Friday, October 30, 2009

The Right-Born King of England

At the 37 second mark, you can see "Arthur, the right-born king of England."

A few months ago I wrote about the a stressful time we were having with the boy. In the Spring it looked as though he had ADHD and we struggled mightily with what the ramifications of that diagnosis would be for him. At the time he was in a Montessori program. At the time he was seeing a counselor. Well, he got kicked out of that school and we found a new therapist for him once it was clear that his former therapist was in favor of medication as an immediate recourse despite our feelings that meds were not yet called for given his age and our belief that underlying his behavior was some serious anxiety. At the very least, we felt grief and anxiety should be ruled out completely and other techniques applied before moving on to medication, which seemed extreme to us (even as our nerves were fraying from the stress of it all).

All through the Spring and Summer I wondered (okay fretted) what the Fall would bring for the boy. We enrolled him in our neighborhood public elementary school for Kindergarten. We shifted our schedules to accommodate his activities and to limit daycare. He would have Karate 3 times per week after school and would also be in our town's soccer league. The boy was excited about going to his "big school" ever since his first visit in May (incidentally that was just days after he was kicked out of his Montessori). And the boy loves playing soccer. And he seems to be getting a lot out of Karate, even if he is sometimes ambivalent about it. And his visits with his doctor, well yesterday he asked if he could start going twice a week (oy! my calendar and my wallet ache at the thought).

So yesterday, when the man went to the boy's parent-teacher conference at school, I had occasion to reflect on the past few months, on that diagnosis, on the pain and anger I still feel when I think about how his former school dealt with us. Because here it is -- our children are the best of what we have to offer (at least, I believe that my children are the best of what the man and I have to offer), so when the boy was jettisoned by his school after we did everything we could think to do to engage with the school and improve the situation, it hurt me deeply. Not only was my fragile hope dissolved, but my son's potential was dismissed. I'm still not over it all these months later. I think frequently about the boy's teacher looking me in the face and telling me that Eva's death was "in the past" and I shudder at the callousness and stupidity of such a statement. Babyloss brings some cruel garbage even from the well-meaning, but it sometimes it reveals that some people (and I'm going to try to show some restraint) are, in fact, not well-meaning. For me, particularly coming from a teacher, that was the worst thing. And while I'm on this particular nerve, why would a head of school tell a parent that a teacher came to him to complain about the parent's child? What possible purpose would that serve? Perhaps it was just context for the words that followed -- don't bring him back.

In contrast to the unresponsiveness of our private school, every call made to our public school was returned within 24 hours, before we were ever enrolled. And the boy's teacher? Hallelujah! We hit the jackpot. When the man told her about Eva, she said, "I'm so sorry" and "I'm glad you told me. Thank you for being so open." So, 6 months ago, the professionals around the boy wanted to medicate him. Now, those around him do not think he has ADHD (though clearly he is impulsive) and agree that 5 year-olds should not be medicated. For once, we listened to our shared gut. For once, it seems, we were ... right? Okay, at least we did not make a horrible mistake. We think...

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