We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tonio's Meltdown

        Tonio had a rough one yesterday...it could have knocked me down, quite a bit - but, his teacher, Jenny Rienstra, was there for the save!

       As you know, this little bambino has had the toughest journey, so far.  He has been more than up and down, he is on Mr. Toad's wild ride!  He had a great summer, but, I feel that the stability of me being off from work and the extra care that I could give him make a big difference.  Now that I am back to work...he struggles.

        He had had a bad night of sleep - waking me several times during the night.  In the morning, he was a challenge to wake up and was quiet, withdrawn.  As he brushed his teeth, I made a big deal out of his outfit to buoy his spirits, telling him how cool he looked and that I really liked the pattern on his polo shirt and how they matched his shorts.  He began to turn around...

         Jenny related, later, that Tonio's morning was  a strong one.  He was happy, getting his work done and on task.  Then, came lunch time...
          Tonio loves to buy lunch.  He never minded taking a packed lunch, but, when I asked him, he told me he preferred to buy.  I think he enjoys the whole freedom to choose what he feels like eating and the social aspect of hanging out in line to get his food.  Yesterday, pizza was his choice, a Tonio favorite!
          But, he put his tray a little too close to the edge of the table...and when he dropped his slice of pizza, right on his new polo, he over compensated, leaned forward.  This caused his tray to tip, sending his apple juice right into his lap.  Tonio was humiliated...
         Jenny found him back at the classroom - crying so hard, he was gasping for breath - his whole body hitching with the force of his sobs.  She quickly consoled him, helping him get cleaned up and telling him everything was ok.  Tonio was so upset that I wouldn't be able to get his clothes clean - that the pizza would stain and, he told Jenny, our washing machine was broken...except it wasn't...
         That morning, as the bambini prepared for school, they noticed me loading up a shop vac and dryer snake that I had borrowed from Janene.  Andrea and Mario's dryer wasn't working properly and it sounded like the same problem we had back in the fall - a clog vent.  I told the kids I was going over to help Mario try to get his dryer working again (and, as I climbed up on his roof, I remembered that Kim was adamant that I not climb on our roof - she was afraid that I would topple right off - and Mario even commented 'it sure would be nice if they still made flat roofs!' as we made our way up to the top of his dryer vent).  Tonio, got things backward, thinking that Mario was coming to our house to help me fix our washer.
           So he was a little distraught (prompting Jenny to ask me if I beat the kids when they soil their clothing - causing me to promise that I would stop!).  Jenny reassured Tonio that I would be able to get the stain out and got him down to the nurses station to get him a clean, dry set of loaner clothes.  She called me up at work to let me know what was happening. I imagined that the loaner clothes would be mismatched and oversized - Jenny told me "he looks normal"!  My first instinct was to bolt and go to help Tonio, but, Jenny told me she had things under control and just wanted to fill me in.  I was so relieved - and, the nice thing was, I believed that she had things under control, trusted that she did - which was a great feeling.  She spent the rest of the day lifting him up, everytime he started to feel down again. 
           Later that night, I asked him - what was so terribly wrong?  He told me he did think our washer was the one broken and that Mario was coming to help me fix it.  The compliments that I had given him that morning stuck with him and he was upset that his 'favorite outfit' was ruined.  Then, he told me he just could not stop thinking about Mama, Mrs. Rienstra helped him by telling him he could write or draw about Mama.  We came up with ways he could turn that around next time...
          Today, Jenny volunteered to stay after late with Tonio to help him get caught up on his classwork that he has been struggling to complete.  I couldn't quite get out of work on time and ended up getting back to school around 4:30 - Tonio saw me jogging across the grass to his classroom and burst out to tell me "I had a bad day!", but he couldn't conceal the smile from his eyes, and as soon as we entered his classroom, Jenny told me he had his best day ever!!  They had worked together to catch up all of the work that Tonio was behind on.  He kept his spirits high the whole day and showed Jenny that he understands all of the lessons she has been teaching him.  Tonio beamed with pride...Once again, the fabulous teachers at Cottonwood come through, as Jenny helped Tonio find his way through this rough patch!  And Jenny told Tonio "and we are going to have a great day tomorrow and Friday, right?"  Tonio answered with a robust "Right!".
           Meanwhile, Casey Rudzena, Autumn's teacher, lovingly helped Autumn with her homework, once again helping us out by staying after for Autumn - she has been incredible for Autumn, who has done a fantastic job this year - she is so comfortable with Casey, who has helped Autumn keep her morale high!

           I am so blessed to have these two teachers in my life, to help the bambini get stronger and to make sure that they are not falling behind in school, feel cared for and given a safe, friendly environment while I am at work...no matter how much I write, or say how thankful I am, how blessed I am, it doesn't seem to scratch the surface of how deeply I feel - Thank you Jenny and Casey!!



  1. Oh Dave - how helpless you must have felt to get a call about sweet Tonio!!! I know you want to shout from the top of every roof top - IT'S NOT FAIR. You are so right, it's not. It's ok to think and feel that. Jenny is a truly amazing teacher and friend and the impact she is having on Tonio (and your family) will last his entire life time and will help him to continue to become the amazing person he is meant to be.

    Never doubt the tremendous impact that YOU have on people my friend. There is a reason that you have come to have these wonderful teachers/friends in your life. It is not by accident. God has put them there to help you thru. :)

  2. Tonio is very lucky to have Jenny as his teacher...those are great examples of how much teachers will do for their students. And Casey has been an amazing figure in Autumn's life! I see babysitting in Autumn's future for little Jaxon : ) Hope the year gets better for little Tonio : )