Saturday, May 31, 2008

Too funny . . .

Today Dustin got out of the shower and I decided to put an avacado face-mask on him since we are dealing with the beginning stages of puberty and he has begun to get zits. He let it dry, washed it off and I was in the bathroom with him when I noticed that his uni-brow was getting really. He has always had one, but it is really getting bad. I decided I would pluck his eyebrows and I told Robert who was nearby in the kitchen.

I said, "Robert, I'm going to pluck Dustin's uni-brow."

Dustin immediately began hollering, "No! No!"

I asked, "Dustin do you even know what a uni-brow is?"

He said, "No. But I don't want you to pick my uni-brow, it's my friend!" in the whiniest voice he has.

I nearly wet myself laughing.

I should've done before and after shots. He looks handsome! Is it wrong that I just plucked a 13 year old boys eyebrows? LOL

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Do it for your family . . .

I have mentioned on several occasions that I am a certified American Red Cross trainer. I keep all our staff current on their First Aid and Adult, Infant and Child CPR certifications. Every time I am getting ready to certify a large group I get all anxious about people knowing their stuff.

If I choked in a restaurant will someone know what to do? The new procedures are not just the Heimlich Maneuver, but include some well placed and orchestrated back blows also. They determined it was far more effective and fewer people pass out before dislodging the object with the back blows.

If I am shopping for groceries at Meijer and go unconscious will someone know how to check for "signs of life" and do CPR on me if necessary? Do you know that you no longer have to check an adult for a pulse? Rescue breathing no longer exists for adults. The Red Cross and the American Heart Association now say that when an adult goes unconscious and there are no "signs of life", movement, breathing, or chest rising, then you have to immediately start CPR.

Did you know that CPR is now the same for infants, children and adults, with the exception of the depth of compressions? The cycles are 30 compression to 2 breaths. You should be able to complete 5 cycles in 2 minutes. That is a pretty good clip. They changed this several years ago streamlining it for all ages groups in order to allow people to remember and feel as though they could actually use it instead of wondering what those numbers were.

Did you know when you do CPR you are probably gonna break a rib? Or several. Don't freak out, I'd rather have 8 broken ribs and be breathing than be dead becuase you didn't want to hurt me.

Did you know that if you are not willing or able to give the breaths in between compressions that the Red Cross says doing the compressions is better than nothing? Yep. Someone is bloody and you do not have a breathing barrier, or you are pregnant and unable to bend over to give breaths, or you are asthmatic and continuing to breath will put your health at risk, just do the compressions until help arrives. It better than freaking out and doing nothing.

Did you know my biggest pet peeve is seeing CPR on television and seeing people bend their elbows?

Go take a class. Schedule it right now . . . You're family will thank you. Your neighbors will thank you and so will I if you see me at Meijer on the floor and you know what to do . . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No way bubba . . .

A long weekend. A change in routine. The end of school fast approaching. A nightmare for moms with special needs kids. Dustin was great on Saturday and Sunday. We even went to my mom's house on Sunday and the kids "swam" in her hot tub. He was pretty darn good with only very few melt-downs. Monday was crap-pppy!

He was bound and determined that I was making him miss school. When I finally got through to him that it was a holiday he must have decided that he would punish me for the holiday. He hollered, he tried to hit the dog every chance he got, he would NOT leave the littles alone, and I think he asked for food every 20 seconds. It was the most nerve-wrecking and frustrating day I have had in a long time.

At one point, I brought him inside while the kids played out back with Roebrt and had him help me with the dishes. He was not at all happy about that idea. He threw himslef on the floor, and ran through the house screaming. Finally, I got him calmed down and asked him to help me put he clean dishes away while I began dinner. I told him it wasn't a punishment, that I just wanted him to calm down and spend some time with me. I turned my back to put some potatoes in the microwave and I hear him mumbling under his breath. I turn around and he is brandishing a very long knife in my general direction, slicing and stabbing at the air about 10 feet behind me. (I had just cut watermelon and he was putting the knife away)

As soon as he saw me turn around he was mortified that I caught him. The first thing he said was "I wasn't gonna do anything! I would never hurt you, I love you!". I was ANGRY! I tried to calm myself, but I was really mad that he would "play" like that. He was pettrified that I was so mad. We had a talk about this behavior and I made it as clear as I could that this was unacceptable. We was really upset.

I don't believe he would hurt me, but it is scary that someone who is increduibly impulsive did something like that. I do not fear for myself or my family at this point, but if he does this again, we will have to visit the doctor and possibly re-admit him to the hospital. I truly think this time he was just acting out.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Reading . . .

