Sunday, January 17, 2010

To be a Sunbeam? Or not to be a Sunbeam? That is the question.

I have been trying to decide if JT should move out of the nursery into the 3 year old class in church. I would really like to keep him with kids his own age. He has come so far. He is the type of kid who wants to move on from "baby" things before he should. For instance, he is a super messy eater but try as a might I can't get him to wear a bib anymore. He makes it clear that feels like he is too big.
But he doesn't fit into the new class very well. The oldest girl has caught on that he is different somehow. She asks about his legs. It is only a matter of time before the other kids wonder too and they begin to think it is weird that he doesn't talk. That's okay. We will have to do that no matter what at some time or another. But in class they do a lot of talking games. They toss a ball around and ask the kid that catches it a question. He can't really participate. Even if he managed to get out a sign without my help they wouldn't know what it means.
Today was the worst. I have to stay with him the whole time or he cries bloody murder and gets so worked up it even takes me 10 minutes to calm him. So there we are during singing time. JT loves music and singing. He joined in for the first time. A long drawn out shriek drowned out all other voices. The piano struggled to be heard over the unmelodious wailing emanating from my son. He loved it! He sang louder. He tried to continue singing after the song ended.
It was cute in a way that hurt my heart. I wanted it to just be cute (like it is at home) but he sounded so disrupting. He sounded like a bad kid. He's not a bad kid, what he was doing wasn't bad it was wonderful...but disruptive.
He has a really hard time sitting still in his seat. He is always turning around and standing up. Many kids that age have a hard time with this but they will sit after being told. He has a bit of a defiant streak.
Besides all of this, he is tired (we have 1 pm church) and after me putting him in his seat over and over again he is getting angry with me and begins hitting me. Today we left the class and I put him in time out on the stairs in the hall twice.
I just want to go to church. For the past 4 years I have not gone to church without spending the whole time wrangling my son or crying hysterically. I just want to go to an adult class. I want to know my son is with people who care for him. I want to know he is not being ignored (which is easy to do with someone you can't communicate with). I want to know he is being a good boy even though he will need help to be. This is made more difficult because my husband is not the same religion as I am and so he is not there to help.
All of this adds up to me out in the hall with him crying, no bawling uncontrollably, which is making JT upset and so he is worried and bawling too. It sure felt like the end of my rope. Just then the Primary President walked by. We had a good talk.
Next week I will come with a letter for all the teachers and the Primary workers explaining JT so they will be understanding and patient with us. The rest is up to me. I would love for him to go to his class with the kids his age but I don't think he can do it himself yet. I am thinking of having a helper assigned to him. I have heard some of you talk about it before but I always hoped I could help him make the transition without it (just another thing that makes us "abnormal" you know?)
I think I like that better than sometimes taking him to Primary, sometimes to nursery. I don't know, he may not be ready to sit still that long. But how many 3 year olds are? *sigh* I don't know. She said I could be as creative as I wanted to get this figured out. Just let her know and she will work around what I come up with. I just feel confused. It has been a long time since I have cried about JT's situation but when things change I feel like it is just as hard for me to transition as it is for him. Maybe I am too soft. I would love to charge in there and lay down what I need for my son but I can't figure out what that is.


Melissa said...

Katie, let me think about all this and see if I have any more ideas. I know how hard it is. I really do understand.

Happy in Holland said...

I know where you are coming from. Keep in mind that it is hard for many 3 year olds (even typical 3 year olds) to transition to primary from nursery. It took months for a few kids in our ward to really seem ready for it, but we stuck with it, helped them as much as we could, and we all learned and grew from it. We also had a boy in our primary who has down syndrome, and he could be very disruptive--especially during singing time. He was very loud--but it was joyful--he was singing along! When this boy turned 12 and moved on to Young Mens, he was dearly missed. He is who he is, and though in the beginning it took some getting used to for the children and the adults, we all grew to love him, understand him, and appreciate him. Now we miss him. I guess what I am saying here is that JT is who he is. You wouldn't want to change him. You just need to invite others to learn who he is and love him for who he is, just like you do. And they will. You will be surprised at the love that is poured upon him as he goes through primary. Just be as involved as you can to teach the leaders and children how to interact with him, but let him be him. Good luck! :0)

Preemie Miracle said...

Is there someone in the ward that could be called as just a helper. Another mom or even a dad. Maybe someone who could come and get to know him outside of church. Ty got brought back because he wasn't sitting down. Hopefully your primary is a little more tolerant. Don't worry much about his "singing" he deserves to sing to. God LOVES his singing and loves that you are going to church even if it is alone...

Keep us posted

tiptoe mama said...

Sweet Katie, My heart goes out to you. Sometimes it's so hard to trudge through these tulips.... I believe that as Mother's for these special little spirits the Lord blesses us with the tools and inspiration we need to do what's best for them. We know our kids better than anyone else. Somehow, Sometime, the answers will become clear.

We have been blessed to have really good experiences in our primary. MK has just graduated sunbeams with the same group of kids she went to nursery with. They do recognize that she is different, but they love her and have become quite protective of her.
In primary one day, MK got really excited and made a loud burst of noise. That same kind of noise that is cute and endearing to us at home, but sounds awkward and disruptive to others. One of the older kids a few rows back Shushed her and two little girls in her class turned around and stared him down with the meanest little stink eye you've ever seen. The primary leaders couldn't get them to turn back around & calm down. When one of the boys in her class tried to steal her cookie, two other little girls got mad at him and told him over and over "You can't do that!" And when the teacher gently chastised him, they said "That's what you get for being mean to our friend!" Each week, all the kids in her class fight over who gets to sit next to her.
I am grateful beyond words for the blessing of those sweet little friends who can't communicate with MK either. :)
We have a great primary who even lets MK try to give talks and prayers, even though no one can understand her.
I'm reminded of a story I heard years ago about a little girl. I don't remember what kind of disability she had. I wasn't in Holland then, so it didn't make any difference to me. But, she couldn't speak. She could only blink for yes or no. She loved primary, and she loved singing time. Someone asked her what her favorite song was, and through her blinking they were able to find that her favorite song is "There is sunshine in my soul" and through further blinking, found that her favorite line in that song is "Jesus, listening can hear the songs I cannot sing." It speaks volumes for our little ones....Jesus can hear.

I don't know if that helps you like it does me, but I hope you will find the comfort and the answers you need. I'll be praying for you.

Katie said...

Thanks everyone, especially Tiptoe Mama for that wonderful story. I feel so much better about everything. We now have a plan set up in Primary to slowly phase me out. I feel so much better. I think just sending out that letter so that I knew the other people in Primary wouldn't think badly of him made a big difference. I thought I would be embarrassed about it (which I was a little at first) but now I know no one will think he is a bad boy. I don't know what it is about that that makes me so worried. I guess I just want everyone to love him as much as I do and realize how amazing it is that he is there at all. The thought of someone thinking bad thoughts about him is just unbearable sometimes.