Tuesdays With Tyler: You’re in the Army Now

(On my husbands laptop, again.  You know, the one where his possessive/quote key doesnt work?  Sigh.  I am hoping this is no big deal but it seems that MY computer will not take a charge.  I am trying not to think about it but…ahhhh…not again, this will be like the third problem in three months if this is a major thing!  Maybe I should move into the Mall that has the Apple Store.  Theyve got a food court so I can eat, Starbucks so I can drink, one of the best Disney Stores in the country, and a Sleep Number bed store so I can rest comfortably ever night. Hmmm.  Anyway, this disclaimer is to state that I do not have a serious grammar/editing problem.  It is not me, it is just my husbands computer which does not want to render its possessive/quote key workable in certain applications, like Word Press, lucky for me.)

This summer, you may remember, after Tylers preschool graduation, we decided to take him out of the school and enroll him in some of the summer camps offered to us by our school district.

The first camp was called Kinder Fun but it was more like You know how you were coddled every day of your life in daycare?  Them days are over, kid.  You are in kindergarten now, you are in public school and its time to kiss your pansy, fancy, sweet private school goodbye.

Tyler: An Innocent, Unsuspecting Kindergartner

The first day of camp was in June, the Monday after graduation.  In traditional daycare fashion, I stuffed a change of clothes, sunblock, hand sanitizer and some other stuff I cant remember now, along with the required snack and water in the backpack.  Yes, I know camp was only three hours a day, but you never know; my kid, especially in a new surrounding, may forget where the bathroom is, as would many, am I right?

On the first day I was allowed to set him up in his very own cubby.  Tyler was perfectly happy so I beat it out of there quick.  On the second day, I was not even allowed to come into the room!

Weve got him now, Mrs. Cullen, hell be okay, he knows where his cubby is.  Well see you later.

When I picked him up on the second day they had formed a sort of roll call.  The moms or other caregivers had to line up at exactly 12:00 and two by two they called the kids.  Olivia? Tyler?  Come and get your stuff, your moms are here to pick you up.

I looked in and saw all the children seated in a square, sitting as perfectly still as Stepford children. How did they do that?  Tyler went to his cubby and gamely tried to walk with his stuffed backpack. As he started to fall over, I rushed to help him, and his teacher, whom I will now refer to as Mrs. Drillsergeant, said to me Thats okay, Mama, he can do it himself, he has to learn to be independent from you.

Excuse me, maam, I said.  But my son CANNOT carry his backpack, it is too heavy, he needs some help.  

Mrs. Drillsergeant looked at Tyler teetering and grabbed his backpack for him and handed it to me.  I told her I would try to thin out the backpack as much as possible so that he would be able to carry it on his own.

The rest of the two weeks was uneventful.  Tyler studied the Everything You Never Needed to Know About a Bug and Will Never Use the Rest of Your Life unit.

Mommy!  Did you know that bugs have a Thorax and an Abdomen?

No honey, Mommy did not know that!  That is so cool!

In fact, I dont think I ever studied the body parts of a bug throughout my years of elementary, high school and college education!  I hate bugs!

At the end of camp I asked Tyler how he liked learning all about bugs as during the two weeks he brought home cutouts of a bee, a lady bug made out of a paper plate and a butterfly held together with a clothespin.  His major project was an entire book about bugs. To which he replied to me, I dont like bugs.

The next camp that took place about three weeks later was Sports Camp, a week long camp where Tyler would learn the basics of soccer, basketball and floor hockey.  I have to say it was actually a pretty neat thing.

We did, however, have two incidents. Yes, two, in the one week of Sports Camp.  On Wednesday, the teacher said to me, Tyler had a little accident, he didnt quite make it to the bathroom on time so he got a little wet.  He pulled down his pants to show me and I was like No Thank You, I Dont Need To See That!  She presented his underwear to me in a baggie as if it was some sort of Hazardous Waste material.

But he had an entire change of clothes including sneakers in his back pack! I protested.  She just looked at me with a blank stare.

On the last day of Sports Camp, the teacher was waiting to talk to me.

Tyler had a little problem today, she began to say.

Oh, God, what did he do? I am thinking.  Did he beat someone up?  Kick a teacher?

Tyler is going to have to learn that we dont go around kissing children, or things in kindergarten.

Thats it?  Thats the big trouble?  My kid might have kissed a little girl…or a hockey stick?

Mrs. Cullen, you need to talk to Tyler about his behavior because I will tell you, that sort of thing is not allowed in kindergarten and if it continues we are going to have a real problem here.

