A Cop-Out Post

November 13, 2008

I don’t want to break my blogging streak, but I really don’t have much to say, and I don’t feel like taking time to write much.

PJ had a good day.  He actually participated in his music class at MDO today, a first for him, and even the music teacher made a point to tell me that on our way out.  He also fell asleep on the bus on the way home from pre-school this afternoon.  He was up really late last night, just talking, and I guessed early this morning that it would be an exhausting day for him.

Of course, his five minute nap on the bus kept him from taking a real nap when he got home, so it was a long evening until we could put him down to bed.  He was totally out of control.  How come being banned from a nap at pre-school means we end up with the raw end of the deal and not them?

But tomorrow is another day, a day when we can all sleep a little late.  I hope the boys take advantage of that because I sure plan to.


Flu Shots All Around

November 12, 2008

PJ had a check-up at the doctor this morning, and he got his flu shot.  I also got one there.  I swear I will never get a flu shot from anyone else.  Nurses who are used to giving shots to tiny babies all day give the best shots.  PJ hardly wimpered when he got his.

BabyN needed to finish up his shots too, two more of his 12-month ones.  The poor thing was already tired, so he didn’t handle them so well.  He fussed all the way back out to the car, and nothing I did comforted him.

He was fine as soon as he got a long nap, but I’m starting to think the spots on his legs are bothering him again.  I put him down for a nap quite a while ago, and he’s still fussing in his room on and off.  That is highly unusual.  I think I’m about to give up on his afternoon nap and hold him until he feels better.

At least he’ll probably want to go to bed early tonight.  We have another busy day tomorrow that starts quite early, so I won’t argue with an early bedtime for any of us.

Cool-off Period

November 5, 2008

Well, I’m glad that election stuff is over.  Now my TV can be overrun with Christmas commercials instead of political ads.  Maybe we’ll all ignore our divisive political views once again and bond over everything we have in common instead.  Oh, yeah, and maybe the news will once again report about anything other than the campaigns.

In news closer to home, I figured out why I was as emotional as I was about PJ’s new pre-school.  It turns out I was overly hormonal.  I love how I can never predict that and only recognize in retrospect that I was just a bit insane the day before for a good reason.

It also helps that after some thinking time, we have found what may be a compromise between pre-school and MDO.  We’ve already paid for the month of November and will not likely be able to get our money back thanks to the suddenness of his withdrawal from the school, so we’re going to try letting him go to MDO in the mornings.

It may not work out.  That’s a really busy schedule for PJ who hasn’t had much of a schedule his whole life so far.  He won’t get a nap until after 4:00 on a long, long day, and he may not be able to cope with that.  We may also decide that his tuition may not be worth it for two hours twice a week.  Still, they do most of their activities in those two hours.  I like that he’ll still have a chance to be around “normal” kids too, since this pre-school will be all the special ed kids in his program.

I had a good talk with his teachers at MDO last night about what was going on.  At the time I was still pretty sure we’d just be withdrawing him, and I wanted them to have a better idea about what had happened.  It turns out, though, that one of the teachers has a five-year-old autistic son, and a couple of years ago they had to make the same decision between MDO and the school district’s special ed program.  She knew exactly what I was going through.  Of course, I ended up making a different decison than her, but the different circumstances make the different decisions necessary.  Either way I was able to find a sympathetic ear about the whole business.

In about an hour, PJ will leave for his first day of his new school.  Yes, he will be riding the bus.  I found out a little more about that too.  Apparently I did have an option about whether he rides the bus, even though they didn’t offer me that option.  The problem is that he needs to have the same transportation to and from school every single day, except for the extremely rare extenuating circumstance.  While I would love to take PJ to school myself for his first day, if I did so I would be expected to take him to school every day.  Why would I want to do that if transportation is provided?  We will all get used to it after a few days, and it will be a good experience for him–and probably me too.

