Friday, May 28, 2010
The Cha Cha Parade
Yesterday was Field Day for the Kindergartens. Next year - just cover me with honey, sit me on an ant hill and release the bears. The good news was that Jim took off so we could double-team Andrew. The bad news is that now whenever someone mentions the words "field" and "day" in the same phrase I go into a full body dry heave (ala Elaine).
After the longest two hours of my entire life, Jim went home with Andrew to wash away the day's dirt and I went to the church to register Andrew for religious ed classes to start in September. We didn't eat lunch (Jim & I) so Jim graciously took us out to Fridays for dinner. The Southern State was backed up at 4 p.m. (no we're not ready for the early bird special - we were hungry) and it took us a while to get there. Andrew got frustrated with the stop and go traffic and shouted out "enough with the cha cha parade." I knew what he meant but I asked him - "What do you mean?" He said, "Go Go Stop Stop Stop Go Go Stop Stop Stop" in perfect cha cha rhythm.
I asked him if he had heard that phrase before he said, "NO! It just seems like a cha cha." This kid while turning every hair on my head gray is stunningly smart and witty. He also has a mean right hook. We got to Fridays by 4:45 and on par with the day - my favorite Thai chicken wrap is no longer available. Honey....anyone...honey?
It has been a rough week for me. Andrew cannot be on the playground after school for more than five minutes without becoming very aggressive, angry, picking up mulch to use as a projectile, threatening a child or crying. If he doesn't do this - he is wandering in a corner by himself. I have to say honestly the kids are already clicky. They have their play buddies and there is not room for Andrew - they tell him - "you can't come up here" (the playset) etc. That sets him off but in total honestly - sometimes he doesn't even need that to start the fire.
We can't go to a birthday party, have people over, go to church, basically do anything that involves human interaction without him behaving this way.
I have witnessed and my friends have witnessed Andrew's like behavior in the classroom and at school events. I have driven by at recess time and there are 24 to 48 kids outside with one to two aides watching them. You cannot tell me that he is being watched 100 percent of the time - which leads me to my point...yes I do have a point...
His team at school says that he doesn't show any of these behaviors at school. Yes, he gets frustrated and angry, he flaps, he pouts - but he doesn't have meltdowns or show aggression. Yesterday at field day (twitching starts) he had at least four explosive incidents. I don't buy it. While his team is great, they can't see every behavior of every child especially when a few of the typical kids should be evaluated for behavioral problems. The kids names being called out the most yesterday to behave were not the special needs kids.
I am pushing for a behavioral consultant. They are going to watch him more closely and see if they agree. The school psychologist was outside for ten minutes at the first event of field day (twitch) - during which Andrew had no issues. It was right after that when we started to slip down that slope.
When I brought up these issues, I was told that maybe he shouldn't be expected to go on the playground right after school. Do they truly believe I want to endure that torture? He cries to go. After three years of therapy, isn't it believable to think that he could survive five minutes before hell ensues. It was suggested that I should leave on a positive note before he gets upset - so that would mean going through the gate and turning right back around. I'm not exaggerating.
I'm not criticizing the school or what they believe they see. They don't live this. They don't cry because their child is angry or sad or lonely. They don't have a clue what it is to be so physically and emotionally exhausted that part of you just doesn't care if you wake up or get out of bed. I love my child more than anything - but when he goes to bed for the evening - I feel such an immense sense of relief sometimes that guilt consumes me and I cry again.
Update: I happen to drive by the school this morning on the way to the grocery. The two kindergarten classes were outside for gym so I slowed down. Andrew running after a group of kids with the soccer ball and I must admit - not being aggressive. I sat there for five minutes. For five minutes each aide and one of the gym teachers watching a typical child hula hoop with their backs turned to my child and his group. The other gym teacher and inclusion aide on the other side of the playground. So if my child was acting out or falling apart - would they notice it - I think not - not unless they have eyes in the back of their heads. Don't get me wrong - they work hard - they take care of our kids - but they cannot see everything.