Joe Blogs

Horn

Jul
23

Hannah and Oscar were sitting in the back of Michelle’s car, singing “I am the music man” to try to keep Oscar and Natalie entertained. Hannah was asking each child in turn which instrument they’d like next. Oscar asked for the horn.

Hannah: “What sort of horn?”
Oscar: I can’t remember.
Hannah: “OK, we’ll do it with the French horn”
[singing ensues]
Oscar: “I’d like a different sort of horn”
Hannah: “What sort of horn would you like”
Oscar: “The horn on a car. Goes ‘beep beep’!”
[more singing]
Oscar: “I want another type of horn”
Hannah: “What sort of horn this time?”
Oscar (demonstrating with his hands): “I want you to take some paper from a tree and twist it into a horn and then blow it ‘brrrr’ like so!”

I really have no idea where he gets some of his ideas.

Overreacting

Jul
23

One of our concerns with Oscar’s behaviour is how he reacts to threat or attack. My last post about his reaction to his castle being broken is an example of how he can react verbally, but he can also react physically.

The other day, one of his friends bit him quite hard on the shoulder. A lot of toddlers go through a biting stage, and indeed Oscar did a while back. Cue the over-the-top retaliation; Oscar pushed him to the floor and dragged him along the (fortunately smooth) floor by his hair all the while wagging his finger at him and castigating him “Naughty X, you do NOT bite Oscar”.

It’s difficult to know exactly how to tackle this. I can’t let Oscar become a bully, and I want him to learn how to deal with such problems more effectively. On the other hand, Oscar is potentially a prime target for bullying himself and I want him to be able to stand up for himself.

As usual, I find myself conflicted by Oscar’s real age and his often better comprehension. Part of me thinks he’s only a toddler and there’s only so much I can do to teach him emotional maturity at this age; the other part of me thinks we should at least try to get him to understand the issues involved. He shows so much understanding of other areas, but I never quite feel like I’m getting through when I try to explain why he shouldn’t bite/pinch/lick me/mummy/$child. I hope it will come in time, and we won’t miss our chance.

Challenging behaviour

Jul
15

This is just a quick post to illustrate the sort of difficulties we have been having with Oscar. I’ll expand on it soon, as we’re making some changes with how we deal with his frustration and bad behaviour.

Oscar was at Toddlers, playing on his own, building a castle out of Duplo blocks. Another toddler came over and broke the castle, and walked off with pieces of it in his hands. Oscar went berserk and shouted:

“I want to hurt the little boy! I want to push the little boy down the stairs! He broke my castle”.

Naturally, this did not go down well with the other parents and Hannah had a pretty crappy time of it for the rest of the time there.

No psychoanalysis for now. I want to go to bed.

A bright little boy

Jul
10

I’ve been wanting to write this for a little while, but swine flu intervened…

We’ve known Oscar is a little bit different for a while. His speech and comprehension are often jaw-dropping, but it’s difficult to be unbiased when you’re a parent. There are too many things that he does that are amazing, but going hand-in-hand with the amazing are some more…challenging…traits. His sleeping is appalling and his behaviour at times is very difficult.

The multitude of health professionals we’ve seen over the last 2 years don’t make it any better. There are only so many times you can hear “isn’t he amazing” or “I’ve never met anybody like him” before it turns your head; especially when it’s a consultant paediatrician saying it. Our paediatrician is very good, and has been trying to get somebody to see Oscar for some time and hasn’t been getting any joy from the psychologists and mental health people that he’s been trying to refer him to. In addition to that, we’ve been agonising on how best to handle Oscar’s education. He’s only just over 2, so it might seem a bit early to be worrying about it, but he should be starting preschool quite soon and we’re not sure he’ll get anything out of it. I don’t want this post to be too long, so suffice to say that we decided that it was worth approaching somebody to assess Oscar; somebody who could tell us whether our gut feeling was right, and more to the point what on earth we do about it. Oscar is our first child so we can’t compare him to our own experience, and he’s clearly a bit different to his peers.

Anyway, we ended up talking to Dr Peter Congdon. He actually tried to discourage us because he doesn’t usually see children quite as young as Oscar, but we persisted and so we took a trip up to Solihull for Oscar to be assessed. He spent about 45 minutes to an hour (we were too worried about how Oscar was to really notice) with Oscar. If I remember what he said accurately, he was assessing according to the Stanford-Binet scale. I occasionally went and listened at the door and could hear Oscar laughing, so he was obviously enjoying himself.

When Oscar “reached saturation point” they came out and Dr Congdon said he’d gone further than he’d expected. The basic result? Oscar has an IQ of about 160. To my understanding, that’s the top of the scale that the Stanford-Binet scale can cope with, and Doctor Congdon said that to get a more accurate result he’d need to test again with the “Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI-III)”. We’re waiting for the full report, but it’s clear that we’re trying to raise a very bright little boy. IQ and “gifted” or “profoundly gifted” are of course partly just labels, but they’ll give us some leverage when we’re talking to schools.

That’s all for now. Dr Congdon made a number of comparisons and gave us some tips, but they’re all a bit hard to get my head around at the moment.