Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I hate antecedents, especially on weakdays. Before I became a parent, they were just weekdays.

Antecedents sound like something I should be able to eliminate with bug spray.

Oh, we learned all about the antecedents when Hayden was diagnosed. These are the nasty circumstances, contributors, conditions, causes-- whatever "c" word you choose to use-- that will likely result in a meltdown. For instance, antecedents can fuel a meltdown even over daily transitions such as getting on the school bus.

The experts tell us to prepare for this, prevent that, try those techniques, expect these results, and beware of any and all transitions.

Yesterday I said, and wrote, that Hayden would probably be absolutely fine getting on the bus this morning since Dan is home on Thursdays. My suspicions were confirmed. I am an antecedent. I am the antecedent mother.

(Never mind the insecticides, the word is vulgar.)

Following Hayden's flawless bus boarding this morning, Dan and I had a discussion of comparisons if you will. He is correct that from the moment that Hayden wakes up in the morning everything is rush rush rush.

But I am left wondering how can it not be. I change him, cook him breakfast, start getting myself ready, get him dressed, clean up from his breakfast, finish getting myself ready, heat up his lunch, pack his backpack, make sure I actually finished getting myself ready as opposed to just thinking I did, straighten up the house (or at least enough that I won't come home feeling like I stepped right into a disaster area), get Hayden's socks and shoes on, hat, jacket, and out the door. 

Then it's my turn, and I leave for work.

From the moment that Dan wakes up in the morning his routine is more like... get himself showered and dressed, socks and shoes on, and out the door he goes to work.

After school, the antecedent mother isn't much better. Hayden comes home and he's almost always hungry. First I change him, and then try to clean him up if he's shvitzed from the bus. Then I prepare him a small meal (no need for more snacks, which he had plenty of at school).

I check his backpack for the dirty stuff-- usually that includes one shirt they had to change, and will always include his lunch container. I clean out his snack sack, too. I go through and empty both of his folders, put aside homework if there is any, and then resist the urge to re-pack whatever I can for the next day. I try to save some of my proactivity (I don't know if that's a word, but it should be) for later that night, after he is in bed. In addition to checking, and responding to, the parent-teacher communication journals. Yes, plural-- there is one book for the resource room teacher, and one for the kindergarten teacher.

At some point after school, Hayden will inevitably ask me for DD. I will inevitably turn the idea down. You see, there is one day every week that Dan works from home and can get Hayden off of the bus. That is the day that he usually takes Hayden for DD. 

Right off the bat DAD can prevent nearly any transition meltdowns, because it's the one afternoon he's home and Hayden is very happy to see him. As opposed to his antecedent mother that he sees all of the other weekdays. To top it off, Dad takes him for the doughnut. But even if he didn't, he has plenty of time to just play with Hayden.

Usually when I am done preparing Hayden's first dinner, and then going through his school stuff, it's about the time to prepare his second dinner-- which will be the first dinner for everyone else in the house.

I was hoping that after our discussion and epiphany this morning, we could come up with ideas on how to make Hayden's transition to and from school much smoother. Having more time for him before he leaves the house, and more time for him when he comes home.

I suggested that Dan take off work for two days, and we flip-flop routines. I will wake up in the morning, get myself
showered and dressed, and leave for work.

Dan can take care of the rest. I mean the whole morning routine-- actually pretend like he needs to be dressed and ready for work, and get Hayden ready for school. I even suggested he doesn't have to do his hair or makeup. I'll spare him that extra time.

To make this a legitimate flip-flop experience, he would have to leave the house and find something to do for about five hours. Not golf. Something that will wear on him a little bit-- make him slightly stressed or tired or frustrated. Then he can take a break, but he's not finished. 

He will arrive home about a half an hour ahead of the bus. He must log on the computer, and continue to do something that will require his attention. Hayden will come home, Dan will need to start on the first dinner, remember to keep checking the computer, unpack anything stinky from the backpack, log off the computer at the appropriate time, start on the second dinner, and so forth.

