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Monday, July 20, 2009

I had never met any of these people before. What was I thinking handing my daughter over to them for four hours a day for the next two weeks?

Maddie woke up this morning, just as excited as when she went to bed.
The girl was up at the crack of dawn, got dressed, ate breakfast and brushed her teeth all before 7 a.m.
She. Was. Excited.
I, on the other hand, was having second thoughts.
I had never met any of these people before. What was I thinking handing my daughter over to them for four hours a day for the next two weeks?
For some background...Kansas, like every other state in the nation (except Wyoming) is going through some pretty serious financial stuff. As a result, they've made HUGE cuts in education and the districts are having to make some pretty deep cuts. One of those cuts was supposed to be summer school, but thankfully all of the districts in our county decided to pool their resources so they could have summer school after all. One of the districts is hosting it...the rest of them are sending their kids.
Sounds like a pretty good solution, the only problem from my perspective is I don't know these people and they certainly don't know Maddie.
So I rectified that today.
The bus came to pick up Maddie...
I got in the van and drove to the school. I just HAD to meet the teacher and give her some background.
I'm so glad I did.
Can you believe, she didn't even know Maddie's name? She just knew she had a hearing impaired kid coming in. Didn't know the sex, didn't know the name...had no idea about her background and the fact that Maddie had only been speaking English for the last 15 months!
I spent the next 20 minutes explaining...everything.
About the fact that for the first four years of her life she heard next to nothing...
That we changed her native language 15 months ago...
That she's still learning to listen to sounds around here, which can lead to safety issues... That her language skills are stills severely lacking and is therefore affecting her academic skills...
I explained how the hearing aid worked...
I went over her personality, academic and physical strengths...
I covered the post-institutionalized stuff that I felt would affect her...
And so much more.
I think they got it. Well, as much as you can get when a crazy, over-protective mom shows up unannounced at your classroom door on the morning you're supposed to start teaching a bunch of kids with special needs whom you've never met before.
Yea. I'm sure she got it.
She seemed receptive. Her aides were attentive. They asked appropriate questions.
I was feeling pretty good about things...until I got home tonight.
I had to work late, so Shad was the one who handled the kids tonight. He thinks school went well, at least we didn't get any calls (not that I really expected any)...and it sounds like problems were minimal with the babysitter today...
But at Vacation Bible School, Maddie was as bad as he's seen her in a very long time.

Maybe ever.
At first she didn't want to go to VBS which isn't a big deal...we're thrilled she isn't throwing herself at complete strangers anymore.
But then her teacher started to pay attention to her, and picked her up, and carried her around, and...and...AND!!
Shad says by the time he went to pick her up afterwards the teacher was still holding her, she was talking babytalk, it sounds like she went wild during game time and was calling the woman, 'Mama'.
I know, I know...baby steps...two steps forward, one back...and all of that, but STILL!!!!
Tomorrow I will be calling the teacher, just to make sure all is well...
And I will be taking the kids to VBS and having a little talk with the teacher...and if things don't get better on Tuesday, Maddie won't be going back. I hate that. I want her to be able to go, but I can't risk another day like today.

While I'm sure today was just too much new stuff for her and she was overwhelmed, a big part of me is incredibly frustrated and discouraged. All that hard work I put in with her for the last 10 months seemed to have flown right out the window in just 24 hours.


9 salty messages:

MamaPoRuski July 21, 2009 at 1:14 AM  

Oh Tami! I know the well meaning volunteer is going to feel horrible knowing she did the exact wrong thing by holding her all day long too! Prayers for you all. Glad school went well however!

Tina in CT July 21, 2009 at 5:58 AM  

Toughest job in the world - motherhood!

Courtney July 21, 2009 at 7:51 AM  

Aaargghh! So frustrating, and I have the feeling we're going to be going through the same kinds of things with Emily. :(

Tanya July 21, 2009 at 8:03 AM  

Happy to hear school went well. You are in my prayers. It might be a tough job, but you sure are good at it!

MoonDog July 21, 2009 at 11:25 AM  

Ethan used to call anyone and everyone Mama. bout broke my heart! I was his mama! I was the one there when he screamed in the middle of the night every night for weeks. I wanted that title! he just didnt know. he knew who I was. he knew I was important but he just didnt know that I was the mama and no one else was. to him it was probably just a word. I wonder if Maddy doesnt realize since she has only been speaking so long, that Mama is a title reserved for only a very special person, not any one off the streets. and remember she probably had a dozen different "mamas" before coming home to you her REAL Mama. I remember people would act like oh the poor little orphan, I need to love on him. They just didnt seem to grasp the fact that he ISNT an orphan. if he has a problem I will take care of it! I AM HIS MAMA. hugs for what you are going through. and soon you can return words of wisdom when my two new ones come home and call everyone Mama.

Suzanne July 21, 2009 at 11:55 AM  

ARGH - the holding. The baby-talk. The mommy-shopping. Chickadee did this at day camp and then came home sad because the other girls didn't like her. I'm trying to help her see the connection between the infantile behavior towards adults and the rejection by her peers. I am hoping that the desire for peer acceptance will help her revise her approach to grown-ups.

It doesn't help that she is so tiny and everyone wants to baby her.

Yeah for steps forward! and YEAH for you for following your gut instinct.

PS Ellie?

Rachael July 21, 2009 at 11:56 AM  

Hope today goes better!

Annie July 21, 2009 at 7:28 PM  

Does she know what to call adult women she doesn't know? My children called everyone "mama" which they were taught to do in Russia.... Reminds me of my first teaching job - I taught second grade at a Catholic School and their first grade teacher had been a nun. I was called "Sister" for most of the year. That was really funny once I became obviously pregnant, and I took them all to the public library...

Sounds like she is a bit overwhelmed...well, after your first day anywhere that's natural. I'm glad the staff at the school were understanding. I'd have done the same thing!!

jessy July 22, 2009 at 7:53 PM  

Well...how did it go?

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