Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Peanuts, revisited.

To my little man who made all S's (that's A's for Kindergarten) on his first report card. With "Super Great Job" and a smiley face from his teacher(s). He is still being pulled out for his work, but he loves both his teachers. I am actually OK with this. He works better in a small group or one-on-one.

OK, two S-'s. One for handwriting (yep) and one for staying seated for asked. Hell, I'm excited about an S- in that!

He is happy at school. He is happy after-school at Becky's. And he loves his mommy. "And Daddy, too" as Curt would say.

And, he is still obsessed with his peanuts....

"Girls don't have peanuts."
"Only boys have peanuts."
"Curt has peanuts."

and my favorite...

"Curt has big peanuts."

(Those fishing stories start VERY early, it seems.)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sorry to have been gone for so long. Life is kicking my ass.

Curt is doing MUCH better at school, according to the meeting I had last week.

We went over all the "have tos" and then the principal left. And then, they started talking. The lady who seemed the most harsh cried, she loves him so much.

I am in a better place.

And, Curt has a loose tooth. Exciting times!

Hang in there with me. This has been hard. The hardest is behind us, they say. Pray that is the case.

PS had to defend Autism and ADD, but it went ok. Thank God for the C's. The two pictured above are why I get up every morning. And, aren't they handsome?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dear Former Day Care Director....

Dear Former Day-Care Director,

This is my fault. I usually have a feeling about people. I either trust you or I don't. And, I trusted you. I feel stupid now.

You made me feel like this was a "family." I bought into that. What a fool I was.

You took my child home with you "after-school" less than a month ago to play with your boys,. If he is a monster, why in the world would you want to do that?

You said, "It is not working out." On a Facebook message. Curt was there almost two years. I don't think he has changed much. I think your personnel has changed and you don't want to deal with it. But, you could have talked to me in person -- or, at least on the phone to give me this major decision.

I gave you money for almost two years. Lots of money. But, I trusted you with my child. That is worth so much more. You gave me three days to find an alternative. That doesn't seem fair.

At very least of my concerns, I thought we were friends. I feel very betrayed. I will not get over this any time soon. And, when we went to soccer practice Thursday and I saw your car, I almost drove away. But, you did. Because you feel bad. And, dammit, you should.

PS. This teacher WILL be abusive to another child. Just give it time. It will happen. And, by the way? You can't kick my kid out because he has a disability. Not that I care. I don't want him there if he is not wanted. But, a lawsuit is just waiting to happen for you. Most people aren't as nice as I am.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In Which the Other Shoe Drops

So, the meeting with the school went actually very well. My husband and mother were there with me. A BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan) was initiated and I agree with everything on it. Mary C. called in on the meeting! Excellent! Least Restrictive Environment. You LT moms know what I am saying.

They all agreed he is a very smart little boy. And can be very sweet, when not being a little shit. I questioned later the conprehensive eval, but was told he had never had one since all his IEPs had been done before K. I agree to that. I spoke to the school psychologist today and I fully trust her intentions. Whew. Their goal is to have him out for speech three times a week (which I already knew) and then have him in resourse (that would be special ed for you newbies) the other two days for thirty minutes to work on behavior techniques. I can work with that.

Until day, that was my biggest worry. And, I felt so much better about it. Until...

(now is the moment the other shoe drops...)

We have had an issue with one teacher at his preschool (now afterschool) being excessively harsh to him during time-outs. Losing her cookies, if you will. I complained once before. Yesterday, Curt told me, "Tree (this is his nickname for her) pulled my arm hard and scratched me." This child never offers up anything. So, I sent the director a message today about it. Very nice. Maybe he was talking about the last time? Grain of salt.

The response I got was that his behavior has deteriorated recently. Really? Big School? His two favorite teachers leaving? All within one month? And, he was asked to leave. After a year and a half. Friday being his last day.

Is God testing me? How much more shit can I take? I didn't even cry. I'm sure I will, but I didn't.

He will go to afterschool and I will worry about summer later. Maybe he can go where Tippee now teaches. All things happen for reason. Right?

Edited in an attempt to take the high road....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

When the Bough Breaks...

I was so full of hope after this last year. How well he did on his Kindergarten test and his preschool graduation. My meeting with the school to form a transition plan and to choose a teacher. How proactive I was! I was really getting the hang of all this. Curt is a smart boy and people were seeing that! Everything was going to be fine!

First day of school. Note from Miss M said he hit another child and didn't want to sit still during work or centers. But, there was good news, too! And a happy face in the behavior circle!

Second day. Pretty much the same note. Good things, then bad things. But, still received a happy face for behavior.

Third Day. Again, pretty much the same. But, Happy Face!

