Thursday, September 29, 2016

School Woes

Today, my heart hurts...

When I was pregnant with Caiden, I swore to myself we'd have family dinners. I used to bother Korey about wanting him to get used to eating without sitting in front of the TV because, once Caiden was in school, I wanted us to eat dinner at the table like a real family. I wanted us to be able to talk about how our days were in a way I never got to growing up. I can count on one hand the number of times my family ate dinner together at the dining room table when I was growing up, holidays and birthdays not included. Like a lot of things growing up, it was just one more normal thing I never really got to experience. It was something I was always jealous of other people for, and it became more important to me as I got older and started my own family that I fixed it.

This didn't exactly work out as planned though. When we moved into our house now, I bought a brand new dinning room set and a beautiful rug to match. We needed one for the dining room anyway, but I think part of me secretly hoped that it would give us an excuse to have those family dinners.

Caiden has been in school for a month now and those conversations are not happening. Instead, our meals usually consist of me holding a spoon in his face and begging him to take just one bite, and to please, not spit it out. When your four year old still can't feed himself, normal things like that kind of get forgotten.

Honestly, the particulars of what he did at school that day is the last thing on my mind when we're having dinner. On the walk home from school in the afternoon, I hold his hand and ask him how school was. I know he can't answer me.

He tells me "school," when I ask if he had a good day at school.

He tells me "side," when I ask if he went outside.

He tells me "fun," when I ask if he had fun, and for a second that's okay, because in his backpack is a parent-teacher communication sheet that should tell me what I want to know. When we get home I'll be able to look at it and tell what he did.

I was really nervous about him starting school, but after an extremely anticlimactic IEP meeting, and a good classroom environment, we felt pretty good about him starting. His first couple weeks were tough, but now that he's gotten used to going, he gets really excited when its time to get ready for school. This week, he didn't even look back at me when I dropped him off, he just let go of my hand and walked right in the door. Its good to see him so happy about school.

However, outside of the communication sheet, I have no idea what's going on while he's there. At the beginning of the week, I get a 'newsletter' about what they're focusing on for that week. Its usually a letter, number, shape and color, along with the name of whatever book they're reading. He's brought home a few worksheets he's done with an obvious amount of help, and a few pictures he's colored.

The first few weeks it seemed like things were going well. This week was completely different.

Today, Caiden came home from school with a bump on his face. His parent-teacher communication sheet is almost empty for this week, and today, there was absolutely nothing written on it at all. From what I could tell, his teacher wasn't even there today. Its not a huge mark, but its right next to his eye, and I have no idea what happened. I don't know if he fell. I don't know if he walked into something. I don't know if another kid hit him. I know its not a bug bite, but other than that, I have no idea.

Yesterday, he was in tears by the time they released him to me. At the end of the day, the kids line up inside and are dismissed a few at a time. Caiden doesn't understand this. He knows that he gets to go through that door and go home. He doesn't know why they're making him wait and why he can't rush through the door immediately. So they make him wait his turn. Which, I am perfectly fine with. He needs to learn how to wait, however, it is unacceptable to let it get to the point where he is sobbing. He doesn't understand, and making him wait until he calms down is counter intuitive. He isn't going to calm down until you let him go.

When we enrolled Caiden in school, we were very upfront about him not being toilet trained. His development is significantly behind, even by their psychologist's standards, and he's no where near ready. They stated they were very willing to work with us on it, and that it was our job to provide them with pull-ups instead of diapers. Not a problem. The sooner he is potty trained, the happier I'll be. However the school doesn't seem as on board as they first seemed. Monday, Caiden's pants were wet. He'd peed through his pull-up. He hadn't been changed. They haven't changed him a single time since he started school. He's only there for two and half hours, and we live half a block away, its "not a big deal" for him to wait. I know he's afraid of the bathrooms. I know its going to be a huge adjustment, but I'd rather they piss him off and change him, than let him sit in a wet pull-up for hours.

Thankfully, parent-teacher conferences are coming up. I like his teacher, I really do, however I can't allow this to continue. The lack of communication is absurd. He's in a small class with two para's in addition to her. There's no excuse for a communication sheet to be left empty when they know its the only way for us to have any idea what's going on. Caiden can't tell us what he did at school. We can't have those conversations with him when we don't know anything. Caiden doesn't get homework, but I know how important it is to continue at home what he's doing in school. We can't do that if we don't know what's going on in the classroom. It may have just been a little bump this time, but how can I trust them to let me know if something bigger happens? He can't tell you when he needs to be changed, and its apparent they aren't checking him. We've been lucky that he's only peed while there so far, but should he have a bowel movement and he comes home dirty, there will be hell to pay.

I was told that Caiden's elementary school is one of the best in terms of special education in the area. So far, I have been gravely disappointed.