SNOW DAY

Recently Typed Questions

Q. Why can't I comment on your post? Were there idiots? Did you close comments because of idios? Where are the idiots? I will totally beat up those idiots.

A. No, noooo! No idiots. Nothing but hundreds of wonderfully kind, understanding and helpful comments. I think my lack of a post title freaked something out and sent the sidebar down to where the comments should be and basically I broke the webbityblog and it's all my fault and I AM A COLOSSAL FAILURE WAAAAHH.

Q. Uhh.

A. I am kidding. Obviously, this is all Denis Leary's fault.

Q. Soccer. SOCCER?

A. AH KNOW, RIGHT? We thought we were signing him up for a little "run around the room for 45 minutes after lunch like lunatics and maybe practice kicking balls and then come home and take a reeeeeallly good nap for Mama" thing. And that's what it seemed like in the fall, when he went, and he loved it. Soccer was seriously the one thing we could get him to talk about. But then, without telling us they changed things up and were TEACHING soccer, as an ORGANIZED SPORT.

To three-year-olds. Good luck with that, bitchcakes.

The big thing, apparently, was that the playroom where soccer was held was separated from the libary/music room by a curtain. And Noah freaking LOVES the libary/music room. And was fascinated by the curtain. And spent a lot of the soccer session trying to peek behind the curtain. And then OTHER KIDS would try to peek behind the curtain, and for some reason Noah was pegged as some kind of Big Curtain Instigator and therefore "not ready" for the rigors of the little fake soccer class.

The fact that, okay, but he really loves the IDEA of soccer, and is never going to understand WHY he can't go anymore, and sees his classmates going unless I pick him up early, just didn't seem to phase anyone in the slightest. Which: Damn. That's heartless, a little. After we pitched a fit they offered to give Noah one more chance, provided one of us was there to observe his behavior. I decided that honestly, I'd rather not give them a chance to kick my kid out a second time and declined.

You might wonder why the school wouldn't just maybe think about putting up a fucking baby gate or something. You might just want to stop with that crazy, out-of-the-box thinking, there.

Q. So. Seriously. Why not just pull Noah out of school completely?

A. Trust me, I would love to. I kept him home today, just because I felt like it. And it feels damn nice. He's wearing stripe-y pajamas and no socks and watching Lazytown.

And...that...right there. See, I do work from home. Sure, it's "dicking around on the Internet" work, but the money I make is essential to our family. Preschool is the only childcare I have. When Noah is home and I have to work, he entertains himself pretty well, but sooner or later I need to think and keep his butt in one room and keep his hands out of the baby's eyeballs and off my computer, and I turn on the TV. And yeah, it's all Noggin and that's "Like Preschool On TV!" and crap, but still. It feels like a situation that short-changes everyone: Noah, Ezra, me, my employers.

Also, Lazytown is a really fucking weird show. Dear God.

So until I can find an affordable part-time nanny (after I talk to you about my trust issues!) to come here a few mornings a week or another school, we do kind of need to keep him where he is. And not surprisingly, I've yet to come across any preschools in our price range that have immediate openings. Welcome to suburban Washington, DC: Home of the Waitlist.

Noah also cannot attend Gymboree or other supplemental classes like that, right now. Trust me on that one. They are a trigger for some of the most spectacular sensory meltdowns you have ever seen. At least after preschool I'm the only nervous, jittery person in the car. 45 minutes at The Little Gym and we're BOTH crying.

Jason drops Noah off in the mornings, and gets a completely story: Noah runs in, all smiles and no hesitation. The other kids are happy to see him. "Noah's here!" they say. He might not really understand how to talk to them like (GAH GAH HATE THIS WORD) "typical" kids, but he's not spending the day locked in a punishment cage, ostracized from the community.  He LIKES school, which I think is a good indicator that when we do find the right situation for him, he's going to kick supreme amounts of ass.

I do think he's smart enough to know that he's a little different, and I HATE that a school we thought SEEMED so laid-back and on-board with the whole "we just want him to have fun and play with new toys and work on sharing and eat graham crackers and juice at an adorably small table" idea of preschool has ended up having zero tolerance for any kid who is a little different. Who thinks circle time is boring ("poor attention span!") and has trouble not playing with awesome-looking toys that are RIGHT THERE ("poor impulse control!") instead. Where a refusal to wash his hands before snack is like, a major problem that must be reported to me immediately, and when I suggest that "oh, you know, the other day he turned on the hot water by himself and I think it burned him," I get nods and murmurs of understanding but still, could we be sure to "work" on "handwashing" a little "more" at home?

