Sunday, February 28, 2010

Now THAT'S a nightmare.

Husband's alarm went off, like it always does. I rolled over and saw him shut it off, then heard some kids running through the house yelling, "Fire!" Half-awake dreams involving kids are nothing new, three years working for SCOPE seems to have scarred me for life. But the yells of "fire" sparked a nagging fear, pun intended, and I tried to get Husband and say, "Please humor me and just make sure nothing's burning." He often humors my half-awake whims, mainly because I need him to - I don't give him peace until he does. But when I opened my mouth, nothing came out.
Still not alarmed (apart from the irrationally strong urge to make sure nothing was on fire), because I've been having sinus problems and was bound to wake up voiceless one of these mornings.
But then there was suddenly a man standing by Husband's side of the bed. Door to the room is on my side - he didn't come through it. He also didn't come through a window. He was just THERE. But he couldn't be. And while I was moving my mouth silently, trying to get Husband's attention and ask "Is there really a man there???" and failing because I couldn't talk or move, the man answered the question - he shook his head slowly. And smiled.
Hallucinations are a particular horror of mine. In grade-school I was prescribed a medication that has hallucinations as a side effect if you're allergic - which I apparently was. Saw very menacing furry little men and a lobster that varied between spaniel-size and pony-size. Saw them A LOT. "It can't really be there" is not a comforting thought, it's my worst nightmare.
I turned my head, and on my side of the room, there was a silent young woman in a long white nightgown. Okay, I've seen horror movies, I've seen most of "The Ring", and women in long white gowns better be real, talking, and not appearing in my bedroom. She laid down on the floor. And swam under my side of the bed.
I turned again to Husband, out of my head now, and he wasn't there. Someone else was. Or he was someone else, somehow. I looked back at the side of the bed - and the woman's very pale, very thin hands were clawing at the mattress by my feet.

I had a LOT of nightmares when I was younger, and I worked on conscious ways to make myself wake up. Even if your dream body has mobility, your real body doesn't, and forcing real movement will wake you up eventually if you can manage it, so I would try with all my might to blink my REAL eyes, really hard, again and again, or move my real lips, something. It feels profoundly strange, because once you get something moving, you feel like you have two bodies, the one in the dream and the one horizontal, trying its darndest to blink, and whatever you're really moving has practically no muscle behind it. And without even thinking about it, I was trying with everything I had, to move my hand. I realized I what I was doing when my fist started just barely tapping Husband's back. Just barely. My arm felt so dead that the effort actually hurt. Thankfully he felt it, and rolled over to ask, "Honey, are you okay?" which woke me up enough to gasp "NO I'M NOT!!!!"

That is THE most terrified I have been in a LONG time.

A "Treat" Day

Friday, Kittyboy just happened to be clean and dry ALL DAY. FIRST TIME EVER. We had already planned on going to Kids Fest downtown, but hadn't told him yet, so we told him Saturday morning that we were going somewhere special, BECAUSE he was such a big boy and had been clean and dry all the day before.
I forgot what awful lighting and acoustics Prairie Capital Convention Center has - but he didn't get upset by the crowds or noise or anything, he warmed up at his own pace and then had fun. Kids Fest is way cooler than we had realized. The businesses that had booths there had little free things for the kids, or games to play. He got to sit in a go-cart, look in a monster truck, and touch a race car. There were three bounce house things - one just a bounce thing, one an inflatable obstacle course, and one an inflatable climbing wall with a slide on the other side. The lines for all of those were RIGHT next to the speakers and stage, and he was cool with that. He petted a VERY large and fluffy dog at the APL booth and let it sniff him. And Kittyboy, unlike many three-year-olds, is TOTALLY cool with mascots in huge costumes!! He liked those, he ran up and gave them hugs! When we first came in, they had an ambulance and police car with the lights on, and he didn't want anything to do with that (they might have been going to start the sirens, for all he knew!), but after doing the inflatable climbing-and-sliding thing, he ran right over and climbed in the ambulance and stared in adorable boyish awe at the cruiser and everything. We heard an announcement about "DePriest Puppets" and didn't give it much thought - we assumed they were just regular hand-puppets, and he was having fun with other stuff - but we stumbled onto the puppet show while looking for a bathroom. They were real marionettes! Whole people and animals with limbs, dancing on nearly invisible strings. Kittyboy eyed the puppeteer cautiously at first, since his prior experience with puppets consists of Stromboli in "Pinocchio". "Excuse me sir, are you a villain? Just checking, you know, puppets and all..." One of the puppets was a trapeze artist - yes, with a trapeze, swinging from it, hanging by her toes from it and all. It was AWESOME. The last puppet was Smiley the Clown, who came out to wave at the children, sit on their laps, and give them hugs. Kittyboy is conclusively NOT scared of clowns, and gave Smiley a big enthusiastic hug with a big grin. And with ALL this craziness going on, he was dry when we finally found a bathroom!! And he WENT in the strange public bathroom he'd never been in before!!
So then we were leaving and it was almost 1, and Husband had the idea of going to The Pizza Machine - which we didn't know is like a Chuck E Cheese. Loudness and kids running and flashy lights and music and games and things going on all over the place. And he was cool with THAT. And went in the bathroom there, and was STILL dry.
He just had the Special Day to end all special days. I found Monsters Inc on VHS in a thrift store, and we watched that after dinner. A MOVIE, while finishing his leftover pizza. How much more
decadent can you get!
Wonder how many pullups will fall apart from abuse before I actually feel confident putting him in underwear... Those disposable pullups do not last a day's worth of pulling up and pushing down.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Boy, you best start getting happy...

