea's blog One Good Thing (http://buggydoo.blogspot.com). Her older son has some type of Asperger spectrum needs, the thing with the routines sounds incredibly familiar from reading her blog. He's in elementary school now and she obviously has a lot of experience with insurance/school stuff. She might be able to give you valuable advice from having been there, lived through that.

Chebrutta

Amy. Amalah. Darling. Calm down. Noah? He'll be all right.

You and Jason are doing what you can. You're good parents; it radiates through your blog.

There's no such thing as a normal kid. Noah just has his path in life. Just keep helping him and he'll be fine. Believe me.

But maybe get him out of scary preschool. It doesn't sound all nurturing-like.

Wendy

As a mom of a very special needs child, I have been exactly where you have been, right down to the panic attacks and screaming (both me and the kid). I don't want to give you vague advice, but I do want to say I think you're a wonderful, lovely mother, and your Noah is lucky to have you in his corner.

Jenna

This post was so touching and beautiful and heart wrenching. I know it's got to be painful to wrestle with all this and I'm just so grateful you shared it with us.

You are fighting such a good, hard fight for your little boy and his needs (special and/or otherwise) and like all good, hard fights, there will be some missteps, some jabs to the jaw (am I done with this metaphor?), some punches to the stomach (apparently not) but you are still on your feet. You are still fighting as best you know how. And we'll be here to cheer you on.

Kristin

Lots and lots of {{{{hugs}}} for you. My mom use to be a Montessori teacher...in fact, she helped found a Montessori school 30+ years ago...and with all I know about it, I think Noah would thrive in a setting like that.

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

None of us know if we're making the right choices or anything. These kids don't come with manuals, the best we can do is react and it sounds to me like you're reacting just fine.

My piece of assvice for you? Yank him from the school. You can find another way for him to socialize, you'll find another solution that doesn't leave the both of you in that state. It's not good for you and it's not good for him. I can't fathom that spending that time with a teacher who so little believes in him can be good for his self esteem.

It's all going to be OK. You'll figure out a way to make it work. In the meantime I'm sending some virtual hugs, just in case some alchemist one day figures out how to turn them into gold.

ymp

Regardless of everything else (teachers who don't quite work well with Noah, future bad choices, driving the wrong way), Noah has parents who love him and are doing their very best to help him live a great and full life. That is what is important and what he will remember. Really.

Wacky Mommy

We tried Montessori and it was fiasco but whatever, you will figure it out. He is a great kid, your kid. (And little guy -- soooooo yummy.)

Tell his teacher she can kiss my foot. Is she qualified to make a diagnosis? Is she a doc? If so, why is she working for preschool wages?

marie

Another lurker whose heart is aching for you but not so much worrying about Noah. I know your job is to worry and make hard decisions but the boy we see here seems more than fine to me.

Brandi

Wow, almost 200 posts! But i'm here at #199 to tell you that you are right on. Follow your motherly instinct to take him out of school for a bit and let him chill. It can't hurt. And it will surely help you to feel better about this situation.

Try not to beat yourself up about making the wrong choice for his school this year. You made the best choice you could with the information you had at the time. That's all you could do. That's all anyone could do.

It's so hard not to know what to do because you don't know what else is going on. No wonder you're having panic attacks. But it's normal. Anyone would be having them too. Just try and hang on until the other evaluation. And if the Montesori school needs an answer before then, and your gut says try it, then try it.

I know fuck all about this stuff except what i've read in various publications and what not, but from what you write about Noah at home I seriously doubt that he's autistic. I think something else is up that hasn't been detected yet, but I don't think he would act so ok at home if he had autism.

Anyway, this is getting too long, but I just want to send you some encouragement and a comment hug.

And fuck his teacher. She sounds like a real bitch. And teaching the actual rules of soccer to 3 year olds? Please. And then to kick a kid out? Come the fuck on. I think these people are half the problem.

Noah is a super kid with a SUPER mom! Don't ever doubt that! :)

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