Sunday, September 30, 2012

No, I'm not ok.

I lost it. completely and totally lost it. and I wrote this post about just wanting "normal". needing a break. I vented it out as I always do in hopes that maybe, just maybe, it would calm me down and help someone else. Instead, it caught the attention of 2 friends who saw past the words to the place I'm in.

I got an e-mail from one friend asking me if I was ok. She said she wanted to comment that it was ok, but she sees that it's not ok. She sees that this isn't one of my normal rants and she's worried about me. seriously worried. She thinks I've gone beyond the highs and lows of autism living and straight crashed full speed into the rock bottom. and she's right. I did. I'm not ok. I can't keep doing this. I cannot do everything on my own. Something has to give. Something has to change. because I just can't anymore. It's too much. too heavy. I can't take another step. I cannot do tomorrow because I definitely can't make it through today.

She suggests taking some time to look at what I'm doing and find something I can hand off, something that doesn't need to be done, just anything to lighten my load because the life I'm living right now is ridiculous. and so, I took a day and a good long hard look because I really can't go on as I am.

Some things are changing on their own. Thing1 is moving into his own place which takes a load off and Goofy's getting a bedroom. The evaluations are in full swing, the Mystery Man offered to observe Goofy in school so that I don't have to add that to my must do list. I don't need to examine every piece of work he brings home to try to figure out where he is struggling and what to do about it. because once evaluations are done, we will have answers. Until then, and then, they can tell me what i need to do so I don't have to guess anymore. If he is struggling in class beyond what the other kids are, his teacher can let me know. What's left to research? Nothing. With the team evaluating performance and the Mystery Man checking out his social issues, what do I have left to worry about in school? Nothing. Homework. That's it. I can focus on Goofy at home. His life skills. The school can handle the rest. He has a good team who have shown me that they can handle things there so that I can just handle things here.

Alex is good. Now that I can just let go of the Goofy one, I can look at Alex. Alex is good. He's loving school, I'm getting awesome notes home, his teacher is pretty great, I'm not liking not knowing who his aides are or what they do, but with his principal, his teacher and the aide I have met, I think things there are cool.  Now I just have to find out what I'm supposed to be doing with him as far as homework.

Walter. The other message I got suggests I may be taking responsibility for things that are not my responsibility. Whoa, now. wait just a cotton pickin' minute... that's just... right!!!! Walter's failure to turn in and complete assignments is not my failure as his mother. That his failure as a student. My job is not to hold his hand every step of the way, babying his ass, my job is to teach him discipline and how to handle independence responsibly. I posted a similar video to this one the other day...
Yes, that is 26 minutes of "Do your homework."

Now, you want to talk ridiculous? That boy is 12 years old. That may sound young to some of us old timers but let me tell you something, when I was 12 years old? I was starting to babysit my brother and sister and I was learning to help take care of the house. This kid is perfectly capable of being responsible for his own school work and staying on task. Enough is enough. He will come in, sit at that table and do his work on his own. He will make sure that he has everything that he needs, that every assignment is finished and turned in- on his freaking own, keeping his grade B or above- or he will not have a tv in his room, access to a computer or a cell phone and, for that matter, why does he need his own room? Goofy has a top bunk. If he's not able to handle the responsibilities that come with being older, he's not responsible enough to have the privileges that come right along with it. and that is that.

and, why is it, in a house overrun with people, I am the only one cleaning? Uh-uh. You can make the mess? You can clean it up. Chores are back. I had let them go with school being in session because school comes first. but you know what? You don't have time to do your chores? You don't have time to play PS3.
 
With so much off my shoulders, out of my hands and on others, I'm taking my mornings back. They are mine to do with as I please and that is what I shall do. Now, this I can do. This is something I can handle. Once you hit that bottom, you have two choices. You can either stay there or get up. This is me picking myself up off the ground, dusting myself off and climbing right back up out of that hole.

 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I want "normal"

Now, let me start this off with some warnings...

First of all, I'm in a mood. I'm in a mood that I f*cking hate autism along with any other disability that dare step in my path and I've been in this mood for probably about a week and I don't even care.

Second, I'm in a mood that I couldn't care less what anyone thinks of what I have to say- big red X up and to the right, "unlike" in the same general direction. Now, this is a point I have never gotten to because everything I do online is more for you than for anything. I love you guys. and I kinda like having you around. You all help me with my kids and you let me rant and rave about this and that, you share my joy and you share my sorrow but the reason I do it is because you do that for each other as well. I enjoy giving you a place to see that you are not alone and to share your stories and get what you need. So, for me to get to the point that I tell anyone to not let the door hit them on the ass on the way out...? Yeah.

Third, the whining in this post is about my emotions and circumstances, not my kids. My kids are loved and they know it. They also know that they drive me completely batty and I love them anyway. Same as I do to them and they feel for me. We're cool with it. That being said, if anyone here thinks they can do a better job of raising my kids, my e-mail address is to the right, I can have them packed in an hour.

So, getting on with the getting on, I am tired, I am frustrated and if I see one more f*cking post denoting "normal" as boring and unwanted, or disability as a "blessing", I may resort to beating the f*ck out of my computer. Oh, yeah, I know I've been guilty of that on my good days. but that was yesterday, and most likely tomorrow but today... not so much.

Who wants boring? I DO! I want one day, just one blessed day that is absolutely boring. I want one weekend where I am not waken up by 8am with the words, "Mom! He pooped!", "He has something in his mouth and we can't get it out!", "Um, I hate to tell you this but..." usually followed by dragging out the carpet cleaner. Just a bit ago, I decided I needed a bath. that's exactly what I need and would fix everything because I just needed a break and being clean would make the entire effing world sunshine and rainbows and get my head back on straight because not showering for a week and just hitting the important areas is not a good thing. Why not shower for a week!? OMG, that's soooo gross. Yes, it is. and it puts a person in a foul mood. BUT, who comes first? The kids or the parent? Time is limited and the clock doesn't stop ticking just because there are too many things on your to-do list. I can't sleep at night, I can't get up in the morning and I'm behind before I even get started. and then, every time I get one ball in the air, I drop another. I just found out this week that by spending so much of my time on Goofy and Alex, I totally failed Walter. missing and incomplete assignments. My one time honor roll boy is in danger of failing his classes. why? because I didn't do my job as his mother.

Every single one of these kids needs something. I research every-freaking-thing mentioned by anyone and write while they are in school, it seems like I am constantly e-mailing one teacher or another and for someone who doesn't much like people, this sucks. I feel like I'm helping with homework from noon-night. Oh! duh. because I am. The house needs to be cleaned, the kids need to be cared for, the laundry has to be done. and sex? forget about it. My husband isn't happy, and doesn't seem to realize that I'm just as not happy, that we have not had sex since school started. How in the hell am I supposed to fit that in? Everywhere I look, "I need" is standing there waiting for me. So, f*ck it all, I'm getting a bath. I leave Thing2 in charge and bolt for the bathroom, thanking the Good Lord that I'm the only girl in the house and am therefore guaranteed privacy in that one room. One leg shaved, the other just started and I hear a mind numbing scream followed by feet and fists and most likely a head pounding the floor. Why? I don't know. I don't care. but it was followed by, "MOOOOOM!!!! Goofy's throwing things at us!!!" oh, what a surprise. I'm shocked. *said with complete sarcasm* YES, they had their meds!

