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Mr. Maturity 

the neighbors have had contractors at their house for months. They are doing a total gut/remodel and we’ve been living with construction noises since early spring. Today I felt frustrated because the moment I got Alex down for nap, they started in with the table saw. Ugh! Of course Alex came downstairs crazy eyed and awake. 

Not to fear! Mikey said, “don’t worry, mom. I will put him back to sleep.” And he did! He walked his brother upstairs and told him to get in bed. Alex complied and went back to sleep. 

Stunned, I asked Mikey what he’d like for a reward treat. He asked to watch an episode of Blues Clues and to eat a cucumber. Done, buddy. Done. 

  

Air Cloud

Mikey and his friend have invented a new unit of measure: air cloud. Air cloud is more than infinity, you see. Because infinity can’t just be infinite–there MUST be something more. Thus, air cloud.

A grownup friend was at our house the other day discussing how her son has a gazillion Legos. Mikey said, “Oh yeah? Well I have air cloud Legos.”

For homework today, Mikey had to write a number sentence (whatever the hell that means). His was, “Mikey had air cloud Legos and someone gave him 7,000 more. How many Legos did Mikey have altogether?”

In sort of related news, Alex calls the plows “snow clouds,” so when one rumbles past, Alex yells, “there’s the snow cloud.”

And Mikey counters, “No. Air cloud. Air cloud is more than infinity.”

“No! It’s a snow cloud, MIKEY!” And then they hit each other while I hide in the kitchen eating chocolate chips.

2 Peas in a Pod

I’m often struck by how very alike Mikey and I are. Today, I was agonizing over a noise I heard in the house, but couldn’t locate. “Do you hear it??” I kept pleading to Cody. He heard nothing, kept suggesting it was the fridge. As if I didn’t know what sound the ice maker makes!

I should have asked Mikey much sooner. He noticed me searching for the source of the sound and said, “Mom, that’s just the woo-ey light by the basement potty.” He ran down, turned off the fluorescent light above our toilet, and ah! Such silence and relief.

He can hear these things with his bat ears just like me.

Today while we were watching Thomas, he sneaked up behind me on the couch and kissed the back of my neck and then ran away to terrorize his brother.

Those are the things I want to remember in 85 years–bonding over woo-ey lights and surprise kisses. Excuse me while I go stare at him in his sleep.

IT’S OCTOBER!

I’ve mentioned before that Mikey loves Halloween. Loves isn’t even a strong enough word. Halloween is his Christmas, and he prepares for it much the same way Rite Aid does: by beginning to decorate more than a month in advance and generating buzz via scraps of paper, annoying music, and in-your-face promotion.

This year, my mom (who isn’t helping a bit) sent along a huge package of Halloween decorations. We now have window decals, a welcome mat, sparkly garland on the bannister, a string of glitter pumpkins up the stair rail, and orange twinkle lights on the front porch.

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Mikey, mid-decorating session, contemplating placement of various gaudy decorations.

After he finished tricking out the porch, he clutched his bosom and declared it the most beautiful porch on the block.

September 30, he paced around the kitchen, super agitated. I hadn’t seen him this anxious since we were testing the Adderall. He was finally able to tell me he felt tremendous concern we might forget to flip the calendar page the next morning and couldn’t we please just flip to October a bit early? We did, because who could let a kid fester in such worry?

Despite being up a bit late that night, he was up at five October first and stomped right into my bedroom. “MOM! IT’S OCTOBER!” he declared, in his most excited yelling voice. He’s been practicing wearing his vampire costume ever since (because I told him he couldn’t practice wearing his costume until October) and repeatedly begging me for bright red contacts as an accessory.

Our new thing, which I love, is nightly family walks to see how the neighbors are decorating for Halloween. We do these each year until mid-November, when he melts down into a puddle of goo over his constant disappointment that Halloween has passed.

I’m hopeful this year his maturity combined with his medication will help him be more accepting of the transition to November. I’ll admit, I will spend October in anticipation alongside Mikey, only mine will be fear that the honeymoon phase of this year will be ending and manic Mikey will spring back into our lives.

I keep telling myself one day at a time, and when he has a bad afternoon because Ricardo gave someone else the lone Halloween book during silent reading distribution, this doesn’t necessarily mean the school year will spiral into a shit show.

