Time To Face Off With The Asshole Again

Edit: meeting got canceled, so we have to wait until next week. Sigh.


We have to meet with Asshole Psychologist and the rest of the IEP team tomorrow.

Fuuuuck.

Y’all, my anxiety is an absolute mess over this. I just want to go in there and meet with people who have my kid’s best interests at heart and not have to deal with some jackass. I don’t like confrontation, as confrontation sends my anxiety into a tailspin, and that’s what this will be. I was hoping that we could avoid him. We tried to talk to the principal about doing a 504 Plan only and not bother with an evaluation at this point since we found out she wouldn’t qualify for speech services, but he said the whole team had to meet to discuss it.

Fuuuuuck.

I’ve done so much reading on federal laws relating to students with disabilities (IDEA law) over the past two months, as well as anything I could find on IEPs. I know they’re legally obligated to evaluate her if we push for it, I know the steps to take if he tries to violate her rights and refuse an evaluation, and I know who to contact to file complaints at the district and state level if he acts unprofessionally again. And I’ve talked through every possible scenario or insulting bullshit he can come up with and how to respond. My husband probably thinks I’m crazy on that last one, but obsessive brains gonna obsess.

But still, despite all of that preparation, anxiety. Ugh.

On a more positive note, a friend of mine put me into contact with someone who works for an autism society that is a parent advocate, and she plans to attend the meeting with us. I don’t know much about her or how bringing someone else with us will be taken (I could see him making a stink over it), but assuming he doesn’t try to bar her from being there, it’ll be helpful to have someone else on our side I think. I also plan to record the meeting to have proof of any assholery.

Fingers crossed that it goes smoothly. Or that he develops explosive diarrhea before the meeting and can’t attend.

Our Week/Girls Night

So, first things first — my FIL is home and doing well. Yay! He’s going to be on the mend for a few weeks, but he seems to be getting around the house good all things considered.

Second — our Thanksgiving was nice. Since my dad hosted his the Sunday before, my other stepmom held hers later, and my MIL didn’t host, we had our first ever Thanksgiving at home. Let me say, I really hate the circumstances that led to that. But, it was probably my favorite Thanksgiving since my grandmother passed away. It was nice to take our time throughout the day cooking and cleaning and getting everything ready.

My dad fried the turkey we bought, so we only had baking and all the sides to worry about, and we had a ton of stuff. My dad and stepmom joined us, as did my SIL, and dinner couldn’t have gone better. Even BG ate some of what I cooked this year. I don’t know if my husband would go for it, but I’d totally be on board for not leaving the house for Thanksgiving every other year. It was so relaxing. We usually have three places to go on Thanksgiving, and it’s rough, especially for BG, as it leads to lots of meltdowns.

With the kids out of school three days, it was a pretty easy week. BG and I had a Girls Night out on Tuesday. She came up with the plan on Monday night and was so damn excited that she could barely sleep. She woke up early gushing about our Girls Night, talked about it through breakfast, and even told the principal. When I picked her up, she asked if it was time for Girls Night and we headed over to the movie theater for a matinee of Frozen 2.

As excited as she was, I had my suspicions that it might not end well. She was so worked up over it that I thought she might crash, and I was right. We had to leave the movie halfway through. She said it was too loud and she thought it was kinda scary. I tried to get her to stay, but she was getting more and more upset, so we left to go to Target, which was next on her itinerary. The plan was to let her get a small treat. After half an hour of searching in there, the lights were too bright, she didn’t know what she wanted because there was too much stuff, and she was almost in tears again. I was able to get her calmed down and had her choose from a couple of toys I thought she would like, and she did so we left to go eat pizza.

The pizza place had an arcade, and it was noisy as well (and the noise-canceling headphones were nowhere to be found), so she nibbled at a piece of pizza and wanted to leave. She told me she just wanted to go home instead of getting frozen yogurt, which was fine with me since she clearly needed to wind down. We came home and I ran a bubble bath and she played for a while and was able to chill out.

BG later told me that it was the best Girls Night ever. I was surprised since she was on the verge of a meltdown more than once and things didn’t go smoothly anywhere we went, but all she saw was the two of us doing something special together, which is all that mattered in her eyes. ❤

The rest of our weekend should be pretty easy. We’re going to visit a friend tonight and then do stuff for my birthday tomorrow. The house is still clean, amazingly, so we’ll have a chill weekend!

