Monday, September 28, 2009

Kindergarten Progress

There is something about being the mom to a special needs kid that, I suppose, causes to me to feel like I have "something to prove". In my efforts to prove whatever it is in my mind that I think I need to display, I think that I often put too much pressure on my sweet Beast. I want so desperately for him to have a typical life and fit in like all the other kids that I forget that it's just not possible for him to have a typical life. Why? Well, because there is absolutely nothing "typical" about him at all. On the contrary, he is absolutely extraordinary. Everything he says, does, feels, experiences, creates, even breathes is extraordinary. How could I, a loving mother, ask my child to reduce himself to "typical"?

That's precisely what I was doing. Each day, he comes home with his little calendar. If the square for that day is colored, it indicates that he did something out of line or inappropriate in class. I was okay with him coming home on the green. That meant he took one misstep. That's not so bad. Then comes yellow, then orange. After that, the dreaded RED square on the calendar. It doesn't get worse than red. Well, maybe it does. White and black prison stripes might be worse. Maybe.

Anyway, I was having little heart attacks as each day went by and his chart started looking more and more like he'd tasted the skittles rainbow or something. Not good. I was bracing myself and remembering to breathe deeply each day. And, really, I was doing it very well. Then he came home on the red. THE RED!!! I fully expected an officer to arrive at the door to issue a warrant for his arrest.

I was taking away all of his privileges when he came home with these marks. It didn't seem to bother him much. This kid could find fun alone on an island. He'd just make friends with the crabs and giant squid. I tried a little bit of everything. Nothing worked to motivate him to just stay on the white. I begged, I pleaded, I bribed. Finally, I sent a message to his teacher expressing heartfelt apologies for his behavior and asking what, if anything, I could do to help him make better choices. Her response? "Chat with me after school." Ok. I could do that.

I went in armed with ideas to help make it better. I was fully prepared to invoke an ARD meeting if I had to. Being the amazing teacher that she is, she reminded me through her actions why I hand-selected her for him years ago. "Aimee, he's doing so much better. I know he still needs to work on compliance. But look at how well he's taking his consequences in class. He doesn't really need a punishment at home. He's already had it at school. And he's LEARNING from it all." WHAT?!?!!? All my worry, my sleepless nights, to prove that he was okay was for naught??? You mean to tell me his teacher already knew? She already knew how to work with him? How to bring out the best in him? She knew he was teachable? And lovable? Special? It was as if a million pounds had been lifted effortlessly from my shoulders.

So, I don't know that it's the Beast who is growing and maturing in kindergarten. And, I really don't think it's his teacher he needs to grow in her ability to work with my special needs kid. The truth is that the only thing special about the Beast is everything. He is special, and extraordinary. I am the one with needs. As we've moved through these first weeks of Kindergarten, I'm the one who is doing the growing. I'm the one who is learning to work with, love, accept, and embrace him for the extraodinary person that he is.

I can't complain much. I'm just greatful for so much kindergarten progress...on my part.

No comments:

Post a Comment