* Brouhaha

Sorry about the disappearing act, it's just that work's been busy lately and blogging got put on the backburner. Hercules had an eventful week, too - two fights which ended with an in-school suspension yesterday.

Both fights started the same - it was bathroom time for the whole class and Herc's nemesis, we'll call him Perseus, thought it was top sport to leap out from behind the door just as Hercules was passing by and scare the crap out of him. Let it be known that young Hercules has no tolerance for such games and he promptly slapped/kicked (depending on which incident you're referring to) Perseus to show him just how he felt about it. Young Perseus, being of the same temperment, returned the gesture and before you could say "don't even think about it" it was an all-out brawl.

Apparently, Perseus thought the first fight was so much fun that he played the same trick two days later (they had a sub both days, incidentally, which was a key factor as well). Or maybe he thought that Hercules wouldn't be so rash the second time around and temper his reaction but he was badly mistaken. In fact, the second fight ended with the two of them trying to shove each other into one of the sinks.

Clearly our young warrior needs to get a sense of humor. The irony is, of course, that Hercules loves to scare the crap of passersby in much the same manner. This is not the only example of his hypocrisy. Just last weekend he was having a grand ol' time taunting his friends and stepbrothers with one of those dumb songs that involve marriage and baby carriages. But when the taunts were turned back on him, woe to the songsters! I spotted him just in time with a fistful of sticks and stones (ha!) ready to hurl at the offending parties. Good grief!

So we've been having a lot of discussions about better ways to handle these situations and I'm sure we're not done with it. Because Hercules has always been great at regurgitating the right answers, proper procedures, and other mantras of social norms. But in the heat of the moment all his well-rehearsed lines are abandoned in favor of action.

This week I've learned that meds are obviously not fool-proof. But that's okay, because I've always been relieved that the meds haven't deprogrammed Hercules and turned him into some unrecognizable robot child.

The other good news is that while emailing the principal and the vice principal concerning these incidents, they both were very kind and expressed a lot of appreciation for Hercules' progress overall, despite these minor setbacks. The principal in particular had a lot of nice things to say about him, and that's exactly what parents like me need to hear. Yes, your son had a hard day today but that doesn't make him a hopeless case or mean that he's destined for a life of crime. This may seem obvious to some people but anyone whose kid ever got pinned as a Problem Child knows exactly what I'm talking about, because some people really know how to make you feel like shit, when you're already feeling pretty damn shitty in the first place. So I'm thankful for even the smallest kindness at times like these.

And yeah, I know I'm supposed to write about my neighborhood some more and I will, but I still need to organize my thoughts on that one. And then find the time to write it all down - that's the catch, see. Maybe if Hercules can stay out of trouble for a few days, I'll have something for you next week.



Anonymous Marissa C. said...

Hi, Renee,

I happened upon your blog while searching the Internet for references to "kindergartener sent to principal's office." Maybe that will give you a clue about my day today... fourth day of kindergarten for my little guy, who, after reading a bunch of your entries, reminds me of Hercules. Very bright, very independent, but well... spirited, to be nice, but I also have referred to him (not when he was around) as difficult and challenging, or in my weaker moments, a pain in the ass. (big sigh) I have been so worried about him starting kindergarten and my worst fears confirmed today. I'm pretty bummed right now. I see you've finally put him on meds, but like you initially, I *REALLY* do not want to go that route. I know, I'm getting ahead of myself. I don't understand what happened. He went to pre-school last year from October to June, and though he had a few grouchy days, and many days when he didn't want to go and cried, he only had one day where he told the teacher no and stuck his tongue out at her. He stuck his tongue out at the teacher three times today, refused to transition from one activity to another, was disruptive to the other kids by banging his hands on the table, got sent to the principal's office twice, and the first time was not remotely remorseful and told her he knew he was being bad, that he wanted to be bad and he was *going* to be bad all year long. He is definitely intense like you describe Hercules and he is often disrespectful at home. But, we DO give him consequences for things. It just doesn't seem to make much difference. I guess part of it is my fault because I haven't cracked down enough on those things, but though being disrespectful is unacceptable and not desirable behavior, I guess I don't see it as *BAD.* To me, BAD is things like hurting others physically or emotionally. He really is a defiant child and very strong willed with a lot of personality.

He has a cousin who is on an ADHD drug and it seems like it has wiped out whatever personality he might have had. I don't ever want my boy to be like that. I'd rather have him stick his tongue out a million times over. I realize they can't let him get away with that at school, but... jeez.

Anyway, I could relate to your troubles with Hercules and I just wanted to say Hi.

9/12/2006 5:04 PM  
Anonymous Renee said...


I feel your pain! But don't despair, your little guy sounds like he may just be experiencing a rough transition into a more structured school environment, and that's not all that unusual for kids his age, particularly "spirited" little boys like ours;)

Also, keep in mind that there is unacceptable behavior, and then, like you said, BAD behavior. Hercules crossed that line many times, causing physical harm to his classmates, himself, and his teachers. That's the primary reason why I finally resorted to medication.

I'd also like to say that medicating a child should not turn him into a zombie. That was precisely my fear prior to my decision to medicate Hercules. I learned that if you manage the dosage properly and choose a medication that suits your child's individual needs, he's not going to turn into a little robotic automaton. My biggest relief after trying to meds was to discover that Hercules was still his lively, animated, ornery little self, with just a dash more impulse control. That has made a huge difference.

Personally, I prefer to keep his dosage at a minimum. That way, he still has to learn how to control his temper and his emotional and physical outbursts, without being overpowered by them. The meds help him manage his behavior, but they do not eliminate it entirely. I think it's a great compromise.

Good luck with your little guy this year! If you'd like to contact me further, you can email me: gyrovaguex at yahoo dot com.

9/13/2006 6:26 AM  

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