This past month has been the HARDEST month concerning behavioral issues with Nasko since he stepped off that airplane seven months ago. Because of that, we've made limited progress in any area other than the domain of Social-Emotional (he hasn't even gained any weight or inches this month!) So that's what I'm going to write about this month. Social-Emotional:
Before Nasko started school again for the fall, we began to eliminate naps from his daily schedule. This was a BIG deal, as Nasko has had a mandatory nap time in a structured environment since he was born. When he came home, he was this hyper-active, always-engaged, 100-miles-a-minute, crazy kid. There was no option but to require him to take a nap in order to recharge. He couldn't expel that kind of energy for 12-14 hours straight without some major issues by the middle or end of the day.
These days, Nasko is still moving at a faster rate than most kids his age, but he has at least learned how to slow down and relax a little bit. Near the beginning of August, we decided to try eliminating naps and just asking Nasko to rest quietly every afternoon. He struggled to remain in bed for this time, so most days I would rest with him. He'd play on his iPad and I'd write reports for work.
In the beginning, it seemed like eliminating naps was going ok. Nasko would be somewhat crabby, but we'd expected some time of adjustment.
Then school started.
Nasko attends school every afternoon from 12:10-2:45 - during his typical rest time. Nasko was no longer getting a time to calm down and recharge - he was spending more than two hours in an overstimulating, fast-paced environment. We tried rest times before or after school, but neither was working well.
And it began to show.
Nasko exhibited (and continues to exhibit) some very negative behaviors at school most days. He has been to the principal's office. He's sat in timeout. He's lost his entire recess. He's brought home "red lights."
Nasko has been biting, licking, pinching, scratching, stomping on, and spitting on his teachers. He's had a ROUGH start to his year.
At first, these behaviors were just making their appearances at school. I assumed that Nasko was testing his limits and trying out some of his old ways of gaining control. (Until Nasko pees on the classroom wall, these teachers haven't seen half of what we've dealt with, but I do still sympathize with them!) Eventually, these behaviors began to resurface at home.
And that's when things got ugly.
Many things that we'd dealt with MONTHS ago, started showing up again in our daily routines.
Oh, and some new stuff...
Because of these steps backwards in behavior, Chance and I have taken some time to reflect on what we could do differently. During this time of reflection (which isn't as pretty as it sounds - it usually results in me crying in frustration) we realized that despite giving up naps, Nasko was not sleeping any longer at night, which meant he was just going without 10-14 hours of sleep every week. We came to the conclusion that less sleep for Nasko is probably a bad idea. (We're new parents. These conclusions sometimes take us a bit longer than they should.)
So, we've reinstated daily naps.
At first, this fact bothered me.
"I have a six-year-old child. We shouldn't have to sacrifice our afternoons at the alter of the nap gods still."
But, as many of you know, we don't treat Nasko like a six year old. We raise Nasko according to his developmental age. And this month, Nasko's developmental age seems closer to that of a three or four year old. Most three and four year olds still require daily naps.
Since adding these naps back into our schedule, Nasko's behavior at home has greatly improved. I wish I could say the same of his behavior at school, but I believe we will get there soon!
Despite all his behavior issues and our moments of frustration, we are learning to love Nasko more and more everyday — especially with the unconditional love of our Heavenly Father who undoubtedly cries tears of frustration over me on a regular basis.
We are so thankful for the past seven months with Nasko!