Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"Jaymes lost sticker... AHHHHRRRRGGGGHHHH"

So, Jaymes has been doing really well lately. Still lots of yelling and angry sounds and some minor hitting with a newfound interest in pinching (especially mommy's chest, go figure), but really it could be worse so I'm happy. I took him to our first school "fun type" activity last week- the Fall Festival. Normally I don't bring Jaymes to school events, because they're really focused toward the regular ed students. I did not see any of the EC kids we know at the event, actually. I've always been reluctant to do these events because of Jaymes' behavior, and the fact that I am not exactly in the same crowd as these perfectly dressed PTA moms who spend hours each week volunteering and selling cookie dough and all those things that I either have no time, or talent for. But, this time I decided to brave it, and it was actually a lot of fun.

The school pulled off a fantastic Fall Festival. The only thing that cost money was the pizza, doughnuts from Krispy Kreme, and drinks. And really, those were so cheap they almost don't count. Very tasty pizza from CiCi's Pizza in Kernersville. Yum. Anyway, there were games, a huge bouncy slide, a cake walk, and a pirate with a real parrot, who made all kinds of cool balloon things. The games all had prizes (candy and little stuff like stamps, mostly), and even if the kids failed to win, they still got a prize. The staff all know Jaymes too, so it was ok that he didn't quite "get" the idea of the games. The kids LOVED the bouncy slide, Jaymes giggled all the way down. I love seeing him having so much fun and being so happy.

The cake walk was neat too. I've never seen a school do one that you did not have to pay for, and that was awesome! They had like 18-20 people at once, with numbers on the floor. You'd walk around until the music stop, then they'd draw a number and whoever was standing on that number got to go choose. Then, everyone else got back in line and tried until they won- then they couldn't win again. Great way to do this! Sierra and Jason won first, they got the pineapple upside down cake I'd been coveting in the office earlier when it was brought it (yay!), and Jaymes won awhile later and got a huge platter of cupcakes. He was pleased. I gave him one (cheating on the diet, but he wanted it so badly and we've been so strict with the stupid diet), and he about inhaled it. The timing for his win was good, he'd done it happily several times, but by that time he was getting upset and starting to yell about cupcakes. He probably would not have been able to handle another round!

The pirate guy was pretty cool. He had a peg leg (hubby swears it's a real one, I say it's a fake, but whatever!) and a blue and gold parrot. Beautiful. It was making lots of irritated gestures at the kids, which amused me tremendously. Pirate made a ton of stuff, things you would not think could be done in balloons. He did hats, swords, flowers, a working bow and arrow, helicopters, poodles, etc. VERY neat. Sierra got a purple and pink flower and Jaymes got a red and blue hat. Both were thrilled with their stuff.

So taking Jaymes to that event was a real success, and we didn't get that many strange looks. Oh, and the principal was dressed up as Spider Girl (Spider Woman? Spider Principal?), which was pretty funny. Good for her for dressing up for the kids. I like her a lot, she's really a great principal.

Now, on to the story behind the title of this post... Jaymes' teacher recently started doing this sticker system with his class. They write down all the "subjects" like circle, specials, lunch, dismissal etc. Beside each thing is a spot for the sticker. If the kids do good, they get a sticker, and if not they write why the kid did not get a sticker. This seemed like a really good idea, and we were thinking of implementing it at home. However, it has begun to cause problems. Several times in the couple weeks she's been doing this, Jaymes has lost stickers. At first it was no big deal, he'd come home and tell me he lost a sticker, no real upset at that point. But the last two times he's lost a sticker, he comes home hysterical. Yesterday he was so upset he scratched his face bloody. He just kept shrieking "lost sticker! Jaymes bad choices!"

And what did he lose his sticker for? Talking "too much" at lunch time. I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous. I understand that they want the kids to eat rather than chat, but what school doesn't allow talking at lunch? When do they get a break? When can Jaymes relax? Lunch time is supposed to be a break, to eat and to mentally recharge. Lord knows we did enough talking as kids at lunch time. Jaymes likes to chatter to himself while he eats. It's just what he does, and I think it's soothing to himself, and it doesn't interfere with his eating. If he is going to eat, he'll do it regardless of whether he is quiet or not. Same goes for if he is not going to eat. In my opinion, demanding silence during lunch is ridiculous for ANY child, but for a child like Jaymes, it's really just excessive. Why take a sticker from him for TALKING? Why set him up for failure each day this way?

