Friday, January 30, 2015

Double Standards

Well, it has happened again.  I don't think I can let Elijah ride a school bus again.  At least not this year.  I just don't trust them anymore.

I'm not sure if I blogged about it or not but a few months ago, I went to meet the bus as it was dropping the kids off.  Only Elijah didn't get off the bus.  As any mother would, my heart sank and I began to panic.  Come to find out that his bus was overcrowded and so they asked only the kids that live in our neighborhood to get off of their USUAL bus and get on another.  Well, Elijah didn't hear that announcement.  He's on his normal bus so why would he need to get off?  Anyway, the bus driver immediately knew that I was missing my son so she radioed to the other bus and they brought him home.  It scared him as much as it did me.

Steven and I both called and emailed the transportation department for the school.  I was told an announcement was made on the bus....and that was all.  Even though they know exactly what kids ride which bus and they knew exactly what kids they wanted off and if those kids were at school that day, they didn't have a list that they checked and double checked to make sure each student they needed was off the bus.  And my son fell victim to their lack of preparation.  Even then, my problem was the fact that I have to show my ID and fill out all sorts of forms in order to change the way my son gets home from school.  But all they have to do is send some stranger on a bus to make an announcement and that's enough?

Well, now we've had an issue with the bus in the morning.  For the last 2-3 mornings, Elijah and I have been at the bus stop at the same time he's gotten on the bus for the last 3 or 4 years (same time as my older kids too.)  However, the bus hasn't come.  So I take him back home and drive him to school.  Once I saw his bus along the way and just thought it was running late that day.  Our neighbors weren't at the bus stop, but sometimes their plans change and they don't ride the bus so I thought nothing of it.  Well, this morning the bus didn't show up again and it was cold so Elijah didn't want to wait any longer.  I took him home and grabbed the older boys (we go to Starbucks on Friday morning before school) and headed out.  Lo and behold, we see our neighbors at the bus stop 15 minutes later than when we normally catch the bus.  (I had called her to see if she knew what was going on but didn't get an answer.  I had remembered that her husband said something about her having to get them to the bus stop instead of him so he could get to work on time.  But I didn't understand what he meant at the time.)  I stopped to ask her and she told me of a slip of paper that was supposedly handed out to the kids who ride the bus telling them of the change.  Well, I have never heard of or seen such a slip of paper.  And Elijah claims to not know anything about it.  She continues to say it was given out on Friday afternoon.  Well, Elijah doesn't ride the bus in the afternoon because of the first incident.  I then called the school to find out what was going on.  I was told that the bus drivers were in charge of informing parents/students of the change and that slips were supposed to be handed out on Friday afternoon as well as Monday morning.  Again, as far as I know, Elijah received nothing.

So here's my question.....why is it that I have to fill out all sorts of forms to change my son's transportation but all they have to do is hand out a slip of paper?  Also, I get reminder emails about everything that happens at the school.  Too many in some cases.  Why wasn't an email or some other communication done to make sure parents got the information?  I mean, they don't trust the kids to get on the right bus because they attach a tag to their backpacks that states what bus they ride.  They don't trust them with agendas, reading logs and report cards because I have to sign to ensure that they made it home and I've seen them.  So why wasn't more of an effort made to ensure that parents see something as important as a change in when the bus picks up their kids?

I am just beside myself.  I have sent another email to the transportation department telling them that they need to do a better job relaying information.  In the meantime, I no longer trust putting him on the bus.  I never know when they may just decide to change something and just not tell me.

More and more I wonder if public school is the right place for him.......

Thursday, January 29, 2015


First off, let me start by saying that I am SO PROUD of Zach, my 11 year old 6th grader.  At the beginning of the year, his first year in middle school, he came to us and said he wanted to play the cello in the orchestra.  Reluctantly, we agreed.  (He has wanted to do MANY things over the years that we've paid a lot of money for and he ends up being apathetic about them.  But musical training is supposed to help the brain, so......)  I am constantly reminding him to practice and it frustrates me.  However, Tuesday night he had his very first orchestra concert.  AND HE DID GREAT!  I could tell he was nervous.  (He was taking deep breaths in his chair right before.)  But he did it.  It sounded wonderful!  I am hoping that the feeling of the concert will encourage him to practice more.  But I'm not holding my breath.

Decisions by parents are always necessary for their kids.  Right now Steven and I are faced with a medical decision for Elijah.  I keep going back and forth on what I want to do so I'm going to put it out there to see if writing about it helps and also to see if there are other opinions out there as well.

