Making parenting mistakes since 2008

Category — school

Stolen… or perhaps just missing

My sanity

My patience

My time alone

My “good” Mama vibe

My ability to see the bright side and move forward

My kids took them, homeschooling continues to kick my ass. I must say though that it is so  much better than the alternative. I have some thoughts about getting things back on track next week with the kids. I hate that I have to be a drill sargent and stand over one of them at all times to have him do anything at all. He is sneaky about it as well and I would be lying if I said that it was not making me crazy!

November 8, 2012   1 Comment


I have to find a school for Ramona for the fall. This is no easy task. She is currently in kindergarten and at the moment she has a full time Educational Assistant to help her make choices that ensure both she and the children she is with remain safe at all times.

I called my school of choice the other day and had a long conversation with the principal, she was judgmental and cool, to say the very least. I let her know that we were adopting an older child and had decided not to enrol Ramona in school immediately because the time she will have with me during the day will do a lot for her attachment and will hopefully help once we do put her in school full days. She told me she thought I was making a mistake and if I was not considering school perhaps I should consider daycare. I told her that I did not think that Ramona’s needs could be met in daycare considering she currently had 1 to 1 supervision at all times. She was less than understanding and asked if Ramona had been formally identified. When I told her that her IEP was for behaviour her tone got even more negative and we discussed alternate school options as this school is cross boundary and thus they are not obligated to take any of my kids…

The rest of this is posted on Hopeful Parents

March 9, 2012   3 Comments

just writing.

It’s 1:30 on a Friday, a Friday in which both of my kids are home from school. One is in his room writing letters of apology for repeatedly losing his temper and one is outside hanging laundry on the line. Would you like to take any guesses as to who is doing what.

We has a really great first part of the week, things were going smoothly, to smoothly and then yesterday all hell broke lose. Fudge wet through his pull up and swore up and down that he had nothing to drink and Calvin lost it at school over little things. He overreacted, they handled it poorly because no one  there talks to one another and so now he is in trouble here and there. He is supposed to be writing letters of apology to a variety of people and rather than get it done he is playing all sorts of control games. It is going to be a long day.

In brighter news I found some great flooring on sale today that to replace the kitchen floor that was damaged when a pipe in our wall broke. Yes a connection actually broke in the wall and we now need to replace the kitchen floor. The good news is that my parents are coming to visit for 2 weeks and my Dad can help me put it in which means that we can spend more money on the floor and less money on labor. I am crossing my fingers that we get enough money from the insurance to not have to spend any of our highly coveted pennies.

We are going to cub camp this weekend. Fudge will have fun, Calvin will not as he is in trouble for his behaviour and will spend the weekend on arms reach and since I do the cooking he will miss out on a lot. I  must say that I am not at all surprised at his behaviour at school, he is testing the staff out and so far he is getting away with murder so to speak. The great student support worker who was there last year is gone and the one who is there this year had little training and less skill. It might be a long year. There will be a lot of missed school over the next 2 weeks though and that will help immensely I think.

So that’s it, just moving along as though all of this is completely normal, well it is around here, what kind of week would it be if my children did not repeatedly attempt to control everyone and everything around them.

I have been waiting for the laundry fairy to come, she never showed. I guess I must get the laundry out of the office so my parents can sleep in it starting on Tuesday.

October 1, 2010   No Comments

Shame into submission

Shame is a big part of life. We all feel it and we all know how to make someone else feel it. It is normal BUT it can be harming as well. Kids who have experienced trauma ( most adopted kids have some and it all varies but it is there) have a really difficult time with shame and for many of them it can push them into fight or flight mode at the drop of a hat. Calvin is one of those kids, we have worked really hard with him to teach him that is ok, that it is a normal emotion and that we can work through it.

The problem is other adults routinely use shame as a way of getting children to comply, this is especially apparent at school. As a teacher it was something I would do with a kid to make them realise the error of their ways, I was not trying to guilt them into apologising but instead just trying to get them to make amends and develop some empathy. This does not work with either of my kids. This year the following letter was given to Calvin’s teachers and I thought that it might be useful to other Mama’s to so here it is.

Dear Teachers,

There are a few things that we need to remember about Calvin and his needs as a child who has experienced trauma and multiple transitions in his short life.

