An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

An Italian-American living la dolce vita in the Deep South

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Weed Bucket

Okay. Preschool is not going that well. From day one our little one mentioned a boy that yelled a lot and threw toys. He told us this child had to put all his flowers in the weed bucket (a behavior chart: good behavior, flower in the basket; bad behavior, flower in the weed bucket). We took his comments in stride, knowing that every class always has a student who acts out.

While excited the first few days of school, by the end of the week he started getting teary. But he survived, we re-grouped over the weekend, and thus began week two. He came home Tuesday again complaining about this child, and again I patted him on the head and changed the subject.

But at dinner one of his brothers asked him about school and he started crying and would not stop. He said this child screamed at the teachers; he said he was scared of this child; he said that it made him sad and that Miss Andrea had to hold him...something was definitely going on.

The next morning I met with the teachers and they said they were working with a child who, when upset and didn't want to participate, threw these enormous temper tantrums. They apologized for not making the connection that our little one getting teary and quiet was a direct result of this child's outbursts. But they were on it and, despite my little one's reluctance, I left him for another day.

I received a call thirty minutes later that he was crying (quietly) and couldn't be consoled. Needless to say, I went to pick him up.

When we came home we played, did some fun schoolwork, and watched a Thomas video, but in the back of my mind I am feeling more than a little guilty. I attributed his tears and his reluctance to go to school to the fact that this was all new for him. I thought he was exaggerating about this child, and I didn't fully listen to his fears that were very real for him.

I feel like a bad Mommy...I need to put all my flowers in the weed bucket.


SuzyQ said...

I'm so sorry your little boy had a tough time on his first week. Poor thing.
You are not a bad Mommy at all.
When Emmy first started school there was a similar situation. It was so upsetting. I had homeschooled her for two years and put her into school later anyway and I was so close to taking her out. Fortunatly the situation resolved itself as the teachers were really supportive about it all. She is now very happy at her school. It's just so heartbreaking when they are so small and these things happen without you being able to be there and make it okay isn't it. It sounds like your little boy is a sweet, sensitive soul.
I'll be thinking of you and praying things go better for him next week :0)

Cheryl Lage said...

You were NOT a bad mommy. :(
So so sorry your sweet boy is having to deal with this...

Our son, last year in kindergarten, had a very similar situation...a group of boys...all troubled (and heartwrenching in a whole other way), making things so hard for others in the class.

Dropping him off (before things escalated to the unbearable, and the principal intervened and redistributed the pupils mid-year) there were days when I'd come home and cry quietly.

You are raising a sensitive, caring child. He will be a blessing to his he is to you, and as reading his story is for me.

Not a mistake that I read this today. Thank you...and be brave, Mama. Your boy will survive and thrive. Lots of hugs in the interim. :)

Kim H. said...

Oh how your post tugged at my heartstrings. Girl, I've so been there. It goes against EVERYTHING in our Mommy Nature to send them back to some place that causes them distress. But we do it - we all do it.

You did the right thing. And Cheryl is right, you're raising a sensitive, caring young man and today, that's a wonderful thing.

My John cried EVERY DAY for the first six weeks of first grade (last year). And funny, on the outside he's the super independent one. But there was one girl, who lost it every morning and the two would feed off each other. Seems he took it so hard it was fueling his separation anxiety.

This year - whole new ballgame. The bus comes - I'm lucky to get a hug - and as my DH so brilliantly pointed out when I got whiney about not getting a "monster hug" as we call it over here - he reminded me of last year and how things change over the course of a year.

Hang in there. Just keep checking in with the teachers and keep doing lots of little special things with him - you know exactly what he needs already! :)


:o) mg said...

I agree that you aren't bad mommy at all. Let's look at this logically.
You could have:
1) Not ever put him in MDO.
2) Overreacted and pulled him out after the first day.
3) Told him to toughen up and deal with it.

But instead, you listened. You loved. You encouraged.

Unfortunately he is growing up all too soon, but your gentle support, while not letting him quit when things get tough is exactly what he needs in this situation.

Someone may have already offered this, but it may help for him to pray for the troubling young man. Also, maybe the two of you could talk about why this boy acts out so badly... maybe his mommy works all day and he misses her and maybe he doesn't get proper nutrition or enough sleep, etc. Somehow, I've noticed when I employ that strategy, the troublemaker becomes less of a threat and more of a charity case in the hearts of my kids. Makes for way fewer nightmares!
Perhaps we need to get together soon, then? muah ha ha ha ha

Kellan said...

Oh, your poor little Sweetie. I hope they work it out and he is able to go back and enjoy his class - poor baby - makes me so sad for him!

Nice to see you Bia - take care - Kellan

Laura said...

Oh what a frustrating situation for EVERYONE.
I'm sorry you are going through this. I hope it passes soon.

GrandmaK said...

Indeed you are not a bad MOMMY!!! We all have had this happen to our children...It still happens when they are freshmen in high school. They may not be weeping then but the pain is still the same. The hard thing I think is really listening to them and I personally get distracted by my concerns and then don't really hear what they are saying. God Bless you and your little one. Praying all will be well.

Please stop by and accept your gift. Cathy

Kathryn said...

YOU are SO NOT a bad Mommy!!!

I hope this all works out well.

Please take those flowers out of the weed bucket and put them right back in the vase.


Karen said...

Bia, I'm so sorry. Don't beat yourself up over this, we all make mistakes. I would never have guessed it was that bad either! Hopefully that little boy at school starts behaving better and your dear little one can be happy there. *hugs*

Lisa said...

Oh, Bia, your sweet little guy sounds so much like my four-year-old ~ absorbing someone else's distress and internalizing it. It's such a hard, but important, lesson for sensitive children to learn to keep the upsets of the world out of their own hearts ~ while keeping their own sense of caring intact. We have the same ongoing battle with a couple of our tenderhearts. My heart goes out to both of you! And, Bia, one thing I know for sure ~ You are a wonderful Mommy! You can't expect to know everything, and all is under control now!

Bia said...

Wow. Now the tears are here because you are all so incredibly kind. Thank you for your words of encouragement and for sharing your experiences.

Our little one is happily looking forward to our weekend trip to visit my sister and her family, but on Monday we're going to try again. His teachers have assured us parents (indeed, our little one wasn't the only one affected) that they now have a system in place to handle these outbursts.

So, send some prayers this way come Monday, won't you?

Blessings and a big thank you to all of you.

Darla said...

Oh, I'm getting teary-eyed reading this post. I know what you mean that you wouldn't feel good about your response to his fears in the beginning but by all means, I think we all would do the same thing. I think in its own way it shows that you are, in fact, a very good Mommy. It would be a different sign of how you handle things if you would rush to the school each time your child is a little apprehensive. You tried to get him to resolve his own fears, not knowing at all what truly was going on. If anything, like the teachers said, they maybe were a little short-sighted in not conferencing with you sooner. But even for them, they are human too and hindsight is ALWAYS 20/20. A learning experience for all involved here: the teachers, your son and you!