Who wants "normal"? I DO!!!! Seriously, there's 5 of these little effers running around here, couldn't one of them, just ONE, be plain and simple "normal"? Oh, yeah, I hear you getting all uptight about that but listen, I have ADHD. I hate my ADHD. Why in the world would I hate my own "difference" but love my children's? Thing1 doesn't like his, Thing2 doesn't like his and Walter just got totally pissed that I mentioned ADHD difficulties to his social studies teacher in an effort to see if his meds had something to do with his grade since he had no missing assinments there. I love my children but their "differences" are wearing me out and embarrassing the hell out of most of them.  Last night? I spent 5 hours composing one e-mail to the Mystery Man who was nice enough to offer to do Goofy's observation so I don't have to give up my teensy bit of kid free time to go watch more kids than I ever want to see in one place so I can know what exactly is going on with my child's social interaction. one. e-mail. who spends 5 hours on a single e-mail? Why in the world would it take 5 effing hours, you ask? Because I was helping Walter with his homework, dealing with Alex, every single TV and radio in the house turned to music and up full blast. Why, you ask? because it's what Goofy does. There is always music. al-ways. which would be fine if it wasn't the same station at 3 different points like an echo coming from 3 different rooms in addition to 2 totally different songs on 2 different TVs plus whatever song he recorded on my phone and then the laptop playing something. always. you think I'm exaggerating? I can promise you, I'm not. Now, in addition to this is Alex getting pissed off that there is so much noise and having to turn whatever cartoon he's watching up all the freaking way, because he's going to yell-stim until he gets it. and then add in that I can't focus, I can't think, I can't remember and I have no MP3 player to drown out everything else. oh, another why? because Thing2 also needs music and must borrow my headphones for school and his need outranks mine so I send them with him and then one of the smaller demon spawns break into his room and take them and they end up broken. again. so, 5 hours. one e-mail.

What's so wrong with wishing for "normal" every once in a while? In some ways, "normal" is what we have. I'm not a saint. I'm not perfect. There are even days that I don't like my kids much at all, just like a "normal" mom. Being a special needs mom does not give me superpowers and does not make me better or stronger than any other mom out there. But I want normal in other areas in a desperate way. I want to tell them to get up in the morning and leave them to get ready on their own. I want to be able to send my kids to school and not think another thought about them until it's time for them to get off of the bus. I want to be able to tell them to do their homework and trust that it's done. I want to not have to have eyes on them at all times, I want to be able to hold conversations with them. I don't want to have to search parent portal to find out what the homeowrk is and what areas they are struggling in. I want to not care about notes home. I want to be able to ask, "how was your day?" and have them answer with "fine." or "boring" and be able to trust that their day was just that. I hate digging for information, I hate hounding teachers and principals. I hate being so damned uptight all the freakin time over every freakin thing! I want to be able to let go and know that they will be ok. I hate spending hours and hours trying to figure out how to do things and how to teach them in a way they understand. and I'm freakin telling you, if I never hear the words "age appropriate" again, it will be too soon.

I want to be able to complain about my kids and not feel bad. Why does it seem to be ok for "normal" moms to whine and complain and recognise that sometimes, their kids can be little a-holes but the special needs mom needs to feel bad for doing the same? Double standard, people. We're looking for "normal" and "equality", yet we feel guilty for admiting sometimes, our kids are just as annoying as that "normal" kid over there. "Different, not less", right? My kids are just as entitled to be on my last nerve as any other kid ;)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What you can do about bullying

Bullying is, according to PBSkids.org:

"Physical bullying:
  • Hitting, kicking, or pushing someone...or even just threatening to do it
  • Stealing, hiding or ruining someone's things
  • Making someone do things he or she don't want to do

Verbal bullying:
  • Name-calling
  • Teasing
  • Insulting

Relationship bullying:
  • Refusing to talk to someone
  • Spreading lies or rumors about someone
  • Making someone do things he or she doesn't want to do

[These are all] examples of ways one person can make another person feel hurt, afraid, or uncomfortable. When these are done to someone more than once, and usually over and over again for a long period of time, that's bullying."

This is not just kid stuff and it is not acceptable. Children know the word bullying and they know that it's bad to be a bully and no one ever wants that title. But, do they know, really know what bullying is? How it fits into everyday life? Can they see it in their own actions when they do it? Or do they find out when they are a very embarrassed child already sitting in the principal's office waiting on their very embarrassed parents? The first step to prevention is education and that starts at home. Talk to your children. Let them know what is and is not acceptable behavior. Show them what is and is not acceptable behavior. Teach them to stand up for themselves and for others, teach them appropriate ways to deal with and express their emotions. Give them the confidence in themselves that they need so that they don't need to make someone else feel bad to make themselves look better. The bullies need as much support as the bullied. They aren't little monsters just because they want to be, there is something going on with them that they need help with.

Talk to your child about their day and be interested. Talk to them about the good parts and the bad parts and ask questions about how they felt, what was good, what was bad and what would be good ways to handle various situations.

If your child is the one being bullied, the first thing I suggest is talking to your child to make sure they know that they are in no way at fault. Bullying is about the bully, not the "victim". There are many reasons kids bully- power, self esteem, being "cool", funny, etc. but it's never, never the bullied's fault.  People are responsible for their own actions, not someone else's and there is never, never a time that you earn humiliation, physical abuse, name calling or whatever abuse someone else chooses to inflict on you. Be open with them about your experiences with bullying and the experiences of people they look up to so that they can see that they are not alone and they can see the effect bullying has had on others.

Teach them to stand up for themselves, to be assertive. They can practice at home with their siblings or with you in role playing or everyday activities. Show them how to be calm and direct in their statements- That's not nice. You don't do that. That's not allowed. Don't be rude. and to calmly walk away from the situation. Calm is the key here because as long as the "victim" stays calm and unaffected, the game isn't quite so much fun. They aren't getting the reaction they were looking for. No matter what's going on inside, your child needs to be able to project a confidence and control that cannot be broken. This takes a lot of practice but is easier to learn when they understand the reasons for bullying have nothing to do with them and everything to do with the other person.

Talk to someone who can help. Stay calm, don't go in at a time that you cannot control your emotions, you are more likely to get a desirable outcome when you can reasonably discuss your concerns. I understand the pain and the fear of looking at your perfect, sweet child and knowing that someone could dislike them so much that they would purposefully cause them heartache but you need to get a grip before you fly off the handle- just trust me on this ;) Be sure to note every instance that has already occurred. Be as specific as you can on who, what, where, when and possible why's. Was there anyone around who *could have* witnessed it, whether they did or not? When I went to the counselor about Walter, she suggested that if the bus driver *could have* witnessed it, it could be implied that the bus driver *may have* reported it which would keep the tattle-tale label off of Walter and keep him from being even more of a target.

Don't forget that your child is human and could be misinterpreting or exaggerating events. This is especially so when a lot of our children don't understand good natured teasing or joking. If they have a hard time understanding social interaction, it may be as simple as needing situations explained. Go in with an open mind and do what you can to find out what is going on. If you have a chance to observe at school, go observe; If there is someone in the school you can trust to keep an eye out, ask for it; but don't doubt your child's word. Explain to them that you do believe them and you need to see for yourself exactly what is going on so that you know the best way to deal with it.

On the other side, your child may not even know they are being bullied or know that it's a big deal. Snagglebox knows how much Goofy loves anything involving cats and suggested using a social story with a cat to explain acceptable/unacceptable behavior and what to do in those situations. She said to "give him explicit rules like "Nobody is allowed to throw balls at you" as well as things he should do if these things happen... "If someone makes you feel bad, tell the teacher"." I'm definitely going to use her suggestions.

Here are a few links you can check out for more information and helpful tips:

What parents can do about childhood bullying
Dealing with bullies
Bullying in Kindergarten


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bullying is not "kid stuff"

I've waited a good many hours to write this, mostly because I just haven't had the heart to blog it out.

