Friday, December 24, 2010

On thinking clearly, and potty mouth....

I am loving nursing school, but that's another post. So son started school in the "out of district" self-contained class. He LOVES going to school now. He LOVES his van "bus" driver. He LOVES his teacher, and his classmates. Not too keen on the school "social worker".  His teacher Mrs. B is most definitively a true asset to teaching. When he had a particularly bad day I got a call, saying Blue was not doing well, uncharacteristically verbally defiant. (as in teacher: "Please open your books so we can go over the directions." Blue "I'm not opening my book." teacher "please open your books so we can go over the directions." Blue: "I don't need directions since I'm not going to do the work anyway" and proceeds to toss is book on the floor.) Ummm, ok. Well she and I both know his "typical" refusal is to stare off into space and ignore the present, "refusal by default" is what we call it. Sometimes it can be semi-intentional (he's frustrated and thinks if he ignores everyone they'll just go away) other times it's unintentional (he's just in his own little world)

I get the call (nearly got in trouble since cell phones are not permitted in the classroom. I was on lunch break. Of course my mom couldn't leave work either.)
Mrs. B tells me about his day thus far, then says "Can I ask you a question?" 
me: "Um OK" 
Mrs B. "Is (Blue) on any new medication?"
me: (puzzled) "No, why?"
Mrs. B. "He told me this morning that he couldn't think clearly because he didn't take his medication." (The other students apparently are ADHD and often blame their inability to focus & think on new medication or forgetting to take their medication.)
me: trying not to laugh. "Did he perhaps use the term 'Claritin Clear'?"
Mrs. B. "Now that you mention it, yes."
me: "He had a bit of a runny nose this morning & sneezing. I offered him a dissolvable Claritin tablet and he refused." (trying not to laugh) "The commercial "Think clearly. Claritin Clear." has been running on TV a lot lately."
Mrs. B. "His eyes are pretty glassy and he has been sneezing." (clearly trying not to laugh now)
me: "So would it be easier if I pick up miserable boy early?"
Mrs. B. (now giggling) "I think that would be great. He is pretty miserable. and he didn't get much work done today. Can I send it home with him?"(under her breath I can see her say "Claritin clear, I can't believe it" and chuckle)
me: "I'll be there as soon as I can." ( I think she broke into hysterics once she hung up)

Flash forward to me arriving at school, though he came skipping up the hall big smile on his face, eyes red and tearing, sneezing every few minutes.  me "Dude, you know this isn't a reward. You are in big trouble. You have a lot of work to be done. And since you made me leave class, now you have to come back to school with me and be our patient for the rest of the afternoon."
He stopped short "uh, uh, really?"  me "no dude, my class is almost over, we're going home"

He passed out within 30 minutes of getting home. Allergies can exhaust you.

Yep that's my kid the parrot. He didn't even know he was funny this time.

The parrot thing can be not such a good thing too. Being in a class with three other 8 year old boys, two who have older siblings, can be an asset or a detriment sometimes. Especially with the discovery of "potty mouth".

No not THAT kind of potty mouth. More like bathroom, toilet humor. Like "potty", "butt" "poop" "pee" "fart" and a few others. Sometimes all it took to set them off was "I need to go to the bathroom."
My son was NOT alone in this endeavor, but sometimes his internal sensors didn't tell him to stop. Sure it's funny but not all the time. He was starting to get out of control.

So the decision was made between parent & teacher. Each potty word would cost him one piece of Halloween candy. His behavior report would have a tally of words for the day.  Let's just say my son got to eat very little Halloween candy this year. It KILLED him to turn over the bag of candy to his teacher each week. He tried to "forget" he had it, but forgot that mom & Mrs. B actually talk to each other (unlike previous teachers). So Mrs. B knew to ask for her payment.

Yeah, well potty mouth & inappropriate words have pretty much stopped now.

All in all the best was that we encountered the principal/guidance counselor from the home school earlier this month. She spoke with my now animated son, before he excused himself (!!) and went to play with his friend.  She came up to me later and said "In three years I've never seen your son so happy." (Even the CST case manager said the same thing when she did a classroom observation in early October) It took all that I had to not say "Well the only thing different now is that he is not in your school anymore. Coincidence perhaps, I think not." but alas I didn't say it. (My sensors work MUCH better than my son's) I simply said thank you.

Sure my kid is not perfect. This placement is not the BEST for him, but it certainly is an improvement over last years. He has an awesome teacher, and the paraprofessional classroom assistant is just that a classroom assistant. Unlike the classroom aides in his previous school who thought they were co-teachers (without a license) or his 1:1 who would change his assignments without consulting the resource room or classroom teacher. The paraprofessional is a professional, she works in tandem with Mrs. B.

One day at a time. Oh and not only has my son's reading ability skyrocketed (as I already knew. His 2nd grade teacher didn't know he could read because he refused to read aloud in class. She was a bit huffy when the resource room teacher said he read for her all the time in the small group setting.), he is actually voluntarily without much prompting doing is journal writing and other writing assignments. Now that he is getting his ideas out, she is working on properly answering questions in a full sentence and basic grammar & composition.  He still has difficulty with addition/subtraction but he is ROCKING multiplication.

He is still obsessed with rocks, weather, astronomy,Legos and science in general. Me being such a geek, I am absolutely thrilled. Now he wants an Erector set (we saw one on TV yesterday that was used as a prototype model for a major invention. And it was major league cool.) Funny part is that I had one in my cart at TRU, but put it back thinking I was projecting my interests onto him, since I always loved Lincoln Logs, Tinker Toys, Legos & Erector sets as a child. Plus I figured I'd end up having to build it anyway. Darn it, now that he knows what it is he wants it!

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