Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Out With the Old....

Just because I wanted at least one post in December.......

My friend took beautiful pictures of the children for our Christmas cards.  They were fantastic but, alas, I can no longer locate the jump drive they are on.  Figures.

I have a goal for 2014 that I will finally find some semi-matching frames and hang some photos in this house.  We have lived here five and a half years and have pretty much nothing on the walls.  Oh, there are the two mismatching very, extremely, is-this-a-joke? pictures my husband bought one weekend when I was away.  I mean, they are so butt ugly I actually explain to new visitors that I didn't do that and have no idea what he was thinking.  One day I'll post them, but to be honest, I don't want to waste the battery power on my camera on them.  

Anyway, Happy New Year and all that jazz.

Monday, November 25, 2013

We Are Not French

Ugh.

Have you seen the article swimming around Facebook about how French children don't have ADHD, because, you know, French people are better parents, yada, yada, yada.

I would link to it, but I still haven't figured out how to have two screens open on my almost year old Macbook.   Manual?  What's that?   If you are confused, google it.  You know, if you are even reading this rant.

Anyway....

Only- Facebook Friend, who I truly only know through Facebook, posted the article this morning along with a lot of other posts that let us know what a great mother she is now that she has a six month old and has truly mastered the art of parenting.  Good for her.  Such optimism.  STFU.  Please.

I wrote a pretty hastily put together reply that went something like this:

Until you walk in my shoes, don't judge.

 I told her I agreed many children in the US are misdiagnosed and overmedicated without looking into other underlying causes of the behavior.   As a teacher, I have filled out numerous forms from different doctors and stated my opinion in black sharpie about how I don't believe Brian, Jason, Adam, Peyton, Morgan, or Chris have anything other than a busy personality/loud voice/zest for life and have had said opinion not even matter when Brian, Jason, Adam, Peyton, Morgan, and Chris all came back the next week sleeping at their desks until the meds wore off mid-afternoon.   I get that argument.  What I don't get is how now ADHD is a fake illness that would mysteriously go away if I'd only stand up and actually be a good parent.

WTF?

I invite any of these people, writing any of these "articles" to come to my house any given day and see our non-ADHD.

As I typed to my Only-Facebook friend, I let her know that since I was hoarding because at the end of the year there will be a shortage of them  giving my child a break from the morning override pill and still waiting for the takes-2-hours-to-kick-in patch to, well, kick in, that I was watching my almost teenager attempt to run up the wall, fall back on his back, and then laugh maniacally until he got up and tried it again.  When he wasn't doing that he was mumbling the MF words under his breath while also laughing maniacally slamming himself into the couch,  oh, and then there was the moment I went out in the pouring rain and got us all a dozen doughnuts, went to the bathroom, came back and there were no more doughnuts.  Oh yes.  While the others slept and I was out of the room for one minute he ate a dozen doughnuts.  He knows not to do that.   In two hours, he wouldn't have done that.  At that point, there is no impulse control.  He wanted a dozen doughnuts, he ate a dozen doughnuts.    As I was cleaning up that mess, he picked his lips until they bled and wiped the blood all over my favorite blanket.   Ruined it.  He also knows not to do that.   Now he is sequestered in his room at my request screaming about what a horrible parent I am and how he can't wait for me to die.  Ironic, no?

Please don't tell me my child has learned that this behavior is acceptable.  Not only has it never, ever been, but he was punished for this particular behavior this morning.   Go figure, I disciplined my child.  I took away his DS and put him in his room.  When he started destroying the things in his room and then kicking marks into the door, I put him outside.   In the cold and rain.  His therapist recommended this because unless he runs out onto the highway, he is probably less likely to hurt himself (or us) out there.   He stood there kicking our glass door until he realized his 12 minutes wouldn't start until he stopped because that is the way it has always been.

You know no matter how you deal with your children anymore, it's wrong to someone.

My neighbors and my mother believe we should put on the kid gloves when dealing with Jacob because HIS BRAIN there is SOMETHING WRONG!  OMG!  Baby him!  Love him!  Ignore that!   HE HAS THE ADD!  He can't HHHEEELLLPPP it.  I disagree.   I figure the police won't care if he has THE ADD when they find him destroying some property somewhere just because he feels like it and his meds haven't started working or, which is what I am sure will happen when I am not there to enforce it,  he will just not take it.

I detest giving my child medications.   I worry each day that I am ruining his liver, his kidneys, shoot, maybe even his brain, but if you want to see what will happen if I don't,  come here every morning between 6-7:30.  You may want some medication yourself after that.   If I didn't teach preschool I would probably take up drinking.  Yes.  That early.

Jacob's official diagnosis is severe ADHD.  He has some Aspergers tendencies but they won't add that to his "stuff".   He goes to school at 9 am and until I told the teachers he had "this", they didn't know.  Of course, I listed it on all seven first-day papers, but like everyone else, the probably figured, Ah, bad parenting when they read it.   One day he decided to peel his patch off and spit his pill onto the floor just to make me mad, even though, I wasn't mad because I didn't know anything about it until the emails started coming in.  Those teachers thought he was under the influence of drugs.  LOL.   That's what happens when he ISN'T on drugs.   Does this make them a bad teacher because they can't handle him?  No.  He has ADHD.  For reals.  What do you know.

Stupid articles saying that French parents are superior because they have routines, discipline more, and feed their kids better is very demeaning to American parents.     Don't lump me into the American bad parent just because my child has ADHD.   I am not a super parent, and I don't try to be.  I don't have the time or energy for that, but I do the best I can with the hand I've been dealt.   Someone, though, will read this article, hear about Jacob's ADHD, and naturally assume, well, I don't work hard enough and I am lazy with my kids because this author stated that I don't discipline, so therefore, she's a bad mother, so I and my kids will need to distance myself from them, because, that's a bad family right there.  OR, and I already get so much of this, let me tell you what you should be doing to make it all better.  If you just do THIS, then all of your problems would go away.  I will help you to be a good mother, because, OMG, you aren't doing so hot.

I have a child with ADHD.   It's more than just getting out of his chair during class or wiggling during criss-cross applesauce time.    It is real.  It is hard.   It is sad.   It is bad enough to deal with it without all of the judgemental "authors" out there trying to make us out to be the bad guys.  I didn't give this to my child.   I didn't make him this way.   There is nothing I can do, that I haven't already tried, that is going to make it go away.  Even the medicines quit working after a while and they don't completely get rid of some of the behaviors.

How hard is it just to accept others?  French, American, Swahili, whatever.  I say if the children are still  alive at the end of the day, it's a good day.  You've done your job.  Good for you.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pierced

So NaBloPoMo isn't happening for me.   I had good intentions.  Life just got in the way I guess.  Anybody else feel like life is harder after the kids go to school?  Silly me.  I always figured it would get easier.  I mean, they are gone most of the day.  How could it get busier?  Oh well.  I will miss this one day. 

Elizabeth got her ears pierced.  In August.   We went in April for her birthday and got to the door and she changed her mind.  I really didn't think she'd do it this time, but she sure did.   



Waiting.....waiting......waiting.......Amazing how many people need cheap jewelry at 10 am on a Tuesday morning.


This picture breaks my heart.  I immediately wanted to call abort on the entire mission, but then she'd only have one ear done and the private school handbook has explicit instructions on that being a no-no. They did both ears separately because the other Claire's worker didn't show up.  She didn't want to come back another day so I have to give her props for being brave.   This face was as bad as it got.  There were no tears.   Whew.


Finally!  I look awesome.  


I wasn't able to get my own ears pierced until I was 16.   My parents rule was 18, but then we moved to West Virginia when I was 16 and I was sullen angry teenager missing my previous life so they thought poking holes through my flesh would cheer me up.  It did.   I went back a few months later and got them pierced again and then again a few years after that.  I have three holes in each ear.  I love it, but my parents were (and probably still are) mortified.   I begged to have my ears pierced in first grade.  second grade.  third grade........My dad always said to me:  "When you are an adult, you can do what you want with your ears"  to which I would reply:  "But I really want it now, they are my ears. Whine.  No fair"  and he would say:  "When you have your own children, you can do whatever you want with their ears, but you are my child and I am not doing that to you."   So when I posted these pictures on Facebook my parents went insane.   I still see my dad pulling her hair over her ears when he sees her.  Gah.   He told me I could do what I wanted with my own children.

