April 03, 2012
Noah's IEP meeting went very well, by the way. (The plot points! They are dangling!) Of COURSE it went very well. I always get myself so needlessly lathered up about these meetings ahead of time -- a peril of being overly-informed about other people's horror stories, probably -- and then we show up and remember that oh. Right. These people actually give a shit. About their jobs and their students and that whole "making a difference in the life of a child" thing.
I'd gotten a somewhat...strange phone call from the school psychologist the week before that knocked me a bit off my axis, and then a conversation with a classmate's mother at a birthday party set me even more on edge. Because this same psychologist was causing problems for them and everything about their IEP was contested and a struggle and the whole thing sounded crazy combative and stressful. Just like another mother had described their experience this year to me a few weeks before, at another party. Sternly-worded letters! Hired advocates! Parents storming out of meetings! Peace negotiations all blown to hell!
I think I need to stop attending so many birthday parties. Or find something else to talk with people about. Hey, did anybody else see The Hunger Games?
I really do love Noah's school. And his teachers. They are doing an amazing job, and sometimes it blows my mind to stop and realize how far Noah has come. Our IEP meeting was calm, collaborative and about as low pressure as it gets. I think first grade is going to be just fine, for all of us.
One of Noah's playmates learned to ride his bike without training wheels a few months ago. He's a year younger than Noah, and his new skill triggered a bit of competitive peer pressure throughout the neighborhood, and we watched training wheels disappear left and right, it seemed. But Noah, of course, did not care. Did not want. Did not even want to hear the mere suggestion of taking his training wheels off.
So we did what we always end up doing. We bribed him. Take the training wheels off and learn to ride your bike from corner to corner by yourself, and we'll take you to the toy store and buy some Legos.
"Ninjago Legos? Like in a big box? The kind that cost too many dollars?"
Whatever Lego set you want, dude.
I figured he'd live with this lofty goal in a strictly figurative, hypothetical sense for awhile. That we'd float the idea out there and he'd think about it some more, no pressure, until he really felt good and ready to make an attempt.
Instead, he demanded that the training wheels come off his bike that very instant. LET'S DO THIS THING.
While Jason took care of the wheels I tried to have a talk with Noah about how he would need to practice, that it might take awhile for him to figure it out, and that he would need to stick with it even if he thought it was too hard.
His perfectionistic streak can be vicious, unfortunately -- it even came up during his IEP meeting. "Noah needs to take more risks," his teachers said. "If he's not 100% confident that he'll be good at something, he refuses to try, or he starts and quits immediately."
Getting Noah on a bike in the first place was an epic struggle, and it's never really been one of his favorite activities. Even with the training wheels, he's prone to crashes and falls, or frustration over not going as fast as the other kids who fly down the hill with no fear.
"I'm a tiny little bit scared," Noah said. "But that's okay, right?"
Definitely. And me too.
I watched for awhile. He was wobbly and positively insistent that Jason not let him go, at all, no no no no. After each run Jason needed to coax him into trying again, and again. About what I expected, honestly.
I went inside and started loading the dishwasher. Maybe he'll get it by the weekend, I thought. It's spring break so we'll have plenty of time to practice, and as long as we can avoid a bad fall or something like...
Jason came in about 10 minutes later. "Well, he did it! Where are my keys?"
"SHUT UP," I said. I ran back outside.
"I DID IT, MOM!" he hollered.
He grudgingly agreed to a single demonstration -- dammit, woman, that toy store isn't going to stay open ALL NIGHT, you know -- but did let me get in some hugs and a couple "I'm so proud of you's" before he climbed in the car, chattering happily away about Sensei Wu and Lord Garmadon mini-figures or maybe he should pick some more Star Wars Legos? No, ninjas. Definitely ninjas. Ninjas are the coolest ever.