Friday, April 13, 2007

First up, Belgium. What kind of a gift should I request from said country? Not chocolate (I don't really like chocolate. I think my distaste for Cathy comics put me off the stuff.). This gift will be the first hubby-travel gift in two years, and will follow a looong stretch of single-parentdom on my part, so it can be good.

Next, school auctions. They usually serve alcohol there, ya? I have one coming up, I will be alone (the above-referenced hub travel), I will have a babysitter, and I will need a drink or two. Think I need to bring a flask? (Joking. Kinda.)

At the end of February, I was ten minutes late picking up Huckle from preschool. It was a traffic problem, I didn't have my cell, whatever, I was late and I apologized and was embarassed and everything. Huck had wet his pants through, and I was informed that he'd been in wet clothes for hours (there was a spare set of clothes and pullups there, but the teacher's aide didn't find them or didn't look or whatever). The director of the school pulled me aside as I was trying to walk Huck toward the front door, she blocked my path, started talking about how my lateness and Huck's wetness was unacceptable. I told her three times that I was sorry, that he had pants there, but that we really needed to leave. She said, "No, we need to sit down and talk about the problems you are having." Right about then, Huck wiggled out of my grip (I was worried about hurting his wrist, I loosened up because he was struggling and trying to get away, he was wired and worked up and wanted to run), ran past the director, out the hall door, up the ramp, opened the front door (I heard the bell chime), and took off into the parking lot. Still, director won't let me past her -- I was in panic mode as soon as he took off, she didn't notice anything out of the ordinary, like my child running away from me. (By the way, Huck ran past three teachers/school staff to get out the front door, no one stopped him.) So I run out the hallway door, up the ramp, out the front door, and see Huck in the middle of the parking lot, doing the crazy 3 year old run and jump and scream thing, and even though there aren't any cars moving in the lot, and even though the road the school is on is about 100 feet away and not too busy, I am still freaked. the. fuck. out. because I know Huckle well enough to know that the only way I'll be able to get him is to actually chase him down and catch him -- he's in his head, he probably wouldn't even hear me, so all the screaming of his name and the "Come back!"s aren't getting through, and goddamn can this kid dodge and duck and oh holy crap here comes a minivan. So by the time Huck falls down and I catch him, I'm sobbing from fear and relief and general exhaustion (I went to school exhausted already). I pick him up and say, "You cannot run away from me, you just cannot, you have to be safe," through my tears, but by that time he's totally disassociated. He's got the "Huckle has left his body" thing working, as we refer to it around here. So I stand there holding him and rocking him, in the middle of the parking lot, and I whisper to him that he's okay, Mommy has him.

That part sucked a lot, it really did, I was scared and angry. But the kid running away happens to everyone, and I don't beat myself up over that, mostly because my little brother spent 5 years pulling the same sort of stuff on all of us, starting with the time he could walk and continuing each time his feet hit the floor.

Anyhow, once I was holding Huckle, school director makes another appearance. She proceeded to yell at Huckle, telling him how naughty running away was, demanding that he apologize to me, and when he didn't respond (still staring the thousand-yard stare), she said, "Wow, he is totally disrespecting you. You don't have any control over him at all. He never behaves this way here at school. You really have a lot of work to do to be any kind of a parent. He doesn't have an respect for you at all. How do you think you can even keep him safe?"

So. Ten minutes later, I knew exactly what I should have said to her. At the time, I mumbled, "Well, he has a lot of anger and mistrust for his mother, and it comes to me now." Then I said goodbye to School Director Cunt, put Huckle in his carseat, and drove three blocks down from school and had a bit of a meltdown on a side street.

Why didn't I just tell her to shove her disciplining of Huck and the observations that followed right up her ass? I'm still pissed at myself five weeks later.

I do know why. She scared the shit out of me. She knows that Huckle is my foster son. She could initiate an investigation. She could tell people that I can't keep him safe because he doesn't respond to me. Huck's resistance to me (and his happy feet) is well-documented with the professionals involved in his case. If there was even the slightest chance that my telling her to go fuck herself would result in Huckle leaving our home, I was going to keep my mouth shut.

I'm still hating her on the inside, though. I have a daydream about unloading on her after finalization. When it happened, Hubs and I discussed removing him from the school then, but I was worried that another change would hurt his (fledgling) sense of stability, even though at that time he was still crying every school day and begging not to have to go.

I do think I'll enroll him in another preschool next year, though. Every time I see SDC now I want to slap her face, and knowing that Huckle would be in her class next year is too much for me to handle. (I wouldn't actualy slap her face, but the wanting to is bad enough.)

So I know this whole story presents me as a crappy mom, but I do think she was way out of line. Am I alone in feeling that way?

PS: continued in comments


Process said...

What an absolutely horrible experience. Of course SDC was out of line. Is this a regular preschool he's attending? Is there a specialized school he could attend instead?

Mary said...

Absolutely she stepped over that line! People like SDC have a very narrow-minded view of what all children are like -- even the so-called "normal" ones -- and when a child doesn't fit into that neat little picture, they start making sweeping generalizations.

For the mature advice: Maybe you could be the better person by presenting her with information on Huck's behavioral issues (pamphlets, books to read). I know trying to educate every idiot is impossible, but if you start with one.

My personal opinion: No matter what, she's a twit. Go slap her up after finalization. She needs it.

Just understand we've got your back!

Maerlowe said...

Process: Yes, this is a regular preschool. There may be a specialized school, but at this time, Huckle wouldn't qualify for it. The state regards him as the lowest level of care (which he very well may have been before the last reunification almost a year ago), and as far as cognitive functioning goes, he's (now) ahead of the curve, so assistance on that front is nearly impossible to get.

