Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Coyote has a new teacher.  And it's not me.  Thank god.  I home-schooled him for 6 days, straddling spring break and it became obvious that I could either home-school him or get better (which is so depressingly slow, I can't even tell if it's happening or not), but clearly the both weren't going to happen at the same time.
the tool box he made himself

We'd had issues with his teacher all year, a few snarky notes home, and some bizarre responses to playground issues.  But, you know, teachers are people too.  They have bad days and get stressed out and have lots of pressure to perform while coping with nearly 30 (thanks budget cuts!) kids.  And I was in this fog (it's actually black, not grey, so maybe it should be called "outer space" instead of "fog") and so we let things slide.
a small rock in the fire pit

Coyote had been having issues and I'd blamed myself, as any good mother would.  It was my head injury.  How could he be happy when his mother packed his lunch with a can of olives and a socket wrench?  Who wouldn't have anxiety when their mother has to pull over every five minutes to rest her eyes and and stop feeling crazy with all the "zoomy stuff"?  All winter he was denied sports and Cub Scouts  (the decision to sign him up for that could fill several blog posts!) and skiing and having friends over and speaking in a normal voice winter because his mother can't drive at night or in snow and can't handle sounds, particularly the sounds of children having fun and/or fighting.  But then his anxiety was worse on Sunday nights and Monday mornings.  So... if it was me, wouldn't it have been worse all weekend?  We were reading books, developing plans, we had a list of therapists and brought him to the doctor to make sure there wasn't anything physical.

But then he says to me he thought he'd figured out what was causing it all: not learning anything at school.  Now that I'm a gifted-education reader-upper-er, I have some exposure to the research. Statistically, he should only be a few IQ points lower than his sister, and should match the IQ of his genetic contributors.  (Reminder: IQ does not make a person better or worse, it's mostly just DNA expressing itself; IQ has benefits and issues just like most traits; IQ is a cultural estimation of a complex concept.) Also, since he's second born, statistically he would be hiding it (since the family niche of brainiac would seem to already be taken).  This might explain why "the brightest child I've ever taught" in Montessori school never showed up for regular school.  And depression and anxiety are very common in underperforming, unidentified "gifted" children.

The Genetic Contributors

So, all that to say, that I wanted to rule out "underperforming/unidentified gifted" as our problem. So I opened up a conversation with his teacher about improving his opportunities for learning and initiate school IQ testing.  That was on a Monday. What followed was a string of unprofessional and snarky emails, most of which I didn't bother responding to. A bizarre "time out" on Wednesday.  The revelation that despite all A's and a fairly high standardized test score, she'd plopped him into the lowest track for reading and languages and there he'd languished all year, not learning anything.  She never told us. Embarrassed, he never mentioned it.  And I was in a deep deep fog/outer-space of disability.  And Huck was out of town too much this winter.  And then on that Friday she publicly moved all of the other children from the track 1 group into the track 2 group, leaving Coyote and the kid who's never ever done his homework in group 1.  Coyote: "I get 100% on all my tests. How can any of the kids who got moved up be doing better than that?"

And so we pulled him out.  And Coyote immediately returned to equilibrium.
looks like a head injury to me

Thanks to amazing advocacy from other professionals at his school (one of which is a particularly amazing friend), and thanks to the history of this happening last year in the same class, and that child was pulled from the school, the school somehow managed to clear the legal hurdles and do the right thing, placing him with a new teacher.  And now he's happy. And IQ testing has revealed killer mama-instincts continue to be one of the most powerful things this world has known.

Random Updates: I cut my hair in hopes of fewer headaches.  The pulling has stopped, but there are still these sensations all over my head.  I am trying to keep myself from shaving my head entirely.  I liked my long hair.  It was one of my favorite things.  And I'm kind of sad it's not on my head.  But also, it's just hair. People keep commenting and marveling on it's absence.  That's just part of the process, I know, but I can't wait until that part is over.

And my speech therapist was worried about why I wasn't making any progress, why the better I get the worse I feel, so she did some tests and apparently my vestibular system got shattered.  I start barf-inducing vestibular rehab on Monday.

The Opa-rator oversee-ing the BB gun
And spring break was awesome.  My dad came for a visit and rocked the grandpa role with b.b.gun shooting, bon fires, fixing every mechanical thing I own, putting up Blue's basketball hoop, making an amazing pot of Chiopino, kite flying, and all that.  My uber-busy mother flew in later and we all spent the weekend at a nearby cabin and I found out that I'm almost as bad at riding in a car as I am at driving.


  1. Good job mama. You know, it is a good reminder that not everyone will be able to work with everyone else - and when you are in those situations it can be so dang stressful. Glad you were able to get him what he needed!

  2. Thanks Jen! I can usually find a way to work out differences, but it couldn't happen here, sadly.



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