Because What I Really Need Is Another Outlet For All My Whining
And Angelina Can Bite Me

When Enough is Enough is Enough

So I was rifling through the closet today -- looking for my lost glove, of all things -- when...what's this thing? A...toddler? Oh RIGHT! My other kid. I completely forgot.

Noah's doing just fine, thank you for vaguely maybe thinking of asking. The hellacious tantrums of a few weeks back turned out to be, like many of you said, the precursor to a lovely developmental spurt. He went to bed one night saying, "Bye Dada" and woke up the next morning saying, "Bye-bye Dada go work ALL GONE!" Complete with a little hand-wringing and the perfect touch of woe during the "ALL GONE!" part, like "Yes, Dada is all gone. We are fresh out of Dadas and do not expect our next shipment for at least six to eight weeks and it just breaks my heart to have to tell you this, ma'am."

Don't get me wrong -- he can still be a willful little shit if he wants to, but 99.9999999% of the time I just adore the hell out of him.

In a couple weeks we begin "transitional testing" -- basically we start the assessment process all over again to see what (if any) services Noah will qualify for after he turns three. It can range from "nothing, there is the door and I said GOOD DAY SIR" to continued therapy to free daily preschool, courtesy of our tax dollars.

I believe I've mentioned that I already enrolled Noah in a preschool for this fall -- the assessment process is fairly maddening, as we won't find out what we qualify for until Noah actually turns three. We may have an idea, but we won't know for sure until well after the deadlines for preschool enrollment and well after all the four-digit deposits are due. (Early Intervention at least seems to know the system sucks, and promised to write a letter begging for our deposits back if it turns out that if Noah DOES qualify for the preschool program. Am hoping this would be enough, considering our chosen preschool already has a waitlist 50 families deep, so it's doubtful they will be incredibly crushed over missing the chance to educate our special little snowflake.)

I honestly don't know where we'll end up. I once felt very sure that Noah's third birthday would mark the end of our EI journey, but now? Eh?  Verbally, Noah is clearly near the top of the pack in his class-slash-therapy group, but...that's not really the best comparison for basing a decision to go mainstream on. The group isn't exactly chock-full of "typical" talkers.

Behavior-wise, again, I don't know. He's had a few really good weeks. He's definitely more comfortable with circle time and the singing and transitioning from one activity to the next, provided he gets a little extra warning time. He plays beautifully with other children. But then try to slip on a plastic-y vinyl art smock or get glue on his fingers and hoo boy. Just...hooooo. Fucking. Boy.

Today I eavesdropped on another mother discussing the results of her son's testing. He qualified for four days a week of district-sponsored preschool. I was shocked, honestly -- her son's verbal abilities seemed pretty good. She was a little shocked as well, but said the decision was made more for his sensory and behavioral problems. What behavioral problems? Well, resistance to transitions and trouble staying with group activities. Huh.

For some reason I assumed the school district's bar for free services would be set much higher. And I also assumed that my kid was going to be some kind of valedictorian of Early Intervention, because come on. Look at THAT kid. And THAT one.

But then we hang out with non-EI kids and I can't deny that Noah isn't there yet, speech-wise. Socially, he's fantastic -- he shares pretty well, he's never aggressive, he's almost painfully aware of other children's moods and feelings. But the holes and gaps are definitely there. I just don't know how important they are anymore, at least in the school district's eyes.

While Noah attended his class today, EI had the mothers meet with a parent educator/child behavioral specialist/I'm not really sure of her title. Basically a support group where everybody can talk about different challenges and problems related to speech delays and sensory problems and typical toddler drama bullshit. (I know, right? It's like, start a damn blog already, people. That's what the Internet's there for.)

She spoke to us about the transition testing process, and warned us that it will most likely be even more draining and difficult than our initial intake assessment -- simply because of the bubble Early Intervention unwittingly puts you in. During the initial assessment -- you're scared. You've just started to come to grips with the idea that there's something "wrong" with your child (or "different!" as the parent educator would cheerfully correct me). You want help. You need help. These people are here to help. They give you a plan and goals and a promise that they can help. Okay. It's going to be okay.

