I couldn’t ask for more

For two solid years, I have been perseverating about my son’s first day of Kindergarten.

 

Yes, I know that is neurotic but it was not without reason.    I missed his hearing loss.  I missed his second hearing loss.    He struggled to explain himself; he still does.  His little brother uses language as complex as he does.  He’s easily frustrated, he has meltdowns, he hits.  He doesn’t hold a pencil properly.  He is exhausted easily.   He can’t fasten his pants or start a zipper or put on his shoes.

 

He required so much attention in preschool.  His teachers were saints.  They did a lot of ‘problem solving’ with him.. (he hit someone and that was how they handled it).  It became a good day if he only hit a couple of times a day.

 

But his first days of school were great and I couldn’t ask for more.

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First Day Blues

My baby is in Kindergarten.  It did not go well.

Let’s start with the weather.  It’s awful.  Cool and rainy.  In fact, it is raining harder now than it did during Hurricane Irene.    Water is starting to stand in the streets.    While I’m grateful everyone has rain boots and good jackets, we were still soaked between the bottom of our jackets and the tops of our boots.     When my son woke up this morning, he looked out side and said that it was too dark, he would go to school when the Sun came up.  Honey, it is as up as it is going to get today.

We got there later than I had intended and half the class was already there.    He always does better when he is the first or one of the first in the room.  It gives him a chance to settle down, to adjust to the room and have it slowly change to full about him.    We got there and put our lunches away, signed in, found his nametag, hung up his things and then fell apart.  He was supposed to find something to do.  He didn’t.  He couldn’t.   Every table had someone there and he said he didn’t know how to play with any of the toys.  Mind you, these were alphabet puzzles, lacing letters, unifix cubes.

It doesn’t help that many of the other children already had a year of Junior Kindergarten there and knew each other.
We finally had to just leave him.  I think he melted into a puddle.

I’m sad.  I wanted him to have a great first day and I know it was unreasonable for me to expect anything different from him.   I also know that things will get better in a few weeks but still, I am sad for him.   I wish things weren’t always so hard for him.

Update:   His teacher who clearly is a saint called me two hours into the school day to tell me that he’s doing beautifully.  She gave him his toy we had left in his backpack, he stuffed it in his pocket and did everything she asked.  He participated, he did his job.  He had a great morning.  I hope the rest of the day goes as well.

Yes, I cried when I got off the phone with her.

Neurotic

My oldest son starts Kindergarten in two days.   I’m so scared for him.   He’s had an IEP since before he was three.   He has a mixed expressive receptive language disorder and words like sensory integration, autism and pdd-nos have been thrown around for quite some time.  While the first label is a clear fit and is clear in meaning, the last two (often used interchangeably) I’ve been fighting because I just don’t think they fit.  Yes, everyone thinks I’m crazy but tell me.. how many autistic little boys know when to tell their mother she’s pretty? or see a strange mom with a stroller struggling with a door and run to help her?  or can redirect their little brother to a safer activity with a word and a hand without adult prompting?   Yes, something is different about this child beyond the speech disorder but I’m not convinced its autism.

 

Still, whatever it is causes significant issues for him.   His hands are weak (as are mine).   He tires easily.   His fine motor skills are behind.  His gross motor skills are behind.  His speech is behind (his baby brother uses language at least as well as he does though the concepts the baby expresses are simplistic compared to my oldest).  His self care skills are behind.    He’s just very young… younger than a just turned five year old should be in my mind.   I could spend days talking with his teacher, the principal, the speech therapist, the school psychiatrist, the occupational therapist and the janitor for hours, they don’t have the time and I’m pretty sure that there are something I don’t have the words to express.   And while I tell the staff about things like meltdowns, aggression, frustration, the IEP and how hard it is to express himself, that’s not what really eats at me.

