Friday, November 02, 2007

the little comment that grew

His daycare centre have casually labeled Daniel's recent behaviour as "behavioural problems".

Which I suppose they are but still. Behavioural "problems"? Sounds so formal and diagnostic. Bleah.

While I'm not one to shy away from my responsibility to raise my son right and address issues as they occur (which I have been doing, and have spent the last week or so examining my input to his development and of course, have come up with all sorts of things that I'm convinced are fucking him right up), I'm now thinking that the so called behavioural problems he's exhibiting are, in fact, linked to the centre.

He goes to the creche at my gym a couple of times a week, and while I hate to label my kid as something less than delightful, I do warn them each time that he's been hitting and biting other kids at his daycare. Having spent an hour or more each week with him for a few weeks now (and granted, an hour here, a half hour there is not like spending a day in childcare), they're all as puzzled as I. They all say, and this is a direct quote and a sentiment echoed by all the carers there, that he is "delightful little boy, and one I look forward to seeing in here". They've been more helpful that his daycare carers too, if only for talking me down from the ledge, which is something his centre seems reticent to do. I know I'm overly sensitive and that it's not about me and bla bla bla, but seriously, his daycare provider's job is not only to look after the children, it's about tending to the families' needs too. Only ever telling me the bad things he's done that day doesn't help me do my job as Daniel's mother, it only had me looking for - and finding - problems where they might not even exist. Sure he hits me, sure he (feigns) biting me, but he's almost two*. It's his job to be a turd from time to time, and while I was all imagining visiting him in juvenile detention all over the place each time he was one - for wasn't it a display of the antisocial behaviour they're all up in my ass about? - it's dawned on me that that amount of turdishness IS normal.

Maybe it's because I've always been good at delivering the shit sandwich**, as a personal trainer and in the past when training staff, but I don't get whey they find it so hard to say something like "he's a lovely little boy, so while we've been having some issues of late, I'm sure we can work things through with him if we work together on this"? Which essentially says the same thing as saying "bad bad bad bad bad, and then some more bad, and a little more bad later in the day", but it also addresses the parents' concerns, which if my case is anything to go by, most often revolve around our (lack of) parenting skills.

I feel like so much time has been spent (uh, a week or so) finding the woods when all it was was a bunch of trees.

In any case, the creche women can't stop telling me about how wonderful Daniel is, and that they've not seen anything that suggests he might be rough or need extra supervision.

One of the things suggested by Daniel's childcare carers when he hit or bit or was generally antisocial, was to say to him that his behaviour was telling me that he wants to go to bed/needs some quiet time/has finished eating (the latter reserved for the special times he throws food)(which is another thing he doesn't do at home). His behaviour though, is telling me is that his needs are not being fully met during the time he spends at the centre. Which is a shame as he loves going there. I'm reticent to pull him out and try him somewhere else as the only memories I have of my formative years was of being dragged from childcare centre to childcare centre and never being at any one of them long enough to make any friends. That's just one reason why I don't think there's any point to cutting and running at the first signs of a problem, even though my first instinct is to do just that. The other reasons are that he needs the stability of a familiar environment, and while the aggressive behaviour night be centred around the, uh, centre, what if they're not? What if it's a stage he's going through? If it is, he needs people he knows to help guide him through. A new environment surrounded by strangers could, in that instance, make matters a whole lot worse.

That being said, I will be looking into alternatives in the following weeks, to have something in my stash of ideas should all the talking and cooperating amount to a big, fat zero. I'm thinking family daycare as opposed to another childcare centre, for the smaller number of children he'll be with, and so we won't be trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak, when talking about the kind of care he'll be receiving.

In all honestly, what I'd rather do is chuck it all in and not have him in child care at all, but apart from not being able to afford it, I feel that being in care helps by providing him with a lot of the socialisation he doesn't receive here. Granted, given his most recent behaviour, I'm wondering if he doesn't need a different kind of socialisation, but I'm still certain he needs something other than being at home with me to have his social needs met.

So yes, alternatives, and meanwhile I'll continue nurturing my motherguilt and maintaining my conviction that it's all my fault and that looking for solutions elsewhere is copping out and passing the buck and failing to fulfil my responsibilities as a parent.


*when the fuck did that happen?

**slice of praise, insert the criticism, then top it off with some more praise. Hold the mayo.

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