 
I waited for the Goofy child to get off the bus. The first words he spoke were "I got a 7 today with a smiley face!" all proud of himself with a big smile on his face and extravagant gestures denoting the smile on his paper. He gave me a high 5 as he bounced across the yard asking who was going to play with him today. Well, perfect opening...

who'd you play with at school?
Nobody.
Well, you had recess today, who'd you play with at recess?
I told you, nobody.
Well, what did you do?
I played by myself.
Why didn't you play with the other kids?
Because. they just be's mean and they don't want to play with me.

Alright. That's enough of that, I want details. Apparently, the neighbor girl doesn't like him at school and has decided to start throwing balls at him and being mean to him at recess. Sometimes just her, sometimes her and another girl. He mentioned a few more things between him and the neighbor girl that had me getting red-hot and Big D looking worried because he doesn't like it when I embarrass him. But, you know what? I don't even care. Goofy's my priority. not a grown man's feelings. I ignored the nervous looking grown man and focused on the child. I asked him who he sits beside in class and he named a girl. I asked who else he sits beside because it's a table and I know there are other kids there, but I should know by now to watch how I phrase my questions because he doesn't sit beside anyone else but there is another girl and a boy at his table. I asked him why he didn't ask them to play with him. He said they just play by themselves. I told him he could ask them if he could play with them. he said, "well, actually, they should ask to play with me." Oh, boy.

Ok, I get all the info I'm going to get and I need to walk away. I walk away and try to think things through because grown man or not, I don't want to ruin his friendship with the neighbor dad. I come up with what I think is the perfect solution. I will give Big D the opportunity to deal with it privately before I go causing a scene. I give him the option to do it himself or I will. He'll be all *nice* and pussyfooting about it, I'll be straightforward and he insists my straightforward is less straightforward and more straight b*tch. potayto-potahto. but, whatever. I'll give you the chance to do it your way.

He says, "It's just kid stuff! I don't see why you get so worked up about this, I'd just let it go." Well, good thing the boy has 2 parents because I'm not just going to let it go. and whether you help me or not, I will get it fixed one way or another. even if I have to go to the school to do it. He wants to know what the school is going to do. Two words- Zero Tolerance. That catches his attention. I tell him that if he wants the socialization issues fixed to where they are observing what's REALLY going on with him, he needs to talk to the neighbor dad and try to get this fixed, otherwise, lying your way through the Childhood Autism Rating Scales and marking everything "normal" anywhere you saw the option was totally wasted. (even though it's wasted anyway because other people's sheets are counted and compared, too) He says, he didn't lie! There's nothing wrong with that boy! Well, either way. If he has poor socialization due to bullying in the middle of evaluations and ends up with an educational diagnosis of Asperger's because of it, he won't get more educational evaluations for 3 years. at least. I would much rather do what I can to rule out all other issues that could contribute to poor socialization first. So, now, he's totally talking to the neighbor dad. Thought so. a**hole.

I'm tired. I'm so, so tired. Not just plain tired, I'm autism tired. Between Alex and Goofy, I think I'm outnumbered and they're kicking my butt. and still, 3 and 1/2 days later, the only e-mail I've gotten was from the Mystery Man promising to check on Goofy (told you that man is something special, didn't I?) so, I sent out an e-mail tonight asking to observe in the classroom. Not so much "asking" as requesting a day but close enough, right? There was a question mark there somewhere.

After I send this e-mail, I get an answer on the first one. "I have not received any reports from the recess teachers regarding inappropriate behavior from any of my students this year. The recess teachers have reported that all my Kindergartners are well behaved students when we have recess whether it is outside or indoor recess." ... "*** who is helping Goofy every day, has not related any such incident that you have mentioned in your email.  *** is with Goofy during music, art, computers, P.E., library and of course during class time. I am very proud that Goofy is doing so well in all his classes especially when I see that he is receiving the highest behavior scores that a student can receive in my class." ... "I hope that my response has reassured you that Goofy
is doing well in regards to his classroom behavior as well as having good behavior during specials." Now what? Did she even answer my question? I'm not sure. My question wasn't about Goofy's behavior, although it is good to know that having an aide is making such a big difference. Parts of it were about the other kids and indicate no problems. Who do I believe here? I'm thinking, based on my personal experience, both. If there's something going on like Goofy says and I see at home, she's not seeing it. Now, what to do about it? Big D votes for wait and see. I've had it up to here *waving my hand far above my head* with this wait and see. If it were my kids doing it, I would already have been all over them like stink on poo.
 
But then, I have to consider Goofy. Tylerism's was nice enough to point out that Goofy doesn't give a crap what those kids think. He's perfectly happy being alone. When he tells me about the day, he's reporting events, not because they mean anything to him, just because that's what happened and I asked. Whether or not he has a form of autism, this truth is his...
 
 
If he doesn't care what those kids think or do because what they think or do is about them, not about him, do I really need to make a fuss? Would making a fuss be for me or him? If circumstances changed, would he care? He doesn't seem interested in making any sort of effort to befriend anyone but the boy at the bus stop and the neighbor girl.

Even with his brothers, he likes to play with them but has no problem playing alone. If he wants to play, he doesn't have to have someone there with him.

 
He's doing what he wants to do and if someone else happens to want to do it, too... that's great! If not, oh well, they are the ones missing out.

I'm thinking that as much as it ticks me off, Big D's right. I need to wait and see, I need to follow Goofy's lead on this because it's about him and what he wants. Not what I think he should want. But, I'm still going to let the neighbor dad know *I* have concerns and then let him deal with his own child however he sees fit.  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Teaching Goofy to look both ways before crossing the street

I have tried for years to get this boy to look so I don't have to yank him out of the path of a car and nothing worked until his man-crush taught him a game at the bus stop.

These are "Spikey Balls"

The Spikey Balls go in the street.

This is the desired result... a shout of  "SPLAT!"
video
Watching and waiting...

I think this game is awesome because it teaches them several things.
1. You have to look both ways to make sure no cars are coming before tossing them.
2. If you are too close to the street, cars will swerve, missing the balls.
3. You have to pick just the right place to throw them. You have to guess at where the cars will drive and toss it to the exact location.

and, as far as I know, as long as they aren't throwing them as cars are coming, there's no risk of property damage so, toss away, boys!

Since starting this game, he understands "look both ways" and actually initiates the looking before crossing the street and makes sure the LD looks by talking him through, step by step, what he's supposed to do before stepping into the street- woot!



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Only God Knows Why.

So, I'm shaping up to be in a fine mood. and, as usual, my mood will show loud and clear in this post and what's said may or may not be regretted later. but, that's ok. I'm writing it anyway. So, who's up for a pity party!?

Ready or not, here we go...



"I said it too many times
And I still stand firm
You get what you put in
And people get what they deserve
Still I ain't seen mine
No I ain't seen mine
I've been giving just ain't been gettin
I've been walking that there line
So I think I'll keep a walking
With my head held high
I'll keep moving on and only God knows why"
*** From the awesomely talented and insanely gorgeous Kid Rock
 
hm... maybe a little somethin' extra could help here...
I do have a bottle of Boone's Farm and a Hershey's bar begging to be consumed...
Anyway,

I told you yesterday morning a bit about the goofy child's social concerns. his concerns and mine. Well, I took the time to write that post and gather my thoughts before I e-mailed his teacher asking how he was doing with the other kids. I think what I was asking was pretty straight forward, easy to catch and easy to answer... but to this second, my inbox still says 32 unread messages. and I know, since I sent it to 3 people, that SOMEONE had to have seen it at some point before now

I know I'm just being all whatever and just because they didn't answer my e-mail the same day I sent it, doesn't mean they won't, it doesn't mean they see it as being a trivial question, it doesn't mean they are blowing me off. It just means either A) as Parenting With Asperger's said- they are discussing it and trying to get a real answer, B) I can't remember because Thing1 is bugging me for a taser, pellet gun and mace that was confiscated and disposed of a loooong while ago and it was an extremely good excuse reason, too. but, man, it sure feels like being blown off.

