(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?
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!