I have found out that his is sort of like the breastfeeding thing.  People have opinions.  They like to voice them.  Elizabeth still shows off her big girl earrings and some people will loudly wonder why I would do that to her and then others are like, you should have done that when she was a baby.  Formula, breastmilk, public school, private, pierced ears or no, it's always something isn't it?  I am just going to say that what I am doing is the absolute right way.  For us.  Others don't get a say because they don't have the c-section scar.

This was a good day and a sweet memory with my beautiful girl.   Wouldn't change a thing.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

NaBloPoMo

Can I write a post everyday throughout November?

Probably not, since, well, I already missed the first day.

But.....

WTH.

If nothing else, I have pictures.....


Michelangelo and Belle ready for trick-or-treat.

Seriously though.  I HATE Halloween.   I enjoy the costumes and the joy on the children's faces, but the whole begging for candy thing, I just can't get into.  For starters, no one ever says "thank you".  My kids go home if they don't say thank you.  Teach your kid to say thank you.  It won't hurt them.   Don't tell your kid to reach into my bucket and take however much they want.  If you want them to help themselves, buy your own bucket.   This must have been the way the moms of the teenagers down the street were taught because four of them, with five o'clock shadow, showed up at our door carrying the requisite pillowcase and dressed just like they did when they exited the bus a few hours prior did just that to Jacob.  I had to answer a phone call when the doorbell rang and thought I might be able to let Jacob hand the candy out just this once.   Then I heard, "Whoa, dude, come check this out" and then Jacob turned around to me with an empty bucket.  An empty bucket that just 20 seconds earlier held $30 worth of excellent, non-crappy candy.

WHAT?

Of course the hoodlums ran up the street hooting and hollering while the lady with the 18 month old zombie in the stroller just stood there laughing.  When she held out what I am assuming was the zombie's bucket I had to tell her I had nothing for them, our Halloween was heading up the street.  Then she stopped laughing.

Did you happen to see The Middle Wednesday night?  When Frankie and Mike had to hide in their house with the lights off to avoid the doorbell?  That was us the rest of the evening.

I hate Halloween.

It had rained all.  day.  long and I was sure it would be cancelled.  In fact, I was practically giddy thinking I had a good excuse not to have to partake in the festivities.  We could all sit around It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown eating out of our own personal very good candy bag and enjoy each other's company instead of begging for hand outs from people we see once a year.   Then two hours before the rain stopped and the sun came out and I swear I saw a dove with an olive branch signaling the new beginning.   Man, I was bummed.

So we did Halloween.

This was the only picture I got.

And I don't have any leftover Heath bars.

Boo.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Still Good

As requested....

Middle school is going well for Jacob.  We are at the end of the first quarter and so far, so good.

There have been no demerits.  No detentions.  No teacher phone calls.  

I can't remember the last time that has happened.  In fact, I don't think that has ever happened.

His grades are good.   The friends are still calling.   He is participating in after school activities.

My only complaint is that he keeps us waiting at pick-up because he is slowly sauntering out with three or four others and laughing and chatting and high-fiving as he gets in the car.

There's a dance next week.  He might even go.  With his friends.   You know, if they decide it's cool to do that.

I see last year's teachers around the school and they have finally started speaking to me again and are constantly inquiring about Jacob.   My gut instinct is to think they are doing it just so they can find out it went horrible awry and they can feel all smug and right about our last conference, but I have had to let that go.  I just can't go on hating those women.  I see them too often.  I like to think maybe they just finally decided to care.  In any case, I have forgiven them.

I mean, if it weren't for them Jacob would likely still be at that Christian school being the rich kids' whipping boy.   If they hadn't handled things the way they did, I would never have questioned where he needed to be.   It had to escalate to that point to make me see he had to leave.

I have always wondered why God would not answer our prayers regarding that situation.

Now I see he did.

Jacob is finally where he needs to be.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Crazy

Dear Crazy French Lady,

I just wanted to let you know that my daughter's party invitation was somehow misplaced between your house and her backpack.   We would really have loved to have attended, especially since it's all your child has been talking about for weeks.  I hear it's to be a big shindig.  The rest of the parents and children have been filling us in.  They, of course, are also surprised to learn of our missing invitation.  It renders them speechless.

I know the invitation must have been lost because surely you, as a teacher, would NEVER have excluded ONE child from your fancy party.  I am sure, also, you realize that if you send the invitations to school you have to send one to everyone in the class, it's in the handbook after all.  You did read it didn't you?  Sounds like such a petty little rule, but it is Christian school.   Don't we want to include everyone, show the love of Jesus?   I mean, that IS the proper thing to do, isn't it?

Crazy French Lady, I don't really know what your deal is, but I have a very sad little girl on my hands today.   If you don't want my daughter at your house, fine, just teach your own daughter to keep her mouth shut when you blatantly exclude others from the fun.   As a teacher, you should already know the heartache this causes.  As a parent, well, I guess you can see how it is come April when your invitation gets lost in the mail.

Sincerely,

The Crazy Lady Who Will Never Put Her Kids in French Class

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Good

So Jacob started seventh grade last week.

At the neighborhood school.


*No pictures at the school because, apparently, that is very uncool when you are in seventh grade.*

It is going well.   He enjoys changing classes.   He figured out his locker.   He gets to go to art every day.    He made a friend.   He is failing math right now, but to be honest, I am still all about the friend.

Jacob is twelve years old and until now he has never had a friend.  

Oh, we've had kids over for playdates and birthday parties and some of them were semi-sorta nice to him at times, but they weren't friends-friends.  They came because their mamas brought them or there was a bouncy house in the yard but then forgot all about him come Monday morning.  

Last night, a kid called and invited him over.  Not his mama, the kid (although being the good mama I am,  I did speak with the mama ;).   So that is what we are doing today.

We went to open house a few nights ago and as soon as we walked in the door a child was yelling for Jacob to come over.  And he did.   As we processed through the classes, different kids would approach him to say "hey" or he'd just leave us altogether to sit with one.   The teachers high-fived him.  One gave him a hug.  He took his siblings to the library and showed them the cool places to sit and the magazines you can read during lunch.  You know, if you don't want to go to lunch and sit by yourself, but he doesn't have to do that because he sits with his friends at lunch.

It took all I had not to sob right there in front of them all.

This never happened at the Christian school.    It hurts just to type that.   Christian school should have been the more likely place for him to feel excepted don't you think?   Very interesting turn of events.

It has only been two weeks, I know.   This blissful period of newness will wane and things may not always be this rosy, it is junior high after all, but just knowing that now he fits in a little, has others to support him, and enjoys what he's doing makes me sleep so much better at night.  You know, except when I'm awake kicking myself for not doing this sooner.




Saturday, August 17, 2013

Just a Peeve...

A few days ago Elizabeth and I stumbled upon an Orange Leaf.    No, not an actual orange.  leaf.  But a new yogurt place.  We needed to kill some time before picking Jacob up at day camp so I figured, what the heck?

So we go in and I stand at the counter.  Because we eat at McDonalds and there is a counter.   Where you order things.  And it is good.   I smile at the cashier.  Because I am friendly and also I have no idea where the menus are located.   She stands there.  And stands there.  And I think in my head that this must be one of those places with the secret menu that's been all over my home page and do I order the double animal?  Was it this place?  And then I see it!  The menu on a big laminated sheet which seems strange, but whatever.   I look over the tons and tons and tons of offerings and read it out loud to my child while the cashier just stands there.  And stands there.   After much deliberation I make our choices and give them to the cashier who, you know it, just stood there.  And then she pointed.  To the back of the room.   At closer inspection, those had not been menus, but nutritonal information.   Duh.   So, hmmm?  What is this?   Big silver levers.   Did we stumble into a backroom gambling facility?  Then my extremely intelligent six year old ran back and said "This says wedding cake!  I want wedding cake!  Like Rapunzel.  And Flynn Rider!"   What?   Wedding cake?  Where the hell are we?  Then my brain catches up and I am all like,  OOOOOOHHH!

I had heard some tale of these new-fangled SELF-SERVE places but had never met up with one.

So now that I'd made an ass of myself in front of the rest of the store, we headed on back to get ourselves some froyo.

