Friday, April 11, 2014

C'mon, Ya Gotta Do Better Than This...

I am not happy.

Not happy at all.

Actually, I'm pretty peeved.

A while back I received the class newsletter or a parent update or whatever via e-mail, listing all of the upcoming activities.  I've learned to be careful to make note of some things and put them on my calendar at work so I don't miss them, like the all-important Number Shirt Day, or the class field trip, or Pajama Day, or Crazy Hair Day.  I mean, it's not like Sammi's going to come home all excited to tell me about one of them with any real reliability.

So, all of those things were on my calendar.  Actually, I put them on my calendar for the day before, as a reminder, so I'm sure not to miss it. 

Today was to be Crazy Hair Day.  And, to be absolutely sure that it was the right day, I went back to the school's website and clicked on the student newsletter yet again, and yes, there it was, still listed for today.  I got the calendar notification yesterday, and had planned to go to CVS to buy some fun colors to put in her hair.  I was accused last year (jokingly, of course) of sending her to school as if it were Cute Hair Day, because it really wasn't very crazy.  So I knew I had to do better.  I didn't make it to CVS, but on-the-fly this morning, I braided ribbons into her hair and yes, if I must say so myself, it was pretty awesome. 

Perfectly crazy, perfectly cute, as it should be. 

And you know what? 

Sammi loved it.


As I was packing up her backpack, I caught a glimpse of a flyer that had been sent home in yesterday's monster paperwork packet of stuff-that-comes-home-and-sits-in-the-pile-until-I-have-a-minute-to-look-at-it, that said something about today being Wear a Hat Day for cancer awareness or something.  Like I said, it was just a glimpse, and we were in a hurry to get out the door.  I figured either/or, it had to have been optional.


When we got to school, there wasn't a single. strand. of. crazy. hair. in. sight. 

Except Sammi's.

Just hats.

I asked one of Sammi's former aides, who was standing outside directing the morning drop-off traffic about it, and she said it had changed.

I asked if Sammi was going to be the only kid in school with crazy hair today.

She said, "Pretty much."

Looking sheepish, she said they'd made an announcement about it yesterday.

And no, there was nothing on her communication paper about it.

And yes, I'm pissed.

So, while I was voicing my displeasure about it, my happy, excited and oblivious (for that moment) daughter rushed into school without saying goodbye, without a goodbye kiss, only to head into what may have been disaster.  I don't know.

Her former aide suggested I go home and bring back a hat for her to put over her crazy hair, so I did.  It was just a baseball cap, and I gave it to the aide to take to Sammi.  I hope it worked, but I don't even know if it would fit over the braids. 

But I'll tell you this, I do not want my daughter to feel humiliated, different, left out.  I do need additional assistance in getting this kind of information to us so this kind of thing doesn't happen.  If I read absolutely nothing else from Sammi's paperwork when I get home, I do ALWAYS read her communication page.  It's my only insight into her day.  The other stuff can generally wait. 

And if they're going to make a big change like that, the kind of change that can isolate or embarrass a child if the message doesn't come across, especially a child with an intellectual disability with the cards already stacked against her, who cannot be relied upon to pass the message, then someone needs to damn well make sure that message is passed.

I can only hope that Samantha still has a great day.  She was so proud of her hair this morning, and I hate that someone's going to rain on her parade.  I can only hope that she and her friends can laugh it off, that she'll willingly put the hat on, and the day will proceed as normal, that the damage hadn't already been done before the hat could be brought to her once the starting bell rang. 

I wish I could have hugged and kissed my baby girl goodbye this morning.

I'll make up for it when I get home. 


Dayna said...

I think her hair looked awesome. The little girls probably loved it and will be asking their moms for ribbon braids tomorrow morning!

Anonymous said...

Aw, she looks adorable! Hopefully it will be ok and none of the kids will tease her. I think one day I got the days mixed up and A. went to school in her pajamas and slippers on the wrong day. It didn't faze her and her friends were nice about it. I think Sammi's cute enough and stylish enough to pull off the more-adorable-rather-than-crazy look with style. :) Big hugs and I'm sorry they didn't communicate better with you about it. xxxooo -Kerry

Michelle said...

I completely get where you're coming from with those type of announcements (and really, I think the day before was a little late to change the plan like that!). For Kayla's school things like "Drama Club, Running Club" etc there is no general note that goes home, no flyer that says if your child wants to sign up. No, there is an announcement at the end of the day that if they want to try out/sign up they need to get the permission from from so and so teacher who is doing it. Kayla doesn't realize or pay any attention to those type of announcements. I had ask about when they were doing it and follow-up with getting the form. It is frustrating!
Love Sammi's braids :) I'm sure not every single student was wearing a hat today; there are always some who don't participate or forget :) She still looked great!

my family said...

first, I love her hair and I bet the girls will love it too. Who knows they may be asking their moms to do their hair like that Monday. Sammi may be starting a new trend.
On the other hand I think I'd be mad too. We depend on Williams communication folder, its not like he is going to remember to tell me a change like that. Don't we spend so much of our time trying to get our kids to "fit in" and be socialy acceptable? Some just don't get how important it is, even if it was an honest mistake.
Your beautiful girl will be fine, I think she is kind of like my sweet boy. Praying for a wonderful day for her:)

ckbrylliant said...

So annoying! And no doubt someone will say something equally annoying, like oh it's just a hat day or get over it there are worse things in the world. I don't really push these days with my two elem age kids unless they bring it to my attention for this very reason. Too much hype leads to expectation which leads to disappointment. It will be interesting to see if that changes for me with Bridgie. Sorry this happened but I am betting she's not the only one and is probably getting lots of compliments on her crazy hair cause it's cool!!! And maybe one day she'll say 'remember that time you braided my hair with ribbons?!"

