Posts Tagged ‘school’

How High??

I’ve said a million and one times that my girl would love to sit in the corner and play with baby toys all day everyday. She would also love to convince everyone that that is all she’s capable of.

Chloe is a smart little girl, and she’s amazing at fooling people — and she’s equally amazing at “reading” people.

How many times have I said that if you succeed at getting my girl’s heart, she’ll do anything for you? I’ve said it over and over and over. If Chloe knows you care about her and that you believe in her, then she’ll work for you and obey you. If Chloe doesn’t think you care about her … if she knows you don’t think she can do it, then I can promise you she won’t do whatever it is you have asked her to do. It’s how she ticks!

A great example of this is to compare last school year to this school year. Night and day! Last year, Chloe’s teachers were convinced that she knew nothing and was not capable of succeeding. They were convinced that she couldn’t read and couldn’t comprehend. They were convinced that Chloe did not belong in the general education classroom. And guess what? Chloe lived right up to their expectations. The result? A terrible year for everyone and a little girl who did exactly what her teachers expected of her, unfortunately.

Compare that to this year’s absolute opposite experience. The teachers and Chloe’s assistant are convinced that she knows it all. They are convinced that she can do and that she can read and that she can understand and that she can succeed. And they work hard at helping Chloe belong in the general education classroom. And guess what? Chloe is living right up to their expectations! This year miraculously (NOT!), Chloe is reading at grade level. Chloe is writing paragraphs. Chloe is succeeding. And the difference truly is the expectations and the heart of the staff of people working with her this year.

The moral of the story? We must be careful not to sell anyone short. We must always assume competency and act accordingly.

And just know that if you ever tell my little girl to jump, expect her to ask in her own way, “How high?”  And you can be sure that she will jump precisely according to your answer ….

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School: Week One

Well, we survived the first week of school. It was an amazingly great week; but every week, of course, includes some Goods, some Bads, and some OMGs That’s Greats. Here’s our list!

Goods

no one getting any tardies

Chloe waking up to her alarm clock every morning

no one having homework on the first day of school

Elliot enjoying football practice until 5:00 everyday

everyone having their supplies

3 of Elliot’s teachers giving him candy on Thursday

Zippy’s school still serving chicken nuggets on Wednesday

no one’s eyeglasses getting broken (always seems to happen 1st week)

Bads

Zippy’s school not offering strawberry milk this year

Elliot getting lost in the 8th grade hall a couple of times

my not getting to Zippy’s school until 3:11 everyday

Elliot having homework 4 days this week

Zippy getting a cold

Thursday’s lunch choice at Zippy’s school being Chinese food

my not allowing Zippy to use a calculator for his math homework

Zippy’s bagel sandwich not having a top on it

mom going back to bed a couple of days, avoiding the stress of 1st week

Zippy’s cafeteria making the rolls smaller than last year (sensing a theme here?)

OMG, That’s Greats

Chloe having “a good day!” all 5 days

Elliot finally finding his locker

Chloe yelling out “globe” when the teacher pulled the globe out and asked the class what it was

Elliot getting bragged on by the coach for knowing the plays

Chloe eating some bites everyday at lunch

Chloe raising her hand to answer a question in social studies

a sweet friend picking Zippy up on Friday so he didn’t have to wait on me

Chloe getting the answer right in social studies

Zippy’s teacher calling him “Elliot” (he loved it!)

the whole family looking forward to a 3-day weekend ahead!!

What A Week!

Glad it’s over!

A week ago today, Elliot got stung on the eye by a bee and swelled up like a great big red and purple balloon. A couple of hours later, after who-knows-what-the-whole-story-is, Chloe had to be on the school bus for TWO HOURS. I was not a happy mama.

The next day started with Chloe and a stomach virus. Elliot later joined her in the fun of the virus.

Paul was the next to fall, coming home from work and going to bed.

Then came me. I am not one to miss a party! I spent a day in the bed with the virus and the next day in the bed with a migraine — probably from dehydration.

Elliot and Chloe were home all week from school. Ugh. Makeup work won’t be fun.

