My Imperfect Child

The weather was exquisite today. A breezy 65 with the sky a dizzying, unblemished blue. I set out with our wide red wagon, a cadre of sippy cups and snacks, and my two children, a boy and a girl. Just turned three and almost two; highly sensitive and sassy, respectively. And I herded them into the car to drive to the zoo—along with about 500 others also taking advantage of the weather.

As my almost two year old enjoyed the leisurely wagon ride, my son strode purposefully toward each of the animal’s enclosures, peering through the fences.

Just a day ago, he was a shrinking violet, clinging to my leg as we walked the halls of the occupational therapist’s office. We were there to get a screening after his well-meaning Mother’s Day Out teachers informed us they thought he wasn’t ready for preschool.

You see, my son, the one whose honey-colored eyes sparkle when he sees tigers and lions and giraffes, is highly sensitive and often babyish.

He turned three just two months ago. And at home, his first line of defense when something doesn’t go his way—whether it’s a cookie that fell or the way his sister looks at him—is often whining or crying.

At school, though, he makes me lean in for a hug, promise I’ll be back to get him after lunch, and goes in. He’s the quiet child who never cries, never takes toys from others. He mingles with the other kids, but he’s really there for the train tables, the playground, the books.

And when they have circle time at Mother’s Day Out and he’s called upon to stand up and be singled out, his whole body recoils. Here, at school, he folds into himself. It’s quite the transformation—a butterfly shrinking back into a caterpillar. Simply, he shuts down. His muscles tense beneath his Gymboree shirt and his mouth goes slack, creating a downturned effect.

One day, I went to observe this circle time.

“Come up here,” a teacher says gently.

He stays frozen, perhaps hoping if he’s still enough he’ll be passed by.

“Stand up,” the teacher prompts. “Okay, now walk over here.”

He does this, slowly, pathetically. Charlie-Brown-like in his saunter.

“Can you pick out the yellow triangle and put it on the board?”

Frozen again.

I am observing this classroom activity, or lack thereof, just out of sight. I nervously bite a hangnail, afraid that if I let my teeth off that flap of skin, I’ll yell out: “For the love of God, you know this! Just pick it up and do it. Do it!”

But I stand helpless, helpless. “Just do it. Do it. You know this!” I’m mentally chanting.

Frozen again. (Maybe that’s why the eponymous Disney movie is his favorite.)

“Okay,” the teacher begins prompting again. “Lean down and pick up the shape.”

Slowly, robotically, he obliges.

“Okay, now put it on the board.”

He’s gone again. Looking at the board, but his feet seem glued to the ground.

“Walk over there and put it on the board. Right there. No, there,” the teacher instructs.

He finally does and then continues standing.

“Move it!,” I will him.

“Okay, now go sit back down in your place,” his teacher intones.

He does so, his posture slumping. I can see he’s more relaxed. The pressure is moving to someone else.

I know my child. I spend all but eight hours a week without him. Those eight hours are spent at the Mother’s Day Out. The teachers don’t see him cry, they don’t see how exceedingly shy and sensitive my son is. They don’t realize just how much he shuns attention. He still clings to vestiges of babyishness in part because a baby sister a mere 16 months younger robbed him of some of the extra attention he perhaps needed. But, he also takes longer to do things because he is himself.

So, to occupational therapy we go. Just for an unbiased review.

In the therapist’s office, after I pry him off my leg, I coax my son into a little chair. The therapist has kind eyes and a soothing voice. She hands him a crayon and asks him to color. He, a left-handed child, takes the crayon in his right hand, nervously puts his left arm over his forehead and begins pathetically dotting at the illustrations on the page.

Here I am, watching him again. Another place, another room, still freezing up. This time, I’m sitting right next to him and biting my lip to keep from saying: “You’re doing it wrong.”

He’s given a list of activities—cutting, drawing, naming objects—many of which they say he does incorrectly.

But he’s nervous. I’m nervous.

The compassionate occupational therapist hands me a green sheet of paper, checking off all the improvements he needs to be on track with his peers. The term “mildly developmentally delayed” based on her assessment is bandied about.

“Does a just-turned three year old really need to be able to know how to use scissors?” I ask. Really?

But then there’s today. The present. And the zoo.

And my son is one among hundreds of kids, all elated over the slow-moving animals, the too-bright sunlight bouncing off the pavement, the shrill train lumbering down the tracks. Here on this perfect day, my “developmentally delayed son” looks the same as all the other children here.

Do they all have secret heartbreaks?

Because that’s what kids do to parents: Hurt their hearts.

But here, today, there’s something healing. Maybe it’s the electrifying brightness that gives me pause for optimism. Or the tree-fluttering cool breeze.

Or maybe, just maybe, it is my graham-crackery sweet little boy who freely doles out hugs and “I love you’s” and has a head of thick caramel curls whipped into a frenzy.

I don’t know what it is. But today, at least for a moment, I see it: The perfection in my clinically “imperfect” child.

About the writer

Claire left her job as a magazine editor to raise her two kids. These days when she's not freelancing, she's kissing stubbed toes, reciting storybooks from memory and dreaming of wine. You can follow along on her site


Susan 7 months ago

Far from imperfect! I can identify: my son was definitely just like the “pry off my leg” type. Funny enough, he’s become the most outgoing person I’ve met.

Jessica 1 year ago

As a pediatric physical therapist, thank you for posting this! It is wonderful to get a parent’s perspective outside of the clinic. I try to be so mindful of the words I use when talking to parents, and “delayed” is a very charged word, especially because it masks the many strengths that a child does have, even if one or two areas are a little tougher for him or her. I struggled myself with motor skills and coordination growing up, and hated PE class. Working with my kiddos is not about slapping a label on them, but about helping them figure what is hard, and why, and then helping them improve not just so they “catch up” with their peers but so that they can feel more confident about what they can do. I hope you have been having a positive experience with your OT and that they are helping give you the tools you need so he can continue to flourish!

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Valerie Swenson 1 year ago

I will point out that there is a flip side…where “labeling” and diagnosing your child early on can be helpful. My daughter was no sensitive. But she was having meltdowns constantly. Not wanting to be constantly comparing her to her very verbal older sister we waited to have her speech tested. We finally caved and it was the best thing we ever did. Her teacher is amazing and supportive and the improvements she made in being able to communicate to us her needs and wants were a Godsend.
Not every teacher is fantastic, and too often kids are being labeled who do not need it. But for my daughter the process saved us a lot of heartache. Best thing, know your child, be purposeful in evaluating their needs, and then get them help when YOU know they need it. I was able to go in and tell the evaluators exactly where she was struggling, and it helped them to get her the help she needed.