After months and months in the program, you see progress! Glorious progress! You see how bad it could have been and you see how far you've come. Noah had six words in August, now listen to him! Bye-bye Dada go work all gone! Look at him walk! No tippy-toes! He loves slides! He'll play in the dirt! PRAISE JEBUS, HE'S CURED!

And then people swoop back into your home with clipboards and checklists and measure that progress and tell you that hey, yeah, that's great. It's still not enough. There's still a delay, a problem, a difference. He's still not ready.

And that might not happen. And if it does, well...jeez, I can certainly think of other things I would LOVE to spend that preschool tuition on this fall. And if it doesn't, well...I'll send him to preschool with a cotton art smock and hope that it's enough. That it was all enough.

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Comments

Laura

First?

ljd70

Geez-he looks 15 in that picture.
Still a cutie!

Lori

Brown steel!

Julie

I am pretty sure that I was a willful little shit too, and I turned out pretty okay :)

Red

He is turning into a little man!

Neena

As the eldest child, it's nice to learn that you haven't already forgotten about your first bundle of joy! :)

rachel

his eyes are gonna make some girl go crazy one day.

Kate

My son (now 6) was referred for evaluation at age 3 for..."resistance to transitions and trouble staying with group activities." He ended up attending the school district's developmental preschool for 2 1/2 years - and it was absolutely wonderful for him. He worked through his transition issue relatively quickly. They helped immensely with what were ultimately social/communication and attention issues (we've also touched on some SPD stuff). He's in kindergarten now - still on an IEP but doing above average academically. After some initial personal turmoil regarding having a kid on an IEP, I realized that we are just so lucky. His issues were identified and addressed so early - even a generation ago, we'd probably be just now dealing with it all, as opposed to being 3 year veterans of the process. He's got a whole team on his side. Either way it goes for Noah - he's going to be in great shape because of the early intervention and the early education of his parents in regard to his needs. Good Luck!!

Missie

I was just thinking, "Noah? Where is our Noah amidst all the embryo talk? Must have pictures of The Noah!" And lo, you have answered my heart's cry.

Muffy

I'm going through this right now too. My son will be 3 in April. I thought the testing wasn't that bad at all. I don't know what kind they'll do for Noah but his was similar to the first test - looking at pictures and picking out the odd balls (Which one can't you eat? Which one can't you wear?) Can you make a pyramid with these blocks where there is a space between the bottom two blocks? (You should start working with Noah on that just in case they test for it and he can blow them away!)

However, while we went through the test and I sat there thinking he's genius he still scored low in gross motor and social. So now he's qualified to continue on with the school system. We went to the preschool they want to transition him to and let me tell you I am not impressed nor thrilled with it. I would request a visit with Noah to it and check it out yourself too.

So the big discussion with the husband tonight will be can we still do right by him if we don't stay in the program? I don't know the answer.

I'm sorry I made this all about me but I hope this helped you a little anyway. If you want to e-mail questions I'd be happy to offer any answers I can. (We're also going through evaluation with a child psychologist right now)

Mary

Longtime lurker here, first time commenter. Just wanted to share my experience with my school district (way on the other side o' the country) and their free preschool program. My girl (now 4) didn't have her difficulties (sensory, motor, social skills) caught in time for Early Intervention, mostly because she talked early (and often). She seems pretty much "normal" to everyone who meets her one on one and doesn't ask to see her crayon skills, so it was jarring and scary for me to see that she qualified for services right along with kids who were so much more obviously impaired than she was--with autistic tics and obvious physical disabilities and not very much speech. I worried a lot. But you know what, it's been awesome. She gets occupational therapy almost every day that there's no way my insurance would pay for, and she's made so much progress. And most of her social skills issues have faded away in a setting that's so much smaller, more focused and structured compared to her old preschool. She loves the other kids and totally takes the spectrum of abilities and disabilities for granted, as just part of life (which they are, of course). She loves feeling competent and successful. I like the program so much I'm going to volunteer my younger daughter to be a "peer model" in a blended classroom next fall at the same school (ie, they have both typically and non-typically developing kids in the same class). Hey, free preschool for two kids! With really well educated teachers and a low teacher/student ratio!