Let's see who the antecedent parent is now.

During this two day flip-flop routine, I can come home to a calm kid who was waiting for me-- not the other way around-- and he is thrilled to see me. He's been home for a couple of hours already, my spouse cleaned him up, fed him, and he's all settled in. Just waiting for me. He has calmed down from his busy day at school. He's happy. Most nights the house will smell like dinner (or dinners). I will put my stuff down in my office, smother my kid for a minute, and then head for the bedroom to change out of my work clothes. My adorable, lovable child will follow me and jump on the bed eager for more smothering.

I will sit down to a nice hot meal, with my happy kid and my spouse. After dinner I will go outside with my happy kid, and we'll play some more. Also this will allow us to be out of my spouse's way so the kitchen can be cleaned up from dinner. When we come back inside I will give my happy kid a bath and get his pajamas on. I'll sit down on the couch, pull the ottoman over, and put my feet up.
--- --- ---

Don't get me wrong-- it is not Dan's fault that our routine is what it is. It's not his fault that I must do this, that, and the other thing by myself every morning because he's already at work.

But my point is, I am the antecedent mother and I do not know how not to be. And clearly Hayden can sense this.

So, if there are any other parents out there with essentially two full-time jobs and a child with special needs and few self-help skills... I'm open to suggestions on how to get him on that bus, and get my weekdays back.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

change of subject

This place could use an UPP following recent posts.

I want to record, so I do not forget, nor lose motivation on tougher days... how fantastic Hayden has been doing with his homework.

(I thought if I put the word "homework" in the title, it wouldn't seem like an UPP)

Tonight's daily assignment was a worksheet on a story about butterflies. The worksheet has four squares, each with one simple picture. They are out of sequence.

The first step is already numbered 1, and has a caterpillar egg on a leaf. Steps 2, 3, and 4 are a caterpillar, cocoon, and butterfly respectively.

I had to number them for Hayden, but I did talk with him about the steps. I asked him what the caterpillar turns into, and he said, "fly bug!" I said, "Yes! Butterfly!"

A few minutes later I asked him again, and this time I said, "Butter-" and he said, "fly! fly!" He also colored a little bit in the squares.

My favorite part was when he pulled out an Elmo coloring book with bug stickers. He went hunting in a specific bin for it-- he knew he had it, he knew where it was, and he knew it was relevant. I had absolutely no recollection of this particular coloring book!

Meanwhile, there is a sticker page in that book, and I encouraged him to share them with his classmates tomorrow.

To further add to my excitement, all of this occurred before Dan even got home. That is quite impressive because our routine has been doing homework at the dinner table. I don't really care if something he hands in gets a little bit dirty, because this happens to be a time when he listens and attends well, and participates. So I'm running with it...

Besides, it's only his second dinner. The first dinner is a small meal after school around 4ish, and the second dinner is a couple of hours later when Dan gets home and has his. (Hayden is a social eater.) 

But wait! There's more! Hayden completed part of his weekly homework at the dinner table, too!

Here are examples of some of the tasks, and our efforts modified for Hayden:

Task: Help your child think of words that rhyme with cat.
Effort: We used clues to help Hayden think of "hat" and "bat".

Task: Ask your child to tell you how 3 clothing items are alike and different.
Effort: We asked Hayden an open-ended question when he needs his hat, shoes, and jacket. He answered when he's going "outside".

Task: Tell your child a make-believe story, and have them re-tell it to you. Ask what makes the story make-believe.
Effort: Hayden told us a story about our neighbor playing golf in a green hat. He was playing golf with Dad, and Dad won the game.

Task: Help your child think of actions that animals and people can do.

Effort: Hayden told us that animals can play on our lawn.

Proud UPP moments, for sure.


Although he tried to close the bus doors before he even got on the bus this morning, he did at least get on. No Ted E. Bear overnight guest tonight, so fingers crossed for tomorrow morning...
Although, Dan gets him on the bus on Thursdays, so he'll be just fine. Hayden typically prefers to save his more colorful behaviors for his mother.
I guess I'm just lucky.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

say cheese

Today is picture day at school, and I sure wish the only thing I had to worry about is the new mosquito bite on Hayden's face that seemed to appear some time during the night.

