Thursday, December 5, 2013

The poop and the fan

I was just about to write a whiny status update on FB about all the things I need to do during my office hour today (12-1, class is at 1), but I thought it kind of deserved its own post because I haven't done nearly enough professional kvetching in the last several months. So, during my office hour, I need to:

Give a makeup exam for three students
Grade three sets of labs
Sort four sets of labs, a set of exams, and the research projects by name so it doesn't take the entire class period to return papers
Plan class
Eat lunch

This is greatly complicated by the fact that Mary woke up at 11:30 last night, pretty much for the day.  This was worse for Ryan who ended up spending the night sleeping in a twin bed with her.  She had to have a bottle because I had pumped at 10:30 and then they both fell asleep and stayed like that until 6:30.  But once I was woken up at 11:30 I couldn't go back to sleep until around 2:00 because I was so freaked out about today.

Today, in addition to the list above, I need to figure out when to go to HEB because we are due for freezing precipitation tonight and over the next three days.  Before I can go to HEB I need to plan four solid meatless meals that Wes will actually eat and will actually make everyone full that don't involve pizza and grilled cheese (because we've already done those this week).  This is an impossible task.

In addition to that planning, I also had to find a way to go to the elementary school and fill out the referral for the gifted and talented program that we are hoping (HOPING) will be the thing that finally challenges Charlie at school which we are hoping will make him less miserable at school.  He has spent the entire semester sinking deeper and deeper into what we now believe to be a clinical situation because of freaking school and the way he spends the whole day getting in trouble for not focusing and staying on task on work that he could have done two years ago.

He hates school and I don't blame him.  He is reading on a third grade plus level (I suspect it's higher, but this is as high as his teacher was willing to test him) and only in the last couple of weeks has started bringing home books that actually interest and engage him that are appropriate in difficulty.  He says things to us like "One hundred minus two is equal to ninety plus eight" and yet brings home math work adding single digits that is marked wrong because he didn't correctly articulate the "strategy" he used to find the solution.  At my parents' house the other day just for fun he used Scrabble letters to write "Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States" but the "word study" work he is bringing home is stuff like fill in the blanks using words from a box to write sentences like "Sam has a brown dog."  And he's getting in trouble ALL THE TIME for not focusing.  And it is killing him.  This is not OK.

He comes home absolutely defeated and then picks on his brothers all afternoon, talks about how "dumb" he is, and has terrible nightmares that keep him awake hours after bedtime.  The night we decorated the Christmas tree, no one had the egg nog and pumpkin bread snack I laid out on the counter because halfway through the magical holiday funtime Charlie made a mistake on a drawing and stomped up the stairs screaming, SCREAMING, about how he wished he'd never been born.  I can't even bring myself to post any of the happy pictures on here or on Facebook because they just make me so sad and panicky that we're never going to get him back.

He's going to see a therapist this afternoon to address some of the scarier things he's been dealing with and then Ryan and I are going on the public school warpath to improve his situation.  He's going on the wait list for the academically accelerated magnet school near us.  We're registering him for a Montessori elementary just in case.  We're referring him for talented and gifted.  I'm considering homeschooling next semester.  But first we are going to do everything we can to make the neighborhood school work.  And all of that starts today.

And James is potty training.  And Mary is four months old.  And Wes's best friend in the whole world has turned into an abusive grouch most of the time.  And I'm still working.  And there are pockets of folded laundry all the freak over the house that I have not had a single moment to put away.

And I still have to come up with some magic dinner that will make everyone happy that is not pizza for tonight.


Candy said...

Oh Ohhh, I am sitting here with blurry eyes because I feel so bad for Sir Charlie...hope the AP classes work out for him. Maybe he has a touch of early adolescence? Is seven too early for teen-angst?
I hope he can snap back to his friendly helpful self...sending my thoughts and prayers. xoxox

Kathleen said...

Poor Charlie - brought tears to my eyes to read that and induced me to comment for the first time! I'm hoping something works out, especially the AP classes.

Steph said...

Two of our favorite recipes right now:

We'll be praying for you!

lonek8 said...

I am heartbroken for you about Charlie. I have another friend with a gifted boy struggling in school the same way and I can't imagine the frustration. I hope you find a solution soon.

My kids get cereal for dinner. A lot. It's their favorite, lol

Sarah said...

Poor kid! I had similar experiences in elementary school, and it's no fun. You're doing everything right to help him, though. You'll get him back, I promise. As soon as you find something that's a good fit for him, he'll be so happy. It just might take some time to find the right solution. Maybe talk to him about that - "I know this is hard, and we're trying everything we can to fix the situation, but we don't know what will work, so try to be patient."

Italian wonderpot ( is our go-to meatless meal, and there's always mac and cheese! I liked the look of this crockpot one:, but I haven't tried it yet.

Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

I would seriously consider homeschooling if no other option becomes available. I had a child who slashed black crayon over all the worksheets in protest (she could read already, this was "circle the letter" kind of work). The teacher's answer? "I can't give her new work if she doesn't do this sheet first." So frustrating. Sometimes even mentioning homeschooling is enough to make the school sit up and pay attention to you and your child.

Christina said...

Hang in there, Becca! I'm amazed by all you do on the job and at home with four kids every day. With parents like you and Ryan advocating for him, Charlie's going to be OK. No question.

As for dinner, what about LL's chicken barley chili? That's got easy ingredients and is great for winter.

CP said...

I'm so sorry things are rough with school work. But he is so lucky to have such attentive and caring parents who are addressing the issue. I hope you find the solution that is best suited for your family. Wow, you are dealing with so much right now, hang in there!

Unknown said...

We went through a really rough season with K last spring. It was as if his entire life's problems all piled up on him and smothered us. I really feel for you. We saw a child physcologist over the summer and it was incredibly helpful. -M'Lynn

Erica said...

Poor Charlie. Of all of your posts that stress me out, I think this one has the dubious honor of stressing me out the most.

Amy said...

May I suggest spaghetti squash? Mixed with whatever you want - regular spaghetti sauce or olive oil, black olives, tomatoes, and feta. Delicious and meat free and you can trick the kids into thinking it's noodles! :-)

steff said...

You two are awesome, Charlie is brilliant. GT was the solution for our square peg whodidnt fit the round hole of public education. Advanced him a grade and put him in GT and he was content and happy!

Cheese raviloi with marinara and melted mozz an option? Pizza ravioli is what I call it and they eat it!

Anonymous said...

Hugs to you and Charlie. This is so tough but you'll get through this. He is a good kid with awesome parents.

How about breakfast for dinner? French toast, pancakes or omelettes and hash browns. Easy peasy. <3

Chiconky said...

Kick ass, Mama! I REALLY wish we'd gone on the warpath with Eli sooner.
And I am so sorry that you're having to go through this, but reading your experience really validated what we've been struggling with.
So yeah. Go kick some ass.

Brooke said...

I am so sorry to hear Charlie has continued to be miserable and anxious about school. It breaks my heart. I know you guys are well-prepared to fight for him, and I don't want to overstep with ass-vice, but if you want any information that David could give you about how his school district would handle something like this (even if you just wanted to be able to say something like, "A friend who is a principal in St. Louis does x, y, and z for students in Charlie's situation"), just let me know. I'm all over it.

For dinner: taco night? Beans instead of meat? Also: baked ziti or baked spaghetti--the more cheese the better! Grilled peanutbutter and banana sandwiches count as cooking because you use the stovetop. And then maybe stir-fry? (Why is meal planning way more fun when I'm doing it for someone else?)