The (Belt) Loop

Last week, Noah decided that he wanted to quit karate. I've always told him it's okay if he wanted to quit karate (usually mid-argument over getting his uniform on and out the door in time for class), but he's always insisted that no, he doesn't want to quit. He wants a black belt. Well, that's not technically true, I guess. There was one point in kindergarten when he said he wanted to quit, but didn't like our stipulation that sure, you can quit, but you need to go tell your teachers in person. He waffled for a bit, then finally... Read more →


Occupational Gratitude

Noah first met his occupational therapist at summer camp. He was three-and-a-half years old and had already developed a fierce dislike of school (and any school-like activities) and a deep distrust of teachers (and any teacher-like adults). But for some reason, Ms. M___ was different. He liked her. He liked her a lot. For over three years now, she's worked with him. First, almost daily, at preschool, then weekly. She was his anchor, the thing he looked the most forward to all week, the one person who could always — ALWAYS — coax the most and the best from him.... Read more →


The Face of Awesome

I don't know about you, but I'd give money to that face. Before anyone jumps to the wrong (yet probably all-too-common these days) conclusion: No worries, Noah's photo wasn't ganked from my blog or Facebook. TLC is the non-profit organization that has been helping Noah (and us) for years now. It's where he attended the Miraculous Summer Camp of Miracles and The Preschool That Changed Our Lives. He still receives weekly occupational therapy there for ongoing issues with rigidity, self-regulation, social skills, etc. A couple years ago they asked if they could take photos of Noah and his therapist for... Read more →


The Next Big Thing

We met with a new child psychologist this morning. So I spent last night organizing and re-filing the mountains of old paperwork we've collected over the years. Old evaluations, assessments, treatment plans, progress reports, IEPs, re-evaluations, insurance rejections and appeals and God knows what else. Something old, something new, something photocopied, something blue. (The cup. The cup is blue. The cup is also full of vodka.) Reading through those old files is both oddly inspiring and completely masochistic. On the one hand, how far he's come! The things he says and does! The mind-boggling number of victories, both large and... Read more →


Brave Little Toaster

Once upon a time, I was the mother of a little boy who was scared of the bathtub. Who was scared of so, so many things. He wanted to be brave. He tried to be brave. But when your brain sends you into fight-or-flight mode over the sound of a nearby lawnmower, or the feel of grass on your bare feet, it's hard to brave. It's hard to try new things when you can't process them, when you can't articulate what you're even afraid of, when you can't work those new things out to their logical conclusion. Even when the... Read more →


Go, Ninja

Noah's IEP meeting went very well, by the way. (The plot points! They are dangling!) Of COURSE it went very well. I always get myself so needlessly lathered up about these meetings ahead of time -- a peril of being overly-informed about other people's horror stories, probably -- and then we show up and remember that oh. Right. These people actually give a shit. About their jobs and their students and that whole "making a difference in the life of a child" thing. I'd gotten a somewhat...strange phone call from the school psychologist the week before that knocked me a... Read more →


"Teachers Don't Have Phones."

And with that, the question over whether or not he was telling me the truth was answered. We caught Noah in his first big, sustained lie yesterday. The details are exhaustively boring, but suffice to say he'd figured out a way to game his token/reward system at school and make us think he was earning more points for good behavior than he was. Then exchanging those points for treats at home like playing video games or getting some Halloween candy. (That is not actually from Halloween, but just what the boys call candy year-round here.) I'd grown suspicious and questioned... Read more →


Mr. Fixit

We have an IEP meeting today, the first of two IEP meetings scheduled over the next few months. For this year is Noah's re-evaluation year, the year he's due for...wait for it, oh, you'll never guess...a re-evaluation of his strengths and weaknesses and needs and services, up to an including the Big Label that keeps him in special education and keeps my mother-in-law up at night for fear of his PERMANENT RECORD and her continued, unshakable belief that the public school system is legally allowed to tie him to a cheerful Circle Time Chair and forcibly inject Ritalin into his... Read more →


The Road To Here

I woke up this morning to discover that a big giant kid crept in and ate Noah up last night. I was pretty annoyed, so I walked him to the neighborhood bus stop and sent him off to school with a bunch of other big kids. Whatever. *** The other parents snapped pictures as their kids lined up and boarded the bus. I just stood there. I'd abandoned my camera on our front step because Noah was having a hard morning and me standing around trying to capture the preshus memories of childhood rites of passage was clearly NOT HELPING.... Read more →


Little Fish

Noah spent four weeks at a OT/social skills camp this summer, and then we set him loose for two weeks at the YMCA's swim camp. It was our first crack at mainstream program in over three years. It ended on Friday. He received a certificate for "Honesty." Which as far as I can gather he earned mostly because 1) everybody got one, and 2) whenever he got in trouble, it never occurred to him to lie about it. But he did it. He made it through all 10 days of camp. We signed one incident report for hitting and one... Read more →