Brain Dump: Week of 1/6

It looks like the lice have been eradicated from our household. (KNOCK ON WOOD.) The girl is the only who got them, and hopefully the rest of us won’t either since I treated all of our heads to be on the safe side. BG got treated twice and will again tonight. The men-folk are none too please about having their hair checked every day and getting treated, but oh well. Better to be inconvenienced than pass anything around.

School started back yesterday, only LM couldn’t go because he got sick on Sunday. Great timing, kid! My husband took him to the doctor yesterday morning and the doc things he has an upper respiratory thing going on. I started hacking my head off yesterday afternoon, so I guess it’ll make its way through the house. Boo.

We didn’t do anything for New Year’s Eve but did hit up the zoo on New Year’s Day. It was BG’s first time going, and she loved it for the most part. (Until she got burned out and had a meltdown in the penguin area, which is my favorite.) We spent a lot of time looking at the lions, but despite her little lion obsession, I think her favorite thing was the King Cobra, which she called adorable. That fucker was huge! She sat there for 20 minutes staring at the thing. LM and my husband made their way around the rest of the reptile exhibits while she stared, and I tried to avoid looking at the creepy thing.

(BTW, she said if the King Cobra got out of his aquarium type setup, whatever it’s called, he would totally be best friends with her and want to hug her. We had to have another talk about not touching things like that if we were to come across a snake or whatever outside.)

We spent the rest of the week cleaning out shit. The living room, game closet, books, and LM’s room. LM cannot stay on top of keeping his room remotely tidy at all, so my husband and I were both fed up since he made zero progress over the break. My husband bought 10 huge totes and took them in. LM was upset, of course, but we let him pick out a few of each things he enjoys, like his Transformers and Nerf guns, with the promise that if he can keep his room clean then he could earn stuff back eventually. We filled up 7 of the totes, which is crazy. We plan to do the same with the girl’s room this weekend. LM told me today that he likes his room better without so much stuff in it, so that’s good.

Do y’all remember me commenting on the Pac Praying poster my husband bought LM for Christmas, how I thought the label was for Pac-Man Praying and was super confused? I’m sure most of y’all figured out that it referred to Tupac. While we were helping LM with his room, he opened the poster to hang it. The look on his face was priceless when he saw this:

Image result for tupac praying poster

“Oh wow,” he said. Wow, indeed. That’s an odd choice for an 11-year-old boy. I tried to suppress my snickers.

“I just had to get it for you,” my husband told him. “Where do you want to hang it?”

LM hemmed and hawed long enough that my husband realized he didn’t want to hang it. “You don’t want to hang it? You don’t like it?” he asked.

“I do like it,” LM said. “But it’s so weird.”

My husband looked offended. “Why is it weird?”

I started laughing. “Look at it!” I said. “He isn’t wearing a shirt and has his eyes closed, praying. That’s a bizarre poster choice.”

“Well, I thought it was cool,” my husband said, somewhat offended. “I guess I’ll just throw it away.”

“No, don’t throw it away!” LM exclaimed. “I’m grateful for it and all. I’ll just keep it in my closet it for now and hang it when I don’t have friends anymore.” He was dead serious, too, which made me laugh even harder.

How has the start of 2020 gone for you so far?

Week 51 Brain Dump

The girl recovered from her hand injury. Pretty sure she played it up a bit, and she was none too pleased about doing her makeup work, but she’s all good. And two days after taking off her bandage, we had to put it on LM because he had a hell of a freak injury.

My husband and son were out Saturdaydoing their play stuff when I called to check on them. My husband said, “LM slammed his hand in a door. I’ve gotta go” and hung up. I was thinking that sucked, but didn’t think too much of it because that shit happens sometimes. I slammed mine in the bedroom door a couple days prior, and it hurt like a son of a bitch for a little while but was fine.

Yeah, no.

He called me back a short time later and told me to meet him and LM at the ER and that LM might lose a finger.

Holy fucking shit.

I dropped off BG and got to the hospital. When I got there, they were moving LM from triage to a bed in the bay to be examined by a doctor. The doctor came in quickly, and I got my first look at the finger, and it literally looked like someone picked up the top of his finger and moved it to the side.

Sorta like that.

