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Circle Time - AGGGGHHH!!!

(26 Posts)
leelee39 Mon 28-Feb-05 21:59:20

Hi. I am the mother of a 22 month old boy. I had worries about his development off and on as he wasn't pointing or waving by 12 months and shortly there after went through a separation anxiety phase - also when he was a baby, he liked to play with wheels, etc.

Fortunately, he outgrew these things. He pointed at 15 months but only once in a while. Now, for about 2 months, he's been pointing all the time (finally!)

He is EXTREMELY verbal (hundreds and hundreds of words, small sentences, people's and characters' names, etc.). His receptive lanuage is very good. He knows his colors, shapes, letters, numbers, and animals (and their sounds). He follows most commands (except hug and kiss - he offers hugs all the time but only on his own, he accepts them always, but he's never obeyed the directive "give mama a hug.")

He loves playing (always has) and does so appropriately. He loves playing with other kids.

Occasionally, something will crop up that I wonder about but it usually passes.

I am feeling so encouraged by all this and my worries are less and less.

I had him eval'd and the doctor basically said I was the one who needed help to "relax" with ds....go figure.

HOWEVER, we go to mommy and me classes and he just refuses to participate in circle time. He loves the climbing and he comes over when they hand out toys, or for bubbles or little games. But the beginning is clapping and kicking, etc. in a circle and he just prefers to run around the perimeter. I know he picks up what we're doing because he says the words and does the motions at home on his own sometimes. But in class, he continues to be the ONE kid that won't do the group thing. And if I try to force him to sit on my lap and particpate, he just gets mad and squirms off and scampers off to run around the perimeter or explore different mats and things (and this is a kid who loves being held, etc.).

This is driving me NUTS. Can I chalk it up to personality? Should I be worried? Anyone's kid like this too and they outgrew it? Please, any advice would be very much appreciated. He's 22 months now. I have been thinking he would outgrow this since he was about 1 but it persists....

Blossomhill Mon 28-Feb-05 22:04:36

I personally would n't be worried. He sounds like a normal 22 month old toddler. Most children of that age would prefer to run around then sit doing things, I know my ds did for sure.

hoxtonchick Mon 28-Feb-05 22:05:46

sounds totally normal to me .

Fran1 Mon 28-Feb-05 22:07:18

I think your doctor is right relax!!

He is not the only one, i bet the other kids have been like that at some time also.

My dd was just like your son when we used to go to groups, now she is at pre-school so i don't know how she behaves at group times (reminds me i will ask next time we go!)

The fact he knows his letters is very good does he actually know them as in recognise them? if so that is excellent for his age. But the fact he can do all the things he can list means he is developing well in those areas, and he is a typical inquisitive child. No child will develop at the same speed in every area.

You really have nothing to worry about at all. He is still very young, let him have the fun of being a child for as long as he can, before you know it he'll be at school and having to sit still for long periods.

leelee39 Tue 01-Mar-05 18:48:41

Hi. Thanks for the replies. Fran1, he recognizes the letters. This came before reciting them, to tell you teh truth. He could pretty much recognize all the letters by 19 months. He has an excellent memory.

I guess the thing that bothers me are that he seems a little immature sometimes - I mean EVER single kid in our class does at least most of circle time. And my ds is one of the oldest!

He is so verbal around the house and with us. But when he is at the park or around a lot of kids, he'll talk, don't get me wrong, but it's just not the same. He is so excited to be around them, it's like he can't control the excitement. He runs around and screams and laughs.

Anyway, thanks for all your responses.

coppertop Tue 01-Mar-05 19:00:00

I think that at 22 months it would probably be more unusual if he did sit still tbh.

He sounds like a very bright little boy. I think if he has good understanding, is interested in other children and is generally happy then I wouldn't be particularly concerned.

I've been through the "is there/isn't there something wrong" stage twice now so have lots of sympathy for your concerns. Obviously I've never met him but there's nothing in your post that sets alarm bells ringing for me.

Fran1 Tue 01-Mar-05 23:04:08

Sorry to be blunt but i really think you need to lower your expectations of him.

He is obviously very bright in some areas which is why you expect so much more from him in every area.

I don't think any children of that age chat as much outside of the home as they do in the company of strangers. My dd hardly says a word until she has really warmed to a person and she is 2. But at home she chats non-stop.

