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!

Zzzzzzzz

My body feels half dead. I haven’t been sleeping well this week and have averaged around three hours of sleep per night. I feel so damn tired, but my brain won’t settle down at all. The melatonin isn’t touching it. I can usually take a nap after dropping off the girl in the mornings if I don’t sleep well the night before, but my brain ain’t having that this week.

Thoughts, thoughts, thoughts, so many thoughts.

I should write about blah blah blah, I need to figure out how to clean the blah blah blah, I think I’ll order blah blah blah, I need to get my decorations and blah blah blah, I need to research IEP stuff and blah blah blah. 

Add in snippets of music between those thoughts, or interrupt those thoughts with snippets of music even, and you’ve got my brain.

Ever since getting on the perfect mix of meds for my bipolar disorder (my old psychiatrist got me stable and my new one added something that made things better), I’ve been much more balanced overall. My mood tracker went from looking like a level 5 thrill ride pre-meds to a level 2 ride that would probably mostly bore LM. I wonder if the sleep this week is due to another climb or if it’s just some run-of-the-mill insomnia. I’m not totally bouncing off the walls or being super impulsive or super creative, so it may be (and hopefully is) just the latter. That would be good since that would mean no drop in mood later.

I’ve been rather cranky as a result of the no sleep, and the kids have been foolish as hell this week. LM’s foolishness peaked yesterday, but thankfully I got out of the house and had dinner with a friend. And this morning, Baby Girl did well at first…she got up without complaint, got dressed, got her shoes on, and then stopped. She wouldn’t eat (whatever, I’m not gonna push it) and suddenly decided she wasn’t going to school. So she got back in bed, hid under the pillows, and refused to get up and get her hair combed and teeth brushed. Twenty minutes later, her dad got her in the bathroom kicking and screaming and did the best he could.

That’s how her hair looked.

I drove her to school while my husband drove LM. That child kicked and screamed for 10 minutes and even launched one of her shoes at my head. After that she started sobbing about how no one loves her and thinks she’s terrible and fussed because she dropped her stuffie. I handed her the plush uterus toy and asked what her favorite body organ was. I kid you not, she did a 180 just like that, completely perked up, and spent 15 minutes talking about the best body organs and their various functions.

Okay, then. At least she was calm. I messaged her teacher to give her a head’s up about how the morning went and let her know I packed some cereal in her bag. Hopefully the perky “yay body organs” attitude will stick with her throughout the day.

Back To School

After a week at home following the tonsillectomy, the girl is back at school this morning. I was worried she’d need to be out longer, because even on Saturday, she was cranky, complained of headaches, wasn’t eating or drinking much, and was tired enough to be napping. She did a 180 yesterday, though, and aside from a bit of crankiness, she went through the day just fine. She actually ate more regularly and drink a bunch of water, so I know that helped!

BG had her tonsils removed because of sleep apnea, and her doctor thought that it might help with ADHD symptoms in addition to snoring. I definitely haven’t noticed as much snoring over the past few days. I’m guessing it may take some time to see the ADHD symptoms decrease if we do at all. Oddly enough, we’ve seen more of the odd sensory behaviors (she is rubbing everything and sat in the bathtub running water over her hands for half an hour three times, for example), which we were hoping would decrease.

I was working with her on some makeup work for school when she felt up to it, and lord, it was like pulling teeth to keep her on track. I see why she brings home so much incomplete work. Part of the makeup work was working on handwriting. From what I’ve seen of the other students’ work on display, she has the worst handwriting in the class. She has developmental coordination disorder, so the poor handwriting goes along with it. She also has a summer birthday, which doesn’t help.

I feel bad for BG watching her try to write, because it’s such a struggle for her. A lot of her practice is tracing letters, but she is rarely able to keep her pencil on the dotted line. It blows my mind how I can show her the right way to form a letter and guide her hand over how to make it multiple times, and she does the opposite or something completely different directly after. You wouldn’t think that she had three years of preschool, almost a year of OT, and her mom helping her every day by looking at it, poor kiddo.

The girl’s teacher kept in contact with me over the week, checking in on her. I thought that was really sweet. It means a lot to know you’re leaving your kid in the care of someone that cares about her during the day!

