Wednesday we had an "SST" meeting with all of Julian's teachers.
Thursday we had an "IEP" meeting to find the results of the extensive assessment the school district did on Gabriel (cognitive, psychological, language; questionnaires from parents and two teachers). This was a huge deal, it turns out! We didn't finish and will have to re-meet, but it looks like he'll qualify for "services" for language (an articulation issue) and "social pragmatics." Overall with language and speech he was outstanding -- the speech pathologist and psychologist both said his manner of speaking like an adult was very unusual for a kid his age -- but his empathy, ability to respond to others' manners, ability to perceive emotion in others, was very low for someone who overall is so capable with language.
Friday Julian was suspended from the CDC. This is huge. He was messing around with another kid, head-locked him, and bashed the kids' head on the floor. If he'd done that at school, he'd have been suspended from school. As it is, the kids are spending 3 days at CDC next week because school is out, so missing a CDC day is a big deal. Tonya will fill the gap for us, thank goodness, but it's really unacceptable for us to have to find other childcare arrangements because of behavior.
Saturday, Julian had his first counseling session, offered through the school district. First we talked with the counselor, with Julian present, then she talked with him alone. He wouldn't tell us what they talked about; mostly he was excited about a G.I. Joe he got to play with at the end. I'm a little concerned about the counseling because the counselor explained to us that she's a "mandated reporter," which means if Julian says things that she has to report, we could be looking at another visit from the county Family services. She also said she'd be talking to us about "parenting skills," and asked if we ever considered timeouts instead of spanking. Good grief, are we back to that?! Still, I hope that Julian feels good about having his own counselor, and I told him she's there just for him to talk to about his feelings.
Saturday was great though, since Uncle Ryan was in town, and we all had such a great time with him. Aunt Laura was at a girls-only thing in Napa, but they're both coming back next weekend, yay!
Today, Sunday, we went out to our annual pancake breakfast at our friends' house before the motorcycle show, which Dave went to afterward. At home, Gabriel spent most of the day trying to fix a remote-control car to bring to CDC tomorrow, because it's "electronics day." I hate these days; kids bring in their video games to play, and they're not allowed to share. So it's really hard on the few kids without video games, and I'd talked to the CDC about this already. To make matters worse, things like remote-controlled cars aren't usually allowed. But Gabriel had talked to the CDC director last week about bringing his RC car, and the director agreed, knowing our situation.
Gabriel played with the car today, but something on it broke. He spent hours working on it, including roping Dad into taking him into the garage to solder a wire. Something mechanical was still wrong with the car, so Gabriel kept at it, then the wire they'd soldered broke again. It became clear it was beyond repair.
Gabriel was so upset -- and this is not a kid who gets upset easily. He just didn't know what to do. He'd alternately wail (since babyhood, he still can't sob) about being "tortured" at Electronics Day, then gather himself and tackle the broken toy again, then give up in frustration and wail again.
It was heartbreaking. I felt so bad for him, and then annoyed again that we're put into this position. He'd been a really good sport about it, he'd planned ahead, then spent so many hours getting his car ready, only to have it break again, so his disappointment was really deep. He was now dreading the next day, when incessant beeps and squeaks of everyone else's video games would just rub it in. I remember what that feels like as a kid, like your whole world is wrapped up in this thing, and then it falls apart.
Even though I knew he'd recover, I wasn't sure I would. So during dinner, I snuck out to Target and got him another RC car -- this time one with a better suspension and meant to climb. It's not an expensive one, and I know it won't last forever, but I sure feel better.
And so did he. It felt good showing it to him and seeing his whole mood turn around. He hugged me several times and thanked me -- I think not just for the car, but for lifting his disappointment. At least that's what I'd like to think.
I'm not quite as worried about Julian on Electronics Day, for a number of reasons. Though he too doesn't like having to watch other kids play with their video games, he didn't have his heart set for days on bringing an alternative. He's also just been suspended, which seriously curtails my sympathy. This is a huge pain in the rear for us, not to mention the extra expense. Katrina hasn't said anything yet; I'm not sure this is as big a deal for the kinders.
It's sure been an emotional past-few days, ending now on an up-note for now.