Thursday, June 20, 2013

When your child is that child/ independence in twins

We received reports from the kids' school on Tuesday - their first.

It was extremely comprehensive - I just counted and there are  64 different things that were scored in 10 categories.

You may remember that K and C are in different classes.

I read K's first and it was about as we expected, except she seems to listen much better at school than she does here!

Nothing surprised us very much because it is her personality to a T.

Then I read C's one.

And I couldn't reconcile the person in the report with the C we know.

Things about a lack of confidence, being a follower, being insecure, how he's not independent enough, not interested in puzzles, cutting and such. (I think I told you guys before or maybe in a comment on someone's blog how we use cutting to bribe them, they love it so much).

Those of you who have seen Connor even once will know that is not him AT all. Actually, please tell me if you've seen any of that (not the skills, the personality traits) in him.

I realise that children don't present themselves the same everywhere but for someone who really doesn't care what people think (Connor), this immediately feels "off" to me.

I mentioned this to D and he thought I'm overreacting but then we had the meeting with the teacher.

I don't think I'm being that mother because I recognised lots of things that he couldn't do and am non-defensive (e.g jumping from chairs, etc - they both can't, probably because I don't allow it!!! :) about them)

Back to the meetings:

We met with K's teacher first - no problems and nothing new. She showed us how they do assessments and it was all very interesting.

Then C's teacher.

Since this is her first cycle of assessments, another teacher (one of the owners) sat in.

They asked what we thought of the report and I started responding and then it started.

I haven't been that taken aback for awhile.

We shouldn't have gone. Because the report was the good version.

They went on and on and on about Connor. After a while of trying to figure things out by explaining one or two things (like the jumping), I just shut down (D said he saw it in me) and wanted to get out of there.

If I hadn't had the report, I wouldn't know that there is anything good about Connor from their point of view.

Of course we think he is PERFECT :) With a good side of sass and stubbornness.

But seriously, they talked a lot about how he can't do anything right, how she has to adjust her teaching for him (place them in groups of 4 instead of the 6 she prefers because he gets distracted), how he lacks confidence, has no independence, daydreams and is LAZY.

That was when I stopped listening. Because I don't think she likes him at all. She implied that he is a nuisance in class.

And what she said was much worse than the actual assessments reflect which is another reason I think she doesn't like him because there was more emotion in the chat with us.

K is my daydreamer; I don't see this in C at all. C does get focussed and ignores you if he's doing things like a puzzle or blocks, but when I say "Connor, I'm talking to you" he listens immediately.

Friends, I am very worried.

We honestly don't see this at all.

I know they're concerned about both kids playing together too much. K's teacher told me that at playtime they run towards each other and play together all the time, not with other kids. K is a nurturer and will help Connor take off shoes, etc. K plays by herself or with Connor. K told me this a few weeks ago so I had a chat with them that they could still play together but should ask other kids to join them. K then told me she told Teacher C that "my mummy has a good idea about playtime" :)

My worry is that he feels like she doesn't like him and has "given up" on trying in class. And then no wonder he runs toward his safe place (Kendra) at play time because she loves him unconditionally.

They've been VERRRRRY attached the last couple of months and I've just thought, "oh sweet" but I wonder now if this school thing is part of it.

Do your twins play with each other at school/ playdates or do they play with other kids?

Connor won't talk unless he is ready but in our alone time with each kid this evening, I tried...

Me Connor, are you happy at school?

C No, Mummy

Me Why, Baby? (trying not to freak)

C Because I don't have any friends except Kendra. And Keira (BTW D wanted to call K Kyra)

I am very cross because in March I asked them how we'll know how the kids are doing and they told me to wait til now. But if there was anything to be concerned about, they would let us know immediately.

The teacher's behaviour seems to suggest that his behaviour is serious (even though the assessments don't (he only needs "practice" with 14 of the 64 things) and if that is the case, why weren't we informed earlier?

So back to the meeting.

Basically we hoofed it out of there, Nanny S being a really good excuse :) My body language and tone clearly indicated my unhappiness

D and I discussed this a lot last night, but now that I've written this post, I'm a lot clearer in my thinking.

We're going to request a meeting next week to discuss our concerns.

What do you think, though?
What's your gut telling you?

another pic of that tree - I drove past with Connor, rolled down the window and leaned out to take a pic :)
PS Performance appraisal 2 tomorrow - PRAY!


  1. I'm actually confused and sad, nothing there sounds like your C at all. Not the C who walked up to me to ask if he could hug me good bye the first time I met him. Maybe he needs to change classes/teacher and maybe you need to be a fly on the wall for a day or two to watch him and see if there's something to it. It just doesn't feel right to me. The playing together during break doesn't sound out of place. Lots of hugs my friend

  2. Lesley2:03 am

    I really would not worry about this report. He is having an adjustment period - going to school, not seeing K as much, new surroundings etc, he is just finding his feet. I would not be worried that his behaviour at home is different from school at the moment. If you see him being confident, independent and focused then you know he is those things. I think he is processing a lot of stuff - may look like daydreaming to her. Boys often develop slower than girls, and maybe K has got her head around school a bit faster than he has at the moment. From the photos i have seen of him, he looks like a very sensitive boy (am i right?) that also has to be taken into consideration.
    I would be asking why she hasn't asked to see you earlier if she is so concerned about his behaviour. If she used the word 'lazy' i would not be happy either.

