17 July 2014

3 Weeks and Counting

3 Weeks from today, my youngest will start kindergarten. And I'm not sure I'm ready.

It's not for the reasons you'd think.  It's not the thought of him growing up, or being away from me all day.  I'm used to that from his Parents' Day Out program.  Granted, this is 5 days a week instead of 2, but I know that the consistency of being in a 5 day a week routine is going to be nothing but good for him.  Instead, I'm worried because... well, it's Pete.  And he's a very different kid than Teddy, with a bunch of different issues.

It started with behavior problems and other concerns in his PDO program.  He was combative with his teachers, he yelled and screamed, didn't learn his letters, couldn't hold a pencil right.  We thought it was mostly behavior rather than any kind of developmental delay, so we looked into the Regional Intervention Program.  It was highly recommended by both educators and other parents that I knew.  And it WAS good for me.  It gave me a lot more tools to deal with Pete when he got out of control.  And Pete did learn a few things there.  But by the time we "graduated", he was still having as many problems as he'd had before we started.  So I wasn't sure where to go next.

I met with his pediatrician, and she had expressed some concerns about his fine motor skills and suggested we go to Pediatric Rehab.  Ok, I figured.  Let's see what we can do there.  It took a couple months before they could see us and, as they were testing him, we found out that most of his problems weren't completely from stubbornness or bad parenting, but because he actually had something wrong with him - Sensory Processing Disorder. Basically, he needed sensation.  He wasn't getting it the same way most of us do, not feeling things as strongly (physically) or able to feel comfortable in the space around him.  So he pushed the limits to try to create the sensations he was craving.  Sitting still in a chair was tough on him.  He needed to wiggle and move because his body was telling him that's what had to happen.  He ran into walls at full speed so he could figure out where the boundaries were. He made loud noises and acted silly because that's what he felt he needed to do.  So what we needed to do was find a way to get him those things without being disruptive.  So we started Occupational Therapy with him once a week, both for the SPD and because his fine motor skills weren't where they should be at 5 1/2.

They've given me some great ideas for helping him deal with SPD.  Ways to help him get out the need to be active without being disruptive.  One of the things I do with him is have a "Push War".  He pushes against my hands as hard as he can, trying to push them back to my chest.  After we do it a couple of times, he's able to calm down a little.  Also, I try to give him "heavy work", like helping push the (full) laundry basket across the floor, or having to run to the dining room and bring me back one thing after another.  These little things are helping.

What worries me, though, is what will happen when school starts.  I'm trying to get an IEP or a 504 Plan for him so if he needs help with various things, we'll already have a plan in place for him to get that help.  Today, after many phone calls that weren't returned, I stopped by the school to talk with someone about it.  I need a diagnosis from a doctor - what they found at rehab just won't cut it.  And then, with the diagnosis, I need to bring it to the school and get the paperwork started. Then they'll have a meeting to discuss it, and the school psychologist will meet with Pete to test him again.  Only after all of that happens will be (hopefully) get something in place for him.  So I have an appointment with his pediatrician next Tuesday to see what I need to do to get a doctor's diagnosis.  I'm afraid that I'm going to have to go somewhere else to get him diagnosed and who knows how long that wait will be.  I'm worried that it will be October or December by the time we can finally get something in place for him, and by then, he'll be labeled a "problem child".

The one thing going for me is that I know his teacher this year.  It's the same teacher that Teddy had in kindergarten.  I have a good rapport with her, and her teaching style is one that Pete responds to positively.  (It's very similar to the style his current teacher at PDO has, which has worked wonders for him over this last year.)  But for all that I know she'll be willing to work with me on some things, I also know that her hands will be tied when it comes to how much leeway she can give him for things.  She will (I hope) understand that he's not meaning to be a problem.  And I know she'll get in touch with me if there are problems.  But the fear that he'll not get what he needs soon enough is one that won't leave me.

So now I wait, hope and pray.  Wait for school to start and see if he'll be ok.  Hope that we can get everything we need for him to succeed at school before it starts.  And pray that he'll be able to thrive because he's got who and what he needs behind him.

Graduation Day from PDO

10 July 2014

I'm Coming Back

Obviously, I hadn't planned on being gone from my Blog for over a year.  If I had, I would have posted something to that effect.  Instead, life got very busy.  Trying to deal with Pete's behavior problems, trying to deal with my depression, trying to fight past constant fear that the apartment complex will kick me out.  And, honestly, my blog was the least important thing out of all the things I had going on.  I could put up short comments on Facebook to communicate.  It felt better for me that way.

But now, a lot of things are coming together.  We've found out what's wrong with Pete (Sensory Perception Disorder - and more on him in a later post).  I've gotten back on my meds.  I've made a plan to keep myself a bit more organized so I have time to have fun AND get things done.  I've started exercising with a Couch 2 5K program.  I'm following FlyLady again.  I'm giving myself permission to not be perfect. And, most importantly, both kids will be back in school starting August 6.

I'm not sure if I'll be able to get back to daily blogging, especially not before the kids start back to school.  But I am hoping that I'll be able to post at least once or twice a week.  I've got a lot of things on my mind that I want to write about, and I'm feeling like I have the time for it. So, if anyone is out there and actually still reading this blog, look out for more posts in the nearish future.  Because I'm glad to be back.

One of the big things that happened over this year was Teddy having his First Communion My handsome boys.

10 April 2013

I is for... Incense

I love the smell of incense burning in my home.  There's something about the small stick, wafting scented smoke through my apartment, that is calming to me.  With incense burning, I know that I can have an enjoyable scent reach my nose.  And I don't have to worry about open flame, like I do with candles.

