Ephemera Thursday
And a big yellow school bus took away my little man

Year of the Promise

Oh good Lord, what a day.

We had our home visit this morning with a bunch of school district people, including Noah's teacher (who I recognized from her Facebook profile, which I felt all sneaky about until I remembered how spectacularly Google-able we all are, so you know what? I'm going to just shut up, except to say that she and Noah had a nice talk about Pixar's Up, and right then and there you could SEE him fall in love with her, like, HARD).

Our home visit was supposed to start at 8:30, they arrived at 8:15, and yet I managed to get on one woman's permanent shit list because I took five extra minutes to finish brewing some coffee. Which I was making so I could offer them some coffee, but she terrified me so much that I refused to leave my seat for the entire visit, sitting upright with my hands folded, moving only to pick up an alarmingly large clump of cat hair from the baby's path but then I didn't want to get up to throw out the cat hair and so I panicked and put it in my pocket and then this OTHER woman saw me do that and gave me a weird look, like oh, God, she probably has a fingernail collection somewhere too.

(Typing that reminded me that I never took the clump of cat hair out of my pocket.)

Right off the bat they informed us that Noah's vaccination and health forms either never arrived or got lost and oh! You know how school starts on Tuesday? Yeah, don't bother sending him without those forms. I suppose I should be grateful that they did give me 15 extra minutes of heads up on that, because OH GOD, FORMS. This is something that you need to call your mother about right now and thank her for dealing with all your life, because you seriously have no idea. Doctor's offices and forms. You need the forms. The forms need the doctor. Your doctor needs $10 per page (two-sided is two pages! don't even think about it!) and five to seven goddamn business days, minimum. Twice that in "back-to-school" season, which of course runs from May to October, and then again in November to January. To just...get a form signed, same-day...unheard of. At least around here. Please don't tell me about how your pediatrician will sign forms if you happen to bump into each other at the grocery store because your town is just delightful and small and everybody hugs everybody all the time. I stopped to get cash before going to the pediatrician because I was full-on ready to bribe an office assistant into letting me bribe a nurse to sign an immunization record that I spent 20 minutes filling out myself so all it needed was one signature and a stamp.

The good news is that they agreed to sign it. Later. Six hours later, which in DoctorFormLand is like FedEx getting a package to China in 20 minutes.

Other than the forms, and the glares about the forms, and the talk about swine flu, the visit went well. Lots of questions and note-taking and no bullshitting around about what Noah needs to get out of this school year.

But...I don't know. There was something -- Jason felt it too, even though we couldn't quite articulate it -- that made us feel very, very. VERY GOOD about the decision to send Noah to an additional program. (I really need better nicknames for the preschools, by the way, other than "district preschool" and "The Preschool," especially since the capital letters are hard to say over the phone. I've been inserting dramatic pauses and using this movie-trailer-narrator voice but I think I'm annoying people. Perhaps the fake echo is too much?) Maybe the act of retelling our long history with Early Intervention put the pattern into sharper focus: Noah receives services and therapy, Noah responds remarkably to the services and therapy, services and therapy get reduced or stop altogether, Noah struggles and regresses without them, despite us kicking our own asses to do everything we've been told to do for him. Maybe it was when we were asked what our singular most major concern is, neither of us could answer, because it's not that simple. There isn't just one thing. So it makes sense that there isn't just one solution, either.

One night at the beach, Noah was having a hard time. I've already forgotten the details, the trigger. No matter how many times it happens, I can't seem to stop myself from asking "what's wrong? what's wrong, baby, what's WRONG?" Of course, he doesn't answer. He can't answer. We have a good dozen books on the subject and even they seem to mostly be guessing at the answer, at what it's like for a kid like him. Something was just WRONG, something he couldn't explain to us, something we couldn't fix.

And I stopped asking what was wrong. Instead, I made a promise. I told him it will get better and that it won't always be like this. The world will not always be so scary and strange. It won't always be like this.

I am keeping that promise. I am keeping. That. Promise.



You're a great mama, Amy, and it WILL be okay! Having you on his side is definitely one of the best things he's got going for him.


I'm just so happy that The Preschool seems so very right to you and Jason. There has got to be a huge sense of relief in that feeling. But my heart broke just a little reading the promise you made to him, trying to imagine what it's like for him. I hope this year will be the best year of your lives.