Things are about to get busy again. My husband and Little Man are both doing the Christmas play with our local community theater group, so they’ll be practicing three nights per week. LM wasn’t going to do it at first because his free time is reduced since his school day ends later and he has to go to bed earlier, but the director messaged us and asked and he agreed to do it. He really enjoys acting, so even though it cuts down on his time after school, at least he’ll be having fun.

The girl wanted to sign up for Cub Scouts. She went to the first meeting and decided she hated it for some reason she wouldn’t give us, so that’s out. Her grandmother is relieved, because it gave her a small heart attack that her granddaughter wanted to join something that is supposed to be for boys (even though that group is co-ed).

I did so much of that during our text exchange over Cub Scouts.

We tried to get BG to try another meeting, but she had a meltdown and was sobbing, so we let it go. It would’ve been nice for her to have the opportunity to socialize outside of school, but whatever. The Cub Scout leader gave my husband a form for a popcorn fundraiser at the very first meeting and said we needed to sell $300 worth of stuff, so my husband wasn’t inclined to fight BG over it too much.

Here’s to a good week. Happy Monday 🙂

About Anxious Mom, As Narrated By Morgan Freeman

While updating my About Me page, I decided to have a little fun with it. And since there has been an influx of new followers, I thought I’d share that page as a blog post. Welcome aboard, new folks.


Per the blog post title, you should read this in Morgan Freeman’s voice. 

Anxious Mom, who is known as “Mommy,” “Mom,” or “Momo” by her children, is a 30-something woman who resides in the Deep South. (And by “resides,” we mean “suffers” due to the unbearable heat and humidity.) She has two heathens — a son in middle school and a daughter in kindergarten. When the children aren’t busy tormenting each other, they torture their mother in ways only children can.

There are many things Anxious Mom enjoys doing in her spare time. If you ask her directly, she’d probably tell you that she loves reading and doing intellectual activities such as going to the museum. If you observe her in her habitat, however, you’ll find that she mostly watches shows on Netflix and plays games in her downtime. She is particularly fond of comedies, including The Office, Parks and Rec, Friends, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. She has jokingly said that liking one of those shows is required to be friends with her, but through careful observation, we have learned it is not, in fact, a joke.

If you asked Anxious Mom about her background, she’d tell you that she did a brief stint as a teacher before becoming a stay-at-home-mom. Since then, she has done freelance work part-time, including providing content writing and editing services. Her primary job, however, is working as a chauffeur. This is where she truly excels in life, as she has a penchant for punctuality (as long as her children and husband don’t intervene) and safety. The mother, who we suspect was a hall monitor in another life, is proud of having never gotten a speeding ticket. She does, however, fill her swear jar every other day thanks to her time on the road, so she isn’t as goody-two-shoes as she seems.

As you can see, Anxious Mom is a blogger. Some people call her a mommy blogger, and that irritates her greatly. “I am a mom who blogs,” she maintains, as though there is truly a difference. She has blogged for five years and writes about herself and her family. When she first started blogging, she wrote a lot about her mental health, and it’s suspected that she’ll do so again. The rapidly-approaching-middle-age mother is also fond of writing blog posts where she rants about meaningless topics.

This concludes our glimpse into the life Anxious Mom. You can read her other blog posts or follow her on Instagram for other mundane insights into her life.

So Long Tonsils

I talked to Baby Girl’s teacher about things. She said she admired how we advocated for Norah and told me some things she is doing in the classroom to help. She admitted not knowing a lot about autism, but said she is researching strategies to help. She told me her goal is to minimize situations in the class that may be stressful for BG and reduce sensory overload (or meltdowns).

That was good to hear, of course. She also told me that she got an FM system for the girl . I’ve never seen one, but apparently it’s supposed to reduce background noise and deliver the teacher’s voice to BG. She said some kids were curious about it, so she explained what it was and BG seemed happy with it.

The teacher also talked about how they would handle any issues that came up and said that either she or her assistant would take BG to a quiet area to help her calm down while the other stays with the kids. She asked for suggestions for strategies and other changes she could make in the classroom that might help. I’m so happy to hear all of this, because while getting BG through the school day without a meltdown is important, reducing that frustration so she isn’t completely on the verge of one after school is important, too.

