Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"...the creature is driven by rage..."


Liam. Ah, Liam. Somehow nature knew you would be a middle child even before your parents did. A squishy cuddly ball of love one minute and a flaming spiky vortex of homicidal rage the next. You're filling your new shoes with gusto, buddy. Gusto? Nay, you're meeting and exceeding all targets. Meeting, exceeding and thinking outside the box in an effort to open up new avenues of attention demanding outbursts.

It was cute last year in pre-school when this all started. Probably because you were smaller and easier to pick up. There was all that baby fat and your scrunched up face was more Cabbage Patch doll than Klingon toddler. Your mom and I would have to avoid eye contact with each other to keep from laughing out loud. Then it got embarrassing. We'd see the look in your teachers eyes when we arrived to pick you up and knew we'd be talking about your latest escapade. Then it was the sympathetic looks from other parents who'd arrived before us and 'cute' became a thing of the past. Then we were the parents of 'that kid.' Plenty of blog material, but not so funny anymore.

And then summer came. Mom and I hoped we could curb the beast in two months and employed every means we could think of to help turn you around. We even thought we could use the newly broken Wii as a carrot/stick means of turning you to the light, but that was not meant to be. Much like a virus, you seem to be impervious to any and all attempts to subdue your temper. Granted, it was a busy summer. You got a new baby brother whom you lost status and your bedroom too and that couldn't be easy. We get that. You finished off your second year of pre-school and were going to a kindergarten where none of your little school friends were going and that was pretty tough to swallow too. We know all that and we totally understand, little buddy, but enough is enough. Mommy and Daddy are out of ideas and your teacher is frazzled. Your teacher who has been teaching for 35 years. She's been teaching thirty years longer than you've been alive and you have her frazzled. Kudos, my man, but really, enough is enough.

On the bright side, your teacher believes one of your problems is that you are a very gifted little boy and that you just need more stimulation to keep you focused. Unfortunately, you are not her only student...

And now it's been a couple days since I first wrote the above and since then your teacher has not only mentioned that kindergarten is not mandatory, but today she "suggested" that we homeschool you. We're not quite ready to jump off that bridge so today your doctor got you a referral to a pediatrician and Wednesday you've got a date with the school counsellor. Friday is the dog whisperer.

Needless to say, your mom is a little stressed. One day she picks you up from school and everything is golden, then the next she's ducking under the yellow police tape. Tonight I watched you draw a picture and add words to it in a way that your brother couldn't do until the end of grade one and Saturday you were ready to take hostages because we dared ask you to brush your teeth.

As Dr. David Banner once said...

video

For those who missed the cultural references.

65 comments:

  1. one thing that will make you happy....Aaron will probably have all girls....BAH HA HA HA HA

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  2. wow I was the first.....and second!!!!

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  3. Reminds me of one of my brothers. My parents had a tough time with him, but looking back, I think it was harder for Andy to just be Andy.

    He turned out great, by the way.

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  4. nice. sounds like we are running neck and neck...my second boy, who has always been the quiet adventurer...is really coming out of his shell i kgarten...

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  5. Oh, my...if only I had known of that line from the Hulk, when I was a boy.

    Good luck, to you and SL. Just remember, if it gets to be too much, I have whiskey and a place for you to sleep. :)

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  6. Oh, Captain! This has to be hard on everyone. I really hope it all gets ironed out soon. Keeping my fingers crossed for the entire family. Good luck at the pediatrician and the counselor.

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  7. Oh wow. I hope he just needs stimulation. Thinking about you and hoping for a turnout with the doc that provides relief. Keep your sense of humor!

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  8. But he's just so darned cute.

    Have you signed him up for sports yet? Pee Wee hockey or even soccer? Might help him channel some of his energy, and give him some needed stimulation. Or at least wear him the hell out. If he's not athletically inclined, maybe some other kind of enrichment program, like art or reading? He sounds so bright, I bet he is ready to learn to read. Learning to read is challenging, so it might be the thing to really engage him, and I know there are a lot of good home school curriculum so maybe you and SL could teach him yourselves (not that I'm suggesting you home school him because I don't think there is enough alcohol in the world for that, but just something to work on with him outside of school.)

    Good luck with your myriad of appointments. I'll be thinking of you guys.

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  9. And I realize you were asking for advice or ideas, but I just can't help myself.

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  10. LOL "ducking under the yellow police tape"!

    I think it's great he's got all this energy and it sounds like he's full of life :-)

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  11. He sounds like my son, who "is gifted" - I don't like to use those words as it sounds pretentious but when you are as smart and energetic as he is I guess you gotta use the right words.

