Thursday, May 5, 2011

Going Mainstream : Transitioning to Mainstream Classrooms From Special Needs

The girls IEPs (Individual Educational Plans) for the next school year are tomorrow morning. My stomach is already in knots. IEP meetings can be an amazing time to hash out what works for your kid and how you can get them the help they need. Or they can be battleground with shouting and crying.

For once, I am going into an IEP totally prepared and knowledgeable about what is going to happen. And (mostly) okay with it. But still the hollow feeling in my stomach is there. Too many IEPs and decisions weigh on my mind. And then there's my nervousness at taking this step.

The plan is to transition both the of the girls to mainstream classrooms. Calamity Jane will take a community spot at one of the local college's preschools. She will go all day (from 8:30 to 3:30) which will be good for her and for our family dynamic. She needs somewhere to channel her energy and intensity and the regularity of the schedule should help regulate her moods. This has been the plan for a while and I feel very confident about it.

But I am not so sure about Desmonda Drama. She's supposed to transition into Title 1 but we're not guaranteed a place in it. We do have a co-op spot for her three mornings a week but without that one on one attention every day I am worried she will sink instead of swim. I know she needs the social push but she also needs the therapy.

At the heart of it is the fear of seeing my girls leave the protected nest of the special needs world. There they are superstars, social butterflies, and the successes of their teachers. I love that they have their moments in the spotlight, on the A list, of being large and in charge.

My challenge for next year is how to preserve that feeling for them. How do I find the places that they can shine if it doesn't happen for them in the classroom?

Monday, April 18, 2011

And Then I Cried

This is why I kept this space. For a post like this.

This morning I tweeted out "Do you think my girls took a class in driving me insane or it just comes naturally?" A fairly light hearted tweet that many a parent laughed at and agreed with. Then a tweet from someone who has followed/unfollowed me repeatedly tweeted "THIS is what drives me insane"

I knew what she meant but I tried to play it off with a joke and got back an indictment about the way I talk about my kids. This shouldn't shock me, I've heard it before. And I expect it. After all even I joke about how I blog about how I hate my kids.

But today, today I stepped away from the computer and sobbed.

It's been a tough few weeks. Calamity Jane is regressing for some reason and her behavior has become incredibly amped up. AT the same time, her sister is finally acting out in response to the intensity of her sister and all the attention we give her because of it. The days are filled with constant fighting, tears, and lashing out. I struggle with how to handle it, what to do, and this time I can't find the answer. And my reaction is just that I want to run away.

There have been so many recriminations of myself lately. In spite of the assurances of everyone who knows me and my kids that my feelings are natural, that they feel the same way and it's understandable. In spite of all of this, I hate myself. I hate myself for not being able to fix this. And I hate my kids for being like this. And I hate my husband for not knowing how to fix it. And I hate everyone (the schools, other parents, other kids) for only seeing the bad in them. And I hate myself for seeing it too.

All the words in the world can't stack up again my self doubt. So I sit and listen to my girls work with their behavioral therapist in the other room. And I cry. I cry and hope that it will keep me from doing it in front of them.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Back Again!

Well after month of pondering on what to do with this blog I have decided to keep it. I found myself struggling to post because sometimes I just wanted to write about whatever random stuff popped into my head and that didn't fit into the "theme" of this blog. I thought about doing some niche blogs as companions to this one but finally settled on starting a whole separate personal blog and keeping this focused on parenting, specifically on special needs parenting.

As a reintroduction: I am Kate, mom to four year old fraternal twin girls Calamity Jane and Desmonda Drama. I spend most of my time catering to their fanatical demands but over the past year I have been spending more and more of my time dipping into a professional life as a writer and consultant. I have become very involved in the local social media scene and am really enjoying it. As the girls get older and spend more time in school I hope to do this more.

I tend to swear, be sarcastic, and reference drinking so if that's not your bag, cool. No hard feelings. You can also find me on Twitter and my newly minted but pretty empty personal blog The Guavalicious Life.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Tag Out

As I sit at the table trying to get through my email and stay awake from the 5:30am wakeup call all I can think is "tag out, I need to tag out!"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Why Kids Rock

Lately things have been a little rough around here. The adjustment back to school has not gone as well as I had hoped. And well, it brought me pretty down. That's why I have played this video I saw on Modern Super Momma's blog today about ten times. And then played it for the girls when they woke up.

