Back-to-School Edition

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about life.  And I realized recently that I really miss it.  I write a post in my head every day, it just doesn’t always make it to the web.  But, I wanted to catch everyone up since school has started and we’re back in the real world for a while.

There’s so much to tell, it’s hard to know where to start.  I guess by telling you that Ayub has the most awesome teacher (for him) ever.  I went in to meet with her the Friday before school started.  I had printed out about six articles about adoption trauma and its effects on brain development and behavior.  I had a handout on avoiding “family tree” type assignments.  And I launched right into it.  After about five minutes, I took a breath and she said, “My two younger sisters were adopted from the Philippines and my mom fostered emergency placements when I was growing up.”  BING!!  She gets it.  She totally gets it.  She also said that she doesn’t do any family history projects because she prefers to get the kids looking forward at what they can be when they grow up.  Oh, and did I mention that she’s African American?  It’s like we won the lottery.  Seriously, if you asked me to write a description of the perfect teacher for Ayub, I think it would be her.  Only maybe a male.

DSC_1569So, you would think that all is well.  But, like is usual for us, when one thing is great, something else falls apart.  For the past few years, we have had a college student pick the kids up after school and take them home for snack and homework help.  This year, since all four kids are at different schools, and really only Ayub needed after school care, we decided to give the after school program a try.  The first few weeks of school seemed to go ok…not great, but decent.  Ayub was always STARVING when he got home at 5:30.  He was a little grumpier than usual, but I attributed that to the start of school and change of routine.  Then, one Monday evening, I walked in to get him from the after school program.  He was laying down next to some large trash cans, with the hoodie pulled over his face, in the fetal position, crying.  Seriously, his photo could have been on an anti-child-abuse poster.  I scooped him up and tried to get him to tell me what was going on, but he was in that catatonic state caused by flight or fright.  You adoptive parents know what I mean, right?  That stare that looks through you instead of at you?  Well, anyway, I hightailed it out of there and put him in the car, played some music and went to get Eleanor from violin.  (Yea, that’s another post for another time…)  By the time we got home, he had calmed down and told me what happened.  A bigger kid had kicked the trash can and blamed Ayub, who got in trouble from the college students that oversee the program.  They sent him to time out until I got there.  Who knows if that’s what they really said, but that’s what he heard.  I. WAS. LIVID.  Needless to say, he has not been back to after school since.  We are currently interviewing for after school nannies.  I have talked to his teacher and the principal and written a letter to the superintendent and the president of the school board.  I’m not sure where this will go, but the fact that they left an obviously distraught kid lying on the floor and didn’t really seem to care at all that he was there is a HUGE problem.  The program isn’t overseen by the school; the city actually runs it, which is a weird situation.

On the bright side, though, he is doing great.  He has spelling tests for the first time this year, and he seems to get it.  He’s doing pretty good at math.  His best friend is in his class again this year, and they’ve had some play dates.  He is excited about school and maintains his “let’s get crackin'” attitude every morning.  Our summer babysitter did a great job of preparing him for 1st grade, and I think it’s going to pay off.

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As for Eleanor, we haven’t been so lucky on the teacher front.  She doesn’t have one.  They found out right before school that one of the teachers wasn’t returning, and haven’t yet hired a replacement.  Yes, for the first three weeks of school, they have had a substitute.  The walls are bare.  There is no routine, no homework folder, no organization and no stability.  But Eleanor says that on Monday they are going to announce who the teacher will be. It’s a possibility that it will be the substitute that’s been with them, but it might be someone else.  Welcome to 5th grade.

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Sam is in middle school.  He doesn’t say much, so I guess it’s going well.  Except for Spanish, which is freaking him out.  Lucy is in the same class she was in last spring, so not much has changed for her.  Me?  I’m back to juggling work with pick-ups, homework, making lunches and trying to get everyone to bed at a reasonable time.

Wow…I feel better already.  I really have to force myself to sit down and write at least one post a week.  It clears my head.  Thanks for listening.