Thursday, August 16, 2007

Not Ready

At a friend’s house, yesterday, further evidence that Bub is not quite ready for JK:

5-year-old Boy: Hey, I want to show you something!
(Bub continues putting on his sandals.)
5yoB: Come here! I want to show you something!
(Aware now that he is being spoken to, Bub looks up with an expression of pleasant indifference and makes no move towards the other boy.)
5yoB: (spluttering a little) But I want to SHOW you something! Come look! I’m going to show you!
(Bub smiles in a friendly way, and stands motionless.)
5yoB: (brow furrowed) But … you’re three!

And later…

Bub: (speaking in narrative, his new habit) It's time for lunch said mama. Can I have macaroni and cheese I asked.
3-year-old-Girl: (to Bub) You talk funny!
Her Mother: (mortified) You do not talk like that to our guests! Now you be nice!
3yoG: (addressing Bub with an enchanting smile) Do you want to play with me?
(Bub returns her smile but says nothing.)
3yoG: (darting an enraged look at her mother) I’m being nice! Do – you – want – to – play – with – me?
(She heads downstairs to the playroom and Bub follows.)
Me: Bub, you can say, “Yes, okay!”
Bub: (happily) Yes, okay!


Bon said...

years ago, when impoverished proto-me couldn't afford my teaching license out in the great wild west, i taught JK in Vancouver. and in my class was a little boy named Taylor, who spoke very much like Bub narrative, with extraordinary words often, but almost never directly or conversationally to other children. he was simply not in the same place in his relationship to language that they were - both ahead, and behind, both. because i had a B.Ed in Special ed, i talked to his parents about autism and Aspergers and they went on the (even then) long waiting lists that you're currently inching your way along.

i don't have a conclusion to this story. i only stayed at that job for six months, until i scraped enough money together to get certified...and then i left BC altogether and have no idea how Taylor's story turns out. but your account of Bub's interactions with the other kids brought him back so vividly, and all i wanted to say was...Bub may not be ready for JK this year, and that's cool. it's also possible that, as compared against a "norm", he may not be ready next year the sense that his way of approaching language and people and socialness may not be like the other kids. or may. you know all this. but what i wanted to tell you was that while sometimes Taylor had a hard time in my class, and sometimes the other kids were curiously cruel or exclusionary, for the most part, that little boy shone in JK. a lot of the other kids were new to Canada, from ESL families, and we developed a habit of having them approach Taylor for his expertise on words. and gradually, he occasionally began to approach them for stuff like sitting together at lunch. and they said yes.

just a story, because i don't think you're wrong about JK this year...but because i hope whenever Bub does go to JK that he will find his own place in the crowd, too.

slouching mom said...

The befuddlement and logic of that boy, as expressed in this line --

But … you’re three!

-- is priceless, really. And is evidence yet again (to the cognitive psychologist in me) of the surprisingly sophisticated ways kids represent their socioemotional world.

Umm...carry on without this geek.

Kimberly said...

Hey may not be. And that's ok. Lots of wee ones aren't. And I will say, having sent a 3 year old to JK--and one who didn't have Bub's possible issues--I never would again. Three just really is too little sometimes. Not too little for many things, but maybe too little for the pressures and expectations that come with school.

However, I will also add that being a teacher, and having spent some time in some JK rooms in this city, Bub could very well do fine. Kids are pretty accepting in JK, and it's all new for all of them, so the differences just become part of who they are, like having blue eyes or being the short kid.

Mimi said...

Yes, okay!

Bub actually sounds like a real charmer, but I always was a sucker for a self-possessed, independent kinda man. :-)

Isn't it nice sometimes to feel like you've made the right decision, when you were worried about it?

Beck said...

I like the sounds of Bub.
We had the option of putting The Boy - who was then turning four in mid-January - into school a year early, and are VERY happy that we did not. That extra year gave him the time he needed to mature enough to handle school well (or at least better than he would have otherwise).

Swistle said...

I love him. I got a huge heart-leap in response to him speaking in narrative.

Jenifer said...

I sometimes wonder if all kids should not be able to start Kindergarten until they are 4. Papoosie Girl wasn't 4 until the end of December during her first year of school and my gut told me she was just too young.

She was fine though and proved me all wrong, but on some level another year at home really would have given her a bit more social maturity to handle those classroom social situations. It was apparent early on she was on a different level from the MTV watching JK crowd.

Now as she starts Grade 2 and is still only 6 she is able to realize that not everyone does/reads/days/listens to the same JK though, this confused her.

