Atypically Awesome

Jason and I binge-watched Atypical on Netflix a few weeks back (and if you haven't checked it out yet, GO NOW DO, it's wonderful). I could probably write a dozen blog posts on all the many, many thoughts and feels I have about this show (which I repeat, is wonderful), but for now I'm going to go off and ramble down a completely different tangent. HOWEVER, the fact that we watched it will be important later. (Now THAT's how you structure a coherent blog post, folks.) Back when Noah was officially diagnosed with ADHD, we teamed up with his doctor and therapist to talk Noah through his diagnosis, what it meant and what would happen next. We didn't take the decision to try medication lightly, and I certainly had no intention of just handing him a pill, like here, take this, without thoroughly explaining what it would do and what potential pros and cons we'd need him to self-report going forward. There was a book and several sit-downs and lots and lots of follow-ups and check-ins. And then his Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis happened. In kind of a short order. And...well, we didn't tell him. That sounds horrrrrrrible, I know.... Read more →


QualityTimeXtravaganza

Jason was lucky enough to take a couple days off this week, and spent them either 1) getting at least one of the two children responsible for most of the screaming/tattling/HE'S BREATHING MY AIR sort of hullaballoo out of my hair, or 2) spending quality one-on-one time with our middle and youngest children, reinforcing good positive attention behaviors with a side of spoiling and all that jazz. Technically a bit of both, I suppose. Both days involved the aquarium and copious amounts of dessert. Jason also sent the following photo as evidence of Ezra's Scrabble prowess, but in doing so revealed himself to be a dirty cheat who plays acronyms and two-letter words the second I'm not around to challenge that shit. (Note: Jason won't play Scrabble with me anymore.) Last night it was my turn to treat a kid to a special time out, and I landed either the best or worst assignment, depending on how you look at it. I took him to see DanTDM Live at the Baltimore Hippodrome. Who is DanTDM, you might ask? A perfectly reasonable question that I'm still not sure I can answer. DanTDM is a small and highly energetic British human who... Read more →


Before the Fall

IT'S ROSÉ WEATHER, MOTHERFUCKERS. (Or, if you're my fruit-and-vegetable-texture-adverse child, it's purplish-brownish yogurt/spinach/frozen-berry-blend smoothie weather, which admittedly isn't as pretty, but he swears is delicious and solves quite a few nutritional/digestive concerns. Plus it puts the stupid-expensive blender Jason bought me last Mother's Day to good use.) I always spend this time of year in half slack-jawed amazement at how happy and mentally healthy this sort of weather makes me, and half in scrunched-forehead confusion at the idea that there are places with this sort of weather ALL THE TIME, places were I could hypothetically live and feel like this year round, because? I don't know. I like to babble bullshit about "liking having different seasons" when honestly, at least two out of four of our seasons can probably go fuck themselves. We met with the middle school's special education team yesterday to officially plan Noah's transition. It went well. I had to push to keep a few goals and accommodations in place because technically he's achieved said goals and doesn't currently use those accommodations, but given our history with rocky starts to new school years (and how hard the transition to a new school turned out to be last... Read more →


Noah For President

We had an IEP meeting this morning, a pretty big one. It was the first of TWO meetings planned for the transition to middle school (heyyyy there, fellow olds!) and this was also a "re-evaluation" year, which involves a metric shitton of testing and assessments to determine exactly how Noah's disabilities are impacting him at school. Of course, in my paranoid, neurotic brain, you can go ahead and replace "how" with "if," and then spend a few sleepless nights practicing the imaginary arguments you're going to have when the IEP team decides your child no longer qualifies for any services or accommodations, bye bye, have fun in middle school, watch out for the grizzly bears, good luck to ya. (That did not happen, by the way.) We knew going in that Noah did very well on all of the individual tests and assessments. His grades this year have been outstanding, and barring that one unfortunate debating debacle early in the year, behavior reports describe him as focused, hard-working and an all-around delightful, well-behaved kid. In some schools, yes, those positives can be spun into a "it's time to reduce services/increase mainstreaming/drop to a 504 plan" kind of discussion. Our school,... Read more →


Blow Us All Away

On Friday, the fifth graders at Noah's school presented a living "wax museum," where everybody dressed up as a historical figure and gave a brief biography report on their life when "activated" by a visitor. For long-time readers and Noah-understanders, let me preface that this assignment involved all of the following: 1) Wearing a costume 2) That included a hat 3) Actually pretending to actually be another person 4) Who could not be George Washington (because he already did a biography report on him last year and needed to branch out) 5) Reading/reciting lines in front of strangers 6) While in a large, loud, echo-y cafeteria while well over a hundred students were also doing the same thing for a huge crowd of family and friends. OBVIOUSLY, Noah went with Alexander Hamilton. (Two kids over in his row was a King George III whom he gamely and playfully referred to as "Mine Sworn Enemy" and challenged to a duel.) He tried very hard to memorize his speech but ultimately his nerves got the better of him so he was allowed to read it. He was also offered his noise-cancelling earmuffs but opted not to compromise the integrity of his costume.... Read more →


