Monday, March 31, 2008
You are right on so many levels! I am encouraged by Jack's success -- it gives me much hope for the future. It's OK if it is two years (or more) down the road, as long as it comes!
I told his first SLP about the mixed language disorder and gave her a copy of the report. She totally ignored me and went the ABA route (which was what the Camaratas said NOT to do). Thank God we're outta there.
I received this note from Mrs. Teacher Friday afternoon. "Curt is showing great improvement following directions and interacting at Circle Time. We are still having problems with the bathroom (he likes running in and out), the computer (wants to be on it all the time) and pinching." At least the news is not all bad this time.
EI first wanted me to take him to TRIAD at Vanderbilt -- totally for Autistic disorders. I had the appointment set when I talked to Mary Camarata. Divine Intervention! After we saw the Camaratas, EI still tried to get me to take him to Memphis to the same kind of place. This time, I waivered not. I said, "He has a diagnosis from Vanderbilt. There is no reason to go anywhere else." It's like they wanted the Scarlet Letter "A" on his chest and would not be happy until they got it!
I was so happy when he turned three and EI was out of our lives!
His second and third SLP (the current one) work with child-led activities and it makes all the difference. (Wow, just like the Camaratas said -- you'd think they were experts or something!) The only reason we're on our third is because of insurance which did not pay for #2 (number one was with a big company and they had NO PROBLEM paying! Don't even get me started on the insurance companies!!) #3 is with the school and free. We just couldn't swing Dr. Brown and the SLP out of pocket every week of the year. This summer, he will return to #2 weekly when school is closed.
You are right. If they would call Dr. Camarata, I would love that. They have not tried to re-schedule a meeting, but when they do, that will be my suggestion.
The good news is that Dr. Brown agrees with the Camaratas' Rx. He told me we were right to take him to Vanderbilt, because if we had taken him around here (BFE), he would've gotten an Autism diagnosis in five minutes.
Thank God for the internet. It gave me access to other late-talking moms (like you) and it's where I found the Camaratas.
ETA: WTF is so important about circle time? Why does everyone insist two and three year olds must participate in "jail without bars" on a daily basis and who are the 3-year-old little boys (or girls for that matter) who enjoy it? Pa-lease!
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I am sorry that I have not written before about Curt. Things have been extremely busy.
When we got back from spring break last Monday, Curt displayed at least 55 acts of aggression including hitting, kicking, and pinching. We were thinking this may have been because of the long break and he wasn't used to us being back and not getting his way. Three out of the next five days, he displayed zero acts of aggression which was really good! (He always gets his way at home. NOT. He doesn't hit the other kids, just the teachers. Anti-establishment, he is.)
Monday we started implementing time out for when he starts to use aggression to get his way. After the day of 55 acts of aggression we found it necessary to start implementing it. (Duh.) Monday he went into time out twice for hitting us and we told him why he was put there and if he understood, to which he replied yes. It is amazing what wonders time out will do for Curt and him following directions and not hitting. (Duh, square.)
Last Thursday was one of best days we have had with Curt. He followed 85% of the directions that he was given, he showed no signs of aggression, and he participated in circle time really well and listened really well.
We have seen a lot of improvement in his verbal activity. During baseline we noticed that he did not say much at all, but now he is starting to open up a bit more in trying to say things to others. On several occasions he has sang in circle time, quietly but he did sing and we praised him for that. He has also been participating more in circle time with the other children. He responds very well to yes or no questions. When we ask him to identify numbers or objects he does identify them verbally.
Our intervention is definitely helping. His percentage of following directions is going up a great deal. During baseline he averaged around 30% of followed directions and now he is averaging around 70% of followed directions. He seems to respond very well to the stickers.
I hope this helps in letting you know where we are at in working with him!
Wow. 55 acts of aggression in one day. I knew my boy was an overachiever.
ETA: You must read the comment by Coyote Bebop, which puts everything into perspective. I mean now.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Her family called her Baby. When she went to school, they wanted a name. She didn't have one. The story I heard (from her) is that she named herself Peggy Pansy. She was 6.
She was a high school basketball player. She was good. She was the only one of her four sisters (the youngest) to graduate from high school. She went to the next county to marry my grandfather, at 17 just shy of graduation, then went back home to live with her parents -- like nothing had happened. She didn't tell them she was married, the town did.
Not long after, a car pulled up into their gravel driveway. She told me she remembered the dust flying. The man offered her a basketball scholarship to Arkansas State University. She declined, telling him she had recently married.
