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. He didn't want to get out of bed, he didn't want to get dressed, he didn't want a shirt with too many buttons and he didn't want breakfast and he CERTAINLY didn't want to walk to the bus stop. But of course the minute we rounded the corner and he spotted other kids at the bus stop his anxiety melted. He cheerfully climbed on the bus and stopped mid-step to turn around and give me the most picture-perfect first-day-of-school wave in the HISTORY of first-day-of-school waves. I waved back. I bit my lip. I turned around and walked home. Noah... Read more →


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 for towel-whacking, and by the time the kicking happened...well, his counselor went easy on him and skipped the written report, which spared him from getting kicked out on the third-to-last day. We explained and reminded and begged him each morning to keep his hands to himself, to use words instead, come on, dude, you know this. We had to remind him to respond when other campers said hello, we had to provide the teenaged CITs with strategies to help him transition without tantrums or play competitive games without rigid frustration, and we had to face the hard fact that none... Read more →


Humble Pride

There's nothing quite like those moments -- those rare public moments when the child you've spent years of your life raising as a kind, empathetic and polite human being opens his mouth...and says the most impulsive, selfish and socially tone-deaf thing he could possibly come up with. In front of God, everybody and at least 50 other adults with video cameras. So I left a little anecdote out of my entry about Noah's belt test. Because...well, it wasn't exactly the sort of story I felt deserved to be preserved for posterity. At least...not at first. At first it was one of those "let's forget THAT ever happened" stories. So Noah was waiting for his turn to break his board. It's the last task of the test, the big moment that signals your successful graduation to the next belt level, the part where everybody claps and cheers for you, and not to mention, is completely fucking awesome, because you get to break a damn board with your fist. But the little girl ahead of Noah was not getting that completely awesome moment, because she could not break her board, no matter how many times she tried. The instructor switched boards, had... Read more →


I had to ask what, exactly, a "word retrieval disorder" meant, when we met with the child psychologist to go over the action-packed, 25-page report on Noah's evaluation. I understood most of what was in there -- ADHD, auditory processing, some too-early-to-tell red flags for dyslexia for us to "keep an eye on" -- but the word retrieval bit was a new one. Was it like apraxia? I asked. No, she said. That's an inability to form words. This is more about plucking the right word from your brain soup. Basically having it right there on the tip of your tongue, but unable to remember it, or only coming up with words that are similar in concept, but not quite right. For example: saying shovel when you mean hammer, bicycle for motorcycle, or in a unique-to-Noah coping mechanism the psychologist noted, expanding a simple sentence to include a ton of extra, early "filler" words, thus buying himself more time to come up with the more difficult verbs and nouns that would come later. That was really fascinating to see, she said. He's already very aware of what's difficult for him, and is coming up with his own accomodations in lot... Read more →


Noah has his first karate belt test tomorrow. A "formality," really, since white and gold belts are still grouped together, skill-wise, in the same class. A "confidence booster," according to the instructor who called me and twisted my arm up out my gut instinct that Noah probably isn't ready and convinced me to turn in the test form (AND OH RIGHT THE $40 FEE) anyway. "Eight to 10 classes" is all it typically takes to move from a white belt to gold. Noah's attended 12. Every other white belt is taking the test, and the next opportunity to move up isn't until three months from now. Okay! Okay. Fine. And then: "Hmm, I dunno" from a different instructor on Monday, when I told him Noah was signed up. The attention issues, the inability to focus or look instructors in the eye, the non-stop wiggling and bouncing, all of it could, in fact, pose a little bit of a problem. He can do all the required moves at home, and one-on-one with an instructor when we've requested a bit of extra help. But the belt test isn't at home, or one-on-one, or even really, about the karate moves themselves. The first... Read more →


I took the boys to the dentist this morning. Because that's what you do, right? You have children. You take them to the dentist. And then afterwards you come home and lie down in bed and stare at the ceiling, utterly exhausted, brutally aware of every stressed-out muscle and amped-up nerve running through your core. All because you took your children to the dentist. Or maybe that's just me. Everybody's teeth are just fine, though I have passed on BOTH of my own mouth weirdness issues to the boys -- one issue for each kid. Ezra's got the overbite, Noah's got the insanely crowded mouth with teeth wedged up next to each *likethis.* Perhaps the new baby will get my special trick of growing adult teeth underneath my gums, completely sideways. YOU'RE WELCOME, KIDS. But still. I am beat. We were late! There were forms! Then more forms! A misplaced insurance card! Wrangling in the waiting room! All this AND MORE, before we even got into the exam room where there was honest-to-God potential for BITING. Ezra was a dream, as usual, once we acquiesced to his raging dislike of the paper-towel bib, anyway. He chose a dinosaur finger puppet... Read more →