I got our cups myself.   I got our spoons myself.  I got our napkins myself.  I pulled the levers myself.  I sprinkled the toppings on myself.  I placed the cups on the scale myself.     

Then.  The cashier pushed a button on the register and I then looked at the total MYSELF.   Not once during the entire time I was in that store did she say one word to me UNTIL she figured out my change and wanted to know if I'd like to put it in the tip jar.

WHAT?

A tip?  She expected me to give her A TIP?   For what?   Because she was so helpful pressing that button.  I mean, I made my own dessert and served it to MYSELF and I could have easily pressed a button, I mean, I have pressed buttons before, but I guess the button-pushing was her job and she was just so good at it that I needed to PAY her for that SERVICE.   Where was she when I had no idea what to order and where to go?  Oh.  Yeah.  She was standing there.

Obviously, I told her no, I wanted my change and she looked at me like I'd just smeared shit in her hair.

Seriously?   Now there are tip jars at self-serve joints.

*shaking my head*

Elizabeth loved that place.  Too bad we won't be going back there.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pregnant Pause

No, I am not pregnant.  Scared you huh?

Last week a friend told me she was pregnant.

I smiled and congratulated her and forgot everything else she said after that.

A few hours later I still could not shake the feeling from that announcement.   I know it well, I feel it every time I hear someone is pregnant.   Just the pregnancy.  The baby's birth, nothing but happiness, but the pregnancy, not so much.

I got married when I was thirty years old.  As soon as we returned from our trip I became consumed with starting a family.  In my mind I was already old so who had time for all this getting-to-know-you business?  I mean, that's why you cohabitate before marriage, am I right?

After a few (i.e 2) months,  I freaked because, OLD!

My doctor's advice was to keep on trying and if I ever did get pregnant and had a miscarriage, she would treat me after the third one.   Oooo-Kay.

So what can you do when your insurance covers no one else?  You go home and keep trying.

And trying.  And trying.  And crying.

Unless you were extremely lucky the first time every time, you probably know that feeling of not finding that second line on that urine soaked stick.

Ugh.  It was horrible.  I was sure I would never have a child.   Sure I had a nice home, a good husband, a fabulous dog, but I couldn't see how great it was because all I could see was what I didn't have.

At that time, most of my friends had either had their families or were adding to them.  Each time someone became pregnant my stomach would ache and my ears would start ringing.  I'd smile and congratulate my happy pal and cringe when they'd say,  "oh, I am sure you'll be next", but it never, ever seemed like I was next.

We eventually moved to Texas.  I found a new doctor who was much more proactive and, well, here we are.  I am still thankful to God each and every day that we finally made it here.  Shoot, we even got a bonus baby!  How great is that?  

But still.   Every time someone else gets pregnant, I feel that ache.   Fourteen years later.   Why won't it go away?

This last time I thought, well maybe deep down I want that fourth child so I tried that on for a few days.   I couldn't really get on board with it.  There were too many things canceling out that scenario:   I don't want to move.  I don't want a new car.  I don't want to quit my job.  I don't want to be sliced open again.  I realized then, we are truly complete here.   We are not waiting on someone.  I am happy where we are and I want to keep it that way.

So why then did I get that feeling yesterday when I found out my cousin's very very, very young daughter was pregnant?

Will this stop at menopause?  Because if so, bring that on.







Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Summer

Five more weeks of summer.

So much for my weekly posting.   What can I say?  We've been busy.

We went to The Woodlands.  Again.  Fifth year in a row.  It's become our summer place I guess.

We dogsat for an entire month.   It was nice to have a dog in the house again.

Even if we had to make a few accommodations.  We still have visitation rights.    Buster used to be "owned" by some very strange people down the street.  They kept him tied to a tree until Hurricane Ike blew through releasing him and he took refuge with my friend.  Now he has two families and as you can see, he lives a good life.  Lucky dog.   He's no Ezra, but I miss him too.

Elizabeth's best friend moved last week.  I almost feel like I've lost another child because she spent many hours/days/weeks here since finding out they would be leaving.   Elizabeth is doing okay, but she spends lots of time wondering what Amelia is doing right that minute in Alpha-bama.   I miss her too.

Elizabeth had a tooth pulled and some cavities filled.......


And so did Adam.  And our dentist quit being a preferred provider yet I didn't find this out until AFTER the procedures.  Will work for dental payments.

The kids who brush four times a day need work and Jacob, the one who NEVER brushes his teeth, had no cavities.  Go figure.

The boys attended Lego camp which could easily have been named Lego Daycare because I can't tell that did anything other than play with buckets of mixed-up Legos which they do every single day at HOME for FREE but whatever.  What did I expect?  Thank you Gammy for paying for it after choking on your ice cream when you heard about our dental bills.

We've been to the lake twice and are going back next week.  I spent a week at the state preschool conference amassing the hours needed to continue working there another year.   I find it interesting that I need 24 hours of training to teach preschool and yet when I taught elementary school, nothing.  I even called the school Jacob will be attending to see if they do any training over the summer and they can, but it is not required.  What?  So just know, if you have a preschooler, I have a masters degree and 96 hours training so bring him over.  I am qualified.

Jacob added a new medication two days ago and so far, woo boy.  It isn't proving to be the miracle drug they promised.   Would be just my luck to have the one kid who got worse on it.

Now that I don't have the extra kid or the extra dog maybe I'll be able to post more.  We'll see.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Life is But a Dream

Before I had children, all I wanted was children.    I didn't nearly appreciate enough the alone time, the ability to travel anywhere without snacks and a change of clothes, using the bathroom completely by myself.  I could only see what I did not have.    We moved to Texas during that hard time, in January when it was hard to pick up a teaching job.  I had lots of free time then to imagine my future kid-filled life.   I would wake up early and make big breakfasts.  I would dress quite lovely and smile at my good fortune while vacuuming the carpet BEFORE sending the kids off for the bus with their very healthy, all natural lunch.   I would stroll around the mall and shop in Ann Taylor and WEAR Ann Taylor while meeting with all the best friends I made at my Mom's group for lunch and laugh and laugh at our beautiful children exhibiting their best toddler behavior.

Um.  No.   It wasn't quite like that.

Ezra:   Please save me from these people.  They never leave.  The kid doesn't wear pants.  There is much crying.  I didn't sign on for this.  

My perfect life disappeared the exact moment my water broke at 11:59 pm on March 3, 2001.  Funny thing about kids, they don't follow the plan.

I never once applied make-up before breakfast.   Many days I didn't even dress.   Shower?   HAHAHAHA.   Ann Taylor?   Hard to remove the spit-up stains and so very uncomfortable when rocking a screaming baby for hours on end.  

Mom's Group?  Well, I did try.  

The first one "disbanded" and then I saw them all at a McDonald's playground about a year later.  The second one, the "Christian" one, also "disbanded" but weren't as smart about it.  I still saw all the cars parked out front of the house down the street every Tuesday.  The third one didn't disband,  but no one would ever speak to me, and more than once I heard, "Don't play with Jacob".   The fourth one I was told that my boy could not play with the Dora the Explorer house because, well, he was a boy and it was a girl toy, and the leader handed me my six month old Adam who I had to sit on the floor as I extricated my screaming Dora phase Jacob through the don't-let-the-door-hit-ya-on-the-way-out entrance.  The fifth one was better, it was held in a church and you had to pay so I don't think they could kick me out.  I made a few friends I still chat with on Facebook, but there are even more I do not click when they show up on my suggestions, those who would remind their children not to go near Jacob.  

Those first few years, all I wanted was that Mom's Group.  I was a stay home mom in a terrible neighborhood two thousand miles from family and I needed that support.   I looked everywhere and I just never did find it.  