B is going to be fine. Just like Noah is going to be fine. B might end up being involved with special ed for longer than I first imagined but in the end I think that's a good thing, at least for her. She's never going to go "under the radar" like so many kids do in the public school system, you know? Geez, sorry for all the blathering on about myself ... I hope the testing goes well. B loved it, actually.

She Likes Purple

(OK, I don't get the "first?" thing, like, AT ALL. Is it really supposed to mean "Am I the first commenter?" Or is there something I'm missing? I really don't understand after all those paragraphs of thoughtful and personal sentiments, all you can offer up is "first." I feel I must be missing an inside joke of some sort because it just seems ridiculous to me. Off soapbox. Sorry for being hormonal bitchy commenter.)

Amy, your baby boy is as beautiful as they come. Gosh, we're all rooting for him to have the best of everything possible.

april

I've been following along for quite some time now, but rarely comment. I am so thrilled for you that Noah has done so well in the program. However, I think you have also come so so far. You should be proud of yourself for embracing this whole process and doing whatever it takes to make sure he is taken care of. You are a great mom, and I loved reading this.

Starbuck

I'm glad Noah has been found. I had briefly forgotten about him, so wrapped up in the joy of a baby was I. I have no words of wisdom, no opinions or suggestions. Just that this was a nice post, full of insight into your life and Noah's world. But the talking? Way cool!

Also -- LAST!! Am I last?

Maxine Dangerous

I hope it's not wrong to say that I just want to beep his nose in that picture. (Assuming it wouldn't cause him any trauma, 'cause then nose beeping isn't fun.) I also agree with whomever said it -- such a little man! :)

Kate

oooooh girl! I can sooo relate right now. My son (5) has a speech delay and currently goes to a private pre-k. Poor kid has been evaluated by his school, County specialists AND Kennedy Krieger...who also said...ummm we think your kid also 'qualifies' for ADHD as well. Great. So now we have to decide whether to send him to public school ( a very good one) or shelling out $20K A YEAR (no ... that was not a typo) for private kindergarten.
I think you are doing a great job...this parenting thing is tough...especially when your child is 'different!'

Audra

He is a gorgeous willful little shit though isn't he

Lisa M

What a cutie! He's certainly making lots of progress! Whatever they find with more assessment, it will all be okay...he's making progress, he'll keep making progress, and he'll just blow the socks off his elementary school teachers in a few years!!

GirlsGoneChild

I was so scared to send Archer to preschool early (through IE for a speech delay) but since he started in January he's been thriving! He's still way behind the other kids but he's making crazy progress. Sounds like Noah is kicking ass and on his way. Good luck. I know how much the "ists" can suck and overwhelm... Noah's gorgeous.

Also, congrats on your embryo. :)

Suzy Q

He looks just like Jason in that picture!

Cara

You sound so much more relaxed about everything - hormones and all - something must be going right. Yeah, Noah! Yeah, Amy!

Erin

Here in Massachusetts, depending on your EI program and school district, testing/assessment begins at age 2.5, as most district pre-school programs begin to accept kids at age 2.9. I know that in my town that's the case. My daughter is turning 2 in April and we are already working with the district to start planning testing and pre-school programming.

EI is so great, isn't it? Luckily we - like you - have had a great experience. They are really helping us make the whole IEP process not so scary. Good luck to you and your family!

Marmite Breath (Nat)

He's adorable, as always, but in this picture, he looks like Michael Cera (which is a good thing, since Michael Cera is just about the most adorable man-child on the planet).

Jules

Hang in there... you are such a great mom and I appreciate that you share all of this stuff with us.
Jules
House of Jules

supertiff

well, he's enough to make the whole internet melt...is there a box they can check on the clipboard for that?

Colleen

that reminds me that we need to bring Gavin back in for a re-evaluation. We were supposed to bring him in November, but between bronchitis, the croup, the flu, the stomach flu, Cooper's colic, and running out of vacation days, and the holidays, we STILL haven't brought him. But now that we've all been healthy for about 5 straight days, I don't have an excuse. Thanks for the reminder. ;)

Tracy

You know, I think it will be really interesting how Noah "handles the transition" to being a big brother! Who knows - his interaction and verbal skills may go through the roof when he has a younger sibling to boss around!

