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.

Grade 3 is off to a Great Start!

I’ve started this post a few times, but I’m having trouble linking to picture on flickr like I used to. Instead of getting one photo, I’m getting a whole set. I think there is something small that I’m missing, so if you know what it is, let me know. In the meantime, pardon my lack of photos.

Back to grade three.

Angel is really enjoying school this year so far. We made our annual trip to school the week before so that she could meet her teacher. She had been showing signs of anxiety including becoming more aggressive, wetting the bed after not doing so for a while, and climbing into bed with me. Once we met her teacher, she relaxed quite a bit and things were much calmer at home.

Angel’s teacher was very welcoming right from the beginning. He knew Angel hadn’t had a male teacher before and wanted to make her feel comfortable. We saw her new classroom and she got to know him a bit. In typical fashion, Angel didn’t talk much.

My big goal for Angel this year was her social skills. I wanted her to have a play date. Imagine my surprise when she had a play date within the second week of school! She has 2 friends who are new to our school and they seem to be getting a long well. She’s been to both of their houses and they have both been here to play too. She hasn’t had a play date for a couple of weeks, but she seems OK with that.

Angel is learning how to type. She’s been using a variety of methods to show her knowledge at school including recording her speaking about books instead of always righting them down. She still has to write, but it gives her a break every once in awhile. At first, it was hard to get her to try typing, but now she is working on it a little more. Her teacher has told us that she often says she can’t do things (she does this at home too), his response is that you can’t do it yet. What a big difference! She may not be able to do it now, but if she keeps trying, she will be able to. This is great for building her confidence.

In the last two weeks, Angel has learned to tie shoes and how to whistle! I was really surprised how quickly she learned to tie shoes. I feel a little bad for not trying them sooner. I’ve started to realize that I baby her a bit. Instead of giving her lace ups, I have gone out of my way to buy her Velcro or slip-on shoes. I kept saying I would teach her how to tie, but I never got around to it. She decided she wanted to wear a pair of shoes that were hand-me-downs from her sister. She sat with Dad and he showed her how to tie her shoes. She pretty much had it down in a couple of days!

I’m working on not coddling her any more. It’s not easy for me! I have been working with a coach about parenting an active child and Angel has list of things she has to do before breakfast. After a month, I was still reminding her that she needed to do all the things on her list before she could watch television. My coach straight up told me that I’m not doing Angel any favours. She can’t learn to be responsible if I’m always reminding her. So, that night, I told Angel that she wasn’t going to get any more reminders from me. If she put on the television before her stuff was done, she wouldn’t get to watch TV in the afternoon. It worked! So far she hasn’t lost television privileges for that reason. She’s lost them for a couple of other reasons, but that is a different story.

I’m going to keep on working on my parenting skills. After being a mom for 12 years, I’m still learning on the job!

Please let me know if you are in the same boat! I love comments :)