ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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It was a huge relief to cancel all those interviews with the potential babysitters who were interested in watching my son over the summer. Huge. It’s always a pain to interview people for a job to start with, but there is the whole "full disclosure" part of asking someone watch my son that I dread. Ideally, it’s best to have him along on these interviews, so he can play quietly and look angelic while I tell them about the behaviors that got him thrown out of daycare when he was 4 and that earned him a "special education" classification shortly after he started kindergarten this last year. You can’t just ask someone to watch a child and not warn them that he is capable of throwing screaming, kicking, throw-down tantrums that last for an hour and a half. Perhaps I could have skipped over the part about how the school quit having the kindergarteners hand the ladies in the lunchroom a wooden clothespin with their lunch account number on them after my son tried to stab another child in the eye with his clothespin after the kid bumped into him in the lunch line. We got a note asking us to please help him learn and remember his lunch number after that. Because he likes eating, he learned the number easy enough and the whole clothespin program was disbanded for all of the children.

Everyone wants their child to have an impact and be remembered. My son will be remembered as the reason wooden clothpins are now classified as potentially dangerous weapons that are no longer allowed on his elementary school campus.

You know that kid from The Omen? Well, he’s nowhere nearly as bad as that kid. )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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Sweet Pea has forgiven his father, and I am glad. Just last night he said he never would, and that he planned to run away and never see his dad again. He was serious. His face was long and flushed like he was trying very hard to be brave and not cry. But can you blame him? What if your father were as cold hearted and cruel as his, and told you that there would be no TV or time on the computer FOR A WHOLE EVENING?

You’d hate that person, too.

But officer, my Behavioral Intervention Plan says I can go up to 19% over the speed limit. )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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ARD stands for Admission, Review, and Dismissal. It’s what the state of Texas calls an IEP meeting. IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. I will attend my first one tomorrow to go over what his school things might help him learn and function a little better. I am neither looking forward to or nor dreading it. I guess, to borrow a phrase from Pink Floyd, I have become comfortably numb.

Sweet Pea is suspended from the YMCA After School care again for throwing a Lincoln Log at another child and hitting him in the eye. Jeff is on vacation this week, so we are okay as far as childcare goes. When I got the call from the Y today, I didn’t even ask what was wrong, I just said, “Oh, God,” and the girl spilled the beans on what had been going on. I called my husband and told him, “You need to go pick up your son.”

And then the numbness set in.

No one here is practically perfect in any way at all. )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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I’ve been away for a week. Not away in general, just away from writing. I don’t have any sick time or paid time off from my new job, so in order to take 3 hours off to get fitted for a crown last week I worked a bit longer to make up for the time. In a few more weeks I’ll need to do the same when I have to go in and have the permanent crown fitted. Turns out I grind my teeth in my sleep, and not just a little. I clench and grind my teeth so hard that I can (and do) break them. This new crown is my trophy for a very stressful year.

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Sweet Pea got written up by the YMCA afterschool program this last week, for throwing a ball repeatedly at one of the caregiver's faces. He said he was only playing, but when he is in a state of agitation his play turns rough. I noticed when she wrote him up that it was the 3rd write up (I can’t remember the 2nd one, maybe Jeff signed that one), and that there was only room for 4 write ups. After that, I suppose the child is kicked out of the program.

A woman's voice, a man's tone )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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So I had one really good day where really good things happened to me. What the heck made me think this might be some sort of new norm? How quickly things rebound. When I said Fate likes to flirt but rarely puts out, I meant it; she is what guys would call a tease.

I start a new job on Monday. At least that part is still in the works. But there is always a wrench that Fate throws into the works. In my case, it is that on Monday and Tuesday I have no before or after school care, on account of the fact that Sweet Pea, exactly 24 hours after he had an incident free day at school, bit a child in the YMCA after school program and was suspended for 3 days.

What goes up, must come down. )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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Sometimes, I can be slow on the uptake. For example, I was almost finished with my nervous breakdown before I noticed I was having one. I blame the DNA from my Swedish ancestors; we are just so subtle and quiet with our emotions, even when we are falling apart, that we have even been known to not notice them ourselves. In the meantime, the Scots-Irish DNA I got from my mother kept pointing out to me what a damn shame it is that I don't drink. That half of my DNA wishes that I did; those are my recessive genes, though, so I don't have to listen to them.

Lost In Office Space )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind
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There were lots of little signs that my son might process the world a little differently, but they did me no good because I didn’t know what I was looking at.

You know those messy baby pictures everyone has of their child, where the wide-eyed baby sits covered in food from head to foot? I don’t really have any of those. When my son’s hands had food on them, he held them out to be wiped clean and would cry if I didn’t hurry up and fix it. The sensation of having food or anything else on his hands drove him nuts.

The little handprint pictures his school sent home were often smeared, because he was so distressed when they put his hand in paint that instead of letting them make a clean imprint, he would try to wipe the paint off of his hand onto the paper they pressed it against.

