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Parenting Bringing up the shorties so they aren't completely messed up

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Old 12-05-2008, 11:13 PM   #1
Clodfobble
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My Kid is a Damn Nutter

The older one, I mean. The next time I'm at the pediatrician's office (that would be in January for his little sister's 9-month checkup,) I'm going to ask her at what age it becomes reasonable to examine for hyperactivity and obsessive-compulsive behavior. I mean believe me, I understand that two-year-olds are typically a pain in the ass, and I honestly feel that I am above-average when it comes to being patient with him. But let's consider a few examples:

--He rejects the concept of brushing his teeth, and we have to physically restrain him every single night to get it done. At no point has he shown any acceptance that this is going to happen, despite complete consistency on our part.

--He compulsively chants snippets of songs and catchphrases at me all day long, and will say his half again and again nonstop until I repeat what he has said to me, or whatever complementary phrase I'm supposed to say. One typical progression goes (exactly) like this:
Him: "ABC Song."
Me: "A, B, C, D--"
Him: "Big A"
Me: "Big A, Little A, what begins with A? Aunt Annie's Alligator, A, A, A." [Continue reciting this book until about letter I. If I stop, he prompts with the next letter.]
Him: "ABC Song."
Me: [Alphabet song sung to a different tune, from the show "Choo-Choo Soul."]
Him: "Number song." [More Choo Choo Soul]
Me: "1, 2, 1-2-3--"
Him: "Bullet train."
Me: "If I were a car I'd be a race car, and if I were a--"
Him: "Jump jump."
Me: "Jump, jump, Put your hands in the air, Jump, jump, Wave them everywhere--"
Him: "Jumping jacks!"
Me: Yes, I see that you are doing jumping jacks.

If at any point in these scripts I don't respond, he just keeps chanting his last line over and over and over until I do. I have gone so far as to lock him out of the bedroom to try to break the cycle. 20 minutes later I emerged, and he immediately picked up right where he'd left off.

--His newest thing this winter is he won't wear long sleeves. Even if it's 40 degrees outside. I figure when he gets cold enough he'll put on his jacket, right? So far he's still stubbornly holding out, and his elbows and arms are red and chapped by the end of each day.

--He can't be trusted to walk on his own in any store or parking lot, though he desperately wants to, because the instant his feet touch the ground he bolts. He's not even going anywhere, he's just going. If I try to hold his hand he deadweights to the ground, forcing me to pick him up, at which point the kicking to be let down begins. He has never in his life walked while holding my hand, ever.

--One of his favorite activities is "drawing with crayons." This consists of taking each of the 100+ crayons out of the box and lining them up on the table in front of him next to the big coloring book. He does not actually ever draw in the book, but it has to come out with the crayons all the same. When they are all lined up, he is done. Usually he tries to color-coordinate them as well, pulling all the blue ones out first, etc.


It's been especially bad since the baby was born, but it's hard to tell if that's actually a cause or if it just happens to line up with a difficult age. I'm really hoping we're at the nadir here, and he's going to start improving as he approaches 3. But the glimpses of light at the end of the tunnel are few and far between.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:23 PM   #2
Aliantha
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If you're concerned about these behaviours I'd definitely be asking. It might just be him being a bit more cantankerous than other 2yr olds, but it could be something like aspergers which is not necessarily that terrible although it could be.

The point is, better to know than not. Perhaps if there is a problem there will be things you can do to make your life and his a bit easier.

I'm sure it's probably just a very active imagination.

ETA: Actually, sometimes I think my husband has aspergers. His social skills are terrible, he's incredibly clumsy and he has some very weird ideas about how the world works. lol So dont worry, even if he does have something like aspergers he could still have a wonderful life and marry a fantastic chick like me and make babies.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:36 PM   #3
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I think you're right--some very strange behavior. Especially the crayon thing, and the picking up the song after 20 minutes thing.

Def consult the pediatrician.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:45 PM   #4
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Asperger's.

It just waves out at me like a flag.

Sounds like he's a happy kid, though -- a lot of Aspie kids are miserable and belligerent. Of course it's a continuum and comes in many varieties, but I definitely would suspect some kind of autism.

Yes, 2 year olds can be a pain, and weird, but neither of mine ever behaved remotely like that. They were difficult in different ways.

