Weekend Coffee Share: School And Stuff

If we were having coffee, I wouldn’t bitch and moan about the heat today. We’re getting some respite from the heat this weekend, with highs in the upper 70s. It’s accompanied by clouds and rain, so it’s rather dreary, but I’ll take dreary over 90s any day. Our area has had almost 60 days of weather in the 90s (real feel in low 100s typically, thanks to humidity), and that is more than this time last year, which ended up 74 miserable days. So, this break is welcomed with open arms, even if it’s rainy.

That’s not us this weekend, yay!

If you were actually at my house for coffee right now, you’d probably give me a pat on the back for having a reasonably tidy house. I missed the kids while they were off at school this week, but my house is not a disaster zone, and for that I am grateful. Silver linings, amirite? I’ve got a load of clothes going and need to wipe down the table from this morning, but otherwise, it’s all good. I wouldn’t even turn someone away from my doorstep if they came up unexpectedly, and that’s saying something for me. (They’d have to wait while I put on a bra, but that’s it.)

You’d probably ask how the kids’ first week of school ended, so I’d tell you that LM’s ended on a very positive note. He had zero complaints for the week, enjoys all of the teachers he has met, and has made a couple of nerdy friends. The boy also made a 97 on his English quiz and a 95 on a math quiz. As long as he stays on top of his assignments and turns things in this year, he should do just fine. (He had a few Cs and Ds on his progress reports for not turning in stuff last year, so I’m hoping that won’t be an issue!)

Baby Girl, on the other hand, is still trying to adjust as I mentioned in another post. She doesn’t have any specific complaints, and she seems to like her teacher, but she has cried in the mornings and at night a lot and says she doesn’t want to go. Part of it is she’s just not sleeping long enough, despite lying down early. She also wakes up in the night, so she’s understandably very tired. Hopefully when she gets those tonsils out next month, I think she’ll sleep better. Even if she doesn’t fall asleep earlier, she’ll get a better night’s rest at least.

The principal greats her every morning and lets her cuddle his dog, so that usually perks her up before she goes inside. I should probably make a point of asking if she gets upset or has a meltdown if they’ll take her down to cuddle the dog for a bit. We will have a meeting to go over a 504 Plan soon, so I’ll bring it up then. Hopefully the coming week will be easier for her! I know it would take time for any kid to get adjusted, and even more so for one who is having sleep issues and is on the spectrum. It just breaks my heart to see her so upset.

We have no real plans for the weekend. My husband originally wanted to go to the zoo since the weather was supposed to be cooler, but it’s a) rainy and b) the kids are tired and want to hang around the house. We can always do the zoo in the fall. My friend messaged me about going to dinner tonight, so I may do that, but that’s it if anything. I may also have a drink or two or three tonight. Lazy weekends are the best, especially when they come on the heels of an exhausting week!

How was your week?

Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Eclectic Alli

School Nerves

In three weeks, BG will start kindergarten. And in slightly less than three weeks, LM will start sixth grade (rising sixth graders start on Friday). Every summer feels shorter than the last one. We were especially busy this summer, so that kept things moving quickly along. The kids have made their bucket lists for the remainder of the summer, and they’re short, so we should get it all in. Strangely enough, both kids added going to eat at Chili’s to their lists.

And, yes, they sing that when we go. And LM always makes a point to say that he feels God in this Chili’s tonight.

I’m kinda nervous about the kids going to school since they’ll both be changing schools this year. LM will go to a middle school out of our area and participate in a theater program, while BG will go to the charter school that LM went to. The middle school is 25 minutes from our house, the elementary school is 20 minutes away, and the schools are in opposite directions of each other. I haven’t figured out drop-offs and pick-ups yet, but I’ll get there. Hopefully.

The schools the kids are supposed to go to are about five minutes from our house, so we are doing good at keeping things complicated, huh? We have good reasons for sending them to the far-away schools, though. The program at LM’s school is something he’s really interested in, plus the class sizes will be smaller. And BG’s school is really small, with only 18 kids per class. It’s so much easier to get in touch with the principal and other leadership there, too, which is important.

We’ll have to meet with LM’s school and go over his 504 Plan, and I doubt any changes will be made to it. I hope the transition goes well for him. I imagine getting packed up to go from class to class and using a locker will be challenging for him. But on the other hand, I think having classes that have a set beginning and ending time that don’t overlap each other will help as far as him shifting gears mentally goes. Plus, middle school classrooms are typically more no-frills with less distractions. His fifth grade teacher was wonderful, but there a dozen different places to hand in assignments and stuff, and he’d usually end up cramming everything in his desk. And middle school won’t have desks that you can cram crap into, so there’s that.

I have a million worries with BG starting kindergarten, which I could probably turn into a 10-part blog series, but I won’t. Some of it’s just typical anxious mom worries, but a lot is more legit. I’m going to meet with her teacher and student leadership team before school starts to discuss some concerns (like the potential for meltdowns and how that would be handled, her running off, food stuff).