Also, the principal said that while she may not get an IEP and be eligible for certain accommodations through the school district, she’ll have a personal education plan for the school itself. It’s a charter school and receives state funding, but they’re able to make their own rules. (Like allowing her to start late if we had chosen to do so and letting her leave early for her therapy appointments.) The district psychologist has no control over that, so I am assuming that FM system was provided that way since she’s technically supposed to haven an IEP to get one. Take that, asshole.

Good stuff.

The girl had her tonsils out yesterday. That poor child seemed like she was on the verge of panic attacks multiple times over the past few days. She was terrified of having the surgery done. She wasn’t worried about pain — that never came up — but the idea of having them removed scared her.

We expected yesterday to be very difficult, but BG was in a good mood when she got up. She didn’t seem too nervous, even when we got to the hospital. After we checked in, a nurse took her back to a room that had the Disney channel playing. We got her dressed in a gown and then the doctor and the anesthesiologist came in to talk to us. When it was time for them to take her back, she didn’t cry, but I sure did when I watched them wheel her away.

We knew the surgery would be quick, but were surprised when the doctor came out half an hour later. I expected him to say something was wrong and they couldn’t remove the tonsils or something, but he said they got him out and she did great. It took longer for her to wake up from the anesthesia than it did for the tonsils to be removed.

When we went back to the recovery room, BG was crying a little. The nurse gave her some water and we rubbed her back. She then asked:

“Where’s my Barbie dream house?”

Um, what?

“What Barbie dream house?” I asked.

“The one I’m supposed to get after surgery.”

“But you don’t even like Barbies. We don’t have a Barbie dream house, sweetie.”

This made her start crying really hard. “But I want my Barbie dream house!” she wailed. I can only imagine how confused we must have looked to the nurses since our daughter, who can’t stand Barbies and other “girl stuff” was crying over a Barbie dream house that she thought she was going to get for some reason.

My husband asked if he should go get a Barbie dream house for her. I looked it up and they cost almost $200, which is half of what we paid for the surgery. I shot that idea down. She did manage to get him to stop by Target and get another gift for her, though.

The doctor said that BG would need a week, maybe two, to recover. After a half hour nap yesterday, she was bouncing off the walls. Same today. You wouldn’t even know she had surgery. I shouldn’t be too surprised since she’s not one to respond to pain much. Even when she had strep throat, she never complained about it hurting. We took her to the doctor because she had a fever and was lethargic and found out that way. Hopefully she continues feeling well and it isn’t a delayed reaction!

The Psychologist From Hell

Ever since BG was diagnosed as being on the spectrum, I’ve done so much reading. Part of that reading includes joining message boards on Facebook and checking out other parents’ experiences with their kids. I’ve seen so many comments about the hell parents dealt with to get accommodations and services for their kids. I felt relieved since we worked with the school in the past to get a 504 Plan for my son, and even though it took longer than I would’ve liked, it wasn’t an awful experience by any means.

And then today happened.

We requested a meeting to discuss a 504 Plan and speech services. LM had speech services at his teacher’s request when he was in second grade (before his 504 Plan was implemented), and I figured it’d be pretty easy to get them for the girl, too, especially since her speech issues are more severe. (I didn’t even realize LM wasn’t pronouncing his S’s right until the teacher told me.)

We expected to meet with the assistant principal (who also helps coordinate student services), the guidance counselor, BG’s teacher, and the school psychologist.

The school principal, a lady who coordinates speech therapy through the district, the school resource teacher, and the lead psychologist for the school district came as well. The school psychologist, who we absolutely loved with LM, wasn’t there. Things got off to a rough start with the lead psychologist (who we’ll call Asshole) asked why we were meeting. I was thinking, dude, there are like nine people in this room and you have no idea why we’re here?

I told him we were there to discuss accommodations for Norah’s ADHD and autism, plus talk about what speech services the school can provide.

“And where are you even getting this stuff?” Asshole asked condescendingly. “Where are you pulling that diagnosis from?”

