So as most of you know Big Diva has Sensory Processing Issues, this is a down graded diagnosis from Autism...yeah. And she is seriously not in any way shape or form Autistic. And most people would grapple with me over the fact that she has anything going on at all other than Divaliciousness. She's beautiful, powerful, strong, smart loving, kind, creative...fashionable. Most of you know her and the list goes on...and on, but she does have a Je ne sais quoi, an um..."something is just not right here" going on at times.
And today is one of the times....
I have thought hard about how to express the phenomenon which is Big Diva in the throws of Sensory Processing Issues....some venture to say Dysfunction others Disorder all of which on occasion are correct, but in true Diva/Drama style...I like to call them "issues".
Once I heard that toddlers are like a blender on high with the top off...this is a PERFECT description of toddlers. And sometimes a perfect description of Big Diva who is no longer a toddler...but what Big Diva really is, when seized by sensory processing issues, is a Fairy Blender on medium. Its like some gauzy, sparkly entity clad in tulle and glitter that traipses around the house whirling and twirling mildly as things fall off shelves, scatter to the ground, crash and make loud noises, giggle, turn colors, become different things, come down and erect again. She throws her own little bit of magic on everything and nothing as it was before, sometimes that's great, but not always.
Big Diva is special...all kids are, Little Diva is also special and I can see now that I will have my hands full with both of my bright, beautiful powerful girls. But Big Diva is really special (not more than Little Diva, just in a different way). Big Diva is POWERFUL...almost omnipotent and this is good and bad. Big Diva NEEDS to rule the world, otherwise Big Diva will throw big tantrums. Big Diva is SMART, not book smart, in that way she's a regular kid. I kinda wish she was book smart then she would be a fun at parties. I could make her perform (not!...but maybe :-z)like "see my kid can play piano, my kid can write a haiku, my kid can do algebra....and she's only 4." That kinda smart is fun smart (but maybe not, I wouldn't know) but that kinda smart would be a novelity-ish you know. But Big Diva is scary smart, in a way you really don't want kids to be smart. She knows the route to any place we have ever gone including a secluded mountain road she only went on once when she was two. She remembers what you wore three years ago to her birthday party, she knows if you have been crying, she knows if your brow knits and you are trying to hide your feelings, she knows if you are excited about something, even if you want to save it to surprise her, she'll figure it out before you get the chance.
She knows EVERYTHING...you can't talk in code on the phone or she'll break the code. Example last night I was talking to Ga Ga Diva on the phone about her foster son All Boy (yes, much to blog about Ga Ga Diva becoming a Foster Mom... it's coming) anyway she was going through some stuff as all of us foster parents do and needed a much deserved rant. I LOVE rants...I was in the thick of it. In order to keep Big Diva from knowing I was talking about her, I called her "Bob" I still remained vague, knowing how Big Diva may crack the Bob code...and sparse, keeping the BD info to a minimum, but yet gettin' a little of my own rant on... which always feels good. So at the end of the call Big Diva looks at me and says..."Why did you call me Bob to Ga Ga Diva? And is All Boy sad because he wants to go back to his Birth Mom?" WHY WHY WHY WHY is Big Diva so dang smart???????
This conversation then throws Big Diva into a panic...what does Big Diva do when she panics....Fairy Blender :-(
This is how that plays out...First the announcement that she is returning to her birthmother. I tell her I love her, we'd miss her, convince her to stay. Then she leaves, it is a few minutes before bed so the eerie quiet doesn't bother me because I know that in a few minutes I will be giving her a bath, book, bed. She returns, I have no need to feel concerned and yet that look...that impish cross between "I pulled one over on you" and glee is plastered on her face. "Big Diva???" I ask..."what's going on?" Big Diva tells me she has made her tent into a beach...."Oh??" I worry...this sounds potentially dangerous...meaning there will be a lot of clean up involved. She then hands me the container to my expensive, given me as a gift, seasoned sea salt, which WAS full and is now empty. "Sorry." GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR is the only answer I can come up with.