    Get a full pysch ed done on him - a placement testing is what they call it here in my end of the world. It's expensive though BUT if you get a good psychologist they help you with ways to get him to slow down and focus. Mine was just re-tested again at 7, the results of the last gave us hints on how to help him at school and I'm hoping there is more in this one.

    Also - they looked for ADD and ADHD markers in his behaviour which is often thrown at you when you have an active child.

    I'm looking at it like a Mom who seems to have one just like yours - his brain works so fast and so creative that I gave up keeping up with it and just try to foster the brain to see which way it goes!

    M

    ps- I have long since thought he will either be a Mad World Dominatior OR Stunt-Man depending on the day/minute.. sound anything like yours?

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  12. And so it begins. Not so much fun (though nice to hear that he's gifted, right?)

    How cool was it for that school teacher to suggest home schooling? Isn't that great? "It's my job to teach your kid, but he's a hand full, so you should do it yourself, in all your free time, at home. I like my job, and your kid makes it hard to look like I'm doing it well."

    Good luck. Hopefully you get it all sorted out soon.

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  13. At least you know he'll take care of you in old age -- at his underground volcano lair as he plots to take over the universe.

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  14. Our two children must never meet. The possible spawn would end this world as we know it, sayeth the parent who gets blog posts about her kid's behavior almost EVERY DAY.

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  15. I think its just a boy thing ya know....chin up, it'll get better ;)

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  16. Just tell him four magic words: "Fire makes everything better."

    - Grant (Blogger hasn't been letting me comment for a day now)

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  17. don't pull him out of school. (sort of sounds like she may be too tired to deal with him - but THAT IS HER JOB) We had issues with my son, but the socialization is one of THE most important aspects for a highly gifted child!!!! My son is highly gifted and he struggles - but it does get easier and BETTER! having a great teacher is key!! plus, look into Occupational Therapy. You school should offer it - if not, perhaps your insurance will pay - ours did = WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT - like over night!! good luck!

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  18. oh Liam. The middle child. I have one of those. Even though he doesn't have a younger sibling yet per se...anyway.
    Breathe. Drink. He is teaching you things- good and bad- to make you stronger. Right?! Sure. We'll go with that. Whew. At least he's the only Liam. lol.

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  19. Wow. I don't have anything terribly useful to say, being a non-parent and all. But! I was once a kid, and so were my brothers, who were very energetic and being twins it was just nuts, so just think of it this way: It could always be worse, he could have a twin with matched energy!

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  20. i have that child, too. and we homeschool, despite never everevereverever having intention or desire to homeschool. feel free to pick my brain if you'd like.

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  21. I might have the blonde version of your little Liam. Every day when I pick the Henners up from school I do what we call "the walk of shame". The other parents looking at me with pursed lips. The classmates grabbing their mommy, pulling her head down to whisper in her ear and point in my direction. When I finally make it to the front door, I am greeted by the school counselor who tells me that Henners' teacher needs to talk to me. Then the music specialist down the hall peeks her head out and tells me the same thing (as do 10 other specialists). Tears are in my eyes by the time I finally make it to his classroom where I heave a huge breath before I make uncomfortable eye contact with the teacher. We just take it one day at a time. Just keep telling yourself what I tell myself. One day, my son will be on a Barbara Walters special when he's hugely famous. She'll ask him to recall his childhood. The audience will find it charming that he was such an unruly child who regularly received red cards in kindergarten. Le sigh.

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  22. I married a "gifted" child. He was older when I married him - but you get what I'm saying. He wouldn't stop talking in class and so the teacher put him in the front by his big desk. My husband just talked to the teacher....then he was isolated in a booth....he just threw pieces of paper over the sides. He could not be contained. :)

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  23. I have one of those. I could give you endless advice and 'lessons learned', if you want them, but you probably don't. For now I'll just say to try not to let it consume you and worry *all* the time. And make sure you keep the teacher accountable. It's her job.

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  24. It's like Liam and my youngest were separated at birth! He also tests off the charts, yet makes the STUPIDEST choices. I debated home schooling, but we like to eat around here, so off to work I go. All kidding aside, I do really understand what this is like, feel free to read any of my posts tagged "youngest". Unfortunately, it never got "better" for us, just different (Cue the 4 hour melt down last night complete with flipping of furniture and threats to move out...ummm...he's eight... over his thinking his spelling list was too hard)I encourage you or SL to read some of my posts... if for nothing other than to know that I may have a crazier boy than you. :) -J

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  25. I work in a school, so we get to see all types of kids – loud, quite, sporty, gifted, rude, smart, inquisitive etc so there’s not a one size fits all solution to teaching such a contrast of personalities – they are individuals

    I hope you find an alternative accommodating school for your kid if home school isn’t an option

    All the best ;)

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  26. Oh you poor thing! I can't imagine how stressful it must be for you and SL right now. Hang in there, I'm sure he'll shape up. If not, I could always come to visit and whip him into shape?!