Yesterday I went with a neighbor to her Mom's Group outing at a splash pad on the other side of the next town (Jana, I was in your neck of the woods!)  I really did not want to go, but Elizabeth has become best friends with her daughter the past few weeks and they are moving at the end of the month so I kinda felt like I should.  I got there about a half hour before her and instead of sitting in the hot car waiting I got my kids out of the car and hiked up to the park.  I mean, it was a public park.  Did you see Animal House when the very white kids go into the black bar?  SCREECH.  Yeah, had there been a soundtrack to that moment that would've happened.  There were two benches.  TWO.  At that moment women started draping their towels over them or dumping their backpacks on the seats.  REALLY?  So I stood for a while until my back started hurting and then I moved over and sat in the grass, away from the splash pad because, well, the women started spreading out their lunches and shit all over the concrete.  Um, excuse me, they'd say and sorta push me away.  I'd say hello and get the smirky nod.  I guess I didn't get the memo that the splash pad was their own personal playground and I so very obviously was intruding.   About the time I was ready to leave my neighbor showed up with stroller in tow trying to find a place on the shaded concrete.  I watched from my faraway perch and noticed no one was moving to let her in.  No one was really talking to her.  She got a lot of smirky nods.   I wanted to yell at her that she was doing it all wrong, she didn't need those mean girls, and then it hit me.  I didn't need them either.  Never did.  I could see a lot from my far away vantage.  I saw a lot of really snotty women in their Ann Taylor clothes.  I saw a lot of toddlers in their matching swim shirts and suits.  I saw my own children laughing and playing and including all the others and BEHAVING.   All that time all I wanted was Jacob to play "normally" so I wouldn't hear it.  So the door wouldn't be held open for us.  So the groups would stop disbanding.    Yesterday as I watched all three of my kids play amongst others who paid them no mind at all I realized that my Mom's group dream was as silly as my June Cleaver aspirations.   Why had I spent so much time seeking it?  Gah.  Hate the Mom's Group.  It didn't matter if my child had autistic tendencies or was a future debutante out there.  I didn't fit in.   In my Target duds and six year old Crocs, I never would.  

I still wonder sometimes if I should've waited before returning to work.  Now I know it was the best thing for me.   I fit in at work.  I meet tons of Moms and most of them are very friendly and nice and some of us have become friends over time.  In a strange way, I am the leader of this very different play group.  When they are upset because they came in late, I remind them it is just preschool.  When they let me know they had a bad morning, they yelled at their child, I tell them we had the same morning and they are relieved.  When their child goes to time-out and they are mortified, I show them my child's report card, the one with the Us in conduct because he just won't stop talking.  They feel better.  Without even knowing it, I have created the group I craved all along.  I have a degree in early childhood education and a masters degree in special education with, wait for it, emphasis on behavior disorders.  The preschool mamas respect me because of that.  They like me because I keep it real. My family and I, we are nothing if not real.   No amount of Ann Taylor was going to cure me of that.  

Twelve years in and I still have a lot to learn.  I still find myself holding on to those dreams, wanting that Donna Reed life.  I have learned that some of the frustrations I have with my children come from missing the expectation instead of embracing the reality.   When I look at it from here,  my reality isn't really all that bad, sure there are issues, everyone is going to have something, but I have three kids at one time I never thought I'd have, I live in a beautiful home in a fantastic neighborhood and I have a job I love that allows me to be with my children every minute they are not in school.  I've made friends who help me remove the stains they see on my clothes, who love my children regardless of everything because they are a part of me.   

And I did not need a Mom's Group to find that.  




Saturday, June 01, 2013

The Orange Rhino Challenge

Have you seen this?  

Go see, I'll wait.

Hmmmm.......

There is no way I'll ever run a marathon, but this, I will attempt.

I'll update you and let you know how it goes.

Let me know if you want to join me.

Friday, May 31, 2013

My Head Still Hurts.....

I have had a massive sinus headache for the past three days.    I can barely lift my head and when I do, it's worse.   I have spent a small fortune at CVS on all kinds or "proven remedies" that proved not to remedy anything at all.    Today I found some sort of nasal spray that seems to have made a small dent. Hopefully it will begin to help because I am sure the drug store employees are tired of seeing me stumble about moaning in my pajamas.

Usually being piled up in bed for three days would have my house in complete shambles,  BUT miraculously it is not.   Believe it or not,  Jacob has been taking care of it.  Without even being asked.

All these meds have kind of made me a little dizzy and drunk like so I am hoping I am not imagining it, but the laundry is done and folded and the towels, at least, have been put away.   The beds are made.  The floors are swept and mopped.   The trash has been taken out.  The garbage cans put away.  Dishwasher emptied AND refilled.  The little kids have been cerealed and souped at the appropriate times and the evidence of such is no longer there.  Toys mostly put away.

Can this be the same kid who refused to lift even ONE finger last week?

Did I die?  Because at one point,  I really was sure I was going to.

What is happening here?

Seriously, I just laid here (laid, lain, lay, lie? I was absent every time they taught that I think) and cried over it.

This.  Is a big deal.

One of the traits of Aspergers is the lack of empathy.    Oh, you feel bad?  Whatever.  I don't get that because it's not happening to me so let me go back to what I was doing and not really care.  

But yesterday, he cared.  He cared enough to feel bad for me and step up and do something about it completely on his own.

I am sure there is probably some motive behind it, I bet he'll ask for something in a couple days, but still, he helped out.  When I really needed it.  Without begging and cajoling and bribing.  He just did it.

Of course, it isn't right, it's not done my way,  the towels are hanging off the shelf and not tri-folded the way I like and the blankets are poking out from under the comforters, and he put the bathroom Scentsy cubes in a living room burner, but still.   I have let it go.  The dizzy drugs have helped with that.

I'll get better and he'll go back to being his usual self, but this one time, he stepped up.   This makes me so hopeful that maybe he's turning a corner, maybe he's maturing, maybe we can work with this.


Friday, May 24, 2013

My Head Hurts

Well...

First day of summer is upon us.

It is 12:30, half day in and already it begins.

Only took half a day.

I don't think I was being unreasonable when I let the children know that they had to complete their daily chores each day before the television went on, the Wii was played, or swimming was to be done.   They have three chores each and need to make their beds, pick up their toys, and wipe the toilet and floor down of their piss that never, ever seems to make into the toilet.  

Jacob has declared that he will doing none of it.   His reasoning:   If you want me to do these things, you have to do something for me.

Is he freaking kidding me?

Let's see.   Seven years of private school tuition = $30,000
                  Six years of various medications = $2000
                  Five years of various therapy = $5,000
                 
I can't even do the math on the clothing, food, and toys.

I know, I know, that means nothing to a kid, but COME ON.

The other kids got up did their jobs and went about their day.  

Jacob is still screaming about how unfair his life is and what a horrible mother I am and how he is just a  kid, Oh woe, oh woe is he.  I mean, the cops are going to be called very shortly by said twelve year old because.  O.  M.  G.   Child labor laws and child abuse and neglect......oh my.

I don't know where his logic became skewed, but he has yelled down at me that if I want the dishwasher emptied, I will need to drive him to Game Stop and buy him a fifty dollar game.  

Nevermind that he got his DS removed weeks ago for running his mouth in this fashion previously.

And for the record, Adam emptied the dishwasher and did all his other chores without nary a word.  Three hours ago.

The art camp closed down.

I can't afford the behavior camps.

He absolutely refuses to do any type of sports camps.

My parents are too scared to take him for any length of time.

I think there's some law about dumping your kids off miles from home and making them walk back just to kill time and give you some peace.

So for the next 14 weeks, I guess I have to put up with it.

Neat little fact about switching schools.......that school gets out two weeks later so therefore goes back two weeks later.  Oh joy!  He gets two extra weeks of summer!

I can't wait to see what will happen next week when I introduce the television timer and the daily workbooks.





Thursday, May 23, 2013

Turn, Turn, Turn

First Day......




Last Day.........




Kindergarten-Sixth Grade
August 16. 2006-May 23, 2013
On to better things.   Hopefully.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

One More...