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Janith Sperry 1 year ago

No child is imperfect!!

Melissa morrissey 1 year ago

There are a lot of wonderful teachers out there who specialuze in caring for and encouraging children who don’t naturally jump into the fray of preschool, gymboree and other “typicial” toddler activities. You don’t have to subject him to experiences that scare and humiliate him. Try to resist being defensive or offended by a label, like “developmental delay” or (gasp) “autism”. You know your child is different and in the right environment is capable of so much. If you embraced the “help” and engaged with an OT or had him evaluated for a special needs school you might find yourself and your son surrounded by the most amazing people. Your son could smile at school and not be afraid that his teachers expected him to be like e eryone else. They would respect him as an individual and teach him to respond appropriately in school without fear or shame. This is my experience with my 3 year old boy. He is exuberant and “delayed” but with a lot of help he is catching up without fear or shame. Get all the help you can for him. There is no downside. No harm. He will still be your wonderful boy.

Tammy Sipe 1 year ago

your son sounds like a typical shy 3 year old who doesn’t want unnecessary attention. He WILL outgrow it.

Kim 1 year ago

You know what? Your son sounds just fine to me. My son, now five, was a lot like your son at that age. He is a lot less reticent and competent(?) now. Competent isn’t the right word. But every child is different. My son had ZERO inclination to put pen/crayon to paper until 4.5. He absolutely refused. I bought a math book for him and he wouldn’t circle anything (didn’t think he circles were “good enough”/felt too much pressure, not sure). But when I just ASKED him the answers e got them all right and was waaaay ahead of what he “should” have been.

I remember telling my husband that had he gone to preschool and been given a similar activity (any activity really) he would NOT have done it and they would have thought was “delayed”. But he wasn’t. He just wasn’t into writing or drawing or cutting.

But then one day, he was.

I would ignore that label if I were you. You know your child. They don’t. Your son sounds a lot like mine. How he was at three. He also learned to walk later (16 months). But heck, he now walks just as well as his friends who learned at a year do.

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Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

Dear Google U. Experts:

In order to qualify for services a child must typically be delayed 33% below the average for children their age. That means for a child that is 36 months old, he would need to be showing developmental behaviors equal to or less than that of a 2 year old. If my 3 year old was a full year behind in any areas of development, I sure would want to help them rather than allowing them to struggle until maybe they figure it out; because if they don’t figure it out on their own they will only be further behind and be more unlikely to ever catch up.

There are periods of time in development called critical and sensitive periods. These are times in which children as supposed to develop certain skills and abilities, and if they miss these windows it may be much harder or even impossible to recover them later. These are not just arbitrary periods recommended by professionals as to when children are “supposed to” develop; these are periods of brain development set by biology. These periods apply to perceptual, motor, language, social and cognitive development.

So please, before you give parents your “expert” opinion, admit that you may not actually know what is right for all children and butt out. Your anecdotal story about your one experience is not the standard for other children. Don’t dissuade parents from getting help for their children because you have some belief about everyone being special snowflakes that develop in their own way. Development occurs in a predictable pattern, with some reasonable variation, but when that variation is too great it could be a sign of an issue.

Parents of these children, don’t stick your head in the sand because you are afraid to admit that there might be an issue. Issues caught early can often be improved or even corrected before the child enters school. There is absolutely no harm in the child working with a OT, PT or SP. Even if the issue is mild or in the unlikely even that the evaluation is wrong, there is nothing bad that will come from these services. And if there really is no issue or the issue is minor, the therapist will realize this quickly and the services will be discontinued because the child will no longer qualify. If the child continues to qualify for services for a long time, well then, obviously there is a larger issue going on and I would think that you would want to do all that you could to help your child.


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Mary 1 year ago

I really don’t think your son sounds any different than a lot of three year olds.
Plus my girls, now 9 and 13, both very smart and artistic, could not properly use scissors until kindergarten! They both knew their colors, letters, numbers, writing etc. But both of them were so stubborn when it came to scissors, they would not take instruction from me. It took seriously took two years of their pre-k teacher working with them and it still took part of kindergarten!

Jessica Culver 1 year ago

My daughter is about to enter kindergarten in the fall. She could have started last year, but we decided to wait. She is a smart, bubbly, talkative little sass ball. But she does not like crowds of people she doesn’t know, despises the attention on her and clings to our leg fire the first half hour at family gatherings with members of the family she doesn’t see often there. On her birthday she requests we do not doing happy birthday because it makes her nervous. I did not have her in preschool, we do that at home as we did with our son. She knows everything she needs to know to start school, but I know she still will clam up until she is comfortable. Claire, you are doing the right thing nipping this in the bud now. It will benefit him greatly. It is hard watching your child go into their bubble when you know what they are capable of. I wish you the best if luck and always follow your gut.

Why, Mommy? 1 year ago

This was so beautifully written… <3

Sabahat 1 year ago

Your article I stump over accidentally and found myself thinking deep deep, I was told in my early school that I was developmentally delayed and yet I was far ahead in my intelligence back then when I wasn’t given attention. It is not delay that was … It was my personality well part if my personality my parents then didn’t have any source for OT etc. but I remember vaguely that my father used to work hard for our confidence our learning off the curriculum and our general growth as an individual. I m sure your child is a superb boy with unimaginable strength and intelligence it is just part of his beautiful personality that doesn’t like so much attention and our schools these days want every child to be f same kind. As a mother I see that u can help him a lot in meeting up with people in getting things done without being in the line light and work closely with his teacher to let her understand his unique personality. And don’t worry he will be a great leader one day!

Shannon Fleming 1 year ago

A 3 year old is still a baby. Your putting way too much pressure on your child to conform to what u think he should be. Putting him on the spot like that? Shame on the teacher. How about allowing him some more time and relax a little bit.

Angela Noon 1 year ago

As a teacher of preschool & elementary school, this makes me sad. Some kids just take longer to warm up than others. Many 5 year olds still don’t use scissors or pencils correctly. They need practice and encouragement. Time to learn at their own pace. This is why preschool is so important. They have the time to learn slowly. Because once they start elementary school everything moves so fast.

Heather Hofstetter 1 year ago

All I “see” in reading this is a kid who doesn’t care to be singled out — in Circle Time a MDO, with a bunch of people he doesn’t know well and isn’t particularly comfortable with; and at the OT’s office, with yet another adult he doesn’t know and isn’t comfortable with — and doesn’t have the emotional maturity to articulate this. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this poor kid; he just needs adults to stop trying to make him an extrovert.

He’ll either outgrow it, or he won’t. And that’s fine — my husband is an introvert, and has managed to navigate life very successfully for 40+ years.

