Yesterday I had a meeting with Rose’s teacher, principal, EC director, speech teacher and some other people. Apparently, M either forgot to mention a few things to the school in Alabama when it came to Rose’s Individual Education Program (IEP) or she lied by omission. The latter seems more inline with her character. As it stands, I am in a holding pattern, waiting to see what happens next. Based off of Rose’s original NC IEP, she needs to be in a self contained classroom with one on one attention everyday. Unfortunately, her current school doesn’t have any self contained classrooms, which means she would have to move schools again. Under the AL IEP, she is in a regular classroom with speech therapy on a daily basis. This would allow for her to remain in the school that she is in and continue mission. After explaining some flaws in the school staff’s understanding of the situation, they informed me that they had to go back to the drawing board and figure out where to go next. I had pretty much been told that I would need to get Rose enrolled in a different school that had a self contained classroom by the end of the week so she could start there on Monday.
The problem with this new school is that it is based off of my address. Which means, I would either have to take her to school every day and pick her up, or she could be picked up and dropped off by a special transportation bus. Both of these options would require me to be in a job that was more flexible to the fact that I am a single father with a child in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP), who needs my attention first thing in the morning and in the early afternoon. Kat, my babysitter, wouldn’t be able to be in two places at once, picking her son and David up at the current school, and then either picking Rose up from school or meeting the bus at our home. The dilemma is as much fun as putting my phallus in a meat grinder. My unit isn’t exactly flexible in regards to a soldier’s family. I am trying to find the best option for my children and still be able to perform duties for the Army. My only issue is that when push comes to shove, my kids come first, career be damned. If it comes to the point that I have to be discharged due to my parental status, then I am going to move on without any regrets. Honestly, I have spent too damned long giving the Army everything I have and all that I am, to just be expected to concern myself more with it than with my family.
So, as I said, I am on stand-by. The EC Coordinator had to go back to the drawing board and see what to do in this situation. The IEPs from the two states are completely different. They tend to have to go by the most recent one established, which would be the AL one. Honestly, I hope that is the case and Rose can remain in the school that she is in. She improves all around educationally, verbally and inter-personally every day that she is there. When she was in an EC class, she picked up a lot of bad habits and traits from other students who seemed to be worse on the spectrum than she was. Until she had started going to her last school in NC, she never threw tantrums that involved her banging her head on the floor, arguing with her parents or teachers, or any of the serious negative behavior that she displays.
Monday, I had to conduct some corrective actions with her in regards to her behavior at school. Kat told me that Ms. M, Rose’s teacher, had told Rose to get in the lunch line. Rose decided she wanted to be belligerent and contradictory and screamed NO at her teacher and then proceeded she was going to “Snatch you up and smack you.” Yeah, she didn’t get that phrase from me. I don’t really spank anymore. I give time outs and lost privileges. Rose definitely works better on a obedience versus reward system. Basically, she is learning about consequences. “If you continue with X, then you will lose Y (time, television, toys, dessert, etc).” I pretty much learned that method from the lovely old United States Army. I’ve had to give the same type of punitive measures to soldiers who couldn’t act like adults and remove their heads from their asses.
Each day is a learning lesson for my children and I. Each day we get a step closer to getting to where we need to be. Time will tell how successful we are in regards to that.
The new job I wrote about last month has kind of gone by the wayside. Division has decided that it didn’t want to release anyone to go perform duties there. You can imagine how displeased with this turn of events I was. I honestly needed that job, simply based on the freedom of movement and ability to spend more time with my children. Today I plan on asking for an exception to policy on this decision. Otherwise, I need to decide whether or not staying in the Army is really what is best for my children. Yeah, I’m back to that old dilemma, which I had thought I had solved some time ago. Now, with changing circumstances, I am back to deciding whether or not I charlie mike or I ask for a hardship discharge. I don’t want to just let go of my decade long career, but it seems to be contrary to what is best for Rose and Dave. Hmm, I don’t know, I’m not sure at this point. I need someone who understands how the Army operates to be my sounding board and give me advice on where to go next. I have people I can talk to, of course, but most of them are civilians with no military experience and I really don’t feel like extending the conversation by having to backtrack just to explain Army procedures and such.
“Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.”