I Feel Like I’m Failing My Children…

parenting, school issues, speech issues, parental fails, non-supportive schools
I’ve been parenting for 25 years now. Not just parenting like most. I’ve had littles in my house for the entire 25 years. I should be a pro. I should have school issues down. I should be serving my babies well. But I’m not. I feel like I’m failing my kids. Today was the day I almost had a meltdown, a failure as a parent, because this school year has been full of trials and tribulations that I have never experienced in all of my years of parenting. Are the babies feeling the pressure too?

I try to shield them from the bad stuff, but this year has been a struggle. Let me just say that in all of my years as a parent, I guess I’ve been lucky. I’ve really liked most of the kids’ teachers, the schools, the experiences. We’ve had a few bumps along the way, but that’s normal and I handled them with grace and dignity and the schools, the teachers, always worked to improve and fix anything that might have gone wrong. That’s to be expected. That’s how it should be.

But this year has been different. Y’all, this year has been BAD. From speech therapy issues, to a very non-nurturing Kindergarten teacher that literally expected my son, at the age of 5, to enter the “outside world” for the first time ever as a high school student full of responsibility, to a crossing guard that practices unsafe habits, to a principal that doesn’t give a damn about any of the above.

Today it all kind of came to a head and I feel like I’m failing my kids.

Let me explain our year in a nutshell. Bubby has a speech delay. He’s no dummy…quite the contrary. He’s quite brilliant. But his speech isn’t clear and he can’t pronounce sounds, mostly blends, well. I tried to get him into pre-K, but they denied him because we are above the income level and don’t fit the other criteria for free education at the pre Kindergarten level. So he stayed home and I worked with him. Come to find out, that was a violation of the IDEA Act by the school. They fail, but I still feel like I failed him because I didn’t know.

He has a bully (why are some kids such assholes?). Awesome. He has trouble saying the Z sound so his name comes out sounding more like Daiquiri than Zachary. His bully pointed out, in front of all of the kids on the playground, that he was named after a drink. Not sure if I should be more concerned that the kid knew what a Daiquiri was (sounds like some issues at home to me) or the fact that my kid is being bullied and laughed at while no teacher, no adult, did anything to stop it. Anyway, the teacher won’t help, the principal won’t help, so I got in contact with the head of the speech therapy program for the district. She wasn’t amused and the wheels were speedily set in motion. The counselor (very nice) and the diagnostician (very nice) are involved and we’re well on our way to FINALLY getting him in the therapy program. YAY for that! I’ve been maintaining my cool although I did point out to all of them that the IDEA violation was nothing to joke about. I’ve hid this all from my kids.

I talked to the principal about this. She told me there was no violation. There was no problem. The SCHOOL was handling this as they should. The SCHOOL had this under control. But no, they didn’t. I had it under control. I did this. She took credit and gave herself accolades. Strike one.

I talked to the principal about his teacher. I said I was sure she was effective and a great teacher, but she wasn’t the best fit for my son, for our family. Could we just switch classes? No. She’s the team leader for Kindergarten. She’s the best they have. We just need to adjust. End of conversation. I conceded, tried to deal with it, and failed my son.

Then, of all things, an issue came up with one of the crossing guards in the morning. She doesn’t protect those children. As they are walking across the road, still in the road, she starts flagging the cars to move through. NO! There are babies in the road. Just no. So I stop my car, leave it running every morning, and quickly walk my children across the school parking lot myself, then scurry back to my car and pull off. My children deserve to be safe. All children deserve to be safe.

Apparently, I’m breaking the “rules” by doing that. Apparently, I’m the problem. Well, me and the other 100 or so parents that do this exact same thing every morning for the very same reason (hey school people, we talk to each other too). But the difference is, I had the nerve…THE NERVE…to say something about it and tell her, when asked, that she should really be a little safer in her practices.

Back up…NO…I’m not one of THOSE people. I don’t complain about everything. I make it a rule to not complain at restaurants or my children’s schools. The first could spit in my food, the second could hurt my babies. I’m the snack mom. I send in too many school supplies. I’m asked to be PTO president every year (NO thank you). This is the first time…EVER. It’s that bad!

Yesterday, the principal called me (man, she yells a lot). She wanted to know what MY problem was. Well, if she had answered her messages or seen me on the 8 occasions that I waited in the office to talk to her about this, she would have already known. But anyway, I told her. I explained the unsafe practices. I explained (again) the speech therapy issues, I explained that we were unhappy with one of the teachers. She told me that I’m breaking the rules. She yelled that I’m breaking the rules. I can’t call the admin office, I can’t walk my kids into the school, I can’t…be a parent I guess?

