That's what I tell myself after days like yesterday and this morning.
I had a tire that was low yesterday evening. I stopped and aired it up. By the time I picked J up from school, maybe 15 or 20 minutes later, it was low again. I went to have it checked. There was an unrepairable hole in it - tiny, just a pinhole, but the air whooshed right out (I could hear it hissing). And I thought I needed an alignment as well, for which I would need four good tires on my car and not the spare. So, I planned to take at least half a day off work today to get it taken care of.
Then there was J. He had a good day in class, but not so much in the after-school program. I found a Home-Gram waiting for me when I picked him up. That's what the after-school program sends home when your kid has a bad day. The first one he got was last year when he intentionally colored on the gym floor while in time out. Today he was in time out at least five times, maybe six, for not listening when he should have, for talking non-stop, for touching people when they didn't want to be touched (apparently there's some concern about J being a hugger, and about the fact that you can't do that at school - more on that momentarily), all things we've talked about in the context of class and at home. *sigh*
I've noticed that lately he's said that so-and-so doesn't like him anymore, and he said once that nobody liked him. I'm wondering now, if that truly is the case, if it's because he does things after people have asked him to stop. He does that to me at home - he'll make some irritating noise or tickle me or poke me and I'll tell him to please stop, that's bothering me. He keeps on and keeps on and keeps on until I'm screaming in frustration and annoyance, and then he's upset because I'm mad at him. If he's doing that to people at school, well, yeah, that's the kind of thing that would drive friends away after a while. I don't *know* if that's the case because I'm not there, but given how he does me at home, it's a reasonable suspicion. So we talked about that, about how people might not want to be friends if they ask you to stop doing something that bothers them and you don't stop. We talked about how it's just as important to listen and to mind the counselors at the Y program as it is to listen to his teacher and mind her in the classroom. He told me that if you get three Home-Grams, you get kicked out of the after-school program, and I told him, well, guess what, buddy, you've got two. I told him it was really important for both of us that he really make an effort to follow the rules and listen to the counselors and do what they said, because I can't take off work to be there when school is out and it's really important to me to know he's got a good, fun, safe place to be while I'm still at work. I hope this makes an impression, and I hope today was just an off day, just getting back into the routine after spring break. But honestly, it makes me want to cry, and it makes me worry for my son. I don't want him to be socially inept, I don't want him to be someone that no one wants to be friends with, and I can't fix this for him. I can offer suggestions and guidance, but I can't be the one to make friendships on his behalf. He's the one that has to figure out a way to do that.
As for the hugging - I'm not sure that's all J instigating it. We saw two of his friends at Wal-Mart yesterday evening when we went to get the tire checked, two little boys, and one of them ran up and hugged J first. I know this particular little boy is in the after-school program with J, which makes me wonder if J is always the sole instigator of the hugs or if sometimes he's just hugging back. I just told him we need not to be hugging on people at school or at the after-school program, that those are the rules, regardless of who hugs first.
J's teacher sent home the Conner's survey for me to complete, the one that looks for ADHD characteristics. I filled it out. Some things on the survey I never see in him - for example, being angry and resentful. J is like me - he gets mad/irritated/annoyed, he has a fit, and in a little while, he's fine and life goes on. There's not a whole lot of grudge-holding there. Some things on the survey I see all the time - for example, interrupting others' conversations or games. He does that constantly. I can't recall ever having a conversation where he hasn't tried to tell me something in the middle of it, and he's bad about telling me he wants me to get off the phone when I'm talking. Some days I think, eh, this is just five-year-old boy behavior, with a good dose of change and upheaval mixed in. And then there are days like yesterday, where I think, OK, is there something else going on? The repetition of things after being asked to stop makes me insane. Lately he's started making sounds like he's choking, and when I called him on it, he said he was just making funny noises. I told him I didn't like those noises because I thought he was choking when I heard them, so please don't make them, because it scares me. He kept on (this was two days ago), over and over again. Yesterday evening he started up with the noises again. I asked him to stop, he said why, I said because it sounds like you're choking. He did it again. I asked him again to stop. He did it again. I told him that when he kept on doing something after I'd asked him not to, it told me that he cared more about doing what he wanted than he did about what he was doing upsetting me, and that hurt my feelings. And then he cried because I was mad at him (and yes, at that point, I was). But what's not to get? "Please don't do such-and-such, it scares me." Or I don't like it. Or it's annoying. Or whatever. But if someone asks you repeatedly to stop doing something, how many times of the person getting angry or upset does it take for you to realize, hey, I really should stop when someone tells me they don't like what I'm doing? These are the things that make me worried that there really may be more going on than just five-year-old boy stuff, and worried that whatever the cause is, that I won't know how to help or how to control it or how to help J learn to control himself.
We'll see how today went. Hopefully he had a good day both in class and after school. I'm going to go pick him up a bit earlier than usual, since I ended up taking the whole day off work to get the tires taken care of. It took me for-freakin'-ever to find a place that could do both tires and alignments, but I did end up finding a place here in town. They quoted me a price of $235 and change for two new tires and the alignment. Turns out it was a bit cheaper than the price they originally quoted me - my car is made in such a way that the tires are going to wear on the inside, that can't be adjusted. So I really didn't need an alignment after all. That was happy news. I'm not crazy to have spent $184 on this, but at least it wasn't $235. And I have my car back now, so at least that particular crisis is resolved.
OK, if I'm going to accomplish anything before I go fetch the boy, I'd better get off of here and get to it.