Silas is now homeschooled. We pulled him out of Grant Street. Long story. Click on the link.
On Friday I talked to the schedule writers at the big store & at the fuel station... for now I will just work weekends & the occassional closing shift starting after 5pm. It's not ideal, but I need to be bringing in a little bit of income. I see no reason to burn bridges and try to find a completely different job like bartending. The bars here are all in some sort of threat of closing. And there's no guarantee they could give me any hours or work around me... I don't even know if any of them would hire me. I hadn't gotten that far in the plan yet. The fact that Safeway can work around my schedule is fantastic. I've gotten used to not having that many hours, so this won't be that much of an adjustment. The one problem I can see down the road is that I'll basically NEVER have a day off. Monday - Friday I'll be busy doing school with Silas and working on Etsy and all of my general crafty/cooking/housekeeping stuff. Then since they can only use me freely for two days a week, I'm pretty much guaranteed to be scheduled every weekend. Which is good for the pocket book... so I can't complain. It looks like I'll be at the fuel station more than checking. I'm constantly hearing little murmurs around Safeway that I'm being moved over there. No one has said anything to me, but whatever. I'll take what I can get and pick my battles. I like the fuel station, but I also really enjoy checking... I'm conflicted, but don't care enough to say anything.
I picked him up from school this afternoon around 1pm... and went straight to the district office to full out a Declaration Of Intent form. I don't know if he's going back tomorrow, or next week, or at all. All I know is that I feel like the school system is consistently not there for him and his needs. He was ganged up on by three boys in the lunch room today and teased. When he went to an adult to try and get help (what he's been told to do a million times) she told him to just ignore the boys and did NOTHING. Did not ask them to stop, did not further investigate, didn't even stop whatever she was doing. We're talking about a 7 year old here, and a bi-polar one at that! He did exactly what he was supposed to do and no one helped... so he got upset. The mere *physical act of being upset put him in the principal's office, and I got called. I'm tired of this happening day in and day out. Yes, he is what some people would call difficult, but honestly... in every situation he's been in where he was teased, picked on, bullied, glared at... I know how he feels and 90% of his reactions are fairly close to how I, a grown woman, would also react. The only person at that school who seems to really truly want to work together on this is his teacher, Peter. But he can't be with Peter all day. They go to recess, PE, music, lunch, and art seperate from him, out of their home class. Silas already stays in during recess a lot. Not as a punishment, but just because he doesn't like the social politics of it all and Peter will let him stay in and draw or read.
So this may be the official beginning of our homeschooling journey. I don't know yet. I'm taking the tried and true wait-and-see approach.
*He slammed a door and was crossing his arms and huffing a lot. Not hurting anyone, not endangering anyone, just physically letting out what he felt. I understand that the school can't really let that happen on a regular basis, but the boy NEEDED to vent and literally NO ONE was listening to him. I might have slammed a door or two, myself.
The book; Unconditional Parenting
I've known people over the years who took this approach with their kids, either as a conscious decision or just born out of their natural temperment. And I could always tell they had a tight, close, mutually respectful relationship with their kids. I could never put my finger on exactly why... now I can. Obviously what we've been doing with Silas has NOT been working... and I'm starting to reevaluate what we even mean by "working". What is my ultimate goal for him, in the long run, and what am I doing to work toward it? What am I doing to hinder it? I wholeheartedly recommend this book for any parent who has ever made a star chart to track their child's progress with something. For any parent who has sent their child to "time-out" only to make matters worse and cause harsh grudges... It was a BIG TIME eye opener.
I just ordered two books on Amazon to read before we start this uphill climb into homeschooling.
Parenting Beyond Belief: On Raising Ethical, Caring Kids Without Religion
Raising FreeThinkers: A Practical Guide For Parenting Beyond Belief
I already know our homeschooling journey is going to be freakishly different from a lot of the people who encouraged me to do this. When I first put my feelers out on Facebook to see what my friends with homeschooling backgrounds had to say, I got a lot of talk about how good it was that I was "listening to the Spirit" and that God had "equipped me" to teach Silas and to face all of the challenges of homeschooling "through prayer and meditation on the Word". It's my own damn fault for staying so connected to my roots that I have to listen to this all the time. It's not me now, it's how I was raised. It's something I've moved far away from in my own life, my own ideaology, my own heart. I struggle with feeling like I've let down a lot of people who care about me, but I have no intention of going against my gut and faking it for them so they can sleep better at night. Count me as *lost and move on.