I started the year by attempting to be really honest with his teachers about Noah and his quirks, and I almost feel like we're being punished for that, because now nothing is allowed to just be a "three-year-old kid thing" but are all Signs of the Autism Apolcalypse.

Wait. What was I saying about why I can't just pull him out immediately? Christ.

Q. It really sounds like PDD-NOS/Asperger's/full-blown autism/absolutely nothing! Have you gotten him checked for PDD-NOS/Asperger's/full-blown autism/absolutely nothing?

A. Yes. Currently our "diagnosis" remains off the spectrum, as Sensory Integration Disorder. But as anyone who has gone through this process knows, it's a ridiculously bizaare thing to really pinpoint with a lot of accuracy. His speech therapist admitted that he just "has a lot going on, all over the place," without clearly being This or That or What-the-Fuck-Other.

There's a big difference in how Noah acts at home (where his first evaluation took place), to how he acts at a small doctor's office filled with toys and nice grown-ups getting on the floor and playing with him (where the second one happened)....to how he acts out in the world, at the mall, at birthday parties, at the playground, at school. Some days, I think the SID/SPD label is right. Other days we see symptoms that suggest something a little more pervasive (stimming, panic, obsessive/compulsive tics), and other times he is a perfectly delightful, perfectly non-label-worthy three-year-old. (I know some of our family members think we are nuts, because they always see Awesome Noah. Who is awesome, no doubt.) We're allllll about the context over here.

His evaluation through the school district should include someone coming to observe him at school, yes. That's taking awhile, mostly because we suck and dragged our feet on getting the paperwork in, because We Are Still Kind Of Bitter About The Early Intervention Thing, and then I didn't send in the right proof of county residency and then we didn't put enough postage on the damn thing. So yeah, that one is my bad.

Also under consideration: paying out-of-pocket for a Big Full Neurological Everything evaluation through a local non-profit, signing up to be part of a study at NIMH, a weekly "social skills" session at a special-needs school, in addition to speech therapy with a focus on oral motor skills and conversational speech. And of course, continuing to simply love the stuffing out of him, no matter what.  We are lucky to have an unbelievable number of options around here, both public and private, but...sometimes when faced with SO MANY OPTIONS it's easy to get a little deer-in-the-headlights over knowing where to go next.

Q. I don't know if this is assvice or will help, but my kid...

A. Yes. Please. Go on! I can't even tell you how helpful your stories are. For everybody, I think, who is still going through the interminable process of trying to get answers, to sort through what's a problem and not-a-problem and, like, A Problem. I've read a slew of your emails and comments out loud to Jason, because OMFGTOTALLY.

Yesterday's post was one that I've been holding back for awhile. I thought maybe it was better to keep my neuroses to myself, for once, for now. I really, really want to be careful, obviously, with how Noah is presented here, and that the stories I tell are more about my relationship and journey as Noah's mother and all the ups and downs, and not like: my kid is weird and I didn't sign up for weird.

Every day that I didn't write that post, I felt worse. More anxious, more like my nerves were twisting and tightening into a ball in my chest. I couldn't get my thoughts in order until I typed them out.

I don't want to cure him or fix him or change him. There's no diagnosis that could possibly ever make me feel differently. I want him to be happy, and to thrive, and be surrounded by people who also value his happiness and understand that different is awesome in its own way. And who will help him thrive, just as he is, because he is more than capable of that.

I hit the publish button yesterday with a lot of trepidation...and then sat there and watched the comments and emails pile up, each one written by someone who values Noah's happiness and understands that different is awesome in its own way, with their own story of a deeply-loved child whom they helped thrive, and it was just...awe-inspiring, really. Thank you so much for taking the time to reach out and hold my hand and throw a few virtual punches on behalf of my son.

(That said, I hope it's not a total fucking cop-out if I don't open comments today. I'm STILL reading through comments and emails from yesterday and have so much to process, honestly -- links to follow, book recommendations to check out, follow-up questions to ask -- that I kind of feel like I need to hit the pause button this weekend on the feedback. I do hope you understand, although of course my email and Facebook wall are always open.)


(Plus, my in-laws are coming tonight, and I need to vaccuum out the chocolate-chip cookie crumbs from the sleeper sofa.)