So, I also I get a phone call from Goofy's Assistant Nurse and I'm not liking it because I don't like her. Not because I don't like her as a person, but because I don't know her. I deal with the Nurse. Always. In 5 years, I rarely hear from anyone but the Nurse. I know the Nurse. and I like the Nurse. So, I'm already all whatever because the "wrong" person dare call me about my kid, meaning the "wrong" person is taking care of my kid when she goes to put Goofy on the phone and tells him to tell me he's fine. come on now, areyoufreakingkiddingme!? You can't tell him to tell me he's fine!!! If he was gushing blood and had several broken bones he would tell me he was fine! Sheesh, man! Get with the program! You know, more and more I'm understanding this whole "invisible disability" thing. Somehow, I think Alex is the easier one with his obvious autism where Goofy looks perfectly normal with his Alpha-freakin-bet of possibilities so no one even has a clue what's going on beneath that dazzling exterior. So, then Goofy is telling me about falling off the jeep, which is fine, he falls all of the time, it's one of the many things where I can step back and say, mhmm. That one's mine. so, he's telling me and he tells me that somebody laughed at him when he fell and my heart broke for him. I asked him if it hurt his feelings when they laughed, he said no. I asked if it was funny when they laughed and he said no, they just did. as if I should have known he was just telling me what happened, lol.

Then after everyone makes it home with minimal bruising and bumping, I try to talk to Big D who tells me that some of it's just kid stuff and they need to learn to deal with it on their own. I want to scream that you just don't understand! I asked him if he was ever picked on by an entire class. every. single. person in the class. He, of course, said no. Now, let me tell you, it's not fun. it's not kid stuff. It hurts. He says well, did you take a bath? NO! I didn't bathe regularly, my clothes were dirty and ill-fitting, I didn't brush my hair or teeth, I was unmedicated ADHD, and had no clue about appropriate social interaction... I had a shitty mother, ok? That doesn't give anyone the right to make someone feel less than they are! Then he got mad that I walked away snapping that I would deal with it my f*cking self. again.

and then, because I'm all... not angry, not frustrated... maybe dejected would be the right word here, and there's really no one to blame there when the problem isn't the e-mail, the problem is social interaction between children and my need to fix a problem that can't easily be fixed, and there has to be someone or something to blame somehow, somewhere... I'm getting all pissy because Alex's teacher didn't e-mail me. Not so much that she didn't e-mail me, well, yes, that, but also because AGAIN, with no e-mail, the bottom portion of his daily log- effing blank. Can't just anyone write one flipping sentence? Why can't anyone just tell me what's going on with my freaking kids!? and then I'm pissy because the log is dirty. Like, used. You know how dry erase marker leaves that residue unless you Windex it? Yeah. So I'm pissy and I'm getting the f*cking Windex myself because someone has to do something about something.

In conclusion, to quote Slice of Humble who sums it up quite nicely... "So who else started their period today?"

Friday, September 21, 2012

I'm worried about the Goofy one.

I'm worried about the Goofy one. I get to the point I question what I see in him, if it really is just my imagination or if I'm looking for signs that don't really exist, maybe I'm misinterpreting what I see. Up until now, I haven't really been worried about Asperger's as far as how it would affect him, I've been focused on diagnosis and treatment of problematic areas but this morning, I got a whole new view.

I was helping him get ready for school and I was getting frustrated because he's here and there, not really paying attention to what I'm doing. He's too distracted to shower or dress himself, flitting from subject to subject- in his head and out his mouth, playing with that stupid hot wheel and wanting me to wash it with soapy gloves because that would be so cool, not caring that since I overslept again and Alex woke up first, we are late and I need to just get this done. I'm asking him to please, just help me! Please, why can't you just pay attention long enough to help me dress you!? How are you going to do it yourself when you won't even focus long enough to see what I'm doing!? Then he said something that just slapped me in the face.

He doesn't want to go to school. Nothing new, it's a daily conversation but today, he doesn't want to go to school because the kids are mean. He doesn't want to go to school because they won't play with him. They "just be's jerk" to him. How did I miss this? I see the way the neighbor girl talks to him and I see him ignore her comments or shoot a rare remark back- beause the rule is "don't be rude" and when it gets to be too, too much for me to listen to, I call him in but she's the only one I've seen be this way with him and he always goes back for more. According to him, she's his best friend. probably because she told him so. and I believe she loves him just as much as he loves her but she's a typical 6 year old girl, he's her best friend too but what pair of 6 year olds never fight? I haven't seen him interact with other children because I don't see him with other children. I see him with family. and I seem to have forgotten that family is different than anything "out in the real world".

The way our kids interact with us and their siblings and the people they see regularly at home doesn't tell us much because they, and the people interacting with them, are completely different. Such as affection, appropriate interaction and eye contact. Alex has always had good eye contact with me, I didn't know until he started school that he resisted eye contact. Goofy's eye contact with me is fleeting unless I have his full attention and his eye contact with the SLP at school was fleeting but it's not the same with his dad. Appropriate at home isn't necessarily appropriate anywhere else, the overly casual way he greets and talks to us is "normal" but he doesn't see why the Children's Librarian or his teacher are any different than I am. Why should he adjust his behavior for them? I watch the way he interacts with his brothers, his nephew, his cousins, the neighbor girl and based on what I saw, I didn't really consider potential problems with other kids.

I watched him at the bus stop today, closer than usual and noticed a few things but I have to wonder about the boy's tolerance for him. Lisa Genova mentioned a truth in her book, Love Anthony, that made me laugh because it's sooo true. Once you live with autism, every child you come into contact with is watched. We have this desperate need to examine children and either see autistic behaviors or not see autistic behaviors. This boy, I'm not sure. Some of the things he does makes me wonder. He has these shoes with wheels on them. At exactly 8:30 every morning, the wheels come off. I don't know how he knows it's exactly 8:30 but he's never been one minute early or one minute late. 8:30, on the dot. If we "should" be at the bus stop and we are not, he will come looking for us. Walter complained about having to tell him when we would not be at the bus stop because "he doesn't even care! why would he care!?" until Walter stayed home from school sick and we weren't at the bus stop and the boy was here, ringing the bell :) but at the same time, he could just be a wonderfully quirky little boy who loves to tell strange women about all of his interests and forms a sort of bond with another, equally delightful quirky little boy.

So, this morning, every morning, the Goofy one asks in this hesitant, shy voice, "*Friend*, will you sit with me on the bus?" and the boy, shrugging his shoulder and paying attention to whatever he is doing instead of looking up, responds, "sure." This morning, I heard Goofy ask 4 times at different times. He was able to go on with what they were doing but always came back to the question until he got a shrug and a sure. This morning, Goofy asked shyly, "Can I try how to get it over your backpack?" The boy didn't seem to notice the odd way of asking to jump the frog and handed it over.

Every morning is the same. Everything is great up to the point he and his friend sit in the front seat and the bus drives out of sight but now I wonder what happens when he steps off of the bus. I think I need to talk to his teacher.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cleaning house for that most unwelcome visitor; The Flu.

