Friday, May 15, 2009

Questing - Mom Makes a Demand

I have been infrequently chronically the adventures of parenting a special needs child here and there. Today I will continue here. Son was entering 2nd grade and I thought, "OK, this is the year the chaos ends."

I began the school year by asking for a formal and complete psycho-educational evaluation to be done. I set a meeting date and went armed with a formal written request. I called my dad for support - after all he has 2 foster, now adopted children that are in middle school and have needed this type of help since they started school. Dad was supportive and told me not to be afraid to be assertive and demanding if needed. I agreed, but trembled on the inside. WHY? Because I am, by and large, a "good" girl. I do not rock the boat - until it needs to be tipped. On the other hand I had made a promise to have a better year. Determination set in. (It helped that my boss told me written requests had to be followed-up)

The school agreed to test. We all played our parts and the evaluation was completed. Son was labeled EH (emotionally handicapped). HUH? What does that mean? Now what do I do? Someone please tell me the next step...silence.

In the meantime, Son continues classes. He has an IEP, paper that tells the school/teachers/others/ that he has special rules and accommodations. He goes to resource (the only teacher besides his speech teacher that he likes) and does OT exercises for a few minutes at a time about 5 times a day. I search frantically for help. The pediatrician recommends another doctor and eval. That doctor is "the best." We go. He says, no ADHD blah blah blah, high intelligence blah blah blah, no medication blah blah blah, see this counselor - AT LAST - the next step!

Little did I realize the end was not even glimmering upon the horizon....

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Female Scare

We had a scare at my house. No, no one jumped out from behind a door and yelled, "BOO!" It was more of a "Hmm, shouldn't there have been something by now" scare. Yes, I know I am in the middle of my 3rd decade of life and I should have this stuff under control - apparently I don't.

So, I spent about a week trying to remember the things that were taking place in my life the last time I had seen this visitor. See, for the past 2 years this visitor has been dropping by unannounced and early. Sometimes visiting within 2 weeks of the the last interruption, but usually waiting until 3 weeks. This is the type of visitor who just has a knack for showing up at the wrong time. Stopping to call with great frequency. In the absence of this guest (for more than a month), my heart was skipping beats left and right.

I am happy with my life. I love my 3 children and if there were more of everything - money, time, money - I would be good to go. But there isn't, so I am content. Hubby fluctuated between insisting we stop to pick-up a test and reminding me that there have been many stressors in my life recently. He even went as far as to say, stress makes "visitors" come late. Really? He knew that! (Could have knocked me down with a feather.) I relented and said if there was no word by Saturday, I would stop at the drug store.

Friday evening an unannounced visitor arrived.

I was telling this to my oldest sister on Sunday. She told me that I am turning into an old crone. Ok, well she didn't use those words exactly, but the meaning was clear. Seems it can start early and her doctor told her to prepare her sisters. Great. I have dreamed of a visitor free life since I was 12 and here that time may be coming sooner than I anticipated. I should be thrilled - right? So, why is it that my mind keeps returning to this thought at random times? I am happy with my family - but somehow the idea that soon my choice will be taken away has me in a tizzy. I guess I'll just chalk it up to hormones.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Question for the TV Execs.

I admit it freely - I am a fiction addict. Books can be pulp fiction or literary classics I don't care. Movies, I rent regularly. Television, yes even prime time TV. I make this admission knowing fully it can get me expelled from the "cool moms who ban TV club" and the "I don't waste my time with pulp group." My husband ordered a DVR a year ago (which I didn't want) and I love it! I use it regularly - and usually not for breakthrough science documentaries. As Popeye would say, "I am what I am."

But watching TV has its pros and cons. The biggest pros being that I can do paper work, fold clothes, or just veg-out while having my mind entertained. The cons would be the questions & doubts that it causes to run through my mind.

When a popular FBI drama sends agents to a home to help the family of 2, 5, or 6 find their lost child the home is always spotless. It does not matter whether there are 3 kids under 5 in the home or just a teen and parent. Oh, sure there may be a load of laundry left neatly in the basket in the corner, or if they are really going for reality it is dumped neatly on a couch. No socks have escaped and there are certainly no underwear showing. This is usually within hours of the incident. How did the house get clean?

Did the mother, knowing officials would be at the door, stop to clean? Do the police offer this as a service? Noooo - we are meant to believe that all houses are this clean everyday. Come now, my house is messier than that 1/2 an hour after a Saturday make-over! Either I am a really bad housekeeper or TV has an agenda - making all parents feel the need to obsessively tidy.

The only houses that are ever dirty are the ones that were home to either a gruesome murder scene or an addicted parent. And that filth usually amounts to dishes in the sink and garbage that needs to be taken out. Ughhh - there is no murder scene at my home and no addiction issues. To what can I attribute the fact that there have been dishes in the sink for more than 10 minutes?

