Additional Awesomeness...

Monday, October 24, 2011

Last week was our Parent-Teacher Conference. I know. Fun day, right? Oh so wrong!

At home TT1 does pretty well. He knows his sight words, spells decently and “gets” his math. Apparently, school is a whole other kettle for the poor kid.

To our utter astonishment and horror, we were told that, although #1 had begun the year reading over grade level, he is now not even reading at the level he started at. He is on sight words list #3, while 98% of the class is at list #13 or above. One over-achiever is on list 25 of 32! And as for math? Well, he has yet to finish a math facts addition sheet, nevermind moving up to subtraction.

His grammar skills are atrocious. At least according to his teacher and the class work we were presented with. I am appalled. I am embarrassed. I am sad.

Let me be clear. I. Do. Not. Compare. Children. I just don’t. Kids are each their own, unique animal, and it’s unfair to lump them all together. That said, I found it extremely difficult to believe that #1 could be quite so far below grade-level at the end of the first quarter of 1st grade.

So, we signed the nasty paper that says we understand that his work is not good enough for promotion at this time, but that he is not yet being held back. We had to sign in blood our promise to work with #1 every day (as if we weren’t already doing so)  on every thing the teacher had pointed out to us during our 15 minutes of hell.

In BLOOD I say.

We did not just sit back and idly absorb this information. Oh no. We made sure that this teacher was aware that #1 is a lefty and has had difficulties with writing from day 1, that learning disabilities run in the family and we had been made aware of the possibility of such during kindergarten, and that he really does need to sit front and center in order to keep him focused and engaged.

Of course, teacher is doing everything right. And she already knows everything we’ve told her. Of course. And she is going to be enrolling him in a reading intervention program due to his lack of progress.

So, we, being "good" parents, went home to the kids and laid down the law. No TV during the week, period. We would be morphing into “those” parents every night, and would drill the children in their studies (or make them color until their crayons were nubbins) every night until dinner, then quiz them on the drills during dessert. Hello Captain Von Trapp!

No seriously. That’s what we he decided on.

Then I had a weekend day with my child. Of course, we stayed home from church to drill him in the proper procedure for bedroom cleaning, as well as to continue getting him well, but we also talked. A lot. And we did a ton of school work. Really. And you know what? I was absolutely shocked when he was able to correctly identify 72 sight words, without apparent effort, when I tested him with flashcards. I was even more impressed when he seemed to recall fairly easily many simple addition facts when asked off-handedly. And when he was able to correctly spell (out loud) the spelling words from last week’s list.

But as soon as I formalized the process (i.e. asked him to sit down and finish some math facts, or sit down and write the spelling words), he became anxious, upset after just a few questions, and then he shut down and was unable to complete the task. HMMMM. Methinks a light bulb is flashing.

Today #1 is with Nana, because he still has ich. He mentioned to her that he was unable to see words and numbers on her computer screen unless he got very close to the screen. He also told her that sometimes he can see big things far away just fine, then he feels like he ‘goes blind’ and can just see a big blur. She let him put on her drugstore reading glasses, and (angels sing, God-light streams from behind his head) he could see the words/shapes/cartoons/etc perfectly.  Hmmmm. Another light bulb is flashing in my head.

So, being the proactive, involved parent that I am, I sent an e-mail to the teacher today, letting her know what happened over the weekend, and that after talking, we decided that we’d like to have #1 tested ASAP, as learning disabilities run in both our families, and we don’t feel that the wait-and-see approach will do him any favors in the long run. I also made him an appointment to get his eyes checked tomorrow.

The response from the teacher was not what I expected. Teacher emphasized that she feels her reading enrichment thingy will be best, and to wait and see in January how he is doing. She again pointed out that he is struggling to write, that he does not recognize simple sight words when working in small groups, that she always gives him extra time on his tests and yadda yadda. She still wants to wait. I also clued her in that several kids in the class have been making fun of him and calling him a dummy, which ain’t ok. I know how vile and vicious kids can be, me being a victim of emotional bullying my entire elementary and junior high school years. I don’t want that for him, and I’m going to do what I can to get the person in charge to nip that shite in the bud.

I’m conflicted now. My gut says to push for testing. I’ve already gotten him an appointment for an eye exam tomorrow, and that might give us one answer. But it’s not going to fix the underlying difficulties. I am beginning to get an inkling of what some of my SNC mom-friends have said for years: you have to push, become THAT parent, and keep on bucking the system until you get what you KNOW your kid needs, because to the school, it’s just another chore, another person to pay, another pain in the butt. Which is sad.

At this point, I guess I’ll talk to the other half of this parenting duo and get his take. But I still don’t want to wait for January.
I’m not sure about you, but having the ability to suck on one’s own toes kinda grosses me out. And TT1 has the ability. Not so Funny thing though – about 2 days after this:

(Yes, that is his foot.  In his mouth.  So not gonna kiss that!  Anyway.)

