Back from where we came

In an effort to help *A* socially (and use his excess energy in a positive way) we’ve tried several different sports.   At this point he’s done soccer (2 seasons), basketball, baseball, and even an intro hockey program.  During his last soccer season he would not listen and follow directions either at practice or during the games.  I told him that we were going to take a break from sports because he wasn’t doing what he was supposed to and wasn’t listening to the coach.  I would also like to point out that I would ask him if he wanted to try a sport SEVERAL times before I actually signed him up.

Fast forward to this spring, *A* begged me for MONTHS to let him play football.   Since football is only in the Fall and I had MAJOR reservations about him playing contact sports, I compromised and agreed to let him play Flag Football.  The condition for allowing him to play was that he needed to show me that he could listen and follow the directions of his coaches AND he had to show good sportsmanship (i.e. no whining/crying, no teasing, no rough playing).  Needless to say he has not done any of these things.  At this point he’s literally just standing on the field.  He is not popular on his team and in fact doesn’t have 1 friend.  The other boys have tried to cheer him up and talk to him but he just wants to be catered to and 6/7/8 year olds are NOT going to do that so they just walk away and leave him alone.  He spends the majority of his time on the bench pouting.  He does get to go in the game….but its primarily because they need to let other kids rest and the league requires that the kids get equal play time (which I am very against personally).

To be completely honest *A* doesn’t have any friends…football or otherwise.  It’s painful for me to watch.  Especially considering that I didn’t have friends growing up either.  I met my first real friend in COLLEGE.  I was 20 years old before I made friends.  I hung out with some kids at school but honestly that was it.  I literally talk with one person from high school and that’s about once every 3 years.  I do NOT want this for *A* but there’s nothing I can do about it. We’ve talked about how whining is not the way to get someone’s attention.  We’ve also discussed that things aren’t always going to go your way and that you can’t talk over others.  As usual he doesn’t think I know what I’m talking about and we end up back here….friendless and just waiting for the season to be over.

Like a crazy person I had already signed him up for tackle football.  That’s $200 down the drain.  At the time my friends and family convinced me that it would be good for him.  I’m just not willing to waste anymore time or quite frankly to suffer.  I get a heat rash anytime I’m outside longer than like 30 minutes.  Therefore, during yesterday’s 2 hours of nothingness, I end up with a horrendous rash on my arms and neck (despite slathering myself in sunscreen) and my ankle was so swollen from the heat (a previous issue that flares up in extreme temps).  So basically, I’m killing myself for 2 hours and all we get out of it is a tense car ride home.  Tackle is an even bigger committment with practice 3 days a week DURING THE SCHOOL YEAR (after an initial 2 weeks of daily conditioning practices) as well as the requirement that I volunteer throughout the season.  Again….for what?!  To watch him sit on a bench and pout?  I can do that at home for free without the rash and time suck.  At this point I’m going to ask for my $100 back (the other $100 was non-refundable) and we’re done with sports.  He can’t handle it and it’s not good for our relationship.  Maybe I’ll let him try again in a few years but he’ll have to show me major improvement in his attitude.

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Squeaky Wheels

On Sunday, I received a phone call from my son’s principal.  She was very apologetic about the “situation”.  Ultimately the teacher’s assistant will be removed from my sons classroom.  I sincerely hope that in addition they provide her with more supervision and training because she CLEARLY needs it.

Score one for the squeaky wheel!

This brings up a new dilemma.  *A* wants to go to this school again next year.  I am VERY opposed to that.  My feeling is that it should not have taken almost 5 months to address my concerns.  I consistently received the proverbial ‘pat on the head’ and they acted as though I was over-reacting.  It should not have taken a letter to the Assistant Superintendent to get a real conversation started.  Especially considering I showed them my documentation of her bias back in January.  *A* is much more optimistic.  I told him that I didn’t want to send him there next year because I don’t feel like they treat him fairly.  His reply….”You mean when I get in trouble and none of the other kids do?”  Yes, that’s exactly what I mean.  If a 6-year-old sees this why didn’t the adminstration…especially after I explicitly brought it to their attention?! Anywho, *A* says he’ll be in a new class next year so things will be different.  How am I supposed to fight that kind of positive outlook?!?  I just don’t trust them.  There’s a push-pull though; on one hand, they now know that I’m a VERY involved parent and that I’m not just going to stand idly by while they do whatever they want but at the same time that could also backfire where they don’t tell me the things I really do need to know for fear of my response.  Le sigh….why couldn’t they have just done their jobs without my intervention?

