Friday, February 29, 2008

Low Point

Yesterday was one of the worst days that I can remember. When I think about how good I felt holding Henry in my arms when we left the hospital with him, how wholly excited and positive the experience was, and where we are now, it breaks my heart.

The teacher told the principal that she has no idea why he would suddenly attack her like that, and that there is no explanation. I have an explanation, but no one wants to listen. The teacher, while very kind and well-meaning, is inexperienced and Henry walks all over her. He also adores her, but he knows if he refuses to do work she just sends it home with him. She is so afraid that he will get upset in her classroom (and make her look bad) that she just squelches any problem before it starts, so Henry never learns to deal with things. Cary has given her very specific instructions about what to do in these situations, but she chooses not to use his advice.

The work that made him so angry was a coloring book. He told me, "I feel like I color every piece of work I do." And it isn't far from the truth. He is sick of coloring and I don't blame him. He is bored. Obviously that is no excuse for injuring your teacher, but no one at the school picked up on the significance of this and to me and Cary it was so obvious. The principal said, "We don't understand, she's asked him to do much more challenging things before." Now I don't understand what it is in Henry that makes it so hard to push past the thought that he doesn't want to do something, but it troubles me that no one recognizes that it is ridiculous how much these kids color, yet they never get a true break. His teacher prides herself on making them work through snack. She's taking them sledding today so they can use the material for a "non-fiction writing experience." (Henry can't go sledding because of yesterday. How much do you want to bet it is going to be a problem when it comes time for the writing piece to be done too).

And I don't just think the teacher's inexperience is to blame. The school knew that Henry was difficult even before he was enrolled and they insist on placing him with inappropriate teachers, and then take NO responsibility for this. Why they would give a kid who struggled behaviorally last year to the brand new teacher, and give her all of the ESL kids (most of whom are very bright - but that doesn't make them easy) is beyond me.

Could it be that the more experienced teachers and the parents who are very involved in the school have the clout to demand each other? Sadly, that will never be me.

I am left feeling like we have made choices as a family like buying a house in a school district with very high taxes that was supposed to be excellent, and now I don't know whether to yank my kid out, or move, or what.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Of course he won't, no not until the next time...

1. I filled up the gas tank to the sounds of Lucy's screams because I wouldn't let her come out of the car and join me. It is 10 degrees outside! When I got back in the car she said, "I can taste my tears, Mama."

2. I brought in the mail and discovered that my mother-in-law had mailed my birthday card three days late and failed to put enough postage on it, so I got it today and my mail carrier requested that I put $0.17 in an envelope. Happy Birthday to me!

3. But the kicker is that I got a phone call from the Administrative Assistant (i.e. Vice Principal) at Henry's school this morning. He was in her office because apparently he refused to do work (AGAIN), this time it was a coloring book about hippos. She told me that he was pretending to cut his arm with the scissors, so the teacher needed to take the scissors from him and when she tried to do this he poked the teacher in the stomach with the scissors.

We have been working so hard with him at home to improve his behavior and he has been doing really well, but obviously we pushed him too hard. I haven't really talked to Henry yet, so I am not assuming that he meant to hurt the teacher, whom he adores, but I wish I understood why he had such a hard time doing the work they give him. Admittedly it is mind-numbing, but it isn't like he can't do it. I am at a total loss.

4. All of which makes the arrival of the newest VenusZine with another printed contribution by me feel pretty meaningless.

Now playing: The Smiths - Sweet and Tender Hooligan

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A mix of the wrong and right

but hopefully all is at least mildly amusing:

1. Yesterday I stood in our driveway just in time to see Henry's afternoon bus drive right by the house without stopping to let off any kids! It turned out that the (substitute) driver didn't know where to stop and actually yelled at the kids (a third-grader and two first-graders) for not telling her where to let them off. My neighbor had to call the school, who called the bus garage, who radioed the driver, who said "she realized she still had some extra kids and would be turning around."

2. Lucy had her two stuffed ponies inform me that there was going to be "a pony contest in Lucy's room." I sat on Lucy's bed while she threw each pony into the air. Then she announced they had both won a ribbon.

