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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WHEN DID MY APPLE TURN INTO A TENNIS BALL?

I've had issues with Liam and his teacher this school year. We are in the middle of a long process, having him tested for ADHD. His teacher and I constantly email back and forth about his daily life in 2nd grade. I'm at work in the middle of replying to her last email and I just had to stop. It's not like me to cry at work, (okay, so I did cry at least 4 or 5 times when I was pregnant, but that was just crazy hormones), but my heart is just breaking. There are times that I feel like no one understands Liam the way I do. But there are just as many times that I feel like I don't even understand him sometimes. I just don't know that I am able to have a clear perspective of what reality is anymore when it comes to him. I hurt for him. I'm frustrated because I don't have the ability to gage not the choices he makes, but WHY he makes some of those choices. I sometimes feel that he doesn't have the capacity to stop and think about consequences beforehand or understand the definition of empathy. When it comes to school, I truly feel that he and Mrs. Rockholt started off on a bad note. She has spent the year being frustrated with him which has probably made her less patient. And he has spent the year being frustrated with her, which has caused his grades to suffer, as well as staying in trouble. Before this year, I had a totally different opinion when I would see out of control kids. Its so easy to look at those kids and say their parents must not care or they wouldn't let them act that way. I feel different now. I do care. I just don't have the answers. I have never wanted to let medication be a way out. Behavior modification works well if I have the tools AND stamina to be as consistent as I need to be. But lately, his teacher has made me second guess every single notion I've ever had. I truly believe that you either click with people when you meet them, or you don't. And there is no difference when it comes to being a teacher.
For whatever reason, Liam's 1st grade teacher seemed to "click" with him. Every time I speak about this subject to anyone, I consistently say how I feel that Mrs. Gordin truly loved Liam as a person, which made her more patient with him. Which in turn made him want to learn, want to be good, seek her approval. That doesn't mean he was that way every day. He had his share of bad marks. But it doesn't matter how old you are, we are born with an ability to read how others feel about us, whether we are mature enough to put that "sense" into words or not. Every teacher has a different style which makes me ask the question....Do I spend all my time and effort every single school year, in making sure Liam is paired with a teacher that wants to bond with him, take the time to understand his learning style, wants to help him achieve the best year possible? Or is it our responsibility as his parents to train him to adapt and overcome even the most difficult of situations? Isn't that what is going to help him in adulthood? I feel so very frustrated because I'm not in that classroom everyday. I can't tell whose side is the right story of every situation. There was a day when I received an email that conjured feelings just like the one from today did. I was upset, sad, confused, mad all in one instant. Mrs. Rockholt wrote with such urgency like she was at her wits end, not knowing what to do next. She even anticipated his bad behavior before it even happened!!! That was the day my heart sank. I walked away from my desk to go have a private minute of thought and concluded that she had written him off. But with the air of so much urgency and frenzy of the immediate situation, when Liam walked in the door from school, he was truly sincerely oblivious. He went from "E" to "G" that day and didn't walk through the door with the dreaded long face that always lets me know he is aware of his bad day. So who's point of view do I go with? I want so bad to not be THAT MOM. The mom that thinks her kid does NO wrong. Or the mom that completely trusts every word of the teacher because after all, the teacher is a grown up and why would she have any malicious intent that stems from lack of patience or tiredness from constantly dealing with THAT ONE DIFFICULT CHILD?

