Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Suddenly Understand Myself a Whole Lot Better...

... and here's why. My whole dang family is a nut case waiting to happen!! I love them all but good grief. Give me a break already. I have been told that I was basically a disappointment for going to college to get $50K in debt for a degree that I no longer use. That I sit home on my butt all day keeping kids and that I would never be forgiven for that. Nice. I have been told to go get a job that pays better, that is more secure, that is stable, that is outside the home, etc. BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH. Does that even exist??? Really. Show me a decent paying job that is secure in this day and age where a 6 year out of experience washed up graphic designer would be happy and I will PAY YOU to send them my resume. I don't like corporate America. I have ZERO desire to go there EVER AGAIN.

Is my job all fun and games? No. Is any job? No. Unless you are just plain crazy. I guess there are people who really love their work. I, personally, get my satisfaction from things outside of my job, no matter what that may be. My family, my kids, my friends, my free time. You know. A job is a job is a job. It pays the bills. Period. I don't know why my chosen career has been such a source of contention among my family. Did I gripe and tell my brothers what losers they would be if they didn't get a college education? NO! Do I tell my younger brother that he needs to wake up and smell the coffee and quit living the high life at home with Mom and Dad? NO. I won't divulge all our family "secrets" here, but I just had to get this off my chest.

For everyone reading this... I may be overweight, underpaid, broke most of the time and have a three year old bathroom renovation in progress, but I am overall VERY HAPPY. 97% of the time. I think that is pretty good odds myself.

I have a few gripes. I would like to see more of my friends. We see each other far too infrequently. But people get busy and life moves on. I woke up a few weeks ago and DAMN! I was 37! My friends we hung out with last night have a daughter that is almost the age we were when I first met them. Give or take a few years. I clearly remember when my Mom was the age I am now. CLEARLY. Scary. I don't have time to spend one more second of my life wondering what I could have done differently.

I make a choice 6 years ago to give up my career, temporarily or not, to stay home and be a mother. I have NEVER regretted it. It has not always been easy, financially speaking. But I raised my kids. I saw them get to where they are. I was here when they needed me. I wouldn't trade that for anything. Why is this something to have to be "forgiven" for??

As for the help that we have been given. Don't give it with strings attached. That's not cool. I have not asked for it so don't give it with strings. It's just not worth it.

I am not sorry I have disappointed the people closest to me in my life. Not my problem. I don't get what they have a problem with myself. I think I have done pretty well for myself considering I have ALWAYS held a job from the day I turned 16. Hell, sometimes i even had two and three jobs all while going to school. More than I can say for most people. My husband has always worked. He doesn't make a ton of money but he works. Two jobs. Our kids are well adjusted and happy. They know they are loved and can count on us, as their parents to be there. Isn't that how success should be measured? My true friends love me rich or poor. They are there when I need them and they know who they are. I am thankful for you all.

As for me, I understand why I am the way I am now. I kinda like me. As for forgiveness for my shortcomings? I don't want it or need it.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Build A Bear Fun

Maia's Daisy Troop went to Chuck E Cheese and Build a Bear last weekend. It was how they chose to spend their cookie sale profits. Well, at least some of it. The rest will remain in the account for next year. Here are some photos from the day.

picking outfits for the dog and bunny. I really really wish I had been the inventor of this store! The stinking underwear for the bunny cost me $3.50!! He's laughing all the way to the bank!!!

Doing the dance they do when you put the heart in the animal.

Maia giving her bunny a good scrub down and brushing.
Three girls with their creations.

Chuck-E-Cheese with funny mouse mouth cups. These cracked me up!

Boy, we had fun but I am soooooo glad we don't have one of these in town or we would be broke!

Maia eating her dippin dots. She loves these! Again, I am soooo glad we don't have this place in our hometown!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Having an Only Child...

