I don't know how they do it in your schools but where my kids go, the younger kids (PreK and K) are graded for behavior based on a color scale. Green is typically at the center and where everyone starts out at the beginning of a new day and kids can go up and down from there.
Well for the past two years Jaydn has gotten nothing but green marks on her daily chart. I mean it... Every. Single. Day. It got to the point I didn't even ask or look anymore because I knew what it was going to say.
To most parents getting a green everyday would be fine. But come on moms, we know our kids and they are not the same everyday, all day for two years straight. So when it came to Jaydn I was forced to assume one of two things was happening: 1. She is in "robot mode" (as we call it at home) or 2. teachers are smoothing over her behavior bc of her "story."
Yes I admit there could be more to it than just these two options but in our experience with Jaydn these seem to be the top two trends. Allow me to explain further.
1. Robot Jaydn is the girl who will literally not do anything unless she is told to do it. For example, for the past 4 years when she wakes up in the morning she will stand in her doorway until someone tells her to go to the bathroom, get dressed for school, go downstairs to eat breakfast etc. But you can only tell her one instruction at a time or you've lost her completely. This has only been altered recently when the girls started sharing a room and now she can follow Jovie around and do what she does every morning. Even then, if Jo wakes up first and leaves the room before Jay wakes up, someone will have to go talk her through all of the steps for the daily routine or she will just sit there. So if this was her behavior at school for the past 2 years than it isn't surprising she got greens everyday. She only did what she was told and therefore didn't go above and beyond or make choices contrary to instructions.
2. I have blogged about this before but we still find that people tend to make allowances for Jaydn because of her past. Yes, it's true she WAS an orphan and she is African but she doesn't lack for anything. She is surrounded by a family that loves her and takes care of her well. She doesn't feel deficient in any way whatsoever. So when people single her out or make exceptions for just her she doesn't understand why they are doing it. She does know, however, that there is something about her that makes it easy to manipulate people so she will, quite often. All this does though is encourage her to feel different. We see our family differences as worth celebrating but often times the way people respond to her, it sends the message that her differences are reasons to feel sorry for her. Despite our obvious physical differences, my daughter and I are very much alike. There is no need to feel sorry for us. We are proud of who we are and how far we've come.
So all of that to say that for the past two years I've felt as if I lived with a different child than the one I dropped off at school each day. Every parent teacher conference I had I walked away dumbfounded at what they would say about her when I never got to see it for myself. But this year, so far, is different...
This year she is in Kindergarten. Although we are concerned for her from an educational standpoint we have been so encouraged to see her environment has changed. Even though she has only been going to school for two weeks, her behavior chart looks like a freaking rainbow! I can't even express to you how exciting this is for me! I know I sound crazy but just think, if she isn't just getting greens anymore than that means she is either making her own choices (good or bad) or that she is finally being treated like everyone else in the class! I tend to think it's the latter but either way, that's good news to this weary mama's heart. If she is indeed making choices contrary to instructions then it means she is feeling a sense of confidence and security in herself to do so. If she is just doing what she always does at home then it means her teachers are maintaining a standard of behavior and expecting her to adjust to it- AKA treating her equal. This reflects our home environment so to have that at school would be so helpful!
Like I said, either way you choose to spin it, this is really exciting stuff for us. We have to celebrate the little things on this journey to Jaydn and while you may see this as so minor, if it continues this way, this might be one of our biggest steps forward in relating with her. This could turn out to be key to her understanding that mommy and daddy aren't being mean when we include her in the family standards of behavior, it's an act of love and effort to build relationship. Having teachers call her on the carpet in class will only validate our parenting at home and since she has never had that consistency in both places, it might bring about major growth in her. Anyway, this myriad of colors on her chart excites me! Yellow never looked so good!
If you would like to be a part of our prayer warrior team please pray alongside of us that Jaydn will begin to see how loved she is by her family and that God will be breaking down the walls that hide her heart from us. Pray for mine and Nathan's endurance and patience as we navigate this unfamiliar road of special needs parenting. And lastly pray that the community around us will come up alongside in support of our dreams for her and work with us (not against us) in trying to help us realize those dreams. Thank you ahead of time. What a beautiful story we live indeed...