Monday, November 24, 2008

Dunking in water

Some of you may remember that my husband baptized Julius in the NICU while I was still passed out cold getting stitched. And although technically it still 'takes' the same as if a priest does it, I like things done nice and officially. Or at least I like to have witnessed it after all the pain and agony to get the little bugger.

Well, yesterday we poured water on his head, and made him cry, just like good Catholics should. Priest and congregation all watched and witnessed. (Only bummer, they wrote my maiden/adoptive name instead of my married name on the baptismal certificate, bizarre considering I've never gone by it as long as they've known me, and am registered with the parish in my married name. WTF is it with people not calling me by the name I've decided to call myself? Anyway, they will fix it, and send us a new one.)

Then we had a huge party at the house, catered and bartended. We've always done this stuff ourselves, cooking and serving drinks and running around included, but this was easier what with 3 kids etc. That was the excellent part of the week.

Sunday we lazed around, made the kids do twenty minutes of homework, and then played Monopoly. I won! I never win! Kaz was a little upset when I forced him into bankruptcy, but he had landed on a property I owned and owed me major rent. Then he had refused to take the deal I offered him, which involved him giving me some of his properties and permanent immunity/free rent on Boardwalk and Park Place, which he would still own, with hotels. He could have kept his cash and lived to play another day, but he told me he'd rather die than give his mother his hard earned real estate, so the die was cast.

Yes, we take Monopoly seriously in this house.

Today was not so good. Today was the day that we met with the school regarding Kaz and what kind of work he can expect to get at his new school. Can they move him up a few grades, and give him more challenging work? Can they give him some help with creative writing? Help him stay organized?

Short answer--No.

In direct opposition of what the psychologist wrote, the school is dismissing the words gifted, because they figure all children at the school are bright. Not from what I have seen, maybe some are better than B students, but its pretty much average as students go. They also figure that their curriculum is very enriched as it is. I'm not sure how they figure that when it's just the same old crappy Ontario public school curriculum, unlike our previous private school, which was academic boot camp on steroids. But boy did this school official latch onto any and all learning issues she could find. She spent an hour and a half hacking away at my kid and everything she could find in the report. Any little thing she could latch onto that was negative was the sole focus of her recommendations. If he wants extra help, he'll have to go to her--a non-starter when she has nothing positive like more interesting work to offer. And because the Doc wrote the word gifted on page 2 instead page 6, she figured it wasn't part of the diagnosis, even though it SAYS IT IN THE REPORT. I had to insist to get her to agree that the word on page 2 spelled "G-I-F-T-E-D" actually was worthy of discussion. She actually said,"Well, this is a much better report than your old one because this one focuses on your sons many problems. The old one just talked about his abilities."

WTF? Neither report said that at all! Project much?

Seriously, as time passes, I am more and more convinced that she must have been smoking something before we came in.

We hadn't given her the version of the report that discussed ADHD. I had gotten a bad feeling from her, a whiff of prejudice, so I thought it prudent to just give her the edited version. Reality is that all ADHD issues/symptoms disappear in Kaz when he takes medication. (Same is true for most ADDers.) So as along as he takes long-acting medication, there is no need for the school to ever know. And considering the fight it appears I have on my hands, I am sooo glad I never trusted her. God knows what kind of crap she would have subjected him too. As it is, she kept asking and hinting and implying all sorts of things that were not written in the friggin' report.

I haven't given up completely. The psychologist is willing to speak to her on the phone and go to bat for us and do whatever he can to convince them that Kaz needs them to follow his recommendations. He was pretty mad when I told him the story, so I know that I have at least one ally.

Anyway, it all makes me cry. I can't believe the psychologist was right. He said that for any child who is different in any way, gifted, or LD, or amazingly talented or physically disabled, or musical, or geeky or whatever----high school will a test of endurance, a hellish experience of mediocrity and conformity to be survived until the longed for day when university can begin.

I thought that maybe things had changed. I guess not.


In case you were wondering, no I don't recommend this school to anyone. The things I haven't written on this blog about this school would fill another entire blog. Seriously. And we can't transfer out. Ever. My poor sweet husband is so utterly totally devoted to the idea that his son will go this school, that he would never agree to change schools. Even if it is the absolute wrong fit for his actual son and not his projected fantasy child, he won't budge.

