Introducing Mister S.

May 23, 2009

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Sam is my 3 1/2 year old boy. He is a boisterous young fellow and in his short life has managed to create quite a name for himself.  He has always been lively and active and so at around age 1 I started taking him to playgroup. I thought it would be good for him to play with kids his own age, learn to share, keep him grounded. Our playgroup visits turned out as I had suspected, I had an Alpha Male on my hands. He is not a mean kid, he just has a lot on his mind, wants things his way, and can’t always express himself appropriately.

At age 2 I started him in preschool, just 2 days a week, three hours per day. He was definitely on the young side to start preschool, (most children start at around age 3), but again, I thought it would be good for him to be with other children in a structured environment. He could play, sing songs, have a snack, do some art. His year started out well. He only cried the first few classes, otherwise he seemed perfectly happy and played well with his classmates. Things started to turn sour around March. His teacher would catch me at the sign out book and say, “Sam pinched some friends today”, or “Sam had trouble sharing, today”, etc. She encouraged me not to worry.  The week before Spring Break I got the worst report of all “Sam bit one of his classmates today.” …. dun dun duuun. When I went to sign him out there was a little slip of paper called an “Ouch Award”, basically an incident report describing what happened and the school’s course of action. Usually something along the lines of, “Child X bit Child Y, explained to Child X not to hurt their friends”  I was devastated.  Biting is the ultimate no,no.

The teacher and directors agreed Spring Break would be good for Sam and when he came back he could have a fresh start. Sounded great in theory, but over Spring Break, Marley arrived, a week earlier than expected. All the things I planned to do with Sam were abruptly suspended.

Dave and I tried our best to prepare Sam for his sister’s arrival, but at 2 1/2 years of age there is only so much a little one can comprehend and retain. Some of his behavior after the baby arrived was probably normal new sibling stuff. He was trying his best to adjust but often it was difficult to take him places. Play-dates, park outings, b-day parties would likely end  in some sort of aggressive behavior, most commonly, a bite. School had also become a disaster. As if the biting wasn’t enough to handle, Sam started to do this thing I like to call “The Spaz”, basically, he squeezes someones arm, grits and grinds his teeth, all while doing a half dance and ending it  in some sort of howl or groan. “Yeeeeeow”. I wouldn’ t even describe this as a behavior, it’s more like a phenomenon and you cannot google it. 

If you look closely he is attempting "The Spaz"

If you look closely he is attempting "The Spaz"

It has been a year since the arrival of his little sister and this has been quite a journey. Along the way he managed to bring home lots of  “Ouch Awards”, get tested for speech/language delays – twice  (he is well within the normal range), make 10 visits to a behavioral pediatrician who is well respected and renowned and the only thing he could come up with was “The good news is there is nothing  wrong with him, the bad news is he bites. He’s an intense kid, but very focused, he’ll be fine.” Cool I’m glad we gave him a small fortune just to tell us that.  

He has made huge improvements, but now and again he’ll have an off day at school, we may leave playgroup early, and you can sometimes catch him doing “The Spaz”. He is only 3 1/2. The good news  is he understands more now and he communicates better. And through all this he never, ever, bit his sister. He calls her his best friend. That’s enough to melt your heart.

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Showing his sister what he loves the most, train tracks below.

Over the last year, I was just so anxious for all this to  STOP NOW, and Dave’s approach was to guide him through, talk to him about it, remain calm. A much better way to go. A few weeks ago I overheard Sam and his dad having a conversation. They were discussing core value’s. Dave even made a set of value’s for his son, very basic, written out with crayon on construction paper. Sam memorized them instantly and will even recite them if asked. 

Sam may be the only 3 1/2 year old with a set of “Core Value’s”, but it’s not a bad way to start out life. The smallest gestures of encouragement can sometimes make the biggest impact. Sam will probably be President.

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7 Responses to “Introducing Mister S.”

  1. Romie Says:

    Awww, this one brought tears to my eyes!! I love Sammy so much, and I’m glad to hear that he will someday lead our country 🙂

  2. Carmen Says:

    Oh Val…we all love Sammy. 🙂 Love the pic of him and Mar looking at the train tracks. So adorable! And, his Core Values, awesome! hehe

  3. Casey Says:

    can barely see cause of the tears in my eyes- I love the core values even written like Sammy wrote them- too cute you have a good man ms val.

  4. Kelly Says:

    That is so sweet! He is such a special little guy! Taht pic is so adorable!

  5. Katie Says:

    I’m a little late reading this…but it’s pretty cool you have recorded this time in his life cause like everthing else, it is just a season and soon it will be long gone and he will be entering high school. You’ll have to share this story with him then, and have some laughs. Raising kids is tough work, but the best job ever.

  6. Charlotte Says:

    Been through all of that with Mike, the speech and hearing and behaviorial assesment. Diagnosis=Boy. Nothing is wrong with him. Now I am hearing some of the same noises in regards to Jake and I am ignoring them. What keeps me going is that Mike is just like my brother Bill and my brother is a Navy Seal. So there are lifestyle choices out there for high energy guys like Sam, Mike and Jake. President of the United States is a good choice too. My husband once said in regards to Mike, “Fuck ’em, my son is a leader not a follower.”.

  7. Cory Says:

    I think Charlotte (Diagnosis = boy) summed it up nicely. There is nothing wrong with him. Boys’ bite, throw tantrums, do the “Spaz”; it’s what we do. Also, when Sam grows up could you please remind him that I never want to pay taxes again, ever.


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