...must be dull. No offense to all my dear friends out there. Let me explain. Sunday, Harrison left with my parents and his cousin Ethan to go camping for a week. It is just Chris, Maia and myself until Maia and I travel to where they are on Friday to meet them and camp for the weekend. I have too much free time and it is waaaaayyyyyyy to quiet. Maia, on the other hand, is enjoying all the one on one attention. She did say she misses him in the mornings and that it is lonely. They really do love each other even though they spend half the time trying to inflict bodily harm upon each other. Personally, I can't wait to see my baby boy again on Friday!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Louies New House

My dad made this cat condo for his "baby" Minnie, but she seems to have outgrown it. He brought it over for my cats. Louie loved his new house!!

Hose Fun

The first hot, sunny day in almost a week warranted a little cooling off, hose style...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time to Move on...

Wednesday I attended my kids awards ceremony at TCM. I knew they were getting a reading award but wasn't expecting the others. Maia and Harrison both got perfect attendance for the year. I had NO idea. How cool!! Maia also got the Rocket Math award for meeting her goal in addition. Harrison's class won the recycle challenge that the school did. It was a great day for them! I was so proud of both of them. It has been a rough, but overall good year academically for Harrison. He started out way below where he should be and once he was diagnosed ADHD and properly medicated, the jump in his academic progress was astounding. He is now reading on a second grade level, versus the K. level he was at in November. We just need to iron out the kinks. Harrison on the far left in the brown and blue, and Maia striking a pose for me, receiving their Perfect Attendance Awards.

After the awards, I went to each class and distributed the teacher gifts. I was able to snap a photo of Harrison and Maia with their teachers. Mrs. Webb really seemed to like her gift. She is SUCH a great teacher! I cannot say enough about this woman. The kids adore her and she makes everything a lesson. It is amazing. Here are some photos from the day.

Maia with Mrs. Webb, before she gave her the gift.

Mrs. Webb, showing the class her flower pot. Even here, she was teaching them.

Mrs. Webb giving Maia a high five for the Kindergarten Rocks Tee shirt. I love this photo.

Mrs. Webb was the ONLY teacher I EVER saw eating lunch with her kids EVERY DAY! I thought this was so awesome! Her daughter, Nettie Jo, is in the yellow shirt.

Mrs. Webb, Bria, and Megan watching Maia being silly with her pizza.

Harrison acting shy, with his teacher, Mrs. Hudson. He finished up with an overall great year. Again, its all about the kinks...

I got them to pose today, Thursday June 11, for the last day of school shot! My how they have grown this year!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Teacher Gifts

End of the year equals teacher gifts to be made. Here is what I came up with.

The insert for the flower pot, which were $1 at AC Moore. Grass stickers, finger print butterflies by the kids, school photos and ABC stickers.

The insert in the pot. This one is Maia's for her teachers.

And Harrison's for his teachers.

finish the pot with a bag of potting soil tied up all nice and pretty, a wooden planter sign with the type of seed, and a packet of "Forget-Me-Nots" seeds and you are all set! All for less than $5 a gift. Hopefully the teachers will like it.

Popsicle sticks and a $.39 wooden sign painted white make up the sign.

Mrs. Webb, because she is so awesome, got the best gift. We LOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE her. She Always says "....(fill in the blank here) Rocks!" She tells the kids they rock when they are successful in school, etc. You get the idea. Maia has a Kindergarten Rocks Tee shirt I made for her, so we made Mrs. Webb one too. Iron on letters for $2 for the entire sheet and the tee shirt was $2 on sale at AC Moore. The mini tote bag (this was TOTALLY Maia's idea!) was $1.39. I hope she likes her gift!

Breathe Deep and Count to 10...