Jacob's turn:

What is something your mom always says to you?    Clean this mess up


What makes your mom happy?   When we have a good morning


What makes your mom sad?   When we have a horrible morning


How does you mom make you laugh?  When she punishes Adam


What was mom like as a child?   young


How old is your mom?   48


How tall is your mom?   five foot eight


What is mom's favorite thing to do?  Go shopping at Vera Bradley


What does your mom do when you aren't around?   Watch Bob Newhart


If your mom became famous what would it be for?   cooking


What is your mom really good at?   teaching


What does your mom do for a job?   teach preschool


What is mom's favorite food?  PF Changs


If she were a cartoon character which one would she be?   Bat Girl


What do you and mom do together?   go out together sometimes


How are you and mom the same?   We look the same


How are you and mom different?   We don't talk the same


How do you know mom loves you?   Cause she always says it


Where is mom's favorite place to go?  PF Changs


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

More Questions and Answers

Adam's turn:

What is something your mom always says to you?    I love you


What makes your mom happy?    Doing what is right


What makes your mom sad?   Doing bad


How does mom make you laugh?   Making funny faces


What was mom like as a child?   Very nice


How old is your mom?   44


How tall is your mom?    four feet


What is mom's favorite thing to do?   Watch Bob Newhart


What does your mom do when you aren't around?   Take naps


If your mom became famous what would it be for?  singing


What is your mom really good at?   typing


What does your mom do for a job?   work at preschool


What is mom's favorite food?  spaghetti


If she were a cartoon character which one would she be?   Superwoman


What do you and mom do together?   sleep


How are you and mom the same?   looks


How are you and mom different?    I don't take naps and she does


How do you know mom loves you?   Because she provides me food and clothing


Where is mom's favorite place to go?   PF Changs

Monday, May 20, 2013

Questions and Answers

Totally stole this from Michelle at Big Blueberry Eyes.   These are my kid's answers, but I can't wait to use these next year at Mother's Day with my preschoolers.   THANKS!


Here are Elizabeth's answers:


1.  What is something your mom always says to you?   No


2.  What makes your mom happy?   Seeing her friends at preschool


3.  What makes your mom sad?  When I keep getting older


4.  What makes your mom laugh?  Me


5.  What was your mom like as a child?   Just like Elizabeth, she played ball with Aunt Teresa


6.  How old is your mom?  100


7.  How tall is your mom?  Seven feet


8.  What is your mom's favorite thing to do?  Watch me at the park


9.  What does your mom do when you're not around?  shopping


10.  If your mom became famous what would it be for?   Playing with me


11.  What is your mom really good at?  Watching Bob Newhart


12.  What does your mom do for a job?   Work at preschool


13.  What is her favorite food?   Garlic Noodles from PF Changs


14.  If she were a cartoon character who would she be?  Stella from Winx Club


15.  What do you and mom do together?   Give kisses


16.  How are you and mom the same?   We love preschool and tea parties


17.  How are you and mom different?   Her hair is red, mine is not


18.  How do you know your mom loves you?   She was happy to have a girl and always wanted one.


19.  Where is mom's favorite place to go?    PF Changs

Monday, May 13, 2013

Roll With the Changes

So.  I signed the "Decline Re-Enrollment" form for Jacob.

His tuition and book fees have been deleted from our account.

In less than two weeks he will no longer be a student at the private school.

Am I relieved?  Yes.

Am I happy?   Eh.

Am I sad?  A little.

Am I scared to death?  ABSOLUTELY!

Jacob has been in the same very small building for the past seven years.   The thought of throwing him in a place where just his grade level hallway is bigger than half of his previous K-6 is very daunting.   The kids there?  Huge.  As in, bigger than I am.  Some of them are bigger than his dad.  He's the size of a third grader.  This could get ugly.

I am constantly second guessing myself.   I know in my heart we did the right thing.  We have had two additional meetings with the sixth grade teachers and they have done nothing but reinforce our feelings that he needs to leave there, but still, with all of his "issues", he doesn't do change well and, well, this is going to be a HUGE change.

The new school had originally told me I could enroll him in April, but when I got there, of course, that wasn't an option.  We have to wait until two weeks before school starts and I am pretty stressed wondering if he will get the electives he desires and most especially the leadership corp that goes in place of gym.  I really, really, really don't want him to take gym.  Never again.  Especially when the other kids can eat him for lunch.  The tours they promised me.  Haven't happened.  Yet.  They keep promising, but it's not looking good.  I feel like I got suckered.  If we aren't even there yet and they're lying to me, it doesn't bode well for the school year.

But still, I don't want him in the private school.   I don't want to pay the money, I don't want him near those children, I don't want him with those teachers, I don't want him with that administration.  It's just not right for him.  At all.   They gave me two lines to write my reason for not returning and all I could write was "many".  There just wasn't enough room for it all.

I cried after I turned it in.

My child should've been treated well at a CHRISTIAN school.  He should've felt safe at a CHRISTIAN school.   If people aren't kind at the Christian school, what is it going to be like at the NON-Christian school.

Oy.  What have we done?

Even then, though, I know deep down we've done the right thing.   We have yet to see what will become at the new place, but I just know he couldn't stay at the old one.

So things are going to change soon.  Hopefully for the better.   The best we can do is roll with it.

Monday, May 06, 2013

And Now You Are Six

Six.  SIX.  I cannot believe you are six years old, Elizabeth.  You are my baby and, yet, you are not a baby anymore.  Six.  Wow.

Six years have flown by.    The lipstick on the walls, the nail polish in the carpet, the belly-button pinching, and the funky haircut are all distant memories.  You are a big girl now.  You can count well over 100, add and subtract numbers, read chapter books, and write and illustrate a story.   You are more than ready for first grade your teacher says, but I would like you to repeat it just because I will miss you in the afternoons next year.  You won't be repeating it though, so it will be an adjustment for me.

You go to school until 11:45.  I am done at 12:15.  You trot on over when you're done and my three year olds enjoy having the big girl there.  Well, when you stay there.  You usually go on up to the office, get a snack, and chat with the directors until all the little kids have gone and then you make your way to all of the other teacher's rooms to chat with them.   I know I will not be the only lonely one next year.  All of us get a little teary thinking about no Elizabeth after school come September.  You know, I  really struggled with whether I should take that job because I felt I was short-changing you, dragging you off to school at three while the boys got an extra year to veg out and watch Nick Jr. all morning.  Although I loved the job, I cried a lot.  It just didn't seem fair to you, but you never once complained.  You enjoyed school and your teachers and over time your pretty much free reign over all that was preschool.   I see now that your earlier exposure to school helped hone your academic skills and also your ability to interact and socialize with both children and adults.  Elizabeth, you are my most well-adjusted, easy-going, roll-with-the-punches, work-it-all-out child.  I don't know if that's because you are the third one, or because of school, or just the way you were formed in the womb, but let me just say after all I've dealt with since the beginning of my motherhood, it is a refreshing change.

Your favorite color used to be pink and sometimes purple and then sometimes both.   Now you tell me it is yellow, which is my favorite color.   I remember loving green at your age because it was MY mom's favorite color too.  I love that you love yellow, but I hope you continue loving pink.  And purple.  And other things just because YOU want to love them.  You don't have to love my stuff for me to still love you.

You love to draw and I have to buy paper every week just to keep up with you.  There are pictures of princesses, and Disney World, and the Duck Dynasty dudes hanging on our walls.  There are also many, many pictures of Ezra, one for each day he's been gone.  He is usually sitting with me and you and we are smiling and there are lots of hearts.  Sometimes Phoebe is there too and there a few with the boys, but mostly it's me and you and Ez and we're happy.  I love them all.  I am so sad that you had to experience his death, but I am relieved you remember him and still love him and carry his memory in  your heart every day, because you know what?  I do too.   I am glad you still have Phoebe and I know she's glad to have you although I am sure she'd love it if you quit dragging her around and trying to dress her.

Let's see......what else?  Your teacher says you are a good friend and you are kind to others.  Every single person in your class came to your birthday party except the one kid who was on a cruise with his parents but his mom did say he cried and cried when he found out he couldn't go.   You were hugged so much and everyone wanted to be with you and you found a way to hang with each and every one and you did it effortlessly.   It was plain to see that you are very much loved not only by me and your family but your friends as well.  It was a good feeling.

You love the Disney Princesses, Belle is still your current favorite.  You are really good at archery and we can thank Merida for getting you interested in it.  You can swim like a fish and ride your bicycle without training wheels, and you love to go outside and swing for a while as soon as you get home from school.  You still love bubbles and I love to listen to you squeal in delight over the big ones just the same way you did when you first saw them as a baby.  Bubbles never get old.   You love to shop at Gymboree and by that I mean, I love to shop at Gymboree, but you are more than willing to tag along and sometimes suggest it yourself and, of course, I never turn you down.   You would look lovely in a flour sack, but it makes me practically giddy to find a sweet outfit and then see you in it.  I waited a long time for those girly clothes.  They also never get old.

