Monday, September 22, 2008

Confessions of a Soccer Mom

I have started this post over and over, constantly erasing it. It just hasn't flowed through my fingers onto the keyboard. So many things are going on - nothing bad, just busy. It feels like a momentous time, things are happening slowly but so evidently. It is hard to describe to people - I feel like I am walking in another mother's shoes. This is some sort of alternate reality. I think I like it. I am afraid to get too comfortable though - I know things can change in an instant.

For now though - I sit on the side of the soccer field and cheer on my son's school soccer team. I sometimes get caught up in the moment and yell things out. I whoop with delight when we score. I gasp when a player falls and groan when we kick but miss. The sun beams down on us and a light, cool wind blows. I beam as I watch my son, part of a team, for the first time.

It feels good. He is proud, so are we.

True bliss

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tables Turned

For a boy who whined and moaned all summer about not wanting to go to school, J seems to be really enjoying Senior Kindergarten. Anytime he is not busy he is asking me if it's time for school, like at the supper table today.

"Mom, can I go to my school tomorrow?"

"No honey, tomorrow is Sunday"

"Ah, but I want to!" (complete with whiny voice and small fist hitting the table)

Imagine my surprise the other day when out of no where J insisted he wasn't going to school anymore, tears welling up in his eyes. We sat and talked for a while, J finally confessing that there is a "crying boy" in his class who also hits him and takes his toys. He had mentioned the boy that cried before and I hadn't thought much of it as his is a JK/SK mix so some of these children have never been away from their parents. The hitting was news to me though.

I asked him if he had told the teacher and he said yes. We started to talk more about it and he let it slip that the boy wouldn't talk to him or look at him, he just cries and takes things. AHHHH, the light bulb starts to go off. I knew that C's EA from last year was in the JK/SK room this year helping with some children who had transitioned from the early intervention program. The Prinicpal had also mentioned to me that it was a little "hectic" in the classroom as one child was really having a rough time adjusting. I am thinking this little boy has some delays (possibly Autism?) and he does not mean to hurt anyone. J and I talked about how the boy probably didn't know how to be friends yet and that hopefully he will learn more about it while he is in the class. In the meantime, perhaps J could try to be friendly and share and ask the teachers for help of he needs it.

As I was talking to J, I didn't realize C was also listening to our conversation - he piped in with "Yeah, J, he's just like me when I was little. He has special needs and he takes longer to learn. He just needs people to be nice to him until he learns". I was floored. I had no idea that C even realized he was like that in SK, where he spent the majority of his time roaming the room, taking toys, destroying work, hitting and resisiting anything to do with fine motor skills. What wonderful insight and empathy.

The next day I spoke with the Principal as J's teacher was busy talking to the mom of the other boy. I didn't want the mom to overhear and mistake my sharing with the Prinicpal as a damning of her son. It's so strange having the tables turned and instead of my child being the "troubling" one, it was someone else's. My heart goes out to that mom and her boy but I needed to let the principal know how troubled J was by the whole situation. I explained to her what I had said to J and told her I hoped I wasn't "off" in my assessment of the situation. I know she can't tell me specifics about another child (and I wouldn't want her to) but I also didn't want to be making excuses for a child only to find out he's just a kid that likes to hit. At first I think the principal thought I was complaining about the child and she started to explain that he is non-verbal and is really struggling but that he has a special affinity for J. I stopped her and said I would be the LAST person to be mad about this little boy and his behaviour. I just wanted to make sure I was taking the right approach with J. She confirmed that I was and I just asked that anytime this little boy and J were "playing" together that extra be taken to ensure that J wasn't getting hurt.

Since we had our talk J has not reported any more hitting incidents. He does say the boy cries a lot and it hurts his ears. We talk about what it must be like for him to not be able to use his words to talk to people and how to be friendly without getting hurt. I don't want him to just sit there and let himself get hit but I also want my son to be someone who will reach out to a child like this. Like there was for C when he was younger. I've seen first hand what one or two kind children can do for a struggling child.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I am THAT mom!

The boys school really should know me by now. They should know that if I am going to ask them to do something that I will have looked it up already. I will know the "Board Policy" and likely I can recite the Policy number and tell the secretary how to find it on the board website. It's scary but likely they should just listen to what I am asking them and then say "Well, if it was anyone else I would say we don't do that but. . . since it's you, we must be wrong". ha ha, if only.

They should know . . . and yet, they seem to forget. They get caught off guard when I enter the office with medication in hand and say "C will need to take this at 11:00". They stumble around saying, "oh - well, we don't do that!". Uhm, say what? You have a school full of children and you are telling me you NEVER have a kid that needs medicine during the school day? Turns out, yes they do but only with a doctor's note. Aha! I KNEW they were going to try to say that. Yesterday when I had C at the doctor I thought about paying the $20.00 for a school note but when he said he should be better by early next week I thought - why bother? I figured I'd work it out since I did remember a few years ago board policy was that the original medication container wasn't enough - you needed to have a doctor's note.

Being "THAT" mom, I came home and looked on the policy section of the Board website. Low and behold, they have changed the policy, isn't that dandy! Makes my life easier. So while I am in the office and the Principal is trying to tell me all the reasons they "can't" do it, the secretary is looking up the policy I spouted. And do you know what she found . . . .

Policy ST:11 states:
Prescription drugs shall be administered to pupils under the following conditions:
i Short Term Illness–less than six weeks
Specific written and signed directions from the parent/guardian shall be
acceptable. Additionally, the parents must sign the Acknowledgement on
Part 1 of Form A.