I also need to talk to the teacher about how BG sometimes just shuts down when certain issues come up. At the end-of-year preschool party, I was sitting on one side of the bounce place and saw her approach some boys from another class, but they told started throwing balls (from the ball pit) at her face, and she just sat there, crouched while staring at the ground while they threw the balls and laughed. (That broke my heart, and they got in big trouble.) And sometimes if someone does something that bothers her (like comes up from behind and grabs her or something equally annoying), she’ll let out a blood-curdling shriek, but she ends up being the one reprimanded for screaming, and she won’t explain why she yelled. There are things like that communication-wise that I can see being problematic if the teachers aren’t made aware/keep an eye open.

While BG’s teacher doesn’t yet know the full scope of some of her struggles, she does have a feel for her, at least. They met a few times earlier in the summer as part of a Head Start program. She saw first-hand how BG can be super chatty, struggle to stay in her seat, or just shut down and refuse to do anything. She seemed really sweet, yet bewildered, but she didn’t lose patience at least.

I dropped off the paperwork her psychologist gave me about the autism and ADHD diagnoses, and they’re supposed to be lining up services for her. We also got permission to take her out of school early one day per week so she can continue going to her speech and occupational therapies. Those are about a 45-minute drive from the school, so she wouldn’t have been able to keep going if we had to wait until the end of the school day to go. That’s a huge benefit of going to the charter school vs. the regular school. (Just like how she would have been able to delay 5K a year if we wanted, but wouldn’t have been able to at a regular school.)

On a different — and amusing — note, BG has developed a Hanson obsession. She has asked to watch a Hanson concert (I have like 9 DVDs) every day. She also keeps asking me when she’s going to get to go see them in concert. ❤

BG presented me with this picture last week:

I asked what was going on there, and she said that it was her holding a Taylor Hanson doll. It took every fiber of my being to not laugh. She might have it worse than I did. (Well, do.)

A Rant And A Recap

Well, this was meant to be posted on Monday, but here we are on Wednesday.

I’m a pretty handy person, but I cannot undo the damage my husband did to our front door. He thought the handle was sticking a little, so he tried to fix it. And his fix means that it is now damn near impossible to get in the front door of our house. You have to press down on the button thingy on the handle with both hands, apply a lot of pressure (more than what our 100-pound son can muster), and if you’re lucky, it’ll open. It usually takes several tries and a handful of curse words to open.

And the back door is bad, too. He thought some air was getting in under the door last winter, so he screwed a strip of wood or something in the door frame. Because maybe he’d save a couple bucks on his power bill. And now, not only does no cold air come in (and I was confused about the air that was getting in last winter, because IT WASN’T COLD), but I also cannot close the door tight enough to lock the deadbolt. My husband is the only person in our home who can lock the back door. He says the door is fine and we’re just not doing it right and insists on keeping it the way it is.

Last week, I noticed that the door was unlocked and my husband was already in bed. Rather than wake him (and likely get no response), I tried to lock the door. I leaned on that door as hard as I could, but nope. I even took a running start and rammed my shoulder against the door in the hope of getting it close enough to do the deadbolt, but also, nope.

I need different doors or locks, people. Or a husband who will leave stuff alone.

Rant over.

We had a pretty good long weekend. We did fireworks on the fourth. We don’t usually do fireworks and the such because we aren’t very patriotic, but BG wanted fireworks, so she got them. She later regretted this when one of the fireworks “attacked us.”

So, my husband lit one of the big fireworks he bought and it started going off, but it was firing sideways. I told him I didn’t think that looked right, but he insisted it was fine, even though it was dangerously close to hitting the neighbors house. And then it shifted somehow and fired where I was standing with the kids. Like, two feet away from my head. I grabbed BG and ran (sorry LM) while fireworks whizzed past us. We did not become an ER statistic that night, thankfully. The girl has complained a lot about how her daddy attacked us with fireworks. Never again.

On Saturday, the kids stayed over with the grandparents while my husband and I went to a cookout at a friend’s house. I was not looking forward to peopling, but they had so much rum. So much. Between the rum, a pool, and a hot tub, I enjoyed myself. I tried to play volleyball and embarrassed myself, but that would’ve happened rum or no rum, because I suck at volleyball. 

We didn’t do much on Sunday, and yesterday, BG had to go to the doctor for her five-year checkup. Just ten minutes after we got there, BG loudly announced that she had been waiting for two and a half hours and she was ready to go. After much shushing, she shifted gears from complaining to filling up my camera roll with her random pictures:

That’s her Forky and heart. I’ll pass on including the ones where you get a good look up my nostrils.