The worst thing to do is compare children by age. They all develop at different stages and as you can see from this thread, many of our children didn't "do" circle times at that age. So what? its not going to affect them. In fact i feel quite proud that my dd has a bit of personality and says hey i don't wanna sit still, i fancy doing something different. That is what childhood is about - freedom. It doesn't last very long. Please don't be too hard on your son. If it makes it easier for you to see, how many of the other children in your group can recognise the alphabet? none i would imagine.

Fran1 Tue 01-Mar-05 23:06:08

Sorry i'm not having a good night tonight!

That meant to read - chat as much in the company of strangers as they do at home!

leelee39 Mon 14-Mar-05 21:45:02

Thanks to everyone who responded when I posted this. I just returned from yet another class and I am feeling crushed. Ds, who I feel is really bright in many ways, is just a disaster in class. Circle time involves clapping and standing and jumping - it's not really a totally "sit still" thing - but ds just wants to run to the side lines and climb on the mats. Today he was into jumping. All he wanted to do was jump off hte mats and every time I tried to get him to come back to class, he got upset, so I just gave up and let him jump about.

I am so frustrated. He really is the ONLY kid in class who is so bad at participating and it is so hard to deal with!

He will come back to the group for a couple of minutes - when they pass out a toy - when the teacher does a jumping and then "all fall down" activity, he said "all fall down" and fell down too. He enjoyed the bubbles.

But for the most part, he just didn't want to do anything he was "supposed to." Everyone thinks he is one of the younger kids in the group and I don't correct them.

But the truth is, it is an 18-24 class, and he is over 23 months now!

I am so very worried about it.

Just looking for any more words of advice. It was so helpful to read your posts last time,

Thanks again.

Saker Mon 14-Mar-05 22:10:19

It really doesn't sound like you have anything to worry about. It sounds like your son is playing and communicating and that he is taking in what goes on in the class. You are unlucky in being in a group where no-one else's child does that and that can make you feel a bit vulnerable but I bet there are plenty of 22 month old kids that do. Why not ask the class leader for reassurance? Or if you are finding it that stressful stop going and find an activity which is less structured for the time being.

No child is perfect - I bet every other one of the mothers at your class will have some issue with their child now or recently - there may be one who is hardly eating, one who wakes up in the night, one who is not saying many words, one who bites other children etc etc. At the time it seems a big deal, but it will pass and you will move onto the next "problem". I really don't think you should let it spoil your enjoyment of your talented and lovable son.

Merlot Mon 14-Mar-05 22:13:34

leelee39 - I have one NT (`normal') 8 year old and one 18 month old with global delay (which means that he is very behind all round). He cannot babble (let alone talk) and he has only just begun to cruise, so from that perspective I feel that your ds is streets ahead.

I am not trying to undermine your own concerns, but I am perhaps seeking to put them in a wider context with some of the other difficulties experienced by the children of others on this board.

I also worked in a preschool nursery until before my ds2's birth and your little one sounds pretty much par for the course tbh - he is still so very young .

You say you are anxious, but what is your actual fear? Attention Deficit Disorder? I know nothing of this myself, but perhaps if you could voice your worst fears there might be someone out there who could allay them?

I found this extract(below)from a site about ADHD - hope it helps I think your little man is perhaps just naturally exhuberant and he is still so young....without trying to be prescriptive my advice would be just let him be. I think you could be doing him more harm than good by your over anxiety


"The toddler full-tilt exuberance usually gives way to the dawning self-control of a preschooler at about age four. Different children go through this energetic stage at different ages. Those who still fit the criteria for ADHD at age 4, though, have a greater chance of truly having ADHD.

There is still no reliable way to make the diagnosis of ADHD in a 3-year-old, but we now know that symptoms of impulsivity are more important than symptoms of restlessness or inattention.

Thus, I would be more concerned about problems of social interactions with peers than with a short attention span, more concerned with those for whom it is difficult to obtain a babysitter than with those who are always on the go, and more concerned with those who consistently disrupt other children's play than with those who fail to listen.