Glad you are letting Bub enjoy another year before he jumps into school. I think it will so good for him to get his footing later.

Laural Dawn said...

At our previous daycare my son was really close to a girl who has autism. The way you describe Bub's speech, for instance, is quite similar to this little girl.
It was funny because Matt always was with her, but they would play with the same toys only separately. Like, they'd have a container of cars out, and Matt would be lining the cars up while she did her own thing.
He still asks about her all the time. I think for him she was an easy playmate because she never pressured him into doing specific things - she just let him be him. Every so often she'd go over and just hug him, or he'd bring her a toy. He loved to be around her.
And, he was also really protective of her. I've never seen him act like this around any of his other friends.
I don't think this relates to your choice about kindergarten so much, but I do think that all kids need to find the "right" playmates that fit their needs. And, I think that you'll find this for Bub.

nomotherearth said...

I really like what Bon said about reciprocity. I think all kids have certain areas where they are behind, and can benefit from the example of other kids. The Boy, for example, needs others to show him how to run, jump, climb and approach physical situations. (I hover not only because I'm paranoid, but because he falls in very simple physical situations).

Bub sounds like he has a lot of good things to teach others, but it's also good to wait until he's ready to share his knowledge.

flutter said...

He just has so much in that brain of his.

I can't help but be charmed with him.

Janet said...

You have to trust your instincts regarding their readiness, don't you?

I just returned from taking Hailey to the university where professors at the Centre for Child Studies are doing a long term research project aimed at developing a Language Use Inventory questionnaire.

As I stood behind the two-way mirror watching and listening to her interaction with the researcher, I thought "Are they really getting an accurate picture of how her language has developed since I filled out a questionnaire four years ago?" She is so quiet and unsure around people she doesn't know that it's hard to get a sense of what she is saying or thinking.

Tentative and anxious pretty much her first year of JK (although having the same teacher again for SK meant that she was very confident last year).

If I had to do it all over again, I don't know that I would send her to JK. As the school year fast approaches, I feel the tug of anxiety regarding how she will adjust to another change in routine.

bubandpie said...

Wow, you guys are good. Have I mentioined lately how much I love you all?

Laural Dawn - I think you're right about finding the right peers - and that's what I'm hoping will be more possible in the nursery school where the peer group is younger than in the JK/SK mixed classroom, and where there are more adult caregivers to provide some direction.

Jenifer - "the MTV-watching JK crowd" - I would LOL if I weren't so terrified! One thing I really noticed in my friend's 5yo is how much that year in JK really develops the sense of what is "normal" - he has absorbed all the rules (princess bowls for boys not girls, etc.). I think a younger group may be a bit more adaptable.

SM - I was fascinated by that remark as well. This is the second time we've played with these kids in the last couple of weeks and the 5yo has made a few remarks that suggest he's trying to figure out how to fit Bub into his organizational schemes for understanding the world - he remarked to me yesterday that Bub doesn't look three because he's so tall.

The thing is, so much comes down to the specific personalities of the other kids in the room. I'm just praying that one of them will make a good friend/mentor for Bub.

thirtysomething said...

I can see Bub being one of those "one-liners"... can say it all with very few words!

Momish said...

My daughter has been daycare since she was eight weeks old. The other kids she is with are much older than her and in many ways, I think it has helped and hurt. We are planing to move her to a proper "school" type daycare next week. I feel your anxiety over this one.

I hemmed and hawed, not sure if it is the right thing. Being around all peers is different than a mixed age group where comparisons and such are not amplified. We'll see.

You might be surprised by how well Bub does. And you are right, sometimes the world of difference boils down to one mentor and friend. I am sure any of those kids would welcome Bub as a friend, he is just too sweet and lovable to resist.

Aliki2006 said...

He's amazing--really.

I've been so blue lately because I've been spending my time wishing we'd kept our son back a year instead of sending him to school the month after he turned 5. Sigh. Sometimes there's a lot to be said for just holding them back a bit, and letting them try out their worlds.

Alpha DogMa said...

I find Bub charming. The writer in me tends to think in narrative - so this is all about ego for me.

Patois said...

Whenever you speak of Bub, I remember my girl during those years. She frustrated the hell out of me. (Not my husband so much because he chose not to see and to only bask in her "daddy is number one and mommy sucks" eyes.) I ache for you and Bub. My daughter is 9 now, and she's totally adjusted in society's eyes. But she's been blessed to be around kids who accept her oddities because she's so sweet and kind. And she really plays a good game outside in the real world. I can see her struggles when we're in the safety of our home.

