Premature Tears

The principal at the Institution is well known for being able to hand down some serious punishment when she wants. She's very serious, and even makes me squirm when she barges into my office and shuts the door behind her - everything is that serious. When a student came into the office bawling her eyes out, and explained that she was there to see the principal and wasn't sure why, I couldn't blame her too much. Turns out, the principal just wanted the student to show off a project she was working on...

I laughed about it (possibly just due to terror myself) with the principal, but I had to wonder...Even as the school principal, do you really want your reputation to precede you like that? 


Just another day in paradise...

I started Monday morning at my usual spot, the Special Place, an "educational complex," I learned that day. One of the secretaries had won our school site a promotion from a local radio station that at 10 am brought us huge platters of bagels and pastries and coffee - awesome! However, said secretary was a tad embarrassed when the radio host arrived at our site: a student had tried to attack her (a tiny little girl using only her fists), she was restrained, and we had to keep the doors locked until the police arrived; the radio host was locked outside for a few minutes with all of her treats. The men in uniform arrived quickly, and the little girl was picked up by mom in a jiffy, but the secretary apologized profusely to the radio host for having to see that...and then said very honestly, "But that's a typical day for us, nothing unusual."

I had to make a special visit to the same site today for a student I needed to do a hearing/vision assessment on. The student is severely autistic and rarely at school, the secretary described her parents as "tweakers." I arrived at the site for my assessment the same time Child Welfare Services arrived there for an emergency visit following a report they'd received on that student I needed to see. Just another day in paradise at The Special Place...


Out for a stroll

I had to perform some hearing/vision screenings on a couple of students in a class, so I called the teacher in the morning to send the students down. The two that I needed were in other classrooms for reading time, and instead of trying to track them down, I told the teacher I'd call back in the afternoon. 

I called back in the afternoon, and the teacher said, "No problem, I'll send them down." Some time later, they still hadn't arrived, and the secretary hadn't seen them either. I thought maybe the teacher had been in the middle of something with them and forgot to send them down. I took no offense; it happens all the time, and I figured I would get to them later. 

Well, even though it has often been the case where the teacher never sends the students down, this one smelled fishy to me so when I saw the teacher after school, I told her it wasn't a big deal, but I'd need to call the kids down later because I still needed to screen them. She assured me she had sent them down and said they were gone for a "reasonable" amount of time, and then came back to class. Who knows where they went, but they definitely did not make it to my office. Oh, those poor second graders: the teacher stomped off fuming that they had done that and swore she would take care of them it wouldn't happen again. Still, I had to laugh, I am sure the kids enjoyed their break. 


Spitfire again

Spitfire's blood sugar continues to be totally out of control, and so we found ourselves in my office waiting for someone to pick her up due to high ketones yet again. My belly has become the elephant in the room to her, so it wasn't long before conversation turned to my future baby. 
Spitfire: "So are you having a boy or a girl?"
Me: "I don't know, it's going to be a surprise."
Spitfire: "How do you not know?! What kind of parent ARE you?!"

I explained that I like surprises, and wanted to wait to find out until the baby is born...which turned into a conversation about how people find out the sex of their children ahead of time...which started with showing her an ultrasound picture of my own baby's face...and then I realized I was going to have to explain how the baby's anatomy is examined to determine the sex. Yeah, I changed the subject after showing her the ultrasound picture. 


Crossing the threshold

Unrelated to work, I know that my baby belly has officially crossed the threshold from questionably and awkwardly fat to pregnant. A student was getting his medicine, took a look at my stomach, and exclaimed, "Are you pregnant?!" He came back to me the next day to ask how many weeks along I am, and I asked him - a fourth grader - how he knows so much about pregnancy. He wouldn't answer me, but I suspect with the 5 older siblings he has, he may already have a niece or nephew.

A nurse left over winter break, and this week they interviewed LVNs to replace the departed RN. One of them will be filling in for me once I begin maternity leave, and it is a very strange thing to know that the person filling in for me will be much more bang for the school district's buck than I am. It's nothing any of us can argue; in fact, I've often wondered why my district hasn't followed the suit of others sooner and let the RNs go, but it's still a strange thing to watch it evolve as it is.

And in one sad incident of the day, a 5th grader wanted to call home for an inhaler. I looked up his phone number and was going to let him call, but then he immediately backed up and said, "I'm scared, I want you to talk to her." I hung up and went to the secretary to ask what this reaction was about: "Oh...He's been having a lot of accidents, and mom isn't happy having to come get him all the time." Poor kiddo - both on the having accidents end, and being scared of his mom.


Points for honesty

A mopey looking student came in today saying he wanted to rest. I asked if he had a headache and he explained the real reason he was here to see me: "I'm exhausted, I stayed up all night playing video games." He agreed that was probably not the wisest idea, and I told him he could take a quick snooze on the cot. 

Soon enough, he stood up and confessed something else: "I told my teacher I was going to the bathroom, I have to go back to class or I'm going to get in trouble." 

Some poor decision-making there, but the kid was so cutely weighed down with guilt I didn't have the heart to make things worse for him.  


The end is near

Usually when I get back from the holiday break, I look at the calendar and see that we still have a long way left until summer break. This time, I look at the calendar and see I have only a short time until March, when I expect to leave at spring break and not return until after summer. (There's a baby that seems to be practicing escaping right through the walls of my abdomen that constantly reminds me of this as well...So much that at my last appointment they suggested we may want to have our hospital bags packed nice and early...)

As a soon to be new mom, my head is, naturally, essentially filled with baby thoughts all day and night; work is a second priority these days. I've been maintaining blissful happiness and ignorance this year while the mood of my colleagues continues to sink lower and lower as the year progresses. 

So, I chose to not let it irritate too much yesterday when I received a call from Diabetic Land that Spitfire's blood sugar was 400+ and had high ketones. This is not unusual, unfortunately, but then the secretary relayed that they had called mom, who was sending a neighbor to "give her some insulin" - at 11:30, when she has lunch at 12:30. A nurse can see the problem with this; the secretary sees that someone is dealing with Spitfire. I called mom myself from another site, who let loose a whole can of frustration on me, saying that she was at work, etc. etc. I tried to say as nicely as I could, "I understand this isn't a good time for you; we still need to take care of your daughter though." It was a pretty unpleasant phone call as she vented to me, as she is sure that all of Spitfire's problems are caused by the school; mother herself, naturally has nothing to do with the issues. 

<Sigh.> History continues to repeat itself (see here and here, and it happens far more times than I write about here). Must. Not. Get. Too. Annoyed.