Circlin’ Round

by Jodifur on May 10, 2011

The endless cycle of we are fine, Michael’s fine, everyone is fine, CRISES, evaluation, fine again, NO WE ARE NOT FINE, reared it’s ugly head over the last couple of weeks again.  And I try not to talk too much about it because Michael is 6 and it is not always fair that his entire life and struggles play out here.

But his struggles are my struggles and my struggles are Doug’s struggles.  Particularly when they become Doug and I arguing about what all this “means.”  And I go back to “I just don’t think it should be this hard.”

I remember a conversation I had with Mir, way back when, when I was rallying against the awfulness of the old school and she said something like, “they might be awful, but they could also be right.”  And I know that.  And I think about that everyday.

I love Mir.  So much.  She has been my go to person so many times.  And in that case, she was right.  I was so mad at the school’s delivery, I wasn’t opening myself up to what they had to say.

Michael is struggling with reading.  And the two things that bothered me the most that the old school said to me, and they said some awful things, were “Michael will never read” and “Michael will never make it in public school.”

“They might be awful, but they could also be right.”

And so here we are, again.  And that place  we were last year, before we changed schools.  Where I feel like the worry about Michael will drown me whole.  And then I try to remember what a wise person, my sister, once told me.  “It won’t always be like this.  It doesn’t matter when kids do it, it only matters that they do it.”

Michael will read.  I do know this.  And he may not be able to make it in public school but I don’t have any other choices.

In 10 years, there will be a different worry.  Taking the car out or missing curfew or a broken heart or not being able to go to the college of his dreams.  Let a less then stellar kindergarten year be the biggest problem that Michael ever has.

But still, just once, I want things to not be so hard.



Delora May 10, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Without wanting to publicly pry too much into what’s going on, I did want to remind you of something you continually say. Michael does things in his own time. Maybe the 2010-2011 school year isn’t the year that Michael learns to read. Maybe it’s the 2011-2012 school year. And if he’s struggling and having issues, there is nothing wrong with holding him back and repeating kindergarten so that he can do things on his own timeline. It’s better to have a well-adjusted kid, than to force him to move before he’s ready.

Cara May 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I am so sorry that things are hard. Sometimes there’s really nothing to say except “that really sucks, but you’re doing a great job.” Michael is clearly a really bright, really good kid. And he’s got great parents who are helping him. He will be okay.
Maybe comic books would be easy enough for him to read and fun enough to encourage him to keep trying?

Mir May 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm

I don’t even remember saying that to you, I just remember my own bristling at the first person to tell me that our road would be hard and my knee-jerk “what the hell do YOU know??” reaction.
It gets easier. And then harder again. Lather, rinse, repeat. Michael will be okay—I am sure of this—but I do wish the path was easier. Big hugs to you, my friend.

Julie May 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Maybe he just isn’t ready? Neither of my kids really learned to read in kindergarten, but things clicked for them in first grade. The second grader now reads at a 6th grade level and the 6th grader reads at a 12th grade level.

Corey Feldman May 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Michael is a smart kid. There are a lot of kids with much lower intelligence and signifiant learning differences that are perfectly successful in public school. If they said he won’t ever read or won’t be successful in PS, then it wasn’t just there delivery that was effed up.

Jessi May 10, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I read this thing recently, I wish I could remember where, and I could link you to it, but it was about kids learning to read and how you need to develop certain skills before you read, like cognitive whatever and anyway, I’m sucking at this, but the upshot was that we, the whole societal we, are trying to get our kids reading too early.
I was really worried about Brynna reading and then one day it just clicked and ever since it clicked it’s snowballed and she’s reading on a 4th grade level now. (She’s in first.) But the teacher wanted me to move her back to kindergarten at the beginning of the year because of her reading.

FishyGirl May 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Really, I think the schools as they are right now push our kids too fast. So he isn’t reading in kindergarten. Very few of our generation were, they just didn’t teach it then, and most of us turned out pretty good. I didn’t really start to READ read until at least 2nd grade but I picked it up really quick and went on to get an English degree and teach secondary school. He’ll be fine. He’ll be good. When he’s ready.
Hang in there.