I had to do that several times today. I visited my son and daughter's school for field day. I knew that Harrison would be missing a portion of the activities for his behavior in the past few weeks. I sought out my daughters class and had a great time with her class. Then I went to look for Harrison's class. I found them, minus Harrison. I spoke with the teacher to find out that he was in the office doing PILES of work that he had been refusing to do. I also learned that when he was asked to take his work out of his desk and get busy so he could eventually join the class for field day, he refused and put his head down. She told me that she turned up his desk and dumped it in the floor. He later told me he was embarrassed by this and all his friends laughed. This is a young teacher. For the most part, I have not had any issues with her. I like her and she has been really good at keeping me posted. That is why the next part of this was so hard for me to handle.

I hang out with Maia a bit more then decide to head inside to see Harrison and how much progress he was making on his work. ( I'll interject here to say that he had already earned some of field day so I was not too cool with the fact that all of that had been undone and his reward of earning some taken away.) When I got to the auditorium where he was at, there he was laying in the floor with PILES and PILES of work. OK, now when I was told that he was doing work he had refused to do, I was thinking a weeks worth at best. What I found was at least a months worth. This was work he should have been doing independently. My concern was that WHY was I not told before now? Didn't she realize that he was not turning in his work? How did it get so out of hand? I just don't understand how this happened. I could have been working with him at home to make it up. He should have been missing rewards/recess/fun things all along, not the last three days of school. I was so angry and upset. I felt awful for Harrison sitting there alone while his entire class and the entire school for that matter was out having fun. I am NOT dismissing what he did. But she is the teacher and I should have been told before it got out of hand. He is a 7 year old boy with a disability. Who's in charge here?

They tell me he doesn't qualify for the 504/IEP, whatever, because his learning is not being impacted by his disability. Uhhh, i think I would have to disagree after today. He told me when he got home from school that he had been stuffing papers in his desk since day 1 in first grade. I have called the school and demanded a child study be conducted ASAP and If I have too, I will be that parent that teachers loathe. I am my sons only advocate. I have to see that he gets what he needs, that he doesn't fall through the cracks. For Goodness sake, I pay my taxes! I know my rights. Something WILL be done about this.

On another note, Maia had a GREAT field day. Here are some photos from the day!

Maia throwing a pass!!

The girls! Katera, Maia, Bria, Grace, Maggie, Chloe, and Megan.

My girl doing the limbo. Her all time favorite game!

She won!! She is so good at this game, even on skates!

Maia and teacher extraordinaire, Mrs. Webb. I only wish Harrison could have had her. She use to teach 2nd grade. This was her first year in Kindergarten.

This is how Harrison spent most of the day. The photo doesn't do this pile of work justice.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dangers of Motherhood

Boy, there are times when being a Mom really does a number on your self-esteem and self worth. Maybe it is just me and my need to be in control of every situation and my tendency to react very quickly at situations that arise. Maybe it is because I myself am under the guidance and care of a psychologist. That says it all really. Am I mentally stable? Well, sure I am, but i have a tendency to take a situation and blow it up into more than it probably really is. Things also tend to depress me very quickly.

My past few blogs have been about my son and the issues we have faced this school year. It has been quite a ride for all of us. Teachers, Principals, Maia, Chris, myself and anyone else involved with my family. This blog will not be any different. Sorry. If you don't like it, stop reading now. This blog has become quite a good form of therapy for me.

Thursday, yesterday, I got a call at about 1:30 from the Principal at the school my kids go to. She had Harrison in her office. Seems that a few boys at lunch thought it would be a good idea to pretend to choke themselves and Harrison thought it to be an even better idea to pretend to choke another classmate. With the zero tolerance they have in school these days, you can just imagine why this was a BAD CHOICE for Harrison to make. He was sent to the principal who asked him why he did this and if he knew what happened when you choked someone. His answers were "because I wanted too" and "they turn blue and suffocate" respectively. I was instructed to come pick him up from school immediately for an overnight suspension. This was no easy feat for me to do since my Mom had just gotten out of work and I had four sleeping toddlers in my house. After some work, my Mom was at the house and I was on my way to the school. NOT HAPPY!

