I’m absolutely having a George Bailey moment in my life. I need some magic little man to come down in a nightdress and help me sort some shit out.
Yesterday may have been one of the single most discouraging days in my adult life. It was Stella’s actual 5th birthday. It was also the day we had our latest school conference scheduled as well as (finally) the start of Stella’s dance class – something she’s been looking forward to now for what seems like months. To make the day even more special, I was planning on going to her school for my lunch break (I telecommute on Thursdays) to eat with her. I had all sorts of special food ready. I even had a couple of miniature carnations. Why did I go to such effort? Well, in addition to loving my kid to pieces, according the Dot Matrix from the Harpy Nebula it hasn’t been a good week. Stella also has been informing me that some boys – in particular a little shithead named Steven – have been calling her very mean names and making her scream and cry.
So I wanted her to feel cool at lunch. Especially on her birthday.
I sat amongst the little people, and got several earfuls. I heard about who was already 6, who could tie their shoes, what pets who had. And I heard that Steven was ugly to Stella and made her cry. And I heard that some sweet little girls liked to help Stella when she was having a bad day. In short, I got more information out of a handful of kindergartners than I have out of her teacher.
Moving on, we were back at the school later that afternoon. I actually went in feeling good. I had that official “doctor’s note” with our “diagnosis” ready, along with handout packets with info on hyperlexia. We were ready to get our 504 plan! Finally, things were going to look up and get better. Stella would be protected against a bully teacher and a bully kid. I could relax.
Essentially, it seems the school team feels that they’re already making the required accommodations to manage Stella’s behavior. We went rounds about that, Will and I asking for more information, the Harpy parrying with the standard line of “I have 20 students in this class and I cannot possibly( insert verb here).” I expressed frustration that while we were certainly getting a lot of dots, that without additional information these dots were still rather subjective, and we didn’t want to come to the end of the semester and find out Stella was failing kindergarten, particularly since even the Harpy finally grudgingly admitted that she was “very bright.”
Let’s see. What else? Oh yeah. Her fine motor skills are still crappy. This was a surprise, as she’s been bringing home lots of things obviously cut out. The Harpy has been helping, since “If I waited for Stella to do it, we’d be here until midnight.” I commented – again – that this was a surprise given the LACK OF INFORMATION (see a theme here?). The Harpy snidely said that kids don’t just learn how to cut in a matter of weeks. Will replied that Stella had taught herself to read in a short time, so operating scissors was not out of the question. And the shithead Steven who was calling my daughter names and causing at least some of her screaming/crying jags? “Stella is responsible for her red dots. Other children are responsible for theirs.” In short, shut the fuck up, mom. I was pissed at that point. I said that I had hoped that bullying was not a factor in a kindergarten class. The Harpy scoffed “of course not.” Will said the other folks at the table got very nervous and uncomfortable, looking at each other. I didn’t notice, as I was staring the bitch down, trying my best to pop the Harpy’s head with the Force. I said the reading material they were sending home was way beneath her level. They belittled her comprehension. Will and I both fought that one. This kid knows what she’s read when she’s into it. She uses syntax to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. She extrapolates meaning from one idea to others. I asked for a new reading screen, given in private to negate distractions. Even with the crappy level they’ve got her on now, she’s reading between mid-first grade and first quarter second grade level. That’s still too low.
So where are we? Absolutely nowhere. There’s going to be some kind of OT screening (again). We might opt for a full-blown special ed evaluation. What they don’t know – and what we have chosen not to advertise – was that Stella’s already been there – done that. “No exceptionalities noted.” Since we had gotten into the gifted program, maybe the gifted program would be a better fit? They teach at the first grade level and the classes are half the size? (I think ultimately they’re going to push us into a gifted program, where we’ll get an IEP, but not one which will help “problems.”)
So yeah. My kid isn’t “special” enough for full-blow special ed. She’s bright enough to be considered gifted, but her behavior is troubling enough that she might flunk kindergarten.
Where in the hell do I go with this? I really need some ideas. I’ve been playing this like a chess game, trying to stay ahead of the enemy, but “check” has been called. Do we shop for another disorder? One that might actually qualify for an IEP? Do I accept that my little girl is going to be defined by a series of fucking dots and/or a label of what’s “wrong” with her?
The icing on the shit cake? After getting my kids fed and bathed, we suited up and went to the park where her dance class is held. Cancelled. “Oh, I thought I had called everyone.” The disappointment on my kid’s face was painful. I wept all the way home. I want to weep now.
My nightcap was a fight with my husband, as it obviously hadn’t been a horrible enough day.
Clarence, I need some help.