He started complaining about a sore throat. I blew him off for a day, then checked his throat. It looked like someone had burned the back of his throat with a miniature car cigarette-lighter, and apparently was just as painful. Now, for those of you with small children, you’ve likely endured a bout or two of hand, foot & mouth virus. Also known as coxsackievirus A-16.
Of course, he had been complaining of canker sores for a few days before he stuck his foot in his mouth, and canker sores are hard to differentiate from HFM lesions. So he probably had it before. It’s just so much more humorous to think otherwise. Not that I’d intentionally…well, maybe I would. It’s just such a PITA thing to have, that I’ve got to do something to make it easier to bear. Other than poking fun at the name coxsackie.
So, we’ve now missed 3 days of school that he really can’t afford to miss (more on that later), endured a weekend of dramatic flailing and wailing about not being able to eat anything in this stupid house, and played kiss/spit referee so often I think I now have arthritis in all my joints.
TT1 and I stayed home from church yesterday, mostly to avoid accidentally infecting other kids (even though we sent the other two off with Daddy, and they are likely carrier-monkeys), but partly so I could instruct the child on the ‘proper’ way to clean his pig sty bedroom. So I got to be mean-mommy-sick-nurse all weekend. Which all means that, this post is all about me whining. So suck it, nobody asked you to read the whole thing. On a positive note, Kate & Lydia (aka the geniuses at rantsfrommommyland) totally posted my Whuck?! I’m so stoked!

RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND: Whuck of the Day: Now I'm Not *That* Hungry

RANTS FROM MOMMYLAND: Whuck of the Day: Now I'm Not *That* Hungry: Maybe let's just have vanilla, OK? We got this the other day, and -- as expected -- we died. We also realized that Julie is a much, much ...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ok, so like I mentioned yesterday, I’m flying solo this week. D is across the country, learning about things that make him even more freaked out about his new job. Which I think is a little silly, because he is freaking AWESOME and will totally rock this job, because that’s how he rolls.

But I digress. Again. It’s an ongoing problem I have, and you already know that. I’m doing it again aren’t I?

Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes…

The Threat Level has been pretty high in our house lately, what with the schedule upheaval and resulting loss of any semblance of a routine. Homework meltdowns, drop-off detonations, weekend whining. We’ve got it all, and a family-sized bag of crazy chips.

I started thinking back to when D was on an engine, and gone 3 or 4 days at a stretch every week. I had a routine, and a plan. It worked well, for all of us. Why did we ever stop?

So I laid down the law. Mommy ain’t takin’ no mo shite. Just because daddy is gone does not give you a free pass for mayhem. Family dinner will continue, with a few adjustments to the preceding routine, and the post-dinner wrap-up.
  1. The TV stays OFF until homework is done. I don’t care if some of you are too little for homework, the idiot-box is off. O-F-F.
  2. Dinner is non-negotiable. Eat from what is on your plate, or go to bed. Same rules as when dad is here.
  3. Mealtime prayer is not time to initiate a fart-contest, a finger-war, or to get up from the table for any reason. Sit down, shut up, and show some respect.
  4. It’s called a chore chart. No, you don’t get anything but my thanks for doing your chores. Yes, you have to do all of these things; 4 in the morning, and 4 at night, plus 4 more over the weekend. It’s not too much to ask.
  5. Feeding the dog is your job, and feeding the cat is Your job. We don't have a third pet, so #3 does not have a feeding job.  No, it’s not on the chore chart because I SAID SO.
  6. ALL of you will take a bath at 7 pm. I don’t care if you do want to take a shower, get your skinny tukkus in the tub and scrub.
  7. No, you may NOT sleep in your dirty school clothes. Did you not just clean yourself?
  8. Family story time comes right after bath & jammy time. ONE book. I’m not a freakin’ bard.
  9. #2 & #3 in bed by 7:40, no exceptions, passes or deviations. Pee BEFORE you lay down in bed, cause I know darn well you felt the urge when you were getting dressed, you just held it until now to have an excuse to make me want to pull my hair out.
  10. #1, if you want to continue to enjoy the privilege of staying up later, then keep your dang mouth shut about it, because if I hear you teasing your brothers onemoretime about them being babies, or you getting to stay up because you are bigger/special/the man of the house/etc, your butt will be going to bed BEFORE them.
Sounds like a lot doesn’t it? But it’s not unreasonable. And after yesterdays’ drop-off from hell, anything is worth a shot in the dark. Can’t blame a girl for trying, right? Right? Anyone?
So far, so good. It’s only day 2, but compared to yesterday? It’s heaven!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ugh, Mondays suck.

Yeah, they usually do.  Nevermind that I have not recovered from the weekend yet, it’s the first day back at school, daycare and work, which is never easy to get into.

