Monday, June 01, 2015


When we had a bit of a rough start to the school year, I wasn't super surprised.  I spent the last three years of daycare, just hoping my kid wouldn't do anything too crazy, too knock some other kid's block off for not addressing him in his Robot Name, too jump off the top of the playscape, too...HOPPER to get kicked out. I also spent the last year of daycare watching him mentally twiddle his thumbs. His daycare, while run by nice folks, didn't have the time to deal with a kid who needed extra time. When it came down to a choice between making him sit down and join the group for lessons, risking a full-on wobbler, or letting him do what he wanted, guess which route got chosen more often? I can't tell you how many times I walked into the room to see all the kids sitting at the table doing a craft or a lesson and my kid was sitting over in the corner playing with legos. It was just easier to let him do what he wanted to do than sacrifice the time for the other kids. I get that. But what it meant for MINE was that he never really  got that practice of having to bend to the group. He learned that pitching a big enough fit meant he could do what he wanted, or at the very least, he didn't have to do... DUN DUN DUN Arts & Crafts (eewwww).   And he most certainly didn't learn more than he absolutely had to absorb from afar. He was so ready to move on. I was so ready to move on.

But what would happen when we hit the Big Leagues? Exactly how long would it be before some teacher made him sit in a chair for more than five minutes? How big of a fit was he going to throw?   I had visions of us spending a lot of time in the principal's office. I hoped and prayed he wouldn't get labeled as the Bad Seed.  I  quizzed our pediatrician and did research to see exactly how far his "extended release" medication would "extend" (answer: baaarely to to the end of the school day if you're lucky). I dropped him off and then always made sure my the ringer on my phone was on because I was positive I was going to get a phone call  from the school before the end of the day.  And the first six weeks, that's exactly what happened. Practically every other day there was a phone call:  He was in the principal's office, he was in detention, he was sick (ooooh, he was sick a lot), he somehow disappeared on a trip to the bathroom for forty-five minutes, he refused to come out from under the computer center table, he and some other kid punched each other in the stomach in the cafeteria line. He told the substitute teacher he didn't have to listen to her because she wasn't real.  THERE WERE A LOT OF CALLS, is what I'm saying.

Early on I had made the decision to not to go in on the first day of school with his diagnosis papers screaming ADHD, Don't Touch My Baby! I planned on talking with the appropriate staff at some point during the school year, but I wanted them to get to know him without that label. I wanted to see what they thought about him without theADHD lens that sometimes distorts people's abililty to be openminded.  It's not that people are mean about it but there's just an more of an expectation, I guess, for your kid to be Hypey McSpazzALot and less expectation for him to make the Honor Roll.  The more calls that came in, though,  I thought, "eeesh, I should probably schedule a meeting with somebody." As it turned out, I didn't really have to.

  One morning about two months into the school year, I ran into his teacher and she asked if I had a minute.  My heart sank. I was expecting her to give me a litany of all the bad and annoying things my son had done that week, but she didn't. She told me that he was doing really well, that he liked computer center and always wanted to be the first kid to answer a question during reading. My mouth must have dropped open because she asked, "Does that surprise you?"  To be honest, it did.   And then I told her about his ADHD. She laughed. I think her exact words were, "Yeah, No Kidding."  But then she told me she thought he would do just fine. He had a shaky adjustment period, but he was "getting it."  He wanted to do well. He was SMART.

Here's what did happen:
 He wasn't the worst kid in the class. He wasn't even the most hyper kid in the class. He learned how to read, fast. So fast, in fact that he was at an end-of-the-first-grade level back in January. He learned that substitute teachers are just as "real" as other teachers.  He even voluntarily made some DUN DUN DUN Arts & Crafts (ewwwww). We did have That Meeting, with the counselor, the principal and the teacher, just to make sure he has safeguards in place if things start to go wonky in the future, but thus far, he hasn't needed any. 

He aced kindergarten. He had FUN.  I feel like doing a victory lap and shaking up champagne bottles and high-fiving complete strangers this entire last week of school. 



Laura H. said...

Awesome, Lee! Glad to hear y'all survived and thrived in Kindergarten. With a fellow non-circle-sitter and arts and crafts hater... it's nice to know that there is hope! haha

Dwight said...

He will do well because he is a smart, caring young man who is blessed with people that love him beyond measure. He is who he is because you and Sam are who you are. I see nothing but great things ahead for him and Rowan. I am not surprised at his reading-he gets that from his parents and the arts and crafts? Some of us didn't like that stuff until we were out of school and pinterest evolved.