Friday, January 8, 2010


I woke up late this morning after a night of somewhat upsetting dreams and had to drag my family from their beds to get the kids to school on time. The whole time I was preparing for the day I kept running scenarios through my head that may or may not have caused Little Dog's current school-related angst. Today was our appointment with the child psychologist, and in my extreme state of mommy guilt, I was near convinced he was going to pinpoint some offhand comment as the root of the issue. Or worse, decide that the issues with Little Dog pointed to child abuse and we'd be investigated or at very least suspected. Yes, it is far fetched, but if you know much about me, you'd understand.

Anyhow, drop off today was horrible. Again. I left my sweet boy in tears as I worked hard to cheerfully reassure him and perkily wave bye bye as I went to the car. The extra bonus was the letter the teachers had written for me. I'd asked them to summarize their experience with Little Dog's anxiety and sadness at school so I could provide a more well-rounded picture for the psychologist. They did. And it kicked my ass. They described how Little Dog woke from naps with nightmares, screaming. How he worried about my well being while he was at school and how nothing they did could calm him down. They described him pacing the classroom worrying and crying about not knowing what game to play, what puzzle to do. His meltdown when he couldn't remember what he got for Christmas when asked by a favorite teacher. It broke my heart.

Mr. Dog and I went to the appointment together. On the way we discussed the possibility that we'd need to change preschools or that someone had hurt or scared him at school because we have not seen these behaviors at home. I stressed over the possibility that I had said something or done something over Thanksgiving that made him fearful that I'd disappear. The 10 minute drive to the doctor's office felt like an hour.

The psychologist greeted us and we summarized the situation. He asked about Little Dog's personality and temperament, his likes and dislikes. And he told us this was all well within the range of normal. We discussed the difficulties at school and he felt sure that Little Dog would adjust given some extra support, that the issues only seemed to take place at school was actually a good thing. It meant it was not a pervasive problem. The anxiety over doing the wrong thing and stress over not knowing what to do were most likely due to being deeply concerned with learning the rules and routines of his new environment. I assume this is heightened since he has always had either his brother or a parent to help him in the past. We discussed the issues with Donna and as soon as I told him the about the "so old" complaint, the psychologist said, "he probably means strict". And that jibes completely with what we've heard about her nap time supervision. Most of all the psychologist reassured us that this was not going to last forever and it was nothing that I had done. Phew.

We're going to implement a few changes at home and I'll be meeting with his teachers to discuss the changes the psychologist suggested to help Little Dog at school. None of them are earth shattering and looking at the suggestions now, they feel like such common sense, I wonder why I didn't think of them myself. I guess sometimes it is necessary to call in the professionals when you lose perspective.

I'll be meeting with the psychologist again in a few weeks to talk about the progress or discuss new strategies. But right now I feel very hopeful.


geekymummy said...

So glad that they were able to be helpful. The great thing about professionals is their depth of experience. The reassurance that the things we are dealing are normal and solvable is such a relief. We haven't yet seen a pschologisy one on one but did go to a seminar.

Fingers crossed that things get easier for you all. We've had a lot of changes at our school, staff reassignments, but it has settled down now.

Green said...

dude! this is awesome - I checked back to see.

Let us know how it goes. So relieved for you.

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