This week has been very busy and rather anxiety ridden for me. You see the thing about having a special needs child is that you really need an amazing support system. The other thing about having a special needs child is that you don’t always have the time to engage that support system. So, I am the special needs co-chair on the elementary school’s PTA. There were only 2 other special needs parents who attended the first PTA meeting of the year, and one of those was the other special needs co-chair! The thing is that its often much, much more difficult to leave a SN child with a sitter if they have to be somewhat trained, experienced, etc. Even if you have a sitter that can handle them, it can often be a challenge to leave for a variety of other obstacles. For example, M wanted the sitter to help him with his homework, not me. My answer, “No”. M, “But whyyyyy?”. “Because she won’t know which parts of your homework to push you to do and which parts you need some guidance with.” It can be so challenging to figure out when they are being stubborn with a self-care (hair washing) or homework job (reading directions) and when they simply can’t do it, re: tying shoes, drawing detailed pictures for math). I digress. So, at the first meeting of the week I spoke up to get other SN parents involved in our newly formed parent support group for the school. The second meeting, regarding the curriculum for the year, was done by grade level and because M has an IEP (individualized education plan), some parts of the curriculum are a little different for him, but still. I was the only parent who spoke up concerned about the math portion. There are entire Facebook groups dedicated to how awful our math curriculum is here. Its time consuming, strays off topic and is harshly skewed toward children with certain motor skill and reading abilities. In addition to the old school word problems, which while not my forte’ are certainly relevant for applying what you know, the children are expected to write descriptions related to most math problems and draw what I consider to be large, detailed pictures to go along with it. M is really good at math and up until this point he has done amazingly well with his “drill” sheets of addition, subtraction and multiplication. His teachers even started using it as a confidence builder for his reading, which due to his ASD is not at grade level. He does math first, to build his confidence, works on his reading, and as a reward, gets to to some more math. Now it seems they are taking that away? I am SO angry. Spitting fire angry. I feel like the curriculum is taking away the one subject that M can relax with and enjoy and stretch his mind instead of struggle, and they’re making it another obstacle for him to tackle. Because he doesn’t have enough of those with pretty much the rest of his life. /sarcasm. So I brought this up at the school meeting and the other parents looked at me like I had grown a second head. Really?? You’re ok with this?? Have you seen the homework they’re sending home?? Its ridiculous. G says that most likely those parents had no idea what I was talking about because…. they just weren’t paying attention. They may not have needed to. If you have a neurotypical child who can handle multiple skills at once and integrated learning in that manner then it may have just been one of those moments where you thought, “Oh, wow, they sure taught that differently in MY day”. When you have a ASD child who has difficulty accessing the education due to a skill imbalance, its a whole new ballgame. I understand the school only has 1 curriculum, but how is M supposed to learn like that. If he is unable to use his math skills because the math is being integrated with reading comprehension and oddly, fine motor skills with the drawing, and it is combined with a subject where he is performing at a grade level or two below the math, what comes out in the mix? Has he then lost all quantifiable skill? How is it possible to accurately assess that? So I’m mad. And I’m not sure what to do. I did have some good conversations with the SpEd teachers (2 of them anyway) about why this is happening, but its not making me feel any better about it. I’m looking at alternatives. I’m not just letting this go.
Be Fierce. #GetMad
I am a tired person. I am making soup and its cloudy and rainy outside and its just making me so drowsy! Whew. Today is going to be a coffee in the afternoon kind of day. I try not to caffeinate after noon, but honestly its that or sleepwalk through the rest of my day. Miss S has been fascinated with plants lately. It is wonderful and adorable and I love it… but its beginning to seep into my day. For example, I sleepily got everyone into the car to go to school the other day and I’m walking out the door with my giant coffee mug and after taking a sip I find there is something papery in my mouth! I have papers in my cup! How did this happen?! Oh. Oh wait, its a leaf. Its leaves actually. In my cup. Miss S says she added them for extra flavor. Yum. Later in the afternoon I am doing dishes when I look at my (formerly) empty flower pot on the sink and find it filled with green leaves and water. She wanted to make sure they could still grow.