  3. Oh I don't think I like C's teacher. I'd want my baby out of that class.

  4. Yank him. I think this teacher has broken his spirit. Children are very perceptive and if she's new to teaching, maybe she needs a little more time. I would, at the very least, get his class changed. That's assuming he is agreeable. I understand they don't want twins to be glued together, but I think under K's watch he might feel more secure and confident, possibly assert himself. Here they almost always keep twins together for the first year of school, as an adjustment to a new environment, then discuss whether to split. Our ped said nearly all of her twin patients are together, if only to make class assignment and such easier on parents.

    If there is such a gap between you and this teacher, I'd remove him at once. At such a young and impressionable age I wouldn't wait it out and teach him to hate school before he's even begun. Is it possible for you to secretly observe?? I'd really try to talk to him, without influencing, just to see what he has to say about his teacher.

    I hope this all blows over quickly. I feel you're a bit to frazzled!!

  5. Take a deep breathe and move him... It is just not a good idea to have a first school experience a bad one - I see no reason on earth why kids can't be in the same class just because they are twins. When we feel more secure we are more confident... when a teacher doesn't like you, no matter what age you are, you won't cope. I would say: "Our little guy is not happy in this situation, he needs the best possible atitude from the get go to perform well at school. It appears he has had a bad experience and we need to move class now before this bad association with school becomes a bigger problem."

  6. I would have flipped a lid.....I don't know if you remember on my blog me blogging about the creche teacher always telling me that my child does not listen (and that is not my Jadakins) My instinct as a mother were very similar to yours...the teacher just does not like my child. We yanked Jadakins out of that creche so fast....and placed her in a new creche. At the new creche she is the apple of their eyes...her reports are glowing. They are seeing the child that we see. So Marcia, trust your instinct. As a mother, you know your child....take him out of that school.

  7. OI, my friend! I have read through this a couple of times and am not really sure how to answer this.

    Firstly - its the very first time he is away from K for some period of time. There are always leaders and followers in twins - he need to find his feet. I would give him a bit of time on the confidence, etc things. I would not worry too much about that.

    The part that does worry me is the way he does nto want to do things that he generally enjoys at home - like puzzles and cutting. And that the teacher just may bot be a fit for him. Which should not happen beacuse a teacher should work around fitting to her kids but inexperience could be a part of it.

    So I guess you have 3 options, bar moving shools.
    1.Keep them where they are and see what happens.
    2.Swop classes - K and C to the other teachers.
    3.Put them both in Kendra's class. Maybe another year together is not a bad idea? Mine were only seperated this year at 5.

  8. I get Little OL's report today and am very interested to see what it says.
    I am not sure what I would do in this situation, my first thought would probably be to move him to another class.

  9. Just adding - my sister's reports where also very different from how we experienced her at home. At home she was very quiet, never stood up for herself and kept the peace. At school she was confident,outgoing and became a prefect. We were all blown away!

  10. My gut is telling me you should have smacked that woman... Ok seriously now, What se7en said sounds like good advice to me.

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  12. Well, I don't have twins so I can't tell you about the playing thing from personal perspective. There are a set of twins at Nicola's school, both red headed boys - too cute! She's friends with one of them but not the other, and the only time you see them together is in the mornings or afternoons when their parents pick them up. They're in the same class (a year older than N) but they play with separate friends...could just be them? So what if K & C play together? They are friends afterall too, not just siblings.

    My gut feel tells me that Connor and this teacher don't see eye to eye and that she's not a good fit for him. If I were you I would request a different teacher that might be a better fit for him, the last thing you want is for him to give up on school at this age, or start believing the things she says about him!

    The first school I had Nicola in was not a good fit for her and the teacher didn't like her at all. I went a few rounds with that woman and made it very clear that was what I thought, which she denied of course, but I could see Nicola shutting down there a little more every day. I tried getting her in with a different teacher but they wouldn't let me. My reckoning was that she's spend almost two of her 7 FORMING YEARS with someone who clearly couldn't stand her and that wouldn't be good for her self image later on. so I moved her to a different school and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

    What does your gut tell you to do about this Marcia?

  13. Oh my. I think C's teacher doesn't like him and it makes me sore to hear this. I can only imagine how mad you feel. Our boys are in the same preschool class, and they play with other children as well as each other. They like the safety of knowing the other is there while they explore new friendships. I think you should talk to the school about trying them together and encouraging them to make new friends together. Our boys won't be separated until kindergarten, which may be next year, but we may hold them back another year. Good luck!

