Thursday, May 31, 2007

The year end IEP . . .

Individualized Educational Plans, for those of you with "gen-ed" kids, are the plans that the school must follow for children with disabilities. The IEP tells what the disabilities are, strengths and weaknesses, goals and treatment interventions, speech and occupational therapy goals, graduation track etc. Dustin's includes a BIP, behavioral intervention plan, and a FBA, functional behavioral analysis. Each of those need to be reviewed every 20 school days. IEP's need only reviewed every year or when changes need to made to add or remove programs, goals or interventions either at the request of the school or parent. In that case you must call a CCC, case conference committee, and call everyone needed together to make changes. They must prvide you with PS, procedural safegaurds, prior to the meeting. Today we rejected ESY, extended school year, to give Dustin a much needed break for the summer. I met today with Dustin TOR, teacher of record, his PP, paraprofessional, and the area SERT, special education resource teacher. In our case FAS, fetal alcohol syndrome, has become alphabet soup.

As I sat in the CCC today, I realized that I had no idea 6 years ago what I was in for I have learned so much about mental health issues, school policies and regulations and all the crazy abbreviations for everything. I have come along way and so has Dustin.

Today was Dustin's yearly review and for the first time in a long time I wasn't sick to my stomach with the prospect of a new IEP. The modified schedule that we have been on since April 9th has been a tremendous success! He is a totally different child at school. He is the child I told them that he could be. It was wonderful to hear all the positive comments and hear how he has progressed nicely since the schedule change. I thought however, it would only take about an hour and I was there nearly 3 hours. . . in a non-airconditioned, windowless room. Ugh! But everything is set for next year, and things are looking up. His two hours daily will be increased to 3 hours. The state rarely goes for modified schedules at the beginning of the school year, but the CCC thought that we had enough documentation to provide reasons why it should be allowed. He has, after all, been deemed a "danger" to others and the modified day has been so definitely positive I don't think they could deny it. He also has medical reasons as his chlozapine makes him sleep so well and so long that school prior to 10 am would be totally ineffective and difficult anyway.

I also found out today that his fabulous PP, paraprofessional, postponed a trip to Japan to take the job to work with Dustin. She enjoys him and keeps him well in line. I am so thankful for professionals that love what they do and have my child's best interest at heart. I had a tiny bit of an anxiety attack when I learned that another teacher in his 3 teacher group will be his TOR, teacher of record, next year. The teacher of record is responsible for all contact to the family and all paperwork needed for the Special Education Department and the homeroom teacher for the child. She is the primary person I deal with . . . sometimes daily. I panicked because we have been through so much this year, and formed a great relationship. I don't have anything against this other teacher, but I know Dustin would have a difficult time transitioning to her for his homeroom as well. At the end of the meeting the SERT, special education resource teacher, from the main department asked if his current teacher would consider keeping him and being his TOR next year. I followed that with, "Maybe you should've asked her when I left, maybe she is happy to be rid of Dustin and us as well." She said the nicest things, basically saying that we were the kind of parents she loved to work with and that she hoped she had never given us that feeling, and that she knows Dustin has potential. I can rest easily, she will be his TOR next year.

All in all a very positive day! Miracles never cease.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Freimann Family Thursday . . .

We went to the Freimann Family Thursday event last evening in Downtown. It was a fun time in the heat, and a bonus for us, we could walk and not use any gas! The crowds were not crazy and they had some fun things to do for the kids. The band The Yellowhammers were great, the singer sounded like across between Elvis Costello and my hubby. Here are some shots of the sweaty kids . . .

Having fun in the park . . .

Climbing the sculpture . . .

Busy being rotten . . .

Man, it was hot . . .

They actually look like they love each other . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Ouchy . . .

I have a wicked headache today. I woke up with it. Good morning, here have a horrible day. I hate that. I have been plagued with migraines since I was about 8 years old. I can remember going through brain scans, CT scans, tonislectomy, allergy testing and opthalmolgist appointments as a young child, trying to get to the bottom of the headaches. I recall having a bottle of Excedrin with my name on it in the principal's desk drawer that I would use almost daily. I would go down to the office, take 2 excedrin and lay in the nurse's office for an hour or so. It typically didn't go away and they would call my mom.

