Okay...back to Sean...so when we left off, Sean was getting close to his toddler years. And we'd already established that he was a pretty good baby. Ate well, slept well, wasn't a big time crier. He was an absolutely adorable toddler. All blonde curls, chubby cheeks and tubby little legs. He was the chubbiest of my babies, but not like super chubby blob baby. You know the ones I'm talking about? No, this kid was always on the go. It was then that his quirky personality started to come out. My friend J was living in St. Louis at the time and she brought her three kids down to stay for a weekend and she's the one who pointed out that Sean had quite the vocabulary for a 2 1/2 year old. I guess I never thought about it because I have never talked down to the kids. We didn't do baby talk and I just talked like normal, big words and all. (It's worse if I'm in an argument, the $5 words just fly, then hubbys all like, I can't argue with you unless you speak English, damn it). I think it was during dinner that she pointed out instead of Sean saying "this is good" he would say "mom, this is wishious (delicious)" or "tasty". And once while she was there he got stuck in the toy box and he said he was "trapped" instead of stuck. There were lots of little things like that. Then there was his propensity for wearing cowboy boots and talking about his farm in Australia. He could go on and on. About how he was a "stranger around here". Yeah, he was something.
He was also stubborn. If he didn't want to do something, you were in for a fight. I remember telling my dad that I was going to have him potty trained by his 3rd birthday. My dad didn't think I could do it so he bet me dinner. Well the month before Sean's third bday, I was getting him dressed one day and we had this convo~
Me: today you're going to wear big boy undies.
Sean: No! I want a diaper.
Me: Nope. It's time for big boy undies. You need to start going on the potty like mommy and momo and daddy. So we're going to wear undies.
Sean: No! Diaper. I take those undies off.
Me: well, then you'll be naked and you'll walk around that way. It might even make this easier.
I finished dressing his grumpiness and he immediately went upstairs to the playroom. He came back down a half hour later, naked from the waist down. "Okay" I said. "You made the choice." and I refused to put a diaper or any clothes on him. He tried to diaper himself so in a bold move, I threw the diapers away right in front of him. Well, naturally he threw a fit. Finally, I looked at him and said~
Me: Do you want to go to school in the fall? Do you want to go to preschool like Mo and CJ?
Sean: Yes. I wanna ride the lellow school bus.
Me: well, they won't let you on the bus in a diaper.
Me: really. Momo wears big girl undies. You have to too.
And that was all it took. I pinky swear. We put the undies on and he never once had an accident. Mo had taken two weeks to potty train and had accidents sometimes. Not Sean. Once the kid had motivation, it was a done deal. He just took special handling. None of the disciplines we used with the others worked on him. I learned early on that swatting his butt only pissed him off and made him that much more defiant. But if I let him storm off and calm down, then talked reasonably to him, he got it. He's still that way. you have to wait for the initial anger to pass, and then he's more than reasonable. And man, was he a little hothead. Once, in an arguement with the sitter. He told her she'd better do what he said or he'd go to his room! Haha. The sitter just laughed and said "go ahead". What three year old times out themselves??
So at three, he went to a Pre-k program. He'd qualified for Pre-k because he couldn't catch a ball. I was completely unconcerned about that, I just wanted him to have some stimulation. His charmed his teachers and classmates. He made friends right away with a little girl who had muscular dystrophy and was in a wheel chair. They always sat by each other and he talked about her all the time. He also had a serious addiction to dancing. This earned him the nickname "Disco" from his teachers. He sang too. His choices were a tad unfortunate, but remember he spent alot of time with me & mo. Some of his favorite songs were "I'm just a girl" by No Doubt and "Man, I feel like a woman" by Shania Twain. Let me tell you there's nothing funnier than a chubby blonde three year old boy belting those songs out. Too bad it was before youtube.com!!
By this time, I'd realized that he had some attention problems. And a tendency to fidget all the time. I was working in the field of children with disabilities and I knew from all I'd learned that he had ADD. Of course, it has to be documented in more than one setting so I had to wait for school to pick up on it before we could get an evaluation. Part of the giveaway for me was how easily he angered at home and how it emotionally overwhelmed him. He'd just meltdown. But at school he was Mr. Easygoing and Charming. He went through two year of pre-k and then we hit kindergarten. His kindergarten teacher requested a conference and asked if we would consider all day kindergarten. She was a fabulous teacher who'd had Mo just the year before so she was familiar with the family. She said his fine motor skills were off and needed work. Well, the other kids were already in school all day, so we let sean stay too. And she gave him exercises to do like pinching clothespins. We changed schools the next year and he had another wonderful teacher. He didn't like school but he did pretty well and he got along well with the other kids. In first grade he made a friend we'll call Javir. Javir was the only child of two amazingly smart parents. They'd moved to America from Pakistan and his mother taught computers at the community college and his dad was some kind of engineer for a large company. Javir had aspergers and talked (alot) in a monotone. Sean was the only kid who seemed to be able to spend much time with him. He went to Javirs house alot and Javir came to ours. Once, I overheard Sean say to Javir "okay, you just have to stop talking for like five minutes now. okay?" which was exactly what I would say to Sean when he was following me around the house chattering nonstop.
Second grade, the teacher finally noticed a problem. She had also had Mo the year before and oddly enough, she'd been hubby's 6th grade teacher along time ago. She noticed that he had trouble focusing on his work and that he fidgeted alot. Also, he was having some trouble reading. The fact is, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, and since Sean was never a behavior problem at school, he'd slid by the other teachers. But finally, we got our evaluation. The diagnosis was ADHD. Which I'd already known. By this time his fidgeting had gotten to the point that it was driving me crazy. He was so distracting if you were trying to watch a movie with him, or read to him. We tried Ritalin, but Sean said it made him feel "not like himself". So we stopped it. We tried a couple of others before we settled on Adderall xr. It worked well to calm the fidgets and help him focus. I wasn't happy about the way it seemed to suppress his appetite though. He lost that chubby baby roundness.
Third grade was pivotal. Luckily, we were blessed with another wonderful teacher. She was a strict teacher, but a good one. She also noticed his issues with reading and writing. She asked to have another evaluation done. This time they would test his IQ and look at how it compared to the grades he was getting. When we went for the results meeting, the principal looked at us and said "we've never had a child's IQ come back so high". Were we surprised? Maybe a little, but even at that time you could tell he was intelligent. But then why was he having so much trouble? Learning disabilities. He has dyslexia which was hindering the reading. He also has no ear for phonics. You know how you sound out a word to spell it or read it? To this day he still has trouble with that and mostly guesses. He also has trouble getting his thoughts out on paper. If you ask him an essay question he can answer it at length verbally. If he has to write it down? Not so much. Somewhere in there it gets garbled. He's also a very auditory learner. He also has a benign tremor, that's what was screwing up those fine motor skills. His handwriting is still mostly illegible. We made an IEP (individualized education plan). These are exceptions to schooling that help him succeed. Like not taking off for spelling in an essay. Only if it's a specific spelling test. Or giving him a chance to rewrite or type an illegible assignment. Some small things that make a difference.
So now we know we have a genius on our hands. Now what???