Here we go again with the virus crap. um, literal and figurative. Alex got me up this morning, after my brother had waken me up to tell me it was my turn to be the one who overslept, with a smell that you wouldn't even believe. Actually, yes. you would. Poop is our lives, anymore, isn't it? Tells us everything we need to know about our children. This one told me, in flashing red letters, "SicksickSICKsick" while screaming in a tone that only an alarm can hit, "This is not a drill. I repeat: this is not a drill! Do. Not. send this child to school." but me, did I listen? Nooooo, I listened to the much quieter voice saying, "Mama, you crazy. He's FINE. send that child to school." So, I bathed him and plopped him down in front of Ooga, where he sat, not moving a muscle just gazing in adoration at the characters flitting and dancing across the screen. Did I see a red flag? Nope. I saw- awwww, how cute! then I plopped myself down beside him with his oatmeal, offered up the first bite of his favorite food and he turned his head away while making a sour face. I know! That's what I thought! but this voice, the much quieter one said, "Woman, he just went to the doctor yesterday and was FINE! Stop looking for trouble and send that boy to school!" I said Ok, maybe he doesn't want oatmeal because he smells the yummy banana muffins. uh-uh. Well, maybe he's just not hungry. I know! but, I did it anyway and shipped him off in the big yellow bus. Wasn't but an hour later I got the "Come get your sick kid" phone call because he puked on the bus.

Now, nothing motivates me like the threat of vomit. I can clean up poop messes that would have a grown man gagging but vomit? *shudder* so, I quickly morph into Bleach Queen: the Superheroine with awesome disinfecting powers.

Step 1: Secure the kid. make sure he's ok. get him home and comfortable.

Step 2: Notify all affected parties. Parents, Nurses in charge of your kids, etc.

Step 3: delegate supply gathering duties. You- I need OJ, chicken soup, Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, popcicles, Sprite, Gatorade, fruit coctail juice and crackers!!! You- Motrin, Tylenol, Lysol Spray, MORE BLEACH!!!!

***Note: if you don't like bleach, in some cases, vinegar works just as well and is a natural disinfectant. I recommend this article: This or That: Bleach vs. Vinegar to Kill Germs or this one: Does Bleach Disinfect as Well as Vinegar?. Vinegar is great for normal use, but not as effective as bleach in killing germs.

Step 4: Roll up your sleeves cause this sh*t's gonna get nasty. pun intended. This happens as the sickness comes on to prevent the other kids from getting it and when the sickness is over to keep the kid from re-infecting himself.
  • Ventilation is important, especially when using bleach, as well as airing out the germ infested air stuck in your house and the smells resulting from the germ infested air's effect on your kids.
  • Fill the tub with bleach water, hot as it can get. Toss in anything bleachable.
  • Next, get a spray bottle of bleach water, anything  not able to fit in the tub gets bleached this way- counters, door knobs, light switches (I would not suggest directly spraying anything electrical, put it on your rag), gate latches, anything their grubby little hands touch needs to be disinfected. Don't forget sink handles and the handle for the refrigerator.
  • all bedding gets washed, especially pillows. Pillows are big. Stuffed animals that can go in the washer, go in the washer. Toys that can go in the dishwasher, go in the dishwasher.
  • Toothbrushes need to be replaced or sanitized (same as baby bottles, boil for 5 mins).
  • Next would be my carpet cleaner. I love my carpet cleaner. I don't know what I would do without it. Everything that cannot be bleached or thrown in the washer can be cleaned with this little beauty. Beds, carpets, couches... on and on the list of things she can do goes. If you do not have a carpet cleaner, Lysol Disinfectant Spray works on these areas.
  • Lysol Spray. Whatever cannot be washed the other ways, can be sprayed with Lysol. I also use it as upkeep on beds/furniture, door knobs, etc after everything's been washed once.
  • Keep hand sanitizer around but never use it more than 3 times in a row or the goop will build up on your hands and collect germs. Washing your hands with soap and water is always best but hand sanitizer works in a pinch and for in between times.
  • Electronics- cell phones, ipods, MP3 players... can all be wiped down with a disinfecting wipe like those Clorox wipes for the kitchen.
  • Car- don't forget the kids aren't only in the house! door handles, steering wheel, whatever. You can use wipes in there, too. Car seats can be disinfected with Lysol spray.
  • Thermometer. I use alcohol soaked cotton swabs for a quick wipe down and everyone uses it under their arm. even adults. because who wants to lick an armpit?
If you have any tips on cleaning the house after the flu, I would love to hear them!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Autism Rating Scales... now?

You know those days that have gone in such a way that there is absolutely nothing you can do but laugh and every single thing that happens is so flippin hilarious? Please? anyone? not just me? Ok, then. So, those days may not be the best days to try to do something serious. I ran into the school psychologist dropping Goofy off at school. He gave me the Autism Rating Scales to fill out and I promised I would have them done and turned back in the next morning. Thank God he doesn't need them quite that soon because I'm reading these pages, getting the giggles and wondering who in the world comes up with this crap. It's awesomely comical.

"Gives good suggestions for problem solving" um, what exactly do you mean by "good"? Because he can come up with some good ones. Example:

Or, we could go with the fact that he decided when he runs away from home, he's going to take his Dad and his brothers with him so Dad can fix mac n cheese and I will be home alone and I will be scared because no one will watch me. Or, that he can't sit in the car with me while Dad runs in because who will watch us? I will watch you. *crying*, well, then, who will watch you? Or, we could go with the fact that he thinks Thing1's newest girl's homeless (because we are not keeping it, no matter how many people "liked" Walter's status asking you to convince me.) hamster can watch his brother while we go to the bus stop or since the hamster can't, his cat can. well, why not? ...moving on... "has a short attention span"
'nuff said.
...moving on... "eats things that are not food" are you serious? Remember this which I will label Exhibit C?: "Goofy: Mom, where's your phone? Me: uh-uh. Goofy: Why not? Me: You ate the teacher's crayons!!! Goofy: MOM! They were MY crayons!!" ...and it was only the red one. not all of them. or licking the door latch in the ER while waiting to get an x-ray on the hand that the LD threw a brick at? Yeah, Goofy, not Alex. and do you know, between the 2 of them, how many times a day I say "get that out of your mouth!", "what's in your mouth?", "DON'T EAT THAT!!!"? Neither do I. I would say that's a big, fat ALWAYS. ... and my favs... "Expresses fear of getting sick" and "complains of pain" and "says 'I think I'm sick.' " and "complains about health" and "complains of being sick when nothing is wrong" ... he just got his very own diagnosis yesterday at Alex's appointment when he was listing every ailment he's had over the past year so the doctor would examine him- the doc told him he had a bad case of hypochondriosis, I love that man! That satisfied the goofy one. Do. Not. tell that child if he does something dangerous he will have to go to the hospital because that's like promising someone a trip to Disney World. Serious. He'll do it just so he can go. Did you think it was a coincidence that the Nurse seems to be his favorite person to visit at school?
Ok, Now, we totally can't pass up " shows fear of strangers" Remember this? I do. it happens every single time we leave the house.
Lies. Remember when Fido lost Thing1's original ex-girl's retainer? and broke the picture frame? and spilled his tea? and drew on the wall? Yes, his imaginary fly. I've never been so happy to have an imaginary pet run away from home and never return, *knock on wood*. And just recently he did not scratch his Dad's new table up, he doesn't know who scratched his name there. He lies. he lies all the time. He sucks at it but his little pants are always ablazing.
but then some of it... there's no fighting genetics. the boy is his mother's child through and through... "does strange things", "seems out of touch with reality", "easily distracted", "will speak up if the situation calls for it" -whether it's his place to or not-, "acts without thinking"... seriously. look at the people raising this child. Is it any wonder he "acts strange" and "does strange things?" Any given day this house could easily be mistaken for an insane assylum as much as being a home for wayward children and we wonder what the hell is wrong with our kids. *shaking my head* poor little things never had a chance at "normal".

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm blaming the kids. Murphy had nothing to do with it.

So, this morning was a little crazy. I had an appointment for Alex at 8:30 to find out if he had an ear infection because that boy has been unbelievably hyper! See...


