Pour Your Heart Out


This is my first time taking part in “Pour Your Heart Out” with Shell at Things I Can’t Say, but as I looked through some old pictures I knew I had to share this. This child terrified me:

That’s John at about age three. We called him Jack then, and he usually didn’t respond. He went where he was going to go and did what he was going to do, no matter what anyone else said or did. He apparently felt no pain and had no fear. He had long ago learned to unlock a dead-bolted door, lock car doors from the inside, and stack things around the house so he could climb as high as he liked. He had opened Aaron’s hamster cage, taken Bert out, and given him a bath. He had smeared poop all over the felt of the pool table and paint all over the hardwood floors. We couldn’t take him to a restaurant, and shopping was a brutal experience.

He terrorized other children at story time at the local library, and was so poorly behaved at Mother’s Day Out that the director herself wrote out a five-page description of his behavior issues and told us to “get him evaluated”. She had absolutely nothing positive to say about him. I withdrew him from the program, cried for several hours straight, and made the appointments. I wondered what we’d done wrong, what we’d forgotten, where we had failed as parents. We’d done fine with our older child, he was sailing through elementary school, getting rave reviews from everyone.

The pediatrician said he was perfectly fine, just “busy”. The therapists and educators at the long-awaited “evaluation” said he was fine, slightly behind in a couple of areas but ahead in others, and chastised me for taking an appointment that could have been used for a child with “more serious issues”.

Today John is a sweet, thoughtful, creative 11-year-old. He is on the Honor Roll, participates in several extracurricular activities (of his choosing) and enjoys spending time with his friends. His teachers appreciate his sense of humor and his skill with all things technical. But when I look back at those old pictures and see that look on his little toddler face I still get a chill remembering days when I had no idea what was coming next.

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5 thoughts on “Pour Your Heart Out”

  1. I found you through Shell's post. I want to thank you for sharing this. Right now we are going through a similar thing with one of our kids. It is nice to know that there is hope that she will do wonderful in school and be ok. Thank you for that

  2. Oh, I so feel your pain. My son is like that. I swear he's deaf some days. He's not even 2 yet and has a mastery of selective hearing that makes grown men jealous.
    His latest trick is to climb over the baby gate to play in the laundry room.

  3. 5 pages? That's crazy. She should have been gentler about it.

    I'd love to hear the story sometime of what you did to help him to get out of that stage(because I need help!)

    Thanks for linking up!

  4. Who are you kidding, we still don't know what is coming next with John, but now it is all funny and good. He is so smart, funny and creative I'm always amazed. What a joy he is to be around.

    To all the moms that are worried about their children going through some of the same things, as my grandmother use to say, "They'll out grow it".

  5. Bless you, Angie, for giving me hope. My twins are so much more energetic and destructive than my first 2 girls were . . . somedays I just shake my head in wonder at the mischief they get into.

    People don't understand how clever some kids can be—they think that it's just a matter of proper supervision. They've obviously never dealt with whip-smart and sneaky kids. THANK YOU for mentioning the locks! My girls have the uncanny ability to find my car keys, no matter where I hide them, and slip out of the house to unlock the van and play inside it. AAARGH!

    I pray a lot for my girls, and trust that they are going to turn out to be very smart, resourceful adults (with lots of great stories from their childhood terrorizing their poor mother).

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