I breathe, which she reminds me to do as well. (see scary smart) and tell her that she will be cleaning the mess....um not a good call mom, broom + Big Diva + salt + Fairy Blender....WAIT!!!! "Honey, I help you clean that!" Inside her tent..is a beach, bravo on a realistic recreation, but it is also a HOME and A FLOOR and a container of salt I didn't want poured onto it. But this all blows over. We try to finish homework, the school gave (tangent ahead) now I don't love this school, but I can afford it and it's not terrible, but I don't love it. I tell them that she has Fairy Blender tendencies and they look at me like "Well she doesn't have three eyes or anything so stop being so intense." I'm like gee whiz Underpaid Overworked Care Giver Chick I know that you think she's super cute and all, but um just watch out for Fairy Blender if it happens let's strategize shall we, so that she becomes a successful student as Fairy Blender stuff tends to lead to DIAGNOSIS and MEDICATION if not handled properly and I would like to avoid that. Underpaid Overworked Caregiver Chick not phased, and I wonder if she even heard me (cut to...) Today.
So her homework was, three pages 1) BIG DIVA spelled out...which needed to be traced 5xs, that's not too bad and I want Big Diva to know how to spell her name cause she has a slight speech thing going on and if she gets lost she will be able to write down her name, so good. I like that the "I can spell my name" thing. Tracing 5xs is ONE WAY TO LEARN it...and it is a good way, but not the only way. This school thinks this is the only way...shame on school. 2) write the number "11" 20xs. Well since it is only 40 sticks, not a problem, BD breezed through it. 3) write "12" 20xs. Well the number "2"...is what did it. Fairy Blender on HIGH. STRESS!!! She can't write 2, she can't, she tries and tries and tries, then gives up and writes flowers all over the page, she turns the graphic logo into a three story house and makes the 1's into people. VERY CREATIVE little offspring, very creative, mom is proud. BUT that's not the assignment and school wants you to do it a certain way and you are not doing it that way, so you have to do it. NOPE...more Fairy Blender...mom gives up...FAIL.
So here's the thing. I've taught kids for a long time, I've worked with special needs kids because of working in foster care and I am going to be working with more kids as I blend my careers...I know kids. I really do. And some kids learn one way and others learn another way. (tangent in the form of a musical number, feathers, big band, bright lights)I LOVE the school I want Big Diva to go to for Kindergarten because it is a charter arts school, they don't give homework, it is in a converted sound stage, most of the parents are in the arts (read film industry), they learn dance, music, piano, theater and science on top of the regular curriculum AND they let the child find their own path to learning...this does not mean they say DO IT THIS WAY, they say find a way to do it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this school and I will be stalking them to make sure my kids get in...no really I will be. (dancers bow...return to blog) So I know that kids learn differently. Watching the stress and trauma that my 4 year old went through last night processing birth parents and the number 2...I realized that we should go a little easier on her and let her just learn her way.
So the thing about Big Diva is...left to her own devices she would be the ruler of all things. I like this school cause they are a little smack down in the ruler department and have very clear boundaries about who is in charge and who is not. This doesn't make Big Diva happy, but again I think Big Diva could go to the dark side if left to rule as she wanted. She needs a little boundaries and guidance before I cut her loose on the world. Big Diva is already the social head of the class, she is worshiped (I say this not to boast, I actually think the BD adulation is a bit creepy). But kids take her stuff and put it away for her when she comes in, they hug her, they follow her around, she is in charge. SO...if Big Diva doesn't do her homework, guess who also doesn't want to do it??? Yep the rest of the class. So Big Diva not doing her homework could cause major problems for the Overtired, Underpaid, Could Really Sorta Care Less teachers. BUT....
