Today was simply exhausting.
I got to Ethan's school a little early, and on a whim, decided to go in and mention to the principal about Ethan's latest writing in his planner. My intention of mentioning it was to bring up the possibility of switching his classroom. We never got that far. His principal said that her son is similar and what Ethan is going through it "probably hormones, as he is getting to that age." He's 9. He's not at that age. I still help him bathe occasionally, for pete's sake. Girls still have cooties and are "gross" and he still runs around the house in his underwear without a care in the world. Puberty is not upon us, folks, and there are no other excuses other than my son is struggling with depression.
I left that discussion pretty disheartened. It was certainly NOT what I expected to hear.
Later in the day, he had his appointment with a counselor. It was his first appointment. He was angry that I didn't warn him about it, but I know him, and I know regardless of when I told him, he would be upset and not want to go. It made no difference. I apologized, but still told him we were going. When we got there at 2:30, we learned that the scheduler made a mistake and the counselor he was assigned to didn't see people under the age of 12. They said he could still be seen, but it would be by someone else, and it would be at 4. Not good. My son doesn't handle changes in plans well. I gave him the option of hanging out there, or going to the book store. He excitedly said he wanted to go to the bookstore, so off we headed.
It ended up being a GREAT time. We discussed how book stores are becoming obsolete. This particular one was closing and everything was 50% off. We talked about how now everyone downloaded their books rather than purchase them off the shelves. He is an avid reader, and he agreed that nothing beats the actual book itself. When we got inside, we parted ways: he headed towards the children's books and myself towards the adult books. We met in the middle. He found 5 books for himself and I found 3 books for myself. As we were paying, he asked if our purchases would help save the bookstore. Bless his heart.
Afterwards, we headed back to the office. Our first appointment was okay. It was an hour long and mostly just assessments. Ethan spent the time curled up in the chair, playing with a toy that was out while the counselor asked me questions about him, from my pregnancy through now. So many things to discuss and so little time. How do you summarize some one's life in an hour? One part that made my heart swell was when the counselor asked Ethan, "On a scale of 1-10, 10 being that you love her and you could hug her all the time to 1, where you hate her and never want to see her again, how do you rate your relationship with your teacher?" Ethan thought for a few moments, then said, "Could you please tell me what the rest of the numbers mean?"
At 5:10, we were scheduled for parent/teacher conferences. Thankfully, Ethan's dad was already there. I tried SO hard to be there, but unfortunately missed it because we didn't get out in time. Jay's report on it made me see red. To summarize, the teacher said we were "enabling" Ethan. Enabling him? Really? I was livid. This is not the end. I have already sent an e-mail to meet again with more time allotted. If I don't get a response tomorrow, I will personally go there.
Since I missed conferences and Jay relayed how unproductive it was, I met with the principal yet again, and stressed to her how important I felt it was to sit down with Jay and I, along with his teacher and the principal. Her response this time was that I already had a meeting with the social worker, so let's start there, first.
I just can't help but feel like I am not being taken seriously. This is MY child. I have been extremely patient and kind. But when it comes to my child, especially when it is so clear to me that he is in distress, it doesn't take much for me to lose my patience. If tomorrow doesn't go well with some sort of plan, I will be contacting the Board of Education. If THAT doesn't help, well, I don't know. I just don't know. I never, EVER anticipated this would be such a struggle. I think I had this sugar-coated impression that schools would do whatever they could to help a child succeed. I am seeing first hand that is certainly NOT the case, and instead they are turning a blind eye and more or less hoping if we pretend it doesn't exist, then it doesn't exist.
I don't have all the answers. I don't know what the best plan is for my son. I don't know if I am handling all of this in the right manner. Am I being to passive or too aggressive? Am I being unrealistic or am I doing exactly what I should be doing? I just don't know, but I do know that in the end, my child will come out on top. I can promise you that. I can promise HIM that. He deserves it.