So before I gripe anymore about this situation, I will give us a few days to get used to the way things are going to be now.  At the very least, I am looking forward to my relatively free time I will get every afternoon.  I’ll update again after a few days of the new routine, and we’ll see then if it’s anywhere near as awful as I thought it would be on Monday.

One Hour That Changed Everything

November 3, 2008

Just before noon today we walked into our local elementary school, and when we walked out just over an hour later, everything had changed.  And PJ had no idea.

It was his official ARD with the school district, the meeting that officially kicks off his participation in the special education program.  As I’ve mentioned before, I already knew he was going to qualify.  What I didn’t realize is exactly what that meant for our daily schedule.

They recommended that PJ join their special preschool program that runs every afternoon from 12:45-3:45.  Yes, every afternoon.  While I am at liberty to decline their suggestion, it means that PJ will not be getting the help he needs.  I accepted, while fighting back tears over everything we will have to give up, everything that will change.

For one, MDO is over.  The class that he loves so much and asks for every day–he will never go back to it.  The new school starts on Wednesday and there is no MDO tomorrow, so he will not even get a chance to say good-bye.  Those picture proofs we have sitting on our counter that we were going to officially order on Thursday will never materialize into real pictures.  Those connections I’ve finally started making with the other moms will disintegrate.  (Yes, I know it’s selfish, but I’m disappointed for me as much as PJ.)

Another change will be PJ’s naptime.  He depends on a good afternoon nap and is unbearable without it, or even just has it delayed.  I do not envy his teachers for the first few weeks when they keep him from sleeping until after he gets home after 4:00.  I’m afraid this will spell the end of his afternoon nap altogether, and I don’t like that thought.

Then there’s the bus issue.  Because the program is through the school district, they are required to supply transportation.  For the first time in his life, PJ will be riding a bus.  Oh, not just any bus–the short bus.  My child’s life will be in the hands of some driver I’ve never met before.  If I was scared enough letting my mom or in-laws drive him around when I wasn’t in the car, you can imagine I’m terrified about this whole bus thing.  Yes, it’s easier on me than driving him myself, but I hate that I’m sending him off into the unknown on Wednesday without ever seeing his classroom or anything.

Didn’t I just do the whole first-day-of-school thing?  How can it already be time to go through that again?  Why do I have to rip him away from the class he knows and loves to send him to “real school?”  I know he’ll grow to love it too, and it’s best for him educationally, but it still makes me sad.  I liked knowing he was going to school in a place where God was a daily topic, where my little boy learned to ask for Bible stories before naps, where he learned that church can be fun.  Now he’ll be in a school where the teachers are forbidden to even mention the topic.

All of this focus on the changes we have in front of us, even the simple inconsequential things, are much easier than focusing on the real problem–that my baby boy is in special ed.  It’s easier than letting myself wonder if there was anything I could have done differently before now that could have prevented us from coming to this point.  I’d rather mourn never letting PJ see his MDO friends–or my never seeing their moms again–than mourn that last hope that my child could be normal.

Now excuse me while I go continue my pity party by myself.  By tomorrow I should be past this indulgent sadness and be ready to regale you with funny stories instead.


October 29, 2008

We had one more short testing session for PJ this morning.  When it ended, I had a quick minute to talk with the speech pathologist who was doing the testing on him to get an idea about whether they thought he would qualify for special ed services.

She almost seemed surprised I’d asked.  Apparently there was never a question in her mind after that first meeting.  They did the extended testing to be able to write a complete report and determine exactly which areas he qualified in.  I don’t remember exactly what three areas she mentioned, but I know two of them were speech reception and pragmatics (conversational skills).  They were the exact same things that ECI had said he was having problems with.  At least they’re consistent.

When my mom asked a week or so ago what I wanted them to find, I had to admit that I wanted him to qualify.  I know that he has problems, and it would be very frustrating for them to say he doesn’t qualify, keeping him from getting the help he needs.  I am certainly not looking forward to all the therapy sessions and meetings we have ahead of us now, but they will be worth it for PJ to catch up and be ready for school in a couple of years.

