San Antonio 091

I received the dreaded schedule-a-teacher-conference-because-of-your-son’s-behavior note on Monday.

Truthfully, I was expecting it. The kiddo is impulsive. He has the attention span of a gnat. He cannot, for the love of all that is holy, sit still for longer than five seconds. Some days I just lean my forehead against the cool wall, close my eyes, and wonder how I spawned this child.

However, just like any mother, I felt myself get defensive and I spent a sleepless night plotting the teacher take-down. (Sorry teachers…)

I met with her on Tuesday after clinic. I had to do it ASAP so I could stop stewing….

Once the shame and humiliation and anger wore off and I was able to hear what she was saying, she reinforced what I already know:

He is insanely smart.

He is weird.

But he is not mean.

Let me preface this by saying that I was weird growing up. I was bullied mercilessly and my greatest fear is having him end up bullied and made fun of like I was. As the quiet and shy kind of weird, I was a perfect target for torture. He is at least social and silly and funny and outgoing in a way that I never could have been back then.

So. I struggle with this desire for him to be perfect in every way. I do so want perfection. Particularly as a physician. I feel the entire community’s eyes on my child as a judgement of me.

But. What fun would that perfection be, really? Despite the frustrations, he makes me laugh! It is party all of the time with this boy, not to mention the fact that I adore it when he jumps me from behind and tries to Ninja wrestle me to the ground so he can whisper in my ear, “Mommy, I love you soooooo much!”

He will never be anyone other than this kid I have now. I have to teach him, somehow, to slow down and analyze his impulses before he gets himself into trouble. The teacher has to figure out how to keep him challenged and engaged so his boredom does not drive everyone else crazy.

In the meantime, I have my little circle of bare wall mapped out for my forehead.


70 thoughts on “Party-Time!!!

  1. That sounds exactly like me and my son! I imagine being in this exact predicament in a few years. Now, I just try to hide behind the benches at Tae Kwon Do practice while he goofs off and incessantly gets in trouble… Alas!

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  2. “The kiddo is impulsive. He has the attention span of a gnat.”

    Lol. He must be fun to be around. I find children incredibly fascinating, especially children beating to their own drum. I wonder how I will react, when we have a child, and attend our first parent teacher conference. It feels so weird–becoming an adult. Lol. It was just yesterday I was the student in a parent teacher conference, and eventually, we will be those parents. Lol. How does he hone his focus at home?

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  3. My middle son, David, is 27 and deals with ADD. He, too, is insanely smart & one helluva lot of fun to be around! It’s painful to watch him contending with a condition Adoral cannot fix but only help him manage – but I wouldn’t trade him for anything!

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  4. One size does not fit all when it comes to kids, does it? I’m sure that presents great challenges to teachers who have a classroom full of kids to attend to. But it’s also a good thing. It ensures we have all sorts of people in this world, people who have different skills and responses, people who can fill a wide number of roles in society. We need impulsive, outside-the-box thinkers just as we need quiet, deep thinkers. But it’s the getting these opposite ends of the spectrum through school that’s a challenge, especially when the classroom prefers personalities that fall in the middle. (Says the mother of a very quiet introvert who’s frequently told to “come out of his shell”…) πŸ™‚

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  5. I absolutely love your honesty and humor as a parent. It is so refreshing and makes me feel like a more “normal” parent and person. Truly, it is a challenge to confront your child’s quirks. But, you’re right-it makes our kids more interesting and engaging πŸ™‚ Plus, they do learn ways to monitor themselves socially (and publicly) when they get older. Trust me! It will happen! Hang in there!

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  6. I agree 100% with Kate Houck, now that I can view child-rearing from the far side. Every child is different, but so many teachers (and parents) want all kids to be the same, to act “normal,” to “fit in.” And all parents want to be perfect. It’s just so hard sometimes, isn’t it? But somehow the kids grow up, and the parents survive, and it all works out in the end. It will be many years yet before you realize that you did, in fact, raise your kids right.

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  7. Take my tip and just enjoy him and all he is now and don’t worry too much about the future – they grow so fast! I miss my crazy, foolish boy who couldn’t sit still for a moment. Now he’s a hard working, goodhearted, responsible member of adult society and I’m proud of him, but he’s no longer mine to goof around with, he has other responsibilities, so enjoy while you can!

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  8. He sounds like one of those kids that drove me crazy at times int he classroomas but one whom I couldn’t help falling in love with, quirks and all. My youngest grandson has Asperger’s but is on the low end of the autism scale. However, he was a hand full early on and still can be at times at least for his mom. He’s quirky and funny and incredibly smart. Sadly he doesn’t make friends easily and seldom do his peers appreciate his quirkiness, but I adore the kid, we all do, and he’s getting better and better as he matures and ages. And I really wouldn’t want anyone to try too hard to make him fit
    the “norm.” He’s a great kid with a huge, sweet heart and a dry sense of humor that cracks me up at times. So hang in there; you’re little guy will make it too and hopefully not be too damaged by society or teachers who have too many kids at times to allow for that kind of individuality. Our Joe is in a private school so the classes are smaller and that allows for teachers, who by the way usually fall in love with the kid like I said earlier, to deal well with him and be more tolerant of his “uniqueness.” Hugs, N ❀

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  9. Bless your heart and his. I had one, a daughter, who the kindergarten teacher could not manage. One day the teacher called me and said she was wrapped in the drapes and standing on the windowsill and would not come down. The teacher demanded meds, so we tried that route. A week later I went to pick her up and found her sitting in the back of the room drooling out of the corner of her mouth. Stopped the meds. She graduated summa cum laude 12 years later. It was a long twelve years. You are doing just fine. The teacher is letting you know how it is going, but she’s not demanding you “fix” him. That speaks volumes for her.

