Friday, August 12, 2016

Bus stops

Today I called the kids' school district, and with a little bit of wheedling I got them to give me the kids' tentative bus pickup times. We've always lived within the walk zone of my kids' old school, so the world of busses was new to us.

In retrospect, I shouldn't have been surprised about what I learned. My kids will be taking two different busses, from two different bus companies...leaving from two different stops. I had imagined standing on the corner near our house, waiting for one bus and then another while holding hands with my preschooler. I didn't imagine hustling my daughter out of the house before 6:30, and then taking my son and preschooler to another stop three blocks away, 20 minutes later.

So many times this summer I've said, "Now it feels real." When I got my first auto-dialer call from my son's new school. When I found out who my daughter's teacher was. When we bought school supplies and my kids both picked the same pencil pouch, and my daughter told my son, "This way we can still be alike even though we're in different schools."

I'm running out of anger about this, which is probably good. The reality is setting kids, especially my son really are that different. Too different for their neighborhood school. Too different to navigate through the system smoothly. At this point all I can hope is that it's worth it and the new schools will help and appreciate them.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Kind Word

Recently P attended Camp Invention. It was a half-day camp that focused on inventions, basic engineering, and problem-solving. He didn't say much about it, but he has the unfortunate habit of wearing his heart on his sleeve and showing all his emotions, while keeping many of his thoughts to himself. Last year I took P and his sister, E, to Chicago for a day. He seemed to really enjoy it, but didn't say much about it after the trip. I was shocked a few weeks later when I had parent-teacher conferences and many of the writing and journal assignments were about Chicago. Apparently it had made a bigger impression than I had thought, and it just goes to show that it's hard to tell what's going on in that mind of his.

Anyway, back to Camp Invention. He seemed to enjoy it, even though he got frustrated at times, and he was proud of his final project. I sent an email to the teacher who coordinated it, thanking her for putting it all together and also thanking her for being so patient and supportive of P.

I was shocked at the email I got back. She said so many nice things...she liked having him there. She appreciated what he brought to the table. He worked with the other kids. He really loved the material they taught. His moments of frustration were infrequent and brief. He was pleasant and engaged and his excitement was wonderful! When I was finished reading it I realized my jaw was hanging open and tears were pricking my eyes.

It made me realize how long it's been since I've heard something nice about him from school. And although this wasn't school - it was definitely geared toward fun - it was put on by P's school district and involved one of the Gifted & Talented support teachers. I'm glad they got to see him in a good light, and I'm kind of hopeful that he'll be more successful at his new school. Maybe they'll "get" him.

Anyway, I'm taking it as a win today. And I'm definitely keeping the email.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Wait and See

The first day of school is a little less than a month away, but I've already started having nightmares. Last night I dreamt that I was at my kids' old school, and my daughter came running up to me, absolutely hysterical and with her dress torn. She said a teacher tried to attack her and tore her dress. Immediately my son's old teacher, the school psychologist, and a couple other teachers came up to me and started telling me that the teacher she was accusing was new, but very trustworthy, and that he'd never do anything wrong. I alternated between trying to calm her and insisting that someone investigate, and they alternated between being patronizing, cajoling, and dismissive. I just kept looking at my daughter, sobbing and insisting that he was trying to hurt her, and looking at them, smiling and saying there wasn't a problem.

I don't always believe in dream interpretation, but other times my subconscious is anything but subtle.

I feel like I'm right where I was in August of 2015, and August of 2014. No matter how much we learn about our kids, about what works and what doesn't, about their strengths and weaknesses, no matter how much work we do or what other professionals we involve, every summer brings the same thing. Waiting and seeing what the school wants to do, and what the teachers feel is appropriate. Waiting on their goodwill and seeing how it will play out.

I HATE not being in control. "Wait and see" is not my favorite.