3. We seem to have accidentally cured Henry of his addiction to playing the Flash version of Nintendo games (on the internet) by purchasing a router and hooking our TiVo to the computer. Now he is fascinated with what he calls "this new TiVo." And he asks if he can listen to podcasts when he finishes his homework. He doesn't know that podcasts are available on the computer, so please, don't tell him.

4. Henry was eating a Popsicle for desert tonight. Lucy wanted one too, but Cary said basically dared her to eat a bite of sweet potato first. She did it! Then she got her Popsicle but soon gave up eating it because it was too cold. She asked me for a warmer Popsicle.

5. I'd like to be listening to music as I post, like maybe the new Los Campesinos, or the new Duke Spirit, but I can't get iTunes to open.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

In Brief

Parenting is a humbling experience. That is all.

Friday, February 15, 2008

More of the same

What I did today:
1. Cleaned up dried vomit from Henry's rug, sheets, pillow, and comforter again.
2. A lot of vacuuming, starting in Henry's room.
3. Actually showered without interference or assistance of any kind from Lucy.

What I did not do:
1. Sleep past 5:20 a.m. (Thanks to Lucy, who is now asleep on a chair in front of the TV).
2. Get out of my pajamas before 11:00 a.m.
3. Leave the house.

Henry has all of next week off from school. My house is going to be really, really clean.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Wrong Kind of Work

So I'm fresh out of writing assignments today. Plus Henry caught Lucy's cold and has been home for two days, so I have only left the house to deposit the Valentine's day party supplies at his classroom today. I have actually found myself cleaning out of boredom, and this frightens me.

There are a lot of other things I could be doing, like reading one of the three engrossing articles the NYT has printed recently on migraine, only I have discovered that the children do a better job of entertaining themselves if I appear to be busy and sitting at the computer quietly does not meet that definition. Maybe my neurologist is reading them. Hmm, prolly no. The comments alone are amazing. I highly recommend them to anyone else with chronic headaches.

Now playing: Field Music - Working To Work

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I might have to hire a sitter in 22 to 30 months

I was considering another post where I lament the constant presence in my life of seemingly endless games of Chutes and Ladders, No Child Left Behind-inspired math homework, and bitterly cold temperatures.

Instead, I have some good news for a change. Amazing how it has nothing to do with my daily life, except that it might get me out of the house when it hits the big screen.

This is from the PowellBooks blog:

Even the staunchest critics of book to film adaptation have to admit — this is something to look forward to.

With the upcoming film version of The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Michael Chabon will be the next Pulitzer Prize-winning author to have his work adapted by the filmmaking wonder-twins, Joel and Ethan Coen.

The entire time I was reading this book I kept picturing it as a movie. They'd better not screw up the casting or I might just have to write a cranky post about it.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Mixed Bag

What I did yesterday:
1. Got up with Lucy three times before 6 a.m.
2. Washed and dried and folded five loads of laundry.
3. Nodded off during Ni Hao, Kai-Lan.
4. Turned in a review.
5. Took Henry back to school to pick up his homework folder.
a. I discovered that he has been put at a table with the two worst behaved boys in the class. This infuriates me because it does nothing to help him concentrate (his teacher's main complaint about him and these two boys are loud) or make friends. Plus it makes me feel like she just lumped him in with her other two problems.
b. On the way back to the van Henry intentionally stepped in an inch of mud, then slipped when he was trying to clean his boots off in the snow, then when I said, "GET IN THE CAR" he decided to try and climb in on Lucy's side, planning to spread mud across her and the entire back seat.

What I did not do yesterday:
1. Shower
2. Make it to the gym (Lucy was up because she has a cold).
3. Take Henry back to school to hear some random story teller at his school from 6:45-9:00 tonight.
4. Manage to post this sorry list on the day it actually happened.

Now playing: - Time To Get Away (ATOM's Exit Stage Left Mix)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Pulling the Lever

Lucy and I just got back from voting. Hurrah!

Now playing: Urban Legends - 01. Beneath Emotions And Politic