The Daughter Chronicles

Saturday, August 21, 2010

School: The first few days

The kids have been in school for a week and a half now, so there's some things to tell. I am in Pennsylvania, and I arrived here on Thursday, so I don't know how the end of the week went, but I know how the first few days went, so here we have it!

We found out a few days before school started (on the 11th) that Mia was getting ... a new teacher! Yay! Her fourth in four years, mind you, which is probably SOP for most kids, but for Mia, it's kind of a pain. Her teacher from last year, who had made such strides in figuring out to deal with her, left and went to a different district (presumably for more money, as it's in Scottsdale). And not only is her teacher new, she's also a first-year teacher, just like last year. Don't get me started on teacher retention!

We thought about sending her to a different school, but we figured we'd at least meet the new teacher and see what she was like. She seemed much more focused than her teacher did last year, and she seemed to have a better plan for teaching Mia, which was nice. The Traumatic Brain Injury specialist for Mesa Schools was also impressed with her, so we decided to give her a chance. Mia is eating better (although not great) this year, and physically she's sound, so neither of those should be an issue. But we're still going to keep an eye on the new teacher to make sure she's doing a good job, and we're not going to let it go on too long if she's not. Mia deserves better, confound it!

She's been doing fine so far, although I'm a bit concerned about her eating. They keep a food diary for her because we want to know what she's eating during the day. She seems to be eating regularly, but I sent a bag with a whole bunch of stuff in it for her to nosh on throughout the day, and they don't seem to be giving it to her. Mia will not sit down and eat in ten minutes at lunch time - that's just not how she rolls. She will eat throughout the day if you give a little bit at a time. She's been eating a lot of goldfish crackers, and while that's okay, she has a lot of other foods at school, so I may have to go in and ask what's up. She is also still drinking the Kid Essentials milk drink, which has a ton of calories and fat in it. I took some fruit juice to school to keep her hydrated (the Kid Essentials isn't great for that), because over the summer she decided she liked it. It doesn't appear they're giving that to her. They write that during lunch she drinks chocolate milk. Well, that's groovy, but I don't want her to drink chocolate milk - if they're going to give her milk, give her the Kid Essentials! So after next week (I'm in Pennsylvania until Tuesday and my mom is currently visiting to help with the kids and she'll still be there, so I won't have a ton of time to sit in on her class), I'm going in to have a chat with the teacher. We shall see what transpires then.

Norah, meanwhile, is doing well in kindergarten. Krys was going to take her the first day, but thought she might freak out a bit too much, so I took her. She was fine. Once she got in the room and found a book in her desk, it was as if I didn't even exist. So I was fine with that. She took the bus home, and that turned into an adventure. Her bus is supposed to arrive at 3.18 in the afternoon, and the stop is at the end of our street, which I can see from the house. Mia's PT works with her from 2.30-3.30 on Wednesday, so he was there. I didn't want to leave him with Mia in case Norah's bus didn't get to the stop until after 3.30 (it was the first day; I was expecting it to be late) and he'd have to stay with Mia. So I stood in our driveway looking for the bus, hoping I could see it and run down and catch it. Yeah, that wasn't a good idea. It drove by at about 3.40, just as Mia's PT was leaving. I wasn't sure if it was her bus, but I kind of thought it might be. So I called the school. The line was busy, a message said. I kept calling the school but could never get through. I didn't know what to do, because I didn't want to leave Mia. I could have put her in the car and driven to the school, but I didn't know if that bus had actually been Norah's and I didn't want to miss it if it happened to go by. So I was stuck. I made the mistake of calling Krys, who freaked out. I told her that Norah was fine - she was either at school for some odd reason or still on the bus ... wherever that might be. They wouldn't just kick her off. The only problem was that I didn't know where the bus was. So she looked up the Transportation office for me and I finally managed to get a number where they could contact the bus. Krys left work and went to the school, but I was able to find out that the bus was coming back, so Krys went down and picked her up. She thought Norah would be upset, but I pointed out that Norah didn't know that she wasn't supposed to be on the bus for 90 minutes (as it turned out she was), so she wouldn't be upset. It turned out, of course, that the bus I saw was her bus, and because I wasn't at the stop, it took off. I know it's my fault, but you would think that on the first day of school, when you're almost 25 minutes late, you might call the dispatcher and see if you could track down a parent to get the kid. Or maybe not. I did find out that the school's phone lines weren't busy, they were down completely. Good move - the first day of school, and your phone lines are down. Excellent.

But Norah is doing fine. She's still very shy, so although she tells us she plays with a kid or two, she doesn't know their names and can't tell us much about them. When I take her to school in the morning, she gets in line quietly and tilts her head down slightly so that nobody looks at her. She already has quite a bit of homework, but she and Krys sit down every night and get through it. When I dropped her off on Wednesday, the teacher said she's doing very well. I figured she would be fine at the work - Norah is very good at doing what's she told (most of the time), especially from teachers. I know she'll make friends; I just hope it's soone rather than later.

So that's the first week or so at school. Krys and I both have to volunteer at Norah's school, so that will be fun, and I'm sure I'll be visiting Mia's school to suss out what her teacher is doing for her. Good times!


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