I guess those Halcyon days of pre-school, when Tyler had a steady girlfriend since the age of three, were over.

Grant and I did talk to Tyler but what were we going to do to him?  Was a sexual assault report going to be filed by the girl in question, or the hockey stick?  We just told him that it is okay to kiss girls but not in school any more and that you never kiss a girl who does not want to be kissed.  How much could I talk to my child about how wrong it is to do something when he was just being a normal little boy?

Three weeks after that (which is now two weeks ago) Tyler had his final camp, called Kinder Prep. This was it, kindergarten boot camp.  He had Mrs. Drillsergeant again for his teacher. One day on the car ride home from camp Tyler said, Guess what, Mommy?  

What, baby?

My teacher is really a man and she kills other men!

Tyler!  Your teacher is most certainly a woman!  She is married and she has children!

No, she is a man.

Tyler…Mrs. Drillsergeant  just has short curly gray hair, and she is older.  Sometimes, some women can look a bit like a man when they get older but I can assure you that your teacher is definitely a woman.  

On Thursday when I picked him up from camp Mrs. Drillsergeant and the camp nurse were waiting to see me.  I was panic-stricken, but I saw that my child was upright with no bruises or bleeding.

Tyler had a meltdown today, Mrs. Drillsergeant told me.  He was in line waiting to use a toy and he got upset because he didnt want to wait any longer.  When I told him he would have to wait some more, he became hysterical.  I had to call the nurse because I could not get him to stop crying, he told me he could not stop and then all of a sudden as the nurse and I are looking through Tylers medical file, he switched it off and was totally fine.  My question to you is, What do you do when he does this at home, how do you stop it?  I also have to tell you, Mrs. Cullen, that I am going to have 23 children in my classroom and that if Tyler cannot wait for something NOW with just 10 children in camp, he is never going to be able to wait, and we do a lot of waiting here, and this IS a full-time school day.

I was stunned.  I wanted to beat up Mrs. Driilsergeant and the school nurse with their looks of concern and hug my child and never let go.  Why the Hell hadn’t they called me?

He-he-he…doesn’t do this at home.  The only time I could think of where he did have an incident like this was when he fell in the hospital on his hurt arm.  He couldn’t stop crying, he was so traumatized and then it became almost an Anxiety-Tourette’s-OCD type of thing where he literally could not stop crying.

I also mentioned that Tyler did not have a good night’s sleep last night and that could have been a factor as well.

Well, you need to teach Tyler how to wait his turn.  I know he is an only child but you are going to have to set up scenarios in which he will have to wait, like take him to the grocery store and he will wait at the check-out line with you.  

Umm, I rarely go to the grocery store because I cannot walk and taking Tyler to any store is just as hard as taking him to an amusement park for me.

Also, I know it is summer time, but you need to get Tyler on a school schedule.  Bedtime at 8:00 and then up at whenever he needs to be able to get to school on time.  

8:00 bedtime?  I can count on one hand how many times Tyler has fallen asleep by 8:00.  I consider it a victory if he is asleep by 9:30.  The kid never sleeps, not even when I was pregnant with him.  The pediatricians have always said that the amount of sleep that Tyler gets, while on the low side, is still within the normal required amount of sleep for children at whatever age he has been.

You have two more weeks.  Start him on a schedule now.  Make up waiting and patience exercises.  I’ll see you both tomorrow.

As I drove home, peering at my exhausted child in the rearview mirror and realizing what he had been through today…was I going to punish him?  Have a BIG TALK with him?  Tyler has Tourette’s, Anxiety, OCD, Depression and some sensory processing issues.  He had just been TORTURED!  

I took him to McDonald’s and got him a Smurf.

Last Friday night I was on my computer and an email came over.  “Your child’s teacher assignment”, along with lots of other information.  Excitedly I opened up the email and guess who will be teaching my child as he begins his elementary school career?  Yep, Mrs. Drillsergeant.  Being the oldest of the kindergarten teachers, apparently she is allowed to hand pick whom she wants in her class.

And she wants Tyler.  My baby.  I am going to try to believe and pray that she picked him, not because she wishes to tame my beautiful, wild-child, but that she wants to help him get on the road to succeeding in school, despite his disabilities.

But for the first time, now from a mother’s perspective, I get the problems of a public school education, and I understand those who have said no to it and decided to teach their children themselves.

