Those of you that know my Jackson, know that is one of the sweetest and loving little boys. He is seriously hysterical and his personality is SO big that it automatically fills the room. He is a GREAT kid. But as I have mentioned in this blog before, he is beyond strong willed. If he does not want to listen to you, he can ignore you like nothing I have ever seen. He can have a temper on him (however, this side has improved GREATLY from his 2's..)
I have also mentioned that at his 3 year old well check (that was the DAY after he turned 3), his pediatrician mentioned that he seemed a bit "immature", that he was "acting more like a 2 year old than a 3 year old". (Which is kind of interesting, since he was 2, 2 days before. :) ) She also mentioned that his speech was behind.
We knew that his speech was behind, and have made HUGE steps. He is communicating SO. MUCH. more clearly now. And I love it. He is able to express what he is feeling and what he wants. And I really feel like this has helped with his tantrums. He is able to express things with words instead of banging his head against doors. :)
Craig and I also agreed that putting him back into a program with structure would do nothing but help him in his progress. So, I started to do research and found a program really near my work that I thought would be good. I went and spoke with the director or "principal" and explained to her our situation. I explained that our son was one of the sweetest little boys, but that our family had an EXTREMELY hard 2011. MANY MANY emotional, hard things went on, and it affected Jackson also. He was a bit behind developmentally as far as speech goes, and maybe even a bit of maturity. I explained to her that I thought he would get along great with the other children in his class, I thought his teacher would love him.. but that it would take a bit for him to get the hang of routine and structure in the class. I explained that I felt like it might be somewhat of a tough adjustment for him (and his teacher). I also mentioned that Craig and I believe that structure and routine are important things that he needs to learn, and that is why we were enrolling him in this (expensive) program.
Jackson started the program, and we LOVED his teacher. She was wonderful. She was patient. And kind. On the first day of school, I sent her a letter explaining much of what I wrote above. Just so that she was not blindsided when/if Jackson did not follow the routine seamlessly. Everyday when I would pick him up, I would go over his day with his teacher. I wanted to know how he was doing, what he was struggling with, what we could talk to him about at home, etc. Everyday she would tell me something similar.. he is figuring out the routine. If its time to play cars, he wants to play kitchen. So we have to tell him, "no jackson, its not time to play kitchen, its time to play cars". "no jackson, its not time to sit at the tables, its time to have circle time", etc. She also said to me, he is getting used to routine, but he is not a discipline problem at all. So, I felt like things were going well.. going like I expected.
Well then Tuesday happened. Jackson's sweet teacher was not there (she deserves a day off, I am not blaming her at all). The sub was in the wrong classroom, because a different teacher was setting up the pools for water play. Jackson was very timid to go into a different room. So I was explaining that to the OLD sub. And she said to me "ooooh... this is Jackson.. he has never been in daycare before" I just looked at her. I couldnt figure out why she said that to me. And what that had to do with him being timid to go into a classroom that is not HIS.
When I went to pick him up that afternoon, the teacher opened the door.. she did not say hi to me, she just said "Jackson did not listen to me ALL DAY.." I did not apologize ( I was caught off guard and felt somewhat attacked) so I responded with "ok". She followed up with "and you need to go to the office so they can talk to you about it". UMMMMM WHAT?! I am getting called into the principals office within the FIRST month that my child has been in school and on a day that he has a SUB. I. was. LIVID.
Side note.. I GUARANTEE you that my son did NOT listen to that lady. As I mentioned above, if my son does not like you, or feels like you are a horrible person.. he WILL ignore EVERY word you say. And this is not totally ok.. I realize this. My son needs to listen to his teacher's, he needs to obey etc. But I am sure that just as she had attitude with me, she had attitude with him.
So I get into the principals office and I am heated already. She comes up to me and says "Jackson had a bad day... he didnt listen to his teacher at all today.. and she has worked for me a long time". Inside I was thinking "I really dont care how long this lady has worked for you, she is not a fit for preschoolers". But I said "ok" She asked if he listens at home, I replied "yes" which is only kind of true.. I mean he is a THREE year old, so he does not always listen to me. I then told her, that I was sure that Jackson did not listen to her, and I told her the interaction that I had with the teacher that morning. I explained that she had an idea of what problems she was going to have with Jackson before he even entered the classroom. And so she had those problems. I asked if she had ever heard anything negative from his regular teacher, she admitted no. I also reminded her that I had explained to her that I thought routine and structure would take him a bit to grasp, and reminded her that this was his FIRST MONTH. And I left the office. This was one of the times in my life where I thought of SO many things that I should have said. But I am not good enough to think of those things on the fly.
I got in the car and called Craig. I was furious. I explained to him the situation. He said "you got called into the principals office to be lectured about something that you had TOLD them would be an issue for a while while Jackson got comfortable... you didnt get called into the office because he destroyed something or because he hit a kid.. you got called into her office because our THREE year old did not LISTEN"
So, we did what every parent would do... we pulled them out of that school.
Ok, so maybe that is not what every parent would do. And maybe you reading, think that our decision was a bit extreme. And thats the great thing, when we are parents we can do what we think are best for our children and our family. And this was the best decision for our children and our family. Let me also say, I am NOT a parent who is oblivious to my child's down falls and struggles. I know that my children are not perfect. And I know that there are things that we will ALWAYS be working on with them.
But as Craig said to the principal when he took over the situation (I will forever be grateful that he did), "its not a good fit for our family. None of Jackson's delays are his fault. We will find a program that can extend a bit more grace and patience with him, other than a 6 visits to their program."
I can normally get over anger pretty quickly. I dont like the way that I feel when I am angry... but goodness, this had me going for a while. I struggled to sleep. I was just really really mad.
If you are looking for a daycare in Norman.. I have one that I would not recommend. But, from this point forward, I will be prayfully searching for a new MDO program that Jackson and McKinley can attend.. and will be praying specifically for their teachers. :) Some people just shouldnt work with preschoolers.