Monday, March 1, 2010


My son Porter is four. He is great. I think he is pretty well behaved most of the time. But he has a really hard time with transitions and new situations. I think, to some extent, all kids his age have some of these issues. I've noticed that Porter seems to really struggle though.

Every single day that I take him to preschool (which he loves), we walk down a flight of stairs into the coat room. Every day I see in his eyes that he is shutting down. He takes forever to walk down. He looks at the ground. When his teacher greets him, he never says a word or makes eye contact. He doesn't talk to the other kids. He clings to me. Eventually, we do get through this initial moment, and he relaxes. Some days it takes 30 seconds, some days half an hour. I've watched the other kids, and many of them show up at school bright eyed, full of conversation and ready to go. And it just takes Porter a lot longer to warm up. I think he likes to evaluate a situation thoroughly before committing to his role. His teachers know this about him, and they are great about it. Some days I have a lot of patience. Some days I am in a hurry and my one year old is crabby and it is really hard. I know that when I hurry him along and force him into the day, it only makes things worse. But often I just want to scream...we've been here and done this a million times and you love preschool and you love your teachers and what the hell is the problem??? Sigh.

This kind of thing happens all the time (and much worse) when I am taking Porter to something new. The screaming freak-out everyone-is-staring commotion he stirred up at a swimming lesson once was epic. I know that it's worse when he is tired or hungry. And I try to prevent that. But honestly, sometimes he is just going to be a little tired, and I think he has to learn to deal with it. At least a little bit.

If I have the time (and insight) to sit him down and get him through whatever it is, I know that it helps. He always, ALWAYS, enjoys these activities, and I know it is worth doing this stuff. But sometimes we just have to hurry, or I just have to force him, and it can be awful. I'm not sure what else to do? How do I help him to not just shut down the moment he feels uncomfortable? Or even just say hello to his teachers when he gets to school? I'm really not sure.

I'm Cooking: Chicken and veggie stir-fry with Yakisoba noodles.

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