I don’t know what I’m going to do but I have to decide quickly.  The Transfer Request period just opened today.

On a more upbeat note, *A* has grown and changed so much since he started Kindergarten.  On Saturday, I had a 6 hour foster care training and he went to the on site daycare.  As we’re standing in line to get him checked in he goes, “Do I have to wait in this line with you?”  **Clutches my mommy pearls** No but I wanted to say bye before I go to training.  He hit me with the stranger church lady one-armed hug and ran off like I didn’t exist.  SIR….come back and act like you love me!  Even though my little mommy feelings stung a bit I was excited that he was looking forward to playing with the other kids even though he only knew 2 of them.  His social interactions have improved by leaps and bounds and I love seeing it.

*A* also had his second flag football game this weekend.  I can always tell when he’s starting to understand a sport.  He was a defensive monster this game.  It was so great to watch him celebrate and be celebrated by his teammates and coaches.  He was so proud of himself.  The game was really good overall….it actually ended in a nail-biting tie….30-30.  One of the other parents was talking to my mom as I handed out snacks and asked her what we did with *A* in the past week because he got so good.  My mom went full Mimi and goes, nothing that’s just all him.  #GrandparentGush.  We did our normal post game ritual of talking about the game and going out to eat.  After we got home, *A* was still on his football high and I caught him dancing around in his room doing his superhero poses (I can’t describe the level of adorableness).  He also got to cut the grass with Granddad which is code for drive around on the lawnmower and yank on tree branches.

Last tidbit about my weekend…I clearly forgot that I’m a bubble child.  I checked the weather and it was supposed to be cloudy.  I went to the football without putting one drop of sunscreen on….now i’m covered in heat rashes (yes I still get them and I shant be judged because I still get infant illnesses, lol).

Today is May 1st and I want to wish my buddy Davis Christopher the Happiest of 1st Birthdays!!!

Sick & Tired of Being Sick & Tired

I finally did it.  I filed a formal discrimination complaint against the teacher’s assistant in my sons class this morning. I have had multiple conferences explaining how to handle *A* effectively by not engaging in a back-and-forth discussion with him.  I didn’t think I would need to but I even said, “Give him instruction and walk away.  He will comply because he knows it’s not open for discussion.”  There have been 3 incidents where *A* was either blamed for something he didn’t do or received a consequence without the other children involved receiving the same consequence.

The straw that broke this particular camel came this Friday.  I was called to school because *A* was rough-housing with another student and he wouldn’t stop.  Based on the way the phone call went, I was expecting *A* to be in full Hulk mode suplexing every kid in site.  Imagine my surprise when I walk in to see him calmly playing with another kid at his desk.  After talking with the assistant she tells me that he and another student were running around and wrestling WITH. EACH. OTHER.  Uh, so why am I here and not the other parent?  No response.

Cue the steam shooting from my ears.  

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It needs a little more cowbell

This skit is a SNL classic for me

It reflects the craziness in my mind.  *A* has been constantly asking me to have a baby.  He even asked his GAL to put that in the file for the judge. Cue record scratch.

Son, that’s not how it works.  Seriously.  On so many levels not how it works.  Anywho, while that’s not even remotely on the table….for reasons, I have given thought to adopting again.  Let me also insert here that *A*’s adoption isn’t even finalized yet.  Every time I think about it, the cowbell skit rears its hilarious head.  My life with *A* feels like a constant fight over homework and behavior yet I’m thinking about adding to our family?!  Why do I hate my sanity and free time?!

