Friday, March 4, 2011

Crying Uncontrollably

This has been one of the most emotional weeks ever, I think.  I seriously have spent a large portion of today crying.  Why?  I'm not really sure.

I cried this morning when Dancing Queen told me she was all alone at school.  I cried the entire time I wrote the post about it. Then, I got to school with the kids, saw that the Dancing Queen was having fun.  She was playing all alone, putting a baby doll on the indoor slide and laughing as she slid, alone, but having fun.  I was okay with it.  I went to leave, then I remembered that I wanted to ask how TRex was doing in school.

TRex is 4.5. He will be five in August, right before kindergarten is supposed to start.  We have him registered for all day kindergarten next year, but we don't know if he'll be ready.  He is a very smart kid, but he doesn't know what he should know.  A lot of that is a result of the Mad Scientist and I concentrating on the Dancing Queen's health. TRex is taken care of, but if it doesn't have to be addressed immediately, it is not.  During the majority of 2010, we dealt with trying to save the Dancing Queen's life. I searched for doctors, hearing countless times there was nothing more to be done, we flew across the country for a second opinion, and finally, in September, she underwent her third major heart surgery (second open heart, third time splitting her ribs).  Needless to say, I didn't sign TRex up for pre-K in September.  He was in a day care facility where many children stayed and learned just before going to kindergarten.  He was loved.  It was a second home for him since he was 3 months old and he was comfortable, something he needed while his sister was in the hospital and mom and dad were there too.  He needed normalcy and comfort when we were dealing with a surgery that nobody thought was actually going to work.  Who knew the outcome?  She could have been worse.  TRex's sister was literally dying, we were taking our last stand.  He needed constant support from people who loved him. 

The Dancing Queen's surgery was more of a success than any of the doctors told us to expect (okay, we were told to expect nothing). So, in December, we placed TRex and the Dancing Queen in a real preschool, with a pre-K.  We were told TRex would be in that pre-K class and they would catch him up.  Turns out, the pre-K teacher wouldn't accept him, he was too far behind.  So, he was learning the same things, just on a slower time frame.  The teachers were supposed to tell us if they thought TRex wouldn't be ready for kindergarten in the fall.  With his emotional state thus far, his close relationship with his sister and her frequent hospitalizations, we simply didn't know if he would be ready to be the young kid in the class and still succeed (and we still don't).

We hadn't heard anything about TRex's progress, so this morning, I asked. I was informed that TRex is not only behind from the pre-K class, his peers, but not even near ready to enter the pre-K class.  And here came the waterworks.  While I was busy concentrating on saving the Dancing Queen's life, I had let TRex fall behind.  He is an extremely smart kid.  He knew every letter of the alphabet in capitals at the age of 17 months and almost all of them in lower case too.  Now, at the age of 4.5, his teachers tell me he can identify 3 letters.  Yes, just 3.  (Granted, they claim he can only count to 5 and when he plays hide-n-seek he counts to 10 without issue.  I don't know if I'm worried about TRex or the school I've chosen for him.) I have failed him.  The teacher went on to tell me that they assumed TRex would be going to kindergarten in the fall, so they left no space for him in the pre-K class.  I started to ball harder.

Tell me, what am I supposed to do?  I can't go back three years ago and say, don't concentrate on the Dancing Queen quite so much.  You are failing TRex.

The teachers want to push him forward, no matter what.  Their schooling has taught them that when you are 5 you go to kindergarten no matter what. No matter that you spent your preschool years worrying about whether your sister was going to come home from the hospital (which he constantly worries about).  No matter if instead of learning flashcards at night, your parent snuggled with you because the other one was sitting at a hospital bedside.  No matter what, at 5, you go to school.  I cried and cried.  Then, the teacher told me "don't worry, there are remedial classes for him." So, now my bright child will need remedial classes because I failed him so.  WHY WOULD I SET HIM UP FOR SUCH FAILURE WHEN I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO HOLD HIM BACK BECAUSE HE WILL BE AT THE INBETWEEN AGE?

I did ask that question, probably not in those words, not so coherently, and with a lot of eye wiping involved (luckily the kids were running around, having fun and didn't know mommy was crying.) The teacher said it is best for him to go to kindergarten, to have structure.  But, around here, parents routinely hold their boys back, whether it be more emotional stability or to get ahead in sports.  I could care less about TRex's sports' career 10 years from now.  I just want him to feel safe and secure in school and not feel like he is drowning. I cried as I left and as I drove to work.

