Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sign Them Papers

Today has been a really, really hard day.

I don't know exactly how this post is going to go, but I can pretty much guarantee it's not going to be sunshine and roses, so if you don't want to read about my struggles, feel free to move on to something else. There is a long list of very good blogs in my sidebar that I am sure will be enjoyable. Maybe next week I will have something better to talk about.

So, today was kindergarten registration.

If you have been reading my blog for any amount of time, or if you listen to the podcast or know me in real life, you know I have been dreading this.

It sucks.

Can I just say that again? It sucks.

And I am trying to keep a smile on my face, I am trying to not let my kids see what a torture this is to me. Because it is a torture. And I am not going to apologize for that. This is not what I ever wanted for Kiddo; not what I want for him at all and yet I am completely powerless to prevent it. And the thought of him going to public school every day makes me sick to my stomach. I have had a headache and heartburn for days now. Part of it is allergies, yes, but I know a lot of it is not.

I have been having the weirdest dreams. Dreams of me being back in college, back in that ridiculously tense choir room. I am there with every musician that passed through the doors in the almost 8 years I was there, and we are all vying for our rightful spot in the choir hierarchy.

Yes, there was a hierarchy. Yes, there was tension. Don't let our melodious harmonies and perfectly synchronized group sway fool you.

And in every single dream I am the outsider. I have no assigned seat, there is no room in the soprano section for me and I can't find my music folder.

I guess the dream is the equivalent to the showing up on test day without a scantron, or worse, your pants.

I am grinding my teeth in my sleep; something I only do when I am deeply stressed about something.

And today I thought I could be ok with all of this. I can talk about it and tell myself the good things about him going to school; I can reason with myself that my fears and hang ups are not as big and important as him getting out into a group setting and being around other kids. I know he needs peer interaction. I know he needs time away from me. I know I need time away from him.

If the last two weeks have been any indication, we both need a break.

But even though I can rationalize and find favor in him going to school, deep down, I know it is most definitely not what I want.

So we go today, and I try not to make a big deal about it, because I know that while he is very excited about it all, he is definitely nervous too. I do believe that a lot of his excessive whining and weirdness in the past two weeks has been partly due to knowing we were doing this today. I prepped him as we pulled into the parking lot, and asked him to please not interrupt when I was talking to the adults and to please try to not ask random strangers too many questions. (he has a bad habit of doing that) He did really well, except for when he cornered some poor mom and her 3 kids while he chatted them up and asked for all their names and birthdays.


At least she was nice, and her oldest was starting kindergarten this fall too and so she made sure he properly introduced himself. And she didn't even stumble when Kiddo asked her for her birth date.


We made it through the paper work and I was able to ask the nurse about Kiddo's need to carry an epi pen. She had to give me a stack of paperwork for that, and I have to have physician's signatures on a bunch of it. So I guess I need to schedule an appointment with the allergist. I am supposed to bring the paperwork back to the school the week before classes start and go over everything with the nurse then. She said that they also do an orientation on the first day of classes that informs the kids that they have a classmate with an allergy and the things they can and can't do. I was kind of disappointed that she didn't say that the school or certain classes might be peanut free, but I guess that is really too much to ask. Though, she did say they had several students with peanut allergies.

I am concerned that the paperwork she gave me was for "self carry and administration" of meds. I certainly prefer him to carry them on his person at all times, but he is by no means able to self administer them. Shoot, I am not real sure an adult could self administer if in that situation. I guess it's another question I am going to have to ask. There are so many.

The whole situation was surreal; nothing really out of the ordinary happened. I didn't necessarily have a bad feeling about the place, but I didn't get a good one either. I didn't have the right document showing his vaccination history but the nurse was able to look him up on some state registry. The woman who was checking everyone in and giving out all the paperwork looked tired and stressed. She wasn't rude by any means, just not very friendly or welcoming. She made me feel like she didn't want to be there. Maybe she didn't. I did find it strange that while she smiled at everyone else, she never smiled at me. Also, she gave a book to every child that came through to register, except for us.

