My kid is going to be in middle school next year. When he was born, getting through the colic and the shaping helmet and physical therapy were all-consuming. I never thought we’d make it to 1 without a healthy dose of green skin and a penchant for brains.
But we did it.
When he was 2 and getting in trouble at daycare for biting, and the daily scene of trying to drop him off and experiencing the screaming abandonment horrifying sobs and screams I never thought we’d make it to preschool.
But we did
And in preschool when the teachers began the long road of meetings and conferences and concerned behavior charts and feedback, I thought I would never get him to kindergarten – against the preschool’s recommendation
But we did
And in Kindergarten, when the teacher had to break down his days to five and ten minute increments to find the positive reinforcement opportunities, I just began to think it was always going to be a struggle. We continued on through specialists – Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy – learning centers, IEP teams, doctors, prescriptions, diagnosis, guilt, worry, anxiety.
School is one more road navigated by squeaky wheels and parent advocates when it comes to kids outside the box. Every year we start over. Every year the cheerleading begins again and all you want is for each teacher to see that yes, this kid means extra work. Yes, you are already overworked, yes you are not paid anywhere near your actual value. Every parent in that school believes that. But my kid will require you to work more. Work differently. Work outside the very narrow box the school board and district allow you, but as hard as it is for you, the parents have to do it year in and year out. You have my kid for one year. Take him, teach him, appreciate the way he learns because he will not be the only kid who will benefit. Whatever strategy you use – and there will be more than one – understand that you are responsible for the foundation of the rest of his educational life. Just waiting out the year with him in your class is a disservice to yourself, his friends, his family, and most of all him.
Every year we get to look at each other around a table and reassess the needs of my kid. I will push. I will question. I will even tear up and maybe cry a bit. I am tough for him, but I am not tough when it comes to him. I’m a marshmallow of a mom who just wants her kid to have a shot at being average. That’s right! I’m pushing for grade level, regular old average learning. I know how hard he has to work to attain that and I’m ok with that. He knows the value of taking care of his friends. He understands how to respect his teachers. He is a bright, original, eager science lover. He has an ear for music. He thoroughly enjoys P.E. (if you don’t expect him to run) He treasures recess with his best friend. He’s more than the multiple choice answer required by the state on tests he vaguely understands every single year.
But he’ll work for you if you give him the chance to. And here we go again fighting for the chance to let my kid just be a regular 5th grade boy who already has crushes, is a fantastic reader, and is discovering a love for writing.
Sponsored by: IBUPROFEN 🙂