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Friday, April 29, 2016

I made the call, and I was pretty pissed off when I did

This morning I got on the scale and saw that I lost 6lbs this week.  I know there's a lot of factors at play here, but I've been working out no more frequently than I was last month and I haven't changed my diet much other than trying to eat a smaller desert at night, so I'm feeling like Daily Burn might be worth the reasonable monthly fee.  In addition to the ease of working out from home (which I really don't prefer over the gym but it fits my schedule better right now), I'm working hard enough to really feel the difference (mostly in soreness two days later, if I'm being honest).  Also I was feeling really depressed and defeated after the latest news from Alex's school, but after working out I felt strong and capable again.  This is good for my mental health.  I'm thinking about canceling my gym membership and working out at home on a regular basis.

Today I called the superintendent's office and gave them a very angry piece of my mind.  I didn't yell, but I wasn't nice and I let them know how angry I was that Alex is still being bullied by the kids who bullied him before, and how little the school does to protect him.  I let her know about all of the times he tried to tell the teacher or principal and how they either ignored him or punished him for 'lying'.  I told her how Alex is now suffering depression, and how we're prepared to take this to the next level if things aren't addressed.  I told her how I don't want him at Oldham next year.  She told me the principal told her about the "muffin" comments and what she planned to do about it.  I asked her if she (the principal) told her (the superintendent) about how Alex tried to report this to her and how she ignored him and sent him back to his seat because she "was going to lunch".  I asked if she'd been told about the latest incident (she hadn't).  I told her that I called the school about it two days ago and haven't heard anything back.  The superintendent asked if I'd be willing to have a meeting to try to resolve this.  I told her that I have concerns about repercussions against Alex after a meeting, but if this was her suggestion, I'd try it as long as there was a chance that things would improve for him.  I'm not going to hold my breath.  I AM going to attend this meeting with my documentation of all the ways in which he has been humiliated or mistreated or left unprotected at school, and I'm not going to be very flexible. 

In knitting news (because I still do that), I've made it to section 4 of my On The Spice Market shawl.  I've almost knit through the entire skein (for both colors) and might have to wind up the second (for both colors).  I'm still enjoying this knit.  It's going to be amazing when it's finished.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

If I didn't like my freedom so much, I'd go flip the principal's desk

You know, I envy those parents who can just pick their kid up from school/daycare and say "how was your day" and hear "great!", or "good" or even "fine".  Because I never hear that.  I always have to hear about how some classmate/teacher/principal said or did something that hurt Alex's feelings, and how no one did anything about it.  Or how he did something he shouldn't have done, but then he refuses to take ownership of it.  But today was the worst of all, because today was the day that I realized that my child has depression. 

This isn't really a huge revelation given our family history of depression and anxiety, or the fact that children with executive function disorders often have depression because they struggle with everything.  EVERYTHING.  Today I picked him up and he had a look on his face like he didn't get to do something he was really looking forward to, and he moped and dragged his feet all the way to the car.  It took 15 minutes of badgering to get him to finally say that he felt upset but didn't know why, and that he'd woken up like that.  It got worst throughout the day.  He answered 'no' to my question of "are fun things still fun?", and said this has lasted for months.  This school year has been an epic piece of garbage, with the teacher and principal adding to the bullying instead of the usual failing-to-step-in that they usually do.  All I can do is what I did do, and file a formal complaint of bullying on the principal, teacher, and the kids in his classroom who decided that making derogatory comments about his skin color was an okay thing to do.  I'm hoping that this last one is the nail in the school's coffin. 

So, all that being said, it's time for me to start managing Alex's depression, refreshing myself on the symptoms in children, and making an appointment for him to be formally evaluated.  It was time to do that anyway.  It's been 3 years since the last one and the school won't give him a 504 next year without updated paperwork (for all the good it's done this year).

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

My kingdom for a pencil that sharpens properly!

Today it rained and was only about 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  At the end of the month of April.  I don't know why I'm making a big deal over that.  It's pretty much standard protocol in Rhode Island.  That being said, the school day was tough.  Indoor recess is a nightmare for all involved.  The kids are loud and we spend all our time in the gym, which smelled of floors that had just been waxed with rancid oil.  You know the smell of oil that's been sitting in the cabinet too long, or those long forgotten nuts you found?  You open the package and it smells wrong.  Bad.  That smell was my life for over an hour (because right after indoor recess, my class went to PE...in the gym).

Anyway, last night Alex was doing homework (like he does) when his pencil broke (as they do).  That's not an issue for most people, but we break lots of pencils around here given that Alex doesn't know how much force he's using from day to day, and the pencils we have are just garbage.  They don't sharpen anymore.  I have actually taken a brand new pencil from the box and sharpened it right down to the half way point just trying to get a point that was free of wood.  You sharpen the pencil and then it's pointy, but half of it's still covered with wood.  If you get the wood off, the graphite tip is wobbling around in the wood casing and as soon as you put the point to the paper, it snaps off again. 

I asked a few teachers, and one recommended the Dixon Ticonderoga brand to me, however I realize that I've used those and still had issues with the wood sticking to the point. It wasn't until I read a review of the Dixon Ticonderoga black pencils that I understood why this was happening.  The graphite isn't centered in the pencil.  This is a huge problem when trying to sharpen the pencil.  Another friend recommended that I might need a better sharpener, however I realized that I actually own the exact brand she recommended (the x-acto brand in fact) and I've had the same problem.

It used to be that you could just go to the store and get the box of bright yellow pencils, and be all set.  Then all sorts of companies started making the yellow ones and I couldn't remember which ones were the good ones anymore.  Now I realize that the company that made those outsourced the work and now they're made in another country with lower quality materials.  That's when I realized that one brand really sharpened nicely for the kids at school, and I asked my special ed teacher what brand they were.  The winning pencil is the Mirado Black Warrior HB2, and she gave me a few from her secret stash to take home.  So far Alex isn't having any difficulty with them and I'm planning to order a big pack from Amazon.  As a matter of fact, I just broke one on purpose and sharpened it to a super sharp point with my regular manual sharpener.  And by the way, who knew there was an entire blog on pencils?!