I’m not a green thumb by any means, but we’re going to go over gardening 101 this weekend. In the meantime, its cute. Well, except for the leaves in my coffee. That kind of freaked me out to be honest.
The third week of school is upon us and the kiddos have collectively turned in 2 projects. Swimming lessons, youth group and Sunday school classes have started – we’re in full swing. I tell you, I was on the phone the other day when I was asked what activities the children were doing this fall and I rattled off a few and then… I dunno, it felt like that wasn’t enough and the person I was talking to also seemed to feel like I was “missing” something and so began to mention how I would be saving money by not having the children in so many activities at once. While that is true (hey, swimming lessons x 3 is not cheap) they are also doing youth group and private therapy and to be honest, I just can’t run around more right now. We really went all out last spring and when it came time to sign up for fall activities I just couldn’t over extend myself again. Maybe we’ll ramp up this winter with a 3rd activity. Maybe not. How many things do children do at a time these days? It seems like they’re over scheduled or under scheduled. Its difficult to strike a balance.
Be Fierce. #AimforBalance
If you don’t have enough to be anxious about, come see me! I have anxiety to spare. You know how relaxing it is to go to the hair salon? Yeah, me neither. I know many people enjoy indulgent salons and it makes them feel special and pampered. I think I used to enjoy them too. I’m not sure what happened but somewhere along the way salons lost their magic for me. I sort of equate it to going to the dentist. Recently I paid a visit to (believe it or not) my favorite salon. Its a mod and trendy boutique downtown. The walls are all glossy white and decorated with pristine white sculptures and paintings. The floor and vaulted ceilings are a dark black-clay color. There are white fluffy faux animal skins strewn about the sitting area and I’m (still) not sure whether I am supposed to walk on them or not. Its a tough call. When I arrived the salon was fairly empty so I scooted past the rugs to a clearly (literally) modern rounded chair and wondered how I was supposed to let anyone know I was there. After flipping through one of the carefully placed magazines on the (clear) glass table, a fashionable young woman slowly made her way teetering in 5 inch heels from the “back room” to the sitting area to offer me a drink. She looked like she was floating at first glance because 1) she was wearing a white flowy top and black skinny jeans, so she matched the walls and floor and 2) I didn’t have my glasses on. I wonder if her outfit was intentional. Maybe she is supposed to match the decor? Afraid of putting anyone out further, and also because I was fairly certain she wouldn’t want to walk any more than necessary I just said, “water would be great”, and of course I proceeded to head towards the wrong stylist’s chair. After some directional advice and placement of my purse on the wall purse hanger (Is it for purses? What is it for? I feel like my purse is for sale on that thing). Next up I had 2 quick “hair reviews” to see what treatments I needed to have. I’m biting my nails just reliving my experience from that day… and this was one of the more positive ones! Do I have haircut phobia? Or something similar? Is that a thing? In any case to make it worse, I have at this point discovered that I have arrived an hour and 45 minutes late for my appointment. (At least I showed up this time, I had already canceled once.) I was mortified and apologized profusely. I did not go into detail with the teetering stylists that I have a phobia of haircuts and so was doing well to be there at all. I did however spill my water and trip on the chair mat. They were very kind and accommodating and said they would fit in what they could. (At least to my face, who knows behind that “back room” door. :::stress:::) Actually my tardiness had some rewards! Due to time constraints, I would not be able to get my full double-process coloring + cut that I usually get, but only a single process + cut. This was excellent news because it meant I would get to leave sooner. Yippee! I did manage to chatter about children and weather for the better part of an hour until thankfully it was time for me to leave. That always causes me stress too – the chatter. Some women I know are chatter experts. I’m just not. I do just fine with people that I am familiar with, but I have to feel comfortable. I was not feeling comfortable. When I went to the restroom the faucet was internally lit with a bright blue light and I could not figure out which designer towels I should use. In any case, it was done. I was done for how ever many weeks I could stand it until I would have to come in to get my grays covered again. :::deep breath::: I’m not saying this is in any way the salon’s fault – I can own my own ‘crazy’. I got it. I know it. Maybe I should figure out how to use color in a box. Have you done that? Good/bad results?
Be Fierce. #OwnYourCrazy