Nicole Aßhley Maryon 1 year ago

It really bothers me, this mothers idea of what her kid should be doing. How can she think, “you’re doing it wrong” when he was asked to color in a coloring book? He is just a baby still, he isn’t doing anything “wrong”, he is just learning. Poor kid.

    Claire LeBlanc Vath 1 year ago

    Hi, Nicole! As the author of the post, I feel like I need to clarify the context of that: I thought, “He’s doing it wrong” not because I truly think that but because at that moment, he was being judged on his coloring skills and the way he held the crayon. As a mother of this 3-year-old who, yes, is definitely still a baby, I encourage out-of-the-box thinking/drawing/playing. I don’t even keep coloring books in my house, preferring my children to use their imaginations and take sheets of paper to draw on. I shy away from the term “poor kid” because he is most certainly just learning, and as his mother, my job is to observe him and then be his fiercest advocate when it comes to schooling/social skills/being different/etc. Watching how he does things differently has enabled me to learn how he processes information and makes sure he gets the help he needs if/when he needs it. :-)

    Nicole Aßhley Maryon 1 year ago

    Well said, and I am glad you explained. In the context of the article it sounded more like you were thinking that he was coloring “wrong”… But I am glad you clarified.

Cheryl 1 year ago

My almost 3 years old has been seeing an occupational therapist, speech therapist, and developmental specialist for a little over a year. I don’t view him as imperfect, though. And I would encourage any parent to not think about their needs that way.
See, I am also a teacher. I see these resources as extra support. It’s called early intervention for a reason. They are meant to give the child that extra boost that s/he needs, not to be labeling them as lesser than.
My son has improved so much this past year, and everyone that interacts with him comments how smart he is. And I know he is. He just needed/still needs some extra support to show how wonderful and smart he is.
As wonderful and smart as every child is.

miranda 1 year ago

my 2 year old has 2 very kind ladies come over every week to help him start speaking. and to help him use his words rather than throwing himself on the ground or biting his baby sister. they said he had a 43% delay in his speech but his fine motor skills were above the average kid his age. when i compare him to other kids i think to myself wow he is very far behind for his age group but then these two sweet ladies remind me that kids develop in different ways some develop faster and others take a little more time and may need a little more love and understanding . my son is also in the process to be evaluated for autism but this is something his drs recommend . his speech therapists say hes is perfectly fine he will soon catch up. i have seen a great improvement these past 4 months of them coming out . they both see him once a week so thats 2 visits a week. and i was scared at first thinking they are just going to shove flash cards in his face. wrong. so wrong. they play with him like any normal kid and what’s great is they see him in his own environment (our house) .before they started to come out all we got from him was growls no babling just growls. now he is babling and saying a few words here and there not at all as many words as he should be saying but he is improving and i love my child and don’t care to hear how other moms like to critic my sons development who are they to judge . they don’t know him like i do . and thats just that. our kids are our kids . not any one elses who are they to judge . why should anyone judge or compare their kids to each others. just like they said every child develops differently not one is the same. :)

Dana Tedford Nodler 1 year ago

I loved this article,my children are now grown.I love the way you love your son, allowing him to be him. God doesn’t make mistakes and we don’t need everyone to be the same. The way he operates today at 3 won’t be the way he operates at 5. Keep working lovingly with your son with eyes of delight. Don’t let the world crowd your son out of who is is meant to be. Gently guide him along his path.

Threecsmom 1 year ago

As a previous pediatric O.T. the reality is that kids do develop different areas at different times. If we were to sit all three year olds down and assess them we would see a variety of strengths and weaknesses that would cause some people to label a child. Sadly some systems require these labels for funding purposes. You are doing a great thing working on the areas of concern. It sounds like you child has some anxiety around being singled out. Anxiety can make things we know go out the window pretty quickly, think how it can be when you are asked to just do a simple thing like give a toast at a social gathering. Continue to address the areas of concern and soon enough he will be functioning with more confidence in those areas. The key is reinforcement of what ever the working goal is with his therapist. Not just during therapy time, or therapy homework time but all times. Good luck!

Jennifer Clark Jones 1 year ago

Man, my now 10 yr old son is exactly like this: spoke nothing but gibbirish, lining up things, took till 4 1/2 to potty train….. I ended up putting him in a special Ed preschool at 3 (which didn’t do much) diagnosed with mild autism (very mild) at 8, only because most of his dads side is the same way. He is now 10 and for the most part he’s come a long ways, and we still have a few issues from time to time. I do recommend a book called -Back to Normal by Enrico Ginnulli (you can look that up on Amazon). Basically he describes these types of kids as just simply brainy and introverted. Once I’ve embrace that, life with my son has been awesome. I’ve also learned that these types of kids do get better as they get older, and they also make great tradesmen and great craftsmen. He’s also a social misfit which ain’t that bad, he’s also got a few friends that are also social misfits. :)

Brandy Lopez Barbee 1 year ago

He’s three and a kid…. Actually still a baby. My daughter is now 10 and scores at the top of academic tests but still can’t cut a dang straight line and her penmanship is….. Eh. But she is an amazing swimmer and has exceptional balance. She still hates the class looking at her when she is called on and thinks school sucks because she wants to be outside moving around looking at things or reading a book. And I have accepted that she is a pain to teachers and just fine to me.

Gina 1 year ago

Having group time where three-year olds are singled out to perform tasks is not developmentally appropriate. Three-year olds are usually ready to listen to a couple songs, maybe a story, and move their bodies during a ten-minute group or circle time. Then it should be back to play. Play is the work of childhood. Not standing in a spotlight, receiving orders from a “teacher,” and picking out the yellow triangle.

JulieBouf 1 year ago

Hello, I am also the mom of imperfect children. Nice to meet you. While my 9yo daughter has high-functioning autism and ADHD and actually got into her special needs township preschool for much needed speech therapy (still in speech at 9yo) – it was ONLY because she would not build the blocks the way they told her too while doing the occupational screening. Alone they said her speech wasn’t delayed enough, but since she also had OT needs she was in. OT needs that I knew she could perform on any other day if she “wanted to”. It wasn’t until 2 years later that she was diagnosed on the spectrum and we realized her unwillingness to cooperate at 3 was so much to do with her autism related rigidity (which at the time we thought was just being a toddler). However, when you speak about your son….I think SO much of my son, who is now 5. This kid is perfectly brilliant at everything he attempts but the most stubborn child on the planet. He refused to play soccer games his first year on a team because of people watching him (despite loving the practices). He would look at no one in public and tune everyone out (all while FULLY functioning at home). At 4, he entered an awesome pre-k program and it was like night and day. He goes to a church group once a week and I kid not every single week, I am told what a transformation he has made in one year. Just the one year of routine, real pre-k rules and consequence related behavior plans (compared to just time-outs at daycare) and COMPLETELY changed his personality. He’s still stubborn, but now everyone can see his smart goofy side…not just at home. Hang in there.