How was your Thanksgiving (or week if you don’t celebrate)? I promise to catch up on my reading soon!

Hospital

Last Monday night, my MIL called to say that her husband was having chest pains and needed to go to the hospital. The next call we got was from my SIL who said he had coded twice and that we needed to get there ASAP. After dropping off the kids at my dad’s house, we went to the ER and found that he had coded a third time. My SIL, a nurse, said she didn’t expect he’d make it after all of that. Thankfully, she was wrong.

FIL is doing okay a week later. He coded another time over the past week, but he’s doing amazingly well all things considered. (Before we left the ER on Monday, he was joking around in the bed.) The doctors thought he had a heart attack at first, but later decided it was a heart rhythm issue that they’ll need to give him a pacemaker for. He should have surgery for that this week, so hopefully things go well.

My FIL is my daughter’s favorite person, hands down. She has told MIL before that she doesn’t need to be there when she visits since BG only wants to see him. She doesn’t say it with malice, but it still hits hard just the same. When BG found out about FIL going to the hospital, her response was, “Well, I’m not visiting Grandma anymore until he comes home.” Lawd. I can’t imagine how hard that would be on her if something did happen. Hopefully we won’t have to worry about that for a long time.

I’ll do another update post later. Between visiting the hospital and stuff with the kids, it has been kinda hectic. I’m going to host Thanksgiving on Thursday, so I’m sure I’ll find time to write a post freaking out on Wednesday.

Hope all is well with y’all!

[Insert A Title Of Your Choice Here]

The stomach bug got us all. Baby Girl got it twice and the rest of us got it once (pleeeease no seconds). Since Baby Girl seemed better the day after the throwing up ended, she went back to school on Thursday, only to wake up that night throwing up again. So I’m sure half of her class will get wiped out, too. I’m going to stick a couple cans of Lysol in her backpack as a weak-ass apology.

It was funny how it affected all of us differently. Baby Girl obviously had it the worst with all of the throwing up, plus she complained of a headache, and she’s still feeling worn out today. I only had it bad for several hours, but then I had muscle spasms that lasted a day later and still feel like I had my ass kicked. My husband was sick for a couple of hours and slept all day but is still worn out today. LM was also sick for only a couple of hours and slept all day but is going full blast today. The rest of us aren’t at 100 percent just yet, so if looks could kill, he’d be a dead man by now.

Since BG was feeling better on Thursday, we went to her parent teacher conference that night. Her teacher and assistant teacher had lots of good things to say about how she was doing. Her test scores were great (yep, they have to do standardized testing in kindergarten) and at the top of the class. Her teacher said she can read pretty much any word she puts in front of her and is on a second grade reading level so far and is great with math, too. Her teacher also said she seems like she’s in her own little world a lot when they aren’t doing the more structured activities and doesn’t see her initiate playing with other kids but when they approach her she plays (and takes charge) and gets on well with everyone.

The teacher vented about Asshole Psychologist a little, too, and told me that they had the FM system for BG within two hours of that meeting. She said as a mom of a kid who will need services in a couple of years that it scared her and that she was in our corner and would do whatever she could to help. ❤ (And eventually I’ll stop gloating/complaining over Asshole Psychologist, but probably not anytime soon since a) it pissed me off so badly and b) we aren’t done.)

We aren’t quite caught up on laundry yet, but are getting there. Hopefully everyone will be back to normal tomorrow! My husband has Monday and Tuesday off work, so it’ll be nice to play catch up and relax a little. The kids have been on a Teen Titans Go! kick, and now we’re watching Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, and it’s fucking hilarious. It’s definitely my favorite kids show they’ve picked up lately.

Oh, and remember how I hadn’t had a sugary drink (Coke, sweet tea) since April? Well, I shot that all to hell with my virus. After hours of being sick, I found a bottle of Pepsi in the fridge and drank it. I never cared that much for Pepsi, but it was heavenly. It didn’t stay down long, but now I’ve gotta start over.

How is your weekend going?

That’s Sick, Yo

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. (Don’t hate me for starting Christmas music already.) It’s also the sickest, and not in the good sense that the word “sick” is being used in these days.