But I had to practically lie to him to get him on the bus this morning, and that is what I am worrying about. 

It was groundhog day all over again... he ran out to the bus, he stopped at the door, and wouldn't get on. He did not care that this was how Ted E. Bear had to get back to school. He did not care that he was wearing a very cool button down shirt for picture day. He did not care that I gave him two dollars this morning. The latter two often have a similar happy-effect on him, as a doughnut.

I pushed him up the steps while he fought me. He was mumbling a whole bunch of stuff, and at one point he said, "Pop Z come." This is when I became a bad person.

"You want Pop Z to come?"

Hayden slowed, stopped resisting me. Got a very thoughtful look on his face, and proceeded to his seat. Reluctantly.

In my own mind, I was calling myself a moron. He was now sitting on his seat, and I needed to think fast. 

"Well, remember it's picture day today..." I began, and buckled his seat belt. "So when they tell you to say cheese, you can say POP Z!"

I flew off that bus as fast as I could because I sensed his frustration setting in again.

I am already having doubts about tomorrow morning.

Monday, September 26, 2011

new day, same challenge

Hayden bolted out the door this morning when the bus pulled in the driveway-- his backpack was on, and he was ready to go!

And then just like that, he wasn't ready anymore. I was calm, and firm, and I said, "Hayden-- you are going to school on the bus today, just like you've been. You're fine, and I'm very proud of you. Your friends are waiting, and you're going to have a fun day. I will be here when you come home." 

Roughly four minutes, three falls, two sweaty people, and one tear-streaked face later... I turned around, shrugged, and spoke softly to the driver, "I'm sorry." 

He nodded, "I wish I knew how to help you," before closing the doors and pulling away.

Just like on Friday, Hayden's nervous breakdown got worse as the bus drove down the road, and turned out of sight.

Once I cleaned him up as best I could, and changed his shirt, he had stopped crying. That's when I felt a lump begin to form in my throat.

We went outside, and now he would not get in my truck. And of course a neighbor had to be walking up the road, and another one peering out their window at us. Awesome.

The neighbor coming up the street walking their dog said to Hayden, "I thought I just saw your bus?" I did not offer an explanation as to why it left without him. I was in no mood for chit-chat. At this particular point in time, I could not possibly care less if I seemed like a Bitch.

I looked at Hayden and I said, "If you do not get in the car, I will put you in there myself." 

"No I'm not!" 

"No you're not? Yes you ARE. And YES I will."

Eventually I won that struggle, and buckled him in his seat.

Before we even made it out of the neighborhood, he was quiet. And by that time, I was upset enough for both of us.

It was an overcast gray morning, and I pulled into the school with sunglasses on my face and a wad of tissues on my lap.

The bus was still out front, and so was his Aide. And his K teacher. I know he only had to drive one other boy, and the K teacher is not typically outside, so I realized immediately that they must have been waiting for Hayden.

The K teacher headed right for my truck, and I gladly let her get him out. I walked around the other side to get our spare car seat out of the back.

I handed it to the bus driver, and he agreed maybe it would help. He placed it on the bus seat, and then the Aide and the K teacher told Hayden he should make sure it's the right size. So they helped him on the bus, he tried it out, and very calmly walked back off.

(On Friday there had been a note in the communication book, that Hayden kept talking about the car seat on the bus not being the right size. Previous years, Hayden had his own seat on the bus. I just never gave it to the driver this year. First of all, there are only a couple of kids on that bus this year, and Hayden was fine so far sitting in one of the booster seats already on there. He had practice, if you will, during summer program using the car seat that was already in the van.)

When Hayden got home from school the Angels he spent his day with, sent home two things to help us in the morning.

One is a picture of a bus, with a boy in the window, and it reads:
Hayden is going on the bus.

He is going to sit in his car seat.
Hayden will be happy.