The only thing you really like to eat are french fries,  peanut butter sandwiches, Hormel Honey Deli Ham, applesauce, Cinnamon Toast Cruch,  plain spaghetti noodles doused in soy sauce, and the garlic noodles at PF Changs.   I don't think you've eaten anything I've cooked for dinner in three years.   I love that we can out to a restaurant, just us, and we can chat and eat and I don't have to chase after you or pack up as soon as you are done.    I will miss our afternoon lunches, but I'll try to fit a few Saturday ones in next year.  I'll let you have first pick.  I am sure you will pick Five Guys.

Yesterday we took a walk and the first thing you did as we set out was to grab my hand.  I didn't take yours as a mother will always do with her child and I realized then it's been a while since I was the one to reach for your hand, but we always hold hands.  Always.   Please never stop holding my hand.  It's one of my favorite things.

There is so much more of you I could write about it, but it's time to pick you up from school.  Only two more weeks and then you'll be a full day student.  *sigh*.  I've been lonely all morning for you, don't know how it'll be when you're there four more hours.  It's been six years since I heard that doctor announce "It's a girl!".    Still easily one of the best moments of my life.  I remember the flashes of hair bows, dance classes, Gymboree dresses, and Disney princesses while listening to your first cries and seems like yesterday and, yet, here we are doing all of those things and I could not be happier.

My life was not complete until you were here.  I love all the "girl stuff", but I could live without it all if you decided today to love sports, and pants, and Pokeman because I am just so lucky to love YOU and all that you are!     You have been such a blessing,  a true gift from God.

I love you Goose, and I always will.

Now you are six.  Can you stay that way for just a while?



Sunday, April 07, 2013

The Princess Transformation

Before
During
After
Elizabeth has been a Disney Princess fan since she was a baby.

Her mother has been a fan even longer.

My sister and I loved Beauty and the Beast!  We saw it five times in the theater and got our VHS copy as soon as it was available.  We even decorated our apartments with Belle picture frames and knick-knacks.   She is still our favorite.

Since the first time I'd ever heard of Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, I knew I'd take my daughter there.   Of all the things Elizabeth has enjoyed in her short lifetime, the Disney Princesses have been around the longest.  We watch all of the movies and play with all of the dolls and every night we read a book involving her favorite princess of that moment, which they have all been her favorite at one time or another.   I love them all too, but still, Belle is my favorite.

For six months we anticipated this day.  I always imagined sunny skies and warm weather, but alas, it was pouring rain and cool temperatures.  It would have been the best day of the week to sleep in and skip the parks, but no, we had an 8 am appointment that we couldn't reschedule.    While the boys rode Big Thunder Mountain and some Stitch ride that Derick is still complaining about, Elizabeth began her transformation.   I bawled my head off.

I was sure she'd choose Ariel as she usually reigns as Queen Favorite most of the time.  Merida has been inching up there recently too, but she wasn't one of the choices.  Most of the little girls I know have selected Jasmine, what with the jinglies hanging off the belly-baring costume and CUTE shoes (all the other girls there when we were there were Jasmine).  Elizabeth chose Belle.

*Squueeee*

I told her she needed to choose her favorite, not mine, and held out the Ariel dress which she shooed away.  I asked her why she wanted to be Belle and she said to me:   "Mom.  Belle loves to read and she is smart.  I love to read and I am smart.  I have to be Belle."  And so she was Belle.

Two days in a row.   It was wonderful.   The sun shone bright through that yellow costume even under ten dollar rain ponchos and plastic bonnets.   The weather was terrible, but the day was wonderful.

I cried happy tears through the entire appointment.   I love my boys with all my heart, but I know we'd have walked right past that place if Elizabeth were never born.  I probably would have never known it existed and would never have known what I was missing and that would have been allright, but being able to share Belle and all I love about her with my a little person who understands why I love her too, just filled my heart with such joy I could not contain it.

I do love Belle.  I love my own little Princess Belle even more.  She is more beautiful than I ever imagined.




Friday, April 05, 2013

Still worried about autism and vaccines?

Still worried about autism and vaccines?

I saw this today.  You don't really need to click it.  I am sure you've seen this before.  Many times even.

Since no one really reads my blog anymore, I think it's safe for me to give my opinion on this without a ton of snarky comments, although, snark away, you're entitled to your opinion as much as I am.

Do I think vaccines cause autism?  Yes.  Maybe.  In some cases.

Do I think autism is only caused by vaccines?  No.

Jacob has been seen by four different evaluators over the course of his life.  Three of them say he has ADHD/ODD/auditory processing disorder/anxiety/depression.  Yes.  ALL OF THEM.  One says he has Aspergers Syndrome, which is on the autism spectrum.

Do I think Jacob has Aspergers?  As the years progress....yes, yes I do.

Of course, it doesn't matter what label you give him, Jacob is Jacob.  He does what he does and lives how he lives just the same as a non-labeled child.  It is what it is.

Do I think his "autism" was caused by vaccines?   Well, sometimes.

Here's my vaccine story:  Click next blog if I've said this before.

I was pregnant.   Felt fetus move at thirteen weeks (yes, really).   Fetus did not stop moving except for very, very short spurts until he was born at 31 weeks.    Baby stayed in hospital for a month but was a hearty little soul, moving, moving from the very beginning.   The nurses joked that he had ADHD even then.  I was just grateful he was alive.

As a baby, he slept very little.  He cried incessantly.  The only thing that provoked quiet was to keep him constantly moving.  He loved being strolled around the mall.  His little head was constantly looking around for something different to look at.  He became a happier baby once he could crawl, walking even better.  I am serious when I say he walked one day and learned to run the next.  The relatives joked that he had ADHD even then.  I was too sleep-deprived to give it much thought.  Then.

Jacob stayed up to date on all his vaccinations even though I would grill the pediatrician every time about her opinion on the autism debate and she assured me he would be fine.  I elected to postpone his MMR until 18 months and the varicella until 3 and she was sorta kinda okay with that.  I am sure I read somewhere that those shouldn't be taken together or something.

So Jacob got his MMR vaccine at 18 months.  On the nose.  In hindsight, that's not a very nice thing to do to a kid on his half birthday, but so be it.  He ran a slight fever the night of and the afternoon after but otherwise seemed fine.  Seven days later to the hour he started getting more restless than usual.  He started screaming again.  He wouldn't stop.    He wouldn't eat, he definitely wouldn't sleep and his temperature spiked to 104.7 when I called the pediatrician.  He was my first child, I took everything she said as gospel because, well, she went to medical school I didn't.  The on call nurse took the message and then the doctor called back to tell my husband (who by then was home) that it sounded like reaction to the shot.  Everything I found online and even the little pamphlet they gave me about it said if that were to occur it would be a week later.  She did not seem concerned at all and just told us to tylenol/advil dose him and keep cool compresses on him he would be allright.  Should I have brought him to the ER?  Yes, I probably should have, but we spent the next 24 hours jiggling and patting and cool-bathing and eventually he got better.  Sort of.

You know I was looking for the head-banging, loss of verbal skills, lack of eye contact that everyone says to be aware of, but I didn't get that.  I did, however, get a strange aversion to going outside.  My weekly mall trip that previously made him so happy (and me too, you know, retail therapy), now provoked full out tantrums.  If someone looked at him he'd scream.   He had the bluest eyes and, yes, I am biased, but he was beautiful.  Someone was always speaking to him.  He was always screaming.   Of course, he was pushing two and I thought, well, the terrible twos.  He doesn't have autism because he's not drooling and in a trance and oh, boy is he talking.  Talking all the time, but usually only about Thomas the Tank Engine.  And Percy.  And James.  And that God forsaken bee.  Buzz, buzz, buzz.  He could recite all the episodes by heart all day long and act them out on the trains I continued to buy because, oh no, he doesn't have autism, he's just really smart.  And he loves trains.  How freaking cute is that?

Go google Aspergers and Thomas the Tank Engine.  Woo Boy.