The night before, the girl woke me up around 3AM. Not by kissing my cheek, shoving her knees in my back, or rubbing her feet on my pajamas (something she loves to do, which is so darn odd), but by puking on my back. That poor girl threw up for the following nine hours. We were worried that her reflux was flaring up again, but the vomiting shifted to diarrhea and then back to vomit later in the evening, so we felt like it was safe to assume that she had a stomach bug.

I truly learned what Clothes Mountain is when we went through most of our towels and linens. We had a trash can and vomit bag, but somehow vomit still got everywhere.

She woke up at 4:00 last night and refused to try to go back to sleep. Super cranky. We kept her home today and hopefully she’ll feel all better by tomorrow. Tomorrow will mark her tenth absence this year, so she’s missed 20 percent of the school days at this point. Plus she gets the half day for therapy every week. Ten days is the most they’re supposed to miss, so hopefully we won’t run into any issues if she misses more.

While my husband and LM were out last night, she wanted to lie down on my bed because she was tired. I laid down with her, and she didn’t go to sleep but became Chatty Cathy instead. That is one interesting child. She started talking about Teen Titans and how she noticed that each of the characters has a different way of talking. She told me facts about lions and the planets. (She seemed disappointed when I didn’t know which planets are gas giants.)

And then she abruptly shifted gears and told me she had to start liking Barbie dolls. I asked why and she said it’s what girls are supposed to like and if she likes them too, maybe people will stop staring at her all the time.

“Who’s staring at you?” I asked.

“Everybody. Everywhere I go, people stare at me. I hate it when people look at me. They all think I’m different,” she said and scowled.

I told her that I doubted anyone was staring at her because she didn’t like Barbies and it’s probably because she’s so cute.

“I know I’m cute,” she agreed. “But I have short hair like a boy and wear boy clothes and that’s why people stare at me.” (For the record, while her hair is shorter, it looks nothing like a boyish haircut, and she probably only wears her shirts from the boy’s section half of the time.)

I talked to her for a while about how everyone is different and can like whatever they want to like, as I’ve done in the past. I told BG that I’d be happy to get her a couple of Barbies for Christmas, but that she should want them because she actually wants to play with them, not because of other people.

She shifted gears again. “Sometimes the girls at school cry,” she said. I asked why, and she told me it’s when they fall down or have an accident.

“Do you ever cry?” I asked.

“Only once. On Halloween, in PE, we were playing Duck, Duck, Goose. I cried then.”

“What happened during Duck, Duck, Goose?”

“It was loud. It’s always loud in there. I had to sit in the middle and didn’t know why. Everyone was looking at me, and I started crying.”

“Poor girl. What did the teacher say?”

“She fussed and said stop, so I stopped, but I wanted to cry more. My friend Zoey patted me on the back and tried to make me feel better.” Zoey is the child who told my husband on the field trip that it was her job to protect Baby Girl.

I told BG that I was sorry that happened and that I would talk to her PE teacher about it. I’ll get a pair of noise canceling headphones for her to use in there when it gets too loud for her and let the teacher know to give BG a sensory break when she gets overwhelmed. She retired a few years ago and decided to work again part-time, so hopefully she isn’t one of those teachers who is difficult over this sort of thing. It really bothers me that she couldn’t take a few seconds to ask why she was crying.

I asked BG if any other enrichment classes were too loud for her, and she said music is, so I’ll get some headphones for that class, too. I could just ask her teacher to send around the pair she already has, but I imagine they’d get lost eventually.

“I hate when things are loud. It hurts and makes me sad and mad!” She sounded upset, so I asked BG if she wanted a hug. She hadn’t wanted to be held or cuddled all day. “No. Why do people want to hug all the time?”

“It’s a display of affection, to show someone they care about them.”

“My friends hug me a lot.” I asked if she was okay with that, and she said sometimes it makes her skin feel itchy. I told her she could ask them to give her a high five instead. I decided to take the opportunity to delve into her brain and ask about some of her other autistic traits, like why she doesn’t make eye contact sometimes. This is because it hurts her eyes and makes her feel sad. Rubbing soft things makes her feel happy, but she said she doesn’t do it at school because people will stare. She has a lot of meltdowns because she’s always cranky — everything is too loud. I knew sensory overload was the cause of that. I’m going to look into some less bulky noise canceling headphones for her to wear more frequently.

