Friday, September 30, 2011

Fun :)

I did my first maternity photo shoot the other day, and loved it! Check out the results here.

Thanks everyone for your advice and encouragement on my last post. It's really great to get others take on it.

I totally forgot to mention that Tristan "really" started preschool on Thursday. I say really because the first 3 weeks were at our house. Thursday was at a different house. He was pretty hesitant to go, but after much bribing I got him there. He had a good time. I get a kick out of hanging out with him during the day. Today he said, "Mom, since you've been a good boy, I'll let you play Candyland with me." I said, "Well, Devan, I'm not a boy, I'm a girl". Devan, "Oh, well, I just thought you'd been a boy... but you can still play with me." haha! He cracks me up. One last thing. How bad is it that I stack the candyland deck? Is it to bad that I make sure Princess Frosting is near the top of the deck? Some of our candyland games last FOREVER, and I find this helps both of us stay a bit more focused on the game. When I read him the little story that goes with the game it says "Isn't Princess Frostine Beautiful?" Tristan always gets a sheepish smile, blushes, and says "yeeeeh". Love him!

Today we went to costco, picked up a couple things, and had an easy cheap costco $1.50 hotdog and drink dinner. The boys love that. Then we went to the Dollar Tree. They actually had some really fun halloween stuff, so if you have one close by go check it out before it's all gone!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Gotta get it out.

Devan has really enjoyed going to school, and there has only been one evening where he has said he didn't want to go. I on the other hand have had a hard time having him in school! There has been some things going on with his teacher that have made things difficult. I feel so protective over my kids and never want their feelings hurt, or self image damaged (like any parent I'm sure).

As I have said before, on Devan's 3rd day of school he got moved to a new classroom. His original teacher, Ms. Hill, was the last teacher hired, and because of budget cuts they had to move her to a different school. Devan was put in Ms. Montalvo's class.

My first day picking Devan up from his new class I asked Ms. Montalvo how he did. She threw her arms up in the air and said, "He is so distracted! He just can't focus..." and went on about it RIGHT in front of Devan, RIGHT in front of his peers, RIGHT in front of all the other teachers. I could feel myself burning up inside. What did they expect, they moved him around from class to class, he's brand new to the whole school experience, and a 5 year old BOY. Isn't it kind of a given that he would be a bit distracted after all of that? I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. After all, she had just unexpectedly received a couple new kids in her class, and maybe she was just stressed.

2nd day rolls around... more negative comments, nothing positive, and again in front of everyone...

3rd day rolls around... more negative, no positive, in front of everyone. I asked her, "Can you give me specifics so I can talk to him about it better, and know what to work on. Her reply, "It's just in general." In my head, "Thanks, that's really helpful :( !!! But what I really said, "Well, can we sit down and talk about it." I emailed her and set up a time to meet.

The 2nd week of school I was already having a one on one with the teacher, sigh* The meeting had a bit of good and a bit of bad. She gave me a write up with what has been going on in class. I could relate with her on some of it. I taught in Devan's preschool co-op for 2 years, and know it can be difficult to get him to focus in a group setting. She had assessed Devan and said he was where he should be as far as his letters and numbers go. The letter started with Devan is a sweet child... Yay a positive! The rest of the letter, for the most part, was VERY negative. Some things that were added seemed to be just personal annoyances "He has a tendency to stomp in line"... really? Other things that got under my skin, "He cannot sit still". He cannot? I've seen him sit still many times, I'm pretty sure he can. She quotes Devan, "Yeah uh, huh, uh, huh" "uh huh, uh huh". Just a few things to give you a picture of the letter.

At one point in the meeting she said. I'm not a fan of medicating children but... I cut in, "I'm not a fan either."

There were some good suggestions and comments made through the meeting. We talked about having the school psychologist and speech therapist come in and observe (I haven't heard anything back about this). She agreed that Devan is a bright boy, but has a different learning style. He learns best through active hands on activities. She said he already has a good foundation to continue learning, and is where he should be. She also said he does good socially and gets along well with the other students. I told her I would talk to Devan's pediatrician about him focusing, and also continue with some focusing activities we do at home.

Something I have found interesting is the kids are grade on behavior everyday. Green=Excellent, Yellow=Satisfactory, Orange, and then Red. The majority of days he has gotten green, he's gotten a couple yellow, and 1 orange. Her grading has left me a bit confused. Every day I have asked how he's done, I've only gotten negative feedback, yet, the majority of the time he gets a "green" mark.

Last week was the first week for homework. I had to read her instructions about 10 times, because they were unclear to me.

"All homework should be completed in the homework spiral and kept in your child’s BEE binder at the very back of the notebook. I will check homework spirals every Friday.

Write your sight words 5 times each using rainbow writing. Write 5 “an” family words. For example: ran, can, man, etc.

Create an ABC pattern at home. You may draw shapes, use crayons, clippings, or any material you can find."