In the last post I said Dustin was reading. Jo, who has a "special" boy as well, asked in the comments what he was doing. Her "little man" has the same IQ as Dustin. Reading is a struggle for these kiddos!

I must admit that people who don't live in the world of special needs have no idea what a joy it is to see your 13 year old reading the following "story". . .

Brad needs butter. The store is closed. He will have to wait until tomorrow to go to the store.

This is the type of reading Dustin is doing. In the classroom he is far more able to read this "story" sentence. At home it may take him about 10 minutes to get through it. Dustin compartmentalizes his world. Things he learns at school sometimes stay at school and things learned at home don't always carry over to school. I think that is also why he can act like a stark-raving lunatic at home and have a "SUPER" behavior day at school within about 20 minutes of one another. Never the twain shall meet. . . Brings a whole new meaning to what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas . . .

Other than these types of stories, Dustin can read about 300-500 (depending on the day) functional literacy words. Mostly street signs; directional words like push, pull or in and out; and grocery words. He can read the word TUNA in any font you could possibly have. Their main focus is getting him to be somewhat self-sufficient, which is a lonnnnng way off. We take the little victories, because for Dustin they are huge!

It has become increasingly more difficult to help Dustin understand why his brother is passing him in these developmental mile markers. Harrison began reading at age 3 1/2 and is now reading comic books, chapter books, websites, and even the newspaper and comprehends most. His reading and comprehension measures at a third grade level. He can do math that surpasses Dustin. I would love to have his IQ checked because I have been told he definitely has one that is "up there" in the genius range. It would be interesting.

I rejoice that finally Dustin is cognoscente enough to recognize these differences, but I mourn for and with Dustin as this hurts him. We are careful to praise Dustin for what he can do, and always caution Harrison not to make Dustin feel badly about his own accomplishments. It is a game of balance.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What is wrong here . . .

Yesterday I had Dustin's annual case conference for next year's IEP (Individualized Education Plan). He will be in 8th grade. Dustin is placed in an inclusive Moderately Handicapped Functional Classroom due to his IQ of 51. For that we are thankful. His FAS (FetaL Alcohol Syndrome) has caused much havoc in the classroom setting therefore he has his own 1:1 paraprofessional during his modified schedule of 10:00am to 2:00pm.

Last spring he was endanger of being put on home-based schooling due to excessive and dangerous aggressive behaviors that included hitting, spitting, choking, fit throwing, running away and attempting to choke his teacher with a television cord. We were stressed beyond belief and frustrated at the systems inability to offer my child an appropriate and free education on his level and dealing with his issues. We fought for and won that external brain . . . a 1:1 aide that we knew he needed. At that time he was only attending school 2 hours a day and was in a separate classroom alone. Since then he has steadily made progress, begun to read minimally, excels on his spelling tests, can work in the room with other children and attend small group times. He can tell you the basic holidays and which month they take place in. He can count money, use a calculator and can tell time to the minute. He can also write his name in cursive in order to sign a check. He has gained the privilege of attending art classes and gym class and even eats lunch with his peers, all with the help of his aide. He has made amazing progress.

I think I have PTSD. Even though I know he is doing very well in school, I cannot hear the word IEP and not get sweaty and panicky. If the phone rings at work and I see the school's name on the caller ID I get all stressed. I just know that he has done something unforgivable at school. Thankfully those calls lately have been reminders about meetings and even a call to tell me how well he is doing! Yet, the old self kicks in and the fear begins. The IEP meeting yesterday was just plain weird! I sat in an administrative office with his teacher of record and the corporation's middle school special education director and listened to them tell me what a joy Dustin is in class. I heard about all the progress, all the pleasant things he does for his peers, and all the kindness he shows to the teachers. I heard wonderful things from his aide that made me tear up. I am soooo not used to tearing up for joy! What a strange meeting!

I am thrilled he is holding it together at school. We are have MUCH difficulty at home, but honestly, I'd rather he took advantage of us and behaved in school any day! I must remember how far we have come and know there is much more success up ahead for him.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nothing like yard work . . .

I love yardwork. My yard is by no means a show peice, it probably has more weeds than grass, but it is green. I love to mow and trim and putz around in the yard. I have a few planting beds and now I have sod to tend in the backyard. This weekend I bought flowers for my porch and the backyard so I was busy planting those up. Sunday I borrowed my step-dad's edger and edged the yard. I usually do it with a steak knife on my hands and knees so finding out he has an edger was a god-send. I was so thrilled to be edging thatI edged the neighbors yard too. I tend to trim their yard also as the landlord typically just mows. I also cut their bushes because part of them are on my property and I shovel their snow, which I also like to do. I sometimes wonder if the landlord thinks I'm nuts, but I don't care. He typically thanks me when he sees what I have done.