However, if he is diagnosed with Aspergers, it doesn't have to mean a lifetime of labels and IEP's. At two, he's the perfect age for learning therapy. A friend of mine has a daughter who, at four, was diagnosed with SEVERE autism. They worked with her intensively and today she is functioning very near to normal, very smart, just a little "off" when it comes to things like accepting changes and understanding social cues.

Ali, it's interesting that you say you suspect hubby is an Aspie. I've thought the same thing about myself. I can be incredibly naive and oblivious, when I really should know better. I had some strange habits as a young child too; in fact the "crayons" thing jumped out at me because it reminded me of myself. I had blocks like Legos and I remember clearly that before I built anything I had to sort them out and stack them Just So. If I ran out time, sometimes that was all I did, sort them out.

Of course, there are many other names for eccentric behavior. ADHD. ADD. PDD. OCD. And when you get down to it, so what, is there ever a "normal" anyway? A lot of "not quite normal" people have just learned ways to cope. Because most of the people in the autism - > ADD spectrum are incredibly bright people that just haven't quite figured out how to manage their blessings, to fit in with the dumbed-down rest of the world.

Last edited by Juniper; 12-05-2008 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 12-05-2008, 11:52 PM   #5
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I'm almost certain I'd have been diagnosed with Asperger's if it had been a choice when I was a kid.

Anyway, I'd definitely get some advice. Not wanting to walk with you could just be fierce toddler independence. (My son used to crawl on the table incessantly during dinner. We finally figured out that he hated having a different plate from everybody else. Once we gave him a big china plate instead of a plastic kid's model, her never crawled up again.) Repeating songs? They all do it. The 20 minutes thing? Hmmmm........

The crayon thing definitely seems odd to me (though I'm hardly an expert). If he were just sorting the crayons by color as a prelude to coloring, that would be one thing... but I think putting them back without actually coloring seems very unusual.
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Old 12-06-2008, 09:18 AM   #6
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Jeez, I was gonna say he sounds perfectly normal to me. I see a lot of automaton kids who sit docilely in front of the tube or whatever with a blank look on their faces.
Imagine yourself at 14 and the energy level you had at that time and multiply it by 10, subtract any social conditioning about what is acceptable behaviour and you are just at the threshold of being a child.

YMMV but I feel a lot of these diagnoses are more accurately the failure of the child to be convenient to the caregivers or teachers.

I'm sure you've read the Sears books cover to cover and have also read Penelope Leach. Again, you may have a different take, but they can help you sort out a range of behaviors. Especially Leach.

I saw the crazy jumping video you put up and will post some of my own later this week so you can have crazy company.

Another thing to ask yourself: there is a lot of talk about drinking enough water throughout the day to keep your energy levels up, but ask yourself are you drinking enough alcohol? Perhaps not.
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:11 AM   #7
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Probably just the lingering effect of Monster's visit.
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Old 12-06-2008, 04:27 PM   #8
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Get him checked out. He may have tactile sensory issues as well. You know that feeling you get when you first put on a wool sweater. That is what it feels like all the time to a kid with hypersensitivity. If you get it checked out now and he is identified, an occupational therapist could teach you how to brush his arms to alleviate the problem. I used to do behavioral work with kids on the autism spectrum. It is amazing what can be done if you catch them young.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by xoxoxoBruce View Post
Probably just the lingering effect of Monster's visit.


His behaviours are almost identical the the kids of a friend of of mine, who was eventually diagnosed OCD. But they told her at this age it was too young to tell and that some kids behave this way and simply grow out of it when they go to preschool and school and realize it's not what everybody does.

Could be aspergers scale, but it didn't jump out at me when I met him, althoug aspergers doesn't always, and again, he's so young.

no harm in talking to the ped, though. We just had the "is our kid ADHD" talk with ours. The answer was no, he's just badly behaved......
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:44 PM   #10
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I dunno. I was that bad when I was a kid, I really was. And now look at me...


...take whatever meaning from that you wish. heh.
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:34 AM   #11
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Thumbs up

They are all different in a lot of ways.