    Auri's (my BFF) middle kid is a little shit as well. Cute and sweet as can be one minute, and then flying into a fit of rage the next. And he's sneaky, too. Is Liam sneaky? It kind of cracks me up, but then, he's not my kid.

    Hope it gets better soon! Sending positive vibes your way!

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  27. I have one of those. But it's a girl and she's the first born. *sigh*

    Hope it gets better!

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  28. I think any one of us that had more than one child has one just like Liam. They tend to be creative and smart and just plain over the top. A lot of time, patience, and understanding is in order but it is not always easy to come by.

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  29. A tough position for parents, no doubt -- but even wIthout knowing him or you, I think I agree with the commenters above who advocate keeping Liam in school. After 35 years, shouldn't this teacher have strategies for how to deal with temperamental kids while still making sure others in class get the attention they need?

    Even The Hulk deserves the same shot as everyone else.

    Oh, and P.S. That's clearly one awesome kid you've got.

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  30. Yeah, I agree. Don't pull him. The teacher just needs to work with you on new strategies to deal with his behavior.

    Good luck.

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  31. Hmmm, now I'm scared that our youngest may actually be a middle child by your description. And we got a puppy instead of having more kids... maybe that was premature...

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  32. The hardest part, and I know cuz I've been there, is to let Liam own all the issues. It is NOT your personal failure when he struggles to conform. My chiropractor would tell you that the first thing to try is to cut dairy out of his diet, and maybe wheat gluten. Startlingly, these things are often fueled by food allergies. And fish oil. They make fish oil gummy vitamins for kids. I'd go that one first. I know it sounds crazy, but it's really true!

    Who said conforming was so great, anyway?

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  33. By the way, have you asked Liam what HIS solution to the problem would be? He might surprise you and come up with some strategies for his teacher to deal with him.

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  34. Like you guys, we had a third child when the first two were several years older and had each determined their status in the household. And like you, my second child was/is gifted and needed extra attention in the classroom and at home. Does your school offer classes for gifted children because, if they do, that would help Liam so much. At least for a while.

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  35. Oh, it's not good when they suggest homeschooling and it's only kindergarten.

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  36. Send him my way, I have some employees that need to be scared.

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  37. Liam, what a cutie. I think it is a boy/middle-child thing. My first son is the golden child. Straight A's, a teen that doesn't talk back, loves sports, couldn't ask for a better kid. The second and third sons are causing me to have gray hairs and on some days make me question why I ever wanted kids. The fourth, well, he is only 2, so it is hard to tell just yet because he is still so stinkin' cute. Things will get better for ya Captain, he will grow out of it...well, atleast that's what I keep telling myself. ;)

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  38. You know, in my experience, the hard-headed kid grows up to be the most sensitive, fun, and kind person of the bunch. Take heart, papa.

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  39. I'm so excited that you posted the Incredible Hulk video. My assistant just did the "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry" bit yesterday and told me to look it up. You saved me the trouble. And, I think our kids are related. Seriously.

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  40. let's chat. Email me the details, or email me with your PHONE NUMBER. I want to chat.


    xoxoxox

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  41. my favorite kid? The spirited child who can't sit still.



    send him to the USA

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  42. it sounds like he's full of life

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  43. Homeschool is a wonderful option but I don't think it'd be helpful if it adds MORE stress. The teacher who has been teaching for 35+ years...may just be too frickin' tired to deal with his energy. Hang in there.

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  44. I like Unmitigated's idea - ask him what the problem is and what his solution is. Maybe he's just really, really bored. I have no idea what you do for that, though. :(

    On the plus side, I found you some really cute zombie toys on Etsy:
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/zombigurumi

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  45. Well, I can tell how much you adore him even as he drives you friggin' insane. We have a difficult almost-five year old girl, and every time I think we're turning a corner? Crap. Wow. I'm helpful!

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  46. I always liked the Lonely Man theme to the Hulk, just used it in a post. Anyhoo, I expect that you are going to find your way with Liam- been reading you long enough to have plenty of faith.

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  47. Well said Captain. I wish I could impart some wisdom, but not sure if I'd brag about our parenting of a gifted, talented, overly energetic, easily angered and easily bored young lad. Who was in the Principal's office 3 times in Kindergarten.

    On the plus side, despite the bumps in the road, our high maintenance boy is pretty awesome and doing well in his first year of college... Plus he can surf big waves.

