Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Referral That Made Mom Cry

I have kids.

"Exceptional" kids.

They are exceptional in a way that makes other parents queasy and their peers nervous.

This has been a rocky year for some of them.


We had notes home on the very first day. And not notes for tiny things. Notes for things that are big things in the eyes of the school. Unfortunately for all of us, they are tiny things in the big picture of the life of my kid.

Now, week 7, we have our first referral.

I'm struggling with this way more than I should be, I think. My "mama bear" is all jacked up.

My student doesn't understand. Mostly my student doesn't understand anything that is happening this year.

Behaviors get consequences.

Believe it or not, I am all for this and I support our teachers and our school, but this is a hard season. I want there to be consequences for actions and I want there to be learning both academically and socially. I need there to be a growth in understanding of why there are rules and why we follow them.

So the referral paper came home.

We talked through the incident. Again. Making it the third time we revisited it. I don't know how many times it's been talked through at school.

This time we talked it through with the paper. I showed it and tried to explain it and realized there was no comprehension of it.

My kid asked me if the paper meant that it was time to go to jail now.

No, I said, it doesn't mean that.

Do I have no more school now?

No, it doesn't mean that.

Do I have to have a new teacher?


Do I get no recess?


Why is there a paper? I said I was sorry! I told you I'm bad!

Insert knife in heart here.

I didn't know how to answer that, realizing that the paper was just paper to him.

We have our IEP in 24 hours.

I have so many questions, frustrations, concerns and feelings. I want to be grace and patience and understanding, not "mama bear" or "crying mom" or any of those things. I want to be heard though, especially because now, 7 weeks in, I'm feeling a lot like I wasn't heard at the last set of meetings.

I don't sugar coat my kid. In fact, there is a good chance I sat in that meeting and painted a worst case scenario of my child. I do that on purpose. When you are expecting and prepared for hard and ugly anything less seems so much better.

I don't want my kid to be the one the staff dreads or endures. I don't want my kid to become the labeled one, the trouble maker, the bully, the whatever.

A school year is 9 months.

This school year with this kid will be a very long hard 9 months for our teachers. I don't want them to struggle and endure and survive and count down days and celebrate when it's over.

My kid is more than that. My kid will grow to be more than this.

Our teachers most likely didn't even get to have a say in whether or not they got my kid in their classes. But they did get a say in deciding to be teachers. They knew, I hope, that not all the kids would be delights or average or "normal".

There are 8 months to go. 8 months more of notes home. 8 months of other parents looking away and getting quiet when I walk by. Months of days where kids come up to me after school to tell me the awful things my kid did today. Days and days and days of tears and tantrums and extra practice and struggle. 8 months of my kid feeling different and angry and left behind. 8 more months of me wanting to scream and yell at all the "perfect" kids and families about my kids unfortunate start. 8 long months of no party invites and no friends to play with.

There are 8 months to go.

8 months where staff will almost pity me as they struggle to work with my kid, to endure my kid, to survive to the end.

8 months more where I want to say, go on, you endure and survive and move on, I have a lifetime here to go yet because, you see, I saw worth in this kid. I chose this kid. I will be working at this for much longer than 8 months more. I have the rest of my life to go on this.

And guess what came home today. 

Another referral. 

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