Monday, November 22, 2010

Varitated (Validated + Irritated)

After a week and a half of stress and worry that something terrible was going on with my oldest son, my instincts (that nothing was really wrong) were validated today.  A good friend of mine...and I interrupt here to say that I am feeling just a little cocky about how cool and brilliant some of my friends really are...went to Christian's school today to observe him in his preschool class. To see if there was "anything going on", as was the suspicion of a former Mommy and Me teacher we had, as well as (though tainted by the power of suggestion?) his 2 current preschool teachers. The emphatic conclusion by my friend, and highly qualified professional, was that Christian is absolutely fine!!  We don't need to be worrying about Frontal Lobe issues, or ADD or Processing Problems or ADHD...he is a typical 3 and half year old who has recently started preschool.  I am relieved. Relieved that there is nothing wrong with him. Relieved that my instincts can always be trusted. Relieved that I've had someone back me & my son up to say Everything is fine.    After my good friend visited the school, we also had a session with Elijah's Child Development Specialist (CDS).  Today we focused on Christian instead of Elijah, since Elijah was peacefully napping and hadn't been able to do so until then. Plus, I wanted her take on Christian too.  She spent about 40 minutes just playing with him. Then she asked a few questions from a developmental evaluation.  She mentioned that we could do more questions next week if we felt that it would be helpful, however, she didn't see any issues with Christian either.  Both she and my friend gave very specific examples as to why they believe he is acting developmentally age appropriate.  It is a relief and it is a little bit of fuel, because now what's left is addressing the school.  I did a little addressing today.

When I went to pick up Christian today, I left a little bit of extra time just in case I saw the Director of the school. I did.  I started by saying Thank you for letting someone come and observe Christian in the classroom. I told her that the summary of the observation was that there is nothing going on with Christian- he is perfectly fine.  I told her that I am concerned about the over analyzing that has been happening and it needs to stop. And it needs to stop NOW.  She took it very well and said she would be sure to speak with the teachers.  I told her I would like to talk to them as well.  So, now I just have to figure out what exactly I plan on saying, how I should say it and when.  It needs to happen soon, because I really don't like this feeling that I have about Christian being watched under a microscope.  I'm also planning to start interviewing other preschools.  If the teachers can ease off and keep a relaxed and happy relationship with Christian and myself, then I will let him finish out the year there, since he seems happy.  If I still feel a sense of over-analysis, then I will pull him out in January and start at a new school before he can have any negative associations build up that affect his self esteem. If he is supervised more than the other kids, what is that telling him on a subconscious level? ...Nothing good, in my opinion.  Additionally, I find myself questioning the school and it's fit for Christian, so a school search seems about right for me right now.

Lastly, I addressed something that really bugged me a couple of weeks ago.  The incident a few weeks ago went like this:  I arrived to pick up Christian and noticed on the "Parent Board" that the kids had talked about their families and if they have any pets.  I was curious, so I popped my head in and said to one of the teachers, "I'm curious....Did Christian tell you he has a dog?"  The teacher smiled and said (a little condescendingly) "Yes...but I know he doesn't, so I told him he doesn't..."  (She came to our house once before school started to meet Christian.)  I said, "Our dog died not all that long ago.  We did have a dog. And it's been a hard concept to teach Christian. He still sometimes talks about Buddy."  The teacher turned a little pale and said, "Oh....I didn't know.  Sometimes preschoolers will say they do when they don't..."  I said, "Oh. Well we did."  Flash back to today.  My friend who observed the class told me that the (same) teacher asked the class to tell her something they're thankful for.  While the first three kids could not answer the question, Christian said he was thankful for his cat. I melted upon hearing this, because just yesterday I bought him an adorable little cat stuffed animal that I thought he would like.  I brought it home and put it in my jacket and pretended to not know it was there.  Christian immediately pounced, "What's that?"
I pretended not to know what he meant, looked behind me and said, "What?" 
"What do you mean??...What?" and this time looked down between my legs...
He started giggling, and when I finally gave in to the game and gave him the cat, his whole face lit up.  The cat was an instant hit.  It was a heartwarming and fun for-no-reason-at-all gift and I loved how much he loved it.  So, when I heard that he was Thankful for his Cat, I melted. But, I knew that the teacher didn't know this. When I went to pick Christian up, I brought the cat with me into the classroom.  Christian was excused, jumped up to greet me, saw the cat and yelled, "My Kitty Cat!"  The teacher turned and looked and then grabbed her heart and said, " we wrote on the board what we were thankful for and Christian said his Cat.  I didn't think he had a cat, but I wasn't sure."  I said, "Oh how cute!  Yes, I just got him this cat yesterday and he loves it."  I think she was still grabbing her heart when we left the room....
So there.
Cynical. Preschool. Teacher. Who. Told. My. Kid. That. He. Doesn't. Have. A. Dog.