The doctor asked us to step outside the curtained area. He told us that it didn’t look good and that we should expect for it to be amputated.

Holy fucking shit again.

My husband told me that looked good compared to how it looked early on. He said the finger was at almost a 45-degree angle and looked like it was barely hanging out.

HFSx3.

The doctor had a radiologist wheel in an X-ray machine, and then we found out that as bad as it looked, he wouldn’t likely lose the finger. Apparently the top joint of the finger was badly dislocated, and with the deep lacerations on both sides of the joint, it just looked like it was barely hanging on by a thread. Whew. The doctor numbed LM’s finger as best as he could and put the joint back in place. Watching that poor child go through that was just awful. He kept it together much better than I could have. He went to the ortho today, and everything looks reasonably well, He just has to keep the splint on for a while and watch out for infection.

Tough little dude for sure.

That is LM’s second injury for the year. A few months ago, he was doing a zipline when the seat popped up and hit him right above the eye. He had to get liquid stitches for that one. Hopefully he’ll get through 2020 without any breaks or stitches.


Can y’all believe we have less than 10 days until Christmas? Craziness. We still haven’t gotten our Christmas cards ready. This week is gonna be kinda wild, too. The girl has her therapy appointments, there is a field trip, a class party to help with, plus the boy needs me to make something for him to take to his party. (Which his teacher says is super secret and not to tell anyone, haha.) I also have my baking to do.

  • Crockpot Christmas crack
  • Non-crock Christmas crack
  • Andes chocolate bark
  • Chocolate dipped Oreos
  • Chocolate dipped pretzels
  • Chocolate peanut butter crisps
  • Strawberry cupcakes
  • Chocolate cupcakes

I need to do it all on Wednesday, so that’s gonna be a busy — but yummy — day.

We’re doing Christmas with the MIL on Sunday. And hopefully we’ll do some Christmasy stuff this weekend. Ice skating is out with LM’s hand (and it’s probably best for the rest of us to avoid anything that could cause a trip to the ER), but we need to go see Santa, do Winterfest, see Christmas lights, and start our movie marathon. And crafts. I’m glad the kids will have a couple days off school before Christmas!


I love how Baby Girl’s brain works. (Most of the time.) Sometimes on her worksheets for class, she will adjust the questions to make them whatever she wants. She had a question on a worksheet last where she had to shade the two objects that belonged together and cross off the one that didn’t fit in. One such question had a doctor, a pickup truck, and a box truck. I’m going to color the image to make it look the way she originally had it.

She made the box truck into an ambulance to make it and the doctor go together. I told her I liked how she thought and explained what the teacher was going for, but she acted like she had no idea why the two vehicles would belong together lol.


I had to stop writing this post to go somewhere, and I feel like I had more to write for my brain dump, but I’m blanking. Maybe I’ll do a Brain Dump Part 2 later. Maybe not. Have a good week!

We Won, Mr. Stark

Okay, so there’s no Mr. Stark or any of the sadness that went along with that moment in the movie in this post, but a) I like movie quotes and b) we did win. As LM used to say, booyah! That’s the short version of the meeting, and you can read recap below if you want the juicy details.

When we arrived for the girl’s meeting, the guidance counselor told us that the Asshole Psychologist decided to make this morning’s meeting a 2-for-1 meeting — use it as a follow-up and hold the eligibility meeting as well. We were a little concerned about that, since we thought this was going to determine whether she would be evaluated, and then use those evaluations to determine eligibility. How would that be possible without actually evaluating her first? We discussed it and agreed and decided that if things seemed like they were going south, then we would end the meeting (as is our right legally speaking).

Asshole didn’t speak to us when he came in the room. He sat down with his arms folded across his chest and looked fucking pissed. I said good morning to him, but nothing. We figured the guidance counselor must have passed along our complaint about his behavior in the last meeting and told him that we were recording the meeting (which I did). We were there for an hour and a half, and he didn’t look at my husband or me a single time, despite sitting directly across from us and directing his comments to us a few times. Lovely fella!

The meeting went extremely well compared to last time. For the most part, Asshole refused to contribute and sat there like a sulking child. Whenever the guidance counselor or resource teacher would ask if he had anything to add, he would grunt out a “No.” Fine by us, since the few times he did chime in weren’t exactly helpful.