  14. Ok this is my opinion based on my experience with teachers (and you know that hasn't always been positive)

    There are 2 types of kids - kids that tow the line, they want to please the teacher/authority, they are smart, do well, are pleasant, don't talk back etc - teachers LOVE these kids. Then there are the others. The ones who are smart, confident but they challenge authority, the speak their mind, the dream, they do well when they want to - teachers don't like these kids so much - these kids make teaching hard because they don't always move with the tide.

    I think you have one of each. Neither one is better than the other. Neither one is worse than the other. Some teachers handle these kids better and are able to nurture who they are.

    I wouldn't move them right now to be honest. You have 2 more terms - you can manage the teacher for that long. Moving them, when Kendra is happy, may be worse for them both than trying to work this out.

    Manage the teacher OR get them to move him to be with Kendra. I shut down in meetings with teachers about Kiara but it actually doesn't help because I miss stuff I can use - so pay attention or make sure D does :)

  15. You really don't seem like the kind of person (from your blog) who would be "that mom".

    I think he needs to be moved, he's too young to have a bad experience in school (I'm sure he picks up on the teacher's negative attitude about him!) and maybe at the next school keep the kids together? Maybe if they are in the same class they will be able to make friends better? It makes sense that if they haven't seen each other in a while they want to play together maybe if they were in class together outside they would be better able to include other people if they are both around the same people?

    I cannot even imagine a lazy 4 year old....what an awful thing to say.

  16. It's a huge red flag to me that, especially after a conversation with the teacher, you *know* this behavior is NOT Connor. You clarified it was not just some misunderstanding / issue of perspective with the written report.

    Did the teacher see this as an issue? Certainly she should have. And I think she should have been as concerned as you, wanting to partner to get to the root of the issue to figure out what is triggering this change in behavior.

    If you don't feel that partnership, I would certainly look to move him to a different class.

    Would you consider moving him into Kendra's class?

    I don't think I want my girls together when they start elementary school, but I am 100% OK with it in preschool. Truthfully, we don't have another option at the school we chose, but even if we did, I can't imagine doing it differently.

    Might having Kendra in the same class help Connor reestablish the child you know he is, make him confident enough to get back to himself? And if the teacher in that class needs to encourage them to participate in separate activities within the class, then maybe that's easier than having them separated and looking to each other for that short period of time each day?

    I don't know the answer, Marcia...and I hope you don't mind me throwing that our for thought. My gut is he needs a change, though. In my mind, a huge part of preschool is setting our kids up to love learning, to ultimately succeed in school. I know you just want him to be happy and healthy and to be appreciated for the wonderful little man he is.

    Hugs to you all, Marcia!!!

  17. I would switch him to another teacher. Perhaps they don't gel well together. Perhaps she is a brand new teacher and doesn't yet know how to redirect his behavior. Perhaps she brings out the worst in him. No matter the reason, he probably needs a new environment. If a little person doesn't have a positive school experience in the first few years, they will likely hate school even as they get older. You are his parent, and you have the right to request a move.

    My girls play together a lot (and migrate to one another when stressed, hurt, or overwhelmed), but they also play with the other children. They even seem to prefer different children... Grayden plays with the boys a lot and makes new friends easily while Camden pretty much sticks with the girls she knows well.

    I think you seem to already know what needs to be done... you sound so unhappy. And so does C. Request a change. Both of your babies deserve to be in a nurturing environment.

  18. Shew.

    I don't know. I don't know what to say. Ok, I don't have twins, and I don't know how about the connection/separation thing.


    I think there is an issue there wrt the teacher. How can you child be so vastly different at school from home? it can't just be that he is without K. I would definately request a meeting and let her know your unhappiness, and express your concerns without attacking her style of teaching. Difficult iknow.

    Is there anyway they could be in the same class?

    Perhaps you could take some of the craft stuff he has done at home (cutting etc) to show her what he is capable of. Don't let her pull the wool over your eyes. And confront her as to why she has taken so long to bring this to your attention. It should have taken her so long. especially if it is a real issue.

    thinking and praying for you xxx

  19. Yoh my friend! I would have been highly annoyed. I think a frank conversation needs to be had where you tell the teacher that you are actually considering moving him because it just seems too unreal that you are talking about the same kid. I think it would be a great idea if you could secretly monitor him, although I don't see the school allowing this. What about his work? Can they show you his work - that is usually a good indicator? That Connor has indicated that he doesn't like school, clearly means SOMETHING is making him unhappy - yes the separation from K but he and the teacher are clearly not gelling. I don't know much about twins, but I agree that letting them be together could be beneficial?

  20. I don't have twins...but when my kids were unhappy, I wanted to know from their teachers WHY they were unhappy. C is too young to have a bad experience, I would move him to K's class. It is normal for twins to want to play together.

  21. so. only you know your child. that teacher is with him a limited amount of time. and she's documenting what she's seeing. the problem? number one it is subjective and relies on her view of C. number 2? if he interprets her behaviors as dislike, he will not engage like he does at home with a protected, loving environment.

    maybe you should schedule another meeting to discuss? also, what about a classroom visit/observation where you surprise her?

    oy. i hate that feeling in the pit of your stomach, though. i really hope this gets worked out. you want him to be open and enthusiastic about school!!!


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