One of the challenges of having a kid later in life is having the energy to keep up with an energetic kid. She is an only child and being an only child brings some challenging demands on the parents. Other parents have stated that two kids – they play together and pull each other’s’ hair out, but they can keep each other occupied and not-so-lonely. I think parents with more than one child can speak to the demands of having multiple children. I can only speak to the demands of having one.
With a 7-year old girl, I get the ‘I’m-so-lonely’ howl a lot. We try. We know she needs to be around other kids. We know it’s not fair to have her around adults all the time, so we try to get her to be around other little kids, too. We take her to parks, we do kid-oriented outings, we arrange for sleepovers and playdates. Some of them work out great, some not so much. This past year we had her in Brownies and Opera for Children. We also had her in cartooning. The centre canceled it due to lack of interest but my kid loved it. She is talented, I must say.
I put my daughter into French Immersion. She fell behind. Few efforts were made by the school to catch her up. I received photocopies of workbook activities to do with her, but they were in French. Encrypted French. I asked some older students for translation, her French tutor and some French-speaking adults to translate these instructions and even they seemed puzzled. I had her tested for learning disabilities and through the opinions of three Pediatricians and two Family Doctors, they weren’t finding any developmental delays and learning disabilities. The Pediatrician served the school papers telling them to give my kid extra one-on-one lessons to catch her up and they did nothing but whine about it. In our district, experienced Teachers make almost $100K. The classroom size was around 20 kids, but apparently, she doesn’t have the time to teach my kid.
The System is Broken
There was always a problem. They put my kid on the wrong bus home one time. I watched in horror as a bunch of kids bounced off the bus, and mine didn’t. No one seemed to know where she was.
I got a snotty call from the Principal one day telling me how discourteous it was to not inform them of my child’s absence. Meanwhile, I put my kid on the bus to school that morning. She was on the carpet in her classroom getting her lessons like she did every day.
Her bus was in an accident one morning on the way to school. My kid told me about it a few days later. I called the school. They were meaning to call the parents to let them know. They counted that as a late on her attendance.
She came with home one afternoon with claw marks gouged along both sides of her jaw line. I asked qu’est-ce que c’est? They were meaning to call me, but they assured me they treated the wounds and were quite shocked it happened. A little girl got mad at mine for not following her demands. She was friends with a little girl who was having trouble playing nicely with the other kids.
The Vice Principal called to tell me her Teacher swore at my kid. There were many eyewitnesses that verified this. He used the word ass – not always a swear word. She wouldn’t remove her hat in the classroom. She was cold. He told her that things will bite her in the ass if she doesn’t cooperate, or something like that. I let that pass. He wouldn’t let her use the washroom and made her hold it. I didn’t let that pass.
Her school bus was almost two hours late returning the kids to the drop-off point one afternoon. The bottom dropped out. The wheel axle came off. There was a gas leak and the Driver wouldn’t evacuate the kids. I never did find out the story.
My husband and I discussed having our child go to school closer to home. There was a Catholic school down the street. We agreed and registered her for the following Fall term. After learning that my child was not allowed to go pee, I decided that transfer should be sooner than later. We registered her and had her start at the local Catholic school three weeks later.
Her first day, I learned that other parents had the same idea. I saw some familiar faces in the school yard. Since I have had several parents approach me about that decision. They were growing more and more frustrated and thinking of doing the same. This Fall term, we shall see who made the move.
Three months later, her reading level has improved substantially. The Teacher is working with her on a one on one basis on a regular routine and her confidence is through the roof. I have not heard the Teacher whine once about not having the time to teach my kid. Kudos to the kiddo, too. She accomplished a lot through her own grit. Sometimes I walk by and see her playing. Everyone plays really well together. She is so much happier. Her confidence has vastly improved.