My Grandpa Speed, who sadly died when I was six, is famous in our family for phrases such as "that's not a reason, that's an excuse", and "you have ten seconds to get happy." Get Happy has always been my favorite.
This afternoon, Kittyboy was two things - tired and needing a nap, and very aggravated with his train set not doing what he wanted it to. Three o'clock is the witching hour, when he needs a nap, doesn't want a nap, and in fact is likely to gain a second wind by four o'clock, so unless you're really, REALLY sure of success, you'll only spend an hour fighting if you try to make him TAKE a nap, and then he won't have taken one, and you'll both be out of sorts. So at the time of this incident, it was 3 p.m., and so he was fussy to begin with.
AND, he was mad at his train. He was trying to make the engine and both cars AND ambulance AND fire truck (which have the same wheel base, so they can be driven on the tracks, but of course they don't hook up with the train) all be a big train and go up the ramp together, and it wasn't working. He started whining and crying and scattering the train parts around. I kept telling him it wasn't GOING to work, which (like all great innovators), he didn't find helpful. I asked him (because sometimes this works!) "Are you tired? Would you like a nap?"
"*sniff sniff* No take a nap? No go to sleep??"
"But you seem so tired and unhappy. I think you need a nap."
"You no need a nap???" (he's using "you" again when he's tired)
Sigh. And out of my mouth comes, very sweetly, "Well, here are your choices. You can take a nap, or you can get happy."
"*sniff sniff* You get happy *sniff* okay."
AND HE DID. He sniffed a few times and went back to lining up his "train plus two" for, oh, the tenth time or so. Once again, the whole line jackknifed halfway up the ramp. Cue tears and scattering of cars.
"Do you need a nap?"
"Okay then, get happy."
"*sniff* get happy *sniff* okay."
I think it was probably the twelfth or thirteenth try that he figured out in what order he could line up the train and emergency vehicles so that they ACTUALLY DID MAKE IT UP THE RAMP. They fell all apart on the other side, but success was his. They had made it up the ramp. He's probably the next Edison.
And of course, he'll never again believe me when I tell him "it won't work".
I just love that "get happy" actually works. You could write a whole book on parenting philosophy entitled "You've Got Ten Seconds to Get Happy".
Turned out I actually should have pushed the issue with the nap - at ten til four, there was no second wind in sight, and so now he's going to wake up for dinner only an hour before bedtime and that won't be good. But you never can tell how it's going to go at 3 p.m. That's why I call it the witching hour.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Lent and Patience