And then yesterday, one of my children got provoked by a particularly maddening student in his class and responded in a way that was unwise. (Being vague purposely for protection’s sake. 😉 Some of you detective-types may be able to put the pieces together, I realize!) My child was devastated by his choice and by his pronounced sentence: detention during recess and lunch. He literally cried himself to sleep after school. While inside I think this particularly maddening student got what was arguably deserved, I mostly just hope this terrible experience will keep my child walking the straight and narrow for a long time. Like forever.

To top it all off, today it’s cold and rainy. I’m a wimp and don’t like the cold.

But it’s Friday. And next week is spring break.

I love Fridays. And I love spring break even more!

Bring. it. on!

Positive Vibes

Yesterday we gathered for Chloe’s annual IEP meeting — we call it an ARD meeting in Texas.  We had spent many hours preparing for this meeting.  I have a couple of incredible friends who work with me in preparing for meetings and fixing Chloe’s education, and we have all worked diligently in preparation for the meeting.

We gathered for the meeting, completely unsure of what it would hold.  Our last several IEP meetings have been combative and hostile — would this meeting continue in that?

Attending the meeting with Paul and me were my two friends.  (Remember I said I will never attend an IEP meeting alone.  No way.)  The four of us arrived at the school in our four separate vehicles about 15 minutes before the meeting was to begin.  As the school and district personnel arrived, they were sent on to the conference room while the 4 of us just waited in the lobby.  It was an uneasy feeling knowing that they were already in there meeting and getting organized while we sat, excluded, and watched the clock.  Finally 15 minutes after the scheduled meeting time, we were escorted to the conference room.  I did not have a good attitude.

But I must say that as we sat at that table and as we all — the school personnel and the 4 of us — took turns talking, asking questions, and reporting, I had the amazing feeling that sitting at this table was a team of people who had gathered for the benefit of Chloe — a feeling that I haven’t felt in over a year at school meetings.  What an amazing feeling it was!

I feel like the tone of the meeting was nice, pleasant, and good.  The teachers reported a TON of stuff that Chloe is doing for them.  To hear that she feels comfortable and safe enough with them that she is actually showing them some of her skills was an exciting feeling — a feeling of relief.

In the end, I had to adjourn the meeting before we were finished because they gave some information that I was not aware of going into the meeting — information that we need to process and plan for.  I wish I had thought to request it before the meeting.  But I asked that we adjourn the meeting and reconvene after Thanksgiving.  We will meet back Dec 1 to finish up this meeting.

I feel really good about things.  Sitting at the table were teachers who care about Chloe.  Both the general education teachers and the special education teachers obviously care about her, notice her, and value her.  The therapists at the table feel the same way about her.  I can’t tell you what that knowledge does to calm my soul.  Literally.  The hours following that meeting, my body and my spirit actually felt lighter and more at peace, knowing that the people who Chloe spends 7 hours with each day actually appreciate her and value her.

<sigh>

 

We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to talk about in the reconvene in a couple of weeks.  Praying that our team stays this positive and this eager.  I have more hope right now than I’ve had in over a year.  Cautious hope . . . . but HOPE!

 

Nothing Special

I cried with Zippy today.  It was report card day.  Most of you already know that report card day is NOT our favorite day.

Zippy got in the van and as quickly as he could, he dug out his report card to see how he had done.  He was NOT pleased.  He immediately started growling and crying and complaining about his Cs.  “All I make are Cs!!” he cried.

He was mad and sad and disappointed.  And, as always, I hated to see him hurting.

But then his anger and disappointment suddenly grew and exploded into a very emotional, painful cry as he yelled out, “I didn’t get anything special!  I didn’t get anything!”

He said it several times before I knew what he was talking about.

“She was folding up certificates and stuff, and I didn’t get anything!  I have always gotten something special! I didn’t get anything!”

He was heartbroken that he had not received the usual ribbon for achievement or coupons for a free kids meal at a local restaurant that he usually receives in his report card.  For the first time ever, he had just received a report card in his report card envelope, and he was devastated.  And the tears were flowing.

And as I watched him, my tears started flowing.  Nothing special.  He hadn’t gotten anything special.  Just a report card that he was really disappointed in.  And we were sad.

And I cried again tonight as I told Paul about it — that he was the saddest about not getting anything special.

