Saturday, November 27, 2010

My son's Conference....

Ok. Let me first start out. My son is curious.  I mean REALLY curious.  He lies awake at night thinking of things. How do I know this? Because he will come downstairs at 9pm asking me questions he's thought about in the past hour he's supposed to be sleeping. Sometimes as soon as I wake up he has a question for me.  Most of the times it's cute...sometimes it's not.  I love his curiosity and the fact he is sooo eager to learn.  Unfortunately his knowledge and curiosity spill over into school.  Sometimes that is not such a good thing.

Last year we had "issues" with him being "impulsive" and "high active" and "lots of energy". His K teacher we kept in close contact with, since he had trouble waiting.  She assured us it should get better when he hit 1st grade.  It did...sort of. Now he has trouble keeping his thoughts and ideas and information to himself. What can I say? He likes to share!  We had an early in the year conference with his teacher on why he kept getting lower colors.  He has trouble raising his hand and calling out. She kept telling us he is a bright kid, a great kid, so much information in his head he likes to share. BUT he also likes to be first, the best, answer all the time etc.  We gave him a notepad (why does that work at school but not at home) so he could write out his thoughts instead of interrupting (and sneakily getting him to work on handwriting).  So now instead of interrupting class (he went 3 whole days raising his hand! YEAH!) he is using his stubbornness to say "no" and "I don't want to". Other than that he is extremely intelligent like his younger sister and loves to learn...just only wants to learn things HE wants to and not necessarily things that are on the agenda.

He is asking me about negative numbers and how multiplication and division works.  He uses big words but has no focus in his writing. He loves to read to younger kids so we are going to try a mentoring thing for him and a kid in K.  The thing I thought was funny about both the kids teachers is that they both said sometimes when I am talking to them I forget that I am not talking to my best friend.  That is what makes a mother proud...2 mature, intelligent kids ready to take on the world.  :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Daughters Conference Rant....

Well it's that time of year again...Parent/Teacher Conferences. I went alone this year and had to tackle 2 of them with the kids in tow. They did great. Liberty's was first. I had a nice written out list this year and somewhere between getting out of the car and arriving at the classroom it disappeared. So I frantically tried to remember what I wanted to ask without looking like an idiot. After getting both kids settled in (Buddy on the DS and Liberty on the computer doing Kid Pix) I sat with her teacher in those oh so comfortable tiny chairs. Thankfully I have been in constant contact (yes I am one of those moms) with her teacher since she started school at a high 2nd grade reading level. Yes she's in Kindergarten.

It was a bit of a struggle since most schools focus on the below level kids and tend to shy away from those above level ones. I will admit I am not one to fight or call attention to myself. But I had visions of my daughter getting bored and chatting away at whoever was the closest and getting in trouble. So I talked to her teacher on Sneak a Peak day. My son was in K last year so most of the teachers had an idea who I was (not to mention my son is very outgoing and mischievous lol). I informed her of her reading level but preceded it with a "I am sure you hear this all the time but..." Then I had to keep pushing and prodding to get her the help she needed. You may not think a "gifted" child would have the same struggles as other special needs but they do. And it's harder because there aren't alot of education "rules" involving above level children. In most States they aren't afforded the IEP or things like that. Parents have to fight to get their kids the education they need. Now after saying that I am glad we are at the school we are as her teacher was more than happy to help out. Now after that last statement I have run into problems.

She is seeing a "Talent Development Teacher" (back in my day it was gifted and talented) 3 times a week with 4 other K's. I am happy. Not happy we get no real progress report on what she is doing other than asking or seeing what she brings home. Her K teacher told me we are "lucky" she is able to see her this year as normally they don't see Ks...that's the statement that bothers me. So if my child was struggling would they say "oh sorry we don't have anyone to help your child so tough luck...." OF COURSE NOT! The education system is all about helping those who struggle but what about those who excel?? What happens to them? Unless a parent makes a stink absolutely nothing.

On to the "Reading Specialist" who I tried to contact and after she finally got back to me she was very abrupt and acted like she was doing me a favor. I asked about an IEP and was told there is none for gifted students. I asked about a written plan and was told there is none but somehow off the top of her head she could list everything my daughter does and then has the ovaries (she's a woman so can't say balls lol) to tell me that there is a "smarter student" than mine in K. So freaking what. I don't care about the other kids. I care about mine and that she is getting the help SHE needs. Then she pretty much tells me that she really doesn't deal with the Ks since she's the PRIMARY grade reading specialist AND she deals with those who are struggling anyway. Not a nice lady although everyone at school loves her. She definitely rubs me the wrong way.

So back to the conference with her teacher. Basically she can't be taught anymore on the reading end (totally understand since she reads long chapter books and understands what is going on). Her sentences are extremely complex but her writing needs work (must get it from me as mine is atrocious) so her teacher and I brainstormed about things she likes to read and what she has in mind for her and what I think would help. So we are going for mini book reports (just the basics to get her handwriting better) and delving into deeper comprehension. She will also be seeing the teacher individually 30 min every other day for the literacy center time. And her teacher will be taking her to the reading teachers special "book area" and the library to talk about books and different aspects of them. Also poems will be a big one and working on her reading quizzes that she gets charms for. The goal is to get her into the 3rd grade reading level by the end of the year and being able to express herself better in writing. So we will see how this turns out in the end but I will keep on pushing and asking as I have to. For my daughter...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So I have dysthymia....

Kind of a hard thing to admit and private too. I've had it for years. What is it? Is it contagious? You may be asking yourself these questions. Basically it's chronic depression. Or functioning depression is better. You know how you are sad some days and others you are not? Well I feel sad or "down" ALL the time. Don't get me wrong. I do get happy and laugh. I love my kids and my husband. It's NOT manic or severe depression which is the most common. You just feel a little sad. Alot. And it sucks. No one knows you are sad either unless they really know you. Most people with dysthymia you can't tell at all. We look fine on the outside but on the inside you are crying.

I believe I've had it since I was a child. I just didn't know it and back then seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist was "not cool" and taboo. I do have some severe episodes where it's hard to get out of bed or do things but I do it. It's what people with dysthymia do. My husband knows when I am feeling like that and makes sure I am doing ok. Sometimes I just get tears in my eyes. I try to not let the kids see me that way as it's hard to explain since they are little. I will explain to them when they get older so they know the symptoms and signs to watch for. I was on medication way back in the day. Almost 12 years ago I was so severely depressed I tried to take my own life. I know stupid but when you are in the zone, in that hole where everything looks black it's hard to not listen to those voices that tell you no one will care or notice you are gone. I was briefly in a mental hospital on suicide watch (not a fun thing to be woken up every hour and sleep with the door open all night). I was also on meds...Prozac at first since it was the popular drug of choice at the time but I just felt...NOTHING I mean not happy or sad or anything so I stopped taking that. Then I was on some really long named drug for my dysthymia and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and that made me sick to my stomach so I stopped that. I have done therapy but in the beginning it wasn't helpful. I wasn't in the right frame of mind for it and I didn't have the right person to help me. I will say I have not had a suicidal thought since that day almost 12 years ago. I am just hoping my kids don't inherit it.