That video doesn't look TOO bad, you say? That's because the *really* bad stuff was to quick to catch on camera. Like throwing glasses. GLASSES! you know, those breakable things that make an awesome sound when they hit concrete? mhmm. those. and dumping chocolate milk every-freakin-where and did I mention that he dumped. my. coffee. on purpose!? ON PURPOSE!!! my coffee!!! Is nothing sacred anymore!? and the cereal? no longer belongs in the bowl. Go ahead, put it in the bowl, I'll just dump it out and throw the bowl at whoever is dumb enough to be standing close. Oh, yeah? You think closing the shower curtain will contain the water? I'll just rip the damned thing down and *then* kick bathtub water all over the floor, the curtain AND you! oh, you want to sleep? Well, then, I will sit up as late as I can, rocking and humming and clicking and clacking and saying your name over and over and over and over until you really, really want to cry uncle and give in to one more round of Ooga. Just because you didn't give in tonight, doesn't mean you won't tomorrow. You will break. I promise. One day, really soon, Ooga will be playing all freaking night long.
So, I say, oh yeah? Well, then I will get rid of the thing making you feel yucky and get my sweet boy back! So I make a doctor's appointment. For Alex. and have to take both Goofy and the Little Dementor with us. Woo, man, if I didn't want to cry uncle before... these kids are something else. You need a war fought in any country? sic these little hellions on them. The war will be won in less than an hour.
It all started before we even got out of the car. yeah, we didn't even get into the building before I was begging for mercy. The doctor says there's not a thing wrong with the boy. His ears are good, his tubes are just so, his throat is clear... sometimes, it can just be "behavior". Are you freaking kidding me!? This is the only good kid I have!!!! I swear by all that's holy, if his brothers have corrupted him, I will sell them all as cheap labor. and throw in a cute cousin to sweeten the deal.
We leave there, with the LD falling down the stairs twice because, well, the Goofy one was jumping down them, even though mom warned him that if he broke his neck, she would leave him where he lay and walk on as if nothing even happened. Get to Alex's school and I don't even know what happened. Crazy. with a capital C. To the point I forgot which kids belonged to me, which ones were staying and which ones were going. Now that I think about it, I wonder if they'd have even noticed one or two extra kids... yeah, these kids, there's no overlooking them. They don't own inside voices and they never shut up. and if you didn't notice their constant yapping, they'd be patting you on whatever body part they could reach saying "hey. hey. hey. hey..." until you're screaming "For the love of God, what do you want!?"
Goofy's teacher gave me the option of keeping him home today since it's early out and I considered it for about 1/2 of a second. Could you imagine? If I let him stay home on a school day for no other reason but that it's convenient for me? I'd be fighting that war all the way through graduation! and, what if he misses work? He can't miss work and I didn't arrange for it to be sent home. and evaluations are coming. what if he misses one? and, besides all of that, that boy is. not. staying home annoying the hell out of me when he can be annoying the hell out of someone else for free. Sorry, Teacher, I do understand and I know you were offering the option to make it easier on me, but uh-uh. His butt is going to school.
...Did I mention that Walter didn't go to school because he's soooooo siiiiick? Never again. He'd better be sent home on his death bed next time or he will be "sick" IN school.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Guest Post: Lisa Davis on Easy to Love But...

My name is Lisa Davis and I am currently teaming up with writer and neuroscientist Tricia Bliven Chasinoff to publish a book in the series called Easy to Love But... The first of the series, Easy to Love But Hard to Raise, is already published and out in bookstores and available on-line.

Easy to Love but Hard to Raise is an anthology of personal essays written by parents of children with ADD, ADHD, OCD, PDD, ASDs, SPD, PBD and/or other alphabet soup diagnoses that takes the already difficult job of parenting and adds to the challenge.


Ours is second in the series, and will expand the focus beyond raising children with disabilities. The current book will address the experiences of children, siblings, spouses, and others who have close relationships with people who have been diagnosed with one of these "invisible disabilities". We are also interested in hearing first-hand accounts of people who have been living with these disabilities. While this book will not address parenting, per se, we will be including some stories from parents, specifically parents of adult children with disabilities or parents who have been affected by multiple generations of disabilities (i.e., when both parent AND child are affected).

We need more stories and we'd love to hear from you. You can e-mail us at triciaandlisa@gmail.com
You can also learn more by going to www.itsyourhealthnetwork.com

Thanks so much!!

Lisa and Tricia

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Teaching Directional Tracking in Reading

Directionality is the way print is tracked during reading and put down in writing- top to bottom, left to right with a return sweeping motion from the end of one line to the beginning of the next.

You can start working on this early, in the form of examining books and pictures. You can work on getting them familiar with the books at a young age and building their receptive- and eventually, expressive- language by naming the pictures in the book. Draw their attention to the picture by tapping it with your finger or a pen and once their eyes follow the sound to the picture, label the picture. You can use these times to start working on looking at books front to back (skipping pages is not a problem, let them go where they want to go- they are showing interest and that is awesome) and teaching the directionality of your language. In English, it's top-bottom, left-right so I would start with the pictures in the uppermost, left hand corner and guide their attention as if you were reading words. this will get them into the habit of scanning the way the words read.

You build their receptive language by giving the items on the page a name yourself, you can help build expressive language by having them name the items... "Oh, how pretty! Do you know what this is?" "what is that?" You are still guiding the lines of their directional tracking by requesting labels in the direction of reading/writing words.

As they get older and have the attention span to listen to the "real" story, follow the words of the story with your finger to show them where/how you are getting the story you tell and to give them a visual model of left-right-sweep-left-right-top-bottom reading. If they are not "watching" your finger as you go, it's perfectly FINE! They can look at the pictures and still get the impression of what your finger is doing. Actually, as far as kids with ADHD, multi-tasking is a lot easier than just doing one thing at a time which is why in some cases, having the radio playing or watching TV while doing homework works better than just trying to do homework.

Read frequently. I believe our school suggests 20 minutes/day but that doesn't mean you have to read text for 20 minutes straight. Answer questions, look at the pictures, discuss how the pictures relate to the story, ask for alternate endings or what could possibly come next. Get them involved in the story, not just the book. Show them that reading is fun. Spend 10 minutes on a book after school, 10 minutes at bed time. There are no rules for how the 20 minutes are broken up.

Let them see you read for fun. It doesn't have to be a book, read a magazine, a newspaper, a blog ;) , whatever. Show them you are interested in reading by letting them see you do it. When they see their hero reading for fun, they are much more likely to do it themselves. Talk to them about what you are reading when they ask. Show them that you enjoy it.

Show them that reading is everywhere, not just in school or for fun. Words and opportunities to teach directional tracking are everywhere. While they are helping you with supper, read the directions on the back of the box (don't even, some of us NEED those boxes ;) ) or the recipe. While you are washing their hair, read the directions on the bottle. Eating breakfast, read the back of the cereal box. Driving or walking, read the signs you pass. Any chance you get, read. and any time possible, follow the words with your finger to show them where you are looking.

Friday, September 14, 2012

"It's time to step back..."

You’re so vain, you probably think this post is about you… remember this post from Autism and Oughtisms that I referenced back in Alex's summer school days in this post (here) about his teacher? The one where I quoted the blogger as saying "Instead I remind myself that I was expecting a defensive reply from her, and to just take a step back. Read it again, with a clearer mind, see if my expectations have coloured what I’ve read." and vowed at the end to not forget this lesson? Yeah. Well, I forgot.


I have a rule on my page that personal attacks are not welcome. When stating your case or giving advice, use you own experiences and your own views and leave the judgment out of it. It's kind of hard to expect you all to follow the rules when the page owner does not.