Anyway, no advice, really. Got nothing there. Except that you're about the only one who knows what's right for him at this time. Be at peace with your choice.

Mommy-Like Days said...

Geister's not ready either. I spoke with the supervisor of his preschool yesterday and we discussesd at length just how NOT toilet trained he is (it was a long conversation as I had to review all the varying schemes we've tried and how all had utterly failed).
So, he's staying in preschool.

Blog Antagonist said...

I may have missed you have a definitive diagnosis of autism? The reason I ask is that a lot of his "quirks" remind me of Diminutive One's behavior at that age.

I did fear Autism or Asperger's, neither of which he has. He does have his problems,as you probably know, but he is in mainstream elementary school and while last year was rough, I attribute that mostly to his teacher. I have high hopes for this year.

It sounds like Bub is highly intelligent and fantastically creative. Sometimes kids with a high intellect just don't pick on social cues very well or develope social skills as quickly.

My Diminutive One at 9, will still, if he is so inclined, ignore someone who is addressing him. My oldest child, used to tell other children what to say when they were playing, and if they deviated from the dialogue at all, would become very indignant.

It may be that Bub does have some developmental issues, but unless you've already received a diagnosis (and if I have missed that, please forgive me) I don't think Autism is a certainty at this point.

That said, I've been down the road of testing and diagnosis and it can be very long and frustrating, so you have all my sympathy.

Lawyer Mama said...

Well, I've always found Bub to be so charming in your stories. Charming seems to be the word of the day, but it's exactly what popped into my head as I was reading your post.

Trust your instincts.

bubandpie said...

BA - We're scheduled for a two-day assessment this fall, the first day of testing in September and the second at the end of October. It will be interesting to see how it goes. I don't think he meets the textbook criteria for autism, but I do think he's "on the spectrum" somewhere - so it's all a matter of figuring out what he needs and how to get it. I don't really care what they call him, so long as he gets whatever support he needs.

Jenifer said...

Back to say that it is true! Papoosie Girl would talk about stuff that I had to look up sometimes. She was completely unfazed by it mind you and didn't give it a second thought.

You are right about "world order" coming from school. In our case it was the word of the teacher. If she said the sky was red - then by gosh it was and there was no convincing her otherwise.

These are fantastic comments and I not only get a smile here, I learn so much.

Kyla said...

We see these types of things with KayTar, although her version is much less verbal. Even though her amount of words is ever increasing, she doesn't seem to catch that natural flow of conversation. Much of it is scripted (either of her own invention and used over and over, or from an outside source she has memorized) and she doesn't really understand things that aren't in her typical forms. She does get along great with other kids, she is eager to join in...she just doesn't always understand what they SAY to her or what they mean by it.

But I love Bub's narrative.

Julie Pippert said...

I know Bub is the point but I am LOL at the 5 year old boy. Oh my goodness, I know that 5 year old moment all too well LOL.

You know, honestly, I wrestled for a bit about it. I *know* Patience is bright, and I also know I *could* have pushed her on, in fact one school pressured me that direction.

In the end, I don't think "brain-ready" is nearly half as important as "emotionally ready."

So here we are, nearer to 6 than 5 and just now starting kindergarten in three weeks. This is, actually, the age the school district designed.

One friend's daughter just turned 5 this month. She'll begin kindergarten with mine. My other friend's daughter turns 6 the week kindergarten begins.

Although age difference of 1 year isn't as pronounced as say between a 1 and 2 year old or 2 and 3 year old, it is still obvious.

My friend and I are confident about our almost 6s in kindie, whereas my other friend is deeply concerned.

You're wise to know and follow-through on what you know. I also believe he'll find his spot. I know many children who are similar to Bub in ways and they have.

Ravin' Picture Maven

kittenpie said...

pumpkinpie had about a month or two of talking in that running narrative style, too, which cracked me up. I started wondering if I had maybe read to her WAY too much... Nah.

painted maypole said...

speaking in narration? This is an acting technique, maybe you have a future thespian on your hands. :)

Christina said...

I think Cordy and Bub would get along well. This sounds so similar, and we watch scenes like this happen at her school often. That same big smile is given as other kids try to force her to interact.

Although in her case, she talks by telling us what she wants us to say to her. "Yes, Cordy, you can eat lunch now!" Or she repeats phrases she hears.

Our big evaluation is Sept. 5.

