Magic Ike

We had an IEP meeting yesterday. Another IEP meeting in an endless series of IEP meetings. Yesterday's meeting was for Ike, and then there's another meeting for him in February, and then one in March for Noah, and I think one more after that, to finalize his schedule for high school. (Tonight is technically Ezra's middle school orientation, but we're going to skip it. We already know everything about the middle school and how things work and where the IEP meetings happen.) The purpose of the meeting yesterday was to go over Ike's reading and writing levels and finalize the academic parts of his IEP. It was an unusually tense meeting. The district imposed new rules for who can receive certain accommodations for standardized testing. Ike meets every single criteria except one: He's been receiving services for dyslexia for one year instead of the required two. So he'll get extra time, but nothing to help him read or decode the test questions. I thought back to kindergarten, when I begged his teacher to have the school's reading specialist come and observe him, to look at his mixed-up writing and spelling and his struggles with basic sight words. Wait and see,... Read more →


ON SECOND THOUGHT

Anybody got any recommendations for nice-looking fake trees that I could maybe get on sale right now? Because look at this shit. Although, honestly, I just swept up the carnage and burned it all up in our fireplace. Jason came inside from dragging the tree-corpse to the curb and said our neighborhood smelled amazing! *** Hey, remember when I had a baby? Don't ever do that, because look at THIS shit. A smallish-large niche corner of the Internet lost its mind over that, while he was just like, "GREAT, another THING I have to DO now. It never ENDS, these days." *** (I just now watched the yard trim collection guy pick up, toss, and mulch our giant-ass tree. It took him barely a minute, but I bet he hates us now.) (Yes, it snowed! Don't worry, they didn't cancel school for that piddly lil' covering. They simply closed three hours early yesterday and had a two hour delay this morning for maximum schedule fuckery. YOU CAN STILL SEE GRASS, PEOPLE.) *** Look at this shit, for no particular reason (other than BFF doggo adorableness, of course): We originally decided that we wouldn't take in another foster dog until the... Read more →


The Scottish Play the Musical Jr.

It's the most! Wonderful time! Of the year... ...When our school district decides to cancel a full day of school over a dusting of snow so inconsequential you can still see the tips of grass and the roads could maybe be generously described as damp. Even Noah was like, "I'll take it, but they're crazy." The cancellation also means Ike's long-awaited performance of Elf Jr. The Musical has been rescheduled for a still TBD future date. Or maybe it's Elf The Musical Jr.? Hmmm... I don't think anybody knows, to be honest. He was super disappointed, but quickly saw the bright side of having more time to work on his lines. He has a scene playing "Greenway," the Evil Children's Book Publisher who demands Buddy the Elf's dad work on Christmas, the monster, and he is hamming it the fuck UP, delightfully so, but he's still struggling to pronounce the word "unemployment." It keeps coming out as "unempointment." (Everybody gets two speaking scenes as different characters, unless they're singing a solo, which Ike didn't want to do. So he also has a scene as Buddy, where all of his lines are delivered at top volume while running around in excited... Read more →


Plushie Power

To encourage Ike to stick with his various reading and writing exercises, we bribe incentivize him with plushies. The kid is crazy for plushies. Jason came up with the ingenious idea to buy a couple bulk bags of cheap knock-off Ty Beanie Boos. (You know, those little toys with the oversized sparkle eyeballs that they sell literally everywhere, so you can't walk into a grocery store or even a gas station without your child begging for a fuchsia and purple giraffe-type thing that you could've sworn you've bought five times already, but nooooo, that was Gilbert, this is Twigs. And then the other one is Sweetums, whose birthday is in February, not August. COMPLETELY DIFFERENT AND VITALLY IMPORTANT, MOMMMM.) Ike gets to pick one as a reward for say, mastering a new sight word deck, doing well on a spelling test, completing a writing assignment or a challenging book, etc. The plushies make him very happy, and the possibility of even more plushies motivate him to seek out even more challenges, vs. doing the bare minimum or nothing at all. Which is what we were getting before, in the pre-plushie era. I'd find stacks of homework worksheets mashed into the... Read more →


The Loop, Part Infinity

It's IEP meeting season, again, and supercharged. It's Noah's re-evaluation year AND time to start planning for his transition to high school (!!!!!WAT!!!!!) next September. His meeting was mostly spent debating whether he continues to qualify for special education services, so...it was a short meeting, because surprise! He's got Autism. Still! Imagine that. My mother-in-law will be so disappointed. Must've been the flu shot. Or our lack of interest in essential oils. So he won't be losing any supports or services this year -- if anything, he'll get more, since the middle school team likes to send kids off to high school with fully loaded IEPs, and then let us decide once he's made the transition if anything is overkill or unnecessary. I was also expecting Ike's meeting to be similarly short and to-the-point -- we'd just had parent/teacher conferences and gone over alllll his reading progress and goals last week -- so of course, I was thrown for yet another loop when the team expressed their universal worry that Ike is showing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Wait. What? Oh. "He's just not the same Ike this year," the school psychologist said. "I've known him since kindergarten. Something is... Read more →