Mary E. Dameron 1 year ago

In the first six weeks of Kindergarden they told us our son was WAY behind… He was actually just bored. The next six weeks pasted & after getting him to show the teacher what he actually knew, he was ready to be in first grade. (& he was also doing jr high algebra!! Yes, at six years old!!)

Don’t let someone that spends a few hours a day with your child tell you who or what he or she is. Especially when you know better. Js

Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

And those that want to give their “expert” opinions shouldn’t. Don’t undermine a parents concern by offering your uninformed opinion. I am a child psychologist and I wouldn’t even begin to guess at what is happening with this child given the limited information provided in this article.

    Claire LeBlanc Vath 1 year ago

    Nicole, I wrote this post about a month ago. Since then, we’ve begun occupational therapy once a week. His issues are largely motor skills planning. He wants to do things, but his brain just isn’t sure how to do them. Yes, he’s highly sensitive, but he’s really outgrown the shy. I believe, after having him in OT for a bit, that his “shutting down” issues at school stem from a lack of confidence about doing things. He loves “playing’ at occupational therapy, has a phenomenal OT, and is learning things extremely quickly, helping to catch him up to his peers. As a mother, I feel that the intervention (though I was initially hesitant to get it) was great. I shrug off any labels put on him and I’m okay with that now (it’s still a process), but I feel OT is giving him the skills/confidence he needs to succeed later on. And, as his mother, having this backup with OT, allows me to better advocate for him at school and beyond. Because don’t all of us—who are imperfectly perfect in our own ways—need backup? :-)

      Jessica 1 year ago

      Yes, THIS! I’m a pediatric PT and it’s not just about checking boxes and giving a label. It’s about finding the “why”. There is a range for everything in growing up, and yes, some kids are more shy and that is okay! (I was and still am fairly reserved and functioning just fine :) and I still can’t hit a baseball worth a dime!) But if it’s more than that, if there is a reason for it – like lack of confidence due to poor motor planning – and we can help give kids more tools in their tool box to get past it, than this is a good thing. I may have two kids come into my clinic that I evaluate with the same skill set at the same age and recommend treatment for one, but not another, based on what I see. I hope people don’t shrug off the idea of services because they are afraid of a label and instead see it as a tool to build confidence and support

    Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

    Claire, that is wonderful news. I also have a perfectly imperfect child. The labels of his imperfection have been irrelevant to him as a person, but it allowed him to get all of the services needed to get him caught up. It took a few years though. He had OT from 6mo-1yr, PT from 6 mo. to 5 yr. and speech from 18m to 6yr and then again from a short time a year later. This has always just the way it was for him; he never knew that life for other kids was any different. He didn’t even really know that he had a label until he was 10, when he learned with ADHD was and saw it in the behavior of classmates. He said to me, I think I might have ADHD. I said, yes, you do, we’ve been working on it or years. He just shrugged it off like it was no big deal and hasn’t really mentioned it since. It wasn’t a big deal for us, so it wasn’t one for him.
    We only share his diagnoses with people that need to know and only when they need to know because we don’t want people to treat him different or have different expectations for him if they are not necessary. So far, it has worked pretty well. I have had a few awkward conversations with people that don’t know about his diagnoses and thought that I should know about my son’s “issues.” I loved when the school psychologist at his new school tried to sit me down to explain ADHD to me. I mean, I put it on his intake form, did he think that I didn’t know what it was. LOL
    But I absolutely agree with you, we are all imperfect and we all need back up. We might do things a little different or a little slower than other; we may need more support in one area or another in our lives. Maybe it is physical, or psychological, emotional or social, but we all need it somewhere.
    You are your son’s number one advocate, so keep up the great work!!!

Heather 1 year ago

Great post! I’m in the same boat. My three-year-old is also receiving therapy, but honestly, I think his autism spectrum behaviors are mostly cute as hell and definitely part of his charm. Like my mom says, parenting was much easier before all these mini-industries sprung up that feed off parental fears. I’m glad to have help preparing little man for school, life and success, but I’m sooooo over worrying about his imperfections. Thanks for the help further progressing in that area!

Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

Those that criticize early detection and diagnosis of conditioned are propagating the idea of delayed intervention. We know that the earlier that intervention is administered, the more likely the child is to benefit. The entire purpose of early intervention and preschool special education is to get kids caught up to their peers before kindergarten. Once children begin school, the relative delay increases and the likelihood of new delays increases. Basically, kids fall further behind.

Leeanne Kilpatrick 1 year ago

Amen Sister, you are not alone.

Jaye Fisher 1 year ago

Not delayed, introverted. Being in unfamiliar places and with unfamiliar people can sap our energy to the point of paralysis. As he matures, he will learn what he needs to do to recharge his batteries and learn to cope with stressful situations. It’s too bad the OT and the teachers don’t recognize this.

Monica Montenegro 1 year ago

I feel bad for this kid. 3 years old is way too early to be labeled anything. They are babies just figuring stuff out! I have a 3 year old that is demanding, hysterical, sarcastic, smart, sweet, loving, &loud but take him anywhere around people he doesn’t know well and he becomes a mute, he won’t utter a sound. He had a school recital and he didn’t sing or move he just sat there..I asked him why (I knew he knew the song) and he said “too many people there” There’s nothing wrong w/ a 3 year old observing his surroundings & being shy.

    Nicole Aßhley Maryon 1 year ago

    I agree, and it really upsets me that her thoughts are “you’re doing it wrong”. Sheesh, he was asked to color in a coloring book! How can a baby do that wrong? Poor kid

Danielle Anderson 1 year ago

Wow this hits close to home. I have found myself in that spot with two of my kids for different reasons and it does break a mama’s heart. But at the same time, it also makes you that much more grateful for your child and the individual that he/she is. Thanks for posting.

Alicia 1 year ago

I was a quiet child too, so shy I screamed in terror whenever anyone laughed and hid behind my parents whenever I met anyone new. Our culture values action, achievement, passion and vocalization and has less patience for those of us who are more reflective and prefer a less linear path. You clearly want the best for your son, but you’re also accepting him for who he is. My parents did the same for me and I eventually overcame my terror of speaking in public and became a professional actor and sales rep, something none of us could have imagined when I was little. Now I’m a freelance writer, a job where my rich inner life and the observational skills I’ve honed since I was your son’s age literally make my living. Your boy can do anything he sets his mind to do.

