CSE Update

Squeaky wheels do get greased. Hope’s CSE meeting is one week from tomorrow. Time to start working on my agenda. I think I’ll take advantage of the next 2 snow days to do some testing of my own.

GB passed her EKG and we started transitioning to  Geodon tonight.

New post on other blog; MK and Booboo update.

The Bad and the Good

The Bad

  • The pipe supplying water to the kids toilet froze. As everyone came in from church, MK was first to the toilet and took forever, which left The Dad and the two girls doing the I-got-to-pee dance.
  • The garbage disposal sprung a huge leak. Not only was there a huge mess to clean up, but it will cost $850.00 to replace it. For a garbage disposal unit? Not only that, but the leak stays until the unit is replaced.
  • The dishwasher water arm melted, leaving no spray coming out, hence no dishes are getting washed. I haven’t a clue how much a new dishwasher will cost, but since this one is almost twelve years old, I don’t think I will get it repaired. In the mean time somebody (me) has to find time to wash dishes.
  • The dog vomited up all his food this morning and I had two hairballs from the cats. Yuck!
  • I have to take GB for an EKG tomorrow because the shrink won’t try her on Geodon without one.
  • GB’s goodie bag from her party yesterday was full of silver tinsel.

The Good

  • GB gets a new shrink in March.
  • MK filled out the papers for child support and may even file them tomorrow.
  • The plumber is coming Tuesday morning.
  • My fireplace repairman got my gas logs going again 🙂
  • The ticket for Orlando is already paid for, so I am going regardless of how many appliances break. 

Parents Are on a Spectrum, Too

GB had a birthday party to go to this morning. One of her classmates, also ASD, had invited her. A friend had given me the book Shut-Up-About-Your-Perfect-Kid, by Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoian. She assured me it was humorous and laughter is always good in my life. Anyway, I brought the book with me to read while GB was at her party. Her anxiety gets to such high levels that I can never leave her at a party and it has only been the last couple of years that I can say she usually makes to the end of the party.

Today’s party was unusual not only for being on a Saturday morning, but was also held at a huge fitness gym. GB was apprehensive and we slowly walked through the parking lot, into the party entrance, talking about who would be there that she knew and what kinds of games they might play. The invitation had a picture of a football on it and that was it. GB was sure SHE was not playing football. I kept talking in my slow, soothing, we-can-do-this-voice and eventually took off her coat, put on her sneakers, and joined the party. I found the perfect mom spot- far away from the action but up high, so no matter where she went on the playing field, (yes, playing field) she could see me. She checked in her usual dozen times and waved and waited for me to wave back another gazillion times, but seemed to be OK with it. They did not play football, although they played dodge ball, kickball, and freeze tag. The only game GB was interested in was freeze tag. When they were playing the other games, she saw a soccer net and decided to play soccer.

I didn’t get to read my book much because most of the kids at the party were on the spectrum, hence most of the parents stayed. They were all talkative and a lot of them wanted me to talk about GB and after a while, I just put my book away. However, I am not a small talk person, and when there was a lull in the conversation, my eyes wandered. Eventually, they settled on a brochure and I started reading. The brochure told me we were not at actually at the huge fitness center, we were at the “Super*man” Speed School. The purpose of the “Super*man” Speed School was to give your child, from 7 through high school, the edge the needed to reach their potential as an athlete. They would cut seconds off their time! For only $299, they would train your kid 5 days a week, so that when spring tryouts came, your kid would make the cut.

For the 7-12 year old, the cut they were talking about was making a Little League team! I watched the kids at the party enjoying themselves; none of them could consistently catch the Four Square ball they were using for the games, but it didn’t seem to bother any of them. Some of them understood the rules (not GB) but they weren’t bothered by the kids who didn’t. They were all having fun.

After the party, one of the 7-12 speed drills were scheduled. As we were gathering her goody bag and snow boots, getting ready to leave, the was an influx of parents with their kids, coming for the next class. Without breaking their conversation, the parents put themselves between their kids and ours. I listened to them remind their kid why they were there, what was expected, and that they would be closely watched for attitude and effort. As GB and I got through and left, GB chattering excitedly about the party, I briefly felt gratitude. GB would never make me sit with the parents who had stop watches and dreamed of pro careers for their children.

The Dad took the girls swimming this afternoon, and I am going to lay down and read my book.


Tonight, The Dad and I took the girls out to dinner. We met a friend, who is a preschool special ed teacher, and her family, including her 2 girls the same ages as mine. My friend had also arranged for another adoptive mother to join us. Her and her husband have adopted 10 children from foster care. The oldest is currently 25 and the youngest is 2. All of her kids have special needs, from mild to intense, and as she still does foster care, how many she will bring is always a guess.