The other one is a canvas tote that Ted E. Bear travels in-- he is the kindergarten class mascot. He is allowed a sleepover in each student's home. He arrived with a journal to record a recap of his overnight experience. 

The bus driver gave us specific instructions that Ted E. Bear returns to school on the bus in the morning. Hayden seemed excited in anticipation of this.

In about 13 hours we'll find out if it worked.

I hope those Angels realize that Hayden is not the only one they're helping.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Our morning was pretty typical. Hayden had breakfast, made an unproductive mess in the living room, dragged toys into my room while I was getting dressed, annoyed me a little bit, swung on his therapy swing, and finally the bus arrived.

Don't get me wrong...I still get nervous every single time it pulls away, but I am growing slightly accustomed to the 10 minutes of "me" time in the morning. In the life of a parent, that can feel like an hour.

I told H he could go ahead-- I just had to fill up his water bottle. I heard him shouting something to the bus, and its driver, as if he was surprised to see them both in our driveway. Just Hayden being silly.

When I got outside a moment later, he was just getting on the bus. So I went to lead him to his seat, but he wouldn't sit.

He has never done that before, and I didn't think much of it. I tried a couple of times, and he really wasn't getting on that bus. There was crying involved-- a lot of it. By this time he had made it off of the bus, and we were now having this conversation on the wet grass of our front lawn. So then I went to pick him up-- the only way I still can when he's fighting me-- with one arm around his torso and the other between his legs. 

But he kept on backing away from me. So after a couple of tries, and a lot of sweat, I basically told the bus driver, "I may have to drive him."(By the way, this is the same bus driver that H has had for the past three years during the preschool program.)

We are now a couple of weeks into the new school year, and Hayden has not had an issue with the bus. The bus driver tried helping me, and telling Hayden they were going to go pick up the other little boy, but Hayden was not getting on that bus. I had to tell the bus driver to go ahead and get the other child so he would not be late.

As soon as Hayden saw that bus pulling away, he got even more upset. It was as if he was desperate and witnessing something absolutely horrific. He was completely beside himself-- hysterical-- that he was not on that bus.

Eventually he followed me inside. I tried to calm him down; clean his face. I sent an email to my supervisor that I may be a little bit late, and then we left for school. Approximately 5-7 minutes after we were on our way, he finally stopped crying.

And then I realized-- I am pretty certain-- what just happened.

Hayden was tired. Once I thought about it, I recalled that he woke up looking like he needed a little bit more sleep. And then I remembered that when I got myself and his backpack ready, and went to put his socks and shoes on, he was sitting on the floor with his back against the couch wearing the same face he does when it's past his bedtime.

We are now a couple of weeks into the new school year. And I suppose that's not quite long enough for him to readjust to the busy post-summer schedule. 

That is probably what caught up with him on this particular Friday morning. Tired. He had a pretty typical nights sleep for him, but he's not typical and I guess sometimes his need for sleep isn't either.

The crying, indecisiveness, fight-like resistance, and disorganization of motor skills is how "tired" manifests itself. Symptoms that the rest of us know how to suppress. And let me tell you, following these types of incidents I am left feeling just as exhausted as Hayden. But on behalf of him, I really can't be.

Friday, September 16, 2011

worth their weight in platinum

Following Back to School night, I had emailed Hayden's team about something. The special ed teacher that he works with in the resource room, in the morning, emailed me back. This is part of her message:

"I really enjoyed seeing you and I am glad to see two parents that are absolutely and totally invested in their child's education and future. Anytime you can provide me with information or little techniques that you use at home that seem to work please pass them along. I am here to make Hayden's school experience as positive as I possibly can."

There was more, and then a P.S. :

"You and your husband are the kindest people I have met. I am looking forward to working together this year."

Whatever they are getting paid, it's not enough. Well, they're educators so unfortunately we know it's not enough. And needless-to-say budget cuts are not helping. But maybe the problem with our Governor is that he never had a teacher like this for himself, growing up.