I struggled all through high school and college with headaches trying all different kinds of medications. Back then, the meds either made you terribly "high" or so tired you couldn't function. I hated them. One time I can rememebr trying a new medication from my doctor and "flipping out" at my best friend's house because I felt like my arms were no longer attached to my body. My friend "Toad" sat with me all night while I freaked out. (I never really did any drugs to speak of, so this was not a welcomed experience! They thought this was nice and funny and wanted to try one! LOL)

I lived with migraines. I had about 4-5 a week. Most of them included vomiting. I hated them, but learned to live with them. Three summers ago I returned to a doctor who I had to leave for insurance reasons. She asked about my headaches. I told her they were still bad. She put me on a blood pressure medication, even though my blood pressure is super, and they stopped. I mean stopped. I have only had about 10 migraines in the past 3 years. That is amazing! It has changed my life. In addition, the medication only costs me $2 a month . . . NICE. The only bad part is that now when I get a headache it's horrible because I am not used to them. That would be TODAY.

My children have also been plagued with migraines. When Harrison was about 17 months he began vomiting and saying his head had an "ouchy". Sometimes he said they were a "mommy ouchy" or a "daddy ouchy" this would tell us how severe they were. After talking to our pediatrician about it he sent us to a nerologist. He was on medication for about a year to help stop the headaches. Once I learned what his triggers were; bananas, yogurt, certain cheeses, and heat, we stopped the medication and he isdoing quite well. McCartney also became plagued with headaches about 19 months. She would vomit as well. Thankfully, her triggers are the same as Harrison's.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Oh my gawd . . . .

I just had a supervisor come into the office at work laughing hysterically. She had come around the corner and almost ran into a dad who was picking up his son at the daycare. The son was dawdling and the dad turned around and said in a hushed yet angried voice, "Will you hurry up I have to shit!" When he turned around, there was the supervisor.

Talk about being in the wrond place at the wrong time. That poor dad. He was probably mortified. The funny thing is that it was a pastor's wife who repeated it to me! I am still laughing!

Mothers Day . . .

I am perpetually late. I posted an Easter post late and I seem to remember that I posted a late Father's Day post last year. Today I decided after reading some regular reads that I have it good in the Mother Department.

I have a fabulous mother. She is a strong woman of God and a fabulous role-model for me and my daughter. We have not always seen eye-to-eye, but what mother and daughter combo has. When growing up I was far more like my father than my mother. I was actually probably much much more like my maternal grandmother than anyone else. My grandma was ornery, opinionated and could be abrasive. I have never had much tact and I always speak my mind. My mother and I were close yet, not in the best-friend sort of way. She was my mother, I respected her, and I revered her. I saw her go through tough times and lean on her faith for support. I saw her weather infidelity on my father's part and I didn't understand her forgiveness. I saw her stand by him when the cancer ate away at his body. I saw her stand strong when the Lord finally took him home providing my brother and I with support and encouraging words, yet not be afraid to cry in front of us and with us.

I saw her happiness as she walked down the isle with my step-father. I rejoiced that she had once again found love. She couldn't have found a better man to share the rest of her life with. And I love him as if he was my own father because he treats my brother and I as though we are his own children.

I will never forget the gleam in her eye when my children were born. I have the image of her holding my newborn children in her arms in the hospital burned into my brain. I will always cherish the loving look she gives my children daily as they run into her office to give their Nannie a hug and a kiss. She spoils my children terribly and I love her for it. Our relationship has definitely changed and grown over the years after I had my own children. She has become a much larger part of my life and I respect her now more than I ever have before.

I irritate her and she irritates me. We spend far too much time together. We work together and I end up speaking to her on the phone at least once a night, sometimes more. We share our lives. I feel as though I can share anything with her and she will respect me for what I say and will offer the best advice I could ask for. Do I always listen? Nope. Sometimes I'm right, sometimes she is. I love our relationship. I love my mother with all my heart and I wouldn't have her any other way. She is my best friend and I would love to be just like her as I "grow up".

Eeeewww . . .

I have this aversion that I think I have blogged about before . . . it's to bumpy things. Bumpy things? You ask. Yes, bumpy things. I hate those warty gourds that they sell around Halloween. I hate the little barnacles that collect on the sea walls in Florida. I hate the little bumpy spores on the back of some greenery that comes in a bouquet of flowers. It creeps me out just writing about it. I get all shivery and itchy. It makes my skin crawl. My son has similar issues. When he was a baby he used to gag when he looked at his prune-y hands after being in the bathtub too long. Weird huh?

