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We managed to get after school to agree to allow Dillo to change his own pants if he wet them, and we send a ziplock with a complete change of clothes and plastic bag for the wet things every day in his backpack (because although he has the same in a cubby in his classroom, after school is not allowed to go and fetch that). In the week that elapsed since this change, he's only had one accident, which is encouraging. We've mostly been putting him in a pull-up to avoid washing that waterproof mattress pad and sheets every single day. In a pull-up he has a tendency to be dry in the mornings, go figure, though he overtopped it last Thursday. I went to school with him for 2 hours on Wednesday last and we was decidedly grumpy when it came time for me to go. It was worth it though - I think I will try to go every other week because it means he has a series of good days afterwards. He had a terrible Tuesday last week when his regular teacher was out at the doctor.

He remains sort of on-edge and needy a lot, especially if short of sleep or food, and can we get him to sleep on time or to eat appropriately? Of course not. Lots of LOUD CRYING today. His demand for snuggles is practically inexhaustible - I reached my limit after continuous snuggles from 5:30 to 7am yesterday.
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At 12:15 Mrs. R called me to tell me that Dillo (who went to school in a pull-up today, part of mr. flea's way of dealing with the after school accidents) had pooped in his pants and it had gone up his back and on his naptime sheet, and he was going to need a bath so I needed to come get him.

mr. flea is in the field this week, so I hotfooted it the two miles to school and found Dillo sitting in the nurse's office by himself, still fully clothed, holding his sheet wrapped up in a plastic bag. He complained about how long it had taken me to get there. We walked home and I asked about what had happened. He was initially indignant that his teachers has not let him have a nap and had sent him to the office instead (he didn't complain about the poopy pants; they smelled him and investigated). He told me he needed to go to the bathroom at lunch but there was no teacher to ask (my guess is this is untrue; the paraprofessionals stay with the kids at lunch) and so he pooped in his pants at naptime. We talked about how school "takes too long" and he doesn't have anyone to play with (since Jimmy, who was a behavior problem, left.) I asked about Eli whom he has talked about and he said Eli is always in time out all day. I asked about other friendly-looking kids but he says they are not his friends.

Just this morning we discussed getting him some new sneakers as a treat this weekend if he stayed dry the rest of the week. So that's out. He doesn't seem embarrassed or upset. I don't know what to do. I am thinking of trying to spend the morning with his class tomorrow, so I can see what's up (I haven't been able to do that yet) and then having a meeting with Mrs. R, the after school director, and us, to try to figure out what to do. I am honestly tempted to inquire if they can take him back at his old day care, where he had accidents, but at least he wasn't a sassy pain in the ass all the time.


Oct. 5th, 2010 06:02 pm
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Dillo had an accident at after school again today. The person in charge told mr. flea it took half an hour to get him changed (WTF? he can change himself; two year olds at his Montessori changed themselves) and they are going to start calling us if he has an accident and we will have to come change him.

So, I dunno what we can do. I mean, it's not like we send him to school at 7:30 am saying, "Be sure to pee in your pants at afterschool!" I also note, he has never had an accident in his regular class, which runs until 2:30. They make them go to the bathroom in PreK, which IMO is age-appropriate. If you ask Dillo if he needs to pee, it's odds-on he'll say no even if he's dancing the pee-pee dance like mad.

If this keeps up I guess we will plan to pull both kids out of afterschool and pay someone to keep them at home. Because we can't leave work and change his pants several times a week; we need afterschool because we have, you know, JOBS.

You'd think that afterschool could think of a better way to handle this than punishing the parents. I'm not peeing in Dillo's pants, and there is NO WAY I can stop him from doing so if he wants to.
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We moved the kids into one room this weekend, assembling the bunkbeds for the first time in this house. Bedtime is going okay - still too late. We've started with music at lights out (the Bernstein recording of Peter and the Wolf) which is helping. One problem is mr. flea is reading the crux of Harry Potter IV, and Dillo is bored by it. When he'd done I'd like to try reading to both of them together, whether in bed (chapter books with few pictures) or out on the couch. I think an "extra" birthday present for Casper (turning 7 on Saturday) will be an itty bitty book light so she can look at books after Dillo falls asleep. The other room (Casper's) is the playroom; I'd like to move the yellow futon couch in there for reading and snuggling.

