I am happy to report that N’s mother, M, has shaken off the deer-in-the-headlights demeanor which was in full force on Saturday night. Apparently, my mentioning that there was still no speech therapist at her son’s school —Nik’s old school —was the first she had been informed of the fact. It took a few days for her to digest the information, formulate a plan, and take action.
While she was simmering, stewing, and plotting her moves, I took the liberty of speaking to Miss K, the speech therapist at the place where Nik has his OT, PT, and playgroup; she is the former school SLP who knows N very well. She was quite disturbed to hear that the school administration hadn’t at least informed the families that there was no SLP or made any arrangements for per diem coverage or anything. She told me to tell M that she should contact the school principal and ask him to arrange compensatory services immediately.
I called M today to pass along this information; my timing couldn’t have been better! M was, in fact, on her way to the school to corner the highly elusive principal. It seems she’s been getting the runaround about an appointment and had enough. Can’t say I blame her; Niksdad and my experience with the “new” principal left a bad taste in our mouths and I have heard from multiple sources both inside and outside the school that he has shown his true colors as a “master manipulator” and politician who doesn’t spend much time actually in the trenches of the classrooms and satellite sites. We’re not talking a large operation here, folks; there are four sites total and fewer than one hundred students involved. It makes me sad and angry but there is little I can do about it except file away the knowledge for future dealings with him, if necessary.
Anyway, M was on her way to the school and ready to spit nails in the form of going to the school board, filing grievances, etc. The only fly in the ointment as far as she could see was the fact that she had her daughter, S, with he and was concerned about how to stay focused on the issues at hand. Turns out her husband had to attend a chemical warfare training in preparation for his upcoming deployment; just hearing the phrase “chemical warfare” made my heart skip a beat —not in a good way. I immediately offered to take S for her; I didn’t know what it would look like or how Nik would handle it but I knew I needed to do that for her —and for N.
So for a couple hours early this afternoon I got a small taste of what it would be like to have two kids in the house! Now, I know that when you have a second child there is all sorts of adjusting that happens gradually; I’ve not yet heard of any child emerging from the womb already walking, climbing, and eating Cheerios or Goldfish crackers! None the less, it was a fascinating and daunting experience for me.
Nik was in his chair having his lunchtime tube feeding when they arrived. S was content to sit on the floor and play with Nik’s toys while Mary Poppins played in the background. Nik, by and large, wasn’t terribly interested in what this pint-sized carrot top was up to —until she climbed aboard his beloved musical scooter. Um, I guess I need to work a bit on his sharing skills; he responded by shaking his head and saying a very emphatic “NG-NG-NG-NG-NG!” and having a near meltdown over it. S, is apparently well-versed in the art of tormenting her older sibling and merely giggled as she rode away. Poor Nik.
But he got his own in kind once his lunch was done and he was out of his seat; he kept taking S’s beloved pink sippy cup. Being the pampered girly girl she is, S responded by shrieking, tears, and a quivering lip as she raised her arms to me to pick her up. Yes, she walks all over her docile big brother, N, but she’d never last a day with Nik! Nik wanted to clap her hands together and she got scared. She pulled the same shrieking, “Save me!” behavior. She’s adorable but, man, she needs to get a bit tougher!
(Yes, I admit it, I am grateful for my rough and tumble son —even when he discovers fishing in the toilet as a new way to entertain himself while Mommy is at the gym and Daddy is trying to study! Of course, perhaps my daughter would be just as rough and tumble, too? A point not worth pondering as it will never come to pass. Truly, it won’t —we’ve taken care of that!))
When M returned from her meeting, she was fairly pleased with the way things went. She received promises of immediate action and authorization for compensatory speech services (as well as some other things they discussed having to do with the physical conditions of the bathroom in her son’s classroom). I told her to make sure she puts everything in writing and to not trust blindly that school will do what the principal says will be done without committing it to the record. (What can I say? I am a tad jaded after our experience with the same school and same principal!)
So there you have the update on N and his family. By the way, M asked me to pass along her thanks for the prayers and good thoughts for both the school situation and for her husband’s upcoming deployment.