I wonder how much of the change you see is from what they're actually doing in therapy vs. the experience of being around a group of kids his age. I know you have playdates for him and such, but one on one, or even a few on one, is a lot different than a preschool/theraputic setting where there's lots of kids and you have that toddler peer pressure to fit in.

I don't know - my daughter was in second grade before they identified the issues she had - and when they did, it quite inconveniently didn't have a name. Dyslexia would have been much easier, as I could have said that and everybody would have sort of understood what was wrong with her. As it was, she tested above average in all skills except for reading comprehension and being able to extrapolate what might happen next in a story. The discrepancy betwen her other grouping of skills and those skills qualified her for special ed. And there's just no name for that other than "an inconsistent grouping" of skills.

She remained in SPED for 3 years, through two SPED teachers she hated, and feelng conspicuous in school when she had to go to the SPED room. Now another 3 years later, she's never gotten less than an A in her reading and english classes, and loves to have her nose buried in a book. So - sometimes they'll amaze you with the progress they make, and I guess you just have to be thankful for the help you can get when you can get it.

Tracy

Don't comment often but I have to say that the progress Noah has made is fabulous. My own little speech delayed guy has not been so fortunate in his progress. sigh. I hope the preschool issue is resolved and I know you guys will all be fine!

Julia

looking at that little face, I'm hoping you will reach out with an email in 8 months and beg me to come play with Noah while you take care of the baby. Because I just love him : ) not a stalker, really. just an internet mom who misses her baby boys.

QueenBee

Oh my gosh. I...just...He...SO BEAUTIFUL. I feel sorry for the girls that will swoon over him in High School. He will be a HEART. BREAKER.

I'm so glad he's doing so well. He's an amazing little boy, and I'm just glad he has a mom that knows that.

mama speak

My mom likes to say ignorance is bliss and in some ways she's right. I have a good friend who's daughter is 4.5 and has "tansition" issues and I would say some similar sensory issues to Noah. We just think she's quirky. If this was when we were kids, we'd have a play date, drink our martini's and laugh about our kids' quirkiness. I'm not making light of this, I'm just saying that sometimes having the knowledge to know what's not right, but not really how to fix it isn't as helpful as it seems.
My brother had all kinds of speech, dyslexia, etc...issues. They wanted to label him autistic or retarded even, but my mom knew that wasn't right & fought to continue to have him tested (these programs didn't exist so much back then). I've mentioned him before on here; he's the one who had to be taught how to place his tongue in order to make sounds so he could then learn to make those sounds and learn to put them together so he could talk. He got testing at 3 which was considered early back than. He could communicate; through me, I spoke for him, I understood him. And he went to Stanford speech threapy for 8 years, but he also went to public school so he could get the programs they did have, and he thrived. And he's a college grad, has moved to his 2nd career as a cop (in one of the hardest dept in the nation to get into). Noah's got great people watching out for him and I'm sure where ever he ends up, you'll make sure it works for him.
Some of this stuff (transitions) may work itself out through maturity and you learning how to help deal with it, so he doesn't freak out.

Jenn

Have I mentioned how much I love you? In a totally non stalkerish kind of way. :) You speak my language- what with speech delays and boys that you want to eat up with a spoon. Our little guy turns 3 in April, so we are going through the school system evals right now. The first one wasn't so bad. Except for me wringing my hands when she asked him, "why do we wear clothes? why do we ride in a car?" Blank stare. Huh. You mean we should be asking him those questions?? Here in AL they have to have all of that testing done and a plan in place the day he turns 3. So we should know soon.

Kyla

Even if they do say there is still a problem, you still have the progress and the promise of even more.

KayTar just turned 3 and she is without services because they decided she needs a behavioral eval and the school shrink is backed up until APRIL. I'm kinda of bummed she is serviceless for a while, but it happens.

Liana

While I wore them, I distinctly remember being afraid of the art smocks we wore in kindergarten. I'm not sure why...I also hated wearing the pinnies we had to put on to distinguish who was on what team in gym class in Elementary and Junior High. It was just weird to wear clothes that weren't mine and may have smelled a little odd.
Maybe Noah is just concerned about germs? :)
Anyway, he is beautiful, and Congratulations on all that progress!!! It's truly so exciting :) Yay Noah!! And good luck with the Eval- I know that whatever the result, Noah will keep getting awesomer and awesomer - and with parents like You and Jason, he's got it made no matter what :)

The Bug

I haven't commented in awhile, but I just want to say that you are doing a wonderful job with Noah. He's a beautiful/handsome little guy and he is lucky to have you both as parents. Keep it up!

