Don’t Wake the Mama Bear

I consider myself to be a fairly reasonable person. I have a good sense of humour and I can see the funny side of things. Looking for the funny side is what makes life more fun. I had a Facebook friend that regularly posted tasteless jokes. They were racist, sexist, and usually offensive. I didn’t really read them, more glanced at them in my timeline. Until tonight. Tonight was the one that went too far and woke the Mama Bear. You can poke fun at me, but as soon as you poke fun at my child, all bets are off.

I tried to get the exact wording of his comment, but gee, he unfriended me after I responded. Here’s the gist of what he said. “I would make a bad doctor because I would tell an expectant mother, there’s good news, and there’s bad news. The good news is your child will never have trouble finding a parking spot.” In what world is it OK to make fun of what parents go through? Finding out your baby is going to have some kind of medical problem is not funny. My comment was brief and to the point. “I understand that this is a joke, but as the parent of a differently abled child, I don’t find it funny.” I was expecting to receive a comment back or something, and maybe open a dialogue, but it appears he was a chicken and just unfriended me instead. If you are going to make jokes about children like mine (and no, Angel is not physically disabled and she doesn’t require handicapped parking), I’m going to stand up and say something.

I’m not a confrontational person, but when it comes to my girls, especially Angel,I will protect them from you and your ignorance. It’s not OK to make jokes about people’s abilities. It’s not OK to imply that kids with different needs are less. I find it really sad that in this day and age, people are still treated as being less because they are different.

I started this site when Angel was little and we were trying to figure out what her special needs were. I wanted to share with other parents and learn what I could. We’re still in the learning stages and I’m excited to say that Angel is having a psych-ed assessment at school over the next few weeks. I’m really hopeful that we will get a definitive diagnosis of sorts so that we can help her to realize her abilities. By the way, Angel is a pseudonym I use for my daughter because I didn’t think it was fair for me to talk about her online under her real name. I know some parents do, but that wasn’t the right path for us.

On a more positive note, I’ve recently come across a website called The Mighty. It’s a very positive site that talks about parents, children, all sorts of people with disabilities and different abilities. It’s really great and you should check it out!

When the News is Heartbreaking

There was a story today about a 3 year old boy in Toronto who got out of an apartment in the extreme cold and subsequently died.  See post here for details. It’s a heartbreaking story and I can’t even imagine what his family I going through.

I’ve seen so many comments around asking how a 3 year old could get out and how no one would notice. It seems like people want to blame the family. As the mom of an escape artist, let me tell you that a child of that age can get out easily. Angel gave me several gray hairs when she was little with the things she would try. She had no fear and would regularly climb furniture or scale countertops to get what she wanted. She didn’t have the words to say what she wanted, so she’d get what she wanted on her own.

Getting out of a door is not hard. Children learn by watching. Kids can figure out the “childproof” handles for doors very easily. Don’t assume that his family is to blame. We don’t have all the facts, but the fact that remains is a little boy lost his life today. My heart and prayers go out to his family.

Grade 3 Progress Report

About 3 weeks ago, we got Angel’s progress report from school.  I’m always a little nervous opening her report, because I’m never sure what to expect for the first one.  It was a little easier since her teacher had been in close communication about any issues right away and was quick to let me know if Angel had any problems.

I was so pleased to read her report this time!  Angel got mostly “good” in the character stuff.  She got one satisfactory.  Last year, she got about half and half.  Poor kid was disappointed she didn’t get any As in this section.  I had to work very hard to let her know that this grade was a G because it was Good, not because she scored lower.  It was quite a task!

In the academics, Angel scored Progressing Well in everything.  That’s right, everything!!  All the comments indicate that she is working well with her IEP accommodations.  This is such a big difference from last year.  Even with the accommodations for the second half of the year, she didn’t score well.

When we had the Parent-Teacher interview (which Angel tried to convince me was for parents and teachers only). we had a great discussion with 2 of her teachers.  Angel’s homeroom teacher provided lots of great feedback about her activities in class.  The second teacher is Angel’s gym, dance, and character ed teacher.  She had some concerns about Angel’s behavior in gym.  Angel was spending a lot of time crying and not participating.  If the teacher told her she was in net next in soccer, when Angel went in net, one of the kids would say that she wasn’t, so she’d cry.  Her teacher reminded Angel that she can tell the kids that the teacher is the boss, not them.

With kids like Angel, there is a fine line between being assertive and being aggressive.  In the past, she would hit or scream when she was mad, so tears was a bit of an improvement, but still not ideal.  We talked with her about how she can resolve problems in class and I reminded Angel that we have been working on communicating at home.  We mentioned her feelings charts that we’ve been using.  These are pictures of faces with different expressions and the word for the feeling listed with it.  We’ve been using them to help Angel to find the word she wants to use.

When she’s upset, it’s hard for Angel to find the words to use.  If she looks at her face charts, she can put the name to the feeling and start a discussion there.  I was going to copy her charts and send them to school, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

I talked with Angel’s gym teacher after school today for a minute just to check in and see how it is going.  She said Angel hasn’t been crying in gym!  She said there were a couple of times when she could see that Angel wanted to cry, but she took a moment to compose herself and carried on.  Yay!  So proud of the ground she’s been gaining.

We are going to keep on working on communication at home and giving her confidence so that she can continue to grow at school too.