Big Diva has taught me a few things about life. First, (lights Dim, monologue begins)Big Diva, as I have said, is special. She's the kind of special that few people are, the kind of special that changes the world. While a lot of us will make our little dent in the world (I plan on doing it behind the stories I tell) Big Diva wants to go balls out and just change it face on. She's the kind of person who becomes a rock star or a world leader, she's that kinda special. Ya know there's the LINE most of us don't cross, the line that keeps right things from wrong ones. Some people boldly step over the line...JAIL! Some stay on the other side, FUGITIVE/MISCREANT! Some accidentally step over it, BAD CHOICES, and some never get close to the line, SAINT. Some look at the line and say, wait?! The line is in the wrong place, the line shouldn't be there, I'm gonna go and nudge the line. Some of us watch the Line Nudgers and think...wow I wish I could nudge the line. Others look at the line and say "Damn that line needs nudging" but most of us stay safely behind the line. Big Diva is a Line Nudger. Momma Drama writes about Line Nudgers, thus vicariously is a Line Nudger, but Momma Drama usually never gets near the line.
Well the Second thing Big Diva has taught me is, I'll have to change for her. I'll have to alter and shift my perspective and comfort zones to make the world a better place for she and Little Diva. When we walk into a place, we have "Line Nudger" written all over us, because the simple fact that our skin color is different from each other, would have gotten us killed back in the day. Now we are free to walk into Target, all thanks to a Line Nudger who died in the line of duty. Martin Luther King and others... were Line Nudgers who we forget cause the line has been moved and now Me and the Divas won't be driven out of town because we are shopping at Target. But I know Big Diva will force my hand to nudge the line. And today was one of those days.
(Lights up, return to blog) So I resolve myself to go into Big Diva's school and tell Underpaid Over Tired Could Give a Whooey Teacher that Big Diva didn't do her 20xs of copying "12" (mind you this is ALL THEY DO...I have hundreds of these copied papers and NO ARTWORK, no paintings, no cut outs nothing). So I say. Hey teacher chick, listen we worked last night and this morning on trying to do this homework thing and while I am opposed to 4 year olds having homework, I get your gig, so listen I have a degree in child development (LIE) and I know that kids learn in different ways, you think you might try cutting out 2's or painting 2's or making 2's outta popscicle sticks (nudging line) cause Big Diva learns THAT WAY. And hey I bet she'll like your stupid little xeroxed copies so much better if you let her try something new. Over Worked Over Tired, Doesn't Speak English Very Well, But Nice Teacher...responds with BLANK STARE. BLINK. BLANK STARE (Momma Drama makes an aside...from behind the curtain). Good thing I lied about the degree, imagine actually having put in the time to get one and have THAT reaction.
Um...Nice Overworked Teacher Lady...did you hear me???? Um can we try a doing 2's with noodles???? Answer: "We have art for Mother's Day she can do that. She doesn't listen, she has to do her letters and numbers, you want I send them home every night." Um...cough...was that a threat???? Did you just threaten me with the slim opportunity of a mother's day art project and little else or I WILL BE FORCED TO DO HOMEWORK EVERY NIGHT!!!! Bitch!...I mean ooh I have an itch. Well. humm...we are at a stand still. So (play the learning disability card) well, Mean Could Give a Shit About My Kid Teacher Lady...you do know that Big Diva has Fairy Blender right??? Like the office did tell you that she is actually a special needs kid disguised as the smartest most popular kid in your class. Cause if you forgot let me remind you that she needs TEACHING from you, not a xerox copy of something she has already done 50 billion times.
So Big Diva...I tried to move the line. I think I got them to look at the line. We did compromise you don't have to do 20xs just 10, somehow that made us losers today cause you are not capable of doing their dumb robotic copy copy copies, but you are not a copy you are and original and I guess I'll be buying some noodles and paint...come one kids....lets tackle the number 2! And as far as wanting to pack up and live with your birth mom or All Boy wanting his birth family and Little Diva wanting hers...guess what kiddo, sadly you will always miss them, it's the thing that sucks most in adoption. Adoption = loss. And gain, but it starts with loss. A loss no one should experience, a loss of a mother (and father) but for my kids and for All Boy, that is their biggest loss...their mom. So kiddo you can talk about wanting her all you want, I'm here I will always listen and if it sends you into Fairy Blender...fine, just um...next time...lets go outside and make a beach, and please no more wasting of the gourmet salt okay. Okay!