Mommy Stuff

He Can’t Really Focus

Today was the first experience I had where some told me that my son “can’t really focus.”  I’m sure this will be the first of many of these experiences; however, I suspect that they will never get easier to deal with.

A. had an assessment to join a Tae Kwon Do school today.  On their website they said that they have classes for kids as young as 3.  However, when I called to make an appointment for our “free assessment,” they said that they like to take kids when they are closer to 3 and a half.  Okay, fine.  A. turned 3 at the beginning of June. That makes him almost 3 and a half

So today we went.  I had a little “pep-talk” with A. in the car before we went in.  We talked about listening and being a good boy and being polite.  He was agreeable to all of this.  But it didn’t matter.  He was there to have fun, and that’s what he did.  Sadly, it wasn’t what they wanted to see from him in order to let him join their classes.  He was kind of all over the place.  He was having a great time and he was doing all the things that they were asking him to do (and he was doing them pretty well for never having done them before), but he didn’t have enough “focus.”

I felt like they didn’t even give him a real chance.  The assessment took less than 10 minutes, and it was done by some 18 year-old kid who didn’t seem to know the first thing about teaching young kids how to do things.  Regardless, when A. started “misbehaving,” that was pretty much the end of the session.

And, by misbehaving, I mean running around a little and wanting the guy to chase him, taking one of the noodles they wanted him to jump over and asking the instructor to jump over them, and not necessarily kicking the pad the way they were asking him to kick it.  I will admit, he was being a little bit of a ham, but he was in a new place and he was having a lot of fun.

The 18 year-old instructor then went to talk to the administrative lady, who pulled me back into her office to say that they didn’t think A. was ready for Tae Kwon Do.  “He just needs to be able to focus more.  He needs to be able to sit still for even 5 seconds.”  Well, he does a pretty good job of it at home… He was, after all, in a new environment and having a lot of fun.

I’ve worried from the time that A. was about a year old that his personality and his extreme excitement would always be something that would become a challenge.  I know he’s still only 3 years old, but there is something about his level of energy, the way he “plays,” some of his mannerisms, and the way he needs a little extra guidance to really understand the purpose or goal of an activity, that has always struck me as different.  Even now, watching E. grow up behind A., it’s even more obvious to me that A. just has a different energy about him.  I don’t know what it means and I don’t really want to make anything of it.

But, I fear that he will be put into a “special category” throughout his entire childhood.  I think you all know what “category” I’m referring to.  Today was the first time that my fears came true.  I didn’t respond well and I tried my hardest not to be defensive.  Unfortunately, I think my insecurities around the situation made it just a little bit hard to remain neutral.

They advised me to come back in 6 or 8 months and see if he was ready.  He’ll be almost 4 by that point (why advertise that you accept 3 year olds if you just turn them all down?) and I wonder if it will even be any different.  I tried to explain to her that he wasn’t really himself to night (because he kind of wasn’t, especially with him being so excited that I am finally home), and I was there alone trying to take care of both boys.  She offered for me to bring him back again next week, when he would be more settled back to his normal routine, and I accepted.  But now I feel like maybe I should just drop it and try again in 6 months, or maybe not at all.

I want to prove to them that my little boy deserves a little more effort and attention.  I think I also want to prove to myself that my little boy doesn’t fit into that “special category” that I know he will be boxed into for the rest of his childhood.

5 thoughts on “He Can’t Really Focus

  1. Sounds like a pretty crappy martial arts school to me. He’s 3 for crying out loud! I know exactly zero 3 year olds who are capable of focusing for longer than 5 seconds. And that is how it should be when you’re 3.
    Don’t let anyone feed you any horseshit about “disorders” either. Schools have been trying to condition childhood out of children for over a decade and it pisses me off.


    1. Thanks! No one has really come out and said anything to me about disorders, yet. I just worry about the potential challenges he (and we as a family) will face in the future if he constantly gets construed this way.


  2. I’m sorry it took me a week to have a chance to comment! I get this. I really get this. I’ve worried about this since we knew D was going to be a boy. And D has a lot of energy in certain situations. Soccer was a disaster. New places are a disaster. I was so embarrassed at “Meet the Teacher” day b/c he was bouncing off the walls, falling on the floor, climbing on furniture, etc. But first day of school? No problem. They say he’s been great. If starting Tae Kwon Do right now is important to you, it might not be a bad idea to take him back and see if he does better now that the newness has worn off. If you want to wait, I don’t think that’s a bad idea. I’ve noticed a lot of improvement in D in situations that were typically bad when he was A’s age. Regardless, hugs to you. I know how it feels to worry that you precious little one is maybe a little outside the increasingly narrow definition of what is normal.


    1. It’s funny you say that because I think the first worry I had when I found out that A. was a boy is that boys are much more likely to have ADHD. I was worried about it 4 months before he was born and the worry has never gone away. I don’t even worry about him having it, but I worry more about how difficult his childhood will be because of how misunderstood it is!


  3. Being an oblivious 25-year-old, I have no idea if that’s normal behavior or not (…though honestly, what child isn’t a royal pain in the tuchus sometimes? Maybe he will outgrow it? Or maybe there’s something seemingly irrelevant irking him? Like tags on his t-shirt?) Either way, sending lots of strength and good juju your way!! That’s a lot to deal with on top of residency. *hugs*


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