Saturday, August 28, 2010

Back To Regression

You guys know we moved. We moved out of our town. We moved out of our county. We moved out of our school district.

Jackson, our oldest, the former "take him anywhere, he's very adaptable," is experiencing some serious regression. Change is not working for him right now.
He's in 3rd grade.
He's in a brand new school.
He has no friends.
He's eating alone.
*although I don't know quite how that's possible as the class all sit together at tables located in the gym, my guess is that he's not being spoken to.*
He's not playing with anyone at recess.
*although my niece, also in 3rd grade, and in a different class, is someone he will run around with-along with her grade school friends, except when they get too girlie, he stops playing with them, goes off and just sits on the sidewalk

It's only been one week, I get that things happen in time. Only, you have to remember, when it comes to my children, time hurts me more then just "regular time," if that makes any sense.

A parent knows and feels what a child cannot say. Especially when your personalities are similar.
So it's breaking my heart. When your heart is breaking, it's hard to see clearly. You may need an outside perspective. I don't know.

He's not only regressing socially at school, but in the 4days that he's been in school, he's already withdrawn himself from us.

Again, yes, only 4 days, and yes I do know time will make it better. I truly truly do.
I'm okay with this. So, until "time happens," for Jackson when it comes to making friends, his own age, mind you, I need some suggestions and opinions, and tips. For the middle part.

This part.
The part that's at the very beginning of the change.
Sort of like the first trimester of a pregnancy.
You're all shot and exhausted and if you're not pucking into the middle of your center console, pulled over onto the side of the highway, on your way to work, you're ready to. You can't see clearly, because this is all new. Tips always help that new mom in the first trimester.

So, it's kinda like that, 2 heartbeats beating. Change happening. Development is occurring.
Lives affected.
Dads. the new little alien. Moms.

Jackson is withdrawing.
Today, we were at my sisters for my niece's' family birthday party. He usually plays constantly with my niece and nephew. (she, like I said, is also in 3rd grade, and my nephew, is in 4th. Their youngest, another little man was born 4months before Ben was born.) Except he didn't today.

We asked him to join us outside when Grandpa was showing off a new toy he and Grandma fell in love with, and he wanted nothing to do with the noise and the racket and the ride. Nada.
Not interested in the helmet.

He was far more content being alone.
Which is fine.

I love to be alone.
However, there are times being alone is enjoyable, and then times when being alone sucks.
Whether it's because you're forced to be alone in the bed due to an illness, or perhaps a grounding, or you are cranky and in a snarky mood, that's when it sucks.

It's obvious what the difference is. The difference is wanting to be alone, for a good cause, and being forced to be in your room, alone. The issue is the lack of control over the latter.
Kids have that in them, although they are extremely impulsive, most kids crave control, even if they don't know what it is, how to spell it, what the name of the feeling is, and why it's happening.

Why do you think some young ones hold their poopie in. It's one of the first things they can control, without their parent.

So, until time happens for Jackson, what can we do, to help him?

You can be anonymous. That's perfect fine.

Here's what we've done in the weeks long of only 4 days of a new school:
1) given him one goal to accomplish each day when it comes to socializing. One step towards the new station. He may be stuck right now, but we can still try to help him take baby steps, or he'll starve if he isn't able to manage the change to the new educational bin. The goals are simple, like, talk to the oldest boy at the bus stop. Give another classmate a compliment. Talk about whatever type of character or sports team a boy has on his shirt.

2) We asked him to remember what the newboy did to get used to Jack's classroom in the middle of last year. Jack's former school. This was an unsuccessful attempt because Jackson said, "when the new boy came to our classroom from a new school from a new state, I walked up to him at recess and asked him to play with us so he wouldn't be alone."
Crap. Can there be another one like mine? I'm sure there is.

3) We've mentioned his Aunt and Uncles dealt with that. How they would cry at night. They hated it. We told them how it took time, but his Uncles actually ended up meeting friends faster then his Aunt. His Aunt was the youngest. (remember, we're all a year and a half apart in age.)
Jackson has even spoken to them, or rather listened, well, not really listened. At least to me he didn't appear to be listening. More preoccupied with a toy that he had in his hand. But I'm hoping the reminder that he's not the only one ever to do this before, will eventually sink in.