“Sorry,” the staff would say ruefully, “We tried. He doesn’t like anything on his hands, does he?”

Stepping back to take a look: the big picture is made up of a thousand small pictures. )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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On Friday my husband and I met with my son’s teachers and principal to discuss the “problems they have observed” since he started school two weeks ago. I was expecting the meeting to take place in the principal’s office, but instead we met in my son’s classroom and sat at one of the six-sided tables the children gather around to learn at. The fact that 5 adults were sitting at a table on chairs made for 5 year olds added an air of levity and surrealality to the whole thing, which I kind of liked. The principal, Theresa, is easily as tall as my husband (about 6 feet), so there was an Alice-In-Wonderland air to the whole thing, like they had both eaten from the cake labeled “Eat Me” and had grown too large for their surroundings. Down here at 5 feet tall, I am embarrassed to admit the little chair and short table were not all really too small for me at all.

We're all mad here. )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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I think Tuesday’s call from my son’s school was such a nasty shock to my psyche because it came later rather than sooner, so I was unprepared for it when it finally hit me. His whole first week of school I was tensed and ready for that call, but it never came. I had a hope that it wouldn’t, since he had done so well with his babysitter in the last year and a half. I got used to getting good reports on him every day; about how sweet and well behaved and good he was. It was a nice hiatus from the reports I used to get from his daycare that he was a little hellion that could not be controlled. I was aware, though, that after having been out of a group environment for so long there might be a period of adjustment.

For the first week I was tense with worry, but the dreaded call never came. I was prepared for it, though. After the next week began and Monday passed without incident, I let myself relax and let go of the breath I felt like I had been holding. That’s when they sucker punched me.

Live and Learn )
ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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The first week of Kindergarten was a good one, by our standards: we did not get any calls from the school about our son.

The second week of Kindergarten is not starting off so well. The principle called me this morning and I could hear my son screaming in the background.

“It’s not my fault! The other kids are being mean to me! It’s NOT MY FAULT!”

The principal says that none of the other children were even talking to him when his outburst began.

He calmed down after less than a minute while she inquired about my schedule to see when I might be able to come in for a conference with her and his teacher. They will work around our schedule, she said. No problem. Whatever is good for us, she said. They aim to please. Why don’t I discuss it with my husband and get back with her?

It’s not just today, when he threw his shoes at his teacher and began screaming, scratching and kicking. He refused to sit down and stay still during story time, and began acting out when they asked him to behave and be good. His teacher has noticed some other things she would like to go over with us; things that didn't seem like a big deal until today's outburst.

I am transported back to the dark days when he was in daycare, before they threw him out. I feel sick and overwhelmed. I don't want to throw my shoes at anyone, though. I only want to cry.

Déjà vu: I hate it.


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ninanevermore: (Bite Me)
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My father called last night to ask how my son’s first day of Kindergarten went. After my son’s forcible expulsion from daycare a year and a half ago and the behavior problems that took him almost a year to resolve afterward, my dad worries. Since the last year hasn’t been too bad and did so well with his last babysitter and her kids, I was less worried.

“Is he close by?” my father asked.

“Yes, but he’s stuffing his face with pizza.”

“Oh. Well. I guess I don’t have to talk to him…”

“No, hold on.” I held the receiver to my son’s ear. “Tell your grandpa how your first day of school went.”

Stalking the Gingerbread Man )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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“I can’t believe I’m actually starting school tomorrow!” Sweet Pea exclaimed last night. He was standing on the couch, which put him at eye level with me.

“Yes, you are,” I told him. “Are you excited?”

“Very!”

Into the classroom: one small step for a little boy, one giant tug on the heartstrings of a mom. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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My son’s babysitter left me two voice messages (one on my house phone and one on my cell) and a text this morning while I was in the shower, asking me to call her as soon as I got it. Hoping she wasn’t going to bale on me today (which she’s never done before), I called her up to see what was the matter.

“I was just wondering,” she said apologetically, “I know you usually pay me on Monday afternoons, but could you drop off your check this morning instead?” She went on to say that her cell phone bill was due – she had been putting it off - and that she wanted to pay it today.

A man has to have his priorities. )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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Almost a year after a pediatrician faxed over a referral to the Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics, I received a phone call last week to schedule an appointment to bring my son in for an evaluation. A lot has changed since his daycare center tossed him out and told me he was not welcomed back. He no longer bites other children, for one. He hasn’t had a tantrum since last May (though the last one was a doozie and resulted in some structural damage to the home of his babysitter at the time). He seems pretty normal to me and to his current babysitter. Then again, he is not in a classroom environment with a lot of other children at this time. That will change when he starts kindergarten later this year, and I’m nervous about that.

I went ahead and made the appointment for the end of April, which is the soonest they can see us. I’m worried about the two possible outcomes: that after the 2-hour evaluation they will find my son perfectly normal and will glare at us for wasting their time when other children need their help so much, and that after the evaluation they will find something other than normal that will mean an uphill battle for my son.