For example, when the resource teacher asked more about BG’s diagnoses, Asshole asked, “Where did you even get this done? I haven’t even seen a report that indicates her having anything.”

The last time, when he asked where we came up with BG’s diagnoses, I offered him the psych eval (which I had dropped off weeks earlier but he said he didn’t see). At that time, he refused to look at it, saying he didn’t want “words on paper.” And at the end of that meeting, he refused to keep a copy of the report, saying he didn’t need it. So, dude, you’re seriously gonna act like this is out of left field and that I haven’t given you anything? It was so absurd it was all I could do not to laugh.

“I offered it to you last time,” I responded, “but you wouldn’t take it. You said you didn’t need it. But I’m more than happy to share another copy if you plan to look at it this time.” I said it in a lighthearted tone and chuckled, and some of the folks at the table laughed as well, but Asshole looked more pissed than he did when he first entered the room. After glancing at the first page of the report, he said, “Well, I’m not even familiar with this psychologist. He isn’t in any book I have.”

Lord.

I glanced at my copy of the report, knowing full well that the psychologist’s name wasn’t even on the front page, as I didn’t print the full 30-something pages, just the pertinent stuff. “That might be because his name isn’t on the page you looked at. We saw [name] out of [neighboring city].” No response. I wanted to ask about the books of psychologists he apparently has, but didn’t. I know of two in our county, and one works at an inpatient facility. Services are extremely limited here.

He also briefly tried shooting down BG’s autism diagnosis, but the resource teacher took him down over that. He said she sounds completely normal, and the resource teacher told him that much of what we were describing wasn’t remotely normal and that she wouldn’t be thriving with some of the accommodations already in place if she didn’t have some difficulties. She also told him that a small percentage of kids she’s worked with on the spectrum present similar to BG and that their areas of difficulty are going to vary depending on the kid. Boom.

One issue that came up was when my husband got confused on some legal terminology. The wording of the 504 law says that a student’s disability has to substantially limit a life activity, and my husband said it wasn’t substantially limiting, but moderately limiting. As far as the law is concerned, everything we discussed is substantially limiting, but he didn’t realize that. (The one area I didn’t go over with him, sigh.)

“Ha!” Asshole chuckled. “You have to say it’s ‘substantially limiting’ or it’s a ‘gotcha moment’ and she wouldn’t qualify for anything.”

“I’m pretty sure we don’t do ‘gotcha moments’ at meetings for a student’s disability,” I said and chuckled, trying to play off what he said as a joke. “Her disability is substantially limiting, as both we and her teacher have demonstrated, so let’s move on.”

After going through some more things, the guidance counselor asked if everyone was on board for doing a 504 Plan and that if so, we could all sign off and move towards listing accommodations. The asshole didn’t answer, so the guidance counselor asked him and he shrugged, so the guidance counselor passed around the form to sign, which he took his sweet time to sign, but he did.

We could’ve pushed for an IEP evaluation, but had decided before the meeting that if we don’t get resistance for a 504 and that if BG got all of the accommodations we wanted, that we’d be fine with it. Asshole tried to trip up BG’s teacher about the FM system once, asking how she did whenever she didn’t have it on during instruction (such as when the battery died).

“She usually has it on, but I don’t remember it being an issue,” the teacher said.

“Then she probably doesn’t need it,” Asshole said.

“I have 20 students, and I wasn’t observing her specifically to see if she did or didn’t do well in that one period,” her teacher responded. “I know she has made a lot of improvements overall since we started using it, though, so she definitely needs it.”

I commented that BG went from bringing home work that was barely half completed to always being completed since using the system and that we would insist on her having it. He shrugged and didn’t bring it up again. (It’s amazing, since at the last meeting, he said BG couldn’t have the FM system with a 504 Plan period, which I now know was bullshit thanks to the research I did.)

After we signed off on everything, the Asshole walked out without saying goodbye. One of the ladies called out and told him to have a nice day, but he said nothing in return.

(Yeah, I know that’s immature, but I don’t give a shit.)

There were a lot of shit-eating grins at that table from the teacher/others that were visibly pissed with him last time. One of them commented, “Well, that went much better than last time, huh?” Hell yeah.