It was Curriculum Night at school last night, so we had a more formal introduction to PreK and 2nd grade. Honestly, because of his home socialization and book-reading and his Montessori daycare, Dillo pretty much has all the skills they seek to instill in PreK: deal with others without hitting or messing with people; understand how books work; know letters and numbers. He accurately read "P E Z" on a pez dispenser last night. His fine motor work is weaker; we need to do more drawing projects, maybe while Casper does homework.

Casper is doing reading in a group with Mrs. H, in another classroom (they mix them up for reading time). She is with Nathaniel, who was in her class last year. She brought home guided reading books for the first time this week, and read them to me okay (reluctantly). Her homework often consists of "read for 30 minutes" and she says she does this at afterschool, but her idea of reading still does not necessarily include actually reading the words in the books. Mr. H, her teacher, said she is doing fine with comprehension and her tendency to guess at words based on context and first letter is a useful skill (this drives me nuts when we read together - I am constantly saying "look at the letters.")

Mrs. U, who is a parent whom I like, is the Spectrum (gifted) teacher for 2nd grade this year, and they are doing recommendations and re-testing this month. mr. flea wants to recommend Casper. You may recall she was tested but narrowly missed the cutoff in K; her increased maturity and test-taking skills (she did fine on the CRCT) should help her this time. I think if it were me I wouldn't bother recommending her again, but mr. flea feels strongly about this.

She's a little down about school right now and I'm not sure why. Complains she doesn't want to go in the morning; told me she doesn't want to do writing and puts her head down on the desk (which Mr. H did not mention.)

After school is still poking along; apparently they are interviewing new directors this week. I signed the kids up for a Spanish class at after school, taught by UGA students, that will start in a couple of weeks and run for a month. No word on Tae Kwan Do, though Casper asks about it. Dillo says after school "takes so long" so I really hope they get a director who does stuff with the kids so they are not so bored..

I called the Girl Scouts last week but they never called me back. Don't they know how hard it is for me to make phone calls, dammit?
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Casper was singing this song in the car on the way home from her first dance class (a great success!) and I was thinking, is this some song from Clifford? (Non-parents may not realize that Emily Elizabeth and Clifford move to Birdwell Island when Clifford becomes too big for the city.) I asked where she knew it from, and she said the YMCA, and they'd just played it in class. I said, "Maybe the lyrics are actually 'best of both worlds'?" Nope, she was sure - until I got home, put on Youtube, and found the Hannah Montana song "Best of Both Worlds."

I assure you we will all continue to sing "Best of Birdswell" and think of Clifford in our house.

School has gone great for both kids; I am stressed about the afterschool and Girl Scout situations. It turns out that external groups wanting to meet at school now have to pay $75 per meeting, so the Girl Scouts, not being made of money, can't meet at school. AND nobody wants to lead. I hate this idiot school district policy - last year GS was at 3pm on Fridays and as a result was the most diverse school-related activity Casper did (after school is more heavily middle-class than school itself, and TKD even more so.) I am so torn (short of Aims moving to GA and running the troop, which would be perfect!) - I honestly feel I don't have the spoons to make Girl Scouts happen myself, and yet I really really want it to happen. I have begun conversation with the new (adorable) 25 year old parent liaison at the school, and need to get over my phone fear and call the girl scout office.
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And you know what that means - a new crop of names!

Dillo is in a PreK class with 13 boys and 7 girls. His teacher, Ms. R., has been with the school a long time, is well-regarded, and reminds us both of Casper's old nanny Tonya. His classmates (all born before 9/1/2003): Clayton, Devin, Jimmy, Antoni, Deyanira, Dhaijah, Justus, Tekit, Brendan, Eli, Jaylen, Amos (who was the only one we met - total cutiehead!), James, Trinity, Yvana, Lizabeth, Jeimy, Kayden, Michael. The paraprofessional is Ms. W.