I once asked her if she ever regretting getting married and not taking that scholarship. She told me, "If I had done that, I wouldn't have you!"
Her new husband was called to World War II. She was 20 and pregnant. When my father was born, he went AWOL to see him before he was shipped to Japan. Jumped a train. Apparently, there were no long-term implications.
She had three children and a husband who took risks. Many of those, thankfully, were lucky business decisions. My grandfather also liked to gamble. He wasn't a very good father, missing their children's big occasions for a card game. He was a good grandfather. When he died in 2001, my brother put a royal flush in his pocket whilst he laid in the casket. It seemed fitting.
I lived next door to them from age 5 until I moved away from home. My mother was a teacher, so the bus dropped us off at Honey's, who normally had sugar cookies or other treats for us until my mother told her not to feed me, I was too fat!
She was strong as nails, but she gave the best hugs. She enveloped you in her body. She loved her children and grandchildren with the most fervent passion I've known. She could kick ass if needed.
She was generous. She bought me a new car for high school graduation. She took me shoe shopping and bought me whatever I picked out. I picked out $98 shoes in 1982. She didn't care. They were the right ones.
When she died (in 1991), she left instructions for me to have her mink coat. I've only worn it once, to her funeral. I asked my mother if I should. My mother said, "If Honey were here, she'd say, 'If you've got it, flaunt it.'"
She died 17 years ago this month. I still miss her.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
We ditched church and went to the Lake. I had not bought "Easter outfits" anyway. Therefore, what was the point? We had fun. Now, it's time to grill and watch March Madness. I love spring.
P.S. Ignore the paci. Hell, he just woke up. Yes, he's 3.5 (or more). You talkin' to ME!?!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
My mother and had no "moments." We are close. However, she is just about the most anal person I know and sometimes, our personalities clash. If I say I will be there at 11:30 and I arrive at 11:40, it's bad. She, of course, arrived 15 minutes early and is irritated that I've kept her waiting 25 minutes!(?) When I told her it took one hour, 40 minutes to travel from her house to mine, she later told me it was actually 1:51 (yes, she timed it).
My dad has become an unlikely allie for me the past few years. Growing up, I was definitely a Daddy's girl. That all changed when I became a teenager. My hormones made it impossible for him to joke with me (his preferred form of communication) which tested what little patience he possessed. From the time I was 14 until about 23, we had a very strained relationship.
When I was 25, my grandmother -- his mother -- died. This changed everything. She was the backbone of our family. "Honey" was of utmost important to him and to me. At the end of the grave site services, I looked up through my own tears and saw my father crying. I had never seen this before. I had to go to him. My mother tried to hold me back, but -- in rare fashion for me -- I wouldn't listen to her advice on social graces. I ran to him, hugged him, and told him, repeatedly, "I love you." He returned the favor. We hadn't said that to each other, meaningfully, in probably 20 years.
Things changed. We were gentler with each other. Then, in 1999, my brother called. Heart attack. Emergency quadruple bypass. The family standing at his side with him on the table, a sheet covering him. They called us in before surgery so we would have a chance to say good-bye in case he didn't make it. I held it together until I left the room, when I walked down the hall, rounded the corner, and fell into a heap on the floor. My brother physically lifted me up and told me I had to get it together for my mom. I did.
He made it. It was a long recovery, he looked and felt bad. Today, he looks and feels great.
My mom used to run interference between us; the roles have now reversed. It's funny how things turn out.
With this entry, I realize there is so much I want to say. In due time.
Friday, March 21, 2008
I've always loved to garden and landscape. Since Curt, I do not have the time to do so. Getting my hands in the dirt is therapeutic for me. Hopefully, as Curt gets older, I can resume this more proactively.
I then tackled Curt's closet. After sending bags of clothes, toys and paraphernalia to the consignment shop, I still have two bags of clothes for my SIL and two more for the shop come fall. Whew.
Tomorrow it's off to Nana and Pop's for a visit. She has a television and computer (sans monitor) to give Curt. Perhaps I might then be able to use my laptop during his waking hours. What a geeky toddler.
My mother is a wonderful woman. That being said, I hope she and I both survive the visit.
P.S. No, the photo has nothing to do with this entry, but I liked it and I decided to post it. So there. Such a solicitous mommy.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Speaking of wanting something (segueway, anyone?), I received something I really wanted today. When I picked Curt up from pre-school, his teacher called me aside. Usually, this is not a good thing. But, today, she said, "We had a good day. When we told him it wasn't his turn on the computer, he just walked away. No tantrum. Also, at circle time, he didn't run off and actually participated. It was a good day."