Three Hermanos

In other, less polarizing news*, you want to know who's doing great? These fools. Or more accurately, these three wise guys. Are just great. Can't really speak for the cat, though. Over the past couple weeks, we've had both all our parent-teacher conferences AND Noah's IEP meeting, re-evaluation/pre-middle-school year edition. Let's recap. Noah's self-confidence has EXPLODED this year (possibly thanks to the social skills program he attended over the summer, plus a med switch that's been like night and day), and it's showing in just about every aspect possible at school. After almost failing math last year (but turning things around in the last semester), his latest report card was all A's and B's, he enjoys tests and studying and writing, keeps himself organized and on schedule, and is starting to open up to new topics and interests and friends. He continues to be amazingly self-aware and self-advocating, and just overall seems much happier and bubbly and just...yeah. Confident. It's a really good look for him. At his conference, his teacher mentioned his (obvious) love and passion for history and social studies, but said it was a struggle to redirect him from the non-fiction section and into more literary texts... Read more →


2 Outta 3 & ADHD

Well, that didn't take long. I sent Ezra's teacher some evaluation forms and surveys on Monday. She filled them out that same day and faxed them directly to our doctor, like, OMG GET THIS KID SOME HELP. The doctor called within 24 hours and was like, whoa, yeah, that's ADHD and also OMG GET THIS KID SOME HELP. This is the book Noah's therapist read to him after he was formally diagnosed and we made the decision to start medication. I just ordered a copy for Ezra, and yes, we are making the same decision for him. We were very reluctant and resistant with Noah, and in retrospect we agree that we waited too long. Believe me, we tried just about all of the alternative med-free strategies, multiple therapies, diet changes, you name it. We didn't just throw up our hands and spring for the meds to make our lives easier. (Well, okay, I did throw out one of those ADHD IS A PACK OF LIES-type book that my MIL gave us after a cursory Google search on the author, revealed her to have close ties to the church and teachings of Scientology. Didn't even recycle it. Not even a... Read more →


Special Needapalooza

I went to Noah's IEP meeting yesterday, our first "real" meeting with the new school. We had an initial "move everything from County A to County B and try to not let anything get lost in translation" meeting in the beginning of the year, but this was the Actual Annual Big-Deal one, where we determine services for the next 12 months. The good news is that...well, it's all good news. Noah has transitioned beautifully and his new team loves him, and even better, REALLY understands him. After years of being classified solely as a SPD/ADHD kid at his old school, to the point that the team seemed surprised by his eventual Autism diagnosis (and then had to rapidly overhaul his IEP), I think it was really beneficial to move into this school with the ASD code firmly in place. No question, Noah needs those specific needs met, and here is everything this school can possibly provide. His new IEP is strong, comprehensive and best of all, was written from the point of view that this is just who Noah is and how he thinks and learns. He is not a problem to be solved. He is a child who will... Read more →


New IEP Hotness

This morning was Noah's first IEP meeting at the new school, with the new team. It was, as always, thrilling and full of drama and I lost my cool and flipped the conference room table over at least twice. Wait, no. Opposite of that. It was actually pretty boring, since it was mostly about moving everything from our old county's IEP form to our new country's IEP form, which we received a couple weeks ago covered in Post-It notes explaining evvvvvvvvery single checkbox and code and category because everything from the old IEP transfers, but it's all just called something slightly different. If I came away with any great insight on moving a special needs child from one Maryland district to another that I can pass along to you, I guess I'd say that Montgomery County IEP forms allow a little more flexibility on a kid's pull-out hours and certain accommodations can be marked as "ONLY IF NEEDED." Howard County IEP forms are like, NO WAY, YOU GONNA DOCUMENT THAT SHIT DOWN TO THE MINUTE. (Also, you have to give them explicit permission to use wearable sensory tools like weighted vests, blankets, etc. on your child because they have technically... Read more →


Breaking Bad (Crayons)

Over the past week, we have attended three different parent/teacher conferences. Which I guess makes sense, given that we have three different children, but still. What a damn timesuck that ends up being. Something to consider for any ongoing family planning purposes, you guys. . All three conferences were fairly uneventful. Ike enjoys learning about animals and seems very comfortable "exploring the classroom space." (Translation: wandering around like a hopped-up ping-pong ball.) He is going through a "big vocabulary development phase." (Translation: He never ever shuts up.) Occasionally he can be quite "independent" (stubborn, difficult, made of NO, the perfect embodiment of every 3 year old ever) but is easily "redirected" (look Ike, it's something shiiiiiny!). He is not a big fan of the Montessori "Practical Life" activities. (Translation: Table dusting? Floor mopping? Silver polishing? WTF decade do you people think this is? Child labor laws and Dyson vaccuums. Look 'em up, assholes.) Noah enjoys...oh, throws up hands, Noah enjoys school and has the best teacher in the universe who responds to his occasional rigidity with all the calming flexibility of a gentle, graceful birch tree, who absolutely adores him and says things like, "oh, my heart!" when describing his... Read more →