Lost Innocence – Lockdown Drills

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Last week my six year old gets in the car after picking him up from the car pool pick-up, and he mentions how they did a fire drill that day, but “it was a lot different than a fire drill, mommy.” Then he kept going on and on about “bad guys” and “guns.”

By the time we got home, he was acting out the entire drill . . . telling me how they had to hide in the bathroom on the floor, with the doors locked and the lights off, and no making noise or else the bad guys with guns will come and find them, and boom-boom-boom (actual gunshot noises from the mouth of a bebe!) He said they had to hide their faces, too.

The administration and his teacher are really good with communication, but unfortunately his teacher had forgotten to put his weekly folder in his backpack that gives parents important information like this. I was highly concerned with the way my son was so animated about this lockdown drill that I emailed his teacher for more information. She forwarded me the letter and it all made sense, but let me tell you – they are going to extremes for an elementary school (ages 5-8)*.

Don’t get me wrong. I grew up in the Columbine and 9/11 era . . . I’m not unfamiliar with school shootings and terrorist attacks. I had just never heard of actual schools doing it!  :/ And such young children, too. I really like the idea that they’re teaching them of these possible scenarios. After talking to a friend about it, I had to sit back and think about what my real issue with this was.

Was I upset that they didn’t let us know before they planned on doing the drill? Was I upset with the way my son perceived the entire thing? Was I upset with the terminology that they were teaching these young children?

What’s the phrase – grown up words for grown up problems?

I know there’s only so many gentle ways of telling children about this type of thing, and maybe the way my son was so animated about it wasn’t because of the terminology the teacher/school used . . . maybe it was just his mind interpreting the situation. He’s good about that. To me, however, it just felt wrong.

My son walking up the stairs and saying “don’t worry, I won’t die” that first night absolutely broke my heart. My having to explain to him that if something like that ever happens, not just in school, that he needs to do exactly what he was told in the lockdown drill – hide, be quiet, and don’t look or come out. I shouldn’t have to tell my six year old that.

It’s been a few days and I still can’t bring myself to find this to be okay. I’m okay with my son knowing what to do in such a situation, but there’s something niggling at me.

*Not only did they teach the kids what to do, they also made the phone lines inaccessible and brought in police and emergency personnel.

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What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.

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As a web developer, I was always told “use ergodynamic keyboards,” “position your arms and wrists for maximum comfort,” etc. Do you know how hard it is to position yourself the way it’s suggested to sit at a desk? Especially for eight (or more) hours a day? I take courtesy “eye breaks” – to prevent eye straining – every hour or so, and so I stretch when I do.

Yet somehow . . . I was still told I might have carpal tunnel in my dominant (left) wrist. I won’t know 100% for sure until I go through with the nerve conduction study, but it’s a very high possibility at this point. For now I’ve been given anti-inflammatory meds and a wrist splint. The splint must be worn at night during sleep, and during the day when I experience a lot of discomfort – which, for now, is mostly all the time.

Let me tell you: you never know what you take for granted until you don’t have it anymore! This splint is so uncomfortable and limits what I can do on so many levels. I’m left handed, everything I do is with my left hand. I obviously can’t write, I struggle getting ice out of an ice cube tray, I drop things, and hell – I struggle to hold a book!

I do most of my blogging on my phone, and even texting is a struggle. I have a blog tour and a blast coming up, and a few reviews I need to finish. I could very well use Siri – just correct everything she misinterprets, stupid accent – but that’s more work in and of itself (again, stupid accent). I will get these things finished, however. Just will take longer. Good thing most of them are in varying stages of drafts,  😛

Lesson learned, guys. Take care of yourself and never take things for granted.

Class of 2029!

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My five year old “graduated” from pre-K this week. He’s class of 2029, and let me just say that feels so futuristic. I hadn’t even thought of the year he’d graduate high school until I saw it at his little ceremony. It was such a bittersweet moment and even though it’s just pre-kindergarten – how can you fail pre-K, right? – it is by far one of my most proudest moments.

A little backstory: My son was diagnosed as having sensory processing disorder (sensory integration) when he was 18-months old, when I had noticed there were things he wasn’t doing that was typical for his age, etc. Four years later, his sensory integration is nothing like it was – he still struggles with a couple things but he has an occupational therapist that works with him, and has given helpful tips to work at home with him.

