I thought our “getting settled” was getting settled. I thought we were on our way to finding our place in our community. We like a church not too far away, though we plan to continue to visit just to be sure. No more crying. No more screaming. Not too much stressing.
We settled into a routine. Homework after school. Mornings are for review. Hanan was having problems with math again. That’s normal for her. I’m frustrated with the curriculum here is good old Tennessee but that’s my new normal, finding a way to work around it. Our normal for after school is two smiley girls running for the car to tell me how their day was. Yesterday was no different.
Something did happen while I was at home. The principal called. My heart jumped in my throat. She was just calling to tell me how great Hanan was doing. She had just participated in the I Read To My Principal program. She had no idea how the transition was for my girls after talking to my daughter for 2 minutes. She wasn’t bothering to ask either. This is a principal who doesn’t publish her email for parents to correspond. You can’t get messages to her easily. I really think the only thing she cares about is the status quo. Whoops. I may have ruined that.
As she told me how wonderful everything was, I told her I appreciated the fact that things are getting better but my girls are still in the middle of a very difficult transition. I might be a stay at home mom, but I pay attention to their schoolwork, their curriculum and their general education. I told the principal that while Arleigh’s teacher is very sweet and has responded to most of my requests, I think it’s wrong for a teacher to send a child home with an F on their second day of school, before their academic work has truly been assessed, before the child feels comfortable. I explained kindly how damaging it was to both Arleigh and her sister. I told her that Arleigh was devasted, her self confidence shattered and we are a long way from normal. I told the principal that while I believe Arleigh’s teacher is working on her self confidence, Arleigh sees things as black and white and she needs very clear direction. Arleigh comes home at least twice a week saying that she asked the teacher to clarify something and she’s told to figure it out herself. I am not of fan of Saxon curriculum. It’s old school. It’s boring. It is not innovative or engaging. I will deal with it. The curriculum and the fact that Arleigh needs to adjust her learning style may very well be most of the problem. It’s frustrating for us at home. That’s bleeding into all of our lives.
So the principal didn’t like what I was saying. She told me what an excellent teacher Ms. Reed is. She defended her curriculum and basically refused to speak with me about the type of teacher that would be best for Arleigh to have next year. I should also say that I am apparently the only person in the world (unless you also count Ray and my mother) that are not big fans of Ms. Reed’s teaching style.
So the rest of the afternoon I’m worrying. Did I do more harm than good? Will the administration and the teacher take out their frustration with me and my mouth on my kids? Should I have just kept quiet and tried to fix everything from here? I need to pick up the girls and start on the homework so I push it away from my thoughts.
Then, it happens. Hanan who was so happy when I picked her up, was clearly not happy again. I tried to distract her. She didn’t sleep last night. Everyone got up at 5. Hanan made her way to my room around 4. Not good. She’s tired and that’s exasterbating the problem. I won’t bore you with the gory details. I’ll only tell you that Hanan had one of her famous meltdowns. It started around 7. I sent her back to her room. I was afraid the attention was feeding it. It ended with me climbing on the top bunk, pulling her off, putting her shoes and coat on, carrying her to the car and buckling her in. When she is in the middle of the fit, she hears nothing. We got to school and I had to coax her out of the car. I really thought I would have to carry her into the school. Thank goodness that didn’t happen.
Now I’m stressed and I’m worried. She will face strong discipline when she gets home. I’ve also devised a reward system so that hopefully we can prevent this in the future. I’m worn out. I’m tired. I really don’t feel like Mom of the Year right now. I think this is what I get for saying, well, it can’t get worse. Oh. It can. I ate my words.