Wednesday, September 22, 2010

First grade is hard!

So, it is late and I have no business being up because I have to wake up at 4 freaking 45 in the morning to run.  However, I have a LOT on my mind and sleep is not coming easily to me.  As this blog, and you, my faithful readers have always been my therapy, I'm really feeling the need to write about my troubles.

And for the FIRST TIME EVER my troubles are about my wonderfully laid back, flexible, very social, very funny and seemingly smart son, Murphy.  First grade is not coming easy to him or to me, quite frankly.  I know my way around a hospital.  I know how to talk to a doctor, a nurse and a therapist.  But I don't know first grade.  And I have a baaaaad feeling that I'm going to know my way around an elementary school, more than I ever wanted, pretty soon.

All I know at this point is that he is struggling in many areas and I'm thinking not academically, but as of right now, that hasn't been confirmed.  My gut tells me he is a typical 6-year old boy, coming out of Kindergarten and a 3-month summer break.  He wants to play.  And he's probably not that interested in learning much - especially in a very structured environment.  And it is only the 3rd week of school.

Without more information (which the lack of is KILLING me by the way) it is very hard for Tom and I to properly address him on the home front.  Believe me, we are trying.  But after some very hefty talks, he went and had what I'm thinking was his worst day yet!  I actually got a note sent home that I had to sign and return.  So, perhaps this information that we have not received would require a change in the way we are handling things? Hmm....

With all of Harlie's medical issues, I've really believed that it does "take a village."  And I've really felt lucky that we've had such a great team of people working with us (and I do truly believe that these people work WITH us) helping us help Harlie to achieve goals that are age and developmentally appropriate.  I believe that we ALL want the best for Harlie and are willing to do what we need to do to give her the best opportunities we can.

Sadly, I'm not feeling this way so far about first grade.  There has been so little communication and I really don't know how to handle that!  My gut's just not liking the situation and where it looks like we're heading.  And can I just say that this has been shocking for us?  Murphy did great in Kindergarten.  I never heard anything negative about Murphy's behavior from his teacher.  And he loved school!

I am hopeful that I am reading too much into the information that I've been given and that I, too, am just transitioning into the world of first grade.  I am trying my best to be patient.  And if it were that serious they wouldn't want to wait to address it, either.  Or maybe they are gathering up information to hit us hard with later.  Oh, where is my positive thinking when I need it?

This has been weighing so heavy on my mind since last Wednesday.  My head hurts and this situation is to blame.  On Wednesday I got a note that said that Murphy was struggling.  I asked for more specifics.  And two days went by with no reply.  Friday afternoon I got a note that said that she was waiting till after testing to talk to me.  And testing is happening now through sometime in October.  Yeah, I couldn't wait.  So I called her.  He's not completing his work in class (he's probably day dreaming or looking at the crazy amount of stuff plastered all over the room).  He doesn't appear to be playing with anyone in his class (but he tells us that he's playing with his old classmates on the playground at recess), and she wanted to test him because she was thinking he didn't know the material and that's why he wasn't completing his work (waiting to hear how he did now).  And she summed up the conversation by saying he is "miserable" in class.

My heart was broken.  And I cried.  I CRIED!!!  That is SO NOT me!!!  I've heard WAY WORSE and not cried before.  Trust me.  And I don't like to cry - or talk about me crying.  So, I'm really going out on a limb here.  There are times when I feel that too much is being asked of me.  And that was one of those times.  I hear that I am strong.  But there are plenty of times I don't feel that way.  Murphy is my easy kid.  He's the balance.  If he shifts to the other side - I'm tipping over.  Simple as that.  I don't know how I'm going to handle this when added to the load I'm already handling.

See, the problem is that I'm not all fresh and energetic with my first born entering first grade.  No.  I'm all tuckered out, patience worn thin, and overloaded with plenty of issues, therapies, doctor's appointments and the like.  And my heart was already broken.  I'm already in pain (the kind of pain that will live with me forever but that's a deeper discussion for another time).  In summary, I'm raw.  Battle wounds unhealed.  Not really physically or mentally ready to go back in to fight another war.  Okay, maybe that's a little dramatic.  But, still, it's how I feel.

But again, as with so much that lands on my plate, I don't have a choice.  I must find the strength somehow, somewhere.  And it scares me.  What if I don't have it?  What if I screw it up?  What if I don't make the right decisions?  Oh, please let me be blowing this all out of proportion!  Please let my feelings be "rookie" experiences that I will look back and laugh at later.  I have heard from so many moms that the first months of a new grade is always an adjustment.  He's 6.  He's a boy.  There is nothing wrong with him.  He wants to play and pretend and he wants to be outside.  In so many ways, I can't blame him.  You're only a kid once.  And it goes by too fast.

Hopefully I'll get more information soon so I can calm down and go back to being my normal happy (but tired) self.

As always, thanks for reading!


Ann said...

Many hugs coming your way Christy. For what it's worth ... Eric had a horrible experience his Kindergarten year - after doing just fine in preschool. He was made out to be a mean kid who was always goofing off and causing trouble. This was not my kid! I so understand you when you say "This is not my kid". I gave it half a year and then I pulled Eric and put him in a different school and he has done fine since then. The tipping point for me was that Eric was in fact miserable at school and it got to the point where he cried when he had to go to school. Again, not my kid.

Take a deep breath, take your cues from Murphy (not the teacher) and go with your mommy gut. It's not critical to do anything today, tomorrow or the very near future. Give it some time, find out what you can and if you feel like it's not a good placement (a lot of the time, the issue is the teacher IMO) ... then you will do what you have to do.

The one thing I've learned over the years is that there is NOTHING easy about being a parent of any kid - special needs or not.

Hang in there my friend.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Murphy is in an adjustment period. However, we do not wait until after tests to find out the problem. Talk to the teacher now. If she won't schedule an appointment with you schedule one with the principal. Sometimes it is just a little thing that needs to be fixed to make school enjoyable. Short trip down memory lane: Sherry my oldest refused to go to school. (This was 32 years ago.) Her teacher was a pretty big woman. I called her and she was very concerned. We did some digging and found out that Sherry wanted to keep the top of her desk clean. The teacher wanted her to keep her crayons on her desk and she scared her. After we figured out what was the problem. things went smoothly. It could be something as simple as that, but you have to find out now. He might need one on one help but that is what the school should provide. Take a deep breath and relax. Love Ron and Sue

B-Mama said...

Oh Christy, I will start by reassuring you Murphy is a good boy with a good heart. Keep reminding him of that. I am convinced this is an issue easily overcome by working with his teacher. Keep on her and don't settle for poor communication. I know you won't. You and Tom are great parents who are going to work through this with success like you do all things!! I'll start dreaming up some parent/teacher motivational tools for you...

Susan said...

Testing? To see where he falls academically? Uhh, not sure why waiting until October to figure this out would be considered a good idea by any teacher if he's miserable now?! Adrian had a period where he was not wanting to go to school in 1st grade. It got better after working through each of his "issues", but in part it was the teacher and he seems happier this year. Check with the other parents about this teacher's style. If it is the teacher maybe he could switch classrooms? It does take a little time to get back in the groove after summer break so maybe that's it. But even the easy kids can't be easy 100% of the time. Hopefully this is just a little blip. (((HUGS)))