Are we turning a corner here or was this a fluke? Next week will tell. I will tell you that he received his first good note (ever) on the sign-out sheet which read, "More compliant today!"
Should I put it in his baby book? You be the judge.
I'm off work tomorrow for Good Friday. The Bible Belt does have its advantages. Who knew?
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
This morning, when I dropped him off at pre-school, his teacher told me they made crafts yesterday, using paintbrushes to put glue on pre-cut paper objects to attach to construction paper. Something Easter-ish, I presume. Anyway, Curt began to get a little (lot?) messy with the glue, so they took it from him. They tried to convince him using only the paintbrush itself was just as fun. He wasn't buying it. Then, from seemingly nowhere, he said, "I want glue" and repeated it several times.
(Note that he did not throw a tantrum. He did not try to hit. He used his words. He used his words!)
Those three little words make me almost as happy as three other little words I now believe I'll hear sometime in the near future.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Today, friends, is tax day. The day Cowboy and I sit down with the accountant, who gives us an idea of what to expect. It took a long time to gather up all the receipts and information. It takes a lot longer if you are a dumb-ass and lose three of your most important receipts. You then are forced to call those financial institutions and 1.) Admit you are a dumb-ass, and 2.) Request them to fax you that information because you are seeing your accountant today.
Whew. I'm glad I know nothing of that.
Cowboy started his business after we sold the poultry farm last year. (We raised 132,000 chickens, six times a year. Ok, I'm using the universal "we." The chicken farm is a post in itself for another time.)
I digress. Anyone who has started a business knows it takes a while for people to know you're out there, advertising or not. Cowboy started his business and had a $5,000 breakdown the first week. That being said, I'm not too worried about owing more taxes.
But I always feel better after this is completed.
"Tax Man" by The Beatles
Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nin'teen for me
Cause I'm the Tax Man
Yea I'm the Tax Man
ETA: I stuffed the "lost" receipts in the envelope that contained my W4 so I wouldn't "lose" them. The accountant pulled them out at the meeting. Dumb-ass again, but at least this one is getting a nice refund.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Remember the person I mentioned who was highly irritating, but perhaps not purposefully? Strike that. No one can be that irritating without trying, at least a little. I could also say "or that skinny," but that would make me a petty bitch, so I won't.
This weekend, we're going to the lake for our campground's Grand Opening weekend. Yes, it's March and too cold to do squat. We're basically going to set up the camper and to drink copious amounts of adult beverages.
However, I'm excited for two reasons: 1) We have a babysitter for Curt, beginning Saturday morning until Sunday afternoon! I really, really need a break; 2) Our camper upgrade -- the addition (screened porch) seen at right.
Quit laughing (especially you, Laura K! It's surely not the CYC) -- I spent nearly every weekend last summer in this damned campground. On the bright side, you can't see the lake nor pool. We do have fun on the pontoon boat or in the pool, but keeping Curt happy in the very small space of our humble abode is not easy. The porch is an attempt to remedy that. With a lock. Or two. (This photo was taken before total completion. Believe me, there is now a door.)
Have a great weekend. Cheers!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
- Take your child to the doctor for a sinus infection before it turns into an ear infection.
- If you're 15 minutes late to a meeting you called because of said infection, people will forgive you. They will call you "mama," in a good way.
- This will happen because you called ahead. Admit you will be late.
- Your child can be good at the visit, even if you are at the clinic for 1.5 hours.
- Bring juice, Leapstear, etc.
- Mamas are magic and can turn cotton balls into really fun, versatile toys.
- You may work with a person who is very irritating, but perhaps it is not purposeful.
- You boss can be absent from work, but still be very much there (not in a good way).
- Those who you thought were your allies may not be, and those you thought could be your enemies turn out to have great ally potential.
- Just because your son won't eat meat or almost anything else does not mean he won't eat a booger...on purpose.
Monday, March 10, 2008
I told him Curt was somewhat of a computer whiz, as much a whiz as one can be at age 3.8. I relayed the fact that he is adding and spelling on his computer games. I am proud of that fact.
When I thought about it later, I realized I felt I was making excuses, overcompensating. Many people (mostly women) I know talk about their children with pride. They spread photos of "Citizen of the Month," they scored 99 percentile on their kindergarten test, etc. Why is it that I feel like I can't talk about my child's abilities without feeling uncomfortable?
I have ideas:
1.) It is against my nature to brag. Yes, we have a nice home, but the bathrooms need work. Yes, we are buying rental properties, but I downplay it -- or don't tell people at all. I wouldn't want to be "show-y!"