I don't think I'm being very fair to Goofy's teacher. and I'm not just saying that because she apparently reads my blog ;) Really, I don't think I am. After realizing the reason for the phone call and remembering the post (here), I went back to read it and was actually quite shocked by much of what I had to say. I didn't so much as state my case and explain my reactions as attack her as a person and a teacher. This got me to thinking of everything that has happened, and question how much of it is colored by my perception.



Image courtesy of a member of MoCaa

Everything is colored by perception- always. Everyone sees things from their own view. In order to step around and see what someone else sees, you need to know where they are looking at things from and what exactly they see.


I wonder if maybe I haven't been clear on what I expect, what I need or what I am looking at. I can't expect the teacher or anyone else to know what I want until I tell them exactly what that is. I'm assuming she knows the signs/symptoms of Asperger's but then I have to realize, how old were your kids when they were diagnosed? How many Kindergartners get the diagnosis while in Kindergarten? They either have it going in or the issues indicating the need for further evaluation don't present themselves for a few more years. How many AS kids don't get diagnosed until around 10 years old? I'm also assuming she knows that Asperger's is what I am looking at but the signs may not be glaringly obvious to her. How much did you know about autism before your child was diagnosed? How many of you had never even heard the word "autism" until it came out of the doctor's mouth? So, how can we expect someone who hasn't been affected on a personal level to know what to look for and what to report if we do not tell them exactly what we are looking for? If it wasn't for Alex, I never would have considered Asperger's for Goofy. I would probably be saying what the teacher is telling me now.


I am taking offense based on other people's reactions to my suspicions. Which, you can ask Tyler about this, being punished for someone else's action is not even cool (you can read about that here). The fact that she says Weeelllll, yeah but with a considering look on her face and I flash to Thing1's ex-girl telling me all the ways it cannot possibly be Asperger's because well, this other person has Asperger's and... is not the teacher's fault. When the teacher says, but the other kids... and I hear Big D telling me I'm just looking for things that aren't even there because he's a perfectly normal boy and I'm just looking for something to be "wrong" with him, also not her fault. When she withholds information that she doesn't even know I need and I start getting angry about the Psychologist telling me that Goofy is just imitating his autistic brother, not really showing signs himself, how can she be blamed for that? Those were the actions of other people and it doesn't give me the right to take them out on her just because I'm frustrated with the whole thing.


When you take a step back and consider things from the other person's perspective, it changes the whole tone of the situation. Taking a step back and looking at Goofy as a "normal" kid in a Kindergarten class being evaluated for unknown specific reasons, having certain dificulties while already having a perfectly valid diagnosis of ADHD-NOS, I can totally understand why she isn't always telling me the worst. She's trying to highlight his strengths as a typical 6 year old boy in school for the first time (not counting last year's 2 weeks, or, lol, especially considering last year's 2 weeks and the vast improvement) while I'm looking for someone to back me up. Tell the doctor, tell my husband, tell ME I'm not crazy! just Please! can't you see this!?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dear God, are you serious right now? Like, really?

If you missed the excitement of yesterday's post, don't worry. it continues on in today's, you didn't miss a thing.


So, the morning started out much better. Everything right on track. Just so. The way it's supposed to be. I kicked the kids out of the house first chance I got and sat down to do absolutely nothing for as long as I wanted to do absolutely nothing. It was a morning of pure bliss. and chocolate. and coffee. and Internet.


Then the Goofy child came home. with a 7. the third one this week. mhmm. I'm suspicious, too. but whatever. maybe his aide really is helping. We'll see. We sit down to do homework and run into a problem. He breezed through most of it until we got to the positional words, before and after.


I'm not sure what the problem is or how to work around it until I remember the words "spatial recognition" and "sequencing" that I heard from the SLP at that meeting so, I go googling and find this (here), Visual Processing Disorder. and I'm a little upset. How many freaking diagnoses can one kid end up with!? Is there anything about this Goofy child that isn't diagnosis worthy? So, I'm a little distraught, trying to find anything to tell me HOW to work with this child when I spot an e-mail. I think I may just stop checking my e-mail. seriously.
This one is from Goofy's OT- who was Alex's OT. In response to my request for a copy of the evaluation before the IEP meeting, she says: "I will try my best to get it to you before the meeting. It all depends on when I get all the testing finished and then get the report written. If I can manage to get it to you early, and you have questions/concerns before the meeting, if you could let me know, that would be helpful." My first thought should not be shared in polite company. I'm a little upset because I asked in my written request for a copy of the written report generated by each evaluation so that I might review it before the IEP meeting. really, direct quote. If I ask for it, you have to do it because those are the rules. Except, those are not the rules for Missouri. According to the Parent's guide to Special education in Missouri, they are not required to give out reports until AFTER the meeting. There's a little bit of something in the Code of Federal Regulations: 34 CFR 300.613(a) that states "Each participating agency must permit parents to inspect and review any education records relating to their children that are collected, maintained, or used by the agency under this part. The agency must comply with a request without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP, or any hearing pursuant to Sec. 300.507 or Sec. Sec. 300.530 through 300.532, or resolution session pursuant to Sec. 300.510, and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made." found though Wrightslaw because they are awesome and say that this applies to evaluation reports as well. but I'm not sure exactly what that means or if I should even push it because the entire reason for this meeting is to determine eligibility. To go over the reports, have them explained, decide if he meets the criteria to have an IEP and then there will be 30 more days to write the IEP. So, what does it matter if I wait until the meeting to get the reports? My frustration with this woman is most likely personal and goes back to the first year with Alex where I had to keep repeating the words "It's in his IEP" over and over. but while I'm reading and trying to think, that's about when Goofy's teacher called.
Goofy's teacher called to touch base with me because she wants to keep in contact. Goofy has a test coming up Monday, well, they all do and they are expected to be able to identify letters A-Z out of order and numbers 0-10 or possibly 0-9. She just wants to let me know that she *is* keeping in contact with me because she wouldn't want me to think that she was not keeping in contact with me because she *is* keeping in contact with me and she wouldn't want me *saying* otherwise. She wouldn't want me to *tell* anyone she's not keeping in contact with me and she certainly wouldn't want me *saying* *unkind* *words* about her because, you know, that meeting at the beginning of the year was all her idea so she *is* keeping in contact and just wants me to know that. What the hell is this woman even talking about!? I never uttered a single unkind word in the Principal's office!!! Alex is stimming, Walter's tattling, Goofy's screaming, I have Special Education Law open in front of me and my brain is fried but, ok. you want to play that game? Then give me some real f*cking information. Did he finish all of his work today? Ok, and while we were working on homework we ran into a problem with before/after. He whizzed right through most of the positional words but got stuck on that one because I can't get him to understand the whole left-to-right thing. Well, That is definitely something we can work on, a lot of the kids are having trouble with the positional words. We will definitely be working on it, I just wanted to touch base so we can keep in contact.
NO! I'm not freaking kidding! You wouldn't even believe this crap, *I* don't even believe this crap. Not just her, the whole effing thing! all of them! and I get to the point I have to stop and look around because not every single person around me can be off their flippin rocker, sometimes if everyone around you is bat-sh*t crazy, it's time to look in the mirror and see why. and I'm looking. hard. am I losing my mind? What the hell just happened? Is this real? am I being punked? There *has* to be a camera around here somewhere with a snickering man in a ball cap hiding close by. Did I fall down the rabbit hole and not even notice? totally possible. must have given myself a concussion in the process because homeschooling is starting to sound fantastic. If only I didn't need the educational diagnosis to get the medical diagnosis... why do I need a medical diagnosis, again? Exactly how important is it...?
***edit*** sh*t! There were PLENTY of unkind words in that blog post where I was venting my frustrations... That would make the phone call make perfect sense. who knew they'd actually read it, right? maybe I ought to start watching what I say... think before you speak and all that. and an apology for being mean probably wouldn't hurt.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Murphy's Law strikes again...