We made it through and left the building. I had to promise Kiddo we'd be back in August to meet his teacher and see his room before school officially started. He wanted to see everything today, but of course that was not possible. We got out to the van, I got everyone in their seats, put the van in reverse, and burst into tears. It totally snuck up on me.

I took a deep breath and backed out, and suddenly Port was asking for a hot dog. It was a very unusual request for being in the van - he knows that snacks in the car usually consist of gold fish crackers and the occasional baggie or cheerios. His request got more and more, um, enthusiastic, and since we were actually headed to HEB I decided a detour to Sonic (and a huge Dr. Pepper to choke down the tears) was in order. We enjoyed some snacks in the car and all felt better in time for the grocery store trip.

When we got home I commented on facebook about the experience and how I felt like I was going at the whole thing blindly. I hadn't been able to find any information on the teachers at the school, nor did I know anyone who had a child in the kinder program there. After chatting with a couple of people, I was able to find more info on the teachers. An old high school friend told me a few of her friends liked 2 of the teachers in particular, but that was all I really had to go on. I realized that most people request the teacher(s) they want, and she convinced me it would probably be in Kiddo's best interest to do the same.

Since I was going on very little information, I decided that three of the teachers would probably be a better choice than the other 2 available, and so when Port woke up from his nap we went back up to the school to fill out the request form. The same woman was doing the check ins, and she still looked tired and unhappy. The nurse actually got me the form I needed and left the boys and I in the front office to fill it out.

There was a section on the form that you have to fill out where you write a few sentences about the "special needs" of your child and why you think the teachers you were requesting would be a better fit. I could not think of anything worth while to say, so I just put some nonsense on there about Kiddo being easily distracted and asking a lot of questions (I mean, surely that is well within the broad range of "normal" for a 5 year old, right?) and that he needed someone who was understanding of that and encouraging of his inquisitive nature, and also someone who would be comfortable administering life saving medication. I don't know if any of the teachers I requested fit that bill, but that was all I could think of.

What I should have put there was this: I am too distracted by the 2 year old who is trying to destroy your office and my school aged child really has no "special needs" to speak of. However, I am yet another psychotic mommy who is stressed out and feeling inadequate and only wants the best possible experience for her child, and who was told by other caring moms that these three teachers are ok while the other two suck. Please help me feel like I am advocating for my child in some small way by making me feel like I had some control in this personally awful situation. Thankyouverymuch.

If only we could be so honest.

So, we will see how this all pans out. I have been a mess all day; crying at the drop of a hat and very sentimental toward my boys. Kiddo got a lot of cuddles and kisses during Port's nap time. I think he needed it almost as much as I did.

The next few months are going to age me 10 years. I already feel an ulcer and the gray hair coming on.



Jamielouwho said...

Oh Dawn, I so remember being in your shoes. In fact, I'm sure I have a post on my blog that resembles this post very much. I actually went to registration in tears. Not because of typical "my kids growing up" feelings, but more than likely for some of the same reasons as you. I don't know how else to comfort you, other than to say that although this feels like a mountain you don't want to climb, you will climb it. And it will get easier. I still struggle with my decision to put Alex in public school, but for the most part, it has been a very good experience and I am glad I did it. Hang in there Dawn. This momma knows how much pain you're in right now.

Vick said...

Dawn, I'm terrified about Kindy for Bean, too.


Jamielouwho said...

Dawn, I just found this old post from my blog. Instead of sharing my fears, I'll share how it turned out. Here's the post from Alex's LAST day of Kinder.

J. Nalley said...

Saying a prayer for you! PS I am the crazy mom who requested a teacher and filled out "special needs" too even though I am sure she's "normal". I did request her teacher and have had such a GREAT year. I just got a call from JM's teacher to help me think about 1st grade teachers!!! :-) Anxiety is setting in again, but this time I am a little more relaxed! Best wishes in finding the perfect fit and a teacher who is going to take the allergy seriously as well.

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