My husband reminded him that we sent a copy of the report over weeks ago (and frankly, even if it didn’t make it to his desk, he should’ve come into the meeting with an idea of what’s going on). I brought in some extra copies I printed off and slid one over to him. Asshole made a face as if I placed a turd in front of him.

“I don’t want words on paper,” he snapped. “Where are you getting this stuff?”

“We aren’t just getting it from anywhere,” I said. “Following years of behavioral issues and developmental delays, we took BG to a child psychologist, who did a full work-up. Over the course of about a month’s worth of appointments, he did extensive testing and diagnosed BG with Asperger’s, or high functioning autism, and ADHD. He also noted that she has a language delay, sensory processing disorder, and motor skill coordination disorder. All of that is on the report from the psychologist.”

Asshole glanced at it and said, “Well, she might have a clinical diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean anything in a school setting, so I don’t know where you’re pulling this from.”

The speech lady spoke up and suggested we discuss her speech issues. So we did, and she said that BG likely wouldn’t qualify for speech services right now. They prefer to wait until they’re eight to start for the main sounds BG has trouble with. She did say that she would talk with her teacher on reminding BG how to form those sounds. The resource lady asked a lot of questions about her sensory processing and motor skills issues and said she could definitely work with her on that. She said she’d like to get an FM system for BG, too, and that it could deliver the teacher’s voice directly to Norah through headphones and that way she wouldn’t have to deal with so much background noise.

“She has to have an IEP and be a special ed student to go to the resource room,” Asshole interjected. “And I don’t know if we’re going to even evaluate her for an IEP. Maybe we’ll consider a 504 Plan.”

“We didn’t ask for an IEP meeting,” my husband answered. “We wanted her to get a 504 Plan to discuss classroom accommodations and speech.” I added that her teacher was already making the accommodations we wanted, but that it needed to be put in writing to follow her to other classes/grades. The lady over speech services said that she’d have to get an IEP to get formal speech therapy services, and we asked why LM got them without a 504 plan, and she said the speech services LM received were separate from that.

The resource lady asked if BG’s hearing had been tested and said some of the students she’s had before had speech issues because of hearing loss. I told her she was diagnosed with a mild higher frequency loss, but that her audiologist wanted to have her retested after she gets her tonsils out. She asked if there was a history of loss in the family, and I told her about my hearing loss.

I shit you not — Asshole chuckled. “WHAAAAAT?” he said in a loud, slow mocking voice. I’ve heard that mocking voice — the one indicated deaf/hard of hearing people are stupid — far too many times. If looks could kill. No one said anything for a bit until the assistant principal asked BG’s teacher how she did during the fire alarm yesterday, shifting gears back to the sensory processing stuff.

“Fine, no problems,” she said.

“Well, how’d she seem when you picked her up?” Asshole asked me.

“She was fine when I picked her up,” I said.

“I don’t see how there’s a problem with all of this then,” Asshole said.

“Oh wait!” BG’s teacher said. “I’m sorry, but I was wrong. She wasn’t there for the drill. She had already left for her therapy appointments when we did the drill. But I’ll make sure to give her a head’s up so she can put on her headphones next time.”

Asshole shrugged it off. The resource lady asked about meltdowns at home, and we discussed those for a while, with Asshole chiming in saying that these meltdowns are normal for kids in elementary school. Resource lady and the guidance counselor told him that while kids might have tantrums at home after school, that it wasn’t normal for a kid to have multiple meltdowns that get as extreme as hurting others and themselves. More shrugging off. He gave zero fucks.

The meeting lasted an hour. We were so pissed off by the time it was over. Again and again, Asshole made snarky comment after snarky comment. I can’t remember the last time I was around anyone who was so rude and condescending. I could tell he pissed off some of the other people at the table, too, because he was equally dismissive of their concerns or suggestions for helping BG. He also said it’d be easier if she’d just continue with her private therapies. I should’ve asked why he thought a kid with no problems needed private therapies, but I didn’t.

When it was wrapping up, the resource lady asked if she could keep a copy of BG’s evaluation. If she’s anything like the resource lady that I worked with years ago, she’ll probably try to help out BG whether she has an IEP or not. (The resource lady at my old school was an absolute saint and would include the kids whose parents would allow testing since she knew they needed help anyway.) The guidance counselor also asked for a copy.