2.) I'm afraid they won't believe me. People see Curt and, let's face it, he's usually not talking. How in the hell can he be adding and spelling? Yet, he is.
I can promise you I am proud of my little boy. He has made great strides and says new words every day. Still, it is difficult to handle the looks I sometimes encounter. They guess his age younger, even though he is above average in height.
My usual response to strangers is, "He's a man of few words!"
But, he can add like a first grader. I must learn to focus on the positive and not the negative. That's a good practice for my thoughts about Curt, and my thoughts on life in general. I only wish it were as easy to do as it is to say.
PS. If you have a late-talker, you don't say he's 3 or 4. He (or she) is 3.2, 3.8, or 4.6. That way, you'll know exactly how far behind they are. Why do we do these things to ourselves?!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
However, I have several readers who visit just about every day whom I don't know. These totally kewl people are from:
Mission Viehho CA (that is SO totally misspelled, but I am too lazy to inquire. No offense to your fine city! And...you are new...came to me via late talkers search. Honey, I feel your pain.)
I'm just curious. How did you get here and why do you keep coming back? Thanks.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
Last Saturday, we had 73 degree temperatures. This morning, we awoke to about 4 inches of snow. Our first snow of the year. In March. Who says BFE, Tennessee is boring?
My beautiful boy...and his dog.
This is the same shot I took last Saturday, when it felt like Spring. Curt loved the snow, and I'm glad to post something happy for a change, but Spring....we need you!
Friday, March 7, 2008
Here's the kicker. He said they could not legally kick him out. His language delay qualifies him under the Americans with Disabilities Act, he said, and that would be like them kicking out a child who needed a wheelchair.
What a weight that lifted from me. If I were to find a better place for Curt, I would definitely consider moving him, but in this small town, this pre-school is the best -- with a two-year waiting list. Curt has been there for 1.5 years. So, the fact I would not be scrambling for another place (perhaps much worse) in the near future gave me peace of mind for some reason.
I returned to the Center with Curt, ready for the meeting. No tears had been shed at this point! I was ready. However, Director met me at the door to unlock it and let us inside. "Did you know the campus in under lock-down?"
Uh...no, I was not aware. A local bank had been robbed and the getaway car was found, abandoned, on campus. The man was armed, so all buildings were locked, no in, no out. She asked if I minded rescheduling, considering the circumstances.
(Could I make this shit up? I think not.)
Although the meeting was not officially held, I talked to both the Director and Teacher about Curt and our issues during the lock-down. It's not like they could get rid of me! Their comments were kind and straight-forward. I left feeling they are not on a witch-hunt where Curt is concerned and this relieves me greatly.
At this point, it was 2:30 and starting to snow, so I called the office and called it a day. My excitement/stress quota had been met.
I received many notes of encouragement the last two days, by both comments and email. I truly thank you. I learned that many people believe, like I do, that children don't fall into cookie cutter molds. That, unlike the practices of most preschools and public schools, all children do not relate to the same form of treatment.
I know it is my responsibility to help Curt learn how to adapt to his social surroundings and to be able to follow rules. I've known that all along. However, I still believe this can be done without breaking his spirit. The compromise between calming his spirit without breaking it will be an ongoing journey.
But today, more than yesterday, I feel I can somehow meet this challenge. I have to.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Good afternoon. I hope your day is going well. We need your assistance on some matters that concern Curt. We are having some difficulties with some behaviors and we are hoping that you can help us out. We realize that you may not see the behaviors that we see because at home he is not in a group learning environment and that some of these behaviors that we are seeing may be developmental, but we need to talk. Is he seeing Dr. Brown on Friday afternoons? If he is maybe he can give us some insight into how to get him to comply without having a major meltdown. There are behaviors that we are dealing with, that we have handled the same as we would any other child, but we do not seem to be making any head way and we are searching for solutions. We know that consistency is the only way to help Curt learn so we all need to be on the same page. If there are things that you are working on we need to try and do the same things that you have been instructed to do. We realize that some things cannot be handled the same as at home but we want to try to be as consistent as possible. Please see "teacher" to set a time that we can get together.
Well, my day was going pretty well until I received your email!
I am a member of the "Natural Late Talker" list. The following is what I posted there this morning (in response to the brief, panicked email I sent yesterday afternoon). Oh, Dr. Brown is his behavioral psychologist he's been seeing for compliance.
Monica (and others),
I have observed through the two-way, but cannot do so very often. He is there because I work. Unfortunately, my lunch coincides with nap-time, so that doesn't do me much good.
