Thursday, January 26, 2012

Expectations and Coping

I think Raccoon and I have both been feeling frustrated lately. Since he is so verbal, I recently realized that I have unconsciously been expecting too much from him in terms of compliance and self-control. I feel like since I can explain things to him and he understands them, that should be enough. But I need to remember that even though he talks and understands like he's older, he's still very much only two. He does want to please me, but I think he feels like I spend the day ordering him around. I read somewhere else, I can't remember where, that it is frustrating to be a toddler because as adults, we have control over almost everything in our lives, while they do not have control over hardly anything. I try to say yes as much as possible, but sometimes he is insatiable.

He did really well for the first half of his new class at Gymboree. I was hoping that by being in the second highest level, he'd find it interesting and the other kids ready to play with him. He liked the beginning activities for the camping theme - fishing rods with magnets for "catching" fish, little nets to scoop the fish up, and playing with flashlights in a "tent." He did really well waiting for his turn and putting the beloved flashlight away, twice. But he does not like the ending repetitive activities that have carried over from level to level (the parachute and Gymbo dance especially) and by then he's run out of patience/compliance/self-control.

I probably should have spent the money on something else, but it's either three months or nothing at Gymboree, so we're committed now. And I do really like the open gyms. It gives us both a change of scenery and Raccoon a chance to climb on different equipment. If I can just not get stressed out by his behavior in class, I think it will be good for both of us. I'm thinking of mentioning to his teacher that he just cannot stay focused for 45 minutes if he's not interested. The options I see are: take him out of the class early, bring something (like gum) to keep him partially distracted/rewarded during the "boring" parts, try to get there 15 min early so he can play a little first, or see if the teacher can give everyone a play break in the middle. The other kids don't seem to have the same trouble as Raccoon, and a little voice in my head whispers, SPD, SPD, SPD. Sigh.

Now that we have the trampoline at home, he's a different little boy. My husband frequently remarks how much calmer he is, or that he plays some by himself. I've noticed that at home, he isn't quite as intense. I thought that I'd just been overanalyzing things, but seeing him around other kids again makes me wonder. If I lived in the States, I'd have had him evaluated already, but I haven't even begun to look for an OT here. It's a whole other world.

So all of this may seem like a lot of work, but I think now is a good time for us to start working on meeting some outside expectations (like listening & sitting), given that it's only 45 minutes a week. I normally wouldn't post something like this, because it may seem like I'm forcing Raccoon, or overthinking something simple, but there are so many things I don't do because he doesn't tolerate much sitting. If I could figure out a way to stretch out his sitting time it would make things I would like to do, like church, more possible.

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