Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Sometimes he would start to cry before he even got to the room. I could hear him crying as he walked down the hallway to the room. Most of the time there will be periods when a child will stop crying- to eat, sleep, or sometimes to even play while they sit on your lap or at least close by. Not this little boy. He cried all day, every day, non-stop!! I tried everything I could think of and then some. This boy was the hardest child I have ever had! I sang songs, I turned music on-soft then upbeat, had the parents bring in a special toy of the child's, I asked them what he liked to do at home, I mean you name it and I tried it. After a month of trying everything I could think of and none of it working I was about to suggest to the parents that they try a nanny. A formal child care setting like that isn't for everyone and it doesn't work for every family. So ...after working with the family for a month, talking to the director, we had decided to suggest to the family that they start to look at other options.
Then one day....he stopped! He just stopped! I don't even know why!?! During nap I had opened the door in the classroom that led directly out to the playground and sat there with him like I did every day to make it quieter while the others slept so that his crying didn't keep the rest of the children awake. I took his pacifier and put it on my lap because he was crying regardless of whether it was in his mouth or not. I didn't say anything to him I just took it and put it on my lap. He continued to cry and I picked up a bucket and shovel and started to fill it with sand. A few minutes later he stopped crying. I peeked out of the corner of my eye to make sure he was ok and saw that he was sitting there watching me and being quiet. I continued to fill the bucket and made a sand castle. I did this 3-4 times then I took him inside and closed the door.
I took him to his mat and sat him on it then sat beside him. He continued to be quiet so I decided to push my luck. This little boy went all day long without eating because he cried all day long. It broke my heart but I couldn't force him to eat. So I went to the kitchen and got some leftovers from lunch. I took it back to the classroom and sat him at the table and sat next to him. I pointed to everything on the plate and told him what it was, said, "here's a spoon," then looked away. A few minutes later he picked the spoon up and started to eat. I looked at him and smiled then said, "Is it good? I thought you might be hungry." He looked at me like a deer in headlights and started crying. I said, "Ok I won't look at you," and looked away and continued to watch him from the corner of my eye. I then looked at my co-teacher and pointed. She smiled and nodded then said, "Don't do it." (I had tears in my eyes). After he ate (everything on his plate) I took him back over to his mat and laid him down on it and rubbed his back. Pretty soon he was fast asleep.
I went over to where my co-teacher was sitting and sat down next year. I said, "Co-teacher, did you see that? He finally ate and look he's asleep." She nodded and I burst into tears-I mean I literally burst into tears! After a month of this little boy doing nothing but cry- he wouldn't sleep, he wouldn't eat, he wouldn't do anything but cry- he finally ate and slept!! My co-teacher finally said, "I told you we would love it out of him." That was like the understatement of the year!!
When he woke up he ate snack with everyone, and he played all afternoon. He stayed close by and I watched him out of the corner of my eye, but he played all afternoon. That afternoon when his parents came to pick him up instead of telling his parents they may want to consider other options I told them about him eating, sleeping and his afternoon. They too burst into tears. After that he never cried again unless he got hurt. He eventually started to test the limits some. He would go farther and farther away from me to play instead of staying close. One day while on the playground he went to the other side of the playground then stood there until I saw him. I waved and smiled then said, "I see you. Are you having fun?" He smiled then turned and ran off. I looked at my co-teacher smiled then wiped the tears that again started to flow.
Once this little boy stopped crying all day he was so sweet!! He also was so funny! His personality started coming out little by little. It started with quiet moments when I would be putting him down for nap or he'd come up and show me something and say something quietly to me, then go play again. Every so often he would come over hug me then go play. I have never had a child take that long to adjust before or since. When he moved up to the next room I cried harder than I have with any other child who ever moved up. The bond I had with this little boy was different from any bond I've ever had with any other child. This little boy changed my life-frustrations and all.