Fourth Day as I am walking him into school. The Assistant Principal is outside helping the kids come in. She introduces herself, didn't think we had met. I smiled, shook her hand. She said, "After you take Curt to his room, I'd like for you to stop by my office. I need to talk to you."

And with that, my bubble of hope burst.

We need to meet on Friday to develop a Bahavioral Intervention Plan. They would like him to qualify for additional services he now doesn't qualify for because his "label" if you will is speech. It would have to be changed to developmental delay or social delay to qualify for those additional services. Those "special" services.

The last four years, I have been pounding the pavement to get him to therapies, paying thousands for those theapies and assessments. And I worry.

But I know that if I work hard enough, this will not happen to my child.

Yet, it has.

That hard work is not going to keep me from going to the principal's office Friday for this meeting. Where they get to tell me everything he is doing wrong. Which, basically equates to everything I have done wrong. I have failed myself, and I have failed him.

Pity Party over. See ya on the flipside.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Day of School

During the night, I heard a little voice...it seems far away...call to me. "Mommy, help me." Then, I woke up.

I took him to the classroom. He hung up his backpack, sat at his seat and began coloring. I waited for my kiss. It didn't happen. I walked the long hallway and out the door. I got in my car. Only then did I "leak" behind my sunglasses. But, there was no sobbing on an "ugly cry." I consider that a great success.

Perhaps the dream was more about me then about Curt. Oh, my little one, I wish you the happiest day and I hope the teachers can see that wonderful light in your eyes. The picture of you and Tippie is in your school box. She is there with you. I love you.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An Emotional Week and a Poem

I dedicate this post to those two young women mentioned in the following paragraphs who live it to that standard. Both are going to be teachers. One takes care of Autistic children and wants to a a Special Education teacher. They have been wonderful to Curt and to me. Fly way, T and B. But, don't ever forget how much you have meant to Curt...and to me.

We have had our first problem at preschool. I have shed many tears over this, but feel hopeful it will be resolved. One teacher, when she puts Curt in time-out, loses her cool, screams and holds his hands...until they turned blue. I have formally complained. First time ever.

And his favorite teacher (and person), Miss Tippee's last day was yesterday. His second favorite is leaving to student teach in two weeks. They are sisters and I have become very attached to them. Everything is changing and as I get, ahem, older, change gets harder and harder. It is going to be an emotional week. Found this poem today...it seems poignant. Kindergarten starts Thursday. If you pray, pray for me.

I know Curt can now talk, but....I think you know what I mean....


I Am The Child
(author unknown to me)
I am the child who cannot talk. You often pity me, I see it in your eyes. You wonder how much I am aware of. I see that as well. I am aware of much...whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire , or if you are just doing your duty by me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself or my needs as you do.

You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well being, sharing my needs, or comments about the world about me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world's standards...great strides in development that you can credit yourself; I do not give you understanding as you know it.

What I give you is so much more valuable...I give you instead opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine; the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you would ever go on your own, working harder, seeking answers to your many questions with no answers. I am the child who cannot talk.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

And Now You Are Six


Dear Curt,

And now, you are six.

I know it's not double digits, but it's big to me.

Because when you are six, you will start school. August 12 to be exact. And then, my baby will be gone.

If you read this in the future, I want to tell you a little bit about yourself at this particular time. I will number these for reference.

1. You are a stubborn little shit. You do not give up. While this is not the best character for a six-year-old, I hope this will benefit you later in life.

2. You are beautiful. You are charming. You draw people to you (especially girls/women).

3. You are so great on the computer. You have totally maxed out Math Rabbit at school and at home. You now have to log on using an alias.

4. You are the most loving little boy I know. I wish the (stupid ass) people who thought you were Autistic could see you now; they would see a little boy who loves his Mommy and kisses her ALL the time. On the mouth. Maybe we need to work on that, but not right now.

5.. You can put stuff together! Why does Nanny get you stuff that has 95 pieces? We will never know. I don't think she is purposefully trying to drive me insane. But...you can put it together. I am impressed.

7. You drive me crazy. You have more energy than I have ever had or ever will. You wear me out. You are impatient, demanding and strong-willed.

Yet, I love you, oh so very much.

Love,
Mommy

Friday, July 16, 2010

Dear 20-year-old Self


Dear 20- year-old Self,

You are not fat. Repeat.

Don’t get married because you are afraid to be alone. Divorce is not the end of the world. You will bounce back.

In fact, you should enjoy being alone. There will be a time you will crave alone time because you never have any.

You have a few friends (and meet a few more) that will last a lifetime. Savor those. Don’t worry about the other people.

That way you have of charming people? Don’t lose that. It will make you successful in your career.

You will be a wife and a mother, but not in the way or timeframe you expect. So relax a little.

You know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t let anyone (especially men) tell you any different.

You have made mistakes and you will make many more.

But, you are a good person. A damn good person.

