Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Ethan is doing amazing, you guys. Seriously. He is finger painting with his ENTIRE hand...not just one pointer finger. He is using appropriate language more & more. This week when he got his hair cut....a typically tramatic experience for him....he hopped down out of the chair & said, "I love getting haircuts!" And his pretend play is out of this world! He is doing great....seriously. He is soaring past our expectations in several areas. What a HUGE answer to our prayers!

However, we are also really struggling with him. This entire school year has been really hard on him which makes it hard on us as his parents. We started out the school year with digestion issues. After months of trial/error, doctors visits, medicines, and so on, we think we have solved that puzzle. It's something called "Toddler Diarrhea" which is due to a child eating too many carbs. SOOO our Ethan. But as long as we focus on him eating the few fruits that he enjoys, it seems to be under control.

After that mess, Ethan began to start not sleeping well again. He would either wake up crying & screaming or he would wake up at 2am ready for his day to begin. AGAIN, trial/error, doctors visits, medicines, and so on, we think we have solved that puzzle. We give him 2mg of Melatonin every night, and more times than not he is sleeping soundly through the night. And so are we....most nights.

Also during this same time, we have discovered that Ethan has allergy issues as well....through the same trial/error, doctor visits, etc. So he is also on allergy medicine now too. He is so funny. Every night when we give him his medicines, he wants us to re-tell him what each one is is like our nightly cute.

But the biggest issue we have been having this year seems to be getting worse. I try to stay positive & look at all Ethan is accomplishing, but I do have to deal with his negative behavior as well. That is just a fact of parenting. However, I feel like I have exhausted all our efforts & knowledge. I just don't know what to do with it anymore.

One reason for this blog is for my personal "get it off my chest" forum. Take it out here, so I don't take it out on those that I love. And that is what I need today. I'm at the end of my rope in this area, and I feel helpless in my parenting. I just don't know what to do.

Ethan is pushing kids, hitting kids, and this week he was sent home early because he was having a hard day. What that meant was that he was so overwhelmed or having an off day that lead to him PUNCHING another classmate...several times. My kid is becoming a 4 year old bully, and I am sick to my stomach over it. We have been dealing with him pushing kids & rolling on kids for almost 2 years now, but it seems that as he is growing, so is his aggression. He seems to need more & more outlets for his pressure needs. This is one of the reasons that we bought a pool last summer & why we bought a used bounce house this give him an outlet for his "aggression needs." He can give his muscles the workout they need in a positive way....not by hitting his peers.

But since he punched a kid this week, I don't think these things seem to be helping. I talked with his Easter Seals team this week, and they have noticed an increase in this as well. They have started working with him on expressing his emotions with words using emotion cards & activities. I have to remind myself that he used to express EVERY emotion by screaming or having a meltdown, so we are actually experiencing progress....I just don't like this phase.

Well, folks, I feel like I have exhausted all of my knowledge & resources in this area. Social stories, reward charts, talking, etc. So, when he was sent home early from school, he asked to watch a TV program. I told him no tv because he hit his friends. OH MY GOSH!!!! That TOTALLY seemed to get his attention!

He wasn't sad or upset.....just curious as to why no tv? I was then able to have a real talk with him about hitting & pushing.....that people don't like that.....and if he continues to do that, then he won't have any friends. You'll never guess what happened. He teared up! He looked at me and said, "If you don't have friends, you don't have anything." That's right, Ethan.

He seemed to FINALLY understand what I have been trying to get through to him for the last several years. He still continued to ask to watch different things on TV, and I kept reminding him that he couldn't & why. He never once cried, but I think he actually understood.

The next day at school, Ethan's teacher said he was a completely different kid. Using kind words, no fits, playing nicely. I hear she even video taped some of it! We had planned on having a meeting to discuss what to do with our Ethan, but after the day he had at school of being wonderful.....we have decided to postpone. We are stumped, but want to continue to see if this is working for him.

Corey & I have created a "traveling rewards sticker chart" for us to try with him. It would travel from his Easter Seals preschool to his school district preschool. The more stickers he earns for kind behavior, the better the reward. I need to run it by his teachers, but that may be something we want to try while we are on a positive roll.

We are really having a difficult school year, but I'm also thinking that it may be for a reason. Maybe the reason is to reassure all of us that Ethan will need an aide next year in Kindergarten. And this is all happening for us to be 100% sure in that decision. It is still hard on Corey & I though. Please pray for us & for Ethan as we deal with this issue. Ethan is such a sweet boy, and I don't want him to bully his peers. Thank you!


  1. sometimes it just takes the one thing to break through....and then we wonder, "why didn't we think of that before?" Hopefully this is his turning point!

  2. Hang in there and know that the path is there, it just looks different than the one everyone else uses. Kristine has gotten aggressive as of late and we are thinking it is due to the frustration of not being able to communicate as she would like to. The aggression is directed at aides and teachers, and it usually involves math. Keep challenging Ethan and know that he is learning, it's just harder to measure it.

  3. Thanks friends. I REALLY appreciate your comments & encouragement. Is it the end of the school year yet? LOL!

  4. wow.. I mean.. just wow. You amaze me with your strength, I like seeing your human side. :) It's ok to be frustrated, sometimes progress comes from the end of the rope too. :)