The thing, with Noah, is that his victories, however small, are so hard-fought for. And harder won. Little things like preschool, karate class, swim lessons, riding a bike, talking to another child or simply using an idiom or bit of slang correctly are huge for him, and for us to witness. He is playing a constant game of catch up. And we are his cheerleaders, celebrating every baby step and breakthrough, screaming from the rooftops. And then there's Ezra. Things come easily for Ezra. What once was a sigh of guilty relief over his "typicalness" is now a gasp of wonder at all the things he can do already, at his seeming bottomless well of innate talents and abilities. He doesn't just talk. HE TALKS. Full sentences. Every word he hears he immediately absorbs and starts to use. He talks about things he sees and thinks and did earlier that day and would like to do tomorrow Nouns, verbs, abstract concepts and feelings and scenarios playfully pulled from his imagination. He asks questions, he wants to know what and why and when and how come, and he ponders your answers with a seriousness in his eyes that looks so out... Read more →


Noah went to his very first karate class yesterday. Long-time readers: Yeah. You know the deal. You know that this was kind of a big step. Newer peeps: There's no way to nicely sum up three-plus years of developmental delays, meltdowns, evaluations, diagnoses, successes, failures, therapy, IEP meetings and God knows what else in a sentence or two, except to say that yeah. This was kind of big step. After our success with the homegrown hardscrabble soccer practices, we started wondering what other organized activities Noah was ready for. Soccer is on hold until the spring, since we could no longer consistently track down indoor venues and the constant switching of locations was driving the kids a bit batty. Jason suggested karate, mostly because Jason always, ALWAYS wanted to learn karate as a kid but Jason's parents wouldn't ever let Jason learn karate and yes, sometimes parenthood is little more than an ongoing experiment in Surrogate Childhood Wish Fulfillment. He then let Noah watch the original Karate Kid movie. (Not only was karate completely off the table for me as a kid [GIRLS DID BALLET, YOU KNOW] [P.S. I HATED BALLET], I wasn't even allowed to see the Karate Kid... Read more →


I Really Hate Coming Up With Titles Some Days. (There. Done!)

And two days later...it's still a boy! What? Not quite as exciting anymore? Damn these follow-up posts. They're such a letdown. I spent all day yesterday in rapid reverse-gear, solely fixated on my older existing-model child and visiting our kindergarten options for next year. A variety of special education flavors and regular strength. I started off the day with a pre-existing belief in one of them, only to end up with that belief shaken and stirred and coming home to wail that I DON'T LIKE ANY OF THEM, EVERYTHING IS WRONG. One option is too this and the other is too that. I still haven't come to any great revelations about the day and the experiences and what I saw, other than to randomly decide that I think I'm going to sign Noah up for a karate class. That will solve...none of the big issues at hand, but it's a DECISION. About SOMETHING. Everybody golf clap. DO IT. Oh, and I bought like, five boxes of chocolate truffles. They were on sale, because they're tied up with Christmas ribbons, and they're practically PRESCRIPTION truffles. Because once again, I showed up at my OB appointment having gained zero pounds. The baby... Read more →


Noah's fever spiked last night -- not high enough to necessitate a trip to the ER or anything, just one of those HOT. DAMN. moments when you stare at the thermometer and struggle to hold on to everything you know about small children's resilient little bodies and their tendency to run 102+ degree fevers for no damn good reason. We dosed him up with Tylenol and I hovered around his red-hot presence anxiously, obsessively rubbing his back and his hair, convinced that we were, in fact, going to end up at the ER later and that it was pneumonia or something equally horrible, and wondering who the HELL left me in charge of this small, helpless human being? And the one in the next room? And the one that's not even born yet? Dear God, why didn't we just stop with the damn CAT while we were ahead? *** So I mentioned that kindergarten transition meeting thing yesterday. Kindergarten transitioning is a Big Honking Deal for the kids in the district's special education preschool program, obviously. It involves weeks of observations by a whole team of people, preliminary plans and pre-plans and planning to plan, then an initial "invitation" to... Read more →