I’m done! DONE! This morning, when I went to drop off the kids (the kids that I’ve requested be moved to another school repeatedly to this principal), I parked in a line behind 10 cars. Not the drop off line, in the side parking lot. She came rushing (seriously she rushed me with a gym teacher as a pseudo body guard?), to tell me I can’t park there. The others were parked there. There are no signs. I asked why that was OK. She said…dudes and I quote…”because” and “you’re not the boss here”. The heck?

I guess I got her in trouble with the speech thing initially. That’s all I can figure. But she’s gunning for me and I finally just broke down. BROKE DOWN. She rushed me and did all of that in front of my babies. In front of the other parents. Like the bully that rushed Bubby on the playground.

Done.

I talked to the Superintendent of Curriculum’s office the last 2 days. They’re looking into transferring the babies to another school this year, even though that’s not the norm. I don’t know how much more I can take. The babies are starting to feel the pressure and that kills me. This all started because of some failure on the part of the school. I’ve been trying to keep my cool, I’ve been keeping my cool. They’ve gone too far. We all make mistakes. I know this. But to play the blame game and make children uncomfortable when they screw up? Not cool at all.

kids bright

Tonight, I decided to just let the stress melt away. I took some time off. Time to play with and enjoy my babies. No one will get the best of us. EVER. NO ONE. Schools have a lot of power over our future. Some teachers, some schools, are absolutely amazing. All teachers, all schools, should use their powers for good. Teach our children well, nurture them, help those of us that want the best for our children to make this world a better place.

After spending a little extra special time with these babies tonight, I realized that I’m not failing them. The system is. I’m a lover not a fighter, but they’ve failed big time and I’m ready to make a change. I’m ready to work this system like my bitch. Don’t mess with my babies. Don’t EVER mess with my babies!

First Day of School, School Uniforms, and Social Lessons from Kindergarteners

school uniforms, equality, first day of school

Today was the first day of school. Yay for them, sad face for mom. Seriously, it was so quiet in here, you’d think I’d be ecstatic, but actually I felt terribly alone. But enough about me. Let’s talk about the first day of school and things that hit me like a ton of bricks today, shall we? Well, since we’re talking about things that hit me like a ton of bricks, I guess we (really just me) are still talking about me, right? It is what it is.

The babies had a great first day, mostly. Bug enjoyed every minute of it and Bubby enjoyed the first half. Apparently the second half was really boring involving sitting on a rug and stuff. Turns out, the “stuff” was music class and it’s apparently not his favorite part of the day. He had fun, he’s making friends, and I’m incredibly proud of him.

Now, on to what “hit” me. My kids are just fine without me. In fact, they flourish. That’s a good thing, really, but it’s somewhat hurtful in a way. I need them, I know they need me, but they do very well without me. Proud, but bitter sweet.

But aside from the emotional issues of the day, I decided I wanted to talk about something political. Uniforms and equality. If you know me at all, you know that I stay FAR away from discussions of politics, race, or religion. These are hot topics and I don’t like confrontation or debate. That’s not to say that I don’t have strong views, it’s just to say that I don’t like to argue or upset others. So I shut up. I mumble to myself, I have my opinions, but I keep them closed within me, because that’s how I was raised. Today, I break that mold.

My kids’ first day of school pictures will look exactly like their last day of school pictures because my children will be wearing the exact same clothes on the first day as they do on the last. Yes, school uniforms. Although I do hate the blandness of it all, I actually totally appreciate it. Not for my kids really, but for some of the others.

We “have”, others in my area do not. It’s not fair, but it’s a fact of life. I was raised with money. A blonde haired, blue eyed, “white” girl with money. Then I raised 2 little girls as a single mom. We didn’t have shit. They were lucky to have Walmart clothes for school. The playing field wasn’t equal for them, but they made do and they did well because they had the charm and charisma to pull it off. That had nothing to do with social stature, race, or anything really, other than themselves. I was proud but I wanted more for them.