Love,
Me

P.S. It’s going to be OK.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer


Summer means (at least for me)....

Firefly hunting

The Lake

Swimming

Water Skiing (in which I learn I am getting too old for this....so sore!)

Curt's Water Days

C1 at Football practice

Vacation (oil-free!)

Language Camp

Curt's hair, white-blond

Daylight begins and ends when it should (early and late)

less laundry

This summer, I count down the days down with a heavier heart than usual. See, this fall, my stepson is entering high school. And, my baby starts Kindergarten. The beginning of the end.

Here's to an endless summer...


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Memories

We are back from the beach! No oil! Curt loved it.

I am also back at work and swamped, so no real post. I did want to reprint a comment I make on Pia's blog because it showed me how far Curt's come in language -- but how much he understood despite his lack of speech. Also, I want to encourage other moms who are in that three-year-old age range when everything can look its bleakest!

"When Curt was 3 (isn't J-Man three?), we were on a trip. He, too, had practically no language at that time.

He had an alphabet game in the back seat. He played with it often. It would ask, "Where's the letter W?" and you were supposed to push it. Curt always preferred the music part of the game.

However, that day, a beautiful Friday afternoon on the way to Alabama, my Curt answered every letter it asked while I sat perfectly still in the front seat watching him in the rear-view mirror -- petrified if I moved I would wake and realize it was a dream.

Tears are in my eyes years later when I remember that moment when I realized Curt was wicked smart. You hang in there, Mama."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Graduation







Pre-school graduation was Saturday. And what a day it was.

I admit, I was nervous.

But, he put on his cap and gown. He posed for individual and group photos. He marched to the stage perfectly (he looked like a little man). He stood and sang (every word!) and danced -- in perfect rhythm with his classmates. He walked to the podium to get his diploma. He walked back to get his flower and brought it to me, his mommy.

I know all the moms and dads were proud. But, I was superfliciousexbealadocious-ly proud. A year ago, he would not have cooperated. He has grown so much.

He did so much just like everyone else.

Here's what he did like Curt...

Immediately at the end of the first song, on stage, he says, "Mommy, I go pee-pee!" Everyone laughed. The music began for the second song. Immediately, at the end of the second song, he said, "Mommy, I go PEE-PEE!" Even more laughter. I hurried to the front of the stage, he hopped off and off we went. Needless to say, he missed the third song.

However, he went right back to the stage after our bathroom trip and completed the program without a hitch.

And I wasn't embarrassed. It was funny. It was what many people may remember from the program years from now. Hell, I have a DVD ordered to proved it to him when he's 18.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Self-Portrait

Spring is finally here. The birds, the blooms, the sneezes. Curt's allergies and my own are severe. Joy.

We went to the Camarata's. We haven't received the report yet, and may not for a while, but there were no surprises. He was pretty compliant, although if Mary asked him something he didn't know, he feigned sleepiness. He would actually yawn. My little perfectionist. He test mid-to-late Kindergarten on his academic skills. They estimated his speech would normalize at about 4th grade, which is what I had guessed.

In fact, he took the Kindergarten test at his preschool and scored a 93. Yep, I said a NINETY-THREE! Of course, I cried. He still has the take the official test at the elementary school, but I know he knows!

He asks lots of W questions these days. LT parents will tell you -- this is pretty big. For instance, he recently asked me, "What is that where pee-pee come?" I tell him, "A pe*is." Unlike many words I've had to repeat several times, he got this one immediately. Every evening at bathtime, we now must discuss Curt's "peanuts."

Last week, he drew a self-portrait.

Peanuts included.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Stepmom

Days move so slowly at times, yet the months fly by.

Stepson C’s 15th birthday was this weekend. We had five boys and their large feet at the lake. They were to camp and began the night that way, but then it rained. So, we had them all in the camper. Oy! Little sleep was to be had that evening.

I had to get that complaint out of the way. Ahem. We survived. Barely.

However, a new dynamic is emerging in the household. C specifically asked me to go to his athletic banquet along with dad. I rearranged a work commitment for that evening and got a sitter for Curt.

Then, yesterday, he called me to his room.

“Do you think Dad will let me go to X?” he asked.
“Well, what time will you be home?”
“About six.”
“Do you have homework?”
“No.”
“I think he will be fine with that.”
“Would you ask him?”

WHAT??

The boy who never before asked my permission – only Dad’s counts – is now asking me to be the go-between? Like a real Mom?

I will never be his mother. But, I do like that the emphasis may be changing from Step-mom to step-Mom. It’s a good feeling.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ice Cream Social


Miss Tippie notified me last week that Curt has a girlfriend! Her name is Maggie and Curt loves her. From the photo, it seems the feeling is mutual.