Elijah has SPD, sensory processing disorder.  He's had OT for that and, though he still has issued with certain things, he is better and continues to learn to cope with various things as he matures.  However, all along I have felt that there was something more going on with him.  I brought it up to his pediatrician many times.  "Does SPD affect maturity, intelligence, brain development, etc?"  I kept getting a "I'm not that familiar with SPD" and "probably not".  So I accepted that and we went on about our business.  This year, Elijah is in 3rd grade and really struggling in school.  He failed reading last semester (can't pass a cold reading test) and is now struggling with math as well.  Through many SST meeting with the school and several evaluations by several teachers and the school psychologist, it has been determined that Elijah is "educationally eligible" for speech, language, and......autism services.

He doesn't have trouble with speech; however, he struggles with expressing himself.  He can't answer "why" questions and has trouble organizing his thoughts and getting them out, either verbally or in writing.  The autism one took me a little by surprise, but I had some inkling.  He has some repetitive behaviors that made me think about it, but it was a fleeting thought.  (He rocks, wrings his hands, shakes out his hands when he get nervous or frustrated.  He also has a clothing rotation, right down to his underwear and pj's.  He wears the same clothes every Monday, Tuesday, etc.  He missed school one Tuesday and stayed in his pajamas.  The next day he went to school wearing Tuesday's clothes and changed to Wednesday's clothes when he got home.)

Anyway, my question is whether or not I should take Elijah to a developmental pediatrician or some other specialist to test him to see if he is, in fact, autistic.  The pediatrician was on the fence.  It might be autism, which there is no real test for, or it might be a learning disability (reading comprehension, etc.)  I would be inclined to agree with the latter if it wasn't for the repetitive behaviors.  So this is my dilemma.

Right now I am inclined to NOT have him tested and just see if what the school does for him, whenever that starts, actually helps him.  His only trouble is in school.  He seems fine in everyday life, with the exception of whenever I ask him a thought provoking question.

Any opinions?
I continue to pray that God would show me how to best parents my kids.  I always feel like I'm not doing so well.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Is it ok to be disappointed in/with your kids?

You want the best for your kids, right?  So what happens when they don't measure up to what you KNOW they can do?  Or if they tell you one thing that they want for themselves but their actions tell a completely different story?

I would ask my parents, if I could, if they ever felt this way.  However, they have been dead for 10-14 years now.  I haven't gotten much parenting help from my own parents.  So, maybe I'm asking anyone who reads this or just to get it out to make myself feel better.  I'm not sure which is my primary motive, but here it goes....

My middle son has inattentive ADD.  Not that big a deal, right?  He started on medication sometime last year and has been doing better ever since.  Last semester, he got all As in gifted and accelerated classes in middle school (a transition I truly thought he would struggle with).  I'm so proud of him!  I wake up this morning and was on the computer just checking on some school things and found out that he currently has 3 Cs in his classes.  He has gotten some bad grades and not turned some things in.  When I confronted him about it, he just says "I don't know".  My struggle is that I know he can do it, but he doesn't seem to want to?  Or doesn't care?  And trying to help him by keeping him on track stresses me out.  As he gets older, I try to take a more "hands off" approach to him, but I have read that the first year of middle school (especially with his challenges) isn't the best time.  So, do I stress myself out and spend my time making sure he is doing what he is supposed to be doing (since I know he can) or do I back off and let him do it on his own?  I told him this morning that I am not the type of mom that will catch him every time he falls.  I will let him fail.  I'm just not sure if this is the time to do that.

My oldest son is a baseball player.  That is what he has wanted to do since he was 2 years old.  He's played rec ball and travel ball for the last 10 years.  Next year he will be going to high school.  He wants to play ball for the school, get a scholarship, play in college and get an MLB contract.  I think that's great and he certainly could if he really worked at it.  That's just the problem.  He doesn't really work at it.  He knows almost everything there is to know about the game.  He goes to practice twice a week.  His coach (currently his father) requires his players to do workouts at home as well.  However, he doesn't want to do that.  He would rather look up sports news on his phone or shoot baskets or read.  How can he claim to be so passionate about something but completely put it off?  It's frustrating to me in a few ways; namely that he thinks things will just happen for him without hard work.  (Less importantly the money that I am putting out for him to play when he isn't putting his best effort into it.)

All that said, I love my kids!  I am super proud of each of them and would do anything for them.  I think that is why all this is so heavy on my heart.  I just want what is best for them.  I want them to have what they want and be happy.  I just can't control that.  I guess that is what is most frustrating to me.

In the meantime, I will continue to love them, continue to guide them, continue to pray for them and hope that they learn the necessary life lessons.  I also pray that I will be a good role model for them and practice what I preach.