I just love the little girl's total abandonment dancing. And then the add in of all the dancers' doing her routine. Shouldn't we all dance a little more? And don't kids get it right? It's not about the arguments and not getting the snack you want, it's about the snuggling on the couch and car sing-a-longs. My kids have over the top crazy tantrums but once they are done, they're done. They don't stew and obsess over them (like I do.)

So resolution, less stewing. More dancing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Feeling Lucky

This afternoon I was struck by an incredible sense of how lucky I am. When your kids have differences it's easy to get caught up in what you're kids aren't not what they are. Hell, it is easy to do that in regular life. The husband and I have been hit by a lot of obstacles since our marriage. But it feels so much better to look at all we do have.

Son in contrast to my post about not feeling lucky, today even with a killer headache, non napping children, and gloomy weather: I feel lucky.

I feel lucky that I have two parents who love me. Who never physically abused me and have always tried, even if they went around it in the wrong way, to make me happy. I feel lucky to have a sister who I wish I was closer to but has always been there for me in the lowest moments. Who has sat on the phone with me while I laid on the kitchen floor and cried, not even into the phone.

I feel lucky that my kids are with me and that for the most part they are physically healthy. That I don't have to sit by their beds and watch them slip away from me.

I feel lucky that I had twins because even though it's about five times harder than one, heaven is watching them play together.

I feel lucky to have a husband who loves me through thick and thin and has stuck by me in the hardest of times. Who I actually miss more than the girls when I am away. Who I share so many of the same tastes with.

I feel lucky to have friends across the country who I can call up and talk to whenever I need them, even if we haven't spoken in months.

I feel lucky that blogging and twittering were invented and I can connect to hundreds of amazing people everyday.


SITS Back2Blogging Repost : Hi, You Don't Know Me but I Have Beer

To get myself back on the blogging bandwagon I am participating in the SITS Girls' Back 2 Blogging Challenge. Today's prompt was to repost a post with a title you were especially proud of. I originally posted this when I first started my blog over a year ago. I love the title even if I never ended up saying it to anyone.

Yesterday I did a crazy thing. I put the girls in the stroller and set out to meet some new friends. And by that I mean that whenever I saw a house that looked like it contained young children I went up to the door and knocked on it. Yes, to my husband's horror, I thought this would be a good way to meet my neighbors. Well maybe not a good way but that is what staying home all day does to me.

It wasn't all that successful. I talked to one dad whose wife and three year old daughter were out, a young mom who had to unlatch her child to answer the door (i would hate me), and the most promising house had a no solicitors sign and they didn't answer my knock (hey I'm not selling anything except myself and I'm free, hardee har har). I was especially disappointed because they have a kickass backyard filled with toys. And they drive a Toyota Echo. Which to me translates to "not a queen bee mom who scrapbooks and makes judgments about the way your kids are dressed, after all I drive a gas efficient car and am obviously frugal and/or love the environment". Why yes I am speed dating moms based on their cars. I really am that pathetic. I left a note but the girls were screaming so it had a kind of serial killer shaky look to it. Awesome.

The whole idea had started as a joke when IMing with my friend MP. A friend who I made in the most awesome moms group in the world. The group that I had to leave behind when we moved here. I did not realize until I met them how important having mom friends was. I laughed and cried (well not really but I am sure they wouldn't have minded if I did) and had something to do everyday and actually liked their children. Much better than mine own sometimes, why is it that other people's children are always so much cuter? And the girls, well they didn't seem to hate it, and honestly I wouldn't have noticed if they did, I was having too much fun.

So knowing no one in a strange city is doubly hard these days. But we are not moving back so I will be trying my darndest to make new just as great friends here. And if that means knocking on random stranger's doors and enduring Kindermusik classes, then so be it. Eventually there will be that mom I click with it, the one who believes that parenting is not a competitive sport and that many playdates are improved by the addition of beer.

As for that beer, MP joked that I should stick some in the stroller and offer it up, then I would really know if I made a friend. But beer is expensive here and I want it all for myself.