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.
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.
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!