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 →


I was getting coffee yesterday morning with Lydia when Jason texted. There's a protest at the White House at 1 p.m. I want to go. Noah does too. "Welp. I better get home." I told her. "This is what life is like now, I guess." I got home, changed my shirt, refastened an assortment of buttons and a safety pin to my coat, and put on my ridiculous pink hat. The boys and Jason all changed into Hamilton-themed shirts, while Noah carefully packed up the Declaration, Constitution and Bill of Rights. He also chose a hat. The protest quickly moved from a rally at the White House into a march past Trump's hotel and to the Capitol building (something the Women's March ended up being simply too massive to attempt), so we joined in. For something that was somewhat hastily planned and Jason only spotted somewhat randomly on Facebook, the turnout was insane. The line of marchers -- once a again a wildly diverse, universally peaceful crowd -- went on and on as far as I could see in both directions. Ike took it all in with a bit of baffled wonder, while Ezra understood that we were marching against... Read more →


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 →


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 →


Noah had his annual physical today -- his first time at our new pediatrician's office, oddly enough, as he hasn't had a single sick visit or injury or general health concern since we moved. This makes for a fairly boring check-up, although Noah remained in a low-level state of anxiety because I'd warned him he most likely was going to get a shot. He brought his Marty McFly jackets and his history textbook along to help keep his mind off of it. (Just when I think this kid's love of history can't get any better: He's now borrowing additional books from his teachers [as he's devoured all the main school library's offerings and still can't get enough] and I catch him reading them under his covers at night, or reading charming bedtime stories about the Boston Massacre to his brothers. Okay.) I already wrote a Big Whole Screed about the HPV vaccine at AlphaMom last year, but just to have it on the record here as I am a Wee Bit Het Up About This Topic, and want to make it clear that I followed through on everything in that rant: Yes, Noah got his first Gardasil shot today, and... Read more →


In Noah's Social Studies class yesterday, the kids were divided into two teams for a mock debate. Team assignments were random; no one got to choose their side. The two teams? Patriots vs. Loyalists, set to debate the pros and cons of the American Revolution. Guess which team Noah was on. Or more accurately, he was supposed to be on, until he freaked out, melted down, and refused to participate. We got an email from his teacher afterwards explaining what happened, and two sentences in I knew exactly what was coming. WHY OH WHY DID YOU NOT SEE THAT COMING? He couldn't be a Loyalist. Loyalists were the ENEMY. Loyalists were the Bad Guys. Even just pretending to be a Bad Guy makes you a Bad Guy, at least while you're doing the pretending. His teacher called it a temper tantrum, but really, it was probably more along the lines of a panic attack. It's interesting that this happened so close to Halloween, given all those years Noah refused to wear a costume for similar anxiety-tinged reasons: Pretending to be someone or something else means you must not be yourself anymore. Putting on a costume represented a fundamental change in... Read more →


Late Summer Wrap-Up of Nothing in Particular

Oh, hello blog. You're boring! Life is boring. I don't actually mind boring, though. Noah finished up four weeks of a summer school program for social skills, and despite originally being supppppperr not-so-on-board with the whole riding the BUS to SCHOOL in the SUMMER, that is UNFAIR MADNESS, he ended up having a really great time. When we showed up to the open house, we immediately bumped into a boy who Noah had an on-again/off-again/on-again friendship with all year. A boy who I admittedly did not always think the most charitable thoughts about during the off-again part, but who lit up with a huge, excited smile at the sight of Noah, and rushed over to give him a big hug. His mom and I looked at each other like, ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, okay, I get it now. That friendship is solidly on-again, as are two new friendships with two other boys in his grade. I think 5th grade is going to be pretty great. Ezra and Ike are finishing up a school-prep camp together this week, and are also having a surprisingly amount of fun despite the heavy academic focus. Learning can be fun! Especially with your brother there, even if the... Read more →


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 →


I called our county's Child Find office on Monday and requested an assessment packet for Ike. (Or technically for "Isaac," a name I only ever hear called out in doctors' waiting rooms, and I usually sit there for a few extra seconds like "Why are they looking at me? Who's Isaac? Oh, right.") So now all that's left on that front is to wait for the packet to arrive in the mail, fill out all the parent forms, send teacher forms to his school, wait for his teachers to return the forms, mail everything back, wait for a phone call to schedule an appointment, wait for said appointment, perform some ancient sensory ceremonial rituals involving obstacle courses and small toys hidden in shaving cream, and then maybe...MAYBE...we'll get some speech therapy before his fifth birthday in June, at which point he gets handed over to the school district and whole process starts all over again. (Do I sound chill or just jaded? I can't tell the difference anymore.) After I made the call, I decided our chalkboard wall needed a new family motto. Vinyl decal from Etsy, found here. NERD TIME: As a copywriter I have to quibble with the... Read more →