I understood it as complete the homework in the back of the homework spiral. What it really meant was the homework spiral is in the back of the binder. I had no idea what rainbow writing is. Does this mean we write in different we write in an arch like a rainbow... what the heck is rainbow writing? When I picked Devan up from school he said, "I got a red today...and a green". I had no idea what he was talking about so I asked Ms. Montalvo. Her response, "You're suppose to do the homework in the front of the spiral". Me, "oh, I thought the newsletter said the back". Her, "No, start at the front". When I opened his notebook there was a big red frown face and "NO HOMEWORK" written in large letters. It was then crossed out, with a new message. "Complete homework at the front of the notebook." So apparently Devan showed her that he had completed his work, it was just where we thought we were suppose to have it. He got a smile on his homework, although, it took me awhile to figure out what it was... a very messy smile. For being so critical of Devan being messy I would think she would be a bit more neat, haha. This also made me think, If I can't even understand her directions, maybe Devan is having a hard time understanding what she wants. Does she present things to him in a clear way?

A few nights back I was tucking Devan into bed. Out of nowhere, he started tearing up. He said, "Mom, I want to stay home with you forever. I don't want to go to school." And then the tears began to fall. My heart sank. I tried my best to put on a positive encouraging face. "Buddy, what's wrong, why don't you want to go to school". Devan, "I don't know how to do my homework". Me, "That's ok, I always help you with your homework" Devan, "No, I mean at school, the homework I do at school. I glued the picture in the wrong spot, and they said I can't redo it. I didn't know how to do it." He was so sad. It completely broke my heart. I told him as long as he focuses on the teacher when she gives instructions I'm sure she won't mind if you ask for help... he seemed hesitant. I said, "Devan, as long as you are doing your best, I'll always be proud of you. Sometimes we don't get things right the first time, but that means we just try harder the next time". I just wanted to stay and hug him until he fell asleep. I HATE HATE HATE, seeing my kids feelings hurt. I understand if Devan isn't focusing while directions are being given, it would be very frusrating for a teacher. I NEVER want him to feel like he can't ask questions though, and NEVER want him to be embarrassed or scared to ask. I really hope his teacher hasn't made him feel this way.

A couple weeks earlier he was what seemed to be talking in his sleep, but he was sitting up. He was saying " just cann't do it mom... I just can't do it." I said "It's ok, Devan, you just do your best." and he drifted back to sleep. It gave me the chills though, and left me wondering, if he was feeling to much pressure from me, school, or both.

Iwalani and Bruce came over Labor day weekend, and it was helpful talking to them about it. After talking to Iwalani she said how much Devan sounded like Chad at this age. For those of you who know my husband, you know what a great, smart guy he is, so her comments left me feeling better about things. Bruce read the letter from his teacher, and I can't remember his words, probably something like "sack of garbage" (haha Bruce if you're reading this, you know that is totally something you would say!) Whatever his words were he gave it no merit. I really appreciated their comments and suggestions. Chad has talked with his Dad as well, and gotten great feedback. My mom, poor lady, has had to listen to me go on about this nearly every time I talk to her! She has been so supportive and offered great advice. I'm SO lucky to have these people in my life. They are such wonderful parents, and grandparents!

Today I took Devan to his pediatrician to get her take on things. She said she rarely will diagnose kindergarteners with ADD or ADHD. Kids this age in general have a hard time focusing, so it makes it a difficult diagnoses. At the end of my meeting with her, and after discussing the situations above she said, "This isn't a problem with your child. This is a teacher problem." She said, "You need to be his advocate, and escalate things to a higher level if you need to!" She also mentioned how unprofessional and negative her letters were.

I have parent teacher conference next week, and am anxious to see how things are going (I've stopped asking after school, I got sick and tired off hearing all the negative, and don't think Devan needs to be hearing it either!) I'm sure if something is important to report back to me she'll let me know all about it.

In the meantime, we are continuing to help Devan on focusing. I've tried really hard to keep his evenings after school very structured. He has a chore chart, and checks off his chores every day after school. We then do homework, have free play time, eat dinner, and go to bed. He's done very well with his routine. I've tried some other things as well. He's started taking fish oil, and I make him a high protein breakfast in the morning (these are both suppose to help with focus.

He's such a sweet fun boy, and I LOVE his personality. His teacher might have a easier time if he was just like every other kid, and learned just like every other kid, but he doesn't, and I'm not going to put him on medication so he will. Like my husband said, "Who has an easy job? I want one of those!" I think some teachers need to remember why they chose to be teachers. If it's not to help children (and by help I don't mean medicating them, I mean sitting down and figuring out how they can learn the things they are teaching), maybe they should consider a new profession.

Well, that's it. If no one reads this, I'm not offended, haha, just had to get it all out there.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lazy Blogger

I've been a bit lazy on my blogging lately.

Devan started school a couple weeks ago and loves it. A lot of days he rides his bike to school and I push Tris and Brenan in the jogging stroller. We are super lucky to have the school so close to us!
Tristan started preschool 2 weeks ago. He loves it. I'm doing the preschool co-op with some other mom's. We have 6 kids all together, and they are all sweet and fun. I'm scheduled to teach the first 3 weeks and then will only have 2 weeks later in the year to teach. Not bad at all! It's actually quite fun.

Brenan has got 6 teeth in and is all over the place lately. He has such a fun loving personality. It is so easy getting smiles out of him.
We were happy to have Grandma Iwalani and Papa Bruce visit us over Labor Day weekend. The boys always have such a fun time when grandparents visit!

This is a summer picture, but I'm posting it now because I love it :)