I wish every child I knew was blessed with a team like Hayden's.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

please view this link...

...and share it with all of your contacts. You may have to copy and paste it into your browser.

I posted it on fb with the following message, which was actually copied by numerous people. That speaks volumes in itself:

"This is for her younger brother Russell. This is for my SON Hayden. This is for my NIECE Kaitlyn. This is for any living, breathing, HUMAN being who doesn't stop to think just how disgusting and offensive and lazy this word is... because its user can't think of a better one. This is for any PERSON who might not know the difference. And especially, ESPECIALLY, for those who DO."

Thank you

Monday, September 12, 2011


A new day, a different mood. And so it goes with Hayden.
Today, it was a near 180 from yesterday so this time that's a good thing.

I was preparing a peanut chicken recipe, and Hayden asked for some peanut butter. I gave him small spoon with a little bit on it, and he wanted the whole jar. I didn't see the harm in it, because I figured he'd be gagging before he could manage to do too much damage with it.

He touched the spoon to his mouth, I think he actually tasted the tip of it, and then he casually wiped it across his chin. It was all downhill from there.

Soon enough, he had given himself a peanut butter facial. Then both hands were in the jar. Then he took them out, and put his foot in.

Shortly after that, the gagging started so I put an end to the afternoon sensory activity.

He got a bath, and so did my kitchen, and then a small load of wash went in the machine on a double-rinse cycle. 

I was two sheets shy of finishing an entire roll of paper towel when it was all said and done.

But this picture speaks volumes to just how well he tolerated that sticky stuff all over him for several minutes. And it almost makes me want to put him between two pieces of bread.

That was the first treat of the evening. The second one, was just how well... amazingly well... he handled his homework. I am still in shock.

Every Monday his kindergarten teacher will send home a small booklet, with five simple tasks on the back. The booklet stays at home during the week, and he should complete one task each night. Then the booklet is returned the following Monday.

Day One he is supposed to write his name on the front, and then find the pictures of the rhyming words. Although he didn't focus to find the pictures, he did listen when I read the rhyming words to him. Furthermore, he actually attempted to write his name on the front, and while he was making his scribbles I prompted him to spell his name.

He truly knows the order of the letters! He has a tough time saying "h", but he can say "a" and then "y" and then the "de" are sort of together, and he makes the sound of an "n".

He was doing so well, I couldn't help myself to try another task on the back of the booklet. Day Two says to have your child draw a picture on a sheet of paper, and tell me about it.

I drew a very simplified dollar bill to get him started. He "colored it in" all by himself. He sort of filled in the center, and then deliberately put scribbles by the $1 in the corner.

Then I asked him to show me what one dollar is with his money, and he took one of the singles that was on the table and he placed it on the picture. I thought I was going to cry.

Then he turned the page over, scribbled some more (I think he was attempting to do his name again), and then put his hand down flat so I could trace it.

Then Dan asked Hayden which one is his right hand, and left hand (Hayden actually held up his left hand and separated his fingers). Dan asked him other left vs right questions, and then ended with, "Which one is your left foot?" Hayden reached under the table to grab his left foot and lift it up.

I know this is NOT going to be the case every night we do homework. But for now, I really want to enjoy this. The whole thing was such a treat for us to witness. I wish I had a surveillance camera in the corner of my kitchen.

His unpredictability can certainly work both ways!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Hayden was having an off-day today.

He woke up fine, and happy as usual. And he knew that Dan was going to take him out for their weekly breakfast. He got a little bit impatient waiting for Dan, because he needed to take care of a couple things this morning before they left. But once it was time to leave, for the most part Hayden seemed ready to go.

I started straightening up the house for a showing. I went through the bedrooms and bathrooms, and left the living room as-is for the time being. We still had a couple of hours before the showing.

I sat down on the sofa to watch some coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I was certain I heard Hayden's voice which didn't make sense to me.

There were a lot of windows open since the weather cooled. I stood up to look out one of them, but before I got close enough I heard the voice again and knew they were definitely home.

