Some thoughts about Dude and his life....
I realize it was a month ago, but court is traumatic. When you think you're going to have to say goodbye to all the people you know and love...that is not easy stuff. It's hard to prepare for and it's hard to recover from.
Mr. Amazing left for Wisconsin three weeks ago. It's not easy when Daddy is gone. Dude and Dolly have never experienced this. (well...except for the summer from Hell when they had to go to emergency respite -- but that was a different heap of trauma) They hear me telling them that Daddy will be back. But do they REALLY believe me?!
Monthly visits to Dallas are still happening. They are confusing and over-stimulating and neglectful all at the same time.
Bio Mom disappeared out of the cherubs' lives for nearly a month.
Dude's school now teaches in a foreign language two days a week. That means on every Tuesday and Thursday Dude does not understand what is being said to him fully all day long. This started in January when we were all still in the throws of court drama.
Dude is the youngest child in his preK class by as much as 1.5 years. So not only is he still trying to catch up developmentally due to 2.5 years of neglect by his family of origin, but he's in with a bunch of kids that are considerably older than him when it comes to early childhood development.
Dude does not "need" a daily nap anymore. So the act of trying to force him to sleep is going to be met with some resistance. I wish there was an alternative. I can't easily keep Dude up later at night either because Dolly needs the 7:30 bedtime. (I think I might have to start picking up Dude every day before nap time just so I can eliminate this particular problem.)
The teacher aide in Dude's class is a complete pushover. She knows little of child development and she does not know how to control a classroom of little people. (This was confirmed to me by the lead teacher and is based on more than just my observations.) I have spoken with Miss G multiple times about how she must tend to Dude IMMEDIATELY if he misbehaves or he will continue to walk all over her. He's a very bright little boy and will continue to push her buttons if she can't learn how to run the show herself. Still, if he misbehaves she lets someone else handle any discipline. So...Dude continues to act up for her regularly.
Dude's lead teacher has been missing a lot of school lately. She comes in late. Or she takes breaks in the day. Or she's just not there. Even if she just leaves for her lunch it's seeming to affect Dude. He does not want to obey for the aide.
The director at this Head Start location doesn't know much more about early childhood development. When Dude acts up he talks to Dude entirely too much. As if Dude cares?! No 4yo is going to listen to a lecture. Oh wait...kids in general don't give a rip about lectures. But this man doesn't seem to know that so he will "talk" with Dude about his behavior. What Dude needs is a VERY stern hollering at, a time out and a full understanding due to prompt attention when he acts up that his behavior is unacceptable. (Things like jumping up and down on the cot at nap time. Or telling his teacher he is NOT going to do something. Or...hitting other children...he's been hitting a lot lately.) Dude does not need a lecture or a walk outside. He needs to know that hands are not for hurting. He needs to be dealt with immediately - not when the lead teacher gets back in the room a half hour later.
Bio Mom asked for and got a visit with the cherubs after being gone out of their lives for a month.
But honestly...I shouldn't have to explain ANY of the above to anyone. The biggest problem of all is that DUDE NEEDS PERMANENCY! He has been in foster care for almost 20 months now. No child needs to hang in that kind of limbo for that long. Especially NOT such a young child! (There are supposed to be standards in place to prevent this!!)
So when Dude's teacher tells me that, "Dude is different. He has changed a lot since the beginning of the year," I want to scream! Of course he has!! He's living in daily trauma. Foster care IS trauma! Can't you see that?! Can't you wrap your brain around that?! It's hard for ME to deal with. I want to be able to answer questions with something other than, "I don't know," or, "maybe". If it is so damn difficult for me...can you imagine what it's doing to the children?! I am a fully grown adult with a well established support system. All these kids have is ME. Don't you get that?!
Instead, she goes on to tell me that she's taken Dude and threatened to send him to the "baby room" at school when he misbehaves. Ya know...the room he should have been put in to begin with. The room filled with other kids his age. She shames him.
Needless to say, when I was told yesterday that Dude's lead teacher was going to be gone and the authorities in the room were going to be the wishy-washy aide and a brand new substitute teacher...I decided that it wasn't necessary to send Dude to school today. He deserves a day where he is loved and accepted for who he is. He does not need to spend an entire day in a stress filled environment with people that don't have a clue.