This week I had a gut check. I was brought back to reality. I was told my son is not making gains academically and it has come time to consider a new educational path for him.
I wasn’t shocked and knew it was coming, but what has become the most soul-sucking is the fact that I know Nico is brilliant. I feel it every time I sit beside him. He doesn’t have to say anything to me; I see it in his eyes.
I just wish I could turn his brain inside out so I, along with everyone else, could see how his brain really works and how brilliant he really is. He may not talk much and may seem completely disconnected from the world in which we all exist, but he just hasn’t been ignited. I know it will just take one teacher, one new approach, one new unveiling of something that lights Nico’s world up and he will show us all what’s been inside his brain all along.
I’m not naive or living in denial. I understand his limitations and I knew school would be a challenge for Nico, but I think I wanted to believe he would prove me wrong like he has done so many other times. Things would click sooner than they are.
We are definitely lucky though…Nico is loved and supported and advocated for at his school. He has teachers and an Admin Team who are committed to growing him academically and want him to be happy.
I think we have all just come to the conclusion that Nico has lost some of his confidence…the spark that is so uniquely his…and therefore we need to pivot.
School has done a number on him. Because he struggles with making mistakes and always wants to please others, not getting the answers right is a huge challenge for him. He wants people to be proud of him. And because third grade is so demanding, it has thrown him for a loop. He is struggling daily and making a lot of mistakes. This is now causing him to become incredibly anxious and more combative.
As his mom, my number one goal is to ensure my child is happy and I am falling behind in this department. I want Nico to feel confident in his abilities and I have made it my life’s work to build his confidence and self-trust. If I could teach him myself, I would. I know exactly what gets him excited, gets him up and moving and what makes him smile and laugh with his whole being. I don’t expect anyone else to do this for my son to the scale he needs it, but nevertheless…he needs it.
The few silver linings I took from this meeting are that the classroom he is going to transition to is filled with music and movement, visuals and systems. All things Nico thrives on. Plus, his current teachers and classmates will still be involved in Nico’s day in some form or fashion. I always have to look for the silver linings.
I left feeling immediately exhausted but hopeful. Always hopeful. Well, always exhausted too…ha. With this comes more change for a child who likes everything to stay the same. With this comes a return to early releases and speeding off to ABA therapy four days a week for two hours. With this comes more dread with how the next years will go and what will happen when he transitions to middle school and we have to build these kinds of school relationships all over again.
And on top of all this mental gymnastics, I have the worst “mom guilt” ever. It’s almost bone-crushing because I know I can’t do much more than what I’m already doing otherwise I can’t work. Being Nico’s mama is a full-time job in and of itself, so everything else I’m doing—-my actual full-time career and raising my other child—is just overtime.
My hope though…because I will always stay hopeful…is that Nico finds happiness in being at school again. This new classroom and new students will bring out the best in my boy. I want him to want to learn and show off how smart he is! Maybe a new classroom and new approach are what my sweet boy needs.
And, I hope that his current team and the Admin Team know just how much I appreciate and adore them for NEVER giving up on my son when it could be so easy to do so. I read about those things happening to kids like Nico all the time and my heart immediately goes out to the parents.
No parent should ever learn or be told outright that their child is not wanted in any learning environment. I pray that will never be our reality.
Winter Break is in two days and my goal is to begin the work of building my child back up and being the best mom to him I can be as I pivot, yet again, in my quest to give Nico the best chance at living a fulfilled and independent life. He deserves nothing less.
Oh, and I can’t forget to continue to figure out how to live forever so the advocacy never stops for my sweet boy. No one loves their children more than their mother.
3 thoughts on “Pivot”
Hi Katie, I just read your latest post….This is a significant time in Nico’s educational progress. I am happy to hear that he has a team working closely with you to guide his learning experiences. After working with special needs kids for 12 years I can appreciate all the thought that goes into finding the right path for each child. I feel that the social interaction gains are as important as the educational progress. You have certainly given Nico every opportunity to interact with others and experience the world we all live in today. He has made great progress! I look at Facebook and Instagram occasionally and see your posts. My office will post listings for me but I do not choose to do any more than that. You are a great Mom and a busy one too and yet you get done what needs to be done! I hope you can have a little break over the holidays and find some time for yourself … Love, Aunt Sheila
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On Thu, Dec 15, 2022 at 1:12 PM Patience, Love, and Hope with a Side of
You are not alone. Nico will thrive with the right supports. We pivot often and are in the middle of big one ourselves. Middle school has thrown challenges here too – which is expected but that doesn’t mean it’s not gut wrenching at times. I’m here for you if your mama heart needs it too.
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Hi Katie, schools need to focus on the positive more. Nico has incredible creative positives. His dance skills and love of sea life are legendary. Always the unexpected. Looking forward to seeing you all at dear Uncle Jack’s funeral. Love, Ellen and Simon