Do I have a weird kid? (Also, my first parent-teacher conference from the other side of the table)

I can already hear the smartasses out there saying, “Well, look at his parents.” Hyuck hyuck hyuck, y’all. Gee whiz, you’re so clever! *rolls eyes*

But really.

Surely I’m not the only parent who wonders if their kid is developing normally, even though I know all kids develop at their own pace and I know that “normal” is a pretty arbitrary word anyway.

But still, I worry.

It didn’t help that yesterday, when I went to pick Bucko up from school, his teacher’s supervisor asked to have a conference with her, his teacher, and me to discuss “things we could all be doing to help Bucko be more successful.” Um, okay. What provoked this was a particularly tearful day––I guess he cried most of the time he was there (3.5 hours or so). He wasn’t happy sitting in his high chair, so his teacher took him out and was feeding him baby food while he was sitting on her lap, which is apparently a Big No-No according to DoD* child care guidelines. He also is starting to get mad when other kids try to play near him. And, as usual, he wants to be held a LOT, which is not gonna happen because his classroom has a lot of little babies who need the one-on-one time more than he does.

*Department of Defense, for you civilians out there

So the conference was today, when I went to pick him up from school (today was a much better day, BTW). Essentially I was told that I need to make sure I’m feeding him in a high chair, facing him, because that is the only approved way of feeding a baby solid food in DoD-land. Which is how I generally feed him anyway. And I told the supervisor that, but I don’t think she believed me. And I’m supposed to “expose him to social situations.” I take him to swim lessons and music class and new mom groups and library storytime and daycare. How much more socialization could I do?

Honestly, she kinda acted like I was stupid. And she’d do this thing where she’d make eye contact with me except she’d raise her eyebrows and look up and to the left and flutter her eyelids every time she elongated a vowel sound, which was often, because she also talked r e a l l y s l o w l y:

“W e j u s t n e e d t o M A A A A A A K E S U U U U U U R E [flutter flutter flutter]

w e a r e g i v i n g h i m a l l t h e T O O O O O O O L S [flutter flutter]

h e n e e d s t o S U C C E E E E E E E D [flutter]”

Like that.

It was kinda weird.

His teacher didn’t say that much. I got the impression that she thought the ‘conference’ was bullshit. Of course she wouldn’t actually SAY that. But I got the distinct feeling that she isn’t all that enamored of her supervisor. Plus, she is not a native English speaker––Spanish is her primary language––so although she can communicate pretty well in English, you can tell she isn’t as articulate as she’d like to be when she’s not speaking her native language, and that it frustrates her. (Totally understandable.) But probably more importantly, her supervisor appears to frustrate her. (Again, totally understandable.)

Maybe it’s just first-time mom anxieties, but this added to my list of Things Bucko Does That Make Me Wonder If He’s Okay. (Or more accurately, Things That May Or May Not Be Things To Worry About.)

  • He doesn’t put things in his mouth (toys, Cheerios, teethers, etc.).
  • He likes to cross his first two fingers.
  • When he gets frustrated, he twists his hands back and forth like he’s unscrewing light bulbs.
  • He’s not that into food (except yogurt, which he would probably eat by the bucketful if we let him).
  • He’s not crawling or pulling up to stand.
  • He’s never been interested in rolling over.
  • He doesn’t like to have other kids around him.
  • He demands a LOT of one-on-one interaction.
  • He won’t sleep by himself. (I think we’ve got that one addressed, thank God.)

There’s probably more but I have trouble remembering all of my neuroses at whim.

I’d really like to not screw this kid up.

That’s all.

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12 thoughts on “Do I have a weird kid? (Also, my first parent-teacher conference from the other side of the table)

  1. He’s doing fine. And next time, be firm with those “child experts”. Tell them, “Look, I’ve been around babies all my life. I probably know more about child education than all of you, so fuck off”.

  2. YES, Kimbo. haha

    And I agree, I’m sure he’s a-ok. He’s just on his own timeline, and you’re absolutely right, it’s such a wide range of “normal.” He was a joy when you guys came over a little while back for the play date with Calvin. 🙂 What’s his doc have to say?

    • His doc, the nurse practitioners, the nurses, the office staff––they all LOVE him. No issues at all, no worries, nothing. They say that he is delightful and so compliant. They love how he never cries when they’re examining him, not even when he clearly doesn’t feel well. He’s so trusting. And they love how he always gives them big smiles, even after he’s had to get shots. So no, they don’t think anything is “wrong” with him. The only thing that sorta worried them was his gross motor skills, but we got that checked out and he’s okay so they’re not worried anymore. 🙂

  3. Let’s see – he travels like a trooper, enjoys his cousins and Mommy’s friend’s kiddos. loves guy time with Dad and adores Mommy to distraction. The only time he lacks any tools is at that place. Hmmm, maybe he just doesn’t like it there. Maybe a room full of babies without his adored (and adoring) mother is just overstimulating for his laidback sensibilities. And maybe that uptight supervisor pisses him off too! Please Lord, can we let our babies be babies! Go sing with your little guy (just make sure you are facing him eye to eye so he will have all his singing tools.

    • The more I think about this, the better I feel. You pointed out stuff I hadn’t even considered––he does GREAT with change (especially traveling), he’s very flexible, he enjoys playing with a couple other babies at a time (just not large groups, apparently), and he is definitely “securely attached” to his parents. There’s PLENTY of things going right. 🙂

    • I *definitely* plan to do this after we move this summer. I don’t know how else I’d survive since there won’t be a DoD daycare facility around. Being able to schedule irregular hourly daycare around my schedule for $4/hour has been AMAZING––I have been incredibly spoiled!

  4. My girls both had TERRIBLE separation anxiety until 3ish. They both did *weird* things, didn’t hit all milestones within the parameters and guess what? They are healthy, happy, well adjusted school aged children. Do they have quirks? Yes, don’t we all? Are you going to screw him up? Yes, that’s what parents do, eventually anyway. I apparently have made Katie hate her given name (Katelyn) because I only use it when she’s in trouble or I need to get her attention. Trust your Mommy gut and relish that God has made us all different, that is what makes us special!!

    • I remember Katie’s separation anxiety! You couldn’t even leave the room without her going nuts! Yes, we all have quirks. And yes, I’m bound to screw him up in some way. 😀

  5. Wow, the more I think about this the angrier I get. There is NO RIGHT WAY to parent a baby. They treat you like a moron. I’m serious, I think I would call for a meeting and tell those “experts” what’s up.

    • Calm down, Gigi. Bucko’s teachers really, truly ADORE him and they’re the ones actually taking care of him. To give you an idea of how much they love him, when I went to his classroom to get him after the “conference,” he was napping and I had to wake him up. His other teacher came over and said, “Oh, can I hold him before he goes? He’s been asleep the whole time I’ve been here and I can’t stand not getting to hold him when he’s here! He gives the BEST hugs!” And he VERY happily went to her. She cuddled and snuggled him while I got his bottles and diapers together. 🙂 I don’t have any issue whatsoever with his teachers. Yes, his classroom has been more crowded lately (likely due to DoD cuts) but they’re great and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to expose Bucko to more babies. Besides, he’ll only be there a couple more months. It’ll be okay. I’m doing what I think is best for him and that’s the best I can do.

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