Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It's All About Trust!

It's tough to trust.  I have been talking and giving treats to our little "Peanut" for the last few weeks at home now.  So... are you wondering who Peanut is?  Peanut is our new little classroom hamster I purchased with a coupon from Pets In The Classroom (I got his cage and toys for free as well)!  I figure when I bring him into the classroom we'll decide between the name "Peanut" and "Pumpkin", as he clearly LOVES to eat peanuts and pumpkin seeds!

Yes, I was taking these photos AND holding Peanut!  He got so brave while I was
snapping photos that he climbed right up to my head!! and down my back!!! 
This afternoon was the FIRST time he climbed right on to my hand...and promptly nibbled on my finger...he clearly was still a bit worried about things!  After I recovered from nearly dropping him, he peeked out from his burrow to see if I was still patiently waiting for him and came right back up to the open door and sniffed!  His curiosity got the better of him! 

Eating a peanut...on my hand! :)
He climbed right out and onto my hand, stood on his back legs and sniffed at me!  Yesterday, he was even brave enough to come and climb on the side of his cage and sniff at my dog's nose!!  Silly hamster...that's pretty dangerous territory!  My hand is clearly safer than the dog's nose!

By the way, Peanut is a "Winter White" hamster.  As it gets colder,
his fur is supposed to start turning white!
Peanut has been hanging out at my house for the past month or so.  Before I trudged to school with a scared little hamster, I wanted to make sure he felt he knew and could trust at least one person!  I think we're just about ready to make the dangerous trip to the classroom!  Of course, people are a lot more complicated than hamsters, but, really, it's still all about trust!

Please don't fall, please don't fall, please don't fall!
I have some children in my classroom who have a tough time trusting.  I have one little guy who often will peek into the room after I've been gone for a day...just to make sure I'm back where I belong in the classroom! 

Run little guy, run!
I witnessed this little guy literally hang on to the doorway screaming as his parent tried to drop him off for school one day (this was when I had a month off during the summer- don't ask...it's the schedule we're given).  This was the last day that I was gone on vacation.  I technically was just dropping stuff off, but felt so bad, that I simply sat holding this little guy for about 10 min. until he finally calmed down, looked at me and smiled.  I swear, he was so upset I don't think he even knew who was sitting with him until he calmed down!


 He's climbing on my shoulder!  How DID I get this photo!?


We really do need to look at it though from the point of view of a child with VERY limited language, communication and understanding of the world around them!  With no language to tell anyone that they are scared, worried and upset that their routine is disrupted, they feel a bit lost!  Their equilibrium is clearly off.  They rely on all those very subtle cues throughout the day...that change when someone new is in the room.


To top that off, they are not sure WHO this person is or why I am gone, or why their routine is interrupted, or why their world feels a bit off, or IF this person will KNOW that they need assistance with certain things!  And, good grief, this person isn't able to understand their unspoken communication!  As much as we work on communication in all forms (communication books, sign, voice output etc.) it is so much more difficult when it is someone you don't know well!


Yep, it's tough to trust...especially when you have very limited ways to communicate.  Before assuming that a child's reaction is a BEHAVIOR...remember, that they may simply be attempting to communicate that they are scared, worried, unsure, confused.  They may need reassurance and understanding and lots and lots of patience!

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