Wednesday, May 21, 2008

No Freaky Title

Sorry. I couldn't think of a title to rip you to my entry today. (My dog is slurping right now.)

I'm home with Robert -- who has finally agreed to let me call him 'Joey' again. Hooray! Though, as ironic as it is, I probably won't be able to make the switch for several months. He's been Robert for a year now.

Joey is playing an xbox 360 game we rented, while we wait for Aubrey to get done with Spanish Club. We'll probably walk Kiya as we pick her up, come home for a snack and a change into Tae Kwon Do uniforms and then off to the class. Dinner will be rice and burritos.

Paul is working today, despite it being his day off. His boss' son is in the hospital and Paul is covering the shift for his boss.


Yesterday Robert/Joey had an emotional day. He was given an in-school suspension again, for biting a student. Joey claimed that the student was trying to drink out of Joey's water bottle and wouldn't stop when asked.

After school was ok and fairly calm (though I had some difficulties with Aubrey) and then in the evening, under his covers, with the privacy of the humidifier drone, Joey told me his imaginary friend, "Fun Boy," died.

"Oh no. How sad. I'm sorry." My eyes softened and I paused at the door that I was intending on walking out of.

"He killed himself." I stared. "He jumped off a cliff." Tears leaked out the corners of his eyes, dripping down to his ears. "Why did he do that?" I crawled into bed with him, the movie I was planning to watch downstairs forgotten.

We talked about lonliness. And the people he's lost in his life. About me dying some day. He clung to me, his naked back quivering under my hands, and repeated his mantra:

"You'll always be with me. You'll always be with me. We'll always be together. We'll always be together. You'll never leave me. You'll never leave me."

Upon further disclosure, "Fun Boy" was actually trying to jump across a cavern of sorts to try and find Joey more friends. He missed, fell and died. All while trying to help Joey get more friends. I find this horribly sad.

We spent the better part of an hour in his bed talking, holding each other and I listened more than I ususally do. When I shared these conversations with my husband later that night, this was what he fell on. That I listened.

One thing that struck me last night was how utterly sad Joey seemed. I wondered if he was depressed. Late last year, Joey saw a child psychologist to see if he would be diagnosed with ADHD. We never got the diagnosis, mostly because we didn't push it, and also due to his young age. Lots of young children have various ADHD-like symptoms. We were going to wait and see if he 'out grew' his tendencies instead of afixing a label for life. (Paul was particularly worried about "permanent record.")

One thing the child psychogist mentioned repeatedly was bipolar disorder. Joey had never shown signs of depression before, but the psychologist assured me that anger and angry outbursts were how kids sometimes showed their sadness. And there is quite a bit of family history for depression. But I brushed it off. I just didn't feel like he had bipolar disorder. His behaviors leaned more towards poor executive skills. Namely impulse control and self-soothing.

So, last night's conversation reminded me of this doctor. Could Joey be depressed? Or does he just hate school and feel misunderstood and "bad" all the time? That would certainly depress me.

Paul and I are touring a Montessori school tomorrow morning. The charter school that I've researched and felt like would be a better match for Joey is full and with an applicaton, Joey would be number 14 on the waiting. Not very promising for next year.

Option two was private Montessori school which would run us $410/month. Ouch.

The Drinking Gourd school is another option. I haven't done as much research about it but I hear good things about it and I know two families with children there. It's $500/month.

Paul is curious if the 4J school district would give a referral for Joey to one of these private schools. That's how Aniela got into her private school. With a school district referral, tuition gets paid by a third party. Free private school. I should call. All they can do is say, 'no.'

My last option is to enroll the children into the charter school with the long waiting list and then homeschool while we wait. It would only be a temporary adventure, which could create a greater resevoir of patience within myself for staying home with them 24/7.

See, I've been a stay-at-home mom for the last eight years, but I've always sent them away to daycare for at least a couple times a week just to get my alone time. It was and still is, mandatory for my sanity.

I've always LOVED the idea of home schooling. I applaud homeschoolers (and secretly dance naked around the pedestal they stand on), and I just don't think I have the right temparment for it. I WANT to. I want to be the mom that bakes cookies and plans elaborate birthday parties instead of opting for Papa's Pizza and the Science Factory for those events. I want to be a fascinating teacher to my children and have an everlasting supply of patience for their angst. I want to be understanding and, well, the Bionic Woman. But, alas, I am not. Dammit.

So, a daren't try homeschooling, unless it is the last resort and will only be temporary. Otherwise, my relationship will be over with my kids and we'll all end up resenting each other.
And that won't instill the safety in Joey's soul that allows him to reveal his terror at me dying and his confusion about friendship. Or lack thereof.

This story doesn't end. No. I will continue to worry and tear at my neurons trying to find the best fit for my son. The best school. The best routine. The best way to connect with him. The best way to bring out his gifts so that others see them, and to remind myself that he has them on our challenging days.

Wish me love and luck; and send us positive, patient magic to go on.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Public, Private or Home --- AHH!!!

I don't know what to do.  My son is in need of some extra help at school.  Or just accepting school?  He has trouble with school being not what he needs right now.  I don't mean he doesn't need to go to school.  I just mean that the public school experience he is having right now doesn't cut it for him.  He's in trouble a lot, he doesn't enjoy going, he's easily frustrated at home (and at school) and can't stand being told what to do.

I dislike how the school 'punishes' him in the guise of discipline and logical consequence but I don't know what to do about it, save take him out.

I've researched a couple different schools, but the one I want him in is full and he would be 14 on the waiting list.  I'll complete the application process anyway, but ... 

My daughter wants to be home schooled.  I love this option, especially when I remember school shootings and teachers that are burnt-out on their once-loved profession.  I am in awe of parents that do it and I truly want to be those moms.  But, realistically I don't think I have the right temperment for it.  I think we'd kill each other.

I've been a stay at home mom for seven years and I REALLY feel done with it.  The reason I know that, is because this is the first time since I've become a mom that both my children are in school full time and I'm SO enjoying it.  I get to have some separation from them and I'm still there to pick them up from school and take them to gymnastics, TaeKwonDo or choir practice. I can still connect with them in the afternoon and I truly feel blessed when I consider that I don't have to work and am able to stay home with them, when so many other parents want to and can't.

I also know that home schooling wouldn't maybe be the best avenue for us because, ever since Robert (then Joey, a name I still secretly call him) was two months old, I've had someone to watch him and Aubrey while I:  took a class, did homework, got a pedicure, or simply went grocery shopping without the children.  I've ALWAYS had the kids go to some kind of childcare once or twice a week just so I could get a breather.

I don't think I could do that if I homeschooled.

But I love the idea.