HAVE YOU EVERY HAD A ROOT CANAL? (OR SOMETHING ELSE DONE YOU REALLY WOULD RATHER AVOID)

You know the dread you feel before a root canal? That underlying fear of just how bad you think it is going to be, but then there is this sense of urgency to get it over with. That I how I feel about the next two weeks. My kids start school on Thursday. I love their school. I have already had our accommodations meeting for the beginning of the year. I am generally comfortable with what we have in place, and what I am not comfortable with just have to play out, and I have already put my game plan in place. Let me anticipate the next question. “Why are you dreading the next two weeks? I read your last Blog and you seem to be on top of things.”

I am dreading that point when all my careful well thought out planning falls through and everything goes straight to hell; while I figure out how to deal with the reality of having a middle schooler, 5th grader and a 3 year old. Experience has taught me this usually occurs after the first two weeks of school. So let me break down how my years tend to go.

Phase 1: The Honeymoon phase

This is where the kids love their teacher, no new work yet, and they still like their classmates. The kids have not seen most of these individuals all summer and they are planning to do all sorts of fun things together. Including year long extracurricular activities, which will inevitably result in them hating each other by May, because they never get a break from each other. This is also the time when you have very few behavior troubles or difficulty getting homework done. You also manage to get out of the door on time during this phase of the school year. This last OOOOOOH about a week. This is usually the phase we do the accommodation meetings in this phase.

Phase 2: The Happy to Be Back to School

   This is different from the Honeymoon phase. They still like the teacher, but homework and real school work has started. If we are going to see behavior problems the signs start right about here. Now, if your kid is as over achiever, like my oldest son, he or she will try to see just what the teacher is made of very quickly. If you have a more passive aggressive child, my daughter, we see such behavior as excessive bathroom breaks, and completely zoning out during teaching time. Since I have learned the hard way how they approach things the teachers get warnings at the beginning of the year. The problem I am running into, and dreading, is the teacher often times does not listen. Don’t get me wrong. They listen to me when I am saying it, but usually they are in the middle of the honeymoon phase and child 1 and child 2 are still so sweet. This occurs more often with my daughter than my son, because she is not technically a behavior problem. (My son practically has a warning label. Generally teachers heed warning labels.) With my daughter the issue that arises is her behaviors are a problem for her academic progression just as my son’s are. This phase usually ends around October, which is also when I have meeting number 2 for the year.

Phase 3: Is it time for Christmas Break yet?

 By the end of October, I am in need of  a break from getting up and so do my kids. They are tired of their teachers, and honestly their teachers are tired of them. We need the break and this is where I see missing work, we end up being late. We are usually in full swing with extra-curricular activities. Honestly, we are all feeling a little over stretched once we hit November. By Thanksgiving and Christmas we are ready to stop going to school.

Phase 4: Refreshed and ready to go.

If I had to pick my favorite time of the school year it is January to May. The teachers are re-energized. The kids are re-energized. There are usually a lot of fun activities in the second semester. My kids do testing at the top of the school year so the end of the year is all about learning new things. My kids have adjusted to their teachers and classmates. The school weeks go a lot smoother and frankly are much more enjoyable. It would be perfect if the weather were better in January and February. I would say this is the most tiring part of the year, many summer sports start training in March or April, but it seems to be when everything comes together for my kids.

Phase 5: May and early June we are sick of Y’all!!!!!!

I have said before I have 1 extroverted child, 1 introverted child, and 1 somewhere in between (not in school). The extrovert has usually annoyed her introvert friends so bad they are sick of her, and she is sick of her extrovert friends. That fighting for the lime light thing has gotten old. There are few exceptions. My introverted child is simply sick of everyone. I mean everyone. Classmates, teachers, me, siblings, therapist. He is just a pill for about a month and a half until he is completely off his stimulate meds. I am also sick of everyone and ready to cocoon in my house for the summer until I emerge again in August. This is the end of the year. I have finally gotten to the point where the end of the year is a relief and I don’t dread it, because we pretty much shut down for the summer. I give myself and my kids a running break. We do some enrichment work and we zone out. Why? Because the circus starts back soon enough.

