Over the past 3-4 weeks, we have begun to see some behavior issues in Colin that started out subtly and then have grown to become more obvious as time has gone by. I am growing increasingly frustrated and discouraged because I can't quite figure it all out given Colin's difficulties in communication. In the past, when we have seen stretches like this with behavior issues, there has been an underlying cause that was "communicated" through these behaviors. While I do believe that the holidays and lack of a strict routine and schedule play a significant role, I do believe there must be something else going on as well.
Despite the fact Colin's public school has been closed, the daycare has remained open for many of the days over vacation. Chris and I thought it would be best to send the kids a few days (3) over the break to try and keep their "routine" as normal as possible. However, we have been finding that drop off, particularly with Colin, has been rough with lots of tears (normally he takes the bus there). In addition to the one biting incident prior to the holidays, we have been told that Colin has pushed and/or hit two times (mostly his own sister) which has warranted a time out (rightfully so). Even prior to the holidays, his teacher has reported that the resistance to the potty has been great often causing him to go "limp" or completely resist going for them. Because of this, he will often hold it and then soak through his pants when he does actually go. I had a discussion with one of his teachers who has told me that she has remained firm through this process. I am actually starting to wonder if we need to loosen up a bit at school to see if that allows him to regroup in this process.
In Colin's defense, he is unable to effectively communicate the same way most of his peers his age and much younger are able to do so. We often see times where he pushes or hits simply because he is trying to get someone to stop/start walking or to keep them from invading his personal space. For example, there are a lot of times that we will say "time out" or "freeze" when we want the two of them to stop walking and if Kailey doesn't listen but Colin does, he will put his arm out to gently push or nudge her to stop. I have seen him push someone away when he is not comfortable with them being so close to him.
I also think that Colin is testing us (at home at school). Generally we feel that Colin is a well behaved child and we are very consistent with him when it comes to following directions and discipline. We have always felt very strongly about this. We have found that although it may take repeating the instructions 1, 2, 3 or more times, he will follow through as long as we are consistent. We see "fruits of our labor" when we instruct Colin to apologize for misbehaving when we make him stay in time out until he is ready to apologize, even if this takes longer than we would like.
It is really hard to show up at daycare and be approached with a list of "bad" behaviors that Colin has done in a day, like today. When I got there today, he was in time out crying because he had pushed Kailey on the slide (according to her he pushed her so he could get by which tells me that maybe he was trying to communicate that HE wanted to go first [not that it makes it right]). I cried when I got home because I feel bad for Colin that Kailey (and 3 other kids) came running to me today to tell me that Colin pushed Kailey and so and so yet Colin can't even tell me in his own words what happened. He's been crying much more than is typical for him (he is generally not a crier and if he does, it's short-lived). I'm not sure if this is all frustration on Colin's end or if there is something else I can't figure out but I am hoping this is a phase we are going through. I feel discouraged because I know and understand some of these behaviors because he is my child, but not sure if other people can recognize and understand the same thing to work through.