It's been a trying day in the Medlin household. Our oldest lives for show-and-tell day. His class is working its way thru the alphabet one week at a time and this week it's "B." Bring something to class on Thursday that starts with the letter B. Connor informed me on Thursday of LAST WEEK that he was going to bring Boba Fett from his Star Wars collection. I mean he was excited. Last night I made sure Mr. Fett was sitting on our kitchen table, waiting for his ride to preschool stardom. This morning, he wasn't there. I don't know what happened in the hours between, but I'm pretty sure the story involves a young man who was so bloomin' excited to bring Boba Fett on B day, he couldn't help but carry him around a little more before bedtime. At this point, we were more than a little late for school; I offered him several alternatives which only made him wail a little louder each time. We went to school empty-handed. A very sad day.
Apparently, frustration continued to follow my child after I dropped him off, because upon my return I was informed that he'd refused to participate in show-and-tell at all. Fine. Kinda saw that coming. Then at clean-up time, he'd thrown a pair of scissors and narrowly missed a classmate. Whoa. He'd been angry because he was told it was time to clean up. If this had been the first time he's exhibited behavior like this, I'd have been irritated but consolable. It's not, though. This isn't even the first time this week he's exhibited behavior like this. It's not the second time this week. In fact, this is the third tantrum that's been reported to me by a teacher of his since Sunday. Yesterday he threw a chair instead of scissors.
Just two weeks ago, as the school year began, I worried. I worried as I dropped him off in his preschool classroom, that I was doing him a terrible disservice by retaining him in pre-k while the rest of his peers of comparable age go off to Kindergarten. Academically, he is functioning several grades ahead of where he should be. Why would I want to widen that gap even further by waiting another year to put him in elementary school? Steve and I had a very meaningful and detailed meeting last winter with his teachers to discuss the best plan for him in the coming school year, and at the time, we decided he'd best benefit from another year of maturation before "big kid school" began. We opted to place him back in preschool, knowing we'd meet with a certain level of controversy from some well-meaning friends and family members. We heard "Well, it's obvious he's just bored in school. He's not being challenged enough; there's the boy's problem!" Some of what I saw reflected that, granted, but was it the only problem? And entire summer has passed. he's since had a birthday. Steve and I saw a bit of improvement, fewer tantrums, better cooperation at bedtimes...baby steps, but improvement. Then school started back. Suddenly we found ourselves back at Square One. He's back to the same antics of lashing out when he's angry, digging his heels in at bedtime, and screaming at us. All summer long, he picked out his own clothes and dressed himself in the mornings and at night. Now I pretty much have to sit on him to get him to do it. He can't even remember to stay seated and finish a meal. The words "attention deficit" have flashed in my mind, but I refuse to entertain that. Not at this point.
Still, a five-year-old should have a better hold on his impulses than he does. He only participates in class activities when he's in the mood, he hardly ever completes an assignment, and he has a terrible time transitioning from one activity to the next...There's such a gap between his intellectual acuity and his emotional maturity, it's hindering his ability to function, both at home and at school, and even at church. He's now the oldest in his class and yet he remains the most immature. Two weeks later, my worry swings in the opposite direction: will a year be enough to cultivate self-discipline in him?