|Actual photo of me upon learning that|
someone made my baby cry.
It was the second week in a row I had heard this. But this time, when we got home, the anxiety completely overwhelmed her. She crumpled to the floor and wept.
Once the anxiety takes over, it's hard to get her back. It takes hours.
On the one hand, Cookie has an anxiety disorder. She cries a lot, or at least she used to, before she started therapy and medication. We also put a 504 Plan in place at school, which gives both Cookie and her teachers tools to help her cope with her anxiety. It's not perfect, and sometimes she still freaks out. I understand.
What the HELL? Hasn't the teacher read the 504? Doesn't she know about the anxiety? Putting pressure on Cookie to perform perfectly totally undermines everything we're working on at home and in therapy. The kid's on three prescription psychiatric medications. Give her a break, already. Stop making my baby cry.
My first inclination is to turn the van around, go back to the school, and give the teacher a piece of my mind. I don't do this, because:
a) I've got a carload of kids who just want to go home to eat grapes and string cheese in air-conditioned happiness.
c) Seeing Mommy go batshizz insane at school probably isn't going to help Cookie's anxiety.
d) I don't want to be The Crazy Lady.
The Crazy Lady is the woman who yells at cashiers for pointing out that her coupons are expired. She mumbles loudly in line at the bank about how slow the tellers are. She always, always, loses her shizz at the Department of Motor Vehicles because they will not accept the warranty from her wiper blades as a valid form of identification. The Crazy Lady expects the school cafeteria to cut her child's sandwiches into four crustless triangles.
The Crazy Lady goes into the school without appointments and yells at teachers, and sends angry e-mails without asking for the teacher's side of things.
No one likes The Crazy Lady.
|Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure from Archie McPhee.|
Give her a laptop and cup of coffee, and it's
pretty much me.
I didn't storm into the school. Instead, I went home and wrote an angry e-mail. I let the e-mail stew in my computer for a few hours, and then I deleted it.
The next day, I wrote a calmer e-mail, explaining the anxiety and offering suggestions on how to help Cookie feel less anxious in class. I emphasized that we're working on teaching Cookie that it's okay to make mistakes. I didn't gloss over how seriously I take Cookie's mental health, but but hopefully I wasn't a raving lunatic, either.
Within hours, I received the most wonderful response. She clarified what had happened in class. While she apologized for a possible poor choice in words, she assured me that they were said with love.
What more can you ask for?
The angry e-mail feels good when I'm writing it. Sending it? Probably doesn't feel as good. Besides, the point isn't to make me feel good. It's to make Cookie feel good -- or at least, reasonably non-anxious in the school environment.
I know I'm exactly one stray cat away from becoming The Crazy Lady. From Day One of our public school experience, I've had to ask for special attention: because of food allergies, because one year we wanted our twins placed together, because of fine motor delay, because of anxiety, because of ADHD, because of smartypantsness, because of autism. There is always something with our family, and it probably annoys the crap out of people, especially people who have to deal with us in a professional manner and in accordance with a boatload of education laws.
I try to balance it out. I volunteer at the school whenever I can. I've been PTO secretary, homeroom mom, random helper. I hope it's harder to write me off as That Crazy Mom with All the Kids with All the Problems when I'm shelving books in the library. An added bonus, of course, is that I like being there. It's a great school and I'm glad to help. I love the teachers, and I love being around my kids.
Also, I don't send crazy e-mails, even when I'm cut to the core because my daughter is crying.
Remember: becoming The Crazy Lady is easier than you think. It's a slippery slope, people.