I'm hoping the holiday break gives me a little time to get over this, remember that I do believe the teachers thought they were doing what was best for Christian, and that it didn't come from malice or any ill intentions.  Right now, I'm just glad to be validated but also really irritated that I spent the last week and half totally stressed out about this.  So I'm irritated... And Validated...  I'm Varitated. 

Don't you like how I can just make up my own words on my blog....
I do! :)


Mama Marchand said...

I love this post! Good for you for sticking to your guns! And the story about the cat? ADORABLE. :)

Bonnie@TheFragileXFiles said...

I think I'd want my kid out of that preschool too, but at the same time I'd be hesitant to move him, since you said he seems happy there. Tough one! I'm grrrr-ing inside at that preschool teacher who told him he didn't have a infuriating. We lost our dog when my daughter was 3, and I didn't expect her to be as affected by it as she was. She cried and cried.

Becca said...

I love this. You sure showed her! Maybe now she won't make assumptions based on incomplete knowledge. A definite learning experience.

Laura said...

My first instinct would be to move him too. My Mom is all up in arms at my neice's Kindergarton where the same 6 kids are recieving frowning faces on their chart while the other kids are receiving smiling faces. The 'smily' kids have identified the 'frownie' kids and point them out to adults. ????????????????????????? REALLY? Labled as delinguents already????????????? Can Christian's reputation, (and yours) be overcome where he is at? Follow that gut of yours for sure. The nuero theorist I wanted to introduce you to is Dr. Mel Levine, but I found out yesterday he voluntarily suspended his practice until a charge of child molestation can be claared up. It is tragic as regardless of the truth of the accusation (which is under investigation so who knows, part of me thinks, "now? AFTER he became famous?") he has made SUCH a positive contribution to the field. He also appeared on Oprah and has seen over 15,000 children. His institute "All Kinds of Minds" has made a positive impact and I hope his contribution and message isn't lost in this debacle.

blessedbyreliv said...

I think I wish my kids had had YOU for a mom!

P said...

The teacher is learning a lot, she seems old-school but at least not totally clueless. But I think she might take a while to change if ever. Odds are she will give your creative unique child the benefit of the doubt but WHY CRUSH their spirit!!!? It's the parents responsibility to match reality and their dreams, she should have "informed" you regardless.

A sweet teacher would have done that about the dog. My mom would have done what your teacher did. Maybe they should do lunch...grrr

You have to consider cost and proximity to home. It's preschool, you can hang around or continue monitoring them if he's open with chatting about his day. In reality its not ideal but he can hang with you guys at parks or do playdayes you schedule if needed!

Keep deciding but you will either pave the way for others or find another place that treasures the unique views of kids a bit more. No path is wrong,as you are most likely right that they mean well but if the approach differs so far from yours then it's a long road.

But every school has certain pretty big drawbacks so try to find out by asking as many people as you can about any. The reputation may br exaggerated for each but it likely is based in truth. Find a place where that annoying thing no one likes (too many days as "snack mom" or "kids don't wear shoes!??") kinda sounds bearable or maybe even good to you. Iike wearing shoes is optional....academics are not pushed, free choice and lots of BASKETBALL or

Oh and no forcing potty training and small overall class sizes and lots of teachers, aids and parents per student

P said...

And YES, be up in arms grandma!! Those kids need a different method of reinforcement. It's not working AND it's making ALL the kids uncomfortable. Our K class had at least three levels (green, yellow and red) and they could work out if it. The K class no longer has that system but I hear from another mom that it is the ONLY school in the district (of eight ?) that does NOT.

Our co op preschool systems are generally very opposed to this type of reinforcement and use other fairly successful approaches. Not sure the alternatives work in a much larger class room setting.

P said...

A mom grading timed math tests in first grade noticed certain kids getting STUCK at the same test for tons of retakes. The teacher agreed to move them ahead as it's too frustrating so why try. I can see that in an all red day kinder child no?

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