Friday, August 28, 2009

Welcome to our freak show

This morning we had kindergarten orientation for the twins. It was nice - the teacher read a story and talked to the kids a little, and the kids had a chance to explore the classroom a little. The whole thing was organized to make the first day of school coming up on Monday a little less traumatic.

After the orientation, I met with the girls' teacher privately. I wanted to give her a heads-up about the girls' issues.

Their teacher, Mrs. M, is a lovely young woman. Very warm and open and friendly and she clearly cares about the kids. We sat down and I took a deep breath and went into my little rehearsed speech about Daisy. I started with the positive, how she's bright and an eager learner and sweet-natured and affectionate and cooperative and a pleaser. All true. And then I told Mrs. M about her anxieties . . . er, phobias. How she's terrified of animals - any kind of animal. How she's terrified of public restrooms and likely won't use the restroom at school. How I have no idea how field trips are going to play out because I can absolutely anticipate her being terrified of school buses, although I don't know for sure since she's never been in a situation that required her to board one. I told Mrs. M that I am kind of at a loss as to how to deal with Daisy's fears and I'm afraid of her disrupting the class - the entire school?? - if/when she's ever faced with something she's terrified of. I told her that it's not a phase, that we've been dealing with these issues with her since she was a toddler. I explained to her that it's like she thinks she's going to die and she goes absolutely out of her mind with fear, and she doesn't seem to have any coping mechanisms in place.

So, Mrs. M was very compassionate, and she assured me that we'll take it a step at a time and figure out strategies to help Daisy cope.

I should feel good, right?

Then she mentions Annabelle, and she asked about the tape on Annabelle's fingers. She noticed it today during orientation, and a few days ago during the kindergarten assessment. She asked Annabelle then about the tape on her fingers, and Annabelle said, "I don't want to talk about that." When Mrs. M told me that, I swear, I just felt like my heart was breaking. Annabelle is totally developing a complex about her fingers and her hair (she recently told someone who came to our house, "I know I have short hair, but I'm still a girl." Just take a knife and ram it into my heart, okay?) I told Mrs. M about Annabelle's penchant for pulling her hair out, and the tape is the only solution we've found for the time being. And again, Mrs. M was very compassionate and offered to do some research, talk to the school psychologist, etc., whatever she can do to help.

I should feel good, right?

Then she asked about Joey. Although she wasn't Joey's kindergarten teacher, she did get to know him when he was in kinder two years ago, and she remembers him. She mentioned how she remembers him as being so bright . . . and, how he's afraid of the fire drills. Sigh. Yes, Joey is very frightened of the fire drills at school. He apparently covers his ears and cries. Even now - he hasn't outgrown it. Not a huge thing, but . . . an issue. Something he's known for.

I just feel like crap. I feel like a failure. Like I've failed to make my children whole, that I've somehow failed to make them feel safe in the world. And now I'm sending them out there, hoping they'll cope and not get gobbled up by all the things they're afraid of.


Keri said...

You are NOT doing anything wrong- you and your kids have just had a lot to deal with over the past year. If you weren't a good mother, you wouldn't be so worried and discussing the situation with the teacher. Being proactive is better than sitting back and saying "oh, its just a phase that they'll grow out of!"

Eternal Lizdom said...

I'm sad that you feel that way. I am proud of you for connecting with the teacher. If you were a failure, you would just send them off and not be involved. Instead, you are invested and involved. That's success.

Heidi said...


You don't have a freak show. You have unique and interesting children. Gees, what if all kids were the same, all even, all smooth, all color inside the lines. Yuck! Your kids add so much to the lives of those around them. Don't feel bad because they're different than the crowd.

PrettyCoolJewels said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PrettyCoolJewels said...

HUG to you! My kids all have their "issues" and we say so what? I tell my oldest it's much more fun and interesting to be different or "wierd" ( we are all a bunch of wierdos with issues!)
8^). We've had many meetings with teachers over the years where I mostly nodded and smiled politely because I KNOW my kids will be ok!
You are doing an awesome job!
( I had to delete previous post and start over because I apparently cannot type OR spell properly today...)
p.s. have you tried maybe letting girly pick out some pretty gloves ( think satin or lacey)- like from Claire's or Icing- to wear? Might as well be fashionable about it....if she's into dress up type stuff.....?

heather said...

It just goes to show us that all of our kids have their own special needs. And it's nice to know I am not alone in worrying about my children and problems they may be going through. It's just hard when it's so in your face at the school. You are one excellent mama!

Anonymous said...

the more kids we have, the better are the chances for interesting personalities.
If you only had 2 kids, chances are, they would be pretty typical.
My seventh child has anxieties as well. She bites her finger nails on hands and toes ( so sad) she also twirled her hair and it is un-even now. I think she stopped it though.
Actually, if you look closely- every kid has some kind of "issue" - we just don't know it until their parent lets us know.
For Annabelle: maybe you can put on some hair clips that sparkle, headbands....girly girl accesories?
Big hugs Lisa. Let's hope for a good school year!

Love, Asha.

Carla said...

Hey, Lisa, I need to remind you of something from a certain someone from a certain birth board. If she wasn't responsible for the fact that her kid was super chill, then you aren't responsible for every little thing about your kids that seems odd to you. I know a lot of teachers and your kids are far from a freak show. They are kids. Period.