I called my father today to wish him a happy Father’s Day, on account of I would get a great big F in “Sandwich Generation;” I can either focus on my children or my parents, but not both. As I’ve been rather busy with the kids of late (read: trying to keep them alive and relatively well cared for while keeping from them the fact that I am a blubbering mess), I neglected to even send my father a card. (See also: I suck.)
But, hey! The advantage of being a mess–or maybe it’s just the advantage of having a cool Dad, I dunno–is that a phone call seems to do the trick, and everyone is relatively happy. Plus I get to vent about how much fun it is to be a parent these days!
(Sure, he can do the “I had to walk to school four miles in the snow uphill both ways barefoot” story, but he never had to endure the drama that is dealing with a modern public school. I win!)
Okay, so let’s review: Chickadee had a complete neuropsychological evaluation, after which we were presented with a dozen-page summary report that can be condensed as follows:
Chickadee Lastname is a 7-year-old girl who is perfectly normal and charming except when she’s not. She is cognitively gifted and may be easily bored at school, contributing to her habit of rotating her head a full 360 degrees and spewing pea soup whenever she feels the universe is not conforming to her expectations. She suffers from generalized anxiety. Now let’s run through a long list of scary-sounding disorders that she may or may not have; we’re not sure, please insert another $2,000 to find out for sure. Ding!
I got this report and was a little puzzled as to what to do next. But after thinking it over, I decided I should probably share the report with Chickadee’s school. If nothing else, I reasoned, it might give us a leg up on her placement for next year (we were not entirely thrilled with her teacher this year). After checking with a couple of teacher friends of mine, they agreed that that was the way to go, and I should call the principal.
So I called up the principal. We had a lovely chat. He asked me to submit a copy of the report along with a letter outlining what I was looking for. No problem. I wrote a letter that started out “per our conversation last week…” and went on to talk mostly about what sort of classroom/teacher I suspected Chickadee would do best with. I also said that I didn’t know if we needed to do anything more than discuss her placement for next year, at this point, but that I was open to suggestions.
The natural thing to happen at that point was:
A) The principal receives my letter and calls me back
B) The principal receives my letter and writes me a letter back
C) Some minion of the principal receives my letter and I don’t hear back at all
D) Someone receives my letter and proceeds to set up an official IEP meeting between myself and 27 different school officials in TWO DAYS and then send me a packet of official-looking information about my child’s RIGHTS and leave me a chirpy phone message saying that of course they’ll see me at that meeting they’ve just given me two days notice about.
Guess which one happened!
Okay, so if you don’t know what an IEP is, it stands for Individualized Education Plan. It’s a great (albeit highly beaurocratic) process to put in place for a kid in public school who has some sort of special needs. Chickadee may need an IEP at some point. I don’t honestly know. But I DO know that all I asked for was some guidance, some suggestions, and for someone to maybe review her file before they decided who her teacher will be next year.
I did not ask for a gigantic meeting to be scheduled. I didn’t ask for ANY meeting. I certainly didn’t ask for every specialist at the school to get in on the action. There’s a list of attendees, and it includes the learning disability specialist. Great! Cuz, you know, Chickadee doesn’t HAVE any learning disabilities, but PREVENTION IS KEY! I’m sure there is no better use of that woman’s time than to come to this particular meeting, rather than tending to the kids who actually need her.
Oh, but it doesn’t matter. Because the meeting isn’t happening. At least, it’s not happening when they scheduled it. It turns out that with only two days notice, neither myself nor my ex can show up for this little carnival, so we’re going to have to reschedule. Or, you know, just cancel, since it seems folks got a tad overzealous here.
Part of me really wants to go just to see what sorts of things they let parents request at these meetings.
“Yeah… ummmm… as you can see from the report, Chickadee is easily frustrated. So, uh, you’re going to have to set aside a carton of chocolate milk for her every day, because she gets really pissed when they run out at lunch. K?”
Okay, maybe not.