The checkup was all good. BG’s still petite (9th percentile for height and weight) and didn’t grow much from last year. She’ll probably have a growth spurt after we buy and take the tags off of her school uniform stuff 😉 We talked to the doctor about the ASD diagnosis, and she said she was glad that we got a second opinion and that’s what she thought was going on, too. She gave me a list of books to check out that she said she found helpful with her own child, so my stack of books is continuing to grow.

And I’m going to wrap up the post because a) it’s two days late and I can’t remember how I wanted to end it and b) my son wants to have a staring contest for some reason.

And Now We Know

Some of y’all who have been following this blog over the past few years know that our parenting experience with Baby Girl has been challenging in ways. We kept waiting for her to outgrow certain behaviors (I can’t tell you how many times we were told it was all a phase), but that never happened. At the end of last year, BG’s pediatrician referred her to a specialist. We saw a family PA prior, and she always brushed us off about BG’s issues. The pediatrician found the behaviors alarming, so she referred her to a specialist and also got the ball rolling to start speech therapy and occupational therapy. The specialist didn’t seem very concerned about the meltdowns, though, and thought she has ADHD. The appointment was very short, though, and when LM was diagnosed with ADHD, his doctor took several appointments to come to that.

We decided to get a second opinion. We wanted to meet up with the folks from her school before summer ends with a better idea of what was going on so we could all be on the same page and develop a game plan.  We expressed our concerns with the new doctor in the initial appointment, and he said he wanted to do a thorough evaluation to look at different possibilities for what was going on with her, but that he was primarily concerned about autism. 

Over the past couple of months, BG saw the psychologist several times, we did a shit ton of questionnaires, and he talked to her preschool teacher. On Friday, we got the results. First, he agreed with the other specialist and said she does have ADHD. He came to that conclusion after spending more than 10-15 minutes with her (which is what the other specialist did, sigh), so we were comfortable with that. Next, he said that she also has high functioning autism. He spent about an hour going over the tests and stuff and showed us how everything supports his diagnosis. The doctor said that it can be tough to diagnose in gifted younger girls, but that she was a textbook case of a little kid with HFA.

I was surprised. I knew autism was a possibility, of course, but still didn’t expect it. And I was flabbergasted at first on how she would be considered a textbook case. She can be very outgoing and chatty when she wants to be, she can be very charming, she doesn’t stim (or so I thought), she made a couple of friends at preschool last year, and she isn’t terrible with making eye contact. She has such a feisty and mischievous little personality, too. BG just has a real spark to her.

Granted, there are “buts” to some of those things. Like, she can be outgoing and chatty, BUT it’s usually her talking on and on about the stuff she’s into. And with her friends, she told me how she doesn’t play with them at the same time, but switches up depending on who will do what she wants. As far as eye contact goes, sometimes she does okay and sometimes she doesn’t make it at all. Like last week when she and I met with her teacher, BG talked excitedly about her birthday for a few minutes, and then wouldn’t make eye contact with her teacher at all, would barely speak outside of “yes” or “no” questions, and talked in the flattest voice ever. It was like someone flipped a light switch. She can be in her own little world a lot, though, so it’s hard to say that when she doesn’t make eye contact (or doesn’t maintain it well) that it’s because of a specific reason.

Aside from not having any of the severe behavioral issues that BG has, LM seemed to be a better fit for that when he was tested around age 7 or 8. My husband, on the other hand, later told me he wasn’t surprised at all and said he knew she had autism, that it’s obvious, and it was just a matter of getting it diagnosed. I don’t remember him ever saying that before, but okay. He also pointed out that LM was also chatty and charming when he was younger, which I guess I had forgotten since he is now a moody tween. At his theater camp, he wouldn’t even sit with the other kids…he wanted to sit by himself and look at his Pokemon cards. I asked why and he said, “None of those kids will be in my class next year, so why should I try to be friendly with them when it doesn’t matter?” As an introvert, I can relate so hard, but as a mom, c’mon, kid!

When I brought up that non-textbook stuff with the doctor, he reminded me that it’s a spectrum disorder and that girls with it present differently from boys. Being outgoing can be normal, he said she does stim (but it isn’t obvious like hand flapping would be, but he considers the nail biting, skin picking, and licking stuff to be stimming). He also said girls like her are excellent as masking and can come off as being “normal,” which is part of why it can be tough to diagnose.

All righty, then.

This has been quite a year for her. She was diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder this year, she has been in speech and occupational therapy all year, and now this. It has been a lot, but I am SO glad we are figuring things out and getting her help. She’ll also start therapies for social skills and helping her learn to cope better (thereby reducing the meltdowns, I hope). The doctor said doing diagnosing her early and adding in those extra therapies now will make a world of difference down the road.

And, oh…remember how BG often acts like she can spell or read a lot? She didn’t hold back for the doctor, who said she tested as reading on a second grade level.

Yeah.

This is long enough, but I have a lot more to say — especially regarding the stuff the diagnosis explains the hell out of — so I’ll tackle that in the coming days/weeks.