If you're the Mom of a child who does not have MERLD (Mixed Expressive/Receptive Language Disorder), this may not be very exciting. On the other hand, if you have had people suggest your child is Autistic because of lack of play with peers, it's pretty damn big.

Curt's class is having an ice cream party today for the kids who know (and speak) their phones numbers. Curt prefers strawberry, thank you very much!

We're going back to Vanderbilt to see the Camarata's March 8 for a follow-up visit. They will tell us when to expect Curt to "normalize" or catch-up in his speech. I am anxious and excited about this.

He is growing by leaps and bounds -- both socially and academically. But, his favorite person to kiss is still Mommy.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mr. Duckworth

Mr. Duckworth was my high school English teacher.

He was an odd duck. (No pun intended.) Especially for our little school.

He admitted he draft-dodged the Vietnam "conflict" and was an open Agnostic. Wow. He intrigued me. Even at 16, I was, at least, curious about others beliefs. He was the first person I had known who was verbal about his confusion with faith. All I had known was Methodists and Baptists arguing other petty matters.

I had him for all my English classes (small school) and my literary class I took my senior year. He never changed. He challenged us. To think. I don't know that it worked on everyone, but it worked on me. He had great opposition, to which he would respond, "I don't care if your Daddy IS on the school board! You don't scare me!"

And, he wasn't scared.

Let me say, he and I did not get along very well. We were fine if we were discussing novels and such, but GRAMMAR? I was done with that. (I took a 500 level grammar class in college and made an "A") So, I tried to secretly read another book during grammar lessons (hidden behind the book....does that ever work?). That really pissed him off. He threatened to give me a "U" in conduct for doing so. That would kick me out of Beta Club, even though I had stellar grades.

He looked at me with disdain. I was a little spoiled girl who didn't understand the ways of the world. I looked at him with disdain as well, except....underneath it all, I wanted his acceptance. He seemed smarter than most people I knew.

I wrote one essay that he graded an "A," but noted, "nice to see a little humility in you...for a change."

He was one of three teachers I asked to write in my memory book as I graduated. He wrote:

"We have had some differences over the last three years, but I can safely say that you are one of the most creative students I've ever had in class. I'm aware that gifted students often get bored in regular classrooms, but, of course, as a teacher I have to worry about those not-so-gifted ones who will have a a tougher time after high school. Perhaps you will be able to expand and develop your creativity in college. Best of luck to you."

Mr. Duckworth, you were the reason I wanted to be a high school English teacher. My mother warned against that. She said I didn't have the patience. She was probably right. But, you didn't either. And, you motivated me. Thank you, Mr. Duckworth. For making me think.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Smarty Pants


The "Smarty Pants" wall at school. Just as it was unveiled.

The premise is that when a child tells the teacher an article which is required for the Kindergarten test, it is posted on their "pants."

Without going into the way more than you wanted to know area, Curt is doing great. He has LOTS of items on his pants. Not as many as some, but more than many others.

Two years ago, he was barely talking. Now, he tells me his phone number.

I am so proud. I cannot expain it.

Now, for his address...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Happy as a Dog?

The new year is kicking my ass. There.

Work? Check. Home? Check. Stepson grounded for bad grades and cannot leave the house, therefore making us ALL miserable? Check!

Curt is now dealing with the Kindergarten pre-test at school. I am trying to help. How in the world is he going to real school next year? How is that possible? He is my baby. Yet, we are praticing our phone number this weekend -- address yet to come.

He LUVS his teacher, Miss Tippee (Tiffany for those not in the know). She just got a sweet pug dog. Thank God for animals. And, thank God for Miss Tippee.


Curt giving Miss Tippee's dog, Lettie, a kiss. His current school? The best move I ever made.

Photo courtesy of Miss Tippee's phone. See why I love her and this place? I get photos all the time!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010

2009. A year in which nothing extraordinarily wonderful happened.* A year in which nothing devastating happened. Goodbye, 2009!

Hello, 2010. Did I make any mind-boggling resolutions? No.

I am making "Everyday Resolutions" instead. Things like...

1. Try not to worry so much about the way the house looks and if the laundry is caught up. (I am obsessive about laundry. But, I can never be caught up. Thus, the unhappy Imperfect Perfectionist.)

2. I will ask for help from my family instead of being angry and passive/aggressive that they don't see the things that need to be done without being asked. They are, after all, men.

3. I will let Curt and Cowboy have their time together without telling Daddy what Curt needs. Curt can do that now.

4. I will call the repair man and schedule a time to come fix a few things at the house instead of being angry that the DAMNED DOOR IS STILL BROKEN!

5. I will try to be more calm and loving, instead of abrasive, shrill and impatient.

6. I will try to sit down and enjoy life, even if the sink is full of dishes.

7. I will breathe.

Happy 2010!

*Ok, Curt became 100 % potty-trained in 2009. That was pretty wonderful!