So to summarize:  My kid got the MMR vaccine.  He had a strange reaction and then started acting differently.  Do I think the vaccine did something to my kid?  Yes.  I kind of do.  I have no proof and I don't want to sue anyone or raise a stink about it because it could just be this was going to happen anyway.   I do believe he was ADHD in the womb, nothing caused that, and maybe his quirks are just a part of that?  I don't know.  One of his evaluators believes he would have always had the ADHD, the prematurity was what exacerbated his situation.  I agree with that.  Sort of.

I do know that my other children did not get the MMR vaccine until they were four and they are "normal".  Of course they also were full-term infants and neither of them visibly moved in my womb 23 hours a day.

Yes, I think vaccines contribute to autism, but I don't think autism is caused solely by them.  I think there are other factors at play that researchers don't know enough about.

You are free to disagree, but you can't change my mind.



Monday, March 04, 2013

12


Today you are 12.

I remember rocking you in the recliner and watching television which we did quite often that first year, and hearing the kids in the neighborhood heading off to their first day of school.  I couldn't imagine ever doing that with you and here we've been doing it seven years now.  I also remember thinking when I heard that strange little girl who always ding-dong ditched us that she had just turned twelve and WOW, it would be forever before you were that old.

Forever is here, Baby.

I think you are now too old for the whole, you-wear-size 8-pants post.   So I will try this:

Jacob,

These twelve years have not been easy for me.   You were not the baby I imagined when I was little and dressed my female baby dolls.  You didn't easily fit into my life plan by playing at said times and eating at said times and, most especially, sleeping at set times.  I thought I would lose my mind that first year, and maybe I did briefly.   I was very much a Type A personality with a little person who wouldn't allow that.   I am so sorry for all those nasty words you learned because of that.

I tried so hard to make you fit into the perfect mold because everyone around me told me you weren't right.  I took that to be a reflection of myself and I didn't want any of those perfect strangers to think poorly of me, so I worked and pushed and cried and screamed to get your square peg into the world's circle hole.   For years.  I didn't see what I really had right in front of me.   You.   The real you.  I am sorry for that too.

Jacob, I now know that your brain is wired differently.   I still don't understand the mass of information thrown at us about it, but I know I should have told all those well-meaning "friends" years ago to get off your case and let you be you.

I am proud of the way that you deal with this difference every day.    Others may have given up years ago, but you keep on trucking and doing what you have to do even when it frustrates you beyond reason.    You try to find the good in others even when there isn't much to be found.    You spread the gospel even where it isn't cool to do so.  You attempt to ignore those who don't respect that you are living your own life.

I am sorry for what you have dealt with in the "Christian" school this week.   I am sorry that you have dealt with that for so long.  Truly, Jacob, we really thought we were doing what was best for you, smaller classes, less kids,  Christian values.   I thought I was protecting you from the big bad world out there, but instead I was throwing you into it.  I am still afraid of what public school will bring,  but I think you can handle it.  You are 12 now.  Mama doesn't have to fix it for you.

In six years you will be an adult.  I cannot even fathom that now, but it will sneak up on us quickly just as twelve did.  My wish is that we can all accept and boost "YOU"  while helping you learn what you need to be a decent adult.   I hope you use your high IQ and bring up your grades and go to a wonderful university *cough* West Virginia *cough*, but you know what?  God really doesn't care if you make all As.  I don't think he really cares if you memorize every scripture in the Bible.  I think what matters is that you become a nice, caring, good person who spreads love and kindness wherever he goes and I know you can do that.   Please don't let a few small-minded people drag you down, Baby.  You are too special for that.

Thank you for relieving me of my Type A personality.  I really wasn't that happy that way.   I know that is one of the reason's God sent you to me.

Happy Birthday Jacob!  I love you.



Saturday, March 02, 2013

I Have Forgotten What Sleep is Like, but I Can Wear a Size 8 Again.

It is 4:23 am.  Another sleepless night.  I haven't slept in days.  Maybe I've lost more weight; we had pizza tonight and I could only stomach three bites.  That hasn't happened in, well, ever.  I was looking for a good diet plan......

I watch the Bob Newhart Show every evening and one of the ladies in his group session, usually starts out saying, "I have this huge knot in my stomach...." and tonight I thought, "She must be trying to get some justice for her kid".

My huge knot keeps me from sleeping, keeps me from eating, keeps me from truly enjoying my life right now.   Adam's best friend is moving tomorrow (probably another reason the knot keeps growing). They are having one last sleepover.  They made a fort and are conked out on the living room floor.  They traded Legos and watched Duck Dynasty and laughed and laughed and laughed.  It was so heartwarming but my knot was still there.  I could've dug out the ice cream and made a huge mess, but I didn't.  I couldn't.  I just didn't have it in me.   I regret it already.

I took Elizabeth to a birthday party today and tried to engage with the other mothers.  It was easier standing at the edge of the park away from it all though, so that's what I did.  They don't see me much since I work three days a week; I really wanted to get to know these ladies, who knows when I'll get the chance again, but I just couldn't.  I didn't have it in me.  I regret that already too.

Sometimes the knot grows up into my chest.  I find myself struggling to catch a good breath.  I think, oh dang, I forgot to call the cardiologist like my OB suggested after Elizabeth was born.  Oh no.  What is going on with me?  Maybe I have cancer?  Of what?  Air?  Oh, look!  Charlie and Lola.  Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.   Oh, yeah, anxiety.  Great.  Just what I need the week before we drive 15 hours to Disney.

Then I realize I've felt this before:   When I was 12 and my Granny died suddenly, the days after my mom's heart attack/bypass surgery, In September when Ezra passed away.  That's when it dawns on me.  I don't have anxiety.  I have grief.

I am grieving.  Oh yes.  That is exactly what this is.

I am grieving for my child although he is still just a few feet away.  I grieve for him and what his life could've been if he didn't have IT.  The aspergers, the ADD, the ODD, the auditory processing disorders, the social anxiety, the premature birth which exacerbated all of these things.  I grieve for his opportunities lost because so much time has been wasted in what I thought and was told would be the best environment for him.  I grieve for his soul that is crushed every single day having to be teased and poked and beaten from these people, children and adults alike, who claim to give it all to Chr*st.   Doesn't the Bible say, "If G*d is with us, who can be against us?"  I grieve because my child can tell you who is against him.  I don't even think he believes G*d is with him any longer.  I grieve for that too.  I grieve for Jacob because he isn't happy.  He doesn't know what it's like to have a friend spend the night or even the grief that comes from having your best friend move because he has never had a best friend.  Shit, he's never had a friend.  I grieve because I know if this continues, he won't want to continue, because really?  Who wants to live like that?  I'm 44 years old and I don't.  He's 11.  Why does everyone think this is all right?  

We are going to Disney next week.  I sort of feel like this is our Make-a-Wish trip.   Only we are paying for it.  My golly are we paying for it.   Here you go children!  We have been so stressed and overwhelmed and dealing with things we really shouldn't have to deal with, so go hug Snow White and feel better for a week!  But the thing is.....We shouldn't feel this way!  My child is perfectly healthy and for that I am extremely grateful.  Don't think for a minute I don't realize how lucky I am that we do not need Make-a-Wish services.  Our problems aren't even in the same league, but still.  The grief is there.   For Jacob who lives that in first person every day.  For Adam and Elizabeth who feel the wrath after it happens.  For us and his grandparents who just don't even really know what to do to fix it.

So sad that we get to experience this just so a few undisciplined children could feel big about themselves.  And a few uncaring adults just didn't want to be bothered.

I grieve for our world, because this is acceptable here.   Shameful.






Friday, March 01, 2013

Be Careful What You Ask For

So.....

Jacob got a detention this week.

Nothing too new about that, although it's his first one this year.  He is quite familiar with the yellow sheet of doom from years past and most of the time he has actually deserved it, but let me ask YOU if you think he deserved it this time......

The dentention form little square box was checked for fighting.  Okay, wrap your head around that for a minute.  My third grader sized sixth grader brings home a detention slip for fighting.  Okay.  The explanation underneath was he pushed another child's hand away from his desk.  HIS desk.  As in Jacob's desk.  Okay.   I also got an email right about the same time informing me that "the infraction" occurred the previous day.  Um Hm.  So.  I discuss this with Jacob and this is the story:

When he changed classes to his second teacher of the day, she did not come into the room right away instead standing out in the hallway gabbing it up with the other two teachers.  Yes.  I am paying for that, but let's move on shall we?  So Jacob finally takes out a piece of paper and starts drawing on it.   At some point Bully number 6,452 goes up to Jacob from behind and starts tickling him in the abdominal region.  ( I did not attend Christian school and can still use big words ).  Jacob asked him to stop.  He did not stop.  He asked him again.  He did not stop.  He asked him again.  He did stop BUT he took his paper and crumpled it up.  Jacob pushed his hand away and grabbed for his paper.  THEN is when the teacher's gossip session ended and she entered the room.  OF COURSE SHE DID.