My husband wonders why I am obsessive about the house being clean before we leave for a trip. This is the reason! What if we crash and officials have to enter my home - they are bound to judge me as a raving lunatic mother who must be in some part to blame for her misfortunes. After all there are some underwear on the floor.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Trial and Error

Last year I planted a garden. It was the first one in my adult life. See, I tend to kill plants so planting has always been more of Hubby's domain. But, Youngest was so awed by growing things that we decided to clear out an area and plant. This turned out to be a huge success. The kids loved watering it, splashing through the hose an a daily basis. It gave me joy just to see an area of controlled non-jungle space in the yard. Hubby and I would walk over and inspect the progress. If things weren't picked in time, we fed them to the rabbit.

So, this year I decided to make the vegetable patch larger. Boy and I went shopping and were well prepared to start - or we would have been if I hadn't left the seeds at the check-out. When I was ready to plant, the next day, and we realized my blunder, I was too dirt covered to head back out. We put the plants in the ground and I promised Youngest we would get more seeds. Well, 4 year-olds being inventive she went and dug-out some sunflower seeds hanging out in the junk drawer. We planted them.

The next weekend the gardening bug had a firm hold. I decided to rip-out a useless area in the front and plant a wildflower garden. After 4 hours of excavating the patch of land was ready. I bopped through the house telling Hubby I had found a new hobby. He offered me the use of his landscaping and gardening books. Laughing, I replied that I was learning by trial and error and the most I wanted to read was printed on the seed packs themselves. This is when I held another loitering sunflower seed packet up, to show him where I was reading. He asked if they were still good. Still good? Of course they are they're seeds! Uhhh - wait there is a date here. No wonder the sunflowers in back aren't sprouting - they expired almost 2 years ago! Trial and error - I hope something grows.

In a completely unrelated subject I would like to thank weaselmomma for recognizing my attempts at blogging. Another trial and error hobby I have undertaken this year. I don't know about braving zombies, but I guess if they are just chicken zombies you could kick them in the head to get to my post.

“The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.”

And I will pass it on to: bad momma , girl in the glasses , nuke dad , microbiologist , and change of life . Enjoy your zombie chicken!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Protective as a Teacher Bear?

I spend my days with kids. It has been that way almost my entire adult life. I have worked with families of young children, elementary kids, preteens, and teens. Through all of this, after all these years, my reactions can still surprise me. Come on and follow me to lunch, I'll show you....

It's Weds. that means lunch at 11:00, which is good. I'm starved. As soon as I can, I line the class up and we file (in a somewhat orderly fashion) into the cafeteria. Talking, joking, and messing around, students wait for their lunches as a few teachers oversee the lines. There are 4 lines, I watch 2 closely as my students are dispersed in this area. When the majority of my table is sat, there are a few loiterers in the salad bar line. I politely cut in front of the salad line, collect my lunch, trip across the floor almost spilling said salad, laugh with the few students who witnessed the near catastrophe, pay, and head to my table.

At this point, there are still long lines across the back wall - there are 400 7th graders in here (give or take a few). As I am setting my plate down, monitoring our team's lunch detention table and talking to another teacher my eyes are drawn to a crowd quickly forming a circle at one of the middle lines. You have seen this natural phenomena: a crowd seemingly subconsciously shifts into a roughly hewn circle around the soon-to-be combatants. I do not walk or jog; I run to the area. Sure enough student A who was on my team but is now labeled is in the midst of a brawl with student B.

I do not know student B and I do not care about him now. He is trying to flee the scene. I know that Student A (who I still see on Weds. am's only) has made a lot of progress this year. He is not perfect. I know he is at least partly to blame. He has little to no control over his impulses. But he has improved. He is salvageable. And he is a target because he allows himself to be drawn-in to the tough-guy thing, so desperately needing to fit somewhere. Without a thought, and without my torturous shoes that have now gone for 2 murder attempts, I dive into the fray. I am there in student A's face talking to him. Reminding him that he was having a great day and he is letting whatever idiotic thing happened to ruin it. He is so angry, he is trying to walk through me, even as he holds tight as a drowning victim to my arm. And I have to say, I would have been bulled over. Short of shoving him into a wall to keep him contained (which I can not do if I want to continue to work with kids) there is little I can do. He is so very angry, he can only repeat, "He jumped me," again and again. All I want to do is talk this kid down from the ledge and I simply would not have been able to if it weren't for another, very large, student pulling him back. Eventually help arrived in the form of a male teacher and together we were able to walk student A down a back hall to wait for security. The entire time I continue to hold, direct, and cajole him as we walk him to calm and then I do keep him at a wall as we wait for reinforcements (and my shoes).

Looking back after the incident, I did put myself in danger's way. I taught second-chance students for almost 2 years and I never had to put myself between the punches - because there weren't any in my class, but I would have. I am surprised. Not by the incident or my actions, but at the intensity of my need to keep these students safe. I suppose that in the absence of their own momma bears, I'm willing to fill-in as teacher bear.