In other news, we had a scary ordeal last week, which I blogged about here. Needless to say, we've decided that medication is NOT the route we want to take with him. I've contemplated dietary therapy, since my mom is in training to become a licensed nutritionalist... but my little man loves bread and cheese and pasta and fruit cups. He already eats infinitely healthier than most children I know, and we already cut back his sugar and dairy intake a couple of years ago. I honestly think that removing all flour and gluten and whatever will not be worth the hassle for the mild benefits it could provide. Not to mention, a lot of his "problems" are not an issue at home. They are social things that only come up at school or when he's with a lot of kids and overstimulated. I really truly feel it's something we could work through as a family without the added stress of taking away certain foods. I want him to grow up with a healthy relationship with food and his body. I don't need moral values assigned to things he genuinely loves.
*I do not truly believe that I am "lost" or that I'm some evil person who has chosen the wrong path. But I know that there are people who will read this, linked from my FB, who have known me since I was little, who WILL think that. I can't stop them from being concerned or losing sleep or talking about me and my "situation" with others... but I can respectfully ask them not to come to me. Not to plead with me. I don't need concern trolling about my health, my fat, my spiritual well-being, or my life.
- Around 11:30am I got a call from Silas' teacher, telling me to come to the school immediately. He said Silas was having full body tremors and could barely walk.
- When I got to school about ten minutes later, Silas was in the office with Peter (his teacher) and the school counselor. They had already called the therapist's office to see what he nurse advised. He could barely stay in the chair he was in, he was moving so much, completely out of his control. His words were slurred and he had a hard time getting more than 3 or 4 words out at a time. He was coherent and totally responsive to questions, even joking around that he was all "wibbly" (wiggly and wobbly combined)...
- The nurse called back within a few minutes of me getting there and told me, "Give him plenty of fluids, let him rest, and continue with only an evening dose of his medication the next night. Call back in the morning when his therapist is in." Um, there was no way on earth I was doing that. At this point, he couldn't walk more than a couple of steps, so I picked him up and took him out to the car.
- My first thought was the ER. Take him home and make him drink lots of water? No.
- When we got to the ER, the girl at the desk was the same girl he had been so outgoing with the week before when getting his labs drawn. She immediately noticed he wasn't himself. At this point, his speech was even harder to understand and he had to be held tightly in my lap, or his movement made him slink down onto the floor. Within 10 minutes they had him in an exam room and were prepping him for an IV.
- It took 5 grown adults to hold my baby down. He weighs 45 lbs, but was so aggressive and beligerent (another side effect of the bad reaction) that he had to be strapped to a restraint board in order to steady his body. This was when I started crying. Silas was not Silas. He was scared and angry and hostile and helpless. I've never heard him scream like this, and this is a kid who screams and cries at EVERY needle prick, shot, even haircuts sometimes....
- He calmed down a bit once he was hooked up and we were able to unstrap him... about half an hour after that, he lost the ability to speak. He could get one word out if he concentrated really hard, and there was literally NO volume control. So he'd be totally quiet and then yell, "HOME!" or "EAT!" or "LOVE!"... at one point he teared up from frustration, and I saw so I started to tear up... then he saw me tearing up and broke into full blown tears. That went on for about half an hour. Constant wailing and crying and moaning... I held him as best I could, but there was no stopping it. I'm not sure if he ran out of tears or energy or both, but eventually it just kind of peetered out... That was the roughest patch for me... seeing him completely broken.
- The ER was slammed that afternoon, so we spent a good hour and a half after his IV was in completely alone in the exam room, with the nurse popping her head in for 2 seconds every once in awhile. Finally when one nurse came in to switch IV bags I asked if we could get some food. He was so apologetic... turns out he thought we'd already been fed and that's why nobody had come in. About twenty minutes later he was able to bring us two trays... About that time, Silas was able to speak again. He didn't even realize it at first. he asked me if he could sit up and I just kind of stared at him in shock and his eyes got real big... "I can talk!" His voice was quiet and scratchy and weak, but he could talk. He could utter full sentences and tell me exactly what he needed. Such a wonderful moment.
- Once he was sitting up I gave him his sandwich and started feeding him bites of chicken noodle soup. He started to get some color back and seemed to have more energy. A really great doctor came down from upstairs to examine him, to approve us to be moved out of the ER to an overnight room. He was cracking jokes and smiling and it was the best thing ever... he seemed like Silas again. She got all the paperwork signed and told us we'd have to stay overnight to keep him on fluids and monitor the level of medication in his blood, etc.
- Once we were in our room, the rest of the stay was smooth sailing. The scary part was over. We were out by 11am Tuesday morning, thank god. He didn't want to leave at that point. He liked the adjustable bed and the red button he could push for the nurse to come take him to the bathroom... heh... and the fact that we let him watch as much TV as he wanted.