Mary: Would you believe that I left 30 pages of printouts on RAD, PTSD, anxiety disorders, adjustment problems, and other topics when we enrolled him? Ya. These idiots feel like staying idiots, I guess. Of course, they also published his full name (including the Jr.) with my and Hub's names, our phone number, and address in the school's phone contact list addendum AND put a photo with him in it in their newspaper ad, even after I'd explained how very very serious our safety concerns are, especially since Mom had a job here last year. Maybe if I'd told them juicy details like how children get kidnapped and houses get burned down and brake lines get cut and enemies are murdered in Huck's family, they'd have paid attention.

And School Director Cunt had the balls to ask me why I haven't done my volunteer time for March or April. Yeah, totally looking forward to the school auction.

Yondalla said...

Some people don't get -- so very, very much. I learned from doing respite care that some of the kids who are angels with me are the hardest to parent when they go home. It is all part of the bizarre pattern of traumatized children.


I understand your feeling of helplessness.

Did you document it with the social worker? It's good to have your version of the events on file so that if she does call they can say they already know all about it.

I'm angry at her for you.

Baggage said...

I am so very sorry. I am so angry for you.

I agree..let the SW know what happened. I always think it is better in situations like this for them to hear it from you if you think she might say something.

My Bubba does the running away, laying down in the middle of the parking lot thing all the time. I think it is a 3 year old boy thing. Maybe.

Gawdess said...

Maybe a pashmina or two from belgium?
Do you like coffee or tea? Glassware or art objects? Do some online looking for what they do their that is really cool in your opinion.

Have been in that single parent thing a lot.

Have also lived, too many times, that kind of crap with playcschool etc. The stories are pointless to tell now but they were bad.

After finalization -Slap her down if that works for you, and at the very least, please write a letter about her to the board of the school or whoever she happens to be responsibe too, perhaps to the better business bureau or the licensing people in your state. It will make you feel better - it is worth it.

I think you actually handled it well and focusing on Huckle instead of the insensitive power mad cow person was the best choice of all.

You were dealing with what you had to deal with and she wasn't worth your time.

I think you have an extremely legitimate complaint that would not play well in front of other people about them leaving him, a small child in wet clothes when clean ones were available to the staff.

Why not stay home from the auction or better yet, go out and browse at a bookstore or whatever?

Honest to god I've been there.
One quick playschool story:
Our 3 year old daughter was left out on the playground her first week at the school. They didn't notice she wasnt' with the class for I don't know how long until they looked out a window and saw her wandering around outside alone!
Anything could have happened to her - if they hadn't seen her and then they, the teacher and assistant had the nerve to blame her for not coming in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It took me months to convince her that they were wrong and she was convinced that if I took her out of the school it would be because she was being punished for doing wrong!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vanessa said...

She was evil and totally out of line. Totally.

Also, if that was the first time she'd ever seen a three-year-old run away from his parent and ignore pleas to stop, she must wear a blindfold to work every day. I've never met a three-year-old who *didn't* do that, including my own (bio) daughter. It's only recently that I've let her stop holding my hand in parking lots, and she's eight!

Amanda said...

out of line may be the understatement of the century. what a bitch! I'm sorry you have to deal with her and I definitely think moving him at the end of the year and documenting with the sw is your best bet.

Along with passively agressively not showing up for the auction. Without calling to let them know. :-)

Jamie said...

Wow. What a Bitch. This is horrible. And I also beat myself up for not saying the most perfectly cutting and vindictive comment at the perfect time but I can definitely understand your reasons for not doing so. It makes perfect sense.

I'm sorry this happened.

And I say that yes, you should go into gory details because maybe that would get their attention.

Good luck and I'm sorry.


Maggie said...

Bitch. Ugh.

Problem is, that's not the last person you'll probably encounter like this. No matter how much we can try to explain the special circumstances and needs kids with a history of abuse/neglect have, some will never get it. And, let's face it, some people in education think they know your kid better than you do.

I remember calling the local school to set up services for Vladimir (when I thought I would still be able to bring him home). Due to his tiny size and language barrier, I wanted him a grade below his age group. I had done a lot of studying and talking to other a-parents and professionals before making that decision. The principal of the school wouldn't hear of it. Also, I wanted to meet with the teacher before to talk over Vlad's issues and the reasons behind them and try to develop a team relationship with her -- again, the principal wouldn't hear of it. I let it go for the time being, figuring I'd fight the battle when he came home. It's frustrating!

cloudscome said...

How horrible! I can not believe all those teachers let him run right by them! They all should have gotten yelled at, not you and Huck!! Good Grief! My Buddy is four and he does the run away and fall down in the parking lot too. It makes me want to cry right now just thinking of it. I have no idea what to do. It is so frustrating!

Chris & Michelle Sapp said...

I'm shuttering in disgust at that woman and her words! How could she???!!! I met with a preschool and took my son. He had major issues while we were there and although I'm sure the director might have been thinking some of those things, she kept calm and reassured me. However, I have had the other... SO MANY PEOPLE want to tell you ho it is and what you should be doing. I've decided on this line - "Thank you fpr you concern...and your advice may work for your 2 year old (or 3 year old), but my child has her/his own set of circumstances that are hers and hers alone. I don't wish to share those wish you, but just know I am doing the best I can and always doing what I believe is best for my child." I'm a teacher and I see many teachers judging parents. In fact, I had a small break down a while back just thinking about the judgments my son and the family are going to face because of ignorance. It sounds like you are doing an awesome job at being a mother to Huckle. That lady disgusts me! And to think they published his picture and his information!