Well, it’s only kindergarten.  I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Ah, school may look fun now, but JUST YOU WAIT!

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.
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5 Responses to Tuesdays With Tyler: You’re in the Army Now

  1. Meagan says:

    I so completly understand what you and Tyler are up against. I’m one of those parents that decided to just do it myself… my lil guy is starting K this year too and is struggling with dyslexia, asperger’s and he’d never make it in at 8 am for school. Not in a million years… I can’t even imagine a 9:30 bedtime… its always at least 11. And we’ve tried near everrryyythingggg… he’s just a night owl. I get that though.. with all my spoonie issues insomnia is my constant companion.

    We’re going to try going with virtual public school… each day is flexable, and as long as you get it all done in that week your ok. I just couldn’t imagine trying to “tame” my little guy and with all his issues, I’d be spending more time each day trying to help him afterschool and dealing with teachers then if he just stays home and works from home and then he’d have little time to just play and be himself.

    I really hope that the school year goes better for you then summer camp has!

  2. Andy says:

    Oh Mama, my heart is breaking for you and your little boy. Having been a preschool teacher in the Montessori system myself, I am appalled. There is no reasoning behind any of this. I’m sorry, but someone who can’t help a 4 year old calm down has no business working with young children. I don’t mean to make you feel worse – but I do commiserate – I know your hands are tied, and I just wish you and Tyler all the best as you set off on this adventure.

    Just remember that you are his best and biggest advocate, and you should not feel like you have to be doing things at home that are not natural for your family. Waiting a turn like that is a ridiculous thing to expect from a child at that age, and there are so many better ways of instilling self-regulation. He’s probably going to need your unconditional love and support more than ever.
    Andy´s last blog post ..Getting Back to Myself

  3. SickMomma says:

    If there are any other kindergarten teachers at that school, I’d strongly recommend making a case to the principal to have him moved to a different classroom. The fact that they were discussing him in front of him is just wrong, wrong, wrong. And she clearly isn’t a good fit for him.

    If Tyler has been in preschool, and I know he has, he has had to wait his turn for toys and/or activities. Heck, even only kids have to have patience sometimes. And ones whose parents have chronic illnesses definitely learn to wait for what they want.

    So, does Tyler have official diagnoses for the conditions you mention? If so, he has rights as a special needs kid, including for an individualized education plan. It’s one of the few benefits to being in the public schools. Mind you, from what little I know, it’s even more exhausting and frustrating than seeking SSDI. But it can make a world of difference and, at a minimum, might help Tyler’s school experience.
    SickMomma´s last blog post ..Don’t Know What You’ve Got (‘Till It’s Gone)

  4. mamasick says:

    Meagan, Wow, I guess you are truly my “target audience”. Disabled yourself with a special needs child. We are probably close to living the same life. How can you tell your son has dyslexia? It is not that I do not believe you, I just want to know how you caught it so early! My brother has Asperger’s. I don’t talk about him much since there is a chance he could read my blog, but I think one day I will take the chance because there are a lot of special things I could say about him. He is married, no children and is 40 years old. We diagnosed him ourselves because when he grew up in the ’70s there was no such diagnosis and he was labeled “learning disabled” and “neurologically impaired”. He grew up in the wrong time, that is for sure:-( I have never heard of Virtual Public School, so thank you for the idea. In most ways, Tyler does “fit in” so we are going to try the public school system first as we are lucky enough to have an excellent district and Tyler’s school is a “Blue Ribbon” school.

  5. Tendai says:

    I don’t like how public school tries to “tame” kids when really they are forcing kids into conformist molds.

    My son is in practice kindergarten this year and this year he is in afternoon class and that really throws our routine off. Last year the bus came and picked him up at 6:30 AM and he would not fall asleep until 10 PM so the next day he needed a nap. Which was fine by me cuz I needed a nap too!

    Last Spring our boy went through a phase where he would cry and couldn’t stop crying. He would bend over and cry and of course since he is non-verbal with autism he couldn’t tell the nurse what was wrong. I received a lot of calls to the point he took a break from school. However the big difference is that they tried to comfort him because this isn’t like our boy. His teacher even called on her cell to see how he is doing. It was a huge ordeal but it helped that people knew his issues and what is normal and what is abnormal for him. You have a much different problems just to get accommodation so do what is best. But to make your day, I used to be the one to chase the boys around to kiss them and not once did the teachers care nor did I get caught. Because it is FREAKIN’ normal. Smooches to other spoonie mommies from a non-running spoonie!

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