That's not all....

She then proceeded to shame Jacob in front of the entire class by using him as an example of non-Christian behavior while vigorously filling out that sheet as fast as she could.

"Jacob, do you realize you have sinned?"   "Yes Ma'am"
"Jacob are you in the sixth grade?"  "Yes Ma'am"
"Jacob do we hit others when we are mad like a baby?"  "No Ma'am"

Because we have erroneously taught him to respect his teachers, he actually did.  Dammit.

I very respectfully then replied to the email asking if touching is not allowed, why was the tickling allowed and also why is it okay to throw rocks at my kid because, duh, pushing a hand away seems a wee bit less dangerous to rock contact to the skull?  Where in hell is my reply to that one?

So then Daddy got involved.

DUM DUM DUM

I let all the teachers know early on, if you see Daddy, it's not a good thing.

So he calls about the same thing requesting a conference between all three sixth grade teachers.  The teachers have now had over 24 hours to get their stories straight and OF COURSE the teacher was always in the room and only saw Jacob being EXTREMELY RUDE (because throwing rocks at someone's head is a friendly thing to do), but she'd talk to the "victim" the next day.  You know, the victim because Jacob is such a damn bully.

So Jacob returns for the day and I ask him how it went.  This is how it went:

"Reagan, did you tickle Jacob before he hurt you?"  "No, I did not, I swear"
"Tristan (Reagan's best friend), did you see Reagan tickle Jacob?"  "No Ma'am"
"Jacob, you get an extra detention for lying, you other boys can go out to play."

(I wouldn't normally use another kid's name in my blog, but I don't really give a crap at this point.  Reagan and Tristan you are bullies.  Sue me)

(And really, who names a boy Tristan?  That right there screws a kid up)

(If your kid is named Tristan I am sure he's wonderful, you can leave my blog now, I won't be upset.)

(And I think Reagan is now a girl's name.  Oh snap, no wonder these kids are this way)

Anyway,

And then Jacob says to me:  "I told her they were lying, but she just shook her head and let them leave. I don't really know why she asked Tristan about it though because he was absent on Monday."

Which is when I said, "OH FUCK NO"

SERIOUSLY?

Then Daddy got involved again.  He now wants conference to include three teachers PLUS principal.

When Jacob got in the car yesterday he was crying.  This was after I picked him up in front of two of the teachers and all the other parents and saw two kids poking him in the back with a stick.  WTF?  They quit when they saw me and denied it, but WTF?  I am near-sighted but not blind and are all the other adults there blind?  WTF?   It got worse.  WORSE:

After gym,  Jacob was in line for a drink (which I have forbidden all three of my children to use the water fountain but they do not listen, but anyway) and Bully 6,453 pushed his newly braced and newly capped teeth right into the spout and pushed him out of the way.  After many lectures from Yours Truly the previous two days about DEAR GOD BOY STAND UP FOR YOURSELF he yelled out to stop and quit pushing him to the HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR PE TEACHER.   Who told him to suck it up and then told the rest of the sixth grade that they would all be doing PT (something bad apparently) the next day because of Jacob's "tattling".  W.  T.  F?

Yes, I am just now finding out that they have let A HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR TEACH SIXTH GRADE BOYS GYM.  I am paying for that.   Funny how we never got an email about that important development and also?  If I were paying for my kid's high school education I think I would be wanting him to be learning something INSTEAD OF DOING SOMEONE ELSE'S JOB!

Then Daddy got involved AGAIN.  He now wants a conference with the three teachers, his learning lab teacher, the principal, the actual paycheck earning coach, AND the administrator.

They were supposed to meet at 8:45 this morning but one of the teachers didn't show so they rescheduled.

I went ahead and sent him to school today.  I did not want to, but I don't want him to get behind.  I have regretted it all day.  He was in a rage this morning.    He hit his siblings, he called me names, he swore he'd kill me.  Or his dad.   Or maybe himself.   There was much screaming.   It broke my heart and pissed me off all at the same time.

His birthday is Monday.  He won't be going to school.  No one should have to deal with that crap ON THEIR BIRTHDAY!  

After that, we'll have to see.   Please don't tell me I need to pull him ASAP because I really have thought about that, but there is a lot to consider, namely he'd be the ONLY new kid coming in making him a bit of a target to the non-Christian bullies out there.

The good news is that this is a good diet plan.  I have lost seven pounds since Tuesday.  I am also not at all ambivalent about where he'll attend school next year.  It WON'T be Christian School.   I asked G*d for a sign and he gave it to me.  In spades.

Thank you?

(And seriously if you are named Reagan or Tristan I am sure they are perfectfully nice names, but right now I hate them, so sorry)

**Edited to add:
Principal comes out to my car at pick-up time letting me know that, hey, your husband wants to have a meeting and I just wanted to touch base and then proceeded to tell me I really needed to talk to Jacob because he doesn't really have his stories straight.  The tickling happened LAST week and Jacob just pushed Reagan's hand away for no good reason.  When I asked did Reagan get detention for touching my child he informed it was all in good fun and nobody was hurt...hahaha.  I respectfully disagreed and then he asked if I had called Reagan's mother and maybe that was a good place to start.  Um.  I pay your ass to do that buddy.  Then he slapped my car door and said, "have a great weekend, it was good talking to you, hopefully Jacob can get his stories straight".   You will be glad to know I neither spit on him nor flipped him off, although both crossed my mind, but that wouldn't be Christian behavior now would it?

****Oh, and did I ever mention the principal is one of his teacher's husband?  Yeah.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More School

Okay....

So I met with the public school last week.  Let's see if I can make sense of the plethora of information provided to me:

*approximately 300ish students in one grade alone
*accommodations available in the form of IEPs and 504s, but aren't an option until he's been attending there 30 days and then there is still the entire testing process that could take six more months.
*he will need to spend 45 minutes in the gym waiting for school to open since I'll need to drop him off at 8:15 and school doesn't start until 9:00.
*if he rides the bus (probably wouldn't) his route would not drop him off until 5:00.
*study halls are not monitored
*if they see his math scores are low (they are) he will put in some math class at 3rd period that runs into study hall 4th period, and then into his lunch 5th period where he can stay and continue to work with someone so he can feasibly have three periods of math instruction a day.
*couldn't promise me a top locker, but would try
*he can do LDC (which is like ROTC) in place of PE
*he can choose art or drama as an elective
*if he brings up his language arts grades he can take AP English which is a short class and get one more elective
*there is a police officer monitoring the building
*the principal monitors the building through taped video.
*strict bully policy beginning with a green incident report children can fill out and slip to teachers/administration

I know there is more, but I couldn't keep up.

I was slightly more encouraged than the previous meeting, but the whole 45 minutes and possible 10 minutes waiting for the building open has really turned me off.  That just isn't an option with all of his problems.  We are trying to figure out a way to make it work.

I met with my friend about the K12 Virtual Academy they do, and it was pretty impressive.  It was very structured homeschooling taught through classes on the computer.  All self-paced, but then you have to complete a certain percentage every month so you don't fall behind.  The best part is that they form the lesson plans for you and you are able to move things around according to your needs.   For example, for one of Rosemary's children, she follows the plans verbatim, but her other child she adapts it so that he is doing a week's worth of one subject each day because that works best for him.  They take their tests online and the "school" keeps track of all their grades.  I really did like it and have thought seriously about doing this with Jacob ONE year, just so he wouldn't have to deal with mean kids and just bring his grades up, but, naturally,  my husband isn't convinced.  I don't really think this will be an option for us at all, but it would be nice.

So tomorrow I really need to turn in the re-enrollment forms.   I will likely pay for Jacob to hold his spot just to buy more time, but at this point, we are leaning more towards the public school if we can just figure out the before and after school logistics.