Monday, April 23, 2007

I Need a Nap

I seriously need a nap, for like about six months. I've had my med switched to Lexapro, and it's been seven weeks now. I had it switched because I was taking three-hour naps every day with the Celexa. I don't know about you, but I just don't have three extra hours per day to spend unconscious. I also switched the time of day I take it to afternoon, instead of morning. But it's very helpful if I can have a one-hour nap soon after I take it. I don't have to have the nap, but I find I can finish the day in a much more human manner than if I don't have the nap. However . . . . . .

The constant nightmares I can live without. I am setting multiple alarm clocks, and asking friends in different time zones to ring me when they are just up in the morning, or about to go to bed. They don't have to sit and have a conversation with me, I just need to Wake Up And End The Dream. They are getting horrendous. I am sleeping just fine. I can fall asleep easily, and I can go back to sleep easily if wakened. That in itself is a huge accomplishment, but I would really like to not be having the nightmares.

And we are currently living a waking nightmare as well. Friday there was no school. So the DD went to stay the weekend with some friends who are also in the SCA with us. She really likes hanging out with this particular family because they are a mixed-race family and she feels that since she looks like their children that she fits in. They all spent the day up on the campus of USU doing some SCA exhibition-type things. While I was out running errands and such, I got a phone call from the assistant principal at the school. Oh you're just going to love this: DD is being threatened with another day of suspension, because she handed in an assignment that is a "red-flag". I am going in tomorrow after work to sit down and have a talk with this woman and ask why exactly my child is to be punished for filling out a "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up" worksheet with a possible job of state executioner. My first response was to laugh, because I know my kid. She most likely was pressed for time and didn't have a fourth thing to put down. The first three things she chose were Coroner (she has talked about this one pretty much all school year, so no surprise), Movie Critic (my brother is an amateur director and has also done movie reviews for the local TV station), and Pediatrician. As far as I know at this time, this was a worksheet given at the beginning of class, to be turned in at the end of class. This was before the events at Virginia Tech.

I asked the assistant principal to read me the entire assignment. As she was reading, her voice disappeared and I could totally hear my daughter as if she were reading it. This child is wicked-smart, and gets bored very easily. I can totally see her trying to make such a boring assignment a bit more intersting for herself, by doing at least part of it totally tongue-in-cheek. She said she didn't want to be a Pediatrician, because she doesn't like small children. I know for a fact that isn't true, because ever since she was a 2-year-old in daycare she has loved helping out with the smaller children and babies. She just volunteered to babysit for Homemaking Meeting, and she is very compassionate towards all little ones. If she doesn't want to be a Pediatrician, it's not because she doesn't like small children.

And as for the State Executioner job, blame it on NPR. My car radio is never tuned to anything except the local public radio station. When we are on the road, I know exactly where one station drops out and where the next one comes in, and what time All Things Considered comes on. So a few weeks ago we were driving around town. A story came on, saying that a prisoner on death row in California has had his execution delayed indefinitely because authorities are having trouble finding a medical professional willing to do the lethal injection. Go listen, I'll wait. See you in 5. I thought it was an interesting story, but didn't think much about it after we got home. But obviously it was on her mind for much longer.

Well, this assistant principal was telling me that DD's assignment was unacceptable, and she was to be suspended for another day because of it. And that's where Mama Bear got a bit agitated. I asked the woman to cite the rule that was broken. She stated it was in the Student Handbook. "Oh, you mean one of those stacks of papers and things that students receive the first day of school and promptly file either in the trashcan or the bottom of their locker? THAT school handbook?" Can I tell you, I searched the district website for an hour before I even found anything that could possiblly be called a Student Handbook. And it's written in extremely vague language. From what I can gather, "Zero Tolerance" also means "Zero Common-Sense". I can see that if a student were to write about any war in human history, they could be disciplined. No, it doesn't come right out and SAY that, but you could certainly twist the words into whatever meaning you wanted. And Heaven protect the kindergarten child who draws a family portrait and includes Daddy over in Iraq or Afghanistan.

Now before someone freaks out at me, let me state that I think weapons at school are not a good idea. But this whole Zero Tolerance thing has gotten to the point where it's an exercise in ridiculousness. Ridiculosity, even. I know we are all on edge because of what happened last week in Virginia. And by unhappy coincidence (or maybe not, I haven't heard) it's also the anniversary of Columbine, and of Waco and Oklahoma City. But for Pete's sake, let's not forget what the real goal is here. Some people are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and I am afraid that a silly worksheet, filled out in a sarcastic manner is going to cause my extremely intelligent and very talented kid to hate school and decide she doesn't want to do what it takes to be a coroner. Or whatever she decides next week that she wants to be. It used to be Egyptologist, then it switched to NASA scientist.

So then I asked if the teacher had given any guidelines at all as to what would not be acceptable. Very long pause, then "Noooooooooooooooo . . . . . . " So if nobody was explicitly told what they could not write about, then it seems that perhaps this allegation is unfounded. And when I called up my Dear Daughter and told her what had happened, she began crying. She was mortified that her meaning had been taken so horribly the wrong way, she had totally not meant it to sound threatening or sociopathic in any way. In her mind, she was trying out what we know as sarcasm, and it was taken seriously. She is upset at herself, and at the teacher and assistant principal. Why is it that her rights seem to have been ignored in all this? Her words were not directed at anyone at all. It was definitely unwise to say "I'd like to be a State Executioner because I could legally kill somebody and not be punished for it." But be honest: haven't we all thought something along those lines once in our lives? It doesn't mean that we really meant it, or that we would ever take the steps to actually do it. And what twelve-year-old child knows as much as an adult?

Sorry for venting at you all, but I had to say it before I go in tomorrow and see what we can do about this. If I have my say now, I'm much less likely to emote all over everyone at the school. My going in there and freaking out is not going to help my kid. Did I say I was tired? How about on-beyond-zebra exhausted!

I was informed this morning that my presence at the school today was not needed, and DD would not be suspended. I suppose I'll get more info in an hour when she comes home. I also called my doctor, but she is out for a week, so I spoke to one of the other doctors there, who wants me to go back on the Celexa, and then I have an appointment with my doctor on May 4. Since I have seizures, so many anti-depressants are contraindicated. Since I am kind of known for making things harder than they have to be, it may very well be decided that I'll do best on Prozac! I don't really care what it is that I'm taking, so long as it does what it needs to do, and doesn't do what it's not supposed to.

1 comment:

Tan said...

Speaking as a parent whose son was required to have counselling because he made Christmas ornaments in his Jr. High German class with quotes from a Rammstein song, the interested parent at the school thing usually works. In our case, the kid did need counselling but not about the goth music connection. Smart kids are at risk in our school system. Can you get her into the gifted/spectrum program? Our son didn't start having problems until he got to jr. high; spectrum worked really well for him.