VALIDATION NOT NEEDED BUT HELPFUL

I have struggled over the last week to find something to write about and one of my really good friends called me last night to say keep doing what you are doing. She conveys the following story:

There was a ten year old boy who has a diagnosis of ADHD, he is going to fifth grade. He does not know letter sounds, which means he could not read. The teacher from the previous year realized he could not read, and told him if he is not a behavior problem he will move to the next grade. The child is being brought to a tutor to assist him academically, by a church member. The parents have not shown-up for any tutoring sessions for this child. The only treatment they are aware the child is receiving is daily cod liver oil.

I am not saying the parents of this child are not involved, but from the state of the child that is what it appears. There are so many reasons why this child may be in the state he is in, but it does boil down to someone missing the boat.

This is a snap shot into what things could be like for my son if I did not do what I do. I am not a perfect parent. I miss things. I forget things. We don’t do work every day. I don’t live a perfectly organized life. What we do is try to do better. We try to master necessary life skills, and I bring people on board to help me do the things I need to do for my children. This snap shot is motivation to keep working. Many times I look at my son, and I feel like nothing I do makes a difference. There are days, where meltdowns and over-reactions are just a way of life. I worry about social interaction, self-regulation, medication side effects, and who his new teacher will be in the fall.

I am so focused on how far he has to go, I have forgotten how far he has come. I have forgotten my first grader had a terrible time learning to read and write. Math seemed impossible and he spent most of the day under a desk. My Kindergartener who was so introverted the teacher could not assess what he had learned for the year, and my Pre-K child who had to be carried in the door in a football hold. I now have my rising fifth grader whose only modified subject is Math. He passed all of his classes and many with an A or B. He had emotional problems at the beginning of the year, but he ended the year on a high note. He has come a long way. We have a long way to go, but I feel blessed we can see significant progress.

No, I did not ask for validation, but maybe it was needed. It changed my perspective on my child and maybe I see more good than bad because of it.

School is Starting Soon. STRESSED!!!!!

A fellow Blogger, a teaching parent, posted a Blog regarding building a good parent/teacher relationship. I appreciated this a lot, because many times the beginning of the year is that awkward getting to know you period. It is really hard to build a relationship with a teacher when you are dealing with the growing pains of your kid’s adjustment to his or her class. The most important quality I have developed is patience with the process, and it is a process. With that I think teachers need to understand that not all teachers are as well meaning. I think parents need to understand not every teacher is out to get your child. Body language, tone of voice and volume all communicate just as much your words. If a parent is tired and overwhelmed tell the teacher, so they know you are not a disinterested parent. If a teacher is at a loss tell the parent, so you can work together to find a solution. I have found the best parent/teacher relationships I have had included open communication and mutual respect. I have linked the Blog below. It is very informative and does a better job than I can to explain how to interact with each other.

http://ateachingparent.com/2015/07/16/2%c2%a2-worth-how-teachers-can-build-positive-parent-teacher-relationships-survey-results-2/

Why I love my, oops, my kid’s therapist

I have said in previous post I do not believe medication is the only technique to manage ADHD, frankly I secretly hate it, but for my kids it is a necessary evil until their brains catch up. One of the things we do to help my son is play therapy. Huh!? Yeah, play therapy. Therapy through play. My son goes to a great one, who can see who he is. She has more positive than negative to tell me, and she helps me see him. What? You mean I need help seeing who my child really is. Yes, I do. Sometimes I am so caught up in the emotions of the week, month, or school year I don’t see the person my little boy is. He is sweet, loving, caring, and adoring of me. She also helps me with my daughter too. Giving me slight guidance when I mention concerns or frustrations dealing with ADHD and puberty. Can you say fun?!!! NOT!!!!!!!! Yeah, that’s old and so am I, get over it. My daughter is sweet and loving too, but way more confrontational.

My son’s therapist meets with him once a week and helps him process his week. The good, the bad, the ugly. She helps him develop social skills, and to process how to better deal with challenges he faced during the week. She also helps him set goals in therapy. I don’t know what his current goals are now, but I know she guides him through them.

She also meets with me before his therapy regularly  to get my perspective and give me hers. This second set of eyes on his development is invaluable. I get an experts understanding of my child’s disorders, from a woman who is a mother and get this, is also Black. I know to the world that may seem small, but there are some cultural norms and beliefs I just don’t have to explain. While explaining them may be fine it just saves time and energy. This therapist is a good fit for my son and for me. If you are struggling with helping your child manage his or her ADHD or any other developmental disorder, play therapy may be worth a try.

What kinds of things do you do to help your child manage with ADHD?