The things I am considering doing?
Actually, right now? Very few.
1) Try to get a newcomers club started at the school. A sort of mentorship program.
Classes 1st thru 5th. New students matched with former new students. It's something I could discuss with the school social worker, or perhaps even the president of our PTA. After all, our kids are only getting P.E. 2 times a week. Which, personally to me, sucks. P.E. is the perfect opportunity to be social in a controlled environment that teaches teamwork and competition. It gives the chance for the students to let out some steam, regardless of why. Plus it gives their classroom teacher a break.

2) Get him signed up for our subdivision/school Boy Scouts, we're working on that right now.

3) Seeing a family therapist to show him we care about how he feels, and we want to get better tips on how to make the time of this change, less of an emotional roller coaster. We can't control the change itself, but we can control how to manage the time we have with this change. He'll listen to someone new. We'll learn from someone not emotionally connected to any of us.

4) Getting him into Karate, at the park district.

5) Having him sign up with one of us for volunteer work. Maybe at one of the many farms nearby our home that have horses. Or help out at homeless shelters. Visit our church that is located in the town we moved from, and very difficult for us to get up in the morning on Sunday, and drive 40minutes. Plus, then Jack and the boys see our old home, friends. Right now, it's painful.

Right now we're in the first trimester of back to school regression. Before we know it, we'll reach the 2ND trimester.

But until then, what can we do, to help ease the exhaustion, concern, nausea and fear?

So there are things in the brain that are spinning.
Except these things cost money.


Jamie said...

I soooo know how you are feeling..the obsession with making it all better for your child, "fixing it", as I call it. After all, that's why us mothers were put on this earth, right? However, if I had it to do over again, I would matter of factly proclaim in his presence that this is no big deal, time will take care of it, if you want friends, then you must reach out for them...etc. I fear (still now) that I have made babies of my children and made it so much harder for them along the way. No one, NO ONE, knows more than me what you (and he) are going through. But try and be as positive as possible and don't make an issue of it at home, if that can be done. Any kids in your new neighborhood? Invite them over, make friends with their mothers, maybe go and talk to his teacher when he is not there, but perhaps YOU getting to know some of them will help him, discreetly.

My parents moved me a gazillion times. I learned to make friends easily and adapted and eventually got to like being the "new kid". I know it's different for everyone, but E, try to relax. Seriously, this will work out.

Big, big mommy hugs to you. :)

Anonymous said...

Can you talk to the teacher about getting one of the 'class leaders' to include Jack during recess, etc.?

Such a rough time and as Moms we want to make everything better.

Martha said...

I don't know that I really have any advice...I'm going through something similar with my daughter. We didn't move, but she's just made a tremendous transition going into kindergarten and even though I thought that we had prepared her, the one thing we forgot about was lunch. My little one likes quiet when she eats and she eats very slowly. Suddenly, she's jammed in a cafeteria with less than 30 minutes to finish eating. She loves school, but despises lunch time. Last week, she had a full-fledged meltdown and couldn't stop crying. Fortunately, the school personnel were very receptive and very kind. She met with one of the staff, who just let her have a good cry and told her that if she ever needs to come down to her office and cry again, it's perfectly fine. My kiddo has had a lot of major adjustments in the past 14 months and even though she tolerated them well, everyone has a breaking point. I guess the change in lunch was the proverbial straw, at least for her. So, I guess maybe I do have a little advice...maybe touch base with the school counselor or social worker or nurse, just to get them on board with you and helping them understand that he had some significant changes. I know everyone says that kids are resilient and they'll be fine, but I also know that when it's your child, your heart aches just as much, if not more than, your sweet child's heart. It's the gift of a mother's love. Good luck!

Happyone :-) said...

I don't know what advice to give you. It just does take time to make new friends sometimes.
I think to get a friend you just have to be a friend.
I would talk to his teacher. Sometimes when kids are being bullied they withdraw. Could that be a problem?

Cheryl said...

He has a few more days under his belt now (where did that saying come from?). Are things any better? I think there's some good advice here.