Headless Mom May 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm

I’m agreeing with everyone here. I’ve watched dozens of kids struggle with reading in K (I volunteer at the school a lot,) and in 1st and or 2nd it just clicks. Like with other things, Michael has his own timeline.
I will say one thing, though. Keep reading to him. Books that he’s interested in, whatever the level (not just beginning readers books,) so he develops a love of reading and learning. That will help him to keep wanting to try.

Janine (@twincident) May 10, 2011 at 5:03 pm

You are a great mom. And Doug is a great dad. And Michael is a great kid. He’s bright, he’s funny, and he will read. He just might need some extra time, extra help, or someone to show him a different way until it clicks. But even when it’s easy, it isn’t really easy. These little miracles we are nurturing are always changing and evolving at different paces and different directions. It’s ok to sit back and see how things play out. You can always pick it back up later. ((HUGS))

Lisse May 10, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I’m in my 40s and I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any of my peers were really reading in Kindergarten. There is pressure these days to get them started much earlier because they have to test “proficient” in the 3rd grade, but the truth is not all of them can read in the first grade and it isn’t the end of the world.

Rebekah @ mom-in-a-million May 10, 2011 at 5:08 pm

“Never” is not a good word for educators to use. The human brain has repeatedly put predictions of “never” to shame.
An idea to consider: my severely dyslexic, ADHD cousin graduated from the Lab School in DC and went on to college, nursing school, and a career as an ICU nurse. By all accounts, the Lab School an incredible facility for kids with learning disabilities. If nothing else, it’s a number to dial to talk to people about what else you can think about for Michael.
Hang in there.

mary May 10, 2011 at 7:41 pm

I had to reread this post several times to be sure I got it right — the old school actually said that someone who is as bright as Michael is would “never” learn to read? You were so right to get him out of there — who can make that kind of judgment about a 4 year old who is not profoundly disabled (and even then . . .). And they really messed up the public school thing too — maybe it might turn out that public school is not the best fit for him (and maybe it is) but with you and your husband behind him he can “make it” in any situation.
It seems like you have a great support system around you with many knowledgeable people both IRL and on the web. We all want a smooth road for our kids without any bumps but to the extent that there are some, you seem to have the ability to help him learn to get himself over them (even while you agonize in private about whether you are helping him find the right path).
Hang in there.

Miss Britt May 10, 2011 at 8:09 pm

I don’t know enough about Michael to give you any kind of advice or predictions, but I do hate that it is hard for you all.

Kari Weber May 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I do think that it is important to remember that what may be the norm or required in your district is not universal across our country. If he doesn’t read in Kindergarten, he is still on track for National School Standards for Kindergartners. As long as he has mastered the 30 basic sight words by the end of kindergarten (I, a, the, is, has, up, etc.) he is right on with what the nation says a kindergartner should be doing. Many districts have their goals set high, which can be good in some issues, and not in others.

Stacy May 10, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I hear a lot of my own emotions in your words. You know where we are in terms of labels and therapies – different place counties, same state, so to speak. I will move my schedule around so we can meet on a Monday or Friday. There are so many uncertains in our life but I am in a place where I can offer you some strength and compassion.
Shorten your horizon a little, focus just on today. Baby steps, small goals, don’t beat yourself up for worrying, worrying is normal just limit it so that you don’t end up in therapy with me! Remember he is a great kid who has many strengths and this is a hurdle, a challenge and you’ll find a way to get over it. it might take a month, or a year or a lifetime but small steps, one day at a time.
I’m here for you.

April May 11, 2011 at 7:09 pm

You are so right: he will learn to read. It is so hard when people don’t frame it right (they’re our kids; of COURSE we take it personally!), and he might not learn how supposedly everyone else is learning (which is probably not true, either, but I know how sometimes “they” can make it sound like your child is the only one that’s struggling), but he will learn to read. And I hate that I used so much bad grammar in a post about reading, but I got a little emotional myself!

Katie May 12, 2011 at 7:19 am

I was born with a book in my hand but my brother had huge problems.
Until he was 14 or so, he had people reading aloud to him. Then something clicked and now he reads more than I do. Trust that he will read in his own time.

Angela May 12, 2011 at 11:40 am

Oh gosh, I so hear you right now. :( Nicky’s IEP meeting to set him up for Kindergarten is later this month.

mylifeasitis May 12, 2011 at 8:53 pm

I’m here if you need anything :)

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