Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Raining On My Parade

Don’t you hate it when that happens? Once again I guess I’ve been under the mistaken impression that Bennett is doing well. He has been in daycare 2 days a week for almost 2 months now and just loves it. When I extended his day, the caregivers told me that they didn’t believe that they needed an enhanced staff person for the added time because Bennett was doing so well.

I should have known that it was too good to last. I had a feeling that things would change once one of his therapists visited. And sure enough that’s what happened today. It was recommended that Bennett have constant supervision while outside. This means that the daycare will be requesting that his enhanced staff person be extended to a full day. While I agree that he needs to be watched more closely than the other kids I can’t even begin to tell you how much I hate the fact that he will have someone hanging over him all day. A person who with the best of intentions will hold his hand, help him get up every time he falls, and carry him over obstacles.

Gone are the days when Bennett could just sit by himself beside the fence picking grass while sampling morsels of sand. No more walking around the slide and cleverly figuring out how to get over landscape ties all by himself. No longer will he be able to open the door of the playhouse for a cute little girl and gently shove her inside while quickly closing the door behind her. (What – there’s such a thing as a gentle shove and besides, I’m pretty sure that little girl wanted to go inside anyway!) Instead his every move will be watched, monitored, assessed and assisted.

I love the fact that there is extra help for Bennett but I hate that sometimes it seems to smother him – to stifle him. I want him to be a kid – a kid who falls, a kid who gets in trouble and a kid who gets the chance to figure things out in his own way in his own time.

I guess I need a bigger umbrella.


Popcorn House said...

I read this late last night and wanted to think about it for awhile before I commented.

I totally agree with you on wanting that "regular" childhood. I try my hardest to not treat Samuel differently and I think most days I do a fairly good job of this. BUT as much as I try HE IS DIFFERENT and I do have to watch him more, help him more then my other kids. Some of this is age. I try to remember back to when my others were two. Could they play at the park without me following them from below? I don't know. Sammy is great at the park, but he tries things that "typical" two year olds would, BUT his balance and coordination isn't a "typical" two year old. Will our two year olds end up with that coordination....I a hundred percent think YES they will. But this year and possibly next year they will need some extra help.

I don't know if this helps you at all. But I want to tell you that I struggle with this too, and bottom line safety comes first. So it is nice that he will be getting the extra help to help him achieve the coordination that I know he will one day have. Just like I know Sammy will too. Just like everything else, it takes our kids longer.

Amy said...

Can you decline the enhanced staff? Just wondering if it's it to protect the daycare (liability)?

I haven't really run into this problem (yet). Maddy is in regular daycare and I think she definitely lags behind the other kids, but she's still really timid, so she doesn't push her limits at all, so safety wasn't really an issue.

The biggest thing that being a parent has taught me is that things are always changing. Maybe in a little while Bennett won't need the extra help.

Kara said...

Does the enhanced staff only interact with Bennett? When Kasia had an EA at nursery school, she was mainly there to be Kasia's helper but would also play with and assist all of the other kids. I liked that. It meant she wasn't singled out as the only kid who needed a "shadow".

I say be happy that the daycare was granted approval for the enhanced staff to stay all day and secure knowing that someone is there to watch out for him. Hopefully they won't be "hanging over him all day", but will be more in the background, ready to spring into action when needed!

Ellen said...

Hi. I know how you feel as well. I do think that you can tell the enhanced staff person that you want Bennett to be as independent as possible, that she can stand on the sidelines as much as she can and let him do his thing. And Kara raises a good question, can she play with the other kids, too?

Bonnie said...

Agreed re need for Bennett to find his own way. The good news is - he will be safer with someone with him. I think you should be able to note your desire to have Bennett not smothered - - and your heart can be at peace knowing he is just a little bit safer - and has the support he needs for now. this will change over time. Hard to imagine that he will be going to school next Sept (2011)!

Love to you all - and happy Birthday to my favourite nephew!

Auntie Bonnie

Bonnie said...

Greetings and love from Florida. Mummu misses everyone very much (especially Bennett).

When Bennett comes to visit he is very independent and lets us know when he wants to have his hand held to walk up the street or across the yard, or when he wants to be 'foot loose and fancy free' (which I must say is most often). All has worked out very well, but, Bennett (boys wll be boys) will try to venture forth and one of us has to be their at all times to make sure that he doen't get away. He is oh so fast.

At school and day care there are so many other obsticles (playthings and playmates) that I think it best he have someone guiding him - not constantly hanging over him but detinately there if he needs a helping hand.

Therapist have the 'special needs' training and know how. They have been doing their job for a long time and bring all of their tools to 'the table' to make Bennett's life (and mommy and daddy's life too) a little easier and a little better. Rather be safe than sorry.

We all know how capable Bennett is and how he has progressed in the past year.

The best is yet to come so lets be thankful for small steps that will lead to the bigger steps that will lead to further knowledge and independence for Bennett.

... Happy Birthday Jim.
I will phone you this evening. Have a great day.

Love and prayers
xxx ooo

Barbara said...

You've all made great points and you're all right. Bennett does need extra supervision and I'm glad he'll be able to have it. I've emphasized to the staff that it's important to not hang over him - to give him a chance to figure stuff out on his own. I know they have the best of intentions - but I want Bennett to have some independence while still being safe. I talked to our therapist about my concerns and she agreed completely and offered to talk to them if I find they're doing too much handholding.

So, on we go...

Kiera Beth said...

I have thought a lot about this post because it is something I struggle with. Little Dude is in day-care and currently does not have any special care given to him at all. Today was his first day in shorts and he came home with bloody knuckles and scraped up knees from falling while on a walk. I think that I have a lot of the same thoughts that you do. I wonder if he is not getting enough attention. On the other hand, I know exactly what you mean about having people hovering.

When Little Dude is on the playground, we usually have either Drew or I behind him on the equipment and the other one below him in case he slips and I feel like the ultimate in helicopter parents. I debate where that line between safety and independence lies for our little kiddos.

I hope that you can share with us your experience as he is a couple of weeks into the new arrangement. Does the teacher find that he/she ends up playing with the other kids or letting him have a lot of space or does he/she need to be right there.

I think of you often with your journey back into the working world. You continue to impress me so much with everything that you do and your attitude. Drew and I talk about you, Jim and Bennett more than you would guess considering that we have actually never "met" :) I love seeing how Bennett is doing and hearing all of the stories.