The first time we ever had a home visit we had no power and no siding. The coordinator wanted to use our fridge to keep her lunch cold (!?) but I told her NO because I didn't want what cool air we had left to escape. Then the SLP arrived and DROPPED HER CAR KEYS IN THE SEWER and everyone forgot about my ramshackle home.

I suggest you refer to private preschool as "the money pit." Would that be offensive? Or maybe state-school and ivy-league?


Woman. You are one. rocking. mama.
That is all.


Dealing with school logistics is a hassle. Dealing with SpEd logistics is another thing entirely -- and even when it goes well, it still ties you up in knots and drives you up a wall.

But then you have those moments - like your night at the beach - where the logic underlying all the stress and heartache and confusion and endless search for answers crystallizes so perfectly... and you remember: This. Is. Why. You. Keep. Pushing. Forward.

Aunt Becky

Things won't always be like this. I like that. And you're right, they won't.


Noah is one lucky duck, to have a mom like you. xo


There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that you would have bribed the office worker, nurse, and doctor. And THAT is HILARIOUS.

Oh, Noah, you are starting school with all the love and support of your internet aunties. We'll be here cheering you on every step of the way! You are a lucky kid, to have such wonderful, supportive parents.


You rock. So do your kids. Is it weird to feel proud of someone you don't know? Yes? Oh. Nevermind then.


Yeah, you are rocking the Noah's Mom part of your life --- really. Actually, from here, it looks like you are rocking all parts of your life. Yeah, Amalah!

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake

OF course you will keep that promise. Things will get better. The toddler/preschool years were so hard for my son. There was so much he wanted to say but couldn't because, gack, how does one articulate such an overwhelming world, and boy, it sucks having a smart brain but not the ability to articulate all that smartness yet.

I don't know if you've looked into it, but we started an artificial food dye elimination diet with our son. It's been amazing, the difference in his behavior. He still has a low tolerance for frustration and his quirkiness, but it's been much easier for him to manage himself.

I blew it off before but I'mnow a really a big believer in these artificial dyes (which have arsenic, mercury, and lead in them, omg) affecting behavior.

Heather, Queen of Shake Shake

Oh, and I should have said something about the swinging back and forth between things getting better and worse, those "what the hell just made him do THAT?" moments have disappeared since we took out dyes.

Tracy D

Dude. Bawling here. I made that promise to my son as well. It just about breaks your heart doesn't it?


What lucky boys. And if you ever want the name of a peds office in your area where the forms get filled out instantly for free e-mail me.


Noah is so obviously going to do awesome this year, and I'm so excited for how cool that feeling is going to be for you.


Dude. Getting caught putting cat hair in your pocket by a school administrator? Made me laugh out loud. Twice. And the promise? Made me choke back a few tears. Been there too. Still there actually. Hang in there.

College at Thirty

Don't you hate it when people show up early and then act like your not being ready is inconveniencing them? If I am early, then I recognize that it is my job to be apologetic, not make someone else feel apologetic for not being ready early. I just...I don't know, pet peeve of mine.

Anyway, I'm really glad that you guys are feeling good about putting Noah in The Preschool. I know that I'm just a stranger on the internet who doesn't mean anything to you, but I've been reading your blog since before Noah was born, and I really think you're a great mom to him. You're doing what you can and what you think is right, and you're amazing at it.


That last part made me cry. I, too, want to figure out what's wrong, even knowing from my own experiences in this as a kid that my son probably has no idea. But I always want to fix it.

We were unimpressed with our son's preschool teacher in the district program a couple years ago. The OT was wonderful, but the teacher didn't seem equipped to handle our son's particular quirks and the general program didn't fit him too well. You'll probably find the expensive program meets Noah's needs much better than the district's.


You are already keeping that promise Amy. And it will all get better, for all of you.


Things won't always be like this. I love that response. I especially love when other people tell me that.

Sprite's Keeper

Keep telling him that. Keep telling yourself that when the hard moments hit. You WILL get there!


Wow you are so insightful, how lucky you are to have each other!


Ditto the very first comment. :)


You'll keep that promise Amy. I know you will. (((hugs)))


Hey you cat-hair-collecting lady---you are one fantastic mama!!


I'm glad the school year is starting off so well for you all. Noah is one lucky little boy to have you and Jason!


rock on Mama Amy!