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  48. I don't have a lot of advice on this one. It sounds like you and SL are doing the right things. And most importantly, you love that little divil and even when it sucks, you'll figure it out.

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  49. Wow. This is rough. It must be so hard when they are that cute AND smart. Like a double whammy. Wish I had some advice.... But I am with the ones who say to keep him in school. The exhausted teacher can deal... as harsh as that sounds. He could end up a totally different kid by the end of the school year.

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  50. He sounds a lot like my son. Halfway through elementary school we decided that he was bored because he knew everything the teacher was teaching and that's why he acted out. I worked with the principal and got him into accelerated classes and he was never a problem after that.

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  51. Question A: Why can't I get your blog in Google reader? This is fucking my shit up, dude.
    Question B: Why am I not in your list of blogs? The betrayal, she is bitter.

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  52. I may be wrong, but I read some tension and stress inbetween the humour. Take care and hope it all calms down. Sounds like you all need it.

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  53. Ugh, that teacher...I don't like that suggestion of hers!!
    My sister has a middle son and he struggled all through late elementary-middle school until he really found something he felt was VERY important to him: Junior ROTC (the pre-pre-military program-blech).

    I was not really excited to hear of his love for all things military, however, it did significantly improve his attitude, his behaviors and his ability to get along with others.

    Not comparing this to your son, and certainly not suggesting a fascination with the military..just throwing in my "you're not alone" story to the mix. :)

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  54. Hang in there! I'm sure it's a bit of an adjustment period with a new baby and all. My nephew went through a monster phase between 4 and 6 and now he's 8 and he's a delightfully smart and well-behaved kid. He got a sibling around age 4 and it knocked him around a bit. They'll get over it.

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  55. I keep telling u, he's a miniature of your
    brother as a little guy. Remember the kid
    who burped his way through the alphabet in
    kindergarden. That ripped Nana's screen door
    off it's hinges at 3. Who at 18 months ripped
    bars off his crib and threw them. Or the kid
    again at 18 months old who knocked his babysitter out cold with his fisher price clock.
    Think the idea of sports is a good one. Calmed
    Unce A down. Also, agree he is a smart little guy. Just pick up a little valium for you and
    Supreme Leader and you'll be just fine.
    Mom

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  56. THAT kid is the one with the homicidal rage? I don't believe it for one second. Listen to your mom. Sedate yourselves and all will be *just* fine.

    (Oh, and good luck).

    Ellie

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  57. +1 for me. School with other kids should be part of the solution. Taking him out of school will only insulate him, he won’t learn how to cope with the day-to-day. It would make life easier for his teacher, but it isn’t about her. The school should be putting you in touch with resources, not trying to push you away.

    Liam sounds so much like my husband, gifted but oh my oh my his temper. Liam’s outburst may not just be about stimulation, or boredom, it may be about the way Liam processes information. Get help, don't worry about labeling, don't worry about stigma, just get help for him. Do it before patterns get ingrained and become habits that take a lifetime to break.

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  58. ha, congrats by the way on number 3~ We had 4 children 2 boys then 2 girls 9 years later. In effect we had two middle children as well, and man oh man oh man did those two STRETCH my limits! and teach me there really are NO boundaries LOL~ you are correct in naming the middle one the beast, and you will be sooooo amazed at the things he will teach you ABOUT YOURSELF! and then as an adult...they are the beauties! the tenderest hearts
    must be something like breaking a wild mustang...they say the harder they are to tame the better companion they make!

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  59. Take my lack of blogging to mean that we have a very similarly behaved kid (two, actually) on our hands and have been using every ounce of energy to figure out (and not murder) them. I'll let you know if I find anything good...

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  60. Teachers say the darnedest things, don't they? And I am sure Liam could rid her of all the other children in the class, if necessary.....

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  61. ....suggested he be homeschooled???? oy.

    My friends have a very precocious and hyperactive child. They had teachers who wrung their hands and one teacher who truly "got" her and let her sit under the desk when she wanted and ask a million questions. She thought she was just a brilliant little child. Wish there were more teachers like that out there.

    Hope the kid whisperer gave you some good tips. Good to see you still have a healthy sense of humor. It will serve you well.

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  62. I had people tell me to put mine on drugs. I'm so grateful I tuned them out and remained calm. Spirited children are certainly a challenge but they're the glue that keep us all connected.

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  63. Wow. I hope things have improved.

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  64. Oh - I feel for you... But I always wonder why other people with difficult children can say it has something to do with how super smart they are when it seems to that mine are just difficult. Sigh.

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Come on, sailor. I love you long time.