Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Happy Freaking Birthday or: Does this Girl EVER Stop Complaining?

You would think that a girl who got treated to a kidless weekend, a couples’ massage, glorious sleep, and TWO dinners out with good food and great friends wouldn’t have much to complain about.

Clearly, you haven’t spent much time with WG.

It all started on Friday when Mr. WG—after trying to get ahold of D’s teacher all week—left word that he wanted to leave D. in school for aftercare, without Shadow. He was cornered by the principal and told that the teacher had expressed concern at this plan. Later that morning, Shadow called and said she’d be able to stay at school late, so go ahead and leave D. Several minutes later, Teacher called and said, “I just want to let you know that D’s had a really hard day, and a really hard week. I’ve seen a lot of regression here, and I’m not sure why. So I understand that Shadow is staying late today, but I just want to tell you that maybe I’m going to have to call you to come get D. anyway.”


Mr. WG spoke with Shadow a bit later. “Oh,” she said, “I’m sorry, but Teacher said D. can’t stay.”

So off Mr. WG went to pick up our son. And not too long after that, we dropped him off with his siblings and some friends and went off for a fabulous weekend. And when we came home on Sunday, we heard this on the answering machine:

“Hi, it’s Teacher. I see that you picked up D. I just want to say that I never said you needed to do that. Maybe we can speak, because I just want to say that he had a hard week. Let’s just keep this between the three of us.”

Actually, what we heard was that, plus about four minutes of rambling, but I’ll spare you.

Then came Monday morning. Shadow had left Sunday for Israel, which had been planned. I know that I mentioned her trip at least twice to Teacher, and I am certain that Shadow must have said something about her trip. And no one said we had to find a substitute shadow for the time Shadow was away. And at our meeting prior to the start of the school year, we had specifically said that if Shadow was absent, we would deal with things as they came up.

Since our goal right now is to begin reducing Shadow’s hours, we kind of figured, hey let’s just see how it goes.

So, Mr. WG took the kids to school, dropped them off at 7:40 as usual, went to davening, and came home. At 8:20, my phone rang.

“Mrs. WG?”


“Hi, it’s Rabbi Principal. How’s your morning?”


“Everything’s going OK?”

“Is there a problem?”

“Well, are you aware that Shadow is away this week?”

Let’s see. Am I aware that my employee is out of the country? Yes. Yes, I am. I tell him as much.

“Well, I just went by D’s classroom and Teacher isn’t there yet, but D. was banging on the door saying he wanted to leave, so….”


“Well, I’m just not sure how we deal with this…”

“Look, maybe he’s having a bad day, but Assistant should be able to get down on his level and tell him to get away from the door.

“Well, I know that Teacher doesn’t want him to be here without Shadow, so….”

“Look. If you want me to come get him, you need to say that right now. We have one car, and Mr. WG will be using it shortly, and I won’t be able to pick up D.”

“Well, then I think you should come.”

I left the house a few minutes later. On the way to school, I called my friend M. and told her the story. In addition to being properly empathetic she insisted that I speak with Rabbi Principal at the school and ascertain whether we were dealing with a D. problem—or a Teacher problem. In other words, is it possible that the problem is simply that Teacher can’t handle the class?

I arrived at the school and immediately noted that Rabbi Principal was meeting with another parent. I made my way down the hall and asked another teacher to go check on D. in his classroom. “He’s not there,” she reported back, a moment later.

Then I remembered vaguely that Rabbi Principal had mentioned that D. wanted to hang out in Baby J’s class. I went there and found him sitting quietly on the floor, playing with a truck. I stepped out before he saw me and went back to the office to wait.

When I was called in, I tried to stay calm and cool. And failed miserably, to the point where RP had to leave the room to find me tissues. I suppose if you boil it down, my argument amounted to, “It’s not fair,” but I tried to make it slightly more rational.

“I met with Teacher and Shadow a few weeks ago in anticipation of The Big Meeting we have scheduled for this week,” I told him. (The Big Meeting is us, Teacher, Shadow, RP, Mrs. Block, SuperSpeechTherapist, the new school psychologist, and Rabbi InCharge.) “At that meeting, we talked about how Mrs. Block and SuperSpeechTherapist think we need to scale back on Shadow’s hours. We might need to supplement D. with someone to help him on the more academic side of things, but he doesn’t need so much help on the social interaction side of things anymore, and he doesn’t disrupt the class.”

“And what did they say?” he asked.

“They agreed,” I said. “I sensed some hesitation on Teacher’s part, but Mr. WG said that’s because Shadow makes Teacher’s job easier, and she doesn’t want her to leave. She did not give me any concrete reason that I should not try to reduce Shadow’s hours.”

“Well, she tells me consistently that she cannot have him in the classroom without Shadow.”

I was stunned. I actually felt the breath leave my body. He also mentioned that he had asked her to keep a journal of D’s behaviors to present at the meeting—so she was planning to blindside me with this?

After a few more minutes of discussion, we went to get D. and his things. By then, Teacher had managed to arrive at school and was in the classroom. She didn’t say a word to us as we gathered D’s things and left, shunned pariahs.

When I got home, Mr. WG said, “Teacher called. She said that if she had been there, they wouldn’t have had to send him home, and blah blah.” Mr. WG was not impressed. Neither was I. Let’s think about it and give her the benefit of the doubt, make her the victim of an overzealous principal. She hears D. has been sent home for the day, then sees us enter the room. Shouldn’t her reaction, if she really doesn’t believe he needs to leave, be something along the lines of, “What’s going on?”

She left another message on my machine later on, inviting us to meet with her prior to The Big Meeting.

Sometime around 9 last night, Mr. WG hired a substitute Shadow and decided that the two of us needed to meet with RP and Teacher this morning. So we arrived at school, settled the kids, and found RP. “Teacher is out sick today,” he said, so we met with him alone. And I’ll have to write that up later, because this is already ridiculously long.


ella said...

Yikes. That sounds incredibly stressful. I hope it's a Teacher problem or an over-zealous Rabbi-Principal problem...from what you've said, the one thing it does NOT sound like is a D. problem! Good luck, hang in there. And maybe Mr. WG's next present to you should be massage classes for *him*, so you can get a massage whenever you need it!

Dee said...

Yeah, my guess is a Teacher problem, that being the Teacher doesn't want to deal with D. on her own when Shadow makes things easier for her.

Gah, lazy.

Hope it all works out for the best and that this is a mere blip that gets worked out completely.

lisa-thingsfallapart said...

That is awful! What is up with this teacher?! It's unacceptable that she is sending so many mixed messages, and then to ignore you when you went to get D...that's crazy. I agree that it sounds like a teacher problem. I'm glad you had a good weekend otherwise, sounds like you really needed it.

Andrea said...

Oh my! MY blood pressure is soaring after reading this! I'd have blown my top! Clearly you're dealing with a Teacher problem, not a D. problem. I HATE it when people are two-faced like that!

Lisa b said...

that sucks
sounds to me too like the teacher can't handle it
any chance she is pregnant?

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