At the time, he also wasn’t very verbal. Originally, we thought it was due to tongue tie which was partially at fault. Ultimately, due to the sensory integration, it became apraxia of speech. Basically meaning that his brain couldn’t tell the parts of the mouth how to function to get the words out in a clear and concise way. He has been seeing a speech therapist for four years and while he still struggles on a few letter sounds and is constantly dropping end syllables, we can now understand him without the need of context. (And, no, we never pushed sign language because it was difficult for him – he does know several signs, though).

Due to him being developmentally behind – he is technically on the autism spectrum – I decided to place him into a pre-K program last year for three year olds (pre-K3, how original). I wanted him to start a little early so he could catch up to his peers. At the time, he was in daycare but it didn’t feel like it was enough as far as peer interaction. He could count a little, knew some letters, etc. but as a single parent going through college and working, I did everything I could at home to help him learn and it just didn’t feel like enough.

When he started last year, he was also receiving special instruction/education services but halfway through the school year, we learned it wasn’t even necessary. He loves school and learning! I also think somewhere in there, he loves the idea of teaching. There was something about a school setting that helped him learn more than what I was doing at home with him. Being around other children helped, too. He picked up some bad habits, and we’re working on those but I think the good outweighs the bad.

Here we are in the 2015-2016 year and halfway into the school year – my son made perfect scores on midterm and report card (they were different in terms of what was evaluated – mid-term was more ABCs, numbers, shapes; report card was more “can communicate needs,” “reads stories and can answer questions about the story,” etc). The only things on report cards that he didn’t get “proficient” on were things they hadn’t started yet or were the things he works on with his occupational therapist (“can cut along straight line,” for instance).

To some this is just a kiddie graduation going from one school to another – essentially, that is what it is. But to this momma, it’s a little boy that came such a long way in the last two school years and can tackle anything that comes his way. I just hope that he can continue loving school the way that he does and doesn’t lose that desire to learn. I don’t know how many times I fielded questions about what fog is, what clouds are, how things work. And I’ll never forget that I learned what chrysalis is from my five year old.

Thank you, teachers.

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I waited too long toward the end of the school year to get teacher appreciation cards. I saw them a month or so ago, and thought “I’ve got plenty of time! no rush!” Yeah, about that . . . school is over in three weeks. I couldn’t find teacher appreciation cards anywhere while I was out and about over the weekend.

I wasn’t really in the mood to look for 6-8 different cards anyhow. Getting individual cards for each teacher, teacher’s assistant, therapist, etc. would’ve been more thoughtful since it would’ve been the thought of getting a card that was unique to each person. Instead, I opted to get a pack of “thank you” cards and I am going to write an individual thank you note for each person. I think this thought will be much more appreciated than a generic Hallmark card.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned over the years: teachers are very under appreciated and funding for teachers is slowly diminishing. A lot of teachers dig into their own pockets every year to supply their classroom. This is why at the beginning of the year I bring more supplies than what’s deemed necessary from each student. I also do the same around the Christmas/winter holiday, even though it’s not required or asked of from the teacher.

I believe teachers deserve much more appreciation than they truly get. There’s “teacher of the year” awards, and teacher appreciation week, etc. And I’m guilty of this by getting end of the year appreciation cards, but why can’t teachers be appreciated every day? You have these wonderful individuals that are educating your children – they deserve the acknowledgement every day.

Each of the individuals who play a role in my son’s learning and well-being when he’s not in my care should know how much I appreciate them with everything that they do. My son talks about his teachers and therapists every day – in a good way – so I’m always trying to tell them stories that he tells me about them, because I know it’s little things like that that really mean a lot. It might not be a “thank you” every day, but just some sort of acknowledgement that something they do matter to you and your child.

Hello, newbie.

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It looks like this is my first post. How exciting!

I’ve never been crazy about blogging. I used to have a LiveJournal way back in the day. Does anyone actually remember LiveJournal anymore? I still update mine from time to time, but it’s mostly for myself and a few friends who I go way back with.

Lately on Twitter I have been following a lot of bloggers and have been intrigued by them and just the whole thing. I debated for a few weeks on if I even wanted to create a site/blog. I was going to create a domain and start a site from scratch, since I wanted something for a portfolio for other things, but decided to keep the two things separate.

But here I am! Hello, I’m Brittany. Here’s hoping I can stay active with this whole blogging thing, 😉 For general information about yours truly, you can visit the get to know me page.