Take this Monday, for example. Now, #3 has been having a hard time with daycare drop-offs since he started back 2 weeks ago. Clingy, snotty, bawling, screaming, hot mess of kid. Every. Single. Day. #2 on the other hand, has loved being back at “school”, and really hasn’t given me a single problem. Until last Monday.
Talk about a switcheroo! It was Columbus Day, which also happened to be a school furlough day, so #1 was on schedule with Nana. Of course, this did not sit well with #2, who started in pretty much as soon as the car doors shut at Nana’s house.
The car stinks. I don’t want to wear these shorts. You’d better turn this car around RIGHT NOW cause I’m not going to school and you can’t make me and I hate these shorts and you SUCK! These shoes suck! I hate these stupid socks! You are the meaniest mom ever and I HATE YOU! Turn this car around RIGHT NOW!!!!!! I’m not going to SCHOOL!!!!
Add in kicking, flailing arms, screeching voice, and you’ve got him. For the entire 15 minute commute to daycare/work. All while #3 sits owl-eyed in the seat behind him.
You may ask yourself how I kept it together. How I talked him down and got on with the day.
HA! I say! I told him like it was. Sorry you’re sad kid, it’s a raw deal I know. If your shorts/shoes/socks were bothering you, you probably should have said something before we left the house, because no, I am no turning the car around at this point. I know I am mean, it’s my job. I love you, and yes, you are going to school. I am done talking, please stop kicking my car before the airbag blows up in your face and I have to sit with you in the ER instead of going up to my office.
I had to physically remove him from the car. Seriously. It was not pretty. And #3 standing there calling his big brother a crybaby did not help.
I had to bodily drag him into the classroom after warning his teacher about his mood, and mandating a nap. The cracked-out honey badger appeared as I attempted to herd #3, who was helpfully chanting “cwy-bee-bee Wogan!” out the door. Thankfully, we have incredibly awesome daycare staff where I work, and they handled him.
#3, you ask? Well, #3 magically morphed. He ran to his classroom, hung up his backpack and took a seat at the breakfast table, patiently waiting for me to open up his peaches and yogurt. A quick kiss and bye mama! It was wonderful. My baby has grown up :(
The only thing that could make my day better is finding out my boss is not leaving for vacation after all……

Nope! Good fortune is mine, and the boss is gone for 10 days, the baby is a drop-off champ, and I got a free lunch.

And #2 was back to his normal sunny self by 4:30. It was a good day.

Late last night and the night before, evil mommy, evil mommy, rocking on the floor

So, I’m flying solo this week. It’s not a bad thing! Of course, after I completely lost my schmidt a couple of weeks ago while home alone with the cracked-out honey badgers boys, I can understand why D was a little bit apprehensive about leaving for a week.

You see, it was a dark and stormy night…no, really, it was! Well, it was overcast and threatening rain anyway. So, D had left to alleviate some stress of a brand new job, and I was home alone with the 3 things at bedtime. For reasons that are good, but not really good enough, I had been spacing out my happy pills, and apparently had spaced them a bit too much, resulting in me being a sloppy emotional mess with a hair-trigger snitch factor.

After TT1 had to be held onto the pot to poop after holding it for 5 days (that we know of),

After TT2 melted down because I refused to let him have another freakin’ drink before bed in the hopes that he would not hose it down and climb in with me at some point,

After TT1 decided he could eat his dinner since the huge, toilet-clogging crap left him room in his stomach for food at 8 pm,

After TT3 stripped down and peed on TT1’s bed,

After TT3 stripped again and attempted to pee on the dog,

After TT2 got up eleventy thousand times to pee/poop/check out the toilet-ring on his butt,

After TT3 climbed out of his bed every 0.00000009 seconds,

After TT3 screamed bloody murder every 0.0000010 seconds when put back into his bed,

After being told innumerable times by all 3 wretched, ungrateful, mouthy, cranky, stinky children how much I suck, how much they hate me, and how horrible a mother I am,
I totally lost it. My schmidt fled the house in fear for it’s life. I ranted. I raved. I slammed doors of all sizes. I may have thrown something. I threatened bodily harm. I cried. I scared the living crap out of myself.

It was not pretty. And after all of that, I sat in the recliner with a glass of wine and my book, rocking, rocking, rocking and smiling evilly at the ceiling, through which desperate cries and pleas for daddy continued to filter. I may have had a twitch.

I texted D. I demanded immediate return and the location of his belt. I demanded to know why his children were so horrible to their mother. I cried. I laughed a bit crazily. I rocked some more. I was assured of swift return.

Over an hour later, I continued to rock and sip my wine. The crying and shouted invectives had ceased. I wondered where in the name of Maude D was. I rocked. I called; no answer.

After almost 2 hours, my partner, my support, my occasionally calming influence, finally returned. The house was quiet. The wine was gone. The meds were re-ordered for refill as soon as possible. The only sound was the rock, rock rocking of the recliner.

No children were harmed or permanently emotionally scarred in the making of this blog post, but apparently the truck had to die to make it possible.