Casper for second grade has Mr. H, who has been at Chase since 2004 and has a good reputation as on the silly/goofy side (a major plus for Casper!), hand-on and pro-science. I've also been told he is much more comfortable with children than parents, and this was pretty obvious from our interactions. No parapro at this level. Casper's classmates from last year who are with her again are Danilo, Eliza, Angelo, Roan, and Dynasty. New this year are Owen, Anyssa, Dhuntez, Ja'Quan, Braiden, Taneia, Kourtney (too old to be blamed on the Kardashians!), Skylar, Anatasia, Gavin, Tyreon, Aydan (Siena's twin), Cassius, Da'Naya.

We registered for After School, and learned that the new after school director is about to leave, back to her old job within the school system. So they will AGAIN be basically leaderless, which is a problem. Two kids is only $10 total per day, which is a nice little bonus. There was no solid information about whether Tae Kwan Do will happen, but the rumor is yes, Tu/Th like last year. Two of Casper's friends are doing swimming at the YMCA Tu/Th, and we are thinking about that for Casper to. (Y after programs start at age 6, so not an option for Dillo.) There was no info about Girl Scouts, so I need to email a parent I know and ask what is up. If they are dying for troop leaders for Brownies, I could use my flex time from working Wednesday nights and take Friday afternoons off to do Girl Scouts. We'll see.
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We had our first teacher conference yesterday, with Mrs. C. I felt generally good about it.

1. Social issues. Mrs. C acknowledges that this class had a very different vibe from her class last year, especially driven by the fact that there are two outspoken and competitive girls who seem to be setting the social dynamic. She is trying to get the class more involved in collaborative work, but this group hasn't gelled as well as some of her previous classes. It's a pity, since Casper seems to be good at and enjoy the collaborative work. The social issues are going to be discussed with the parents in question, and I ran into one of them after school and we had a good talk. Mrs. C knew that the dynamic was occurring in recess, but I was able to tell her that it was also happening in after school.

Mrs. C's concern about Casper is that she is shy in class, won't speak up, and sometimes when she does she used a baby voice or a very quiet voice. We said, "OUR KID OMGAREYOUKIDDING?" and told Mrs. C some anecdotes (like Casper's mean notes) that I think opened her eyes. She was interested in my suggestion that Casper held things back at school. When I talked to Casper about it at home, it was clear that this is a problem - she got very shy and embarrassed. She said the Mrs. B (the parapro) yells a lot (huh? wouldn't have expected that, and Mrs. B runs girl scouts which Casper loves). So we had a pep talk about speaking up and not worrying about being wrong, that Mrs. C loves her and wants to hear her voice.

The other concern Mrs. C had was Casper's distractability, especially when they are seated on the floor working together. Interestingly, at the end of the session mr. flea remarked that he was having a hard time focusing on our conversation because there was so much going on in the room (i.e. in the decorations and work posted). And Casper has always been a little daydreamy - I think this is just her nature, and there's not a whole lot we can do to change it. Homework at home has been a problem, with maintaining focus. We've had to take Dillo completely away.

2. Reading. Casper is right at the "normal" point for first graders. It's a little hard to be there, because there are 7 kids in the class who are reading way above grade level, and obviously everyone in the class can see that. Mrs. C wanted to emphasize that Casper was doing well and making progress and she should not feel bad about her reading skills (nor should we) because she is not exceptional. Happily at least one of Casper's friends is in her reading group. I see some clear progress when she reads to me - which she is now more willing to do and more able to do fluently. Mrs. C also had some good suggestions that we can use when we do the reading homework, to keep her from reciting the book from memory based on the pictures (which is her tendency). We've also been watching some of the new Electric Company at home, and it's pitched exactly at Casper's current level, and she seems to like it.

3. Math. Casper picks stuff up easily (she totally got greater than and less than instantly), and loves that this work is more hands-on and collabroative. No content concerns at all with math.