I then went to work.  I cried there as well upon learning a institution that I hold dear will probably be gone soon. 

Later that day, we learned the Dancing Queen will be undergoing a procedure in the next two weeks.  Ear tubes for the third time in 15 months.  Her current tubes are falling into her ear drum.  Yes, I said falling in. While this is not normally much to have concern about, it is one more thing to add to our stress of March on top of finally getting the Dancing Queen's hemihypertrophy looked at over year after she was first diagnosed (and one of the main complications of hemihyptrophy is kidney cancer).

And why do they have to put tubes in so quickly?  Of course it must be done quickly because there is a concern about infection and her body can't fight infections any more.  But, if I concentrate on fixing these things and saving her life, I am making TRex go further back.  It is a no win situation!!

I got home from work around 8:00 p.m., after the kids were in bed.  (That would be every night this week.)

Luckily, my break down this morning at school helped.  The Mad Scientist informed me, that as of this evening, the school has reserved a space for TRex in the pre-K room for next year.  They will definitively let us know whether they think he will be ready for kindergarten in a couple of months, notwithstanding their view that all 5 years olds must go to kindergarten. They finally understood where I was coming from.

And, the Dancing Queen told me (cause she wasn't sleeping like she was supposed to) that she played today with lots of friends.  Perhaps, it was a phase.

Perhaps I cried all day for no reason.  Perhaps I am losing my mind.


  1. Motherhood = borederline insanity. That is a fact of life. :)
    And while the stresses you deal with are bigger than the average mom's, the truth is we ALL think we are failing at some point, we ALL freak out over our kids, and we ALL bawl our eyes out over worries like school. It sucks sometimes, but I think having such an emotional day just makes you a typical mom. :)
    Sending you happy vibes for a tear-free weekend.

  2. You cry because you care, and that is what makes a mother a mommy. That is a whole lot of crap to do with.

    You have every right to keep T-Rex back. Little Diva was five in October, so missed the cut-off. She, too, was such a smart baby and toddler. I was sure she should go to K this year. But we had her tested and she did not pass. I felt like such a failure because it seemed like her progress came to a screeching halt when The Baby was born. We switched her to two days of school since I was home, and I really did not do any "teaching" her myself. I felt like I had jeopardized her entire academic future.

    But she is doing great at a new Pre-K this year, has made wonderful friends, and will be extremely confident when she gets to K next year. I still think she will be old for her grade, but as you said, it is becoming quite a norm. I think these things have a way of working themselves out.

  3. Crying can be a good thing and I hope it was for you. Let me assure you that TRex is not the first bright child that hid their light under a basket! Who knows why he's doing it. Quite probably you are correct in that his issues with the Dancing Queen's health and long hospitalizations are a big part of the problem. It bothers me that many teachers can't or don't try to look at the whole picture when dealing with children and offer help and encouragement to both parent and child. My personal feeling is that TRex is going to be better than fine academically and grow into a loving and caring young man because of his experiences with his sister.

    I'm so sorry but I had to smile when you commented, re the Dancing Queen, that her issue was "probably just a phase". Oh, have I been there with sleepless nights and crying only to find the issue with the child was over and forgotten before I could fully process what it was.

    Hope you have an issueless weekend.


  4. I could have written so much of your post...especially the crying. I wish I had some wise words to make you feel better...heck I wish I had some to make me feel better sometimes. I can tell you this, my son will be almost 6 when he starts kindergarten and I am so happy for that. He was in preschool this year and learned and grew so much.

  5. your kids have parents who love them and are tireless advocates - you have not failed anyone.

    I would remind you that the world will not end if your child goes to pre-k next year and then kindergarten at 6. Better your son should be a little older and successful then struggle throughout school.

    I am sure you will find people on both sides of this based on their own experience, but you just have to do what you think is best. There really isn't a right and wrong. You are not thinking about doing anything radical.

    If your pre-school does not support your learning and growing choices for your son, you may want to look elsewhere, even if they are nice people.

    Good luck deciding and with your daughter's procedure. Sending lots of support and good vibes. :)


Having a child with a CHD is like being given an extra sense---the true ability to appreciate life. Each breath, each hug, each meal is a blessing when you've watched your child live off a ventilator, trapped in an ICU bed, being fed through a tube. Each minute is a miracle when you've watched your child almost die and come back to you.
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