Monday, August 31, 2009


Tonight, I dived head first, on my stomach, down a big curly slide. I did not do this as an act of youthful exuberance. I did it to catch Sasha, my one-year-old, who Martin had just dragged down the slide with him.

Since school started, Martin has been a behavioral mess. Tantrums. Tears. And lots of aggression towards Sasha. I know it is all a sign that he is stressed out about the changes in his life. He wants the comforts of summer, even if they bored him from time to time. According to Martin, there are just too many people with too many expectations of him. He is fighting back. And Sasha, since she hardly weighs 20 pounds, is a very easy target.

There is no easy way for me to convince Martin that his tantrums won't be effective. We're going to keep him in school. We're going to go to speech therapy. We're going maintain rules like no pulling your sister down slides. I can only hope that 1 week from now, 2 weeks from now, a month from now, it will all be a little easier.

Like development among typical children, Martin sometimes experiences regression before big bursts of forward movement. When we're in a bad place, I sometimes tell myself that this is just the backward movement before something great happens. But right now, I can't help but think that we're in no natural pattern, we're in a situation we brought upon ourselves. We didn't anticipate how the school changes would affect Martin. We didn't do enough to help him manage the changes. And while my husband and I have lowered our expectations over the past week, it's been hard to get others to do so. I'm afraid that if we don't cut the kid some slack, this behavior will only get worse. The regression will be more than it ever needed to be.

I have a kid whose language already registers as more than a year (if not two) behind his peers, whose state-mandated IQ test measured him as significantly mentally retarded, and can rarely do things like go to another kid's birthday party. I take responsibility for the way I contributed to Martin's "lack of flourishing" over the last week and a half. But I'm not in charge of everything. I'm trying desperately to get lots of other folks to scale back their expectations, to let Martin ease into the new schedule a school year brings. He's so far behind in so many things. It would be a shame if we - inadvertently - made it hard for him to move forward.


  1. It might be worth scaling back the expectations you have of yourself. Just as you are trying to be gentle with Martin be gentle with yourself too.

  2. Regressions are so hard - I have two suggestions - First step up the sensory diet
    Two be very kind and good to yourself asI really think our kiddos sense when we are stressed and get even more stressed as a result

  3. hey and I hope my suggestions did not sound too directive
    I was just giving a couple of ideas on what has worked for me

  4. Responding as Rainmom's Husband. Thanks, K, for your comments. I appreciate your ideas. I had to look up what "sensory diet" meant, but once I understood it, it really enriched my sense of what some of Martin's physicalities might mean--and gave me ideas for how to respond to them.