That being said I also have issues with bugs. They gross me out and give me the same reaction. I don't freak out when I see one. I'm not that crazy person who runs screaming from a spider, but I certainly don't want to look at one. The big pull out drawers at the zoo with the giant bugs . . . .NASTY. I once had a child at the daycare say, "Miss Sheri, there is something in my hair" It was the biggest tick I have ever seen! It had to have been there for days. I threw up. Great teacher huh?

I have been listening to much more country music lately. I have been a little bit of a fan for some time, and then my trip into Kenny-Land last summer with LJ sealed the deal. Much to the dismay of my husband, the kids and I listen to a country station while we are in the car and I have some selected tunes loaded into the I-Pod. I am by no means a connoisseur, but I have my preferences. I heard a Brad Paisley song the other day that gave me the creeps (hence the talk about my aversions) . . . " I'd like to walk you through a field of wildflowers
and I'd like to check you for ticks"


Friday, May 11, 2007

Emergency haircut . . . .

It's s nice to have a fabulous beautician in the family. When you call your sister-in-law at 10:15 at night crying because you daughter just chopped her hair off, she meets you at the salon first thing in the morning, on her day off to fix it. And it comes out adorable . . . . that's Nanny n the chair with McCartney. She refused to sit in the chair alone.

The damage . . .

Aunt Kari is AWESOME . . .

My cute little peanut . . .

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Anxiety . . .

I have OCD. I self-medicated myself and took 2 pills today. I probably won't make a bit of difference for real, but it helps me cope. Dustin has a med review today and we have been counting down the days. He is exteremely impulsive and been a true pain in the arse lately. I want medication changed, but I fear the unknown.

We usually know when the meds aren't working other than simply behavior issues because he is in what I call "internal turmoil". He can't make up his mind. Here's how it goes :

He will ask for a pop-tart.
We say, "of course. Go make one"
He will scream "I don't want a stupid pop-tart."
We reply, "Okay, you don't have to eat one if you don't want."
He jumps up and down, screaming "BUT I WANT A POP-TART! You are starving me, you want me to die!"

I am certain that the neighbors think we are crazy. They certainly get tired of hearing him holler and curse and throw things. Lately he has been running from the house hollering, "I don't want to live here, you hate me!" I end up running down the street chasing him. Nice. Oddly enough Robert and I have been totally and completely calm throughout these rages lately. We know he is not doing them to be bratty. He has no concept of what is going on in his body. The next minute he can be calm and loving and totally forget all the trauma he just caused in the house and the nieghborhood. It's not easy. It's frustrating and makes me angry.

I've said it before and I will continue to say it . . . His mother was selfish. Drinking during pregnancy has ruined my son's life. I believe she took the life he could've had from him just as if she had aborted him. This is not the life he was meant to live, but I will make sure he is healthy, safe and as happy as I can make him! I love you Dustin!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Mart of Walls Experience . . .

Typically we have horrid shopping experiences with my three kids. It is a rare day that they are all well-behaved and nothing gets knocked over, broken or blown up wherever we choose to shop. Yesterday was an exception . . .

I decided that after work I would pick up Robert and the kids and head on over to your friendly neighborhood Mart of Walls to do some grocery shopping. I know, I know tell me all about the evils of the large corporate giant. . . all I know is that I am poor and a fairly loyal shopper much to my husband's dismay. Usually it is a struggle even getting them into carts for the journey through the hallowed halls, but I told Harrison he could take his Gameboy in if he rode in the bucket of the cart. (He has an old gameboy advanced with 3 games that was given to us) McCartney was too tired to walk since having her surgery and Dustin was in turn happy that the other 2 were confined. First battle won by the parents.

We huried inside since we had already won a battle, when McCartney saw a large "frozen" blow up advertisement. She wanted one. Typically I won't buy something like that while shopping, but I figured why not since we are pushing fluids and I am certain the frozen treat would feel good on her throat. So I bought one for all the kids and Robert. This allowed them to focus on their drinks and not annoying us at every turn. Second battle won by the parents.

We got through the store without much trauma. Dustin was even fairly well behaved and I didn't spend half a fortune on groceries even considering that I was starving and everyone knows not to shop when hungry! I patted myslef on the back forthinking about the Gameboy and thought I would have to use it everytime we shopped. We paid for the items without the usual screaming at the registers for a treat since they already had one at the beginning, and we loaded the van without incident. Third battle won by the parents.