Well, luckily I am not the gloating kind of person. Secretary was shocked as was Prinicpal. I really DO get along with these people, they are really very nice and well intentioned. I believe from the shock on their faces that they did not know this. But now, because I am THAT mom, they do.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's more pathetic?

Which scenario is more pathetic?

I am upstairs getting dressed and I hear blood curdling screaming between the boys. I turn to go intervene only to be stopped in my tracks by J yelling at the top of his lungs "floot boor anataga!" and C yelling "STOP SWEARING AT ME!". "I can if I want to, it's my language" says J as C screams in frustration and stomps his foot. They begin a back and forth of "is not, is too" and then I am asked to be the judge - is J in fact swearing if the words are made up but the intent to swear is there?


The fact that I am watching all this unfold, a smile tugging at my lips thinking "Now that's one for the blog".

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Gold Star Day

Honestly - it is all I can do to not do cartwheels throughout the house (ok - I have never done a cartwheel in my life, but if I ever did, today would be the day). It started when I received a call at work from the school. My stomach sank as the Principal said "we are not doing so great here". BUT WAIT - it is not what you think! It turns out - she was calling at C's request to let me know that he had a very bad cough (I could hear him barking in the background - where did that come from?) but that he "intended to make it through the day, to go to soccer tryouts". Uhm, ok, is this the same kid that stormed into the office last week demanding to go home because he supposedly had a headache? I quickly planned with the principal that I would come by and bring his allergy med that he hasn't needed since last year.

I zipped home and picked it up and then trekked to the school (3 houses down) and gave C his meds. It was a flavour/type he HATES - he drank it without complaint and no gagging noises after. Then he said "thanks mom, see you after school" and turned and walked back to class! Again, who is this boy?????

After school I picked up J first and he was so proud to show me a duck he was allowed to pick from the prize bin in his teacher's class. Apparently he "did good cleaning" and afterall "that's just fair, right mom?". He was soooo proud of himself and reportedly he is proving to be a very helpful and conscientous Kindergartener. And I get to be his mom? Very cool!

Next C came bounding out - he was beyond excited to join about 25 other boys on the soccer field. I stuck around since the principal and I weren't sure how it would all turn out considering he usually has an EA nearby during the school day. People, I kid you not, you could not pick him out of the crowd! He had not a single issue as I watched him try to keep up with kids all the way up to the 8th Grade (and twice his size). But he did it, and he wasn't too shabby either. When the tryout was over he was hot, sweaty and had a few scrapes including a bloody knee that he viewed as a badge of honour (instead of the sreaming, writhing on the ground as per usual). He proudly announced that there is another tryout session tomorrow after school. Say what? We have to do this again? I am so not used to my kid having activities all the time. I never wanted to be a soccer mom but I am too proud to care.

While C had been at his practice, J hung out laying in the sand, running to track and picking flowers. He bugged me a few times about when we could leave but overall he was very happy and busy. No tantruming. Again, who is this kid? Is he mine?

We came home and the boys vegged out and I got supper ready. After supper it was off to Cubs for C. We signed him up last week after C had been begging for years to be allowed to join. I would be lying if I didn't say I was worried about how he would do after his day filled with activity. We knew going to Cubs today that it was a very informal meet and greet but I didn't realize how "serious" it was, with the leaders going over all the papers with us, line by line. argh. But he managed himself and loved playing a game with all the kids. He was the quietest and one of the calmer kids there. Ok, this is where I seriously began to do a double take. At one point C walked up to one of the leaders he hadn't met before and put out his hand and said "Hi, My name is C___, pleased to meet you" and the leader thought he was the coolest kid. The other leader came over to me at one point to reassure me that the kids aren't always this loud and said she hoped the noise level and behaviour of some of the kids wouldn't disuade me from sending C. I was flabergasted, I almost turned around to look and see who she was talking to. I am so used to being the one apologizing for my kid.

And as we left, C had a little bit of a struggle. and he called me by my first name and he said "mooooommmmmmm" and stomped his foot and got in the car. People, he transitioned from all the fun and he - GOT IN THE CAR!

If I am dreaming - do not wake me up! I could get used to this. And if it is a dream, that's ok. This is the best dream ever, no matter how long (or how little) it lasts. It has been a gold star day.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Books in cages

The week before school started I made arrangements to take C into the school to meet his new teacher and see his class. Being in Grade 5 this year means he is on "the big kid" side of the school. Apparently this is a VERY big deal to C and he seems quite excited. He also was getting apprehensive about never having met his teacher and not knowing what to expect. His teacher, Ms. D., has taught at the school before but had been home with her baby. The day of the visit C was excited to go, I was nervous. I stayed up late the night before compiling a summary of main points about C and some information about his Tourette's and associated conditions. Since the EA's were also going to be new to him I had him help me put together a list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" such as "When I am frustrated, don't touch me" and "give me two choices - never take my choices away". When we got to the school, C happily greeted everyone who, in turn, remarked (as they do every year) about how much he has grown. He made sure to remind everyone that he is going to Grade 5 this year. The principal walked us down to C's class and introduced us to his new teacher. After all his apprehension about the teacher and class, he barely gave her a second look after the intro's and he wasn't interested in taking his picture with her as I thought he would be. Nope, he became fixated on what he termed the "book cage"

he got such a kick out of this corner of the room. I assume it is the "reading corner" and I think he was encouraged and relieved to see that the teacher has a space the kids could just hang out in, complete with a special chair and a bunch of cushions. I think it's going to be a good year.