When they arrived at the diner, Hayden did not want to go inside. So Dan ordered Hayden's breakfast to go and then they came home. Hayden was very upset when they got here.

We left his breakfast on the table for him but it took him quite some time to settle, and actually sit and eat it. Occasionally he would let out a very frustrated sort of whiney-cry, and say, "eggies!"

I did not understand what the problem was, because he had eggs. A plain omelet to be exact. Dan orders him fries with it (Hayden would never eat hashbrowns), and he was eating some of the fries. But every couple of minutes Hayden repeated that aggravated "eggies!" 

Finally Hayden said, "cut it!" I felt awful and I immediately praised him for "good talking", went to stand, but Dan was already up and going to get a butter knife. Once the eggs were cut, he finally ate some.

Really out of the norm for him, that he could not organize himself to say that in the first place. I would not have expected him to start eating with the fork even though a typical kid his age, I'm sure, would have just cut the omelet with the fork. But I would expect Hayden to ask me to cut them once he sat down to eat in the first place.

Even though the rest of the day followed a similar pattern, there was really only one other true meltdown. I feel bad when he gets like that, and I feel bad for the frustration this causes not only him but Dan as well. And some days, even though it's not my "fault"... I HATE that I passed this gene to him.

I just want him to be comfortable and happy, for as many minutes out of every day as he possibly can.

Friday, September 9, 2011

we're so grown up!

Note from the K teacher:

"Hi Mrs. Capela,
H.C.'s week went wonderful. I am encouraging him to spell his name out loud and hold a writing instrument. On Fridays I have one-on-one time with him [& the Aide] and I love it. Period 3 from 10:25 to 11:06. He is a chatter chatter. WOW"

[insert two green smiley face stickers]

Note from the Special Ed teacher:

"Hayden is doing very well in my class. We worked on creating our All About Me booklets. He seems to have settled nicely and enjoys playing with the other kids. The only problem we had was when we played Memory. He was having a difficult time with the concept of taking turns [not my H] which he will get used to when he becomes more familiar with these types of games. Hayden had a very good week this week. I hope he continues to have more good weeks."
[From your mouth to His ears!]

H's first homework assignment was on an index card attached to a paper bag. It said to help your child put a favorite item in there, and write clues to help his classmates guess what it is. Hayden wanted to put his bike in the bag, but we decided on a small green flute instead. His clues were:
1. my item makes music
2. my item works using my mouth
3. my item starts with the letter "f"

Also, today was Spirit Day so the children were encouraged to wear Red, White, and Blue. At dinner this evening, Dan said he was coincidentally wearing the same red shirt today (a short sleeve 3-button collar one). He said that Hayden noticed this morning, and pointed to it, and said, "same". And then we both realized I had a red top on, too. Apparently we are a very spirited family.

Then when I was going through his Kindergarten folder, I saw a piece of paper that says, "Draw a picture of 2 things." The page has two ladybug stickers on it. Next to them, a note:
"H knew he needed 1 more to make 2"

Not every day is going to be like this, or every week. But I am definitely enjoying his great beginning of school, with a very new routine.

His successful week is distracting me from my nervousness over him taking the bus to school. But I am finding all sorts of things to do with my extra few minutes in the morning! The other day I packed myself lunch, yesterday I put eyeshadow on, and today I straightened up the living room.

(I smile at the thought of a much younger me reading this blog.)

Hayden and I have grown up so much.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

H started K!

If he is not one of the most handsome kindergarteners you have ever seen, then you should go to the eye doctor.

Huge milestone today... welcome to kindergarten! 

Yes, I had to send him with pull-ups and wipes. Yes, I had to send him with a change of clothes because it's not uncommon for him to need one. Yes, I had to send him with a handkerchief in case he forgets to swallow and has some drool on his chin. Yes, he is the same age as most first graders but he just started kindergarten today.

And quite honestly in comparison to the fantastic day he had, I could not care less about any of that other stuff!

So the whole transportation situation was still a little bit screwy. The bus driver called the house this morning to confirm whether or not he was supposed to pick Hayden up.