Can I just tell you that I love my renters. They are so friendly, so helpful and so kind. They always jump in to help on some project or another outside. Their kids are super friendly and their oldest is SUPER good with my little ones. He is 13 and it is very odd to have a typical 13 year old around when Dustin is 13, but still acts about 5. It makes me sad in some respect, but I love that he plays so well with my littles. There is no stress and no drama. They also have the best dog ever. Scamp is easily the most gentle, loving, obediant hoss-of-a-dog I have ever seen.

The weekend flew by far too fast, and I could use a nap on this Monday afternoon . . .

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Update . . .

I'm alive. . . it's been a busy week . . . a few tidibits:

The worst thing you can hear at the salon when you are half way thru a highlight when your stylist had to mix a color because she was out of yours . . . "Wow, I hope this works. I'm not sure what it will turn out like." I'll tell you what happens . . . instead or red you get purple highlights. Oh well, I'm still "with it". I suppose using the phrase "with it" negates all the cool vibes from the purple highlights. . .

Harrison and I went on a field trip to Merry Lea (an environemtal center not too far from us) and I was reminded why I will NEVER teach kindergarten. . . and why I hate hay rides. . .

McCartney's physical therapy is going great and her legs are becoming much stronger. We actually had a T-ball game Saturday without any fits thrown. . .

Dustin has been nuts. His behavior is crazy and he is quite non-compliant . . . makes for tiring evenings at home . . .

My house looks horrific and if this rain doens't let up will smell like wet dog for the next 12 years. It is nice for the sod we just planted. . . and no muddy paw prints to clean up, just lots of grassy vomit since the dumb dog insists on eating the grass and leaving me little packages on the kitchen floor. . .

I have been economically stimulated (ooo that sounds dirty) . . . and it is already gone.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My first born . . .

My boy is 6 years old today. I can hardly believe it. We had dinner tonight with my mom and my brother and then he reminded me that they had a school music program tonight. Ugh! We had originally been lucky and he had a T-ball game so I knew we couldn't make it. The T-ball game got rescheduled and I truthfully forgot about the music program. Well, he reminded me in enough time and we had to go. He was a pig and was of course adorable.

Right now I am sitting upstairs waiting for him to go to sleep. McCartney went to sleep about as soon as her head hit the pillow. We do this nightly as they are afraid to be upstairs alone. We sit in the hall on the laptop waiting for them to nod off into dreamland. He just asked me to turn up his Beatles CD. My baby is growing up. . .

Happy Birthday Harrison! You are loved.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Abortion vs. War . . .

I am just going to throw this out there and I would truly like some thoughts from my readers on why you think this is.

Why is it that a candidate that supports abortion a stumbling block for some "believers" yet a candidate that supports continuing the war for "100 more years" not?

I understand that most people who disagree with abortions believe that it is murder. I get that. I understand the "Abortion kills children" signs. I respect their views and even agree for the most part for me. Myself. Thank God I have the choice. I choose no. It is legal, it is a choice that I cannot take away from women who may or may not share my religious views. I cannot mandate religion.

The real part I don't get is why aren't more "believers" downtown at the monthly peace gathering on the courthouse green? War is murder. War kills children. Why aren't they picketing outside McCain campaign stops holding signs saying "War kills people". Why aren't they standing in the ditch in Crawford, Texas alongside Cindy Sheehan fighting for those troops to come home to stop the murder to stop the killing.

It seems that the same people who will rally for abortion rights are typically the ones putting peace activists down as hippies, freaks and anti-American. They cry patriotic and fly their flags saying it's not right to not support the president in a time of war. How is that killing any different?

Yesterday when I told a young boy that was holding an "Abortion Kills Children" sign that "Yes it does, so does war." He respectfully answered, "That's two different issues ma'am." Golly, you're right. War is a different issue, but I don't understand how you think abortion is killing, yet you most likely support the killing in Iraq.

I'm not being belligerent. I simply don't understand. It seems perfectly simple to me.

If you support Senator McCain and can overlook the war issue because all the other core values that he touts are yours I can understand because you take the little bit of "bad" for the candidate who most closely fits your beliefs. But don't call me a baby killer because I support a man who supports abortion rights. . . and I won't call you a war monger.