I, too, believe the note was quite reasonable - and there was no underlying threat. However, I know they think this is serious or they wouldn't have called a meeting. I had a parent/teacher conference last fall with the head teacher and the tantrums were mentioned, but I guess it's gotten worse.
There are 40 children in his "class" when everyone is there (not so right now with the flu). There is one head teacher and one assistant teacher with students serving as aides (university-run daycare; I work on campus). That's a lot of kids. In his previous room, there were 16 (he has always been the youngest). Dr. Brown already told me they did not/could not provide consistent time-outs.
His head teacher is almost never there when I pick him up/drop off (she comes to the room at 9am and leaves at 4:45), so I rarely get to talk to her personally. Last time was a couple of weeks ago when I took him late. They leave a "note" (or are supposed to) in his file when an incident occurs, i.e., behavior or if he falls, etc. I was looking at his file and noted he had lot of bad notes - the head teacher commented, "Some of them make Curt's look like nothing!" So, I guess that gives me hope they are trying to help and not give him the ax. But, I am wary.
I copied Dr. Brown on my response to her (and told her I was doing so for his input). He agrees that the behavioral problems (terrible 2s) many times are delayed with language delays. I meet with them tomorrow at 2 p.m. I hope my sanity lasts until then. There aren't very many good daycares/preschools in this area. He was such a good-natured child until 2. He started preschool a month later. I don't know if there is a correlation there.
Sorry to ramble. I know the language delays are prone to behavioral problems, but sometimes it just seems too much to handle.
Thanks for listening.
It's hard to believe such a sweet face could cause so much turmoil. I'm pretty depressed.
ETA: I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your thoughts. Especially Ange, who I will now refer to as "The Rock." Your encouragement and one-half a nerve pill just may get me through tomorrow. Will update.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Lest anyone believes that Semi and Cowboy are rolling around nekkid in cash, let me assure you this is not the case. We need investments (hopefully some which will produce at least a little income) and with a recessed housing market, rentals seem the best route. Let's put it this way, Cowboy is not afraid to take a calculated risk. (Virgo Semi shudders and wants a big drink at this point).
Here's the house. We haven't closed yet, so it's not officially ours, but close.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
This is the view from our deck. Not bad, eh? I love the feel of the country. It's so much better in the love months (that would be spring, summer, fall...anything but dreaded winter). I cannot expain how much I deplore winter.
It was a busy day. We looked at several rental properties this morning. We bought one. It is a cute little brick house with hardwood floors -- move-in ready(photos to come!). Cowboy also bought a tractor -- a cheap one, but she runs great so far. Clearly, today we were in "buy" mode.
Curt refused to nap. This can be good or bad. Today, it was good. He was asleep at 8:00 p.m. This is big news around here!
It was the first beautiful day of the year. Joyous! (I am not a winter person and DO NOT want snow in March, k?) We took Curt outside and he had a wonderful time just playing in the leaves and with our dog, Bo. It's been too long since we've all spent time outside. It rocks!
Tonight, our fiends, DT and LT, (LT now does know about this blog and is very supportive -- pinky swear, of course), came over and we played...THE DICE GAME. The ladies have never been beaten 3 games out of 5. Tonight was a ball-burner. 4 of 4 -- no losses. It does my heart good. (Cowboy and LT are not nearly as intoxicated as they look in this photo.)
Bizzy is my best friend. LT is my "new" best friend. When I explained this to her, she said, "Yeah, I've only known you eight years! I'm not new!" She is right. However, old best friends will be best friends, no matter what
Cowboy and Semi, Hubs, 1999. Taken the night in mention below. (Please, please(!) overlook the overall shorts. What was I thinking?!?)
Ok, back to business...
I was confused. His marriage was over, he said. What brought this about? I didn't have to wait long to find out.
He called me two days later. They had come back to Tennessee together (all three of them) and made it about 45 minutes from "home" until they stopped at a hotel. They fought they entire time. He tried to go to work the next morning and wrecked as a woman having a heart attack crossed the line.
(signs, signs, everywhere signs...)
It was not going to work out. They fought so much, Cowboy, Jr. (four at this time), cried at them both to stop.
He wanted to see me. I desperately wanted to see him. I shouldn't. This whole thing was a mess. I told him I was going out to Hub's with a girlfriend. I couldn't deal with it.
Several (many?) drinks later, he walked in. It was over, he told me. He told her about us (against my advice). It seemed a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and everything would be okay now. If only it were that simple.