This afternoon, we took our almost 3-year-old son to a community theater production of Big River. He sat fairly still and fairly quietly through the first act. His whole body danced with each musical number on stage. During intermission, several friendly onlookers commented on his energy and enthusiasm. He charmed them with his smile. By the end of intermission, though, it became clear that the time to end his first theater experience on a positive note had arrived. So we went outside for a walk and to play golf on the sidewalk. As much energy as it takes to keep up with him, I shall dearly miss these days when they are over.

merrygoround Mon 14-Mar-05 22:24:15

Please try not to worry so much - I have been going to a musical thing with dd since she was really tiny, (now 3), and have noticed many similar children to yours. In contrast to you I find myself getting frustrated with dd because she doesn't participate much, just wants to cling to me - I sometimes wish she WOULD run around- and I really have to work at reminding myself to allow her to express herself however she wants. Your son is doing the same in his way - he is simply not comfortable with what the expectation is, that is not anything to worry about. The more you fret the less you will be able to see him for his great, individual qualities. He is SO YOUNG! Please, please try not to compare him - a friend's mum always told her "Comparisons are odious" - and I think she was right. I suspect this won't help because I know how hard it is to let go of all those expectations and just let our children be themselves, and to truly respect and love them for it. I hate to think of you getting so upset, it sounds like you are really worried about what other people think, but the best antidote is to revel in your child's idiosyncrasies (sorry, no idea how to spell that!).

leelee39 Tue 15-Mar-05 01:11:05

My actual fear, Merlot (great name, btw, I am pregnant now and boy do I miss merlot!!!), is PDD or something on the autism spectrum. Ds was a little late to point as well as certain other things that had be worried when he was younger - but he's outgrown all those things and seems to be doing well, except for this one area - class. I've been telling myself for a year that he would outgrow this in a couple of month. Now he is very nearly 2! I know 2 sounds so young but we've been in at least 6 mommy and me classes and he always seems to be the only one behaving like this.

Thanks so much for your responses. I wish were in classes with you lot!

My problem is not embarrasment with the other moms or anything. It's just once the ASD worry bug gets in your head, it's very hard to make it go away. And I come away from this classes intensely worried that whatever it is that is making my son different is indicative of something being wrong.

It doesn't help that one of my husband's brothers is let's just say a bit off and I really suspect Aspergers.

I tend to be a worrier. I have had ds evaluated in the past and the dev. peds. basically think I am the one who needs to relax.

But this problem persists and my head starts spinning with worry again.

Can I ask why you are posting on the SN board? Does anyone have a kid on the spectrum? Does this sort of behavior ring any bells?

Should I post this in another area?

Thanks again for your prompt responses.

Why can't I just let my kid be a kid? I wish I knew.

It is so reassuring to read your opinions and I really appreciate your taking the time to get back to me.

Best to you all.

maddiemo Tue 15-Mar-05 07:11:25

Leelee I think you are worrying too much. I have a son with autism and although I can't speak for everyone at your sons age my sons reactions were extrmeme. He could not have tolerated any kind of activity such as this. We were virtually housebound by his distress.

I have nt children as well. At my sons nursery there are many three to five year olds that can not sit still for story time etc.

I think its because there is so much publicity about autism that it is easy to see some traits in many children however this does not make them autistic.

Do try to enjoy your little boy.

Merlot Tue 15-Mar-05 07:45:59

Leelee, hmmm, I think perhaps the fact that you have identified `unusual' behaviour in your brother in law has naturally made you oversensitive.

I can identify with you because atm my ds2 has no specific diagnosis, apart from Global Delay, and we have a family member who is of subnormal intelligence (but whom is very sweet and whom we love very dearly) I have been on the internet trying to play Dr Diagnosis myself and has it helped? - NO - it has scared me witless!

A good friend once gave me some excellent advice - if you read the symptoms for pregnancy in a certain way, it would almost be possible for a man to convince themself that they too were pregnant!

I dont know how much this worry interferes with your day (and of course your pregnancy hormones will be playing a part now (congratulations btw ), but I really do feel that the problem behaviour here is likely to be yours and not your sons.

You have sought professional advice already and they have told you not to worry - easier said than done I know - but I've got a feeling nothing anyone will say will allay your fears. I think perhaps you now need to seek professional help for your own anxiety.

If you are not careful, you could turn your son into a bag of nerves and also you will not enjoy him! Toddlerdom is such a very short, special time - please try to concentrate on his achievements

maomao Tue 15-Mar-05 08:33:21

leelee, your ds sounds like a wonderfully exuberant toddler. My dd (21 months) also wouldn't participate in circle time --- she would just stand and stare at everyone. I don't think it has anything to do with her development; at this age, they're learning so much about independence, etc.

Perhaps if you find it to be very stressful, you should find a different activity to do with your son instead, something that you both can enjoy.

leelee39 Wed 16-Mar-05 16:02:45

Thanks again, all. Yes, the internet is a great resource, but man, it is like fuel for slight hypochondriacs (like myself)! It is very easy to identify "signs" in your child, which could just be typical things taken out of context.

I really do recognize the good and am so thankful that I see a lot of wonderful development with ds.

