Jane - 23 years old
Liza - 47 years old, grandmother
Sam - 24 months old
Jane talks: I decided to go back to school because I really want a better life for me and Sam. My goal is to be a nurse someday. I just hope I can do it. I have a lot of studying to do. Sam was in daycare for about 2-3 months, but I took him out because I didn't like what I saw. There were children who had runny noses walking around and no one to wipe it. They just didn't care. The daycare center made me feel uncomfortable. Sam had so many teachers, I would have to wait a few days for one to get back to me if I had questions or concerns.
Sam is a very smart little boy. He can point to his body parts, clothing items and knows all his animals. He loves watching TV. His favorite shows are Barney, Lion King and Power Rangers. He has even taken an interest in watching the movies I watch on TV, like Claude Van Damme movies. He enjoys looking at books and we point to the pictures. He has just started to pretend play with stuffed animals, but he always ends up rough housing with them. One thing I'm so happy about is that he is a good sleeper. He goes to bed at 8:00 every night. This gives me peace of mind, so I can study, do my daily chores or just relax. I have so much studying to do.
When I asked them how Sam was doing in school, they said he did well. He helped put toys away, listened to one or two step commands, sat in circle time for a few minutes and didn't throw toys. I don't know why he is so good with others and not with me. I have never seen Sam climb on his teachers -- I don't know why he does it to me. Even though he is very small for his age, he loves rough and tumble play.
I told the people at the center that I can't get Sam to do what he is supposed to, especially when he gets frustrated and has one of his temper tantrums. I also told them that I worried that he wasn't talking the way he should yet. He says some words, but even when I try, I can't get him to say "I want" or "feed me." He doesn't have any interest in using the potty either. They suggested that I have the people from Early Intervention take a look at Sam.
When the EI specialist came, she gave him shapes to sort and he did real well at first. He got all the circles into the box, but then he started to get frustrated until she helped him a little and he got interested again. He really liked playing with the pieces of a puzzle that had trucks and boats; he and the EI specialist did pretend with them and then they put the pieces in the right place. He threw two pieces of the puzzle across the room, but he picked them up as soon as she asked him to. He was playing real nice, until I asked him to put something away and he just ignored me. When I tried again, he pulled my hair and kicked me in the stomach. I was really embarrassed.
Right now Sam stays with my mom and with a babysitter. My mom and I don't always agree about how to raise Sam. My mom is real religious. Sometimes she hits him with a wooden spoon when he is real bad, and now Sam is starting to hit. I'm looking into a new daycare for Sam. I hope I'm able to make a good choice this time. I'd like to start him soon. He needs to be around other children and he needs to learn to listen and behave.
Liza talks: I watch Sam almost every day. He's a handful and is full of energy. He is into everything! He just seems to go from one activity to another. I'm a bit concerned with his talking, so I'm trying to make him talk, but he doesn't want to. He has lots of words, but I think he should be doing just a bit more.
My daughter doesn't know how to handle Sam. I believe that God wants us to teach children to know the difference between right and wrong. I was taught to give kids a smack and they'll shape up real quick. I try to tell her how to handle him when he won't listen to her or when he hits her, but she just gets angry with me, and says, "I'll handle it myself." He behaves better when he is alone with me.
Sam's dad is in jail and my daughter doesn't want him to have anything to do with Sam. My daughter has made a lot of bad decisions in her life, and I just don't want her to be making mistakes with Sam.
Babysitter talks: I watch Sam when his grandmother can't. She told me that he is hyper, and I agree with her. Sometimes he is hard to calm down. He just pushes me and pushes me to get his own way. He's always saying "No" to everything I ask him. The same thing happens with his mom. She'll ask him if he wants juice; he says no and then the next thing you know he wants it.
Sam likes to play with toys, but I always have to watch him, because I don't know what he'll do next. He's always into my things. Yesterday, he took the dishwashing liquid out of the cabinet and poured it all over the floor. I was so angry. I was just gone for a minute or so. I put him in time out. After he got out of time out, he took the pepper shaker and started playing with that, and spilled pepper all over the table and chairs. When I tell him no, he just looks at me as if he knows better, but in a few minutes he's into something else.
When Sam's mother and grandmother are together they get into a real power struggle over how to raise Sam, and he starts to test both of them. He gets so frustrated sometimes that he has even started throwing toys on the floor and thrashing himself toward his mother. They tell him "No" all the time, but he still doesn't listen. He will listen only when he wants to, and he can be a good boy, but it's always on his terms.