Tara Bendig Carrick 1 year ago

Your imperfect child is perfectly perfect! At 3 it is too early for others to compare your child to certain “standards”. You know your child. If something is “wrong” then pursue it. If it’s just the “teachers” saying something is wrong, wait it out and see. Reevaluate in a year.

Tami 1 year ago

I just want you know that this is exactly what my now 7 year old daughter was like. We got “kicked out” of Mother’s Day Out programs and drop in day care because she couldn’t last an hour without me. The first week of full time daycare she didn’t eat, sleep or drink. She cried the entire time. I thought I was going to have to quit working and sell our house in order to stay home. We stuck it out. Even through kindergarten all the feedback was great except for “she has a hard time participating.” We kept sticking it out – offering the support at home but gently getting her to school and activities (without ignoring her needs). Just this year I have, for the first time, seen her approach friends first to say hello. She is also a cheerleader. Yeah, a cheerleader! She is excelling in math and still gravitates to activities where she doesn’t have to speak up individually but she’s really finding her groove. She is still reserved and shy even around people that she’s known for years. It is hard. I have cried a LOT under the burden, I will admit it. I read through your blog post and could relate so well. I just wanted to offer my story and a virtual hug. It’s hard but it gets a tiny bit better each month. I promise.

Teri Lynne Miller 1 year ago

All kids develop social skills at different ages. It’s a shame we have to push them to be social before they’re comfortable. In my day kindergarten was a safe nurturing environment with a playground separate from the “big kids” and teachers dedicated to making sure we were nurtured and learned how to interact without getting our little souls crushed. Kids are now expected to have all those skills before kindergarten, to be comfortable without mommy and to be ready to learn to read. And if they are not ready than they are considered “delayed” I have seen my granddaughter in kindergarden on the playground with all the big kids” and no teacher supervising. shit I’d be scared and hesitant too! As for “breaking our hearts”… well yes they will continue to do that until the day we die. But, bear in mind too that they built one of the largest rooms in our hearts and filled it with joy. As parents we would not be who we are without our children. Now I watch my babies struggle to raise their babies and it again breaks my heart…..but the gift of grandkids is the best gift ever!

Ronnie Mazzer 1 year ago

I really don’t get this! He is 3! Most 3 year olds go through a shy phase don’t they? (Mine did, she still is, and she is 4!) And another thing I am curious about, in the article the mother states the child is left handed, yet he picked up the crayon and attempted to colour with his right hand??? Am I missing something?? Of course he is going to be a bit clumsy with his right hand, he is left handed!! Why wasn’t he using his left hand?? And for goodness sakes! He’s 3! They can barely hold a pencil steady let alone scissors! Who are these people saying he is behind???? I mean really!!

Trish 1 year ago

There is no PERFECT CHILD, and if a parent tells you their kid is perfect, you have a clue to the kid’s biggest life challenge.

I agree with Barb. It struck me as odd and a bit cruel for the teachers at a MDO to be pushing so hard when he was obviously uncomfortable. There are all sorts of things at play, starting with he’s a 3 yr old boy. (When he turns 4 you’ll look back and think, “HOLY SMOKES, WHAT A YEAR!”) Add to it that he’s your first and there are a lot of things you don’t introduce as early, because really — who wants scissors out with a toddler sister? If the OT is helping bring him out of his shell, great, but unless there is a serious disorder, 3 sounds really early for ANYONE to be labeling any child.

Leslie Lewis 1 year ago

9 years ago, my then 3 year old son barely said Mom and Dad. My mom was pushing me to take him to see someone about him not talking. I told her he will on his own time. He started kindergarten in the 15%. Next month he starts Jr high and is in honor classes. When he finally started talking it was in paragraphs. He is a thinker, beyond his years. Each child is “different”, I love all mine the same. They will do what they want to do when they want to do it. What they are “suppose” to be doing by a certain age is a bunch of bull. Best wishes to all the “imperfect” kids (and parents) out there.

Miranda 1 year ago

I can so relate to something like this. Ever since my just turned three son was about a year, my whole family kept telling me “Are you sure there’s not something wrong with him?” And it hurt my heart every time. He has a mild form of autism. But that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with him.

Rebeca Fassett 1 year ago

Preschoolers being labeled is just absurd . They are still babies and should just be having fun in exploring developmentally appropriate activities. I cannot imagine, as a teacher myself, putting a 3 year old on the spot like that. Reading that just broke my heart.

Shefali Vaz Collins 1 year ago

This upsets that he would be considered “clinically imperfect” because he doesnt fit the mold at some two day a week preschool. My son was shy and had terrible separation anxiety. When his speech didn’t pick up they had him evaluated too. No labels were put on him and she simply suggested some activities to help him with his speech. Today at almost 5 he is the complete opposite of what he was at 3…he’s extremely friendly (to the point that we have to ask him to STOP talking to strangers) and speaks well beyond his age. I was a “shy” child and I was reminded of that daily which prevented me from stepping outside the box. As an adult I know now that I am just introverted, not shy. My son is like me but I make sure to never put any kind of label on him. I encourage him to try new things but to be true to himself and do what feels right even if it doesn’t fit the mold. Kids grow and change so much, it’s important to let them figure out who they are on their own terms and in their own time.

    Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

    If your son was not “labeled” and did not qualify for services then there was no delay. That is the whole point of these evaluations, to determine which children truly are delayed and which are not. So it appears in the case of your child, the process worked in identifying your child appropriately. Why would you suggest then that this woman ignore the recommendations from her son’s evaluation?

    Shefali Vaz Collins 1 year ago

    You’re right my son ultimately did not have developmental delays. And from what I read, it didn’t sound like this child did either. Obviously I am basing that on the little info I was given but, from the way it is written, it sounded like he was being evaluated simply for being shy in a preschool setting. Not all children like to be put on the spot as was described in the blog. This does not mean they are delayed or need help. I believe in early intervention and would never dissuade someone from getting professional help for their child even if it’s just an evaluation to find out there is no delay. I am thankful for the early intervention we were provided. My point was directed towards the use of labels rather than the use of professional help.

kathleen diegel 1 year ago

My heart broke reading this post. Your son sounds like a perfectly “perfect” little guy to me. I am seventy years old and I feel so sorry for the young mothers today. People are always trying to rate your child. I think some little ones are too young for school. Cannot figure out why a three year old needs to know how to use scissors. I raised four children–they are all wonderful, successful adults. I am sure someone would have labeled my son with some tag or the other. He was always a loner and whatever his latest obsession was it was an obsession.–I recall him sitting in the cart at the supermarket–pale blue sunsuit, white shoes and a hairnet over his face and red gloves on his hands —he was Spiderman. Speed Racer–he wore a helmet and gloves 24/7–even to bed. He was later to talk and later to train. He went to school–all gifted classes–won a full academic scholarship to college and has a masters degree. He is very successful both personally and professionally. Today it would hav e been a whole different story. A mother knows her kid better than anyone. Follow your instincts and allow your little one his/her quirks. If there is something seriously wrong you will know it. You will never do anything to intentionally hurt your child. Love them and accept them as they are–you have a hard job–remember no matter what–you are doing a great job. Pat yourselves on the back a little–praise your kids a lot and in most cases everything works out. God bless you all.