I chose to sit in the middle seat of the can with McCartney since I wanted this pleasant trip to remain that way and not let Dsutin irritate her all the way home thus bringing the screaming and crying that usually accompanies our car trips. We got about half way home and Harrison says, "I don't feel so well. I think I'm gonna puke" With that warning I grabbed the closest bag I could find and he bagan to wretch into a grocery bag tarnishing my apple juice and tomato juice purchase. Good news? Not very much went elsewhere. Last battle won by Gameboy car sickness.

Oh well, it was pleasant til the end.

My life is never boring . . .

Tuesday I was sitting home cuddling with my tonsil-free girl on the couch. It was about 3:00 and Dustin came down from upstairs. He had a pretty nasty scratch/cut on his cheekbone. I asked him what happened. Earlier we had an "episode" in the backyard when he didn't want to come in for lunch and weilded a rake around to "defend" himself from my insistence that he come inside. I thought maybe he had been scratched then. He said he didn't know what happened which is pretty typical since he has very few pain receptors and doesn't know when he gets hurt unless he sees blood. Then he looked at his hand and saw a tiny spot of blood from another scratch. I inspected his hands while he was freaking about about the smallest spot of blood I had ever seen (which didn't hurt, just freaked him out; you'd think his arm was falling off his body) Upon inspecting them I found many bites and scratches. . .

Backstory: our cat is a gem. We had origianlly got him because we had mice when Harrison was newborn. I didn't want to set traps and I convinced my husband the cat-hater to get a cat. He was insistent that it was not to be a pet, it was a working cat. Ozzy was brought into the house, a tiny ball of white and black fur. At 8 weeks he came into the house and moused the first night he was there. I knew his place in the household was secure. Little did I know that he would become a treasured pet. Ozzy doesn't know he is a cat. Other than the litter box escapades and the mousing, he is purely canine. He wags his tail like a dog, licks you like a dog, and comes when you call him better than any dog I have ever owned. He eats the dog's food (much to my dismay) and will eat scraps off your plate. He is the alpha-male in the home. Ozzy is my husband's BABY. He has turned from cat-hater to Ozzy-lover.

Back to the story at hand . . . Upon seeing Dustin's hand I knew precisely what had happened to his face and hands. Ozzy. Ozzy and Dustin have a love-hate relationship. Dustin LOVES him and he HATES Dustin. I will spare you the details of this, but rest assured it is hate and it is eternal. I sent Dustin to the kitchen to wash his hands and as soon as he walked out of the living room, Ozzy jumped onto the coffee table. He was slick, shiny and hair sticking up in every direction from his front paws to his tail. One ear was stuck back to his head, and his eyes were red and irritated. The following is the conversation I had next :

Me: DUSTIN get your butt in here! (loudly)
D: What? hands up and shoulders shrugged like he had no idea what in the world could be wrong
Me: Would you like to tell me what is all over the cat?
D: nothing
Me: excuse me?
D: I don't know anything
Me: It smells like hairspray, what did you do to Ozzy?
D: How did you know?

Typical Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. If I didn't see it happen, he has no idea how I could figure out that he had poured an entire bottle of harispray on the cat to get him to stay in his room. I told him to go to his room because I couldn't even look at him and proceeded to give the cat a very unwelcome bath . . . Yesterday I bought some aerosol hairspray.

My life with FAS.

Something you may not know . . . .

I have the loudest sneezes in the world. Understand that I don't sneeze loudly everytime, but boy sometimes they can knock your socks off. They are never quiet little proper sneezes. They range from startled loudness to nuclear bomb. I attribute them to being very asthmatic and not being able to get much air in, thus I holler when I sneeze to help push the air around. I don't do it on purpose, it just happens and has since I was little.

Today I was sitting in the car at a stop light on the way to work. I sneezed and the guy in the car behind me said, "God bless you". Now that's loud.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

McCartney minus some tonsils . . .

Cart got her tonsils and adnoids removed toady. They were also going to remove her last remaining ear tube, but found more infection back there so they put new ones in. She was miserable waking up. She screamed for about 45 minutes in agony as the anesthetic wore off. She was not a happy camper. My mom and I took turns holding her as she wailed. Finally some time and some more pain medication settled her down. She was home last night playing in the backyard. She is doing quite well today.

Life may actually get back to normal soon . . .