I hate the kiddo is sick, but I’m glad it gave us the opportunity to lay down and talk like that. I doubt she would’ve been still long enough to talk for so long about things like that otherwise. Hopefully she’ll bounce back today and be back to her normal wound up self.

Monday Brain Dump

Now that I have the post about LM out of the way, it’s time for a good old-fashioned brain dump.

Hello, November, and hello weather that finally feels like fall.

Y’all, we sweated our asses off on Halloween. It was like 84 degrees and humid as fuck when we started trick-or-treating. I was glad that my kids didn’t dress as Avengers after all, since that meant I wouldn’t have to go as Carol Danvers with my jeans and leather jacket. The trick-or-treating got rained out after half an hour, but between trunk-or-treat at school, trunk-or-treat at a church, and other stuff, that was more than enough for Baby Girl.

I wish October was a couple of weeks longer. There is so much to do and not enough time to do it all in! I half run my family ragged during the holidays trying to squeeze in every fun activity and my list still has stuff left on it. I’m gonna be that person who starts Christmas stuff too early that everyone on Facebook loves to hate this year. The decorations will go up this weekend because the kids love looking at them and we’ll start our Christmas movie marathon. My Christmas fun list will get checked off this year.

So, as much as I miss BG during the daytime, I’m super enjoying all of the parent volunteering. And I’m not being sarcastic! I didn’t get to do as much with Little Man in elementary school because I had Baby Girl and almost all of the volunteer opportunities asked parents not to bring younger siblings. I hated not doing as much as I would’ve liked with him, so I’m glad I’m getting to do more now!

My husband went on the first field trip because I had a doctor appointment, and let’s just say that he doesn’t share my enthusiasm. Outside of our kids and helping out on a soccer team when LM was in kindergarten, his experience with kids this age is limited. I, on the other hand, did a teaching internship in a 4K program and worked at LM’s preschool for a while, and had young siblings, so I’m not as put off by kids that age. After they got back from the trip, he went over to the bar near the school for a beer. He said his nerves were absolutely shot and that if he had heard one more child tattle on another, he would’ve lost it.

“They aren’t even tattling over anything worthwhile! It’s just ‘Katie looked at me’ and ‘Tyler touched my seat.’ Over and over and over.”

Which is exactly like our children. The latest for Baby Girl is tattling on LM for “following” or “tracking” her. In case you’re concerned that it’s in the stalker type way, let me assure you, it’s not. So, BG cannot stand it when LM looks over her shoulder to see what she’s watching on Hulu when I let her hold my phone. It started as more of a problem because he was invading her personal space and touching her. Now just looking at her screen is a problem, too.

When BG watches “Teen Titans Go,” LM wants to watch, too, which BG detests. So, after some snipping, LM will get his phone out and watches the same exact show, which causes BG to get pissed off and complain about LM tracking and following her. She’s talking about the shows. LM will start about 10 seconds behind her, so that’s why she says he’s tracking/following her. I’m just like, if y’all are gonna bicker anyway, turn the phones off, because that’s 90% of the reason why I let you use them in the first place. Just use the damn headphones.

Baby Girl’s teacher told me that she has seen a drastic improvement in how well BG focuses since she started using the FM system to reduce auditory sensory input. She said she is blown away by how much it helps. How awesome is that?! If we have to meet again with Asshole Psychologist, that should make a great argument for having her evaluated for an IEP, since the item he said could only be used with an IEP is making such a difference. Yay my daughter’s school for going against what Asshole said!

I feel like more has happened in the past two weeks since I posted about regular happenings, but am blanking now. Happy Monday and all that crap!

And Now There’s Two

We met with the psychologist on Friday to discuss the results of LM’s evaluation. He said that he thinks the boy is also on the spectrum, but very high functioning. The doctor said it was tricky with LM because it was hard to tell how much of his social difficulties are tied to how smart he is, but he thinks the pieces fit. He spent a lot more time with LM than the person who evaluated him when he was seven, and his testing covered more, so it was good that he had so much to pull from.

