Sorry. I've been preoccupied. First I got a call back from the behavioral specialist and then the principal. And then HB vomited that night and promptly came down with a cold. Because that's HB's m.o. Then Knee got the cold and woke up every two hours for three nights straight moaning and thrashing about. Yesterday I went to the family doctor because they keep the oddest hours. Open Mondays from 3pm-8pm, Wednesdays 5pm-8pm, and Friday 9am-8pm. And not open Tuesdays or Thursdays. He has an ear infection. I gave him his first dose of amoxicillian and mercifully he slept all last night. He seems less whinny today too. Although he periodically keeps touching his ear, but I think it's because it's popping.
So back to HB...
I saw the specialist on Monday. She gave me some ideas for helping HB deal with his feelings. As she put it, he has a low tolerance for frustration and he's highly emotional. And at age 4, it's really hard for him to regulate his feelings even though he's sincerely trying to. She gave me some techniques to get him to express himself and also calm down. She also suggested a communication notebook with his teachers because I have no idea what's going on. It's nice that they read books to him, but I have no idea how he's socializing and they're not exactly forthcoming. They also aren't trained in behavior. She said to keep on keeping on with them. They may not be using my suggestions but it'll keep biting them in the butt if they don't. Since it's only 3-4 weeks of school, they are still trying to figure him out. She said that I need to emphasize that what he does to stay calm at home equally applies to school since children compartmentalize. In other words, they have trouble understanding that what happens in one situation applies to all situations.
So we're working on getting him to talk or scream rather than lash out physically and to also count to 10. She said distractions will keep him from getting too emotional and will help him keep himself calm. He also likes to hold onto little things as a security blanket (which is why she thinks he's trying to calm himself down) and so we should use this too. So I told him to hold onto his stick and count to 10 when he's angry. We discussed some other things that I'll start with him this weekend (it's long one as they have a professional development day). More along the lines of bio feedback so he can recognize that he's getting upset earlier.
The principal said he'd get in touch with the school district's specialist for an evaluation. Then he sent me a packet of parent classes and an e-mail asking if that's what I was looking for. Head desk. I really am not looking for a class. I'm looking for something more personalized then that. I think the specialist was most helpful and understanding. She deals with kids who are like HB on a regular basis.
And yesterday, the teachers told us that HB was shoveling dirt in his mouth and asked us if that was normal. Maybe they were concerned he has PICA, but he doesn't. He doesn't tell people he's hungry. He instead starts eating weird stuff like dirt and paper. That's the tip that he's hungry, very hungry and needs to be fed. So I told his teachers. I had warned them that he does not say he's hungry. So when I said the dirt thing was because he was hungry, a light bulb went off. One of them suggested boost shakes, but I told her the dietician in the states doesn't really promote that because of the sugar content. Boost is for children who are having much more severe health issues not children who are clearly hungry (but are being finicky).
We'll see. We'll see. HB seems real accepting of the specific emotion regulators. It will just take more practice for it to become a habit.
In the meantime, Hubby had a job interview for a job in Alabama so we may be moving again. Cue having to prep HB for yet another upheaval. I'm hoping his brother, Knee, who is the zen of the duo can help him out. Believe it or not Knee is the most empathetic kid and will hug and hold his brother should he need it. Parents only do so much; having a peer makes a huge difference.
Special thanks for everyone's support and help. I feel more confident now that I know my instincts are good, but the teachers', who you'd think have encountered kids like HB, are clueless.