I had someone say to me recently. I would consider voting for Barack because I think he is genuine and honest and can truly make a change. But I can't get over the fact that he supports abortion. Wow. That makes me confused . . . and sad.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I had to do it . . .

What an amazing day . . .

Yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and till and sod the backyard. About half-way through my day I received a phone call from Obama headquarters asking if I could provide food for the Obama family picnic on Sunday. I agreed and volunteered to be at the pavilion by 12:30 with pasta salad for 100 people. I was working in the yard until about 8:00 came in and did a quick cleaning for the Obama volunteers we were housing this weekend and and sat down for a few minutes to chat with the ladies from Michigan who had come to "Knock for Barack". I headed to the grocery shortly after 10:30 and was still boiling noodles at 2:00 am.

Today we were at the park at 12:30 to drop the food and then we volunteered for the sign-up table. Shortly after we were let into the venue, I was standing near the front with McCartney and a gentleman from the campaign came over and said, "Mrs. Rouse, can I have you stand here with this staffer we have something special for you to do." After finding Robert and the boys, they joined me and the staffer informed us that they would like us to sit at the tables with Senator Obama in be in the line of the cameras. I nearly peed. We were ushered into the sectioned off area and given instructions as to how we were to behave. We could not leave the area since we were inside of the secret service perimeter so we had to just wait and wait. The line for the buffet wrapped right around where we were and we saw lots of friends and acquaintances. It was a really nice day and wonderful to see so many show up in support of Barack Obama, Michelle and the kids.

Shortly before they arrived, the staffer asked if McCartney and I would move to the table that the Senator and his family would be eating at. I was nervous and excited. The next first family showed up and greeted the crowd and then the Senator spoke. He then worked the rope line and went over to the grassy area. He then came back over to our area, greeted Robert and shook his hand. He posed for a picture for us and as I was taking it Harrison ran over and hugged the Senator's knees. It was so sweet!

The Senator immediately reached down and picked Harrison up as I had tears in my eyes, knowing my kids were part of history. He spoke to Harrison and then to McCartney and told her she had a beautiful dress and pretty toenails. (they were blue and red) Dustin told him he was pleased to meet him. He shook my hand and then turned to Robert and said, "What is it that I can do for you?" Amazing. Robert told him about Dustin's Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and that he was a stay at home dad due to Dustin's "hidden disability. He told him that I was in Early Childhood Education (which he actually spoke about during his speech) He commended us on our efforts and rubbed the kids on the head, wished Harrison a happy birthday Wednesday and was on his way. All in all he spent about 5 minutes with our family. Amazing!

It was a fantastic day! One I will not soon forget. One I will relish when Barack is sitting in the White House in 8 short months. Check out these fabulous pictures. . .

The family while we were waiting. We had my mom praying for the kids behavior to be fantastic. Apparently the prayers for McCartney hadn't yet reached heaven. Check out the grumpiness.

There's a smile! It's about time. She did however get everything she wanted because we really didn't want a blow up. I did however have to threaten her with the secret service taking her away a few times.

Robert and the man of the hour. This was taken just as Harrison ran up to him and hugged his knees.

Harrison is thrilled. Can you tell? Directly behind me are about 2 dozen photographers snapping away. Boy, that man can sure smile.

You can tell he is the father of two girls. He was telling her that she had a beautiful dress on and that he liked her painted toenails. She was smitten.

Truly the only thing that stressed me out was the fact that as we left there were teenagers standing along Clinton Street right outside the pavilion carrying signs that said "Abortion Kills Children". I hate that it was attempted to make me feel ashamed to support this wonderful man because of his stance on legal abortions. My first reaction (and Robert's as well, who was up ahead of me) was to say, "You're right it does. So does war." Just because I don't believe in abortion and don't believe I would make that choice for me, it is legal and I support the right to choose. I hate that these people look at anyone who supports Obama as "baby killers". It makes me sick. Enough on that subject. I'm getting grumpy on my wonderful day. . .

Friday, May 02, 2008

A full week . . .

This has been the fullest week I have had in a long time. It is our Week of the Young Child celebration week at work and I have been working crazy amounts of hours. On top of it all the kids have T-Ball and therapies and appointments. I have also been working with Robert to develop the daycare's new website. It's been a tad bit crazy . . . but I have enjoyed it. I am however looking forward to things getting back to normal, Dustin has been nuts. He NEEDS routine and this week has definitely NOT been routine.

I was smart enough to take a few days off next week so I could rest and RObert could help with some last minute campaigning. I am thrilled to be able to sit in my PJs and watch some tv.