Cameryn May Miller 1 year ago

This is so beautiful I cried! I can relate in so many ways to this author. My son is the perfect, clinically “imperfect” little boy that is as sweet as honey and melts my heart

Hillary MacLean 1 year ago

This is ridiculous. He’s 3. Kids are allowed to be shy and do not need to fit a mold. There are plenty of kids that do not like to be the center of attention at circle time.

Barb 1 year ago

Hmmm. I have a B.S. In Child Development and have worked with young children for over 20 years. I find it quite puzzling that the teacher forced him to participate in something he was clearly so uncomfortable with at THREE. He only goes 8 hours a week, which I would assume is two four hour days. The point of being there would be for him to learn how to become secure enough to do that willingly and calling him out like that would not be the proper way to accomplish that. Referring him to an OT for that at such a young age seems like overreaction on their part unless there are serious other issues. My advice as a professional and the mother of a sensitive myself, would be to get him involved in as many group activities as possible to give him an opportunity to become comfortable on his own.
My daughter is starting kindergarten in the fall and I’ve had her involved in church, dance, soccer, part time preschool, and anything I could to get her around people and noises. I never force her to participate. Sometimes I’m frustrated, embarrassed, sad, watching her struggle. When she succeeds on her own terms, it is awesome and builds her self esteem a little at a time. She did a Kindergarten evaluation that was horrible because she froze and wouldn’t talk to the teacher. She knew everything she asked but had to sit on my lap and would barely mumble. They will figure out in the fall, when she is comfortable, that she knew the answer to everything they asked and much more. It’s who she is, and I am learning to accept that. She is perfect, and your son is too.

Jessica K. Bragg 1 year ago

I just don’t think that a group of teachers that see your kid once a week for 8 hours are qualified to make such an assessment. When going to school and learning and performing for a classroom full of kids becomes a regular, everyday thing, then I can see a teacher saying it’s not normal for him to be unable to do certain things.

Jocelyn Hill 1 year ago

Thank you so much for this. My husband and I were discussing what to do with our almost six year old in a similar situation.

It’s Me 1 year ago

This could have been my son 8 years ago. Word for word. My frustration at him during the preK years was my biggest parenting fail EVER and I’m not one to throw around that phrase often. I wish I could relive those years and change MY expectations of him. I suppose if we ever took the step of bringing him to a therapist as you did he also would have been labeled “delayed” but we didn’t and I pushed and pushed and I pleaded and I prayed for him to be like the other boys. Meanwhile anytime I asked how he liked school, his teachers, the classmates he happily proclaimed it was great. You see how we as adults perceive something is not always how the child is experiencing it.

But there was no doubt that he was “different”- socially shy, not assertive, a definite follower requiring the teachers help to finish most projects that were well within his ability to try. I tried to remind myself of something his first pediatrician told me and words that I still find comforting at various times… the range of normal is much larger than the range of typical. Meaning it may not be typical for a 4 year old to not use scissors but it is not abnormal. And why do we have such high expectations for this generation anyway? Now it seem if you aren’t excelling or above average at everything then it’s not normal and needs to be corrected.

How my son’s story (still is progress) reads today is that he is an active 6th grader, still can’t use scissors worth a darn and still draws stick figures but read the whole Harry Potter series in 3-4rd grade and currently reads at a 9th grade level. He still prefers to not be called out in class and rarely raises his hand but earns a B average in most subjects. He has excellent writing and oral skills in spite of his insecurities. At times he has been called to read in front of a group (like for a report). During these times when he is called to read his own work he stands confidently and reads proficiently and with expression. He can also speak with an adult in a mature and comprehensive manner. Chances are great he will not be an artist but maybe a newscaster? A writer? Who knows.

Now I’ve learned that being imperfect is part of us all and not an immediate sign of failure or life as a neer-do-well. He still is a little different than the typical 6th grade boy but I no longer want to change that.

Brandi 1 year ago

My son will be 3 soon and he sure marches to his own drum. He does not play like “normal” kids, he doesn’t listen good, he doesn’t eat much. I worry about him in group settings and if he will do what he’s supposed to, whatever that is. We go to the zoo and he doesn’t care about the animals he wants to touch everything around him, he sees shapes in everything and is generally just weird. I don’t think he is normal, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with him either.

Paula Ledbetter 1 year ago

I really needed to read this today. My son was in preschool 2 days a week this past year – he is 2, so he was in the 2 year old class. All year long we heard nothing but positive things. Two weeks before the last day of school (my son was 2 yrs 7mos), the teacher called me to say she was “fearful” for our son because he wasn’t able to communicate what he is thinking or feeling. She said he plays by himself a lot, with cars and trucks. She said he is really smart – knows all of his ABC’s and numbers…but she was really concerned about him. He was one of the youngest in his class – most of the others already turned 3. She didn’t offer any activities or things we could do with him, except to go to speech therapy. My son is sweet, loving, very active…not perfect but I certainly know that feeling of seeing and feeling the perfect among what others label as imperfections.

Michelle 1 year ago

Having 5 imperfect perfect children I could see bits and pieces of all my kids in this post. My almost 10 year old is just able to talk on class now, going into fifth grade in the fall. All kids have those bits, those pieces that are our silent heartbreaks. It is comforting and somehow still sad to know.

Elizabeth Dellevigne 1 year ago

I’m pretty sure it was the so-called experts breaking your heart, not your child.

Erica Slater Teiper 1 year ago

My son is 11 and always had issues with small motor skills tasks. He still does with things like buttons and bottle caps. But he’s smart as a whip and such a fun kid. He will progress in his own time. And my son is an observer too. Nothing wrong with that.

Elizabeth Brock 1 year ago

My son has been put through all this. Medication. Therapy. Specialists. Lables. Stress. Heartbreak. I was loosing my sweet boy and falling for all these Lables of my child who wasn’t on Q with all the other kids. I’ve decided to break away from all that and go with my gut. My boy will be fine. He will grow into his own skin and be just fine. I hate the pressure put on parents and kids. Having our kids broken and medicated. Whatever happened to kids will be kids?