 

I am afraid he won’t make friends.  Or if he does, he won’t be able to keep them.  It is so hard to understand what he’s talking about.  He could be thinking about some movie and telling you all about it but if you don’t know what movie he’s talking about, you are lost.    It’s hard to talk with someone when he’s only able to tell you half of the story and uses words oddly in the process.  It’s hard to talk to someone if you aren’t sure if they are listening.  It’s hard to talk with someone when he sometimes interchanges she and he, yes and no.

 

I am afraid he will be a target.   I am terrified that at some point some kid is going to hear him talk and then “Retard”, “stupid!”, “dummy”, or “baby.”    I don’t know what he would do or if he would even understand.   Of course, maybe it has already happened at daycare and I just wasn’t told.     Maybe he will yell or hit or bit.  Maybe he will just stand there confused.  What if someone starts to bully him?  I don’t even know if he knows how to tell someone.

 

I am afraid he just won’t try.   I hear the words “I can’t” and “I need help”  all the time.  He can’t buckle his pants.    He can put some of  his shoes on but won’t try most of the time.  He says he needs help to put on his underwear.. a task he’s been able to accomplish for almost two years.    He can count to 30 but tells me he can’t.  He can read some words but tells me he can’t.  He can write his name but wants me to hold his hand.  He’s afraid to try.

 

I am afraid I missed something else.   I missed his hearing loss.  I missed the speech disorder blaming it on the hearing loss.   What else is wrong that I am missing?  Why does he hate to walk any distance?  Is it boredom?  Is he just not conditioned to it?   He barely picks up his feet, shuffling along.   Why can’t he hold a pencil properly?  Why can’t he button his pants or securely grasp a zipper?

 

The worst part is that because the first special education teachers had such a negative evaluation of him I’ve been left with this feeling that I have to protect him from people underestimating him, that if I allow things to progress at his pace he will be in a home (yes, that’s a gross exaggeration.. more likely my basement).   I feel like I have to stand between him and the dark future that bitch saw for him.   I’m not going to give up and let him become an adult who can only read at the 6th grade level.  He’s smart.  So smart.

 

 

Yes, I know how neurotic I am.

School choice is insanity.

I understand that many districts in Massachusetts  do not assign schools based upon address and I understand the social reasons why.  However,  if you are going to have school choice, you need to be able to do so in a timely manner.   Yes, I know I didn’t register until July but that was because I didn’t move here until July.   Registrations in July must be down to a trickle and by then, you should be able to do them on the fly.
Today, I was informed that my son would not receive his school assignment until the week before school starts because they haven’t done the July registrations yet. Unfreakingbelievable.

 

I have a job offer… I think.  But I can’t accept it unless I can work out arrangements for my children and that means before/after school care for my oldest if I work.   How can I do that if I don’t know what school he will be attending?

 

This is insane.  Just insane.  I am so frustrated I could cry.

The story so far…

Somehow I have landed in Boston.  That’s probably not fair.  I know exactly how I ended up here and why  but for the first time in a long time, I am not working.  In fact, I am a stay at home mom for the first time and to be honest, I’m not very good at it yet.

I have two tadpoles: Big Boy and Little Boy.  Little Boy is 2.5 years old and a terrible two at the moment.  He’s a bit bossy and demanding; what happened to my sunny toddler? Big Boy is entering Kindergarten this year and I was very concerned about this for reasons I am sure I will write about later.  At the moment, I am just looking forward to only having to chase one around during the day.

Daddy Frog works (Duh!) and will begin traveling for work soon.  That will leave me alone with the tadpoles and no daycare in sight to help me restore my sanity.   What the hell am I going to do with myself?  Since I have no desire to be the Queen of Domesticity, the obvious answer is blog.

Blog about the kids, the dirty underwear my husband left on the kitchen floor, the trials of trying to shove 2000 sq ft of shit into less than 900 sq ft of space, and the incessant picking up of dog  poo (did I mention we have two dogs?  and a cat? yes, my sanity is in question).

I’m afraid that may get boring and I don’t do well when I am bored so I have given myself another task.  To explore Boston and to write about it here.  Hopefully I won’t have given up in two days.