Monday, February 09, 2009

What a Day!

My little friend Johnny continues to frustrate me on a daily basis but I've really become attached to this kid. It breaks my heart to know that his mother and grandmother who is his primary caregiver do not get him the help he deserves. There is no doubt that has issues. He sometimes lives in a fairyland in his imagination. He's obsessed with fairies, has verbal outbursts, defiant at times, obsessed with the color yellow, doesn't relate well to his peers, can be physical with peers, makes little eye contact. At school we're making progress on some of this.
I know at home he is nagged relentlessly because of his behavior. I've only been in the presence of grandma twice and both times she never spoke nicely to him and was on him for everything. There are tensions in his home between mother and grandmother. We went on a field trip this past week and I sat with him on the bus. He told me that "his mother is stupid and can't do nothin' right". In the ten years I've been in the school I've never heard a child say anything like that about their mother. I believe he is parroting his grandmother and how sad is that? I can see why he would retreat into a fantasy world at times.
We've been working hard with him at school and have made some progress. I can get him to do some work most days and have gotten some of the other students involved with him at playtime. That involves me too as I've become a great butterfly cutter outer. Kids will come to our table at playtime and decorate butterflies I cut out of construction paper and he does interact with them.
There are days when I can do nothing for him, he's in a mood, very stubborn and mischievous but Friday we had a wonderful day. It started out rocky because we had P.E. and he doesn't like it. I go with him and try and get him to participate. Each gym class the teacher has the kids do some warm ups to music like galloping, skipping, jogging, monster walking etc. I spoke to the teacher and suggested we add some sort of twirling or spinning or even come up with a fairy type movement. It worked wonders. He laughed and enjoyed himself and was up for the next part of the class. We returned from P.E. and sat down to do some work which he did. Then it was time for reading buddies from third grade.
The teacher and I were standing on the other side of the room watching Johnny and his reading buddy read at a table when Johnny looked over at me. I caught my breath! His face was beaming, he was smiling at me and we shared a connection, like we were in on a little secret. The teacher was amazed and said to me, "he loves you!" Even writing about it now has brought me to tears. Happy tears. That brief moment has made up for every hard time I've ever had with him. I hope he knows I love him too.


Wonderful World of Weiners said...

Love this. I bet he does know. :)