– Shame is a significant issue and trigger for Calvin, using it to make him be compliant will not work, it will just escalate his behaviour. If he perceives that he is being shamed over his behaviour by adults or children he will react. It may take hours but there will be a reaction.
– Making his world smaller to keep other kids safe will only escalate his behaviours if he is made to feel more shame by other kids or staff. (this is the fear that he vocalizes the most at home about what happens at school, if all the kids know I am in place X because of my behaviour they will tease me and hurt me. )
– Each failure and loss that Calvin experiences at school affects his emotional and mental health and thus affects his behaviour.
– Although Calvin is 10 his emotional age is significantly lower and as a result he is often unable to verbalize his feelings and the things that trigger his reactions because he is only just learning this skill. We do not expect a child of 3 or 4 years of age to be able to tell us why they are having a tantrum instead we try to help them contain their emotions and then help them to make amends for their actions.

Calvin needs to be able to succeed at school, we need to work together to meet all of his needs just as we would for any child who presented with significant special needs. Although Calvin’s special needs are invisible that does not make them any less significant.

Some strategies for working with Calvin are:
– Watching for his escalating behaviours and intervening as soon as he appears to be having a conflict rather than waiting for the kids to get an adult to help
– Being aware that change in his routines ( supply teachers, community good byes, special events) cause him stress and his stress comes out as behaviour.
– Directing him to a calming activity when he appears to begin being overwhelmed by a situation – colouring and books are good things that give him space to calm himself down.
– Calvin needs a great deal of structure to be successful. When he is already feeling overwhelmed activities like P.E. and recess can push him over the edge.
– Asking him to leave an activity and move to something else when you notice that other children are pushing his buttons.
– Acknowledging his feelings in a situation even if it appears as though nothing of significance has happened and that he has over reacted
Calvin says “ I was mad because they were staring at me”,
Adult responds “ Wow Calvin that must of made you feel really uncomfortable. Can you tell me about what else happened?”
This sort of response is far more effective because Calvin really does struggle with issues that would seem insignificant for other children his age.

– If Calvin runs and hides after a negative behaviour he is responding to a deep fear or trauma trigger, he will not be successful if you put him back into the classroom without first giving him lots of time and space to regroup.

Please remember that Calvin works really hard to keep it together at school and just because he seems to of bounced back from an issue does not mean that there will not be more behaviour later as a result of that same issue. Calvin can always come home if things are harder than he seems able to handle, in fact we would prefer that he came home before he escalated to the point of hurting another child. He understands that when he is feeling lots of “big feelings” he needs some space to pull himself together. Home is a safe place for that to happen.

Thanks for your continued support in making school successful for Calvin

September 17, 2010   5 Comments

and we’re off

And another summer is done! Thank the Lord they are on the bus. School comes with challenges and moments of frustration but I was so done with summer. They were done too, they were missing their friends and the routines at school and I am thrilled that they were excited to go back.

P and I are off this morning to meet with our worker to complete the last piece of our homestudy… the matching inventory. The whole process bugs me because when you have a biological child you can not choose what special needs they may or may not have and although I appreciate why it needs to be done the whole thing is a bit weird.

September 7, 2010   2 Comments

Troll love.

This comment was left on my blog, since you prefer not to tell me who you are I will answer you publicly because this is my blog and I can do that.

thatwouldbeme said…

The reason the principal reacted like that toward you is because your’e a bully. Congratulations, you just taught your son that he can assault someone (again) and get away with it if he just bitches and moans and intimidates enough

Well I am impressed that you think that I have taught my son that being bully works. Let me assure you that my bitching and moaning would not have needed if the school had listened to us and his therapist in the first place. They choose not to. We tried again and again but they kept on putting Calvin in situations where he was going to fail. Yes he failed in this case, he hurt another child. He was given a consequence and he apologised to the children he hurt.
That being said the reason that Calvin reacted the way that he did was because he was triggered. Children who have suffered neglect and trauma often go into fight or flight mode when they feel threatened. Calvin had a brutal day socially and he panicked when challenged verbally by another child. He fought to protect himself and then he ran and hid.
When you have spent the first 5 years of your life fending for yourself and fighting to survive you have a tendency to over react to things. He is a child, he is learning and all of the adults in his life need to support him on that journey not shame him into submission.

May 4, 2010   12 Comments

Just to answer a few things.

A few more things and then I am going back to pulling weeds,

Just to clarify, there was no cirlcle of shame ( as Essie calls it), in fact there will be no confrontation between the girls he hurt and him. I was not willing to bend on that one at all. It was not going to happens and I think that the prinicpal realised that. Calvin wrote the girls letters and I gave them to the prinicpal to pass along to the girls ( I need to say that they both have the same name and it is the same name as his older sister).

