They call me MOMMA BEAR

WOW. WOW. That is all I can think of at the moment. I finally have the time to sit down and type something down and I gotta start off with WOW.

Life is just amazing. I had first intended to write away on here daily and share my life with everyone. Things took a turn for sure. I don’t know where to begin. All I know is that if I start with something, the rest will follow. Hmmm…let’s see. How can I say everything that has happened in a nutshell? I will try.

Things were great. My son, Benjamin, was in a pre-K school and was learning so much. I was having time for myself and was beginning to get back into my writing. Things were falling into place. My son’s bus ride was quite long and I had a problem with him being on a school bus for an hour but my parents, the teacher and bus drivers assured me it was fine and Benjamin loved it. I tried my best to let it go until that hour bus ride home turned into two, three and even three and a half. That was it! I was livid. My parents criticized me, said I was over reacting and when I questioned the teacher, she was unresponsive. Everyone told me that I had to understand traffic was just bad in the evening. Still, I was not ok with my four year old, who had trouble communicating, still being potty trained and autistic, to be strapped down in a bus for three and a half hours. The last time he got off the bus he peed on himself and he came out of the bus with a change of clothes. That was it!

After that I called the special ed administration and they said that was absolutely not acceptable and questioned why I had let it go for as long as I did? I felt so stupid. It’s crazy how much control over me my parents still have. I allowed them to make me question myself but that was it. Not gonna happen any more. I picked my son up from school after that until the end of the year.

At his IEP meeting, I requested a closer school and he got it. I was so happy. The school was about ten minutes from us! Also, I was told my son was accepted for a summer program at another school also closer to us. I said I didn’t want my son to attend summer school but they all insisted that he should attend even if it was for a week. I found that odd but once home I shared the news with my parents and ofcourse, they too insisted that Benjamin should attend.

I was hesitant but I ended up taking Benjamin the first day of summer school. I drove him because now Benjamin was terrified of buses. Well, later that night, I noticed several bruises on his back when I took his shirt off. I saw what no mother would ever wish to see on their little ones. His chest had several bruises, his stomach too. I took pictures and for the second day of school I had him stay home. I was shaking because my first thought was “bloody murder” but, my dad told me he probably got them while playing and I was making a big deal. I couldn’t think straight. My father grew up in a tough neighborhood and he’s always saying how kids nowadays are too sheltered. I decided I needed to stay away from my parents and think for myself. The next day, I went to see the teacher and showed her the bruises. She was alarmed. She also looked stressed because it turned out that she had twelve special ed students in her classroom and one teacher assistant.

Well, to hurry up here because I have so much more to say, I contacted the principal, the special ed administration, sent out emails and left messages and finally, everyone was calling me, kissing my rear. School had begun on a Tuesday and by Friday, they had opened up a new classroom and hired the adequate amount of aides, which are required by law. The principal begged me to have Benjamin attend the rest of the summer school program but I said he wouldn’t be attending. They should have been prepared since day one. You see, the teacher admitted to me that she had no clue how he got those bruises. She said she had too many special ed students and couldn’t watch all of them. She also said that many of the special ed students are hostile and probably one of them hit my son. My son, not being able to communicate what happened with me, …, sorry…I just want to cry about it all over again. I am here to protect him and that is what I’ve been trying to do. Three and half hour bus ride? NO. I don’t think so. First day of summer school and coming home with bruises on his back, chest and stomach? I don’t think so.

I could have taken this to child protective services. I could have called the police and had charges against them. I just have to admit my parents voice and opinions held me back but it really bothered me for several months the “not knowing what happened”.

Well, we continued enjoying our summer and I was determined to make it a fun one. We visited the beach, went to the pool, the parks, etc. I was glad to devote my time to my children.

Then, my son turned five but he didn’t make the cut off date for kindergarten so he began pre-K at his new school. We were once again excited and optimistic for that fresh start. I met the principal, the teachers, visited the classroom and was pleased with the staff. That first day was wonderful. The teacher was so kind and cheerful. I just knew we’d become good friends by the end of the year. The second day my car wouldn’t start, so my son was late. I felt awful but fortunate the school was close enough so he was only a few minutes late. Then, something so tragic happened — my mother slipped and fell and hit her head on a metal bar. It was so scary because it came so close to hitting her temple — centimeters away. She didn’t want us to call for an ambulance so we helped her get in my car and took her to the hospital where they concluded she had a fractured knee and wrist. We were so amazed that was all because she fell HARD…really hard. There was no way she came out with just that. No bruise on her head, nothing. No bumps. Nothing. It was a miracle.