Despite the reason we tested LM — his sister’s diagnosis combined with him telling me about how he feels like he fakes it socially and stuff — I really didn’t expect that diagnosis after filling out the parent surveys. I didn’t think the surveys had as many 2s and 3s or Almost Always or Always marks (for the symptoms) as Baby Girl’s. I figured the doctor would come back with “ADHD, but has autistic-like traits” like the one who evaluated him before. (And possibly Tourette’s because of his tics.)

It was interesting to see one of the tests that shows how at-risk LM is for certain autism traits, because he had our feedback, LM’s fifth grade teacher’s feedback, and LM’s self-test. Part of the teacher’s test fell into the at-risk category, ours was a bit above hers, and LM’s was all in the probable category.

(Baby Girls’ assessment was mostly in the section where the green line is.)

I thought it was interesting how much the traits we all picked up on were lined up, just different in the severity. I was surprised with LM’s self-assessment, because while I knew that he had some difficulties, I wasn’t aware that he felt like things were so difficult to the point that most of his whole self-test fell into the probable category.

I know the psychologist had a lot of info to pull from, but I wonder if LM’s report hadn’t been so high if he would have been diagnosed with ASD, or if he would’ve also come to the “ADHD with autistic-like traits” conclusion. I don’t suppose it matters, since it doesn’t really change anything on our end. We told LM after he got home, and he said he was relieved to know “why I am the way that I am.” So, while the label ADHD vs. ASD may not matter too much from a parenting perspective at his age (we’ve been working on social skills and coping with sensory stuff for years and would continue to do so regardless), it apparently means a lot to him as far as his self-identity goes.

Now for the concerning part — the doctor said that LM’s self-report shows depression and anxiety. Additionally, the parent report and the teacher report picked up on that (although to a milder degree). That was very upsetting to learn. The doctor said that between LM going through puberty and people on the spectrum being prone to those issues (plus people with ADHD are, too), that it’s not that surprising. And, of course, there’s the biological factor.

Still, I had no idea that LM felt like that. Between not being aware of his social difficulties (fifth grade went well for him and the bullying stopped, so he seemed to improve so much there, just not internally I guess) and depressive traits, I must not be in tune with him nearly as much as I thought I was. Anxiety wasn’t that surprising, but the severity that LM reported was. I asked LM about depression, and he said that he feels down and sad and worried a lot. I know that things can look fine on the outside and the inside be a different story, but things have been going so well for him that depression wasn’t a blip on my radar.

At least we know.

The doctor is going to try to find a therapist that he thinks will work well with LM. He said he wishes his workload were lighter now, otherwise he would love to work with LM himself. He said if he couldn’t find anyone, he would figure out how to make it work, though. So that’s good. We have an appointment with the provider who manages LM’s ADHD meds this week, so we’ll run this by her. The psychologist said we may want to ask about an antidepressant, but he would recommend trying therapy for three months and go from there. I agree, because I don’t want to put LM on an antidepressant if it’s not absolutely necessary. I know from experience that the side effects can be rough, but if that’s what he needs in a few months, then that’s what we’ll do. Since it seemed to make LM feel better to know about his diagnosis, maybe that’ll help with depression, too.

Kids shouldn’t have to deal with fucking depression and anxiety. Well, no one should, but especially not kids.

Funny Bits With The Girl

The girl is often full of herself, and she’s had quite a few funny moments over the past week. Here are a few of them:

Baby Girl told me about playing with another little girl at recess. Baby Girl is 41 inches tall and this little girl, who is just a year older, is almost five feet tall. I was shocked to learn she is six! Anyway, they play family together. I asked BG about their roles, since I know she hates getting stuck as the baby, which is what usually happens.

“My friend is the mommy, and I am the pet lion,” she told me.

I love everything about that.


I was getting something out of LM’s closet and was kneeling over when his old infant car seat fell out of the top and hit me base-first on the head. I yelled and Baby Girl asked what was wrong. I told her, and her response was less than sympathetic.

“You’ll be fine.”

She sounds like a seasoned mom.


BG and LM probably fight more than they get along, but they do have their super sweet moments. LM was helping her put together a LEGO set her grandma gave her and told BG how much he loved her. Baby Girl said she loved him, too.

“I love you more than nothing.”

She has a way with words, huh?


When I called for BG to come into the living room and get ready, she didn’t answer and let her magnadoodle answer for her:

I love that she put an exclamation.

Happy Tuesday!