Rae said...

how cool that he speaks in narrative... really, really cute.

The Small Scribbler said...

The really cool thing about Bub is that he is bringing such a fascinating perspective into your life. That's my favorite thing about my Aspergers guy. I love how he sees the world. It's so much more interesting to view it through his eyes.


bubandpie said...

Christina - Bub was switching pronouns like that too, until quite recently. It seemed to help him to incorporate pointing gestures - for awhile, every time he said "me" he put his finger to his chest, as if that helped him remember. As with so much of his language acquisition, this seemed to be a conscious process rather than an instinctive one.

The funny thing is that he still attributes many of his own ideas and observations to others, now that he's speaking in narrative form. Just a moment ago he pulled out his chair for breakfast and said, "Look! said mama. It's a chair!" (Does that mean he wants me to say that - i.e. to notice the chair?)

PeanutButtersMum said...

You're in Canada, right? JK isn't necessary if you really don't want to put him in school yet...

I personally am dreading NEXT year. My little PB was born Jan.2, so he'll be four, almost five when he starts school. I think even that is going to be a tough adjustment for him. And me.

I really don't envy you this school stuff... It's got to be so hard.

Jaelithe said...

Hey, I used to think in narrative a lot when I was a kid. I didn't talk in narrative, but I would think in it. A lot of the things Bub does make me feel like he and I are kindred spirits :)

I always thought it was just because I was such a reading addict that my brain was just used to using language in that way. But I was also kinda quirky.

The other day while we were standing in line at a Starbucks at the mall, a little boy who looked to be about five, who was there with his mother and a brother who looked to be two or so said "Hi" to Isaac, who didn't immediately respond, and then the boy said, "Oh, he can't talk because he's little like my brother. My brother doesn't talk at all." And I said, "Actually, he can talk-- he's just shy." Then when Isaac did indeed start talking to the boy, in complete sentences, the boy was quite taken aback, and said to him, "You can't talk like that! My brother can't talk like that."

My point being that, I think the whole utter befuddlement leading to unselfconscious rudeness thing happens quite often among kids in the three-to-five year range, whenever they encounter something that is outside of their day-to-day experience. It was pretty clear to me that this boy's brother had some sort of speech delay, and so he thought ALL kids around that age didn't talk much. (And also, he almost certainly thought Isaac was younger than he is because Isaac is small for his age.) But Isaac and the boy still wound up talking pleasantly together for the entire outrageous fifteen minutes or so we spent in line.

So, whenever Bub is ready for Pre-K, Bub might have to deal with some weird reactions from other kids, but I think all the kids will be dealing with weird reactions from other kids about something or other. There will be kids who can already tie their shoes, and kids who can't; there will be kids who can already read, and kids who can't; there will be girls who like to play with trucks, and boys who like to play with dolls; there will be kids who aren't anything resembling autistic, but seem anti-social because they are shy; there will be loud kids and quiet kids, and all of them will be weird in some way.

At least, this is what I tell myself when I think of my own quirky kid going to school.

I wish Bub and Isaac could go to pre-school together. I have this idea they would be good friends.

Pieces said...

I love reading about Bub's narrative speaking. I think it is adorable--I can see how it would be disconcerting for his friends,though. It is good for them--he has special things that he will teach his peers.

lildb said...

I can't help finding Bub's words charming and delightful. He just sounds scrumptious.

He really does.

Carrien said...

He sounds a lot my my Boy was. He had very few social skills but his physical and language skills were high. He stared at people blankly when they asked him something or gave him directions. He refused to participate in group activities, still does often. He's a (fairly) normal almost 6 year old now, plays with friends all the time. I wonder if perhaps it has more to do with being a boy than anything else.

Christine said...

he is his own little man, huh? he has his own mind and sets his mind to it. and if he isn't ready? that's ok, he'll be ready soon enough.

nonlineargirl said...

Bub's style reminds me of one of Ada's favorite books (Penguin by Polly Dunbar) in which a boy gets a penguin as a present and the bird refuses to respond, leaving the boy increasing frustrated (hilarity ensues, of course). Sounds like Bub's entertaining himself in a toddler way.

Ginger said...

Ya gotta love the logic of toddlerhood! :)

Luisa Perkins said...

I used to speak in narrative! How I adore that Bub.

ewe are here said...

I think a lot of children, especially boys, do better when they're held back. You know Bub better than anyone... you'll make the right decision for him.

Jenifer said...

Holy moly.... the narrative thing floors me. I think he's brilliant.