But then I thought about our afternoon and evening.  He had recovered fairly quickly from his disappointment.  We picked up a friend from school when we picked up Elliot so that helped Zippy snap out of his sadness.  He was a little gloomy and moody throughout the evening, but for the most part he was really okay and had mostly forgotten his heartbreak.  And it probably helped that I made pancakes and bacon for dinner — who doesn’t like a dinner of pancakes and bacon to mend a broken heart?

As far as report card days go, this one wasn’t too bad.  And now we’re done with report card days for another 6 weeks or so.

I. can. wait.

Frustrations and Speed Bumps

I want a good education for my children.

I want my children to be safe while they are at school.

I want to know where my children are and who they are with while they are at school.

I want my children to be respected, valued, and challenged while they are at school.

I want my children to grow in responsibility and ability and knowledge while they are at school.

And I need to know that all of the above are happening for the seven hours that they are in that school building.

If I don’t know the above things are true, then I am not convinced that school is a safe place for them.

Seems pretty basic.  Doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Yet, I am constantly bombarded with roadblocks and challenges.

Have we forgotten our purpose?  The purpose of educating children in a safe environment?

Today I’m lying in the floor, kicking and screaming and throwing a little fit.  (figuratively, of course!)

. . . and am greatly in need of a Calgon moment.

2nd Week Blues

Zippy had a great first week of school.  Each day at 3 o’clock, he gave me a thumbs up for a good day.  Things were going well.  He liked his teachers.  He was confident and happy.

He did have some complaints about some changes that had occurred in the cafeteria — the pizza is round now, and not as yummy . . . the pancakes are plain now instead of cinnamon, and they’re a little stale . . . the gravy to go with the chicken nuggets is now brown gravy, and he doesn’t like brown gravy . . . the strawberry milk is a different brand and not as yummy . . . they didn’t have his favorite ice cream, you know, the one with the cookie cone.  Every day it was something else that wasn’t quite right with the food.  Zippy loves his food, and he does not like change.

But other than the daily food complaints, things were going well.

Until Monday.  The second Monday of school.  I got a call from the school nurse a little after 10.  Zippy had already been to the nurse 2 times.  He wasn’t feeling well.  She had looked him over and sent him back to class.  The school nurse knows Zach well enough to know that he gets anxious, and it makes him feel yucky.  And once he gets an idea in his head . . . once his anxieties kick in, he can sometimes just not get over it.  So she called me to let me know.  I asked her to call me if she saw him in her clinic again that day.

She called me a little bit later and had Zach in her office again.  This time with a headache.  I talked to him and tried to get him to tell me what was bothering him.  He didn’t know.  He just didn’t feel well.  He wanted to go home.

Well, my story is — I was getting my hair done!!  I was across town, had foil all over my head, and was a total mess!  I was enjoying my time getting all fixed up.  And you must know that getting my hair done is an all day affair.  I didn’t have time to be going and grabbing my sick kids from school!

So I called my mom.  She’s my hero.  And she took Zippy some medicine for his headache so I could stay with my foil and try to be beautiful.  (Thanks, Mom!)

After school, Zippy went on and on about what a rough day he had had.  He immediately started begging to stay home from school the next day.  He was afraid he’d get sick again.  He needed a break from school.  The kid was definitely a victim of his anxieties.  I had to tread lightly, and I had to come up with a plan.  He couldn’t be absent from school already.

I managed to stifle the conversation each time it came up that evening.  But I knew I would have to be armed with a good plan come morning because I knew he’d be struggling and begging to stay home.

Just when I was about ready to give up, it popped into my head.  The idea that would get my boy out the door and to school in a happy mood the next morning!  Yay!

The next morning, the first words out of Zippy’s mouth were, “I don’t want to go to school today.  Can I please stay home?”

I quickly replied, “Well, you have to be at school — I’m coming to eat lunch with you!”

His mood changed in a mili-second!  “Oooo!  Can I have Subway?!”

Sweet!  Food had worked again!

My chipper answer was, “Yes!  Subway it is!”  And my struggling boy went off to school as happy as can be, anxiously awaiting his subway sandwich.

I had succeeded in getting him out the door this time.  But I must work on my arsenal.  I must be armed at all times with splendid ideas and tempting teasers that will succeed in getting him out the door on rough mornings.

So far, so good.

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