When Nate turned two, he began having tantrums that frightened me. They lasted for 15, 30, 60, 90 minutes, and he was destructive. He detested being made to do what he did not want to do, and he rebelled in every way he could as a small boy of two, three, and four-- screaming, wrecking his room, etc.
I enrolled him in preschool to get a rest from this drama and to determine whether these outbursts were home-driven or just Pure Nathan. Apparently he coped well enough in school (his first teacher became a family friend and assured us he was normal). Further, I had a therapist at the St. Joseph County ISD evaluate him (he was not ADD or ADHD) and he went for several sessions with an Occupational Therapist for being so wiggly in 2nd grade. (The result? This kid needs to move to be able to think. That'll be 1500.00 dollars after insurance).
So we had experts tell us what we already knew. Nathan is a "spirited child" (There's a book, Raising Your Spirited Child that cost me two dollars at the library sale and did more to quiet my concerns than anything).
Now that he's home again, it seems we have picked up where we left off. He's armed with a better vocabulary and emerging abstract reasoning, though. I'm in for it.
Nathan and I have argued every day this week. For instance, on the day that I had to clean a house, he was too rowdy per indoor etiquette. So, I put him to work scrubbing out a tub. He purposely did it all wrong, flinging water about, and was banned to the car. This brought up an argument on his being trustworthy-enough to follow directions as a prerequisite for staying home alone. That made him FURIOUS because he wants to stay home alone for short periods. Without all the tedious back and forth of our conversation, we eventually made up. The next day, he and his sister wouldn't keep their hands off each other, so I said they must "earn" their Friday soda pop. When I drank one of "his" sodas, he claimed insult. I claimed that having bought them, they are, in fact, my sodas. Outrage. Argument. Resolution.
It's obvious that his defiance
a. Was inherited from his mother, and
b.Was not eradicated in years of preschool and public school.
As a way to break us into this situation--being together a lot more than usual--we are not "schooling" until after New Year's. There will be housework, yes, and learning as we go, but the parent-lead pillars of math and writing will wait, as will the science and history.
I'm not sure how to teach the necessities without raising his ire at being "bossed around." Nor am I sure how well we'll get along in the process. However, better he and I learn to get along and accommodate one another than to drop him off at school and let a stranger try to manage all that piss and vinegar. If anyone's going to teach him how to cope, I trust myself more than I trust a state-sponsored staff. It will be harder this way, but perhaps in the long run, we'll both be better friends for it.