Kindergarten, equality, equal rights

Today, as I sent my babies to school, as I dropped them off in their classes, I looked around. All of the kids looked the same. White, black, brown, yellow…the same. Why? Because they were all wearing red or white polo shirts with khaki shorts, skorts, skirts, or pants. No one stood out. No one stood in the shadows. Equal. There was no hatred. There was no racism, no talk of socio-economic differences. And they giggled, laughed, and conversed as equals. Because they should. Because they are. One child’s family might have more money than another. One child’s skin might dictate how society treats them. But in that classroom, in those same uniforms, they are equal and in that, I find hope for this world.

I see a lot of bad things daily on the internet, on social media, but today I saw peace. I felt peace. If everyone saw the world through the eyes of a child, if we all wore uniforms, this world would be a better place. Please don’t think I’m insinuating that racism doesn’t exist. It does and it breaks my heart and every fiber of my being on a daily basis. All I’m saying is that it doesn’t exist in Kindergarten. Hatred is learned and thankfully, these babies haven’t learned to hate yet. I hope they never will.

Zach Kindergarten

I watched my son this morning and I was proud. I was proud of the lessons I’ve taught him and I was proud that he doesn’t see color or social stature. He sees people, he sees friends. We’d all be better people, we’d be a better society, if we’d all take a moment to revisit Kindergarten. There are no barriers there. No learned hatred. No discrimination. Just love, uniforms, and equality. It’s a beautiful thing. I witnessed pure beauty and I loved it!

I’m not writing this for a political debate. I’m not writing this to hear how much better I have it than others (I know that I have it better than some, worse than others). I’m writing this to point out that children (and schools with uniforms) are so much better than our society as a whole. Being unique is flippin awesome, but some uniformity, some conformity, is pretty awesome too. Let us all learn from our children. They don’t see the walls that we, as adults, sometimes build. Why should they? They shouldn’t exist. They don’t see socio-economic standing. They don’t care. They see someone that looks just like them. In a uniform. They see friends…all around them. And they are so much more brilliant than we are. Let’s don’t teach them to hate. Ever.

If my kids never get out of uniforms, if they never see the hatred that society has created, I’ll be OK with that. I hope they always continue to see everyone the same way they see themselves when they look in the mirror. That’s the way it should be and I’m glad my babies see it that way. It’s time to stop the hatred. Hopefully these kids, our future, will finally make the change and this world will be a better place. It will be as wonderful as Kindergarten where the only talk of color that matters is in the Crayola box and all of the beautiful drawings they can create with those colors…together.

Patriotic Mommy & Daughter Bracelets: Crafts for Kids

Just so you know, I received product from Oriental Trading to facilitate this post. All opinions, ideas, and photos are entirely my own.

Oriental Trading, 4th of July crafts, crafts for kids, mommy and daughter bracelet crafts, patriotic flip flop bracelet

My Bug loves to craft. She loves to make things, especially jewelry, and the shinier the better! But I’m just not all that crafty and I really don’t have a lot of free time. She always does a good job on her little projects so in preparation for the 4th of July, I headed to Oriental Trading Company in search of something for her to curb her crafting itch and to occupy some of her summer free time. I found this adorable American Flag Flip Flop Bracelet Craft Kit and I just knew she would love it.

patriotic bracelet kit, Oriental Trading, crafting

When the kit arrived, I was pleased with the contents, especially at that price point. Everything was wrapped and packaged separately, and there was a full set of instructions. Now that Bug is reading so well, I just had to open everything up and she couldn’t wait to get started on her Mommy and Daughter bracelet project. Seriously, she couldn’t wait. The minute our package arrived, she started BEGGING me to rip it all open!

crafting with kids, Oriental Trading, patriotic flip flop bracelet

Even though this package said the craft was intended for 14 and up, my little Bug didn’t have a problem once I laid out the picnic blanket, the supplies, and the instructions. She’s a happy little crafter and I really need to keep her busy during the summer or the house might come down at the hands of her mischievous little nature.

American Flag Flip Flop Bracelet, Oriental Trading, crafts for kids, 4th of July crafts

When it was all said and done, I think these came out really cute, and she and I are all set for the holiday with our festive, matching jewelry. This project was particularly good for her because she loves patterned activities and she recently completed a huge project for her history class surrounding being an American and the 4th of July holiday.

We’ve got a few more patriotic crafts happening this week and I’ll be sure to come back and share. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for great, inexpensive crafts to keep your kids busy this summer, be sure to visit Oriental Trading for fun and affordable crafting supplies and kits. If you’re like me, you’ll want to go with the kits because they do all of the creative thinking for you. You can also find Oriental Trading Company on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to follow along there too. Happy crafting!