“You can have this,” Asshole said and tossed it to the other end of the table. “I don’t need it.”

Perfect way to wrap things up.

I don’t get how someone who has never met my child, never heard the first teacher’s report about her, who wouldn’t even look at a psychological evaluation that’s sitting in front of him could just make up his mind and act like that. The lack of professionalism blew my mind.

After we left and discussed how horribly it went with that guy, my husband said he was going to talk to the principal and tell him that under no circumstance should that psychologist have anything to do with evaluating BG. Ultimately, all she needs is a 504 Plan with some accommodations in place, since we can continue taking her to therapies. And I know for a fact that we don’t need Asshole to initiate that. It’d be nice if those therapies were supplemented so she can make progress more quickly, but I’d rather keep things the way they are than have that douche anywhere near her.


On a positive note, I texted BG’s speech therapist yesterday morning about the tonsillectomy and said she’d miss next week. After her appointment yesterday afternoon, she told me she looked at her tonsils and was shocked at how large they are. She said that she’s had some patients in the past who had tonsillectomies that made incredible progress afterwards. She said when the tonsils are so large, it can push the tongue forward and cause speech issues. She said it’s not a guarantee that it’ll help with that too, but to keep our fingers crossed.

It’s amazing how much removing those tonsils could help. It will theoretically make the sleep apnea go away, which means she’ll get a more restful sleep. One of her doctors said that sleep apnea can cause ADHD like symptoms, so maybe those symptoms will improve. I’m sure that being more well rested would reduce her crankiness. And removing them might be able to help with her speech issues. It won’t help much as far as some of the other issues go, but that is still a lot. ❤

She Forgot She Is A Girl

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I actually wouldn’t mind brewing you a cup today. We had a 3-day cool down, which ends this afternoon, but it was still a crisp 58 degrees this morning. Yesterday the high was 79, and between that and a breeze, it was absolutely glorious. We will return to the high 80s and 90s starting today for lord knows how long, but the reprieve from the heat was much appreciated.

We’ve had a pretty good week. The boy got his progress report on Thursday and had all As and one B. That’s a huge improvement from the three report cards he got in fifth grade (for his school, they only get report cards the last half of fifth grade; the rest of their 5.5 years there, they simply tell us whether they’re meeting expectations or not). Middle school is looking good on him so far.

The girl also got a progress report, and it said she is meeting expectations. We will have a 504 Plan meeting with her school on Tuesday. The VP was supposed to get stuff going on speech and occupational therapy services through the school before the school year started, but we found out that he has done nothing. (No surprise there, I could write a whole post on that guy.) So we’ll talk about that and other possible accommodations. Her teacher hasn’t had any complaints, so there probably won’t be a lot accommodations wise at this point, aside from stuff like preferential seating and using noise-canceling headphones. (She already takes care of that, but I guess it’d be good to get it in writing.) She manages okay until she gets home, and then she lets all of her pent-up frustrations loose.

I have been getting so cracked up at some of the papers BG brings home. Sometimes — mostly with math — she’ll scratch out the problem and write her own and answer that. “I don’t like their yucky questions,” she said. “I want my own problems.”

Here’s an example of one, although this one is more of a misunderstanding. She thought they messed up by not putting anything on the plate when it told her to count the objects and write the number, so she “fixed it.” ❤

The kids have taken an interest in scooters. LM’s friend sends him videos at the skate park, so LM wanted to try with a scooter he got for Christmas a few years ago. And since LM wanted to do it, so did BG. My husband took the kids to a church to scoot around in their parking lot this morning. When they came back, BG ran in and told me she had her very first scar. I asked where it was, and she yanked down her pants and underwear. 

“Look, it’s on my penis!” she informed me. “My very first scar is on my penis!”

Oh boy.

There was no scar. There definitely wasn’t a penis. I reminded her that she is a girl and girls have vulvas, not penises.

“Ohhhh…I forgot that I was a girl for a little while,” she responded.

That child.

We don’t have any big weekend plans. We’re going to a friend’s birthday party tonight, but that’s it. We’re going to take it easy tomorrow, and then we’ll get started on a busy week that will end with BG’s tonsillectomy.