Remind anyone of the summer camp debacle?


  1. The whole gifted vs. "normal" child debate is one of the greatest failures of education in America. My daughter's six months old and I already worry about it - given her father's and my families, "normal" is not something she ever had a shot at.

    But I see how it can turn out well. My brother was always a very strange child who'd lose touch with whatever was going on in school (in the U.S.), and would have been diagnosed with learning social problems were it not for my mother's insistence that he is merely very gifted. He is now eighteen and has just won a gold medal at the International Mathematical Olympiad. last summer. Turns out that, rather than having attention/social problems, he's merely one of the smartest kids in the world.

    The point I'm trying to make is that I think what you're doing, insisting on Kaz's giftedness, is really important, and will matter so much in his life. Probably more than any school program alone ever could.

  2. Did you husband go with you to see the woman and her issues? She sounds like a piece of work, and I am very glad that the psychologist is willing to call her. Egh.
    Best of luck!

  3. How frustrating for you. I would cry too. A mom trying desperately to do the right thing for her kid and the people who are supposed to help, won't.

    Well I'm glad to hear that the psychologist is on your side and will go to bat for you. At least that's something.

    Good luck.

  4. Never would I have guessed before being on the other side of the school system that most are so unwilling to be flexible. "For the good of the student," my ass.

    At soon-to-be-seven, my son has already had his die cut for him. I have so much resentment towards his teacher who became an experiment for her first year. UGH!

  5. Okay, that's beyond a shame that your husband won't consider another school. Clearly this one is not the right one for Kaz. You are certainly married to one hard-headed man. Do keep working on him, or get him involved in these 'negotiations' with the school to enrich Kaz's learning environment; maybe that will help open his eyes.

  6. Get that wench fired. She is clearly too closed minded to be there.

  7. Ugh so sorry about all this.

  8. I think high school is a test of endurance for everyone.

    Especially the mothers.

  9. Hm... maybe you should have the psychologist call Mr. Cotta and convince him of the need to change schools...

  10. I've fought (and am still fighting) the fight that you are just starting. I have two sons who are twice exceptional (ASD and profoundly gifted). I wish I had some advice, but I empathize with you so much that I wouldn't know where to start.

    Hang in there! Feel free to email me if you need a shoulder to lean on. Although my children do not have ADD/ADHD, many of the same strategies apply to them. I'm guessing you've already found a all the resources online. It may seem overwhelming but you can make the system work for your sons.

    Best of luck!

  11. i'm so glad that your psychologist is on your side. honestly, i'd love it if i had a gifted kid in my class! i've taught gifted kids in the past and they loved the extra challenges that i would give them.

    your kid is lucky that you're going to bat for him -- i've encountered way too many apathetic parents who let their kids flounder, gifted or not.

  12. I hope you find a way through the school issue.

    And, I thought my husband's family was the only one that did those kinds of side deals on Monopoly! They are ruthless.

  13. the public school system cannot deal with anyone out of the "norm" if your child is learning challenged, ADHD or even gifted or accelrated learner - they simply cant cope. what they want are cookie cut out people. or sheep!
    i had my daughters parent teacher interview today - and frankly I'm tired of being told what my "role" as a parent is. The school just cant deal with diversity or differences period. It's hella stressful!!!

  14. So, I'm only like 4 weeks behind, but having been a gifted child and being a mom to one, I can say something about my experience. It's not only school that matters. If he can find challenges beyond school (my daughter, for example, learned chess and bridge and joined the scouts) then he should be fine. I found there to be enough material in high school to keep my interest (though I did smush 4 years into 3). It's not fun, but it's not fun for most teenagers... and once he gets into a good university, he'll be even happier.

    So sorry that you had such a rotten meeting. It reminds me of some of the stuff that I'm going through, when people keep insisting that my blatantly abusive ex-husband 'means well'. How can you mean well when you tell your child that you'll "drug him up so bad that he'll finally know what being sick really means"... and the psychologist had the nerve to tell me that she needed to understand the context in which it was said... There are some real nuts out there.