Kelly

So I have laughed right along with so many of the other pee'ing on a stick mom's or mom's to be on here and I love your stuff. Thank you so much for writing it ALL!!!
I just have to say that Noah is beautiful and I know Quasi will be also!!!
I have twin boys and they are 2 yrs and 4 months old. They have yet to say Mommy or Daddy or anything really. A few times we get a sporadic word out of them but that is it. We are in Early Interventions too and have been for let's see...about a month and half. We have learned (and I use that word loosely) eat, more, drink and all gone/done in sign language. My oldest signed "more" ONE TIME. The point to my rambling is this...when do I see some kind of results? We work with the boys EVERY single day and I just think they don't want to talk, which would be fine with me if those that carry clip boards would stop telling me it's not ok.
Thanks again for this blog...it makes my day!

Kajsa

Oh the timing of it all! I know here in AZ they start the EI/Pre-school transition meetings 6 months ahead of time. Every state is different and, for what it's worth, it sounds like you have received pretty great services in your area.

Do you know how many model students will be involved in the pre-school? I have heard from several parents that their children did so much better once they were integrated into school situations full of "normal" kids who model more typical development/behavior. Of course every kid is different and a friend of mine said that her son LOVES being at the head of the pack, so to speak, at special needs pre-school and has absolutely thrived in that situation.

Despite the hefty deposit it can't be a bad thing to have both options in place. A lot can happen in six months!

Stacey

Wow! Lots to think about and digest. At least in the blogosphere you handle it all with such acceptance and grace, it's amazing. I'm still trying to figure out a 4-digit deposit! OUCH. Good luck with your journey.

Stacey

Wow! Lots to think about and digest. At least in the blogosphere you handle it all with such acceptance and grace, it's amazing. I'm still trying to figure out a 4-digit deposit! OUCH. Good luck with your journey.

AmyM

Well, as a Certified Member of The Internet, I'm here to tell you that Noah is awesome. (He's my favorite Internet Kid. Seriously.)

I'm sorry that this has whole EI thing has to have so many ups and downs, but it's all going to be worth it when he's teaching his little sister everything he knows.

Diandra

I don't think I've ever commented before, but what ever happened to bringing your dad's old dress shirts for art days? I remember having three I rotated through in preschool. I guess things are fancy schmancy now.

Anyway, loved the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reference. Have you been catching it on HBO lately, too?

Diandra

I don't think I've ever commented before, but what ever happened to bringing your dad's old dress shirts for art days? I remember having three I rotated through in preschool. I guess things are fancy schmancy now.

Anyway, loved the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory reference. Have you been catching it on HBO lately, too?

Joyce

No matter which school Noah ends up at, I'm sure he will thrive. He's an amazing kid and I can't believe how quickly he's progressed in this short time. It must be frustrating to not know which school he will end up at and with such a huge sum of money on the line! Yikes. God I know how anxious pregnancy can make you too. Anyway, we are all here rooting for you and Noah.
On a side note, my hubby is convinced from reading your blog that he had a little SPD as a kid... to add to that, he was a Cambridge scholar and is completely brilliant. I really think kids that seem to have something 'wrong' with them or are different, really have a little genius inside there needing an outlet. Best of luck.