If you’ll excuse me, though, I need to get to work on costumes for myself and Cody and Stanley, because Mikey insists they wear costumes!

Teacher Crush

I have sort of a crush on my son’s teacher this year. Maybe that’s the wrong word? She’s just such an amazing educator that I want to buy her a present to somehow symbolize my deep feelings of gratitude for her. Without being asked, she makes small changes to help my Mikey have his best day. She seats him with calmer peers to help him stay focused. She’s given him stones to carry in the afternoons when he’s been biting his nails and picking at his face–she felt the stones were both some heavy work for his body and kept his hands occupied so he wouldn’t keep destroying his beautiful skin.

With her help, every day so far has been a “green light” day. Every day! The phone doesn’t ring. My shoulders don’t sit up by my ears. My body isn’t sick with tension as I await pickup time. Instead, I go every day and retrieve a happy child who talks about who he sat with at lunch time and asks me more questions about things he’s learning.

Is this what school is supposed to be like? We’re certainly enjoying a honeymoon period, which our advocate warns this might be. It’s still early in the year and we’re creeping closer to Halloween. Halloween is the touch-point of Mikey’s year. He feels so strongly about Halloween that October is touchy as we lead up to the big and wonderful day and then November is agonizing as we watch the world abruptly abandon Halloween and switch to Christmas prep overnight.

But as I tell Mikey’s teacher this information, far from implying I’m crazy or coddle him too much, this teacher listens carefully and brainstorms ideas for how she can help keep him focused and succeeding at school.

How can I express to this woman what it means for her to hear me, to see my son, and to be there with him every day as he learns new things? It’s probably not ever fully possible, but I’ll certainly be writing her a heartfelt note.

School Bus!

Mikey starts kindergarten in a few days. He goes to a Montessori school, so this isn’t as huge a deal as first grade will be, since he’s in the same room with the same kids he’s been with for 2 years already. But he’s going to ride the bus this year!

At least in the morning. Cody and I decided the afternoon is too rife with opportunity for disaster–would he get on the wrong bus? Get off at the wrong stop? His medication is worn off in the afternoons and he’s tired from being at school all day. He’s a huge wildcard. No thanks!

School basically operates under a method where he has to demonstrate disaster before they’d do door-to-door busing and since we have this terrible debacle with his diagnosis paperwork, we’re not even sure he would qualify.

But we think he will do just fine and dandy on the bus in the morning. It stops pretty near our house, he’ll climb aboard with all the other kids from our street, and hopefully not deboard until he’s at school. Surely the drivers can keep him aboard the bus until school, right?

I think this taking the bus idea might be more emotional for me than the notion of him starting kindergarten. I mean, it’s the bus! It’s a big deal! So much responsibility! His good friend E from down the street will also be taking the bus, so my fervent hope is that they will sit together near the front and be fine on their grand adventure together. If it’s problematic, I’ll just drive him. But it will be great, right?

A Few Good Days

Today was Mikey’s third day of school. So far he’s doing very well and we are getting thumbs up at pickup time. We hear tell he’s embracing being a leader and likes having a younger buddy in his classroom that he’s paired with. So I’m very glad about this and excited to hear news of my son doing his best!

And yet we have no 504 plan, no IEP, no protections in place. The school guidance counselor/principal are stalling scheduling a meeting and I can’t figure out why. We have our advocate and people from the superintendent’s office sending daily emails insisting they schedule a meeting with us. We hear only radio silence in return.

And then when I’m there in person everyone is very jovial. I don’t understand. Not that I want interpersonal relations to be tense. I just want people to follow the law and get some paperwork in place for my son.

Our advocate emphasized to us the very, very serious nature of the school’s actions in stalling this meeting. They are out of compliance every day and violating Mikey’s rights. At this point, we are being encouraged to file a claim at the state level with the office for dispute resolutions. We plan to have kids at this school for 12 more years, so we are really hesitant to do this. Our compromise for now is to have our advocate send an email to the team reminding everyone that the school is out of compliance and that we might have to turn to this if we can’t get a meeting.

Why is this all so hard? Surely it benefits everyone to figure out a plan to help Mikey do his best at school.

I’m having a lot of mixed feelings right now. Like, I don’t want anything to do with this school because I’m filled with rage at their behavior. But it’s a good school and we have many parent friends there and what’s the better alternative?

As soon as I feel like I have some breathing space I’m going to start looking at other schools.