Sunday, October 9, 2011

Updates on the boys

Well since I’m literally behind 3 months in blogging, I figure every now and then I should just come here and write a little bit about what is going on with us.

The boys couldn’t be more different right now. Let me explain…

I fully believe each child is unique. It may be Joe and I making the child, and you would think that since we made both of them, they would be somewhat similar. Not so. Both boys are completely different.

I remember at this age our gripe with Joey was potty training. At 5 he still didn’t have a handle on it – mostly because he just didn’t care. He had bowel issues where I had to take him to a gastro doctor and he’s been on miralax now for a few years. Probably just within the last year does he finally ‘care’ that he’s had an accident, if it does happen. I remember when he was five Joe and I were beside ourselves with him pooping himself. Come to find out it wasn’t his fault. He couldn’t feel it, but it was the most frustrating thing as a parent to go through.

Fast forward to now. Joey is 7 1/2 and he is literally a dream. The worst we go through with him is he cries when he is really frustrated, which isn’t often. He sometimes gets upset when he’s really tired in the evening and has to do homework.

We had an incident at school a few months ago where he punched some kid in the nuts at school and got sent to the principle’s office. He told the principle exactly what happened and she told him ‘Thank you for being so honest.’ When asked why he did it he said, ‘I don’t know.’ I guess he’s also working on self-control, something I think he will work on until he’s an adult, as most boys do.

Joey will ask if there is something he can help with around the house and will often start cleaning without us asking. When you ask him to do something he always answers in, ‘Yes, Ma'am’ or ‘Yes, sir'.’ Even when he’s at baseball practice the coaches will ask the team to do something, Joey will yell, ‘YES SIR!’ You would think we had the kid in military training!

He’s extremely sweet and happy. He’s doing wonderful at soccer and got to play the goalie position recently and really enjoyed it. He’s been hitting home runs at every baseball game he’s been in lately. He’s very athletic.

Justin at this age is completely potty trained. We’ve never had to worry about him having accidents. He got it right away and has been a dream about that since he started using the potty.

Our recent set of issue with him stemmed with being angry. I’m not exactly sure why this started to happen. It’s very possible he felt left out. If you look back a few entries I wrote an entry about how he walked away from the house and the police were involved in finding him.

Since then we’ve also dealt with issues at school. It’s puzzling to me because he’s the oldest kid in his class. He’s 5 years old in a 4 year old preschool class because we held him back. So far, we are very thankful we held him back since he’s exhibited major self-control issues.

Just this week I had a note sent him from his movement teacher and another from his teacher. He had crawled under the stall while it was in use. He also couldn’t keep his hands to himself in line, refused to listen and then got the ball a bunch of people were using in his class and kicked it across the gym.

A few days later his teacher asked me to come to his school for a conference. Just about a month into school and I’m already having to meet with his teachers. Oh Lord, help me!

I met his teacher, then another teacher and then another…all came into the library and shut the door. I told them I felt like I was on trial and they all laughed. They were very helpful. They wanted to know some of the things that Justin was exhibiting at home. I told them he has a tendency to yell at us when he’s angry and I’ve told him it’s unacceptable to yell at an adult. He has an older brother he is constantly trying to keep up with.

I guess at school he’s been quite aggressive and has been shoving kids. We don’t see that at home. All we see is that Justin plays with Joey’s friends and they play sword fights, etc.

There was an incident where they were using tweezers to pick up buttons off the floor and some other child picked up a button Justin wanted. The teacher thought she had addressed the issue with Justin, turned her back for a moment and he shoved the child.

Another incident where a friend and him were using the play kitchen and making pizzas. The other child put a baby doll in the oven and Justin asked him to remove it. The child thought it was funny and did not remove the doll. Justin got so mad he shoved the child.

Another incident was when him and another child were asked to walk to the bookcase to return a book. For Justin everything is a race or contest. Him and this other child weren’t exactly walking but not running either. The other child beat him to the bookshelf, and Justin yelled, ‘YOU WEREN’T WALKING!!!’ and proceeded to shove the child.

The teachers told me to not discipline Justin at home. They’ve already taken care of it at home and that they don’t want me to punish him and negate all of the positive work he did later in the day. I mentioned to them I didn’t want to seem like I was just letting the incident go. They said they can appreciate that because they’ve had parents in that just say, ‘Well boys are boys’ and don’t work with their child.

Another thing they noticed was every day when he walked into school his arms were crossed across his chest and he had a sour look on his face. I had to admit, I noticed this too.

I came home and thought about what I could do. The first step was I instituted momma hug day. I felt like Justin wasn’t showing as much affection as Joey and I feel it is super important for a child to feel loved in order to feel happy. So every day it’s momma hug day. I ask Justin what day it is, and he yells, “Momma hug day” and comes up and hugs me!

