Category Archives: Milestones

Making a wrong choice

I have been preoccupied. I have been debating myself on how exactly to pen this post. so here I go … It’s a rather long post, so please bear with me 🙂

Last year around this time, the start of spring I was busy looking for a good school program for the kids. The public school where we live does not have a preK program and they were out growing their day care program. When I started looking around, there were way too many options, private Pre-K and Kindergarten  programs seems to be a very good business. Every program was unique and promising in its own way. It just added to my confusion. I knew that my little boys who had then just turned 4 were very shy kids who needed time to adjust and get used to a new place. I evaluated every program available in my neighborhood and zeroed down on a school which had a part time program. I knew that my parents would be coming to spend the winter with us, so I knew I had backup at home for the hours when I would be working. I did not want the kids to be over stressed with studies this early and the school looked nice and comfortable to me. The classes were bright and colorful; the teachers came with a 20 year experience. “They must have seen it all” said D. I geared up for the initial struggle that I knew was coming. Pulling the boys out of the day care was going to be a big challenge, since the boys loved that place.

The first day went fairly well, the boys were a little afraid of the big building. This was a big school which went on till 8th grade. I remember how D and I had discussed that as the boys get adjusted, Kindergarten would be a cake walk.

As the days went the teachers opened their box of complaints. Every day after the school ended, I was asked to stay back till every parent had left after picking their kids up. I waited every day to listen how my boys refused to make a necklace out of beads or use scissors to cut simple shapes. I was surprised, because these are the things that they had already done in their preschool program. This was definitely not the first time my boys were going to a school. I came back frustrated not knowing how to deal with this problem. I knew that the boys would cry at drop off, that I was ready for. I was not ready for performance complains from teachers. A part of me was concerned wondering what was going on and the other was confused. The first thing I did when I got home was to give the boys some beads and asked them to make a necklace. I had no issues in making them do the tasks. That confused me further. Lack of skills was definitely not the issue.

Days passed but the complaints did not go away, the teachers were clearly not happy with the boys. Now they started saying that my boys lacked social skills. Now this was something that really told me that something was wrong, terribly wrong in the judgment. My boys can be everything, but the one thing that defines them is how extremely social they are. BB is known for being a chatterbox and junior for being able to adjust to every age group. But I did not want to be that parent who lived in denial. I started talking with my pediatrician; he saw nothing missing in my boys. “Give them time” he said. The same thing I have been telling the teachers. I reached out to the principle of the school. How can I help my boys ? What can you do to help my boys? These were the only two things I wanted to know. I know that my boys were ex-preemies, if they are having trouble adjusting or if there is something that needs to be done, I would rather do it now and get it sorted out. Sadly, no one could give me any answer. Months went by; the teachers started hinting at me that I have to repeat pre-K for the boys. I was still not convinced. Not that I did not want to hold them back, I was not convinced that they needed to be held back. I still am not convinced.

Nothing at school has changed in the last 7 month, except for the fact that my boys have a special dislike for school now. I am still asking the teachers how I can help my boys come up and do whatever the teachers expect them to do. At 5, my boys can recognize all alphabets, they know about 60 sight words, and they can write all alphabets. They have their group of friends and they talk nonstop. They play T-ball. Yes, they are still a little shy with strangers, but they do warm up pretty fast.

I made a mistake in not pulling them out, but I thought at that time that shifting them to a new school might send a wrong message to the boys and they would take more time settling down at the new place too. I have asked the teacher several times how she can help my boys get adjusted, but I never got a response. May be they needed some extra help, may be some kind of additional push. I can’t say exactly what. I can’t be at the class to do what I do with them at home. Whatever the boys have learnt so far, they have learnt at home. I cannot go back in time to change what happened; I guess I will have to live with this regret.

I have talked with many parents, and from what I understand the problem is, is that the teacher expects all children to behave alike, react alike or at least in a similar fashion. We were extremely fortunate to have had a pre-school teacher who was very involved with my boys. When they were younger and with Miss J, I never heard the word “they cannot…” from her. She was always positive and full of ideas. They need to do this project, here is what we can do to help them learn. In this school, I have heard a lot of things but what I have not heard is “here is what we can do to see if that helps”.

Last 7 months I have trained myself by going to websites on how to teach the boys handwriting, every day after office hours, I sat with them trying to teach them things they were supposed to learn at school. They were 4! It is not like they need to know the encyclopedia. Learning should be fun, at least that is how I look at it. If they get weary of school at the beginning, what kind of academic life are we looking at? I am not a teacher or someone skilled at evaluating children, and that is why I guess we have educational institutes and teachers. The school my boys go to is till the 8th grade, they have experienced teacher. If they can not answer one simple question that “what should I do to help my boys” who will ?

Two and Half Years Post-Op

This is where we are today. Head looks good. He had a bad fall last week and I almost froze when the school called me to inform about it. I drove at breakneck speed to reach his school. D dropped everything at work and reached home in record time. Only to be greeted by a giggly BB. He had a big bump on his head, but it did not seem to bother him. After applying some ice, the bump started going down. We started breathing again.

Thankful

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for many things. And the fact that I have so much to be Thankful for makes me feel blessed. So here I go, I am Thankful for the boys and D. They make his place home, doing the things they do.

I am thankful that the boys are now catching up and their delays are slowly disappearing. One thing I am extremely Thankful for is that I have found a great daycare/preschool. After many changes, I finally found the place which suits us the best. The teachers are awesome, and the boys are happy and comfortable there. After the boys aged out of the Early Intervention Program I was extremely worried. I was not sure if I should send them to the special pre-school program, or keep them in the school that they were already going to. They were definitely behind their classmates in many ways. I just took the leap of faith and decided to go with my gut to not change their school. It was one of those decisions which could have gone either way. The fact that BB does not take change very well was one of the key factors. He got settled in this school after a lot of effort, a new school would throw everything off and we would need to start all over again. I did not want BB to go through that again. Plus the fact that I was told that they will not qualify added strength to my decision.

The teachers tried their best, I spoke up whenever I had any concerns and the centre director was most accommodating to all our requests. She went above and beyond to help the boys catch up. Junior had issues with feeding, and slowly and steadily they worked on encouraging him to chew. And he did cooperate. Today he eats almost everything. The other day, the centre director said how amazed she was seeing Junior eat a whole slice of a pizza. It did take a lot of time and patience to reach where we are, but what matters is that we are here. The boys started using words and then making sentences. It was an amazing journey, to see them bloom. It is tough to find good teachers, and I am blessed to have two of them who make an awesome team. I am extremely Thankful for Miss. J and Miss. M. The boys will grow up and go places, but this is where their journey started. I hope they remember these two awesome ladies who helped them get started.  It matters, and it matters the most.

Monday Blues

My family goes into a huge denial on Monday mornings. First we love to think that we can sleep it away. When that doesn’t work, we try various
strategies. Last many years I have drafted many emails in my head requesting a day of absence from my boss for many obnoxious reasons. The fact that I still have my job is because I never really sent those across. Most Monday mornings, D just sits and stares really hard at the computer, and I think he imagines that the staring might just burn the machine and he can use that as an excuse. Anyways, this post is not about our failed attempt at wishing Monday away, but about BB and his words of wisdom(S). He wakes up today morning, comes to me with the cutest possible face and simply hugs me to say the following….

“Mamma, today only Junior goes to school and BB stays with Mamma” .,.. He topped it off with a huge kiss and a very tight hug.