I'm trying, most strenuously, to do two major things this Lent - potty-train a three-year-old (coming up on 3 years and 2 months) who doesn't appear to be motivated by ANYTHING, and clean a house in spite of said toddler's bathrooming habits, in preparation for my "confinement" with the Sibling.
The cleaning is going VERY well, despite my worst fears. The potty-training is going HORRIBLY, despite my best efforts.
I have found and maintained, so far, a dining room table, part of a front-room desk, a nursery floor, and partial floors in the family room and master bedroom. Kittyboy IS trained in cleaning his room (sorta-kinda, better trained than either of his parents actually), and so the nursery is off my list (until the time comes to rearrange and squeeze in a crib). Alternatively, we could move Kittyboy's stuff AND the crib, and all baby stuff, into the family room, though that would mean heavy draperies on a massive amount of windows. I'll have to draw up floor plans for the nursery (which would then be office and family room), and current family room, and see if that would work better. It would definitely be the longer-term solution. Biting my tongue when Husband leaves something out on a space I'm trying desperately to maintain, but I can do this. I can do this. "I can do this" is my mantra.
Kittyboy lost all but maybe five books, of his large library, by dropping them behind his bed. Now that his bed is a heavy wooden frame and not a mattress and boxspring on the floor, it's one heck of a hassle to retrieve them, so we said anything that went behind, went up on a high shelf, and he couldn't have them. Got down to FIVE books. So I decided after a while, when he finally started asking for them, that he could earn them back by being dry all day. He earned back two. Now the one up for earning is the big Milne/Shepard "Winnie the Pooh" - and it's been up on display as a reward for two days now. Tomorrow is Day 3 - for one of the most coveted books he lost. He doesn't even have to be clean and dry at school, there's 2.5 hours of the day he has a pass on, because he might need to go and not remember to ask, you know? Just in the morning before we take him, and from getting home again until dinner. And it's not happening. Apparently there is NOTHING ON THIS PLANET he wants badly enough to sit on the toilet if he's busy doing something. NOTHING ON THIS PLANET. It is beyond discouraging. He is SO fully capable. He just - doesn't feel like it.
And above all, I resolved (as I do every year) to improve control of my temper. For Lent. While increasing my patience.
Lent is way, way, way too short for this to happen.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday of Orthodoxy!

Grabbed the above picture with my phone after church was over, of Kittyboy with his St. Patrick icon. He has bread in his mouth, which is why he didn't smile, which I found out afterwards when I asked him to smile! :)
Last year, we couldn't get him to hold his icon facing out, because then he couldn't see it, and what was the point if he couldn't see it? So this morning we practiced at home, holding it UP and OUT so EVERYONE could see St. Patrick! And he walked holding his daddy's finger and was very good.

"As the Prophets beheld,
As the Apostles taught,
As the Church received,
As the Teachers dogmatized,
As the Universe agreed,
As Grace illumined,
As the Truth revealed,
As falsehood passed away,
As Wisdom presented,
As Christ awarded,

Thus we declare,
Thus we assert,
Thus we proclaim Christ our true God
and honor His saints,

In words,
In writings,
In thoughts,
In sacrifices,
In churches,
In holy icons.

On the one hand, worshiping and reverencing Christ as God and Lord.
And on the other hand, honoring and venerating His Saints as true servants of the same Lord.

This is the Faith of the Apostles.
This is the Faith of the Fathers.
This is the Faith of the Orthodox.
This is the Faith which has established the Universe."

I love that prayer! I want to memorize it. Maybe I should spend Lent memorizing it, with Kittyboy learning the Lord's Prayer - he's been saying bits of it with me in church.
Info on Sunday of Orthodoxy from OrthoWiki here.
Info from me (last year's post) here.
NOW it's starting to really feel like Lent - what with the first Akathist hymn (my favorite part of Lent) Friday and the procession of icons today!
Kali Sarakosti! ("a good forty days")

Saturday, February 20, 2010

And so I am...