Another thing I noted was that the teacher said that Justin wasn’t affectionate at all in school. She touched his shoulder once and and he screamed,' YOU ARE SHOVING ME!’ I knew this needed to change so I convinced him that the next day was teacher hug day. He was very reluctant to hug his teacher, saying they didn’t like it. He told me that today was only teacher hug day and that was all.  I told him all teachers loved hugs (especially preschool teachers). I told him if he hugged his teachers I would give him a piece of candy when he came home. Sure it’s bribery, but I wanted to see if he could make that connection.

That day when we had carpool, it was coincidence that one of his teachers was the one letting him out the car. I told him, Justin, give Mrs. Mary a hug. He went to give her a hug and I told the teacher, Justin is giving you a hug. She hugged him back and said to him, ‘I love hugs!’ right before shutting the door. He walked into school smiling. No more sour face, angry look!

That evening when I picked him up from school he told me he hugged all of his teachers. He looked so happy with himself. I even overheard him telling his brother that tomorrow was momma hug day AND teacher hug day! He came home with a smiley face.

That evening we had a talk. I told him there were other ways to express anger and pushing other children was not acceptable. I told him with the case of the oven and the boy putting the baby girl in it, to just tell your friend that you are upset and don’t like when he plays like that and you are walking away to play with someone else. I asked if he had other friends in class. He said that he did. I said what would this child say if you told him that. He said, ‘Well he would probably want me to stay and play with him and take the doll out of the oven.’ I said to him, that is exactly why you should tell him you are done playing with him instead of shoving him.

The next day on the way to school Justin told me that today, if someone makes him angry, he will walk away and play with someone else. I didn’t initiate the conversation, he said it to me out of the blue. I told him good job and that I thought it was a great idea.

Another thing we’ve been doing since Wednesday is riding our bikes to school. Wednesday was national walk to school day but we decided to ride our bikes instead. We left earlier and I told the boys they had to get up a little earlier and be ready and they jumped right out of bed. They loved riding their bikes to school so much that we did it the rest of the week. I think it helps put Justin in a good mood first thing in the morning.

The other thing that was bothering him was Joey has a bunch of friends in our neighborhood and Justin does not. This week Joey went down to his friends house to play and I told Justin he could not go since I did not expect this mom to watch both of my kids. Justin was so crushed he started to cry. I felt so bad I texted his best friend’s mother and asked if we could have her son over for a few hours. She texted back and said that would be great. Justin was so happy to have his friend over that it made his night.

He made such an improvement this week that he came home with happy faces the rest of the week and is the star student next week!

Joey came home with the Power of One award Friday which is the highest award you can get at the school and it’s for always helping out and being kind. I’m so proud of him. He’s also star student next week!

This week the Tigers won the playoffs and the second they won Joe ordered two tickets to the playoff game in Arlington. He was talking the day before of who to take with him and Joey spoke up that he really wanted to go. So Joe and I talked about it and thought that Joey was mature enough to go.

I knew that Justin would flip out if Joey and Joe were going off to do something and he wasn’t. So I texted Justin’s friend’s mom again asking if I could have her son for a playdate on Saturday afternoon. I planned to take the kids to a bounce house building where they had at least 6 different bounce houses and jump for a few hours. I took them there about 3:30 and we stayed until 6. We then picked up a pizza and I brought the boys home and we had his friend over until 8pm. Justin felt so special to have a day just for him and his friend that he didn’t even feel upset when he knew Joey was going with Joe to the Tigers game.

We finally had some rain this weekend. The game that Joe and Joey went to last night had two rain delays. They left during the 8th inning (it started at 6pm) and they got home at 1:30am!

This morning we all got up and went to the park because Joey was begging Joe to play catch. We all went to one of the parks at a nearby school and tried to play soccer but the field was complete mud. So we decided to play catch for awhile. Then we let the boy go play on the playground and Joe and I played catch. I think I threw the ball at least 300 times and this was the first time where I outlasted him. He told me he was tired before I was!

It rained some more today and even poured at times. We really needed the rain so it was welcome. The rest of the day everyone took naps and relaxed. The boys had nerf gun wars and I worked with Joey on his all about me poster for school.

I really like my new job and I’m really glad I took the new position. It was a perfect fit for me and I’m already contributing. I’m also glad I work for a bank! Tomorrow is Columbus day and we don’t have to work. I am taking the kids to school and then I’m off to Beth’s to get my hair trimmed and colored. I’m going dark red! Then I have a dentist appointment (boo). At least I’ll have nice hair!

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