But these classes set me off. I freak out when we have a class and that happens and I start to see signs (did he just flap his hands? he sort of dances when he walks lately.... did he repeat something?, etc., etc) for the proceeding days. I become internet obsessed again looking for answers.

I know he enoys the classes because he is happy and talks about them and does little games and things that we do in class at home on his own. But I think I will have his babysitter take him to class.

Perhaps he is just a little immature in this regard and can't deal with the group activities. Or perhaps it is a kind of sensory overload for him?

I don't know. But it is definitely not healthy for me to go back to feeling this way when I haven't for a while.

So, if I can manage it, I think I will send him with his sitter next week.

Anyway, thanks again!

coppertop Wed 16-Mar-05 16:17:27

I have 2 boys on the autistic spectrum. My ds1 at 22 months would have had one of two reactions to a singing class: either put his hands over his ears and scream because of the noise or just wander round in circles as though he were the only person in the room. I took ds2 to a singing group for a few weeks as he really loves music. He spent most of the class climbing up the toy cupboards and on to the shelves. Whenever they got out the mini-parachute he would crawl underneath it and stay there, lying on the ground.

Children who stayed sitting in the circle tended to be the exception rather than the rule. They were usually the older ones of 3 and 4 who had spent a while at pre-school and so were used to sitting still to sing songs etc. The others all tended to wander off or run off at some point - sometimes for the entire hour-long session.

Merlot Wed 16-Mar-05 16:25:09

Sounds like an excellent to send the babysitter along leelee

Good luck with keeping your anxiety in check

leelee39 Wed 16-Mar-05 22:45:31

Okay, my internet friends. What do you make of this? There is a playroom in our building, and it is a fabulous resource (we live in NY). We spend lots of afternoons there. My son has made tons of friends whom he knows by name and loves playing with all the different toys.

However, if one of his little friends has to leave - and it doesn't even have to be a good friend, just someone he knows, not even necessarily someone he was playing with, though it usually is someone he was playing with - he cries and calls for that person and usually wants to leave too. When he is the one leaving it's not a problem.

I know about separation anxiety but have you ever heard of it with peers?

Is this normal? I have never seen another kid react this way. Does this sound like "difficulty with transitions?" He recovers pretty quick - just cries for a minute or so.

Also, he was never a great pointer though for the past few months, he's been pointing constantly. However, today, he just extended his arms and twirled his hand while saying "give me please" in the direction of what he wanted. This "hand twirling" not by his face but in the direction of something or occasionally when excited is something I see crop up every now and again. Not for any length of time. But it bugs me.

Any opinions? Could these just be quirks?

I'm sorry to be a pest, ladies. I'm a bit of a mess today.

coppertop Thu 17-Mar-05 09:40:35

The playroom sounds great.

I don't know if it means anything tbh. I can only go on what my ds1 and ds2 were/are like in a similar situation. Ds1 probably wouldn't have noticed the other children leaving at all. At 2yrs he probably wouldn't have noticed that they were even there in the first place. The one thing that might have caught his eye was the fact that the door was open while the child was leaving. Ds2 is a bit more sociable than ds1 was at this age. Again he might have noticed the door being open (and a possible chance to sneak outside himself) but wouldn't particularly care that the child was actually leaving. I had to visit family just before Christmas and left ds2 behind with dh for the first time. Ds2 was 22 months old at the time and I was away for 3 days. Ds2 didn't even seem to notice that I'd come back and wasn't particularly bothered that I'd gone in the first place.

aloha Thu 17-Mar-05 09:45:05

Totally normal! He's not even two and he'd rather run around - what's wrong with that?

coppertop Thu 17-Mar-05 09:45:13

I should add that despite seeing the same children every week for the past 10 months or so, ds2 doesn't seem to recognise them or their names. It's only in the last 2 or 3 weeks that he's started using his brother's name. He still tends to mix up "mummy" and "daddy" despite me and dh looking absolutely nothing like each other. He definitely wouldn't be able to tell me the names of other children etc.

aloha Thu 17-Mar-05 09:47:45

Leelee, i also agree with everyone else that you are worrying far too much. Your son sounds clever, sweet and totally NORMAL! Certainly not autistic in any way at all. And he's a person and like all people has ways that are unique to him. I think constantly comparing him is not a good idea. Are you identical to your neighbour in the way you think and act? I suspect not!

aloha Thu 17-Mar-05 09:49:02

I would also stay away from wherever (book?) you are finding terms like 'difficulty with transitions' !

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