Work, Ink and a bunch of wonderful kids
There is so much work to do here, I’m almost paralyzed by the thought. Yesterday I ended up in a meeting for a couple of hours and my day just vanished before my eyes. This job is crazy busy and the fine details need to be carefully watched so I don’t mess everything up. I had an issue with a staff member last week where I double booked her and ended up having to cancel her shifts. The result was incredible. There were tears, emails, midnight phone calls with all the other clerks, investigation as to who should have been offered what shift when and this was after I had called her, explained in person, took full responsibility, apologized profusely, promised to find her some other shifts to make up for my mistake (even on other units) and then I emailed everyone involved including our manager/coordinator who we all report to and found her the extra shifts I promised. The other clerks started sticking their nose in.
“That should have been your shift! You were only cancelled because you’re casual!”
Well….uhh yeah? That’s exactly why I was able to cancel her shift…? I’m not sure what the purpose of that information was but it served to wind the girl up even more. She was crying by the time Monday rolled around and she had a chance to talk to me for the third time. :S You know…there are real problems in the world. Surrounding us are people who are in varying stages of dying and healing but ALL of them are in pain, are unable to work or go home and enjoy their families, and are fighting to get well again. You’d think one eight-hour shift wouldn’t cause the skies to fall in a place like this but…I guess we’re all out for ourselves first. Well, most of us are anyway.
Oh my new tattoo!! I forgot to tell you guys! So I had a wonderful visit with Tiffany, my angel on earth, and we got to spend the entire day with her….she hadn’t booked any other clients so she could spend the day with us. We hung out while she drew up the stencils for D’s new ink (I let her freehand mine, I trust her so much) and had coffee. Lunch was Indian (it was delicious) and somewhere in there I got my new piece and D got his two smaller ones done.
I got the new ink on my leg so I was able to watch this time (other pieces are on my back and the outside of my left leg above the knee so I could never see what she was doing before) and the experience was so different. She’s always told me that when you watch it happening the pain is very different (there’s no surprise as to where the next feeling will come from if you can see the needle) so it was cool to try it out. She was so right… Also, I know I’ve written before about the pain of the procedure being a part I really connect with….watching it intensified that experience as well. The pain was different but actually watching the ink push into my skin, the small amount of blood that escaped as it happened and the excess ink being smeared and wiped out of the way as she went along…it was all really quite satisfying. I’m not exactly trying to promote pain or any sort of self harm but, as many of us know, pain that is under our control can really provide a lot of release. Watching the creation of something painful but beautiful on my body, being applied by someone who means the world to me…wow. It was something else.
D did well also, but he’s not the same sort as I am. He hates pain but prides himself on being able to tolerate great quantities of it (I think it’s a ‘man thing’ lol). He got two really nice pieces and he’s so happy he came with. He and Tiffany had fun hanging out too so it was doubly great for me….two of my favourite people in one room…all we were missing was Colt (lol…the child would have run screaming at the first sign of blood).
OH! And speaking of Colt! I’ve had several conversations with his principal and teacher – we are all on the same page now. Everyone admitted the last teacher was letting Colt skate through with nearly zero expectations. She didn’t leave entirely of her own volition either. The principal won’t tell me what happened and I don’t really care to know, but she did make it clear that everyone understood why Colt was suddenly struggling with the workload. It made me feel better knowing they weren’t just trying to blame him or the autism. I asked, for the hundredth time, it felt like, for student mentors to help Colt at recess. He has limited social skills and he misses all the normal cues. When he asks for space and is not immediately granted it he gets upset. The kids, being kids, crowd him or push him or wind him up more and he runs out of coping strategies and patience very quickly. This escalates into swearing and other aggressive behaviour until he gets away from the stimulus that is setting him off (usually the kids themselves). I have suggested this so many times it seems ridiculous to bring it up again but I did, as I always do, and this time they listened. Starting Monday, Colt has had two grade six kids by his side at all outdoor breaks. They help him make better decisions and distract him, really, teaching him different games and sports. When the kids in his class start with him they have the ability to remove him from the situation and coach him through it. He’s had amazing success with this so far, just in having someone there to help him when he doesn’t know what to do.
The principal sent me a photo yesterday of a crowd of grade six girls standing around a bench. I didn’t understand it until she called to explain that Colt was in the middle of that throng, on the bench, and the entire female portion of the grade six class was entertaining him. lol…he is So charming with the ladies, I’m not surprised.
The kids have a rotation set up for two kids at a time to mentor Colt. They are getting volunteer credit for this and I’ve offered to pay for some little awards for the end of the year to thank them for stepping up and helping a peer in need. The boys are involved too….they show him how to shoot hoops and kick the soccer balls around. The girls have him doing ‘cartwheels’ and are teaching him to jump rope. I’ve not seen my boy this happy and engaged at school EVER. 🙂
Now, he’s still having issues in class. He is refusing to do is work, saying ‘shut up’ to his teacher (he was super quick to point out that he didn’t swear even once! Yay! Message was apparently received!). As I said though, everyone knows why. The new teacher is asking him to do the work outlined on his IEP (Individual Education Plan) while the previous one just let him play with toys all day. Luckily, there’s not much left of school so if we can get him to settle soon, he’ll close out the year with success and we’ll make sure these strategies are in place for next year.
Next year he’s in grade five. We have one more year beyond that to decide if he’s going to be able to continue mainstream or not. I’m starting to look into options for him, just in case he can’t take the workload and method of teaching where he is now. It’s very hard for the teacher to teach all her other students and deal with Colt at the same time, I know, and it’s only going to get harder the older he gets. Decisions. All I want is for him to be happy, healthy and feel like he belongs somewhere. I hope this peer mentor deal will give him the boost he needs. … on of the girls who is assigned to help him this week even came out of her class when she heard him having a little meltdown in the hallway. She expertly redirected him, got him to help her with a story she was writing in class, calmed him and he returned to class as asked. It had taken three teachers to try to calm him enough to do what she did in a matter of moments. I’m hopeful for him. This school is full of really great kids (and a few nasty ones). The ratio of empathetic, compassionate and kind to cruel and dismissive is easily 10:1.
Anyway. That was good news. I adore seeing him thrive, of course.
So that’s all the news for now. Hope you guys all have a beautiful day. xox