Monday, March 9, 2009

Painful to hear

Today when I picked up Maddison from school I was greeted by the school nurse. She had been in Maddison's classroom updating her daily bring home log. Maddison was a weird 292 going in to lunch, but was in range all morning. Thats weird. The main reason the nurse came to speak with me was because Maddison was angry with her pump, finger poker and "life" today. -Sigh- What am I supposed to say to that?

As soon as we got to the car Maddison was her usual cheerful self, talking non-stop about all sorts of things. We were on our way to the bird rescue where Maddison volunteers. The rescue has a few new baby Goslings that Maddison is now in charge of bathing and tending to each day. She was naturally SO excited. I hated to bring up anything school related, but I had to. Maddison's responses to my questions were as painful as any parent could ever fear.

I asked Maddison why she is so angry with school lately. Normally I have to give a range of reasons in order to get a response, and she chooses which one fits her feelings. She has never been one to volunteer information. Basically what I heard again today was that she is bored in class and can't concentrate. Thats nothing new. She said that sometimes kids she doesn't know are mean to her, but mostly it was last year. She is frustrated when they ask about her pump and tell her she should not wear it because it will make her "sick." I dont understand that one, but Maddison said she thinks they say this because the site is "shot into her arm" and will hurt her more than it helps her. She also said that she knows the kids think her arm sites are weird. It used to be the kids never saw her site because we didn't use her arms much. But lately it is her preferred spot, it must not bother her too much because she still chooses her arms most times. Of course, I know somehow she still carries those comments with her. Talking to Maddison I really believe that the Diabetes related comments aren't the ones that are as painful as the rest of whats happening at school.....

Last year Maddison said she was chased and teased on the play ground being called "one inch Maddison" because of her tiny petite size. She never once mentioned this to me, or the school counselor! Maddison is around 45lbs and is size comparable to a 6 or 7 yr old although she is nearing 9 this summer. Her bone growth showed age 5yrs 9months when it was checked back in November. Her endo plays it up to the damn Diabetes "stunting" her growth, however, it is partly just who she is, just like me. I know that she understands this, but it doesn't mean she doesn't have sad feelings about it, especially when kids are teasing her. I always tell her how I was a very small child too for my age. So come to find out, Maddison still has some of these same kids tormenting and chasing her around the playground on occasion. Maybe the sand incident Friday brought back all those sad and painful feelings. Can I just have a moment to cry my eyes out now?

Last year was SO HARD on Maddison because she was repeating 1st grade with no familiar faces and an all new peers that didn't know her before she had Diabetes. They just weren't as excepting as when she was diagnosed in the beginning of the first year of 1st grade. The kids then already loved her before she was diagnosed. They all wanted to walk her to the nurse, care for her and they were concerned for her after being diagnosed. Kids sure were mean that next year having not already accepted her as a stranger in their grade. But that was last year, and I was sure it was all behind us.

I asked Maddison if "sand" girl was around again today and she said NO. I asked her if anyone was mean to her and she said YES. She immediately changed the subject to talk about her exciting trip to volunteer. After caring for the Goslings and on our way home, Maddison opened up and told me that she is happy she has a disease that you can't see, "except for the pump" she says. She said that she would cry if she had a disease like a "tumor" on her body that everyone would make fun of. Then she went on to ask me that if she lost one of her legs, would I get her a "prosthetic" one.....too much animal planet. Last nights episode had on a lady that lost her leg in a shark attack. Thank goodness she wasn't asking because of Diabetes or I would have lost it right then and there!

I'm at a loss and I'm not sure which way to go. I know there will always be "mean kids" but isn't helping Maddison with her "hating" school. I was always the kid that felt bad for everyone. I felt bad for the "brainy" kid that was teased, the "stinky" kid, the "ugly" kid, the "chubby" kid.....I felt bad for them all and stood up for them when kids were mean. My kids are the same way, and although they aren't angels, they would never hurt anyone's feelings purposely. I just don't get why kids are mean. I really don't. My heart is just broken for Maddison. I want to take away all her pain and I don't think anything I can say will help that. We have had so many issues since Kindergarten with Maddison as far as boredom and her not performing to the level in which we know she is capable. Now add a Diabetes diagnosis with the ever changing erratic blood sugars. Emotions from highs and lows, visits to the nurses office 3-7 times a day. How much is Maddison really learning in this environment? Today was unbearable to hear she is being teased on top of it all.

Everyone wants their child to thrive and succeed. No one wants them to be picked on, struggle in school or lose their confidence because they can't "concentrate" and learn to their potential. What if the normal classroom just isn't suitable for Maddison? I can tell you teasing and tormenting only magnifies the classroom concerns. I'm not even sure of the depths of this teasing because she doesn't want to talk about it. Her spirit has been broken by so many things lately. I had no idea there were kids being mean to her. I don't know where to start anymore. The classroom...the playground....where do I start? We have an IEP for other health impared and it doesn't mean shit when it comes to being teased. It hasn't meant anything really, because Maddison's teacher fails to follow it. Thats a whole 'nother story for another day. How can anything fall in line for Maddison when she is being treated this way? How can she feel confident and eager to learn when she just isn't the "normal" kid that learns the typical classroom way? What is affecting what? Emotions, learning, attention span, concentration, blood sugars, fear of other kids......I just dont know where to start.


Penny said...

My heart was breaking the whole time I was reading your post. I was always the kid in school who befriended the ones that were picked on. I never understood bullying and teasing from a very early age.

I'm so sorry your Maddie feels this way. And, as a mother, I know how painful it is for you.

I don't know if this will help or not but Riley's pump is completly concealed. My mom sews pockets inside the waist band of his pants and the pump fits very nicely in there. No one ever sees it unless he pulls it out to bolus. I think this makes him feel less self concious about it. It keeps strangers (and mean kids) from asking him what it is.

Not that diabetes is anything of which to be ashamed. But, maybe there really is something to the out of site out of mind thing. It's just a suggestion. Maybe Maddison really doesn't care if everyone sees here pump.

(((big hug))) to you and Maddison.

Scott K. Johnson said...

I wish I had some answers for you and Maddison.

I know how helpless I feel when I hear about stuff like that at school.

Anonymous said...

We have gone through the same problems. Kids can be so cruel. They can pick on a child for the slightest difference. Our school has a "no bullying" rule and we have had to enforce it many times. From reading your other post about "Mondays" I had a feeling kids were teasing her. The kids were particularly cruel from ages 8 to 10 and diabetes was usually mentioned outright. We are going to try another school next year for a fresh start and we will not be giving the "diabetes talk." Diabetes will be underplayed and she can tell who she chooses, when she chooses. She is 12, though, not as young as your daughter. She was called "diabetes girl," weird because she has diabetes, yes, the kids did keep mentioning it. We stopped it every time but it is there. I can see why you want to homeschool! I would bring the bullying and mean comments to the attention of the principal each and every time, have the offending little brats dragged in and spoken to each and every time. Eventually, the overt bullying will stop. P.S. Any chance of switching to a different school? Now that she is older, she had been called "ugly" (she is very good looking by any standard) and "fat." She is in the 20th percentile and extremely thin. I am sure other kids are teased, they just can't use diabetes and have to think of another excuse. I too think it would be better to conceal the pump so she is less of a target for the little monsters but she is only comfortable with it on the pump clip, hates waist-its or bras.