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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Back to School Blues

Since late July I had been counting down the days until school began in eager anticipation of some time to myself, but I have not been able to catch my breath just yet. Roxie started 3rd grade in a SAC room at her new school, Merry Oaks Elementary. McRae started 1st grade at Myers Park Traditional. And Markos FINALLY started last Thursday and is in the 4's and 5's room at Covenant Presbyterian. 3 kids at 3 schools = Lots of time spent in the car and lots of PTAs.

The past weeks can be summed up with the following: Parents = stressed, Kids = Doing fine.

McRae has a substitute teacher until November because her teacher had a baby boy in mid August.

Roxie's teacher is having a baby in the next few days and will be gone until mid December so she will also have a substitute teacher for a good long while.

I hate to be a complaining parent, but I would like to climb up on my pitty-potty for just a moment. Seriously, this just isn't fair. Roxie already had a substitute last year for the first month of school because her teacher at that school was on maternity leave and now both of my girls have teachers on maternity leave. Maybe there is a note in my children's file at CMS that requests that they be given teachers on maternity leave. But because of some challenges that each of our girls are facing, both would do better with continuity and that just won't be able to happen this year.

And to make things worse, there was a sense of disorganization and a lack of communication between the administration and teaching staff at both schools at the beginning of the school year. This may be partly because of the sudden changes the school system made to the budget over the summer along with the fact that the superintendent resigned. I think that the administrations at both schools were scrambling to get things done in time for school to begin and it showed. The teaching staff at both schools didn't have seemingly important information that should have been relayed to them from the administration. (Ex: Roxie's teacher, who is new to Merry Oaks, didn't even know that Merry Oaks is a uniform school so Roxie showed up on day one in a hot pink tank top. And when we went to the open house at McRae's school a few days before school began there was no teacher because of a supposed "HR glitch" and then there was no official substitute hired for McRae's class until a few days in to the year.)

These situations did not make us feel great about the start to the school year. But both girls seem to like their classes and don't seem phased one bit by the situations at hand. This is often the case with kids though. The parents worry and stress about the children's education or life situation and the kids just want more snacks or more play time. And McRae got her wish...she is excited that she gets two recess periods every day this year and Roxie is glad that there is not a child in her class this year that makes sounds that bring her to tears on a daily basis.

As Markos likes to say, "Take a deep breath, Mom."

Friday, August 12, 2011

DC charter school organized around inclusion

More social entrepreneurs, schools, and school systems need to move in this direction. Where can one find a school like this in North Carolina?!

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Roxie at the pool

Roxie loves water. She loves the pool, probably because it gives her so much more control over her body. She's carrying a lot less weight, can walk around without support, and feel some freedom. Here's a good illustration of that!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vacation with Abridged Family

Sometimes when a family member has severe challenges, bringing them everywhere the family goes becomes difficult, stressful, and even unpleasant. But in our case we also feel uneasy about leaving out our daughter, Roxie, too regularly. Not taking her to the roller rink or to the farmers market isn't really a big deal as I don't hesitate to leave Roxie with her CAP worker for a few hours at a time. But when we discussed going to Baldhead Island over the summer with a group of friends, the subject of how to make such a trip with Roxie along quickly came up. We weren't able to have a CAP worker come with us on this trip, which would have solved some of the issues related to the necessary constant supervision that Roxie requires. But also because of the nature of the trip, we knew Roxie would have trouble. The island is only accessible by boat, and Roxie really, really hates riding on boats because of the motor's sound. So the trip would begin with 45 minutes of screaming, crying, thrashing, and stress. Then there was the issue that golf carts are used to get around and that Roxie wouldn't understand how to stay safe so we'd have to try to hold her down on the ride and hope she didn't slip out of our hands. Also, as most beach houses, the living area is on the second floor, so we would need to watch Roxie carefully to be sure she didn't fall down the stairs. For optimal sleeping conditions, Roxie requires her own quiet room, but she probably would have had to sleep on the floor next to our bed and we would have prayed that she would sleep through the night with us in the room with her because dealing with her challenges with sleep deprivation is not fun. And the challenge of brining all of her supplies on a boat was something I hadn't even thought of until I was packing up for the trip, but would have been challenging and cumbersome. She has many necessary items on a daily basis that are readily available and would have to be brought along. But luckily we had decided the month before the trip to leave Roxie behind in Charlotte with my Mom and Dad for the week long vacation to Baldhead Island.

I feel like I am making excuses and still feel some guilt that we didn't bring Roxie along last week, but it did make the trip more relaxing for sure. And yes, we did have a blast. In addition to the reasons previously mentioned, part of the motivation to leave Roxie at home was likely that daily living with her is tiring and having her away from home and at the beach in particular is even more tiring. As a friend puts it, "A beach trip with kids isn't a vacation, it is a relocation." This is particularly true with Roxie and likely always will be true. As our other kids grow the have obtained some abilities to do some things for themselves and we can only hope this independence will continue to blossom. But with Roxie on vacation, it is like having a giant one or two year old who requires total care.

We missed her very much, but were able to enjoy some time as parents without the additional stress created by Roxie's disease. The trip also made me realize how lucky we are to have a set of grandparents with a beach house, where we typically go to the beach during the summer. Not because of all the money that saves us (although that is nice), but because the house is stocked with many of the special items Roxie requires (including an elevator) and because we have extra hands from grandparents.