Thursday, September 20, 2012

'Ah Ha' Video

The Wee Man is a busy little dude.

If you have ever spent time with him, you know he is always on the go.  He doesn't like to sit still for long.  He is in constant motion unless he is watching one of his favourite t.v. shows or it is the end of the night when it is snuggle mommy/daddy time right before bed.  But even then he is moving a body part or two.

I know this is common in kids. Especially toddlers and even more so boys versus girls. I mean, we spend time with friends who have girls and they are just so completely different. I know there are rambunctious girls just as there are quiet boys but overall there is a huge difference between the genders. I mean really isn't that why books like "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus" exist. We are just wired differently.

We get comments all the time from people like  -  "My, he is a busy boy isn't he?" or "Your little guy sure does have a lot of energy."  Daycare calls him one of the "more active" kids in the class. Our new neighbours absolutely adore Wee Man and are fond of telling us how much he reminds them of their now-grown-son who would not sit still for anything.  They also tell us he is still a very active adult who doesn't sit still for long. She likes to empathize with me and she kindly tells me it is o.k. because others have experienced the same kind of energy in their kids. It is good to know and also gives me great hope because their son is an attorney.

Please don't get me wrong! I don't equate being successful with being an attorney, or a doctor, or what have you.  I would be just as happy if he were a dancer, a gymnast, an artist, a teacher, a writer, a plumber, an electrician or anything he desires.  I just want him to know he is special and loved no matter what he does.  But I do worry about what others might classify him as if they deem he doesn't fit the 'regular' mold of a child who sits still all the time and does what he is told at the drop of a hat.

Our daycare gave us some activities to help activate his proprioceptive system.  It took me a long to time to even attempt to say the word "proprioceptive" but the activities they listed were great and sounded really fun.  Things like:

  • Playing mountain hiking with a small backpack with some books, or small bags of rice or dried beans to give it weight.
  • Helping with heavy work - carrying laundry baskets, grocery bags, pulling bags of leaves, shovelling, sweeping etc.
  • Pushing against the walls and pretending to make the room expand.
  • My favourite - the adult sits with their knees bent and feet on the floor - the child pushes against your hands with his with all their might and then eventually the adult rolls onto their back and lifts the child up with their knees on the child's stomach and they soar in the air while making eye contact.  Wee Man love this one!
  • Jumping on a trampoline
These are just a small sample.

Still I wanted to know more about what proprioceptive meant so I googled it and found a whole Internet full of information.  But basically this one gives a uncomplicated explanation - Sensory and Perceptual System. 

We are sensing that Wee Man has some struggles.  When he gets anxious he chews or sucks everything in sight, from his clothes, to his toys, to the carpet, to the counter tops.  He can't still in a chair, one leg must constantly be dangling over the side and moving, and he must touch every surface he can.

After some 'googling' we found this video and it really was an 'a-ha' moment for us.  We saw a lot of behaviours which were similar to Wee Man's. 

I have always thought traditionally schooling does not work for everyone.  Everyone learns in such a different manner and wouldn't it be nice if this was implemented in schools for children.  Lo and behold it is in some schools. My friend just told me about a pilot project at her son's school where they have new chairs for kids who need to be moving in order to focus...wiggly chairs, chairs that spin etc.  Her son, in particular, feels like he learns best when he is standing. He can focus better he has said then when he is sitting because all he can think about is how his bum feels numb.

I'm not a homeschooling mama.  Nope, not at all. So this isn't an option but maybe if we work on things for him now, by the time he goes to a 'regular' school he will be armed with tools to help him succeed based on what his needs are. 

Because we aren't in a position to diagnosis anything, we are seeking some guidance and looks like we have found someone who has post-adoption counselling experience. Yay!  We haven't started yet but I'll keep you posted as to how it goes.

The other thing we are doing is becoming more lax with the 'sit still and eat your food' rule in our house.  It stresses him out to sit at attention and not move while he eats.  You can visibly see the stress as he rubs his head and hunches over and just stares at his plate.  So heck ya, hang your leg off the chair and swing it.  By all means have a toy at the table to play with in between bites, go on and sing songs, be a little silly, and talk.  Communication is key right? Isn't that what people always say...not that we haven't always talked at the dinner table because we have but talk about how 'cows are blue moos' and 'dogs can talk'.  Just sometimes Ranavan is a bit too serious.

We're gonna get silly people!

It's the same for disciplining.  We are always asking him to stay still and focus on what we are saying but maybe in order for him to really focus on us he needs to be moving.  We are stepping outside of our box in terms how to parent because it is obvious we need to evolve. We still stand our ground and Wee Man must abide by the rules we have set out.

Let's be clear here. Some of the things we are dealing with are certainly age-related and definitely toddler-type behaviours.  We are tying not to obsess over it or worry our heads off.  O.k. The Husband is much better at this than me. I worry.  I come by it naturally. It was inherited!

We've also been told his behaviours as of late are "A sign of his deepening attachment. It's always aimed at parents, usually more so at the mom." and this also seems on target as our *2 year anniversary is coming up in a few months and he was 2 when we became his parents (who can believe 2 years have almost passed) and so maybe this is all it is.  The testing of boundaries because he really, truly, finally feels like he can.  (*Based on professionals telling us it will take the same number of years for a child to really settle in as the age when they came into the family.)

As parents, you just do what is best for your kid given what they tell you through verbal and non-verbal cues.  We are going to follow Wee Man's lead here and go with our gut instinct.  Doesn't mean it is going to be easy or that we won't all slip up. It just means we are going to do our best.


Melissa said...

Sounds like you are on your way to sorting some things out! Have you read this book: ?

Schools seem to be changing too - there is a school in Victoria that has "desk free" classrooms and takes yoga breaks. Sounds good to me!

Katie said...

I'm reading "Playful Parenting" right now and finding it helpful ( in terms of rethinking/reshaping how I parent my little guy. We've had a few people tell us that he's likely to be the "class clown" even though he's not even 3 yet, etc, so we too are looking at ways to help him succeed rather than be labelled and judged, just because he won't sit at the dinner table for long, etc.

Ranavan and Wee One said...

Melissa and Katie thank you so much for your reading recommendations I will look at both of them.

Katie it sounds like our boys are similar class clowns.

Maple Walnut Mama said...

Awesome job Mama! Takes an attuned set of parents to recognize and then make changes in how best to support their little one. M is teaching me similar lessons - & its all about what "I" need to be doing differently. Sheesh :)
Sounds like your daycare system has had a great OT in there giving those 'heavy work' suggestions. Although, you do know that I'm a bit biased as many of my old friends are doing that work in your hometown.
Another great, parent-friendly, resource is the Out of Sync Child - its all about sensory processing (you'll find a good bit on proprioception in there) & how to promote a little's one's ability to find the calm & alert state - which we know is optimal for learning.

Karen said...

I can completely relate! And, yeah, I think your gut instinct is steering you and Wee Man in the right direction!

Allison said...

Thanks for sharing this! It's not something I was at all familiar with. I have read Playful parenting as well, definitely a good read. Allison

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