Thats alot of great interaction with you, the singing.
Does he revert to the singing, etc. if you are playing trucks and cars with him? He might yet be a little young though for this?
My boys around that age liked me to make tons of sounds with the trucks and cars as we played on the floor driving the little toys around.
I made air brake hissing sounds, motor revving sounds as I moved the truck or car, and lowering my voice to change it said things like, "Bye Joshy, I'm going to work now." as I 'drove' the car to where I had a truck parked in a different place on the floor.
They loved that interaction with me.

He is at a very sing-song age. They love to have their parents sing to them at this time. Try mixing it up with some other songs for him that would appeal to him like Old McDonald Had A Farm, you can really have a lot of fun with this song as you make exaggerated animal noises and mix in some laughing and giggling with him.
I remember lightly poking my boys on their chest and belly and laughing while singing the part of- "with a moo, moo here(poke), and a moo, moo there(poke), ... you get the idea.
Is his singing behavior maybe just his means of interacting relationally with you right now? He may just really need time with his dad as far as the singing goes.
Are you gone for extended times due to work where he would develop longing for you?
Some of the other stuff though, I don't know Clod. The bolting could just be headstrong bad behavior. What are his consequences for it?

But I agree with the others, definitely ask about it.
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Old 12-07-2008, 09:31 AM   #12
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Asperger's.
My very first thought.
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Old 12-07-2008, 10:25 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Ruminator
Does he revert to the singing, etc. if you are playing trucks and cars with him?
The singing happens all day long, during any and all activities. He will be watching and dancing to one song coming from a musical toy or DVD and trying to get me to sing a different song at the same time. The only time the singing stops for any length of time is when there are a lot of other people around. At his core he loves people and attention. The thing that makes him happier than anything in the world is people clapping and cheering.

Quote:
Try mixing it up with some other songs for him that would appeal to him like Old McDonald Had A Farm...
Oh no. If it's not an "acceptable" or asked-for song, he screams.

Quote:
He may just really need time with his dad as far as the singing goes.
Are you gone for extended times due to work where he would develop longing for you?
I'm his mom. He's with me pretty much 24 hours a day.

Quote:
Some of the other stuff though, I don't know Clod. The bolting could just be headstrong bad behavior. What are his consequences for it?
I catch him and pick him up again. He walks holding my hand, or I carry him. Which means I carry him (kicking and fussing.)
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Old 12-07-2008, 11:31 AM   #14
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Old 12-07-2008, 12:25 PM   #15
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I know it's not a popular opinion here, and for any lurkers or newbies - no, I do not have children.

What it seems to me is that you have a very intelligent and articulate son.
He is at an age where he is exploring the giddy boundaries of what he can do to change the behaviour of the people around him.

I like doing this! Wow! If I keep doing this I will make them do it too!
It's almost like a troll, but with no malicious intent - it is all about patterns.

My brother shrieked having his teeth cleaned for years. My parents just manhandled him without trying to find out why. I very much doubt this is the correct response and certainly it distressed my sister and I (and probably caused us some fear of our parents). So I can't answer that one.

But for the rest, I can't see that some sort of request, warning and punishment system can't work. It would simply help him to bring his behaviour into line with what society in general would expect.

Mini-Clod - sing this, sing that
Clod - No, Mummy is busy right now
Mini Clod - NO - SING THIS SING THAT!
Clod - No. We will sing it when Mummy is ready - you'll go into time out if you keep asking
Blah blah blah I know you'll know the Naughty Step and Time Out and all that guff already.

Of course it might be true that you have a child with a disorder that cannot be modified by anything other than drugs, special schools, hospital visits and years of help. Crikey, Clod - I really, really hope not and I hope you look at everything else first.

You might want to try giving behavioural modification a chance - for at least 6 weeks. After all if your son does have any of these conditions, it is what he will have to be taught in the long run. And if he's just exuberant and bright, he'd be better off with them anyway.

Disclaimer - although as I said I don't have children and don't want them, from the age of 6 I watched my mother struggle with my brother, who tested eligible for MENSA when he was in primary school. Everything was a battle. Everything. As an adulty I think a bit of give and take (about not wanting to wear anything but blue) and a bit of ask-explain-threaten-punish might have gone a long way. Instead it all involved me - the middle child - because I hated all the fuss, the special treatment (SO UNFAIR!) and the noise.
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