So I told you a little bit yesterday about my day, today, I will tell you more and hope you at least get a little giggle at the absurdity of it all.

It started the night before last when someone thought it might be a good idea to drive into a telephone pole just as I was dozing off, completely ruining my next 24 hours by knocking the electricity out. We live right by the fire department (I could probably throw a rock and hit their building from here) and a police sub-station (right beside them), all of the trucks and ambulances and police cars come screaming by our house- after 10- with lights flashing and sirens blaring when usually they shut that crap off when it's obvious people are sleeping. Add in that we live on the corner of a busy intersection and throw in some major honking to warn the drivers that they are coming- with all of our windows open. makes it a little hard to sleep.

I'm wondering how in the world I'm going to get up at 5am with no electricity. Big Daddy gets up to investigate what's going on, by 11:30 we're back in bed. 3 and 1/2 hours after bed time.

5am comes, Big D calls my phone to wake me up, no electricity.

5:30, Big D calls me to see if I'm up, no electricity. Crap. Goofy's school is right up the street, if we don't have electricity, neither do they. What am I going to do with Alex all day with no electricity? Should I drive him to school? I can't take him to school with no shower!!! But, he's really not going to be happy if he's stuck at home with no electric. What to do, what to do...

6am, mhmm, you guessed it. Big D calls. we get the electricity back but everything is late because we have to squeeze in just as many kids getting ready in an hour less than usual. Walter's bouncing off the walls, I don't even know what was wrong with that boy. Goofy's a whiney little brat and everything is all my fault for not "helping" him. He knocks the chair over trying to get the turtle I told him to get the hell away from, well, it's MY fault he knocked the chair over because, well, I should have helped him disobey me.

7am, I'm trying to dress Alex, run herd on Goofy and threaten Walter's life if he does not freaking calm his ass down right this second and leave his brother alone because I am the parent, I will decide what he can and cannot do. You want to parent someone, go get your own kid, this one's mine. and that man calls me again!!!! Call me one more effing time before these demons are exorcised from the house, I freaking dare you.

I put the kids on the bus in my PJs because I did not even have time to get dressed in all the chaos of one effed up morning and I didn't finish my first cup of coffee until after Alex was on the bus.  That's not good. Usually I'm at least halfway through the pot by the time we head for Goofy's bus.

You think it would stop there that the Master of the Universe will see me about to commit myself to the local loony bin just to get out of this loony bin and say "Ok, now, that's enough of a laugh for the day from this one. She's had enough, let's move on to someone else." But did he? Nooooooo. Of course not. He says "OH! OH! I have a great idea! Here's a good one we haven't seen in a while and it's always freaking *hilarious*! Let's throw in some school shenanigans!"

HOLY SCHNIKES, He's STILL not done with me!? I just got an awesome e-mail where school personnel MISSPELLED Goofy's name. Whatever. everyone misspells Goofy's name.

anyway, where was I?

um, yesterday. Oh, yes. Yesterday. So, I write this blog post (here) about my frustrations with the school and my attempt to get an Audiologist appointment for the goofy child. Just to get it all out there and vent my way to serenity. Did it work? *snort*

Goofy comes home from school and the homework of the day is numbers (woo-freakin-hoo, man!!!) so homework goes ... heavenly. awesome. As I'm looking in his folder, I run across a 3 page assignment that says, in big purple letters, "Didn't finish writing", with the unfinished parts circled boldly in purple. 2 and 1/2 pages of the 3 were unfinished. as in not even attempted. The coloring was done, and done well, but the writing- zip. ok, no problem. I show Goofy what he didn't do, his exact reaction, "Oh, yeah!" and he went on to do it. on his own. with no help. So, logical question... Where was your new friend when you were doing this? "What new friend?" The one who helps you. The new lady. "Oh, she's not my friend, she's a teacher." well, where was she? "well, she wasn't there yet." What do you mean she wasn't there yet!? Where was she!? This work was from LAST WEEK! Do you remember this post (here) where one of my main concerns was him blowing off work and me not knowing about it? and the teacher said any assignments not finished in class would be sent home? Yeah, I'm MAD. So, I call my husband who I had been talking to off and on all day about the horse hockey and tell him that I am totally on my freaking way and I don't even care. I grab the kid and head out the door when I realize, maybe going in South Park PJ pants wouldn't be the best idea. So, back in to change.

While I'm changing my clothes, I'm delayed just enough to get a call. Goofy has an audiology appointment Oct 9 at 10 am! woot!

but not *woot!* enough that I'm not still pissed. out the door and to the school we go, to the tune of Red Riding Hood. The Principal thinks the teacher doesn't want me to worry. First of all, where did that even come from? and Hello!? Have you met me? and I'd worry a heck of a lot less with the TRUTH. but she will talk to the teacher. and she thinks the teacher agreed to a countdown yesterday, she didn't refuse modifications, the new aide can be the timer. really? because that's not what we heard and I know it because I took someone with me to this meeting and he says so. How could we both miss it? she will talk to the teacher. fine. whatever. I want his unfinished assignments sent home to finish. I want to know what is going on with my kid in class. I want this sh*t fixed so I can get back to obsessing over Alex. Right now, all I can remember that I'm supposed to be doing at home is encouraging the use of a fork/spoon for OT (I refuse to do anything beyond encourage, I will not force it), potty training and using vocab words even though I don't remember getting a list of vocab words for the week... but I could find out if I could take my eyes off of the goofy one long enough to look :/ BUT, she said the list of stuff that's being tested should be in my folder, yay! but the only thing in my folder from the meeting is an overall list. Like, "language" and "motor". whatever.

I get home and I get an e-mail from Goofy's OT.
"I'm sorry I was not at the meeting yesterday. I just wanted to let you know, in addition to looking at Goofy's fine motor, self help, and sensory skills, I will be looking at a few other areas as it pertains to school performance. I will have a detailed report at the IEP in which we will go over all of the specific areas.
Please let me know if you have any additional questions. However, I may not have more specific information in regards to Goofy until I complete the evaluation."
Oh, how sweet. Actually said with minimal sarcasm. I'm still upset that she was able to opt out of the meeting. I can't opt out. and believe me, I have plenty of other things I could be doing. and excuse me, but "I will have a detailed report at the IEP "? What? I asked for a copy of the written report generated by each evaluation so that I can review it before the IEP meeting. Have they still not found the papers i turned in!?

You know what? whatever. It can't get too much worse. right? It has to get better from here. hm? "Bwahahaha," laughs the Lord, "the best is yet to come."

"Alex was very lethargic and quiet all day" according to his teacher. Laugh or cry? "Awesome. Let's hope it has more to do with someone knocking a telephone pole down in the middle of the night that knocked out everyone's electricity and had fire trucks, ambulances and police cars screaming by our house and their loud honking right outside his open window since we live at the corner of a busy intersection which lead to the worst morning in recent history than a possible ear infection. If he's not doing better tomorrow, I will call his ENT for an appointment."

Had enough, Lord? "NO!" he shouts in a booming voice, "there are still a few hours left in the day, why don't we make the most of it?" Sure. why not? So, let's throw in just all around evil children; a husband who gets called for a last minute meeting at work; an awesome, and I mean AWESOME, fork using session with excellent communication that did not record; a bickering session over Asperger's vs M√ľnchausen syndrome by proxy; and a 9pm round of 11th grade English in the form of examining a sermon on God's grace being the only thing keeping you dangling above the gaping open mouth of the fiery pit instead of dropping your ass into the lake of brimstone and fire.