Thursday, October 17, 2013

Goofy's parent/teacher conference

The good news: my husband did not cause an embarrassing scene in the Goofy Child's classroom this time.

The bad news: that was me. 

We were sitting outside the door in metal folding chairs, glaring at the walls decorated with paper after paper on "If I stayed up all night." Ok, that was me, too. But look, paper after paper of fully grounded letters with perfect spacing and nicely formed letters and beautifully colored pictures of what is actually happening in their stories... until you get to my kid. I'm closely examining these letters and drawings. Checking out the story lines and writing and such and I'm mumbling comparisons of like 24 kids to my 1. My husband is all like, well, blahblahblah with the perfection of our kid and knowing he has trouble and all that horse crap. I look at him, "I don't know what you're talking about. This is so. fucking. typical. Just ask them, they'll tell you." He laughs like I'm joking. (I love that the other kids are rocking it, I do not love that that I keep hearing how "typical" Goofy is and how I worry too much.)

Now, this is before we even get into the classroom, the scene comes a little bit later.

We started with how, after report cards came out, he's gone from a reading level 2, to a reading level 3 and how level 4 is meeting expectations. ...really? because his report card says level 1. Oh, that was a mistake. Here, let me fix that for you and I'll fix it in the computer, too. what level is he really? Who knows. whatever. so we moved on to discussing how much progress the Goofy one is making. How much better he's doing. how he's catching himself in mistakes and putting in so. much. more. effort.

My husband notices the special paper they use and he's like, "didn't I buy some of this?" Honey, it doesn't just hang around. It gets used. But yes, you did. and he's all, "well maybe I should buy some more and he can practice more. and she's all, "that's such a great idea." and "I can send some home." and I'm sitting there listening to him ask this wondering just who he planned on working with Goofy on this, thinking, you mother lovin' son of a preacher. I know who's going to get this shit. Sure, just let me add this to my handy dandy, ever growing list of reasons you aren't getting laid tonight, asshole. So, we're getting special paper and I'm get extra time on homework.

(Speaking of which, Walter just comes up to me in shock- Mom! He just wrote "go to hell!" I said, "hey, he's writing" and raised my hand for a high 5 while Walter looked at me like I'd lost my flippin' mind. Which, actually, what the boy wrote was "go to hell bish." and then "wat fug" oh, man. we need to find his real parents soon. That cannot be my kid. well, never mind. just don't.)

Where were we?

come to find out, he's making so much progress and putting in so much more effort because there's now a lady who comes in to work with him on writing 1:1 and she gushes over how freaking awesome he is and does a full out celebration for every correct space and letter. I'm pretty sure I told the teacher about that in his introduction letter.

"Typical" is not in their vocabulary tonight. "Typical" is so last month. This month, it's "not uncommon." and yeah, the examples of work hanging in the hall were from last week and yesterday so he's not exactly consistent in his efforts but he shows the ability for effort!

and this is where my husband goes beyond stepping into my danger zone and goes right ahead and pushes the red button. He knows I'm considering dyslexia so he asks, "Isn't it normal to write a few letters backward?"



  • Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.
  • Labeled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, "not trying hard enough," or "behavior problem."
  • Isn't "behind enough" or "bad enough" to be helped in the school setting.
  • High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.
  • Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school reading or testing.
  • Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering.
  • Seems to "Zone out" or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.
  • Difficulty sustaining attention; seems "hyper" or "daydreamer."
  • Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.

Vision, Reading, and Spelling

  • Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading.
  • Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations.
  • Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
  • Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
  • Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don't reveal a problem.
  • Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
  • Reads and rereads with little comprehension.
  • Spells phonetically and inconsistently.

Hearing and Speech

  • Has extended hearing; hears things not said or apparent to others; easily distracted by sounds.
  • Difficulty putting thoughts into words; speaks in halting phrases; leaves sentences incomplete; stutters under stress; mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.

Writing and Motor Skills

  • Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible.
  • Clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports; difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills and tasks; prone to motion-sickness.
  • Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, over/under.

Math and Time Management

  • Has difficulty telling time, managing time, learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time.
  • Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks; knows answers, but can't do it on paper.
  • Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and dealing with money.
  • Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems; cannot grasp algebra or higher math.

Memory and Cognition

  • Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
  • Poor memory for sequences, facts and information that has not been experienced.
  • Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue).

Behavior, Health, Development and Personality

  • Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
  • Can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quiet.
  • Had unusually early or late developmental stages (talking, crawling, walking, tying shoes).
  • Prone to ear infections; sensitive to foods, additives, and chemical products.
  • Can be an extra deep or light sleeper; bedwetting beyond appropriate age.
  • Unusually high or low tolerance for pain.
  • Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection.
  • Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.
    Read more:

and now, the teacher, the reading specialist and the 5:30 appointment all know that Goofy wasn't potty trained until he was 5, still isn't night time trained, can't bathe himself, dress himself, tie his shoes.... I can go on and on.


She says to have trouble tying shoes is not uncommon. Her son couldn't tie his shoes. They worked with him and now he can! My brother works with him and Little D! Little D got it. Goofy didn't. Goofy can't get the fine motor skills going AND he has trouble with sequencing. There are just too many steps and it's hard to put them in order. (see list above)

She says she gets it. She understands my concern, "moms worry." as a mom, she can understand that. Dads don't, her husband is the same way. I really want to tell everyone how they can take the "worry" and the "typical" and the "not uncommon" and describe in detail how they can shove it where I will never have to hear those fucking words again but... you know. Even if they do, someone else will be saying them before too long.

I will be the first to admit that my boy is perfect. He's amazing. I can list way after way that the boy amuses me, how he pleases me, all the things that are right. He is wonderful and I'm glad he's mine, BUT, I cannot pretend that there is not something wrong. I cannot know that there is somewhere that he needs help and just ignore it and pretend that everything is fine. He can't read. His writing is awful. It's not fine. He's not normal. He's not typical. He's not not uncommon. There is a reason he struggles, I need to find it. He needs help and I will move heaven and earth, no matter who thinks I'm overreacting, to make sure he gets it.

I came home, grabbed a beer and hit the bath tub. by the time we got around to Goofy's homework, I wasn't exactly sober. but that's ok, I think it may have actually been an improvement. Not exactly sober writing this either but... *shrugs* C'est la vie. Welcome to my world.


  1. Oh, I got the "not uncommon" thing at the doctor yesterday about my seven year old. I'm thinking I don't care if this is going on with every other single kid in the school, it doesn't mean that we don't need to do something to fix it!

  2. Our parent/teacher conference is on Monday. James has had 3 days suspension, shuts down in class, runs away from gym class, and has a D, D- and F in core classes! All I hear is "Well, we have a lot of layers of support in place for him. We may need to wait a few years for him to mature to see the benefit." Talk about going ballistic!