This is how it goes down: Snug--our obsessive, neurotic sweetheart of a dog--starts worrying at something outside Em's window. She tries to call him into the house; no go. At just after 4 AM, she comes upstairs to whisper to Baroy that Snug's keeping her awake. This wakes me, too. We hear Snug pad into the house, so Em returns to her room, and Baroy and I return to sleep.
Or try to.
But it's over for me. The thoughts start flooding in, about the meeting I will have today with the principal at N's school, and how I really have to just go in and ask for a teacher change, and how much that goes against everything I normally am--the "normally am" part of me being generally willing to do pretty much anything so as not to potentially enter into a confrontation, not to god forbid have someone end up not liking me. But then again, when "normally am" comes up against "someone is doing wrong by my son," it's no contest.
And so I start thinking about how I'm going to put this. What should I start with? Should I start with how wrong I think it is of N's teacher to send N to the principal's office for something not "bad," but rather directly, immediately related to the issues that are laid out and emphasized over and over and over in his IEP? That would give me entree to explain to her just how downright mean it seems that the teacher, who soon realized that N likes talking to the principal, decided afterwards to start using the threat of sending him "to a room full of kids you don't know."
Or should I start with the fact that she might not even realize just how mean that is, because despite several attempts to get the teacher to read his IEP, she didn't even have a copy in the room when I met with her the other day to talk about it. She'd "looked at it" in the office, she told me. But it was clear that "looking at" and "reading" are entirely different beasts in this woman's world, since she not only didn't seem to know what his special accommodations are--the accommodations, just so you know, that she is supposed to be implementing in the classroom--but she didn't even know he gets Occupational Therapy. Which takes up three out of the four pages of written goals in his IEP. And is where all the strategies for dealing with him are laid out.
It's like being asked to read Pride and Prejudice and then, at a book club meeting, commenting brightly, "Oh, really? There's a Mr. Darcy?"
Or do I talk immediately about how he is either not being allowed (or is possibly simply too scared to ask) to go to the bathroom more than once between recesses, despite the fact that his accommodations include "frequent breaks; allowing N to get up from his chair and take a break; classroom jobs with require him to get up from his seat"--something she'd know if she'd ever read his IEP.
This not-reading and not-implementing of the IEP is, of course, my trump card. If you're a special ed parent, you know that trump card gets turned over with a single phrase: Out of compliance. Do I start the conversation aggressively, antagonistically, by simply stating that, because of the teacher's actions, the school is now so far out of compliance with N's IEP that I don't think the situation in this classroom is salvageable? Or do I start more slowly, conversationally, almost confidentially, with something like, "I have some serious concerns about Ms. Teacher's abilities to effectively handle N in the classroom," and let the principal lead me to what the options are, so she feels more in control? Should I hold my "out of compliance" trump card (and its accompanying "I might have to bring in a special ed advocate" card which is my card-that-trumps-my-trump-card-if-there-is-such-a-thing) for when and if I need it?
If you're a special ed parent--hell, if you're any kind of a parent--I'm sure you've been here, too. And you know how quickly this kind of practical mulling can devolve into all sorts of existential musings, worries, anxieties. Am I doing right by him? How can I do more right? What about Em? Am I doing right by her? What does she need from me that she's not getting? How can I give it? Where will I get it from?
And so, by 4:43 AM, I find myself here on the couch, writing about it, having given up on sleeping on it. And now, by 5:40 AM, I find myself here in this entry, finishing it, but not finished. And Snug, finally, is asleep by my feet, having given up worrying about whatever-it-was out there that started this all.
Stupid, sweet dog. I think I'll wake him up, just to get him back.