I'm just spent. I don't know where to go from here. There is a huge part of me that is relying so heavily on this next doctor's appt. She scheduled Liam for an EEG to make sure his brain waves were okay and there were no small seizures happening. I don't believe that is the case, but she reasons this because when she was testing him, she told me she noticed he had a lot of difficulty processing information. He would add instead of subtract. She had to repeat her questions over and over while he looked up at the ceiling counting the imaginary numbers up there, all the while trying to understand her question. IF this is true and IF what Liam says is true about getting in trouble on a daily basis for raising his hand while she is going over work, or talking out to tell her she is going to fast, then what would the right answer be? Would the answer be that sometimes extra time would need to be spent with him one on one to make sure he understood? OR would the answer be that he needs to learn to hold his questions until a more appropriate time? Because IF he does have a problem with processing, then wouldn't it make sense that he would have a problem with being able to even remember the question for later? And wouldn't it make sense that his fidgeting, hand raising, talking could all be misconstrued as blatant disobedience IF your patience has long since been lost??? Now wait. I must stop myself there. I am fully aware there are plenty of times Liam is outright disobedient. He has to be told things over and over sometimes. He takes pride in making people laugh whether from innocence or malice intent. But what 7 year old doesn't? What 7 year old loves doing homework? I only know my 7 year old. AND I've only had experience with one other 7 year old who happens to be polar opposite her brother. She has empathy oozing from her ears. She's in Apex. She's never had a problem sitting still and she proves that all the time when she tries to slip under the radar and hide in my room to watch t.v. for hours instead of playing outside (because I have never and probably will never allow televisions in their bedrooms). And I feel like I have to say that as a parent, I try extremely hard not to compare. If anything, while I'm not asking Liam why he can't be like his sister, I'm also not rewarding Talia enough for just being herself. School conduct is a consistent topic in our house. Everyday the first words out of Liam's mouth are what he "stayed on". Poor Talia is never asked or rewarded for staying on "E" every day of her 5 year school career. In fact, she had to move to "G" one time in her life, and she beat herself up way more than I EVER could or would. She cried!!! So on a whole other topic, I have guilt at not remembering to praise or reward Talia enough because I'm so consumed with worrying how Liam's day went. So consumed with struggling over his homework everyday that I forget to visibly go over hers because I know she's done it.

I think it all boils down to fears and expectations I have for other people. I want so badly for everyone that meets Liam to feel the way I feel about him. But so many people don't know how to take him. He is tiring to say the least. People can take him in small doses which causes them to automatically invite Talia places instead of him. I know if it hurts my feelings as bad as it does, I can only imagine what he feels. I'm worried that right now two of the most important people in his little world have given up on him before giving him a chance. First impressions can sometimes never leave and tend to form foundational opinions that are very hard to break through. In the same hand, my expectations for both of these people, his step-dad and his teacher are extremely high because they help form who Liam is and who he will become as an adult. If he only has me to build him up or his dad who is of the opinion that Liam does nothing wrong and he's just being a kid, then Liam is in trouble. He will become a lazy sissy mama's boy. Don't laugh.....I'm serious. :)

My point in this is that so many people have a hand in forming, teaching, nurturing Liam. I have to be able to keep a perspective that not everyone will do the above (forming, teaching, nurturing) just like I do, nor do I want them to. But as his mom, who loves him more than I can ever put into words, I worry about him. I want his possibilities to be limitless and his opportunities abundant. But neither of those will be flourished to capacity if Liam continues to be misunderstood. I beg anyone who reads this and knows Liam, to please give me an outside view. Even if, no especially if, it is painful to hear. I'm 100% sure my views are my own and what you see is different than mine.

3 comments:

McAngie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, I'm not too far away from you I think! But anywhos, I totally understand the frustration with the kids/school system. I've been there more times than I can count. My now 15 year old was diagnosed with ADHD in Kindergarten, thankfully he has grown out of it, I never thought that would happen. And my 10 year old daughter has severe learning disabilities which hinder her everyday life at school. She still can't read very well and hardly write.

Hope the best for you!

Anonymous said...

Stop being his friend and be his mother. Then he will learn to respect.

Melissa said...

I am so glad I found your blog again girl. I love reading what you write. I am sorry Liam is being difficult and I know that it is hard on you but he is a sweet kid. He has always been very nice and polite when he has been over at my house. I don't know exactly what to say to make you feel better but just know that I know you are a very good mom. Luz ya. Melissa