Entertainingment

Once again, we threw a huge party and did not take a single photo of the actual party. Perhaps this is all a strange, yearly hoax where we only pretend to throw a huge party and like, know people and have friends. Or perhaps Friendsgiving only happens in our sick, twisted minds and we really spend the day drinking and conversing with ghosts! Here are the things I DID take photos of, in no particular order: Ezra created a scavenger hunt for the kids, complete with a big box of prizes. I had to ask about the "Stupid Hello Kitty" -- was there a smart Hello Kitty out there as well, like as a trick? -- and he explained that it was a Happy Meal "girl" toy that Ike got by mistake. "It's not stupid because it's a girl toy, though," Ezra clarified. "It's stupid because she's supposed to be a superhero but when you press on her head and it just kind of raises the arms a tiny bit and it's just..." He trailed off, visibly disgusted at the lack of product design that went into this particular Happy Meal offering. (The "Launch Pokeball" was the Happy Meal "boy"... Read more →


Adventures in Chaperoning

HI THERE! WHO'S READY TO CRUSH SOME SHIT TODAY? lol jk that mug is full of Theraflu, not coffee. I don't have the flu (we "believe" in the flu shot around here, because it is the flu shot, not Santa Claus), but some absolutely brutal cold -- or some amalgram of multiple colds from Jason's work, the kids' schools, that field trip to the Maryland Germ Factory Science Center I chaperoned last week -- that will not let me live or breathe or go 10 minutes without coughing up a lung. I didn't want to or even intend to chaperone the field trip, because I am really terrible at interacting with other people's children and never know how to handle my pack of charges. ("So you like, go to school? That sucks.") I shoot for being the Cool Chill Mom but instead end up being the Awkward and Ill-Prepared Mom who has terrible Time Management Skills. I forgot to ask about bathroom breaks until we were suddenly in a panicked sprint to find the nearest restroom two floors away; I couldn't find an empty table at lunchtime so we all ended up eating on the floor in a random corner;... Read more →


The Kids Are Alright. Weird, But Alright.

Happy Halloween! Noah's been ready for today for...awhile now. Ah yes, very normal and not at all creepy. His friend is coming over for trick-or-treating and scary-movie watching later, dressed as our dear friend Pennywise. (The cardboard cutout has spent October looking ominously out the front window of Noah's room, much to the dismay of several Postmates and DoorDashers.) Ike's prepared as well. He asked me to Photoshop out the swing and turn the chair into a building. I did neither of those things because I do not know how. I don't (yet) have a photo of Ezra's costume, which he made himself and kept shrouded in secrecy. He asked for an Amazon box, aluminum foil and duct tape at one point. Also hair gel and sunglasses. Oh, and all the straps from our luggage. He's either going as some kind of DJ or plans to ship himself out of the country with a new identity. Stay tuned! I admit I was a little concerned about his homemade costume -- that other kids might not get what he's going for or make fun of him for not having a "real" costume -- and found myself halfway through a sentence trying... Read more →


Look What You (IKE) Made Me Do

So I still haven't really figured out how to keep this blog from becoming little more than a repository for Shit I Already Done Posted On Facebook & Instagram, but a certain recent development feels like it merits a mention: Every time I think this house can't get any zooier we go and add yet another damn mammal. This one is Ike's fault, because how could we possible argue with this face and logic? Dammit, he got us. I sent the video to Jake's rescue and within an hour or two they sent me this photo: Dem paws tho A couple months ago, his owner brought him to an animal hospital in Baltimore and asked them to euthanize him. He wasn't sick, or old, or a behavior problem -- she just didn't want him anymore and felt that putting him down would be the best way to be "done" with him. The vet refused. So she left without him. He'd been living there ever since. The hospital staff all loved him, but unfortunately the clock was ticking down on their ability to keep him much longer. They were desperately trying to find him a rescue before turning him over to... Read more →


And the Emmy Goes To

Right. So I came here, blamed my lack of posting on my keyboard, bragged about my fabulously stable mental health and newly-restored ability to type commas...and then promptly peaced out for the rest of the week. Sorry. I accidentally watched that Back-to-School Essentials PSA video and had to go back to bed and cry for two days straight. (If you don't know what I'm talking about and are tempted to click that link...go ahead! Ruin your damn day! What do I care! Just wash all your eye makeup off first, find a nice safe corner to curl up in, and grab a pillow to muffle your sobs. Also try not to watch it while your children are literally walking out the front door to their bus stop like I did.) ANYWAY. Hair flip, check mah nails, change the goddamn subject. Today Ike starts an after-school drama program, the result of YEARS of me hinting/suggesting/pleading with him to put all of that copious ham and cheese where it belongs: THE STAGE!! (In tonight's performance, the role of Yorick's Skull will be performed by a fistful of bubbles.) The show is Elf Jr. (the Musical). And Ike is ready to play an... Read more →