The therapist we see for Harrison told me to INSIST on a 504 plan for him for next year or to instruct the school to QUIT calling me about his behavior. I have tried and begged and pleaded to get this for him and have had wall after wall put up. I am doing everything in my power to help my son get thru this but I am not getting a lot of help from the school system. I know it is the end of school but I am tired of having to handle the issue from afar when they need to find a better way to handle it. He WANTS to come home. He tells me that is why he can't behave... because he misses me. SO DON'T send him home. That is NOT punishment. I am not really blaming the teachers or staff. As a whole, I adore his school and all the staff I have had dealings with. I am not blaming anyone. It is just very frustrating when you try to help your child be successful and keep running into walls.

I spent most of last night feeling really crappy about all of this. Where had I gone wrong? Why can I not seem to handle this? I ate LOTS of chocolate. It is hard as a Mom to deal with all of this. I KNOW that Harrison is NOT the child that chokes people on purpose. I know it was not malicious when it was done. How do you help a child like this? I have so many questions and not many answers. I hope today is better for Harrison. I am waiting on my call back from the principal while he is at school today. To discuss the 504 and other modifications that can be made for next year. Stay tuned.

Monday, June 1, 2009

God Give Me the Strength...

... to make it thru the last 9 days of school. I know, a lot of parents dread the end of school because it means no more free time if you don't work and if you do, then you have to find someone to take care of your kids. Well, I am on the other side of this fence.

This has been a rocky year for Harrison. He started out his 1st grade year below grade level on his tests (PALS) and after few months he was diagnosed ADHD (With Oppositional Defiant Disorder). We have known about the ODD for a while, though it was never really treated until now. It was kind of an unofficial diagnosis a few years ago by a therapist I wasn't wild about. After starting Harrison on Vyvanse we saw such dramatic improvements I was foolish enough to believe our problems were solved. Such a newbie I was to ADHD then. Oh, they were only just beginning.

Previous posts outline some of this so I won't rehash all that, but after bouncing around on a variety of med's, we finally sought counsel from Dr. K Rooney and now have Harrison on Strattera. It has been about 3 months on this one, with no side effects that we can see. However, I am not sure that it is working all that well. When we started this medicine, it was almost as if the ODD symptoms were exaggerated. I started getting emails and phone calls from Harrison's first grade teacher, the principal, a referral from the bus driver, then another from his teacher. Oh the list goes on. Basically, he is being disruptive, uncooperative, mean on occasion (tripping kids and laughing, pushing kids, throwing mulch on the playground), and just generally a pain in the ass if I can say that about my own child. I literally get anxiety attacks when i see the school phone number pop up on my caller ID or I see an email from his teacher in my in box.

Yes, I am his mother, and I love him no matter what. He is my firstborn and my baby boy. Nothing will change that. I hate to see him struggle so much. It kills me a little at a time. I know that he is a very sweet and loving child. He just has to learn to deal with all this that is going on inside of him. We are seeking the advice from yet another therapist and I feel confident that he will be able to help us where the other one couldn't. That is why I am glad school is almost out. I will be able to breathe much easier knowing that that phone call won't be coming or the emails. It will also give us several months to work with the therapist we see every other week, to hopefully address these issues and make some progress before Harrison enters the second grade.

ADHD is so often misunderstood. I was guilty of it once. Over diagnosed, over medicated, etc. the list goes on. BUT, now that I am faced with it head on, it is very hard to deal with and yes, very misunderstood. These kids are not just trying to be hard to deal with, they literally cannot control themselves. They don't have the ability to learn from their past mistakes, which explains why charts don't work, and normal behavioral techniques don't work either. This explains why Harrison went to the Principals office, was talked to by her and sent on his way, then ended up there again not even 10 minutes later for the same thing. We are learning to deal with this with the help of our therapist. To teach Harrison how to handle things in a different way.

So, yes, I am grateful summer is upon us and school is out. I know there will be some rough patches to deal with this summer, but I am hopeful that this summer will provide Harrison the turning point he needs to start 2nd grade off on a different foot.