Friday, August 02, 2019

Meet your teacher day

Technically, I drove to the school for meet-your-teacher day. But the parking lot was so incredibly crowded that I could hardly navigate the place just to get back out (because there were zero parking spaces available). So I drove home and then Andrew dropped us back off at the school. It was insanity.

Benjamin was...buzzing...the whole time. Just off the walls. He was driving me a little crazy, but we'll talk more about that in a minute. We met his teacher and she seemed nice but I'm not entirely sure she's a good fit for him, which makes me so sad because he's had two very nice teachers in a row who have not been a good fit for him. I'm hoping that I'm wrong about her. He is very excited that he has a class pet (which is a reptile or amphibian of sorts; he's not sure which—either a snake or a gecko (I'm not sure how those two can be mixed up)).

Miriam's teacher seems wonderful, though getting to her classroom is like walking through a labyrinth! She met the sweetest little classmate while we were in there doing paperwork. We were talking to the teacher, telling her about ourselves and when we were finished this little girl's family kind of pounced on us, like, "We were listening in to every word! This is So-and-so. You just moved here! That's great! We live just down the road..."

And I think we're best friends now?

When we were finally, finally all finished with what we had to do at the school we decided to walk down the road to the park—just to test how long of a walk it is (the answer: not long). Andrew picked us up from there.

We went home for lunch and then it was off to middle school for Rachel's meet-the-teacher day. On the way I almost drove over a ginormous turtle, but managed to stop just in time. Rachel's teacher was great and put our minds at ease regarding this transition to middle school. Our last elementary school went from K–6, which was nice because it meant I got an extra year of having all my school-age children in the same school (and also because I think I liked not imposing such quick maturation on the kids (I don't think you worry as much about make-up and relationships when you're still in elementary school)). Here, however, our elementary school is only K–5, so the middle school runs from 6–8. We've both been pretty nervous. But all her core classes will be in the same hallway, so finding classrooms won't be too difficult. I'm sure she'll do just fine.

Andrew had taken the van and the other kids to run a couple of errands while we were touring around the school, so we texted him to tell him we were finished and then waited while he finished his errands and came to pick us up. When he arrived he texted, "Here. My backwrge ef droops tut did."

I had no idea what that means, but we walked outside to find them.

Andrew laughed so hard when I showed him his text (which he had written while feeling rather distracted by some backseat screamers; I think he had meant to write, "I'm parked where I dropped you off," or something along those lines, even though technically I dropped us off).

Between outings, we sat Benjamin down in a chair to have him help us connect the dots about his behaviour (which, as I mentioned, had been rather abominable during his meet-the-teacher time): Why doesn't he listen? Why doesn't he mind people's (very obvious) cues? Why can't he just sit still for one solitary minute?

He fidgeted in his chair. He looked out the window. He pouted. He giggled. He kicked his legs.

"Oh, Benjamin!" I said in frustration. "If you could just listen and do as you were told, people wouldn't feel frustrated with you all the time! I was frustrated with you. Your sisters were frustrated with you. Teachers were frustrated with you. Benjamin, I..."

I noticed his eyes darting around the room, his legs swinging.

"Benjamin, I want you to tell me what I just said."

"I need"

"That's not remotely what I said. Were you even listening?"

"I was trying to," he said earnestly. "It's just that...words start swirling around inside my brain."

We sent him outside to jump on the trampoline with the ballon he'd gotten at school. Then I pulled up a list of ADHD symptoms and read them to Andrew.

"I think we need to address this with a doctor again," I said (or I think our Mr. Popular (for being off-task) might have a hard time getting through school).

It makes sense, though, if words simply start swirling around in his brain, if I'm saying, "I'm parked where I dropped you off," and he's hearing a swirly, "My backwrge ef droops tut did." How can you listen when the world is so there's-a-deer-out-the-window?

I don't want Benjamin to have ADHD; I've simply been concerned for years that...he very well may have it (and I know that often a firm diagnosis leads to the availability of resources). While it's true that Benjamin is a lovely child (I have been told that he couldn't possibly have ADHD because he's...sweet?), my heart dropped a bit when he said that words just swirl around inside his brain.

If he doesn't have a disorder, fine. We'll figure out a balance together so we don't drive each other too crazy (I, for one, could stand to be more patient). But if he does have a disorder—a disorder that makes it so he can't sit still, a disorder that makes everyone around him frustrated by his behaviour, a disorder that makes words swirl around inside his brain—then perhaps we need to learn the tools to help him cope with those symptoms. 


  1. Sigh, that feeling of a perfectly lovely teacher being not quite right for a specific child! We've had that before. I hope you can get some answers about Benjamin, even if the answer is that he's just squirrely!

  2. I don't want to be "that commenter". But I have to suggest researching a weighted blanket. I noticed a remarkable change in my nephew, and my sister told me that they were using one. I wish I had known about them 20 years ago when stimulants were the first and only suggestion.

    1. A weighted blanket has helped Josie. Probably worth a try!

    2. Yes, please, be that commenter! I'm willing to try lots of things to help everyone's frustration levels (including Benjamin's own) decrease. :) Are you talking a weighted blanket for sleeping under or a weighted lap blanket to give him that stimulation while he's sitting at his desk?

    3. Well, Josie got a weighted blanket for sleeping under, but having looked it up, I do not think it is wise to use with small children in the house. Josie does a kind of therapy that involves touch, though, and I don't remember its name, but maybe that might help Benjamin. Like, touching things with different textures and stuff.

  3. We got a diagnosis through an actual psychologist instead of through our pediatrician. We had our concerns but I liked going through a psychologist because he was able to look at a variety of disorders and then pinpoint ADHD (we were thinking OCD, Autism etc.) We have done nothing with the diagnosis but it is now in our back pocket if we need additional resources and I am much more patient with our child. Granted she still drives me crazy sometimes but it is helpful to know what we are up against.

    1. Yes—putting a name to things can be so helpful even if there's not a lot you can do. Like with Alexander's laryngomalacia—it wasn't so bad that he needed surgery but at least I could reassure myself that it was something he would eventually grow out of (and, for the most part, has). I didn't have to worry about all the other things it could be and was able to help him be as comfortable as possible (for example, we got treatment for his reflux which was contributing to his breathing problems). Anyway, YES, I would like to know where to focus our efforts. :)