It's been awhile since I'd burned any incense.  In part, it was because I didn't really have a good place to keep it.  Nowhere stable, out of reach of the kids and somewhere the scent could travel.  Plus, I wasn't sure what I'd done with my incense holder and my incense when we moved.

The other day, though, I found both.  And Teddy, not knowing what the incense holder was, played around with it and accidentally broke it.  I was upset more because of the age of the holder - I'd had it for 15 years - than the price of getting a new one - $1.  But there's no use crying over ashes, so I went out and purchased a new holder yesterday.

It's very similar in style to the one I had before - just a long, thin piece of wood about an inch and a half wide, curved slightly at one end to help hold the stick of incense.  On the opposite end is a gold colored yin-yang symbol.  I could have gotten a couple of different designs - the one I remember is a peace sign - but the yin-yang appealed to me more.

Now that I have my holder and my incense, it's time to make the house smell better.  I put some Oriental Woods incense in the holder, lit it, and have been enjoying the scent while I've written this post.

09 April 2013

H is for... Handholding

On Sunday morning, I drove my eldest to church for his religious education class.  It was just the two of us and, as we were walking across the lawn to the church, chatting about nothing consequential, I felt a small hand slip into mine.  And it made my heart smile.

It's the simple things like this that make me happy.  Especially since I know that I'll only have that feeling for a small amount of time.  Before long, he'll be embarrassed to hold my hand.  He'll be a teen and not want to embarrass himself in front of his friends.  He'll feel that he won't need the warm-blanket security that comes from holding on to your Mom's hand.  He'll try to go it alone without much input from me.  And by the time he'll want to slip his hand into mine again, it will be so much bigger, not nearly as soft.  It will be a growing man's hand instead of a little boy's hand.  These are things that I know as well as if I could see the future.

So I take these moments of happiness as I can.  I revel in the trust is engendered by that simple action.  I feel protective, loving.  I feel like I am the world for this boy, and I'm glad that, for a time, I can be that for him.  Because that's what a Mommy should be.

Treasure these memories while you can

08 April 2013

G is for... Gaming

I still remember my first time.  I was in the Student Center, sitting with two friends.  Eric, the one that was experienced in this sort of thing, was talking us through what we needed to do.  He led us down the path, helping us craft just what we needed.  And while my friend Alison was able to walk away, I knew I was hooked for life.  I'd become a gamer.

For the longest time, I had to hide it.  My step-mom had very negative views of gaming.  She was convinced that it was a tool of the devil and that I'd lose myself to insanity if I played.  So I never looked for a group when I was home.  It was something I just did when I was in college.  We had a regular group that got together - Eric, Jake, Jay, Jim... I was the only girl in the group.  But that didn't matter.  I was there to have fun, and fun I had.  I played a psionic based on myself.  I played a wizard (which was actually one of my worse characters - I had a tendency to do things that broke the game when I played her) in a fantasy setting. I played GURPS (Generic Universal Role-Playing System).  I played Champions.  I lost myself in whatever my GM (usually Eric) wanted to throw my way.  And I wished I could play when I got home too.

I suffered a drought in my gaming for several years.  Even though I had my own GURPS books (carefully hidden from my step-mom), I didn't know anyone to play with, didn't know how to find a gaming group.  So I created characters in the dead of night, hoping that someday, I'd be able to use them.

It wasn't until I was immersed in the online community that I started gaming again.  First the occasional game with some friends after I moved to NY.  Then with my future husband (since that fact that I was a Gamer Girl was one of the things that drew me to him.)  I learned that there was more to the world than just GURPS and Champions.  I was (finally) introduced to D&D.  I learned that you didn't need dice to play, and that you could play as easily by writing e-mails online as you could playing face to face.  In fact, for a long time, all I was able to do was play online in a few Amber Diceless Role-Playing games.  (Based on Roger Zelazny's Chronicles of Amber.)  My world was expanding.

While Rich and I lived in Philly, I had my first regular gaming group since college.  At first, we met at a local bar/restaurant every Tuesday.  But when that started getting pricey, we moved the game to our apartment.  One of the saddest times was when we moved from Philly to Nashville - no more regular gaming with our friends.

It took us awhile to find a new group to game with.  At first, it was just not really knowing anyone.  Then there was the added challenge of having young kids.  But we were lucky enough to find not one, but two groups that had kids the same age as ours to play with.  The first family moved away from Nashville and our group dissolved.  The second is just another family and us - and we're still getting together, semi-regularly, to play.   And when we don't have time to get together because of life hitting us hard, Rich and I will sometimes run one-on-one games.  We've also had Teddy and Pete wanting to join in.  (Pete more to roll the dice, Teddy to actually have fun playing.)  It's family fun, and I couldn't ask for anything better.

In gaming, I get something that I haven't found elsewhere.  I get to use my creativity in creating stories.  I get to create something with others.  I get to have memorable moments and stories to share with like-minded individuals.  I get to be a part of something.  And, for a little while, I get to set my life and my problems to the side and be someone different than who I am.  I can lose myself in a fantasy where I am a superior thief.  A master archer.  A swordswoman who will fight to the death to protect her friends.  A superhero with the ability to turn insubstantial.  Anything I can dream, I can be.  And I can set her world aside for awhile whenever I need to go back to real life, knowing that she'll be there waiting for me to take her on her next adventure whenever I feel the need.

Running our boys through their first D&D session
   If you happen to be a gamer as well, feel free to share your favorite gaming story in comments.  I love hearing what other characters have faced!