Tonight, she had 5 with her, and another friend, with her 7 year old granddaughter, brought our group up to 16, 10 of them children, 3 of whom were NT.  GB was not the most involved child, which  was nice for a change.  I have a lot in common with these people and it is the first time since we started with family #2 that I have had this, at least IRL. Her 7 year old and GB took an instant dislike to one another, which was not a surprise, since GB does not take well to large groups of kids, or for that matter, new kids. She chose to sit next to her Dad and by the time dessert was served, GB was willing to sit with the other kids. It didn’t work out all that great, but it wasn’t just GB. There were five of them that were toast, and one was NT.

It may sound crazy, but we are planning on doing it again. The adults, including me, enjoyed the time with other adults who *got it*, and none of the kids, including Hope, had to be removed. In my world, this is success.

V.S. Chairperson

Yesterday I received the following email in response to my request to have a program review for Hope.

Dear GB’s Mom,

I am currently doing annual review meetings all day, every day. I can not do a program review.  It is  possible that Hope’s annual review will be soon because I know that I have at least one day with  Ms. V.Y. Teacher coming up fairly soon.

Very Stupid Chairperson, PhD

I answered her email this morning and blind copied (thanks to The Dad, I know how to do this now) Mrs. Director of Special Education.

Dear  Very Stupid,

While it is obvious that deciding a kindergartner’s placement for 8 months from now (note: we are still in the month of January) is an urgent matter, my concerns about my child’s placement as of this moment are just going to have to be fit in. I know that you do not believe that Reactive Attachment Disorder exists, but that is currently irrelevant. An excellent psychiatrist, who works for the Country Renown Childrens Home, has completed a psychiatric examination on Hope and that is the diagnoses we were given. This psychiatrist says Hope is triangulating everyone she comes in contact with. You may not understand how triangulation works, but that is also OK. I am very willing to help the committee rewrite her IEP, so that it both meets legal requirements and Hope’s needs. If this really can’t be fit in your schedule now, I will be filing a claim of IEP insufficiency with NYSED  in the beginning of the week. The lawyer we used for GB is currently available to assure Hope gets a FAPE. I hope somebody has time to consider this matter over the weekend.


GB’s Mom,  Doctoral Candidate

Less than 15 minutes after I sent this email, I received a call from Mrs Director of Special Education. She asked specific questions about my concerns and requested I not do anything until she had a chance to investigate. She is suppose to call me back Tuesday.  I will wait and see.

An Email from Hope’s Texas Mom

Today I received an email from Hope’s Texas Mom, wanting to help however she could with Hope’s adjustment. Truth stranger than fiction? I spent the morning pondering it. I thought back through thirty years of experience and many children having to come to terms with the fact that they are not going back. Some from failed adoptions, some from bio families. I think I have some key points it might be helpful for Hope to hear from her Texas Mom.

Here they are:

  • Our family very much wanted her adoption to work.
  • Our family tried very hard to make the adoption work.
  • Everybody is sad that the adoption didn’t work.
  • GB’s family is  her family now.
  • We are happy she has a  family that loves her.

What do you think?

The therapist is another post.

Tuesday Therapy

On Tuesdays we go to the Little City to see the therapist. It is a little far (an hour each way), a little late (therapy is 5 to 6:30), but my gut says it is worth it. My head is wondering. Hope went in first today and when she came out, the therapist motioned one of us in. I stayed with Hope and the Dad went with the therapist. Hope gave me her biggest I*Got*You smile and informed me that the therapist was going to tell us that she could call her Texas mother. Sure enough, when the Dad came out and I sent Hope to the bathroom, the Dad reported that the therapist was concerned that not letting Hope call her Texas mother was traumatizing her and we should allow contact. Sigh. Who knows?

Not Hope and GB- Me

GB started a new semester of gymnastics this evening. Hope started, too. I had reservations about putting them in the same class. I told myself separate classes would allow Hope some practice making independent decisions. I told myself that it wasn’t fair to GB to allow Hope into something that had always been hers. I even convinced myself that it wasn’t fair to Hope because GB’s skills were so good that Hope was bound to be overwhelmed.

News flash! The only one I was kidding was myself. Hope went into the class and came out of the class with a smile. She couldn’t do any of the gymnastics, but she didn’t care. She was always where she was suppose to be and always trying to do what she was suppose to do. She had a blast.

GB had a blast, too. She did great back bends and cartwheels and repeated her bar routine from last semester flawlessly. She worked on back handsprings and did well. She just didn’t do anything when she was suppose to. While the class was doing floor work, GB was collecting the round, colorful, plastic circles the gym sometimes uses as path markers. She stacked them, she pretended she was a waitress taking orders on them, she tried to use them to make a fort. When the class moved to the bars, GB worked on the balance beam- with such confidence. When the class was running the obstacle course, GB was doing cartwheel after cartwheel. She even threw in some back handsprings, unspotted, which made it over the top dangerous.

It was so obvious that GB was not NT. Hope fitting in so easily just made it stand out more. And that is where my reservations came from- I did not want to be forced to see how much further GB falls behind- each week, each month, each semester. What was best for the girls never really came under consideration.