(insert me rolling my eyes)

Two of the Aides were waiting for him out front when I dropped him off. I snapped a few quick pics with my phone, and texted it to half of my contacts :)

He was due home around 3:30. At 20 after, I was on my way to peek out the window when I heard Hayden. The bus driver was early and had already walked him to the front door. Apparently the other child he drives is out at the moment, recovering from having his tonsils removed.

Hayden honestly arrived home wearing an even bigger smile than the beaming one across his face this morning.

Within minutes of him walking in the door, he asked for a hot dog. While it was cooking, he grabbed the fish sticks out of the freezer. He was a man on a mission, and even though the hot dog would be ready in 30 seconds I quickly popped 8 fish sticks in the toaster oven. After he inhaled the hot dog, while the fish was still cooking, he actually took the turkey meatballs out of the refrigerator. He ate two. COLD.

And yes, he then proceeded to finish the fish. (Not to mention three hours later he had some of the pork I made in the slow cooker.)

Gosh I am jealous of his metabolism. 

Anyway, while he was having his little food fest the phone rang and I saw the school come up on the caller ID.

It was his PM Aide, and she said he had a great day and he was so happy to see everyone. She went on and on for a couple of minutes as I soaked up the proud news. She also mentioned they accidentally forgot to put his communication notebook in his backpack so they'd send it home tomorrow. Then his K teacher got on the phone, and sang similar praises. She also suggested I reconsider having Hayden take the bus TO school as well.

I hesitated, until she reminded me that door-to-door transportation is in his IEP so it's already budgeted that way. For that reason alone, we should use it. She has a very good point... and especially considering this year is so different because there are no preschoolers at that school anymore. Interestingly enough, due to budget cuts. She didn't have to explain any further and I called the bus driver when we got off the phone.

I am certain I will have a stomach ache tomorrow morning, but I know it will make things easier for everyone. I do love checking in with a member or two of his team in the morning, and I will miss that, but maybe I will grow to love the extra getting-ready time even more.

Monday, September 5, 2011

seeing is understanding

When our power went out from the hurricane, the pumps in the basement couldn't kick on (we don't have a generator), so we had water issues.

Unfortunately some of my journals, yearbooks, and photo albums were destroyed.

I am still working on salvaging my senior year yearbook. It's going okay... there are sections with pages permanently stuck together, but a lot of them have been separated. The spine has collapsed, so I have an enormous rubber band on standby once it actually dries.  

Hayden was asking about the book earlier, as it's out in the center of the table for the time being. I turned to my senior picture, pointed to it, and asked him who it was. He said, "You!"

I was so happy I kissed him. (I mean really... I'll be 36 in a few months already so if he can recognize me at 17, that is on the list of the best compliments of my life.)

Then I found a candid-- it's a picture of me in physiology class and I'm looking at a skeleton so I'm not facing the camera. I asked him who that was, and he said, "Mom!"

Then I skipped to the back of the yearbook where the parents could place an "ad" for their graduate. Mine has a baby picture of me, and out of that page and both sides of the spread, he knew which one was mine.

The truth of the matter is that I don't have any of the above mentioned pictures out in frames, or an album. I know for a fact that my parents do not have that particular senior picture on display in their house, and I don't recall seeing that baby photo of me either.

Yes, through all of our basement cleanup Hayden most likely understands that this was mine. However, he doesn't yet grasp the concept of "high school" and "yearbook". So as far as he's concerned, this is just a big printed book and I could be pointing to anyone he knows.

The piece that impressed me, and Dan, was that Hayden accurately pointed to the spot where my name is near the baby picture. Although it is a little larger and bolder than the rest of the note that my parents had published, he honestly could have just as easily pointed anywhere on the page. At the very least... kudos to him for realizing that was a name right there in the center. And, that it was mine. Process of elimination can't occur without logical cognition!

There are also a couple of pages in the yearbook of some of the senior students cars. He pointed out the Jeep and Volkswagons almost immediately.