I’m focusing on how good this will be for PJ and not the disappointment I feel in knowing that he still has such obvious problems.  I’m working on not letting the special ed label get to me.  With any luck, being a part of the special ed program now will keep him from having to deal with the label when he actually starts school.

And now, partly to distract myself, I need to go work on baking those cookies for PJ’s class tomorrow.  I’ll let you know how they turn out.  I’m also letting PJ help out, I think, so this might be interesting.  He’s never really helped me cook before (partly because I’m chicken and partly because I don’t cook).  I’m sure I have quite the experience in front of me.

Harder Than I’d Hoped

October 27, 2008

So M left again yesterday afternoon, this time for a long trip.  He won’t be back until late Thursday night.  It was a lot harder to let him go, probably because he just got back from a trip last Thursday night, and this time he’ll be gone much longer than the one night.

Oh, yeah, and we have two sick kids.  BabyN puked everywhere less than an hour after he left.  I got to take his high chair apart, clean it one piece at a time, and reassemble it during his naptime.  Then he screamed for a good part of that naptime, which made it very difficult to do anything.

The dog’s been insane.  Of course.  She can’t leave me alone, probably because she’s lonely–and probably needs to pee.  She won’t go when I take her outside.  Can grief do that to a dog?  Make them too sad to pee when they get the chance?

Then there’s PJ.  He’s recovering from his cold; mostly just the cough is left.  He feels just bad enough still that he spent his entire breakfast time screaming, his second tantrum of the day.  I can’t even begin to count how many he has had since then.  Do you think the cold is affecting his hearing?  Because he WILL NOT listen to me today and then acts horrified when he ends up in time-out for disobeying.

I should probably have compassion for my sick little boy, but I can’t muster any today.  He keeps forcing himself to cough, which obviously makes him feel worse.  And his forced coughs sound like he’s about to hurl.  It grates on my nerves that he won’t listen to anything I’m telling him to do that will help him feel better.  Surely he does want to feel better, right?

The worst part is that I can’t share any of this with M.  He’s super busy at the conference thing, and I can’t just call him on a whim to vent or even share a good story.  It would be even better if we could split up the responsibility of caring for them like we do on the weekends.  It’s tough meeting all their needs all by myself when they are this needy.

And now I’m done venting.  I just needed to get that out of my system.  Maybe now I can readjust my attitude and the rest of the week will go easier.

Lessons from Life as a Single Mom

October 23, 2008

I’m getting pretty good at this single mom stuff.  This is the third week in a row that M has been gone for a couple of days during the week, and as much as I dread his leaving, I find that I’m able to cope much better than I thought I would.

Of course, it’s just one night away.  Next week he’s gone for most of the week.  In the past, I would have considered going to my parents’ place for the week, but that can’t happen this time.  PJ would be devastated to miss school for a week, and I simply can’t do that to him just because I’m too much of a pansy to be the solo parent for that long.

So I’m learning how to cook dinner for all three of us, something I normally leave up to M while I keep track of the boys.  It may not be anything special, but nobody goes hungry.

I’m learning how to take care of fussy boys who don’t feel very good without being able to pass one off to M.  This morning was pure chaos.  PJ was crying, probably from this cold or allergies or whatever, and when not every detail of his day goes his way, he just breaks down.  BabyN was crying from teething, I guess.  He’d been up several times during the night because of it, too.  But I didn’t lose it this morning when one or the other was crying every second from the moment BabyN woke me up.

I’m even learning how to take both boys out at the same time, even for frivolous trips.  Yesterday was the first time I took both boys shopping alone, and not only did we all survive, but the boys were both good enough that I rewarded them by getting them a new (cheap) toy.

I’m feeling a little like SuperMom today.  I know most of the things I’m learning to do are things that most moms do without thinking, but they’re huge for me.  I’ve needed this self-confidence.  It’s just too bad that it takes me being forced to do them to try them.  Still, the confidence I’m finding is motivating me to try other things that I’ve wished I could do for some time.

Who knows what I’ll end up doing next week when M is gone for the whole week…