Miranda Whitham 1 year ago

The Highly Sensitive Child is an excellent book. It describes about 15-20% of the population and is clear about it not being a disability but just a beautiful difference. And early diagnosis of a challenge processing will only make it easier to overcome. Three are some great parents in this post and comments!

Tania Leigh 1 year ago

I think we focus as parents and teachers too much on getting our children to behave exactly like everyone else and learn in the same manner. This makes me angry what we do to our children and the pressure we put on them instead of allowing them to come into their own skin on their own time. This brings back memories when I was in elementary school. My twin and I were told, or our parents were told, we need special ed. We were exhibiting the same behaviours as this little boy. Our parents were made to feel like there was something “wrong with us”. However, when we were ready, on our own time and when the confidence just seemed to come over night at age 14 for me, things changed. Today, my sister is a teacher and I have a teaching degree as well. Our grade school told my parents we should take all general courses because advanced would be too much. My parents did not listen and put us in all advanced. My sister excelled and I did alright, I was an average student in advanced courses. What did the schools know? But, these days, we are trying to get kids to “fit” in to this mold that we put up on them and starting at younger ages!!!! It makes me mad. Honestly, I see this parents worry and my son was pretty much the same. But, by the end of kindergarten, he felt more at home in his environment and has come a long way, but he had a great teacher, who did not pressure him. She waiting for signs from him that showed he was ready to participate on his own terms. And, he did.

Irene Peace 1 year ago

:'( ♥

Libby Nelson 1 year ago

My little boy is just like this and his little sister’s the sassy one in the family too :) They ars 6 and 4. Your little guy sounds perfect to me :)

Erin Ní Ailín 1 year ago

That little boy is perfect, nothing wrong with him only he doesn’t like to be centre of attention! I work with kids like this every day, nourish his beautiful, sweet sensitive sidw, he has a beautiful soul

    Nicole Van Hoose 1 year ago

    And you can tell all of that from reading an article by his mother? Amazing. You should open a business, because I know that as a clinician I certainly cannot make any such assessment or recommendation without spending hours interviewing the child and caretakers.

Melissa 1 year ago

I don’t think all 3 year olds are ready for preschool at the same time, and I guess because of our obsessive need to label everything and everyone, those not ready would be called “developmentally delayed”. But really it just means that kids are all different and have different needs. I kind of can’t stand the world we live in now where we measure whether or not our kids are “ok” based on a list compiled by some’experts’ based on god knows what data. When my daughter was 2 I talked with a child play “specialist”, only because we went to a free activity at the library, and I mentioned to her how my daughter had a hard time with messy activities because she wanted to constantly wash her hands. This girl, who was clearly too young to have kids of her own, but was somehow an experts in all things toddler, frowned at me and my daughter and told me that if she kept that up we might want to have her see a doctor about OCD. Really, OCD?! Or maybe it’s just a new skill a 2 year old learned and wanted to exercise it all the time. I was so annoyed by what she said, and the automatic jump to make everything a “clinical anomaly”. Whatever. Not all kids are the same, AND THATS OK. It isn’t something that needs to be “treated”, or medicated, or therapied away. It’s a dangerous path we’re headed down, where anything other than an arbitrary “normal” needs to be fixed and made to conform.

Kelly Michelle Kerr 1 year ago

My husband runs an OT practice in Australia. We have 3 children and our eldest boy has been v challenging with no real diagnosis but numerous issues so I hear you. Your boy will gain more confidence with his skills and be ready to take on more challenges if he has some good OT sessions. It’s hard to hear when kids have any sort of label but with some fun therapy, your boy’s skills will improve. Sometimes it’s better to know there may be potential concerns early and nip them in the bud, if he’s mildly delayed there is every chance it may not be a problem with some input. Good luck :)

Jenny Cooper McEntyre 1 year ago

How sad that we feel the need to label 3 year olds!! There is something wrong with society today!! This is in no way a criticism of you who would do any differently in your shoes and as you said he’s perfect to you. I still find it sad though that 3 year olds are already being shoehorned into the boxes society expects them to fit. As a mum of two boys with ADHD I know some of the feelings you describe

Casey Hanson 1 year ago

You are writing from my heart. This made me cry because it’s like you are describing my life. My little boy.

    claire 1 year ago

    Thanks for the kind words, Casey. Being a mama is tough, huh? But it’s nice to know we’re not alone, and that, in the end, our kids are loved and are going to be okay.

Marian Nelson Mahler 1 year ago

This is my life. I have a brilliant, sweet, sensitive, loving child who happens to have separation anxiety and tics… If they could just see him in the comforts of home or around his trusted cousins! We are in a society where kids are judged way too young. I see perfection in my clinically imperfect child for sure!

Leila Boukarim 1 year ago

This is a beautiful post. I also have a Highly Sensitive Child, and he also behaves so differently at school that I’ve had to speak to his teachers several times this year about him “not participating in circle time” or “not behaving like the other kids” or “not being able to approach other kids” or “never answering questions he should know the answers to because he’s 4”. This same child taught himself how to read by the age of 3. This same child is so outgoing outside the classroom that he will walk up to strangers to tell them about his “new BMW M3 Hybrid”. This same child knows that the manta ray is a mammal that lives in the Indian Ocean and jumps 10 feet above the water and that Ceres, Haumea and Makemake are dwarf planets (I did not know this stuff before he told me!).

We did face many, many challenges raising our “imperfect” child. For a long time we had no idea why he was the way he was. But now at the age of 4.5 years, I can tell you he and a different child than the one we had a year ago. I’m a strong believer that these Highly Sensitive Children of ours are really special, and the world needs more of them.

Heather Gammill Adams 1 year ago

My 3yo’s MDO teacher told me she needed “to work on her scissor skills”. I suggested she quit cutting out everything and let the kids cut out their OWN stuff in her classroom and was told they didn’t have enough time!

Maggie Clingman 1 year ago

Scissors? I have purposely not taught my almost 3 year old to use scissors and yet there it is on the evaluation form that I’m filling out today. Thank you for writing this. My son sounds very familiar. He’s very advanced verbally & intellectually yet is behind his peers in a few small motor skills, is very self conscious and is fearful.

Shannon Rehlinger 1 year ago

I was that child. Terribly shy, quiet and sensitive. Every year was the same thing, my mom would get called in to meet with my teachers about my “abnormal” shyness and lack of participation. That was and still is just my personality though. To this day, I’m a quiet person. My mom really advocated for me though and called me an observer and said it was just fine to be one. I excelled in college, got married, have a job I love and a baby. Your son sounds perfect to me and I’m sure he’ll grow up to be a wonderful man.