Amy Richards

Hi- FINALLY delurking to say that I am a SPEECH THERAPIST and I work in EARLY INTERVENTION (and later intervention up to age five. Kindergarteners are to mature for my sensilbilities - I teach 'em to blow bubbles, play with Mr. Potato Head, etc. God forbid I might be responsible for teaching someone to read or write - that is not my gig.) Hope my four year old has good teachers next year, cuz I"M NOT DOIN IT. Just kidding, we'll work our way through, but she is dangerously close to "out of my league", and after this year, I will no longer be "an expert" of any kind about what she should or shouldn't do. So what is the point of all this blathering? I guess just that next year I will be more in the catergory of moms who have to listen to experts rather than mom who is an expert. Yes, I can test Speech and Language up to age one gazillion, but I don't know about academic stuff - math scares me actually. SO... it has been really good for me to read about Noah and to hear from you, his hysterically funny and very honest mom, about his and your experience in the world of Early Intervention. Actually, one glaring difference in my world is that no child under 3 is seen in agroup setting, It's all in home, because really, kids under the age of three are just not meant to go to "school". Ok, yeah, daycare is kind of like school, but if I were consulting with a daycare, I would recommend that any kid under the age of three not be required to sit in a group for more than about ten minutes, and even then, only if they feel like it. ("15 minute story time? Are you crazy? they're TWO for pity's sake, they are supposed to only play by themselves with random grabs at what someone else has got and switching tasks every 5 minutes is PERFECT." is what I would want to say but I could make it sound nice - children this age typically engage in paralell play, blah blah blah.)
ANYWAY, I will stop here but I have some thoughts about that incident where the OT called your darling boy a bad word. There are lots of angles that could come from, but I hesitate to go into depth here - feels like I've rambled far too long anyway. I'm assuming you can reach me by email if your interested in pursuing this conversation (or anyone else who is interested could find me at facebook) so I will get out of the way. If you really read all these, that's totally amazing!

Sheenah

He looks so old! I can't believe how much he looks like a little man.

theresa

when my son was 20 months old he wasn't vocalizing much so I had him evaluated. He was put into a specialized school which was funded by the state. After a year in that school, his speech was caught up but the school evaulators wanted to keep him in the school. I was in a meeting with everyone and they all were 'bullying' me to keep him in. I left to go to the bathroom and my son's teacher followed me and told me that the school only wanted the state funding to continue and that my son really didn't need to stay there. She really risked a lot to tell me that. I removed him from the school and he is 25 years old now and very successful. I hope my story helps you.

Mrs. Schmitty

He is just the cutiest thing! Good luck, fingers crossed!

halloweenlover

Gorgeous willful little shit is right. Don't you look at him all the time and think he is the most adorable child that ever walked the planet?

Crystal

I understand about the re-evaluations. My son went through physical therapy.

Congrats on Noah talking more and CONGRATS on the baby! My son is about 2 weeks younger than Noah. We are expecting our second child...on October 22nd. How weird is that? The only thing different between the 2 pregnancies so far is that I had about a week of morning sickness with this one and after that I have ate myself out of the house...I'm going to blow up with this one I'm sure! I'm already wearing maternity pants because my usual ones don't fit anymore...but I'm sure it's all the food I've been eating...or rather junk food I guess!

Childsplayx2

We went through EI for about a 15 months, and when my son "graduated" I was like, "Okay, now what?" While he's still not "perfect" (Okay, he's perfect to me), he's so much better and I just have to remind myself that he's going to do just fine - even though he hates certain noises and will certainly flunk finger painting in kindergarten. He'll just have to be something other than an artist when he grows up. :)

Childsplayx2

We went through EI for about a 15 months, and when my son "graduated" I was like, "Okay, now what?" While he's still not "perfect" (Okay, he's perfect to me), he's so much better and I just have to remind myself that he's going to do just fine - even though he hates certain noises and will certainly flunk finger painting in kindergarten. He'll just have to be something other than an artist when he grows up. :)

Jessica

God that is one cute kid.

And, um, not to be total pain in the ass, but Elecric Boogaloo (from your about page...) is already a blog: http://www.electricboogaloo.net/wordpress/

Haley-O

He's such a cute little guy! He'll keep improving, for sure! He's really doing great -- with all those improvements!

Rachel

Advice for those of you who keep checking here for an update and are so bored you're reading the comments and starting to take it personally as in: "That's it. I'm tired of this. I'm going to unbookmark this page if there isn't an update this time." Ahem. You know you can't leave her. But what to do? Go click on the "zero to forty" link and read the stuff there. It is classic Amalah. And even though I'm finished havin' babies, it is so well done that it will keep you happy till the next post.

Amalah

Jessica: It's also an oft-mocked movie and song title.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakin'_2:_Electric_Boogaloo

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