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Monday, October 13, 2014

Do they know it's Halloween at all? it's a dress refashion

I'm referencing this song in the title. You know, but instead of "do they know it's Christmas time at all?' I'm saying Halloween. Because it's October. Clearly, I'm unaware of the upcoming holiday, because instead of a fun, sexy costume, I got this:
Dark navy dress that's too big
Shall I go on? It's too big, and it's missing a hook and the belt that went with it. And that piece I'm holding on the right isn't a pocket. I don't know what it is. It's just a side flap.
Shall I continue story that I started over a month ago. So, it's last winter and I'm working in kindergarten with a little boy I'm calling Z. While he made progress, the boy whom I had helped the previous year (B) and then sent to first grade was slipping. B's behavior was becoming difficult to manage. It made me sad.
One day, I was leaving lunch and saw B in the hallway, hollering profanities at a male aide, his small boy's fists flying as he attempting to engage in battle with a grown man. I called his name, pleading for him to talk to me, but it was as if he didn't hear me. It was as if I was looking at a different child.
The next day, his teacher and our principal were apparently at their wit's end with B. The principal came to see me in kindergarten, asking "can you help this child?" She brought my little boy back to me. I told them that I was happy to help, provided that he set a good example for Z by behaving during his visit. And he was absolutely pleasant for the whole time.
For the 2013-14 school year, we had kindergarten kids eating lunch in their classrooms to help ease congestion in the cafeteria. B seemed to have a hard time controlling his behavior in the loud room full of children, so I told him that if his teacher said it was ok, he was welcome to have lunch in our kindergarten class. It meant taking on an additional responsibility, but it was important to me that I keep my word to be there for him.
This helped a little, but soon it seemed like he was spiraling out of control. There were many days when he had to have his grandfather called to pick him up, as he was unable to stay in school. Soon, he was infamous among staff for his profanity filled meltdowns and small acts of destruction. Keep in mind this was a small for his age little boy with a sweet little voice and his two front teeth missing. It was breaking my heart to see the little cherub I had nurtured the previous year this way.
They had no choice but to place a paraprofessional to be with him throughout the day. He moved into a different first grade class, to separate him and the little buddy he seemed to cause trouble with. He asked me, one day at lunch (towards the end of  the year) when these kids in my kindergarten class would be going to first grade. I told him that they'd go to first grade next year, when he went to second grade. He responded by telling me that when the next year started, he would be starting first grade all over again. His grandparents and the SPED team agreed that he should stay back.
That was probably a good choice. Z had moved to a new apartment and was finishing his kindergarten year at this school, before starting somewhere new in the fall. maybe B and I would work together again, I thought.
Here, I shall pause in the story to show you my refashioned dress. No pics of the process, there's no time for that. I took in the sides of the top a little, then took a little off the shoulders. I added a hook in the center, where it was missing. I changed out the matching buttons for...finally! Anchor buttons!
I actually went out and bought a belt for this, as nothing I had seemed to match or fit the loops. I found a navy elastic thing for $1.
Those big round things are a bit much, right. I was able to remove one. Finally, I decided to do little gathers on the shoulders to make them fit better. Here ya go:
After! I love it. It's a school dress. Well, it is when I put a shirt under it. It's perfect for first grade.
 First grade? But I started this story because I was upset about my assignment in preschool, why I say "first grade"? (I'm imagining that's what readers are thinking.) I'll explain--Hey look! There's a ghost in this next picture!
It's an orb! I'm looking right at it!
I was trying to redirect your attention because I'm too tired to keep writing. Here's the quick version: Preschool was like a totally different world that I was unaccustomed to. It felt a little like babysitting. The morning class was actually just two twin three-year-olds, who appeared and had the maturity of babies. Adorable, hug-worthy babies; but still...The older kids in my care for the afternoon were four and non-verbal, and non potty-trained.
The little girl was so sweet... and scared. This manifested in agitated aggression. I extended a hand to hold, and she responded by wrapping her arms around me, then jumping and wrapping her legs around me, and climbing me like a pole. Poor little thing was very big and strong! She screamed and cried, biting onto toys like a shark with a surfer's leg. She grabbed a stack of 20 papers off the desk and bit right through them. It seemed clear she has Autism, although not officially diagnosed. Could I keep her safe? I worried. Of course, my biggest concern was something else.
Diaper changing. My fears were confirmed. I became slightly nauseous and scared when attempting to deal with human waste. Apparently, these kids were going to come in each afternoon and poop every time. Maybe because I'm not a parent, maybe it's just lack of experience, but I just didn't like it. I felt justified in telling my boss, I don't feel comfortable cleaning the poop from the butt of someone else's child.
 For the month of September, I did my best and grew to care for the little ones, specifically the sweet little she-Hulk who just stole my heart. They deserved better; someone with more experience who got enjoyment from this age group. These little children who can't use a toilet, can't speak for themselves...they're innocent and sweet. As for me, I'll take an angry, foot stomping, 7 year old, who's calling me a stupid jerk, and I'll be ready to work.
That's what they gave me.
For the last two weeks I've been back with B in my own first grade teacher's class (yup, my first grade teacher still teaches). Of course, on the very first day of our joyous reunion, we encountered a problem. He is suffering from a severe phobic reaction to a kindergarten boy who chased him; due to this child having only one fully formed arm. B breaks into a sobbing panic attack at the sight of this smaller boy who happens to have one regular arm and one that is a small arm with two fingers. He doesn't want to go in the caf or out to recess.
Finally all caught up on my story telling; and the meme from Arrested Development that I used to tease last week makes sense now:
And here's the before and after pic with the lettering off center. Sue me.


  1. I don't mind dealing with poop diapers, but I don't know how I would ever manage to deal with some of the stuff you've gone through with these kids. You are a better woman than me! I wish you luck on your journey into first grade! How wonderful to work with someone who taught you in your youth! And the dress refashion came out great, too! Love the red Mary Janes!

  2. Why thank you, Jill! I simply cannot take that compliment about being better! I question my own competence daily. I only wish those shoes weren't a little on the small side--I never get to wear them out any more. I'mma check out your blog now.