Of course, the why-did-you-waste-our-time glare will be preferable to an I’m-so-sorry-to-tell-you smile of sympathy.

Normal is a relative word, isn't it? )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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"Hey, Kris," my son asked his babysitter today, "Did you that babies grow up to be people?"

I guess he thinks of babies as being more like dogs or cats. After all, they crawl around on all fours, they pick up your toys and try to put them in their mouths until you yell at them and tell them to stop (and you have to take the toy away when they don't listen), they eat their own special food that is different from everyone else's, and they sometimes make a lot of noise for no good reason.

You have to look it from his point of view: babies, on the face of it, are kind of pointless. They talk, but they don't make any sense. They often smell yucky. Several times a day they scream at the top of their lungs without provocation, but instead of being put in time out for it like would happen to him if he did this, the grownups will pick a baby up and talk in squeaky sing-song voices to it. It's amazing that such silly, useless things will grow up to be people that you can play with and talk to. People who enjoy watching Phineas and Ferb just like he does. To think that every useful, interesting, fun person he knows started out as one of these things: a stupid little baby! I can see how it boggles his mind.



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ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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My meeting with the director of my son's old daycare center this week lasted longer than I though it would. I figured I would go in there, have my say, and leave after 10 minutes. Instead, I was there for most of an hour. This wasn't about yelling or making accusations or anything like that. I just wanted to share with the director the fact that my son's behavioral issues which caused her to ask me not to bring him back had all but evaporated with his expulsion. I also wanted to share with her the things that her former employees had shared with me about possible causes for my son's behavior. Chief among them was the assertion that his life in the classroom was playing out like a Pre-K versions of Lord of The Flies, with my son playing the role of the kid who gets run through with a spear in the novel.

After all we aren't savages really...  )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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I ran into my 4 year old son's would-be fiancée in the grocery store on Sunday evening. Admittedly, the courtship only lasted for the 2 days she was his nursery school teacher. And sure, she turned him down flat when he proposed marriage to her on that first day on the playground. But even the most fleeting of romances leave a lasting impression. For the most part my son has moved on and is now actively seeking a little girl his own age who will let him kiss her (without luck, I might add). Ironically, it was Miss Makinzie who seemed to be smitten with Sweet Pea after all this time.

To The Power Of Three )
ninanevermore: (Motherhood)
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I would like to clarify something about my son, the Sweet Pea. My son, the biter who sank his teeth into so many his little peers that his daycare gave him the boot. My son, the thrower of tantrums that lasted until he passed out from exhaustion (about 1.5 hours, on average).

He is not a monster, a brat, a bad kid, or even a problem child. The therapist who told us it would take 10 sessions before she would have an idea whether he needed to continue or whether she would need to refer us to someone else asked us to stop bringing him after the 6th session: she didn't see the need for it any more.

Sweet Pea is sweet again. Really, it's the damnedest thing. Even I'm amazed.

Welcome Back, Sweet Pea )
ninanevermore: (Default)
Wednesday – Passionate About Kisses
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Sweet Pea brought up his failed attempt to kiss his playmate, Carlie, again last night at dinner.

"I tried, but she didn't like it," he said with resignation. "She only likes kissing other girls."

My husband and I exchanged amused looks.

"That could explain why she likes playing with his helicopter and his cars," Jeff said. Sweet Pea and Carlie constantly bicker about whose turn it is to play with his toys.

"In that case, I'll let you be the one to explain to him that he's barking up the wrong tree," I said. I turned back to Sweet Pea. "I think Carlie's daddy told her that kissing boys is yucky and that she shouldn't do it."

"But why?"

You Shall Know All Kinds Of Joys, If Only You'll Beware Of Boys.* )
ninanevermore: (Default)
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I woke up an hour late this morning but still made it out of the house pretty close to on time. It turns out I didn't need to rush so much, since my babysitter also overslept this morning.

Once thing I have to get used to with paying a person to watch my son in her home as opposed to dropping him off at a commercial daycare center is that instead of being greeted by a bright-eyed woman who has showered, dressed herself, fixed her hair, had breakfast and downed whatever caffeinated beverages she needs to get herself moving, is I drop my son off with a bleary eyed person still in her pajamas. I am not just sympathetic, I am jealous since that is how I, myself, would look at that time of day if I didn't have to go to work. On the weekends, sometimes it's noon or later before I bother getting dressed. Carlie's mom confessed that she sets her alarm so that she wakes up just enough to stumble to the couch to pass back out so that she wakes up when I knock. Neither she nor her daughters are early risers.

Only this morning, she forgot to stumble to the couch, so she stayed in bed. Her bedroom is in the back of the house, far from the doorbell. It must have seemed very soft and comfortable to her.

I'm not exactly opportunity, but I can knock pretty hard. )

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