I am not used to this stuff. In the three years Jaymes has been in school, mostly at Cash, his teachers have never complained about him. It's mostly been me asking if they see behaviors at school like what we see at home. But this year, his teacher has something to complain about or to take stickers from him over, multiple times a week. Including sending notes home about his misbehaving in the regular ed kindergarten class, even though other school staff say he's doing great. It makes me wonder if she is looking for reasons to penalize him. It's very disappointing.

The sticker thing is an issue though. I'm ok with him losing stickers for legitimate reasons, as has been the case. He needs to abide by the rules, and sit in circle time quietly...etc. Personally, I won't ever try to stop Jaymes talking though, getting words out of him is a big deal at home and we don't discourage it. I miss whn he spoke clearly, but he's getting better and better again, and I'm not going to be the one to make that into a problem. Yes, he needs to be quiet when he's learning, but at lunch... I call BS there.

He came home yesterday hysterical and screaming and crying. Hitting himself in the face, scratching, and pulling his hair. Wailing about his sticker. That's not ok, and it made for a long afternoon of VERY upset Jaymes. All over talking at lunch. His little face is covered in claw marks from his fingernails. All over talking at lunch. Bullshit.

The IEP meeting scheduking craziness continues, too. Originally, I'd agreed to a date and time, but the teacher changed it. Well, she changed it to a time I could not do. So I said I'd organize up dates and send in what I could do. So yesterday I get a note that she's made it for the 27th, at 3pm. Two problems. One, I have an appointment in Winston that day at 3:20. Two, I have told her again and again, I cannot do 3pm meetings. If it's going to be a late afternoon meeting, it has to be after 3:30, so I can get Jaymes off the bus, and the staff involved need to realize that the meeting ends when it ends- not in an hour. If it ends in an hour, that's great, but it's never happened and I won't be cut short halfway through. I also cannot have both kids at an IEP meeting. Too much chaos, and i'd never be able to focus on the meeting. I've made this clear.

LAst year's appointments were always morning, and it worked well. This year, I've gotten several lectures on how unfair it is to ask the teachers to come out of class for these meetings. It's also unfair to expect them to stay after school. So, my question is, does this mean that we can neither have meetings during OR after school, because it isn't fair to the teachers? They're getting paid to do their jobs. IEP meetings are part of their jobs. And it isn't my problem- the school needs to deal with that. I consider my son's needs, not whether it's convenient for the teachers to have to step out for a meeting. I understand what she's saying, but in the last 2 years, this had never been an issue. Why now, this year, is it not ok to do morning meetings when last year, that's all we did? At what point does "mutually agreed upon time and place" become school designated?

Anyway, I sent in notes about the talking at lunch (yes, I was a bitch about it, I'm not going to lie) and about not being able to make that IEP meeting, or any that needs to be done at 3pm. Not sure where it goes now, we'll see I guess. I'm waiting on Doreen, our ECAC parent educator of AWESOME to give me some advice on this stuff. I was so hoping for an easy, good year. Was hoping he'd have Mrs. Colditz again, she is a great teacher. That and she doesn't talk to me like I'm a child. I guess it was stupid to expect the same people as last year... But I kind of did.

Hopefully this stuff will sort itself out, and if not, I will sort it out myself. But I'd love to do it in a non-confrontational manner if at all possible.

We shall see.


Bobbi said...

Wtg at the carnival. We love those! As for the sticker thing, that make me so sad. Poor little guy doing his best and then he gets in trouble for talking at lunch. What is wrong with that teacher. I'm so glad you sent in a note. It hits home with me because I can totally see Parker in that situation. Parker got in trouble at school the other day for pretending to smoke a woodchip. I think the real reason was that he wouldn't stop when the teacher told him to but still, how silly. Let us know what she says back to you and how the IEP goes when you have it. Hugs

Amber DBTD said...

Oh it gets better, just wait till I get the update on the situation posted tonight.