There will need to be some plans in the classroom for “safety” (I could not get him to bend on this one) but one of them includes more supervision when he is working in a group which is not a bad thing. He is still sitting alone but so is everyone else because their teacher moved them back into rows this week. The school will send home their “safety plan” for us to read and they already called me a while ago to read it to me over the phone. He is not going to be banished to one corner of the yeard but a duty teacher will check in with him after 10 minutes on the yard and after 20 minutes he is allowed to take a friend and go to the computer lab or the Student Support Workers office and do something other than make mischief on the yard.

April 14, 2010   2 Comments


Calvin went to school today. We ( P , therapist, me and principal)  met yesterday afternoon and the prinicpal was singing a different song than he sung on Friday. The tune was the same but the lyrics where different. I am not sure that they can do what Calvin needs them too and I am not sure that this is where he needs to be. But at the same time I want him to finish the year. I am going to pull him more often and do other things and hope that everyone can stay safe.

P, the therapist and I got out point across. He listened and kept saying that he knew that I was unhappy on Friday – really, how perceptive of you! I kept my cool and did not launch into all the stuff that is rattling around in my head about all the mistakes that they made and how if they just listend to me in the first palce none of this would of happened

Calvin went to school on the bus with Fudge. After they left I drove to the school and talked to some of the other staff, the staff who works with Calvin and who understands him. The prinicpal was around but I was not at all interested in interacting with him. I brought copies of my “Calvin needs” sheet and handed them out along with the letters that he wrote to the girls he had hurt.

I told them that I was worried about Calvin and that I saw some behaviour yesterday that I had not seen in months (soiling) that indicated to me that although Calvin appears ok on the outside he is not at all ok with all of this.

I trust that he will get through this week but I also worry that as soon as things seem to be okay something will happen, they will handle it badly and we will be right back where we were last week.

I have more to say but the sun is shining and the earth is calling and so it will have to wait.

April 14, 2010   3 Comments


Mama Bear – 0
Therapist  – 0
School – 0

Calvin was home all day. The school and the therapist played phone tag. Calvin will be home tomorrow. I will not send him back until I know that he will not be shamed into submission.

It may be a long week. I’ll keep you posted.

PS – thanks for all your support. In response to few comments – he does have an IEP and a safety plan ( behaviour type plan), the principal wants to change it to have C sit alone, not be alone with other kids,  play in certain parts of the yard etc and that along with the restorative justice circle is what I am so against. I will not let my child be shamed by a man who does not understand that shame is the worst thing to do to a child like Calvin.

April 13, 2010   9 Comments

so last week

So last week I had a comment, I published the comment even though person who left it did not have it in them to leave a name or link. It said ” so it is the school’s fault that your son assaulted someone with a chair” or something along those lines. I thought I would respond to my friend anonymous publicly since I have no other way of tracking them down.

The short answer is yes, it is their fault because they did not do what they needed to do to keep the other children safe.

Calvin really struggles with his anger, he lashes out all the time at other kids. He has an IEP at school for behaviour and when he was younger he had a full time aid just to help get him through the day. He is a very angry kid, ( with lots of good reasons to be) and when he switched to the junior elementary this year I begged them to sit down with me and make a plan. I did not want him to hurt anyone else.

They would not listen.

I finally got them to hear me, we planned a meeting and then half of his classroom team did not come to the meeting. We planned some strategies out and wrote them for those who were not there. I took his therapist with me, we were pretty honest about what he is capable of and how quickly a situation can get out of hand.

Fast Forward to January.

His behaviour continued to escalate at school, I warned them that he was going to blow. He did, he raged at school and starting throwing stuff. I begged them to do more, to make a safety plan for him, to keep him in line of sight and such. They did not do anything. The other kids started teasing him more, started to enjoy the show he was putting on. No one stopped them.

Finally when another kid teased him about being adopted he blew and threw the chair. I am a teacher, I have seen this happen with other kids, I have also stopped it from happening. There is no reason for it to of happened at all, if they had been meeting his needs and watching him he would not of been alone in groups of kids who are known bullies. If they had been implementing his IEP he would of been near a teacher and not alone. If they had been listening tohim they would of seen and heard that he was already close to the edge from the morning events and taken care to keep other safe.

But they did not, so yes it is their fault that he threw the chair. He made the choice to do, he needs to be accountable for the choices he made but he is a boy who has been through more than any child should have to and they adults in that school have to be accountable too. They are making different choices now, now they are keeping him safe by limiting the interaction he has with other kids who might bully him. You can tell me that this is the real world and has to learn to deal with other people and you are right he does have to learn, but not today.
Today he needs learn that he is loved and safe and that no matter what he is always going to be protected. Once he learns that we will work on life in the real world.

March 4, 2010   6 Comments