Lisa said...

I think she still looked more adorable than crazy! If she loves it and is confident then I'll bet everything will be OK. That is an area our school is lacking in too so Cate frequently misses stuff like that.

Anna Theurer said...

Becca, oh mama bear, this makes me so sad! I really hope that no one says anything other than "I love your hair!" to her today. Her hair looks so cute with all the ribbons and I bet some of the other girls will be jealous. Anyway, your point is good--YOU need help too. It must be clear when there are school days like this. Either a sticker needs to be on the communication page (that is what our teacher does--ie Spirit Night or Picture Day) or the aide needs to tell you at pick up the day before. Sammi does not need anything that is going to separate her from the rest of the classmates. Grrrr!

Becca said...

Thanks you guys!! I'm pretty sure nobody would tease her or anything - the kids at school are pretty protective of her. But she's becoming much more aware of things and might be self conscious of being different today. I'm sure everything went well, but there definitely needs to be some sort of change here with the communication. Michelle mentioned Running Club, etc. I TOTALLY get this - the mom of one of Sammi's friends was telling me about all the things her daughter participates in at the school after school, and I was particularly intrigued by the running club - I think Sammi would love it. But I have NEVER heard anything about *any* of these activities. Now it's all starting to make sense...I'm sure they're all being mentioned in announcements. That's got to change, too. I want her to be involved and included.

Anonymous said...

I think she looks great
and I think Sammi should bring her teachers a present post Its and markers on Monday.

Anonymous said...

Ugh. The perspective is that her hair was COOL, not just crazy. I'll bet her hair was a hit. But, I hear you on the sensitivity about these things. I also think that things like this will teach our kids to be resilient and say, "I love my crazy hair!" You're doing awesome! When crazy hair day does finally roll around, there are bound to be kids whose parents didn't help them with crazy hair at all... Oxox Jennifer Currier

Cindy said...

I wish I could give you some encouragement and tell you that this was an isolated incident but I would be lying. I'm STILL having to make sure that the people that work with Beth tell me changes, things that I'll need to know. A couple weeks ago Beth came home talking about playing Sandy in a production of Grease. But she couldn't tell me when or where or Anything else about it. I told her over and over to ask S for paperwork with the info. The following week, a paper came home, but it's still my fear, that Beth will be isolated or forgotten because of the lack of communication. I'm glad you went to the school and told them yourself!!

Jennifer Schrad said...

Her hair looked AWESOME but I am so with you Mama! ---Jen

Emily @ Words I Wheel By said...

For what it's worth, I think that's a heck of an awesome hairstyle. Major points to you for taking the time to do that. I'm so sorry to hear there was no communication to you about the change, but you get serious props!

Elise Hopkins, Kids Included Together said...

Hi Becca,
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on this! It must be so incredibly frustrating to feel like your family's needs aren't being met just because they are unique from the other families in Sammi's class. I work for an organization called Kids Included Together, and we train educators and recreational specialists in how to best support kids with disabilities (and their families!). Something a lot of programs and schools don't recognize is that it is not good enough to try to communicate with families. It is important to make sure you ask them HOW they would like to communicate. I can speak for all of us at KIT when I say that you are an awesome mom; we commend you for advocating for your daughter and for wanting her to have the best inclusive experience possible! I hope Sammi's teacher learns from this. If not, send her to us. Maybe we can help!

Rochelle said...

They need a better e newsletter coming home. Ours is great with all the monthly activities, organizations and announcements etc!
Sorry this happened! Boo!

Lisa said...

I can't even get Finn's teacher or aide to take two or three minutes out of the day to write in Finn's communication notebook. It infuriates me. I am going to have writing in a communication notebook put into his upcoming IEP.

Anonymous said...

Does the school not email info or or have a teacher website? Our schools send out all newsletters via email and my son's teacher posts hers on her website as well which helps. That is annoying!! Did she end up having an OK day? Her hair looks super cute. My youngest hates these days. He has only done one dress up thing this week for spirit week. I don't force it but wish he would like it more as they are fun.

Becca said...

Anonymous - yes, there is a newsletter posted on the website. I even checked it the day before to be sure! There was just nothing about the *change* in the event. Apparently there was an announcement over the loudspeaker, but heck, my kid's not going to take notice of that or tell me about it! LOL Sorry your youngest doesn't like those events. I'm relieved that Samantha kind of does. I never did, myself! :-) And yes, she did have a really good day that day. I think she's protected enough by all the other students that nobody would dare say anything. :-)

Anonymous said...

OMG. I know this blog was from a while ago, but I just happened to see it now. This is so typically superficially type-A American obsession with things that really don't really matter. Little girls are being raped, mutilated and killed around the world, and you are worried about the wrong hair for the wrong celebration day? Americans are turning into weak, sick, stupidly obsessed idiots that don't put things into perspective of the bigger picture. And before you say anything, I too, have raised a daughter and know they are sensitive and open to hurt at every turn. But as a mother I am asking you to please help your child be tougher and put things into perspective as to what really matters. Just because a school designates a day to be special in some way, doesn't mean we are wrong or bad if we don't go along with it. How empty and shallow. Buck convention. Be different. What a complete idiot you sound in this blog, and so do all the mothers sympathizing with you. NO WONDER we as a country are declining so fast. Our minds are focused on the wrong things.