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The Double Edged Sword of Adoption

This weekend was filled with highs and lows that perfectly illustrated the various emotions related to adoption.

My aunts (maternal) came to visit from SC this weekend.  *A* and I went to my parents’ so we could all spend time together.  We hung out and went to dinner on Friday.  My mom cooked breakfast on Saturday and I got to drive Mrs. Daisy (and her sisters) around town all day.  *A* had a blast.  He played with his cousins, my aunt threw the ball around with him in the front yard.  He had his first trip to Toys R Us….it was an epic weekend, lol.  He’s much more comfortable with our extended family.  It was a little tough for them because we’re huggers but *A* does NOT hug people unless he’s comfortable.  I explained it to my entire family beforehand but it was still a struggle for them because *A* is an extension of me so they want to give him the same affection they give me.  This weekend *A* hugged without hesitation.  It was a big deal.  As we left to come back home, my aunt was so exited that he actually initiated the hug.  They understood the significance of the hugs and were really happy that he’s beginning to feel that level of comfort in our family.

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Broken Seesaw

I feel like *A* and I are stuck on a broken seesaw.  It feels like all discipline all the time.

Lately *A* has reverted back to his pre-Christmas behavior.  There was a week where he broke a soccer goal and faucet at school.  He ended that week by getting suspended.  That makes 3 suspensions in Kindergarten.  Le Sigh.

We figured out early on that incentives work really well with *A*.  I let him pick the reward and if it’s too outlandish we discuss how to make it more appropriate.  Incentives haven’t been working.  I let *A* set a goal for himself AND decide on the reward and that didn’t work either.  I just don’t know how to motivate him to do better.  I’m not asking for the impossible.  As it stands, his current goal is to be focused and on task half of the day for 5 days straight.  We have yet to hit this goal. I’m just at a loss as to what to do or try.  I’ve tried ignoring it, talking about it, loss of privileges and none of it works.  The issues have even begun to trickle into homework time.  We never used to have problems during homework time and now sometimes it takes 2 hours to read an 8 page book and write a sentence about it.

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The Talk

This past week I had to have the first version of ‘the talk’ with my son.  For those who may be unfamiliar ‘the talk’ refers to the talk that parents of color have with their children ESPECIALLY male children.  The talk basically explains bias (usually racial bias) and how to conduct yourself when interacting with people of authority (usually the police).  I knew it was coming but I honestly thought we had more time.  More time for him to be a kid.  More time for his worldview not to be tainted.  More time for him to think that people see an exuberant little boy when they look at him.  Alas….that is not the case.

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Expensive Dates

So after I vented all my frustration with school, I wanted to write something more inline with my ‘normal’ personality.  Thus the tale of the most expensive date ever.

So, *A* has been doing very well.  To celebrate I wanted to surprise him with an outing.  Let me tell you….this boy loves an outing.  He wants to go to Frankie’s Fun Park or Chuck-E-Cheese everyday.  Listen…..I’m just not able.  I don’t have that kind of patience or coin, lol.  I decided to surprise him on Saturday.  Monster Jam was in town and I said what the heck, we’ll just stroll up and buy some tickets.  I didn’t tell him where we were going but he was game….he loves surprises.

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She’s baaaaaack

Guys……Listen, so much has happened since October.  I was just trying to make it.  September through December 2016 was truly one of the most challenging times of my life. Ish got super real and I realized that my job as a parent is full-time and my commitment must be unwavering.

So I’ve made no attempts to hide that we’ve had some challenges since starting Kindergarten.  We’ve had conference after conference to no avail.  I even brought in *A*’s therapist, social worker, Guardian ad litem and MY social worker to various meetings.  I’ve had meetings to discuss the impact mental health may be playing and what additional actions I  could undertake to help my son be successful.  We met with the school counselor, the principle and the school psychologist.  We’ve also brought in an impartial 3rd party to observe *A* in the classroom to help identify any issues, make suggestions and help with implementation.  After all of this, I’ve learned the following: Continue reading