So, I had been rushing from here to there and was late to pick up my son. As I ran across the school parking lot, heading to the office in a frantic state bc now I worried my son would wonder where I was, the teacher’s aide is just screaming at me across the lot. I stop and look her way. She is screaming at me and tells me my son is in the office and then she points at me and shouts, “Tomorrow is short day and you better be on time!” I was shocked but I continued to run to the school office to get my son. In the office, I see the teacher and she’s talking with another parent. When she acknowledges me I apologize and mention my mother fell and I had to take her to the hospital. She says, “Yes, I know,” and continues talking with the parent. I’m feeling puzzled bc I just got yelled at by the TA and now the teacher says she knew my mother was in the hospital. She didn’t know! It wasn’t in the news! She just didn’t care. Besides, I was only about ten to twelve minutes late. Still, I felt horrible. I couldn’t get over it and thought about it all that night. The next day, I was sure we were on time in the morning and I wanted to apologize to the teacher. I asked her for a moment of her time and explained again how my mother had fallen and I was terrified and driving around to get her to a hospital. The teacher showed no empathy whatsoever. She said, “I know. That is why I gave you my card so you could call me to let me know if you’ll be late.” I said, “I’m sorry Mrs. X but you never gave me your card.”

“Yes, I did.”

“No mam, you didn’t.”

— I usually let it go and accept fault and not think much about it but their attitude was just really getting me pissed by now. I had all the stress from my mother falling and the stress for being the first days of back to school. I knew she must be under a lot of stress but so was I and if I was being civil, I didn’t understand what her problem was all of a sudden. It was so bizzare. The first day she had been a dream and by the second and third day she was a completely different person. I had even introduced her to my parents that first day and she was so delightful. I was expecting that when I told her the news about my mother, that she’d show some empathy and ask how she was doing. Something. I had even spoken to the school secretary and said why my son was not attending the fourth day of school. I said we were going to visit my mother in the hospital. The school secretary, who did not know me at all, said, “Oh my goodness. Yes, that is an emergency. I hope your mother gets well soon.” —

The teacher rolled her eyes as she walked to her purse, took out a business card and handed it to me.

“I’ll give it to you again.”

I was shocked! Never in my whole entire experience with teachers had I experienced something like this. Like that whole year. Six months had gone by, three schools and I had a complaint on all three. The first, super long bus ride. The second, my son comes home bruised up the first day. Now, this third school, I get barked at by the TA and the teacher is rolling her eyes and lacks empathy.

Again, my parents begin telling me to let it go. They tell me that my son’s education is more important than how I am being treated. But I can’t let it go. No, I have way too much against the teachers. I’ve been listening to all these “experts” and it’s gotten me nowhere. I then chose not to take my son to that school too. I figured, my son is only in pre-K, we shouldn’t be going through all this stress. I figured I’m going to sing like a canary and somebody better start listening bc I have a year before it will be mandatory that he attends kinder and I am going to practice now on how to get good quality education for my son.

I called the principal and she also asked about my mother and empathized. I also called the special ed administration and was told I had enough to call the district’s “x” department (forgot the name but it’s where you file a complaint against the teachers/school/district). It’s not much what I’m asking for. I just want my son to be safe, number one. Number two, caring teachers who show respect to the children and their families. With that, we can all work the rest out. I am the parent that volunteers and helps from home even. I had always been on the teachers side since I have worked in the school system myself since 1994. I’ve been the TA for elementary grades, the Substitute teacher for 1st-12th grades and an early learning assessor for pre-K classrooms. I had never been on the helpless parent side.

OMg. I guess I took up much time telling you guys about this incident and it’s a lot. I’ll stop now and continue with another topic tomorrow. So much has happened. Too much. So much but for now, I’ll just let you guys know that I chose to stay as a full-time mom again and teach my son myself. After all, I am very much qualified. I do want him to socialize with other children, that is important, but for now, we’re staying home and studying a little bit and having loads of fun. Most of all, I’m loving him and cherishing each day. In August sometime, he’ll go to kinder and that’ll be it. So, while I have my parents questioning my approach, I believe my son is doing much better now and we have put the screaming years behind us. There’s no rush. I have nothing more important to do than be with him.

So, that’s one chunk of what’s been happening with me and why I had to stop blogging. Things are much calmer now so, stay tuned. *wink =)

(I’ve said so much and I’m not going to edit. I apologize in advance for the errors.)