While the Asshole obviously had a few dickish moments, it’s shocking that he went from completely dominating the last meeting, interrupting everyone, etc. to having no more to say than what I’ve written here in a 90-minute meeting. I found out that he has quite the reputation for being the “My word is law” guy and for refusing to work with parents, so I can’t believe that was the extent of the bullshit/opposition we dealt with and that he basically bypassed a formal evaluation and just gave her the 504 Plan. I don’t know if it was due, in part, to our complaint and recording him (and I also had documents with big letterhead from the Department of Education and Office for Civil Rights laid out between us), or if he decided we weren’t worth the hassle, but whatever. We’re so happy that she’ll have these supports officially in place. Additionally, the resource teacher came up with extra accommodations we hadn’t even discussed to help BG. Yay!

Hello, Monday

So, some of y’all saw my update last week that our meeting with the psychologist got canceled and rescheduled for tomorrow. The advocate won’t be with us, but I think we’re ready. I don’t feel like a fight or arguing or whatever. Our game plan now is to tell him we know what the girl is legally entitled to, and if he wants to play hardball, then we’ll a) file a personal complaint with the school district and DOE and b) submit a due process complaint. What’s that about best laid plans? Hmm. Anyway, I’ll post an update later, and hopefully it’ll be a positive post.

My birthday was last week, and it was pretty low-key. My husband got me a cake and a couple of gifts. We planned to go out for dinner, but BG lost it, so we stayed home. I had the music going (Hanson’s Snowed In album, in case you’re wondering, which has been my tradition to play for tree decorating since I was 14), and we were getting the ornaments up when the shit hit the fan. She started sobbing, covering her ears (so long, tradition), and said that celebrating two holidays at once was too much. (Christmas and my birthday…nice to know my birthday counts as a holiday!)

(That’s my current favorite Christmas song. I so love the retro-ness of the video.)

After she calmed down, we finished decorating and then talked about where to go for dinner, which triggered more sobbing. She didn’t want to go out to eat at the restaurant, which was a longish drive. I didn’t have it in me to try to convince her, so I said “Fine, we can do it another day.” She started crying harder because, “It’s your birthday, you have to go out for dinner.” So I said fine, if she thinks she can keep it together we would go. More crying. More saying “Okay, we’ll stay at home.” More crying about me not going out to celebrate.

Lord Jesus. I needed a strong drink right about then.

After more talking, I convinced her that I do birthday weeks (and I do for the kids) and that staying at home would be fine. Make it up later, which we did yesterday. (And that went super smoothly.) I wonder if it’s just the holidays getting to her, because BG has been in overload a lot lately. She’s started crying and saying, “Oh no, I’m panicking!” and hyperventilating. Or talking about being in the red zone or green zone depending on how she’s feeling. I talked to her occupational therapist, and she’s going to focus on sensory stuff for now. We agreed that it was good she’s doing better about identifying her emotions, at least.

Little Man has been quite the challenge, too. (And between the two of them, I am so drained.) So much attitude and surliness and flat-out disrespect. I don’t know how that child makes it through the school day taking direction from teachers, because I can ask him to do the smallest thing, and it’s a Huge Fucking Problem. I’ve been reading The Explosive Child, and it is probably the only parenting book that has the potential to be helpful, so we’ll see if using some of those strategies helps with him (or BG). We’re trying to find a therapist close by, but haven’t had much luck yet. Not that he’d be able to start right now, anyway, because he’s busy with theater stuff most evenings. Hopefully we’ll find someone around the first of the year!

The girl had to go to the urgent care last night. She fell and hurt her arm. She isn’t usually one to complain about hand, but after talking about how bad it hurt and not being able to use the Play-Doh, we decided it would be best to take her. The X-ray didn’t show a break, so the doctor said it is probably just a sprain and to let her wrap it up for a couple of days and see how it does. She said it still hurts today, but not as bad as yesterday. When I picked her up from school today, I spoke with her teacher, and the teacher laughingly said that BG is playing it up. Apparently BG announced that she can’t write, read, or do anything for herself for now, LOL.

The first one is true since it’s her right hand, but not the others, of course. I wonder if she’ll act like it hurts longer than it really does so she can get out of doing anything.

The girl is after me to play with her, so I’m off for now. Hope y’all had a good weekend!

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!

[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.

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.