I think there will be some social fallout in the class based on conversations Mrs. C had with parents. I'm interested to see what happens. I'm also thinking of asking Casper's friend Penny's mother to keep her after school one day a week, as a sort of break from the very long day she has with all the same girls, some of whom fight with each other which stresses Casper out. I still think the main after school teachers aren't very good.
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Last week at some point I found a tiny little note in Casper's book bag. It had a list of "best friends" and included Ali Cat (Allison), Siena, Katie Sue, Mrs. C, and Mrs. B. Both of the latter (Casper's teacher and the aide) had the word "love" written next to them. I think it's cute that Casper loves her teacher, but I was a little concerned about this process of writing notes about who is one's best friend and who is not.

Yesterday she brought home another list in Siena's handwriting. It was divided in two and labeled "good friends" and "bad friends." Casper was on the good side, as were Katie Sue, Allison, and Dynasty, a couple of other people I don't know, and Mommy and Daddy (hee!). On the "bad" side were a girl I know from after school, a boy in Casper and Siena's class, and a couple of other names I don't know. Notably absent from the entire list was Siena's twin brother!

I know kids do stuff like this; I probably did it myself when I was a little girl, though I don't really remember it. We've not made a big deal about it, but mentioned to Casper that it's important to treat everyone well even though there are some people we get along with better than others.

What do y'all think? Is it worth taking any further? I know Siena's mother well and could bring it up as a "common problem of 6 year old girls" thing (as opposed to a "your kid sucks" thing.) Should I mention it to the after school people (which is where I think it is happening), or Mrs. C the teacher?


ION I think I am getting my act together to take us to NC this weekend (western). Anyone want to join us? The weather looks a tad iffy, but that actually might make it easier to find last-minute camping spaces.

IOON I need to buy a Daisy Girl Scout uniform. Yoicks!
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First, it is my birthday, but I'm sort of over it already. I've got a lot going on today (must do all homework for the week, and pack, since we're driving to visit friends in VA right after work tomorrow). I accidentally opened my (very nice) present from my mother, though I asked mr. flea to wrap it since Casper thinks "birthday = opening presents." Not sure what/if he got me anything. Don't expect much else; I bought myself some Dansko Roxys in purple suede off ebay (finally! only $51 including shipping!) but they won't come for a while yet.

My current obsession is this: http://www.flickr.com/groups/theworkingcloset/pool/ A blog I read has people posting what they wear to work every day for the month of September. It's mostly mothers - working at work, working from home, working as a mother. Well, it's keeping me off the streets, anyway.

The new routine has begun, mostly: I am working 8-4:30. mr. flea does the morning domestic shift, getting Dillo to daycare at around 8:30 and Casper to school by 9. At 3:30, Beth picks up Casper and Emmett at school. Yesterday they went to the library. I leave work at 4:30, get Dillo and am usually home by about 5. I have been carrying him from the bus in my arms, but today I'm trying the big Kelty backpack. We switch to the double jogger and walk up to pick up Casper from Emmett's house - about 12 minutes. Then home. So, with all swiftness, it's about 5:30 by the time we are all home, and I'm all sweaty (at least when it's 95 degrees). So I'm going to have to work on pre-prepping meals, weekend cooking, that sort of thing, which we've done before. I got spoiled over the summer when mr. flea picked us all up at 4. This way he will get more work done, though.
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She is 39.25 pounds (75%), 42.5 inches (90-95%), and they do height/weight (= BMI) at her age now (slightly below 50%). She passed all the "four year old tests," which included hopping on one foot, balancing on one foot, imitating the doctor's drawings of a circle and a cross, drawing a person (her picture had 7 parts - they pass if they have 3!), accurately knowing colors, being able to say what noises a dog and cat make, telling the doctor who lives in her house. Had hearing and vision tests and passed, and went happily off with the nurse without either parent to do them! Got 4 shots and was completely stoic, which is so funny as the past couple of days she keeps having minor bonks and scrapes and weeping tragically over each of them.

Today is the first day of after-school care. mr. flea was planning to go to the school and help navigate the pick-up/hand-off to the caregiver, Beth. Apparently the pickup is kind of a zoo so far; I hope it settles out as people get used to the routine. I get to pick up Dillo, go home with him, then walk to get Casper.

Hope Dillo had a good day. He practiced walking hard on Monday and was so happy when we'd clap and squeal with excitement. I don't like to think of him stressed out in his new class.


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