But how's this for being a visual learner:

Hayden was walking around with three one-dollar bills from my dad. He refused to put them in his bank, or let me do it, even when I offered him play money from his toy register instead.

He was so frustrated that he took my wallet out of my purse and was demanding "cass" from me. I told him if he took his cash outside in this weather, it would get wet from the rain and be ruined.

He either didn't understand or didn't care.

Anyway, at one point he did misplace one of the bills. He was downstairs with Dan, he had two dollars, and apparently kept repeating, "one more!"

Whether Hayden realizes it or not, he can count.

My child is clearly selectively motivated by cars and money and doughnuts. Is that really so different from other guys?

Friday, September 2, 2011

always an advocate

Yesterday, Thursday, I called the Child Study Team at H's school because we had yet to hear from the bus company regarding his transportation for the upcoming school year... which by the way begins on Tuesday.

The head of the CST (the outsourced CST, due to budget cuts), proceeds to inform me that we have a new case manager now. She gave me the name of this person, I asked how to spell it, and if we were going to be contacted with more information. She assured me I'd be getting a letter.

So I'll just wait for that letter to arrive, and in the meantime not have any expectations about anyone making a decision about anything. Oh, and thank goodness his transportation was unresolved so I had to call, thus allowing them a convenient opportunity to tell me about the new case manager at the same time.

Then she offered to call the Transportation Coordinator herself-- more good news! We had almost two days to figure this out. I was being silly, I had nothing to worry about.

Until she ended the conversation with, "I'll give you the name and number of the bus company in case you don't hear back. You can call them tomorrow."

Hayden has been going to that school for three years and I already knew the name of the bus company, but got my pen ready anyway. 

Then she said, "It's Stalker and the number is--"

My brain shut off. I'm sorry, my son is being dropped off by a stalker?

"Can you spell that for me, please?" I asked. Hesitating.

She told me she was not sure how to spell it, but repeated the name. It was then that I heard the "aah" sound, as opposed to the "aaw" sound. Stocker! Got it.

Never heard of them.

Needless-to-say I never heard FROM them, either. So here it was, Friday, and still no call back. By 11-ish I picked up the phone again to re-trace my investigation.

I don't even have the patience to outline what happened next, and truthfully I lost count of the phone calls, but nearly FOUR hours later this was the outcome:
The co-op never called the Transportation Coordinator to let them know that, in fact, Stocker could not accommodate the route.

O.K. So, it's Friday afternoon before a 3-day Holiday weekend, and then school starts, and I don't know how my son is getting home on Tuesday.

More waiting for a call-back. 2:51PM my cell phone rings (by the way, they tried calling the house first after I spent the last two days giving my cell phone number to every single soul I spoke to).

It was the Transportation Coordinator, and she proceeded to tell me that Hayden would be picked up by First Student (great!) at 8:20-something in the morning (not great).

"He takes the bus home," I said. "It's in his IEP... that hasn't changed in three years. I always drop him off in the morning so he only needs the transportation from school. That may change one year, but for now everything is the same as it has always been."

"Oh, so he only needs the route home? OK."

"Am I to assume if they've straightened out morning transportation, that the afternoon is automatically fine?"

"I would think so." 

"Can you please call me back this afternoon to confirm?" 

At 3:15PM my cell phone rang again.

He will be dropped off at 3:30 by Jeff. "He's a really nice guy," she says.

"I know," I answered. "He was the previous driver," (which, uh, she should have known), "and he's great. And truthfully if I was able to pick someone myself I'd choose him."

"Oh, that's great!" she exclaimed, cheerfully. "Then something good came out of this!"

I don't agree that if someone had been on-the-ball in the first place, this would somehow translate to Hayden having a different driver?

NO. The only good that came out of this... Hayden's tense mother proactively solved what would have been, a disaster. Finally my ability to worry paid off!

Maybe I should send a letter, myself. To the co-op, and thank them for this much-needed surprise stress for the last two days. Happy Labor Day! 

I need a glass of wine.