Friday, April 29, 2011

Another school rant

Pumpkin is not toilet trained. Not at all. Not by any stretch of the imagination. No matter what her bio mom might think. She has no idea if she's soaking wet or sitting in a pile of poo.

One of the ways I deal with this is to change her frequently. I've had to work through quite a few issues when it comes to this area of care and Pumpkin. Five-year-old butts can be pretty disgusting! But if I change her frequently, I don't deal with the "quantity" that really gets to me. Besides - that's how I've handled ALL my children. I think it's the right thing to do no matter what. No child deserves to sit around in a messy diaper.

So, you can imagine my frustration when Pumpkin got off the bus after school today and her shorts were so wet I could almost wring them out.

I am not impressed with the special education department at our school. I have yet to see the teacher interacting with the students AT ALL! Yes, I've seen the aides playing with flash cards or sitting next to a child that is scribbling. But that's about it. I've been in and out of the classroom at all different times of the day. I have yet to see anything that resembles educational involvement.

Last week, Pumpkin got off the bus from school carrying a stick from a blow-pop lollipop. She was covered in candy pieces and was chewing the gum. This made me totally freak out! For one thing, lollipops can be a choking hazard for neuro-typical children. They are generally safe enough if the child is old enough and they are sitting. But Pumpkin is NOT neuro-typical.'s the biggie...she can't walk well. What was she doing with a lollipop while on the bus?! I'm quite confident that she wasn't sitting the entire time she was eating it. And, to top it off, she has no business chewing gum. I've had to finger-sweep her mouth before because of choking. She may have chewed gum tons of times before coming to my house. But I'm not going to take that kind of risk with Pumpkin.

And, despite my best efforts, the staff in Pumpkin's classroom still isn't filling out the daily information sheet fully. I want to know if Pumpkin is eating during the day (she can't tell me herself). I also need to know if seizure behavior is present. Pumpkin hasn't been in my care long enough for me to fully trust that her seizure's are under control the way they should be. I've gone in to the classroom during the day (to pick up Pumpkin or to drop things off) and the aides have told me that Pumpkin has been particularly tired lately in the mornings. I kindly ask the aides to write it down for me in the daily log sheet that I've provided. Being extra tired is a sign that something isn't quite right. Any child that goes to bed at 7:30PM and gets up at 6:30AM shouldn't be so tired that they can't function during the morning. However, the level of fatigue hasn't been recorded for me ever. Despite the fact that I have a space dedicated to that specific symptom on the sheet. Grrr

With the lollipop issue, I called the school that very afternoon and spoke with the assistant principal. I played it off that I wanted to make sure to say something right away as the Easter party was the next day and I knew there would be a lot of candy. I was worried for Pumpkin's safety and I wanted it addressed without me having to make the confrontation.

With the daily logs, I'm just going to wing it for the rest of the year. In just about a month Pumpkin will be home with me all day every day and I will be monitoring her behavior myself. It just doesn't seem worth it to make a stink this close to the end of the year. Besides, they are filling out the sheet daily – they just aren't doing a very thorough job of it.

As for the wet shorts, I took the passive aggressive approach this morning. At drop off we were discussing that Pumpkin hadn't eaten breakfast yet. The conversation was light-hearted and I just said, "Wow! Pumpkin must have had a LOT to drink yesterday at snack. When she got off the bus her shorts were soaking wet. I could have wrung them out they were so soaked!"

The aides immediately let me know that she wasn't in that condition when she got on the bus. They informed me know that "policy" states the children can't have messy diapers when they're getting on the bus. They even told me that they've been called back to the bus yard to change a child before the bus would take them. Now...I know they don't make sure that Pumpkin is dry every day before she leaves school. I have to change Pumpkin's diaper every day when she gets home from school – and there is only a 20 minute lapse from when school gets out to when she arrives at my home. (In fact, she was early yesterday and got home just 10 minutes after school let out.) But, at least I guess I know they didn't put her on the bus all wet like that.

I feel like my hands are so tied. Of course I want to advocate for Pumpkin as best as I can! But there's this dance that I know I am in. Ultimately, they are the ones caring for Pumpkin during the day at school and I don't want to offend them. I don't want them to become frustrated and as a result offer up an even lower standard of care. Pumpkin can't tell me how she's being treated. I'm not insinuating that they would abuse her. But I don't want to do anything that could make things worse for Pumpkin.

We've only got 4 1/2 weeks of school left. It's not worth it to cause a fuss right now. I'll get all my "ducks in a row" for next year! If Pumpkin is still in my care...things will be different. I will see to that!


Sunday Koffron said...

I would have been livid! I do not allow my kids gum, I hate it. And giving a sucker to an unsupervised child with a history of possible seizures? What on earth were they thinking? I think trying to address it without being overly confrontational was probably the most prudent thing to do. if it were me I would have gone at it with a sludge hammer and the rest of the year would have been uncomfortable for everyone, your way makes a lot more sense.

jendoop said...

You did a great job dealing with each situation on an individual basis. It's easy to jump to conclusions about a series of events when they may not be related or show a premeditated lack of care. Maybe the person who was supposed to change Pumpkin's diaper was overwhelmed with another child and forgot to change her before the bus. People aren't perfect.

Still, I would want better than she is getting, like you do. I think you are right to tackle this next year, if you still have Pumpkin.

Good luck with summer vacation though, that's a lot of diapers to change and weight on your shoulders. Does the county or your agency have any summer programs so you can get a break?