Moments for Mom: His First Timeout
- Elisabeth K. Corcoran
- 2002 13 Nov
My son began preschool recently and he was so excited. I was too ... for him, for me, for the fun of watching life unfold and move ahead. I believe it was on his third day of school that his teacher walked out with him, Jack's head hanging low, telling me that he 'didn't do very well today' and that after three chances, he was placed in timeout.
Okay, now, I'm not one of those moms who blindly thinks my kids walk on water, faultless and brilliant. I know their limits. So, frankly, Jack not being able to focus for three hours didn't come as a shock. Jack being the first child to get a timeout for the year - well, that sort of rubbed me the wrong way, stung a bit even. But I tried to shake it off, thinking maybe he just had an off day.
Well, two more timeouts later, (and only about two more class sessions later) and I was frustrated. Not knowing why my son couldn't seem to handle this new situation. But not only that...I apparently am the mom who has raised the kid who causes the most trouble in class. That's a feeling that creeps back into my mind throughout the day.
So, not only was I dealing with Jack - simply, what was I going to do to get him to behave? He goes to kindergarten next year - sitting still and not talking out and not wrestling the other kids are all things he kind of needs to master in the next 9 months.
Taking all his privileges away (videos, computer time, outside time, story time even) - none of those things were working. I even specifically went to Burger King on a day he got a timeout, and asked as we entered the drive thru lane, 'Who listened to their teacher today?' – then proceeded to order chicken nuggets for my perfect child, Sara, and not for Jack. Nothin'. He couldn't care less.
So, what to do with him? And, sigh, what to do with me? Now that I've let my little one out into the world and found that seemingly he wasn't given the skills he was supposed to get – by me.
Now what? Well, thankfully, I brought my son and this situation to the only One who knows the answers - even to things like preschool timeout predicaments.
And within a week, I ran across a book, through several different channels, on raising boys. Answer to prayer on the practicals of what I could be doing. And I came to a place of realizing that he just may not be ready, and I told God (much to my surprise) that if he needed to just be home another year, then pushing kindergarten off for another year, as well to try another whack at preschool next year, that would be what I would do, happily. Answer to prayer regarding my hurting, confused heart.
And then a call from the preschool director - which I almost didn't answer on purpose! “Jack is academically advanced - he knows all these things already ... maybe he just needs to be in the class that meets three days a week and is doing more kindergarten preparation work,” she offered.
“Okay,” I said (sending up a prayer of “what a relief that would be to my heart if he were just bored this whole time” - and – “Wow, you answer fast, Lord!”)
So Jack is going three days a week. We're a few classes into it - and his teacher said this has made all the difference. Lessons learned: my son is not the worst kid in the world. I'm not the worst mother either.
And - oh, yeah, God hears me, even on the little things and responds – sweetly, gently, intimately. May I be mindful and watchful of the answers to prayer sprinkled throughout my life.
© Elisabeth K. Corcoran, 2002
Elisabeth K. Corcoran is the author of Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom's Weary Soul (2001), which would make an excellent Christmas gift for the moms in your life. It can be purchased directly through her publisher, Kregel Publications at #1-888-644-0500 or www.kregel.com, or at amazon.com, chrbook.com or familychristian.com, or through your local Christian bookstore. This column is original and not excerpted from her book.