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  10. Oh, he sounds fun. I have nine grandchildren and seven are boys. My oldest daughter has a master’s and teaches special Ed. Perhaps he needs to be tested and needs some advanced classes. Sometimes I have just let them run around the outside of the house to tire them out. Be patient. He really is perfect. Hugs, Barbara

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  11. Your son sounds like my Jacob at that age. He has ADD, and is very smart and brilliantly funny. He was never fully engaged in school as much as we tried (as in everything). But his heart is pure gold. And you know, in spite of his academic struggles, he will succeed. I know it.

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  12. Your son sounds great. I was weird as a kid (can you imagine?) like really weird. And could be really violent so I was never too worried about being bullied. And impulse control issues: When I was like 8 I saw a PSA about not touching the prong of a plug when it is halfway out of the socket or you’ll get a hell of a shock. I immidiately ran over to a plug, pulled it out halfway and stuck my TONGUE on it and practically electrocuted myself.
    Things turned out great for me but my life has been difficult. And sad. And I seem to learn most of my lessons the hard way. A big part of this is because of my personality/character makeup. But your son has one huge advantage and that is having a great mom. Who has a job. Having a good mom with a job was my everyday childhood wish.

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  13. There are many resources available to parents these days about learning differences and ADD. I love Additude magazine online. They have so many resources, articles and advice. Also they normalize things. There are many talented, smart and successful people who have ADD. Not saying that is your son’s issue because I can not say that for sure. But I highly recommend Additude. Dr. Edward Hallowell who wrote one of the first books on the subject “Driven to Distraction” is on the site and has ADD himself. He went to Harvard Medical School. Dr. Gabor Mate wrote a book “Scattered” he has ADD as well. I am a Special Education teacher myself. I would say smaller class size is a good idea with private school.

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  14. Oh, if every kid who negotiates the world somewhat differently has ADD, why are a hugely disproportionate number of Black boys dosed with Ritalin and sent to Special Ed? That dramatically skewed percentage has established conclusively the social construction (and function!) of the diagnosis.
    The world doesn’t need more six-year-old conformists, perfect doctors, or worried, sleepless moms. You’re a GREAT mom – it leaps right off your blog posts!
    What the world needs is weird, smart children who rush into life as no one but themselves, who can’t sit still, who proclaim their love with loud abandon and express their true feelings about timers.
    Your identity as a doctor is shaped by the expert authority of your own humanity, which is what people respond to – not by the same basic social hierarchy that bullied you as a child.
    I know I’ve got a lot of nerve and a big mouth, but I figure you’ll just disregard my big opinions if I’m wrong. A professional rebel’s job is to encourage others to rebel – and shucks ma’m, I’m just doing my job.
    Okay, time to knock off the Commie propaganda.

    PS If my tone has been too bossy, please just delete me. I have a thick skin, I promise!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank God for being blessed with a normal child. he might become a famous personality in future. he keeps you, his teacher and whoever interacts with him, busy and moving and active πŸ™‚ i love him. my grandson is just like him lol

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  16. I’m a counselor with a psychology degree and both my kids, who are now adults, have the day dreamy kind of ADD aka weird. It feels good to read a personal account from a doctor with similar kid issues. When my son was 16, he called me and said, Mom, I can’t take it anymore. He’d been bullied since 3rd or 4th grade. I cried when I went to the high school to give permission for him to “drop out.” He went to night school and got his diploma at a community college which turned out to be THE BEST THING he could have ever done. After more teacher conferences that I can count, my daughter managed to graduate from a public high school. I have no personal experience with private schools, but if I had it to do over and had the resources, I would definitely consider private school. My boss’s son goes to a Friends (Quaker) school which seems really nurturing and balanced, but it only goes up to 8th grade or so. Best wishes to you and keep your delightful sense of humor going.

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  17. I came back here just to read the report about your son. I remember you saying something about it last week. Not as bad as you had thought it would be … so YAY! Different is good, and from the little I have read about your son, he is really KEWL. The higher the IQ or brains, the more squirrelly some of us tend to be. I couldn’t sit still for anything as a kid and I was constantly getting into trouble. I am SO happy to hear his teacher is understanding …. that can go a LONG way, believe me. As I see it, your children have been brought into your life to bring to you levity, laughter, innocence, and something else to focus on then your work. This too is GOOD. Your work has the potential to burn you out and to make you a very hardened doctor. Your kids keep you soft and with a twinkle in your eye. Yes at times your son frustrates you to no limit … and oh do I feel for you! But the JOY he brings to you along with your daughter … consider yourself a very wealthy woman. I am SO enjoying your stories … I really want to thank you for writing what you do, and as well, I am really glad our paths crossed. (((HUGS))) Amy

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  18. As I understand he is smart, he will probably sense your expectations and projections perfectly. He has to become an adult, yes, but the adult he IS, not the one he is WISHED TO BE πŸ˜‰

    I am not trying to interfere with anything. Please do tell me if you find me nosy on this. I felt I had the obligation to say, because I experienced what I describe here with my own mother, and probably everyone has to grow up despite his of hers parents πŸ˜‰ So i guess, since you are smart too, I am writing this superfluously πŸ˜‰

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