Lauren G.

Good job!


My kid with dyspraxia can't ever give an answer when she's emotional, ever. We just get her ohmygodtoomanythingsatonceleavemealonemakeitstop response and when that blows over it's all good. You are right though, it isn't just one thing. But dude, with you guys as parents, the kid is gonna be just fine. I loathe school districty people fwiw, so kudos to you for even thinking to make them coffee. ;-)


Every time the Early Intervention PT or OT come to my house I have to clean up the night before so they won't know the depths of my slatternlyness. And I often cry at some point during my baby's therapy and then if I have to touch them or baby I might have snot on my hand.l sigh. I totally get the cat hair, I really do.


I would go with "Enrichment Program" for Noah's afternoon program.

christine stephens

ah you made me cry again.

it's so hard, isn't it? and so worth it.


Umm, yeah, you rock! That last line made me cry, too. I think it just touches me that you guys care so much-- it makes me happy to know that there are parents out there like you two.


I am loving you so much right now.


*clap**clap**clap* you rock!

you are just so damn amazing!!!!!


That's a promise I'm trying to hold to with Cordy as well. And I think we can both do it.

I hope The Preschool will be perfect for him this year!


Fuck yes, you are.


I have no doubt you will keep that promise. You will make it. He will make is and be spectacular. All will be good.

Lonna Cottrell

"Clumps of cat hair" and the mention of a "fingernail collection"--hilarious. Two things that remind me of my former boyfriends. You're an awesome mother, which reminds me of myself. Keep on momming.


What a marvelous thing to be able to offer your son. My son, who had a mostly great kindergarten year, starts first grade on Tuesday. And I worry so much about everything about it. And if (when) things get tough, I'm going to remember that: I can't tell you how or when things will get better, but they will. It won't always be like this. And that's a promise with meaning, and one we can keep.


Thanks for the last paragraph. I'm going to make it and keep it, too.

Adventures In Babywearing

I had to hold back tears reading this (even though you crack me up at the same time), I understand. I hope it gets easier.



Our OT (private, because I live in the State of Misery and apparently also the District of No when it comes to sensory-challenged kids getting services) makes home visits once a week, and I am always frantically vacuuming and washing all of my dishes and scrubbing my toilets right before she comes over.

This DOES mean I clean my house pretty well once a week ;)

You know, I too find myself wondering what's wrong -- or worse, reacting with frustration, sometimes when my son has a sensory meltdown in circumstances where, given my understanding of my son's condition, I ought to be able to figure out why he is acting the way he is, and ought to know to stay calm.

Living with a child who intensely feels (and hears and sees and tastes) things other people don't even notice does require me to stay on my toes, even after years of practice.


Good for you guys. I'm so happy for you and I can't wait to see how this year goes for Noah.

My pediatrician will sign a form for me and hand it back immediately if I swing by her office. She's pretty awesome.

Thrift Store Mama

My mom forged the signatures on the immunization forms. Every year. Even when I was in college. She had NO tolerance for that sort of bureaucracy. I don't forge our ped's signature, but I do scan a copy of the signed form and if there were no changes from the form I submitted the previous year, I just resubmit the scanned copy and indicate that there have been no updates.


You are totally rocking this Mom thing, you know that, right? What you said to Noah on the beach-I may have felt a little lump in my throat there.

I had to make a doctor appointment two months ago to see the one doctor who is allowed to prescribe Nathan's ADD medication. If you miss an appointment, you wait another two months. Even though the practice has plenty of other doctors. Harumph.


Flash forward to Kindergarten and you will be THRILLED you took this leap. Noah will be READY...and the world will be a better place for him. Honestly.


Well done, you. Remember, we refuse to be intimidated.


Your post was just what I needed to read. You are such an inspriation to all moms with SPD kids. We got the letter in the mail today about reevaluating our son who is 4 and in therapy at the public school. His speech therapist told me to be prepared that he may not qualify to continue. I told her that while he is doing well, he has a long way to go and she said that perhaps my expectations of him were too high!! That broke my heart. So after reading your post, I feel energized to go and fight for my Will and get him the help that he needs. Thank you so much!! You are a wonderful mom!


I watched Phoebe in Wonderland a few weeks ago. It was a really good look at families going through similar issues. Made me think about the way we react to unknown conditions.

The comments to this entry are closed.