    Claire LeBlanc Vath 1 year ago

    As the author of this post, I was that child too. And because of that, I think it’s helping me to be the better advocate for him in this situation. He’s going to turn out okay. :-)

Eva 1 year ago

I’m not from the US and I had to scroll back to check if it’s really about a three year old. He sounds perfectly fine to me, I find these tasks suitable for older children and the expectations way too high. (scissors? my 3 year old is not allowed to use scissors at kindergarten)

    Cindy 1 year ago


    Where are you from? What we are requiring our children to do in America so that they can be “college ready” is simply appalling. Teachers are revolting against the system and crying for change. We have new, national standards being implemented (Common Core State Standards) which are so developmentally inappropriate for our younger children. Corporations are running these programs and children simply aren’t allowed to be children. As teachers, our hands are somewhat tied because many of us are trying to find ways to revolt while still keeping our jobs.

      Eva 1 year ago

      Hi Cindy, I am from Hungary. I hope your “revolution” will be successful, I truly believe children who were alowed to be children will grow into confident and successful adults. Running around might not seem like an accomplishment, still it’s very important for brain-development.
      We have kindergartens from age 3 to 6 or 7, so before “real” school. I consider its main task to teach my kids how to socialize, be part of a group, interact with each other. Of course they learn a lot through games, like how we sort trash, about seasons etc.. but noone is forced to participate. If someone has been going for a while (a year maybe) and is comfortable but still doesn’t want to participate that should be a reason for a therapist to look at him. My older daughter was also 3 when she started and she loved going, still she just sat and watched the others for 3 months, they assured me it was normal for her age. I also have a three year old and I’m sure she would not enjoy picking out the triangle, why should she? Teachers only do that sort of thing in the last year with 6-7 year olds to prepare them for real school.
      Unfortunately our schools are a lot tougher and that’s something we try to revolt against.

Teresa Jackson Ziegler 1 year ago

This article describes ME to a T! I shut down to this day in front of a crowd of people. I would die if ever the center of attention, and I’m 36! I still think despite this I’m pretty normal and not delayed. Your son sounds perfect to me!

Deborah Pardo Postmus 1 year ago

Well, according to experts, it seems EVERY KID I know has a problem (hyper active, too shy, hyper sensitive, not social enough)… we have to trust our guts, because we know our kids better than a (well meaning) pre school teacher, psychologist, doctor, care giver

;sdjhvlKA”POWkf 1 year ago

My child was diagnosed with idiopathic hearing loss at 3 years old. She exhibited the same symptoms as what you describe. At home, she was “normal”, but only because she could hear me on an individual level. In the classroom, her almost every move had to be directed, and she couldn’t follow multi-step directions, because she couldn’t hear individual voices at a distance. She wears hearing aids now, and she has absolutely blossomed and turned a whole 180-degrees. I only consider it a disability as if people would consider that me wearing glasses is a disability.

Jennifer luff 1 year ago

My youngest children are the same gap as yours, also the same genders, and my son reacts exactly the same, some have mentioned “Autistic” but I am only very slightly convinced. At home he draws and colours, tells stories and is a normal child, but once at nursery he becomes introverted and different! Weird eh!

Janelle @ MommyLivesClean 1 year ago

Your son seems like he is just a three year old! Doctors love to put labels on kids these days it’s unreal. I’m glad to hear the OT is working well for you!

Erin 1 year ago

He sounds perfect to me, too. All kids develop at their own pace, and it’s perfectly normal for a 3-year-old to be shy in front of groups, or nervous about being singled out. Not all kids are socially outgoing, no matter what their age. Don’t worry. It sounds to me like you have a brilliant little guy in your life :)

Sara 1 year ago

I recently started reading your blog, probably about a month ago. And I’ve really enjoyed it so much. I love your directness.

Today, when I started reading, I wasn’t expecting to break down into sobs by the end. But here I sit, tears still rolling down my face – the big ugly kind, with gasps and sniffles. My son is also “imperfect.” We took him to be evaluated, at newly five, he was diagnosed with a whole host of delays. Now instead of sending him to kindergarten next year, we’re teaching him how to hold a pencil, how to use scissors, how to not shutdown when the autoflush toilet flushes while he’s still standing at the bowl.

When I see him, I don’t see all of those things; I see the boy who loves to climb and jump, who can build the most complex creations. Yet I know that I still have to watch for all of these imperfections and find some way to help him correct them or at least work around them.

So while, I won’t thank you for the big ugly tears, thank you for the reminder that I’m not alone. More than that though, thank you for the reminder that he is not defined by his imperfections and that he is in fact perfect.

    Nancy 1 year ago

    I think we have the same kid! PLEASE consider taking your son for occupational therapy. My boy started a mere 6 months ago and it has already made a world of difference. In the meantime, look up “sensory processing disorder.”

Dawn DiPrince 1 year ago

I had the same so-called experts tell me similar baloney twelve years ago when my son — who is now the top of his class — was three. I chose to ignore them and I encourage you to do the same. Pre-school is designed to get kids ready for school. Kids don’t need to be “ready” for pre-school — that’s the whole point of pre-school. Someone told me once, when I had similar worries about my boy: Your son is an observer, not a performer; and that is perfectly fine. It is perfectly fine and your son sounds perfect to me.

    Laura Hanjoglu-Goerke 1 year ago

    being a lefty myself: learning to write use scissors and other such tasks are made harder because you have to usually mirror the person teaching you. (most of the world is right handed and thus when learning from a righty a lefty has to mirror and or do it a different way.). Keep that in mind when teaching your lefty. :) Highly recommend lefty tools :scissors, notebooks , pencils and so on.

Nisha 1 year ago

This describes my kid perfectly. She’s now nearly 8. We work with an OT and a behaviour therapist regularly as of this year. She’s learning to cope with the things that we cannot change, and learning to change the little bit that we can. She is less paralyzed at school now than in preschool and Kindergarten.
We’ve always said she was ‘quirky’ – now there is context. A good OT makes a world of difference. A sensory diet is key. It’s been a real journey. I’m sure your little boy is the sweetest thing. Always go with your gut. You know him better than anyone.

    claire 1 year ago


    Since I wrote this, we have begun working with an OT. He has “motor planning” issues, but addressed this early, he’s going to be okay. :-) Glad to know your child is doing well.

Lisa 1 year ago

Sounds like you have a perfect little boy to me. Maybe a bit shy in some situations, but does there really need to be a lable on a 3 year old who you know is doing most of the things he should be able to. Until you are worried about his development, I would ignore everyone else. Mums do know best sometimes!

Katherine 1 year ago

Interesting article. Thanks for sharing. children do behave differently at times. I just think that they need their own space at times.


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