Last week or so, I have been waking up hungry, getting hungry again before lunch, hungry again before dinner, and I even got up after midnight one night to eat SOMETHING, ANYTHING, because I was starving and my stomach hurt.
I'm not a breakfast person, and I've been known to not eat before 1 or 2 if I don't get around to it. I'm really tired of eating already.
And plus, I've been waking up at around 5 a.m. to kick off covers because I'm soaked and baking. It's like waking up in a sauna. Unfortunately, I then can't sleep anymore, because I can't sleep without covers.
Imagine how tired I will be in, oh, nine months.
Yup! I'm pregnant!
:) :) :) :) :) :) :) :) :)
First order of business is making myself a lightly weighted "blanket", same type as Kittyboy's, just pellets and fabric, in the hopes that under and only that, I will not get so hot. I've just got to have something with substance on me to sleep! Second order of business is cleaning my house over the next four months, so that I can lay down as much as possible for the next five after that.
And some time, I need to come up with a list of people who can be called if I need a ride to the hospital and Husband is in work. Sadly, two out of the three names that first came to mind don't own cars. Darn it. Need friends with cars.
Although, if it comes down to it, that's what taxis are for, although I would then have to take Kittyboy along into the ER or wherever. So ideally, friends with cars. In town.
We'll figure it out.
Kittyboy was with me when I bought the pregnancy test. I told him we were looking for something to tell us whether Mommy was having a baby, and explained where babies come from (mommies! In somewhat the area of our tummies!), and he was quite taken with the idea of having His Very Own Baby. So then I found the tests, and picked one up off the shelf, and with a delighted giggle he snatched it from my hands and turned it over - and stared blankly with puzzlement at something that looked not in the slightest like a baby. What did THIS have to do with babies? "I pway wiff baby?" I explained again that babies don't come in little white boxes from the Walmart pharmacy, and IF there was a baby on the way for us, it was in ME. It had to grow inside me. He looked at my stomach. He didn't look convinced. "Baby gwow in Mommy HOUSE...?" "Well, yes, when Mommy is IN her house, because... babies grow in mommies." I guess he thought that was a pretty boring way to grow a baby. Can't see it or play with it or anything! But he has accepted that there is a baby in Mommy, and so we cannot "boom" Mommy or be rough with her, because babies are delicate and (at this age) VERY little, and we do not boom them (booming meaning pushing onto his bed to bounce).
Imagine what fun he'll have at an ultrasound!! I can't wait!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tis the Season for Sauerkraut...

I have resolved that this year, we WILL do the Lenten fast, all three of us, to the same uniform standard, with the exception of Kittyboy having eggs and dairy. He loves eggs, cheese and peanut butter, he in fact WAS a vegetarian (who ate eggs, fish and cheese) until he was two, and his diet and nutrition have never been an issue, so it's not unthinkable that he also could give up meat for Lent.
What exactly the uniform standard will be, I haven't fleshed out yet. Husband and I have been just awful the last couple years, starting Advent 06 when I was pregnant, so we're easing back into it.
Of course, if I'm pregnant again, this all goes out the window.
Sauerkraut sandwiches for dinner last night, bean soup tonight. I have canned 12 pints of beans so far. Why would I can dried beans, when they store so well dried? Because I have horrible luck with getting every bean in the pot completely cooked, and because they take so long to cook. So I just can a pound at a time, which yields 4 pints. Figure a pound costs a dollar (at least red, black, and pinto beans, generally), that's 16 oz of beans for $0.25 plus the cost of a lid - pretty sweet. Not to mention there's no salt unless you add it!
The technique I found at is REALLY easy, too. Boil the beans for about 2 minutes - I do five - let soak for an hour (or two, or six) - boil again with FRESH water for half an hour, then jar up and process at 10 pounds, 75 minutes for pints, or 10 pounds and 90 minutes for quarts.
I tend to play fast and loose with the soaking times, because it's an easy project to start midday, but I try not to can when Kittyboy's awake. He has a thing about the noise the canner makes when it's venting.

A Bookbag for Kittyboy

Do you know how hard it is to find bookbags in February? So I made one. I had a piece of cream and red striped fabric, kind of a canvas-type cloth, that I thought would be cute, and I hadn't played on my sewing machine for a while. So here it is!
I made it entirely last night. Miss K said at the parent-teacher conference yesterday that starting this Wednesday, he would be bringing home a folder weekly, and so a bookbag would be good to have, but those are scarce this time of year, and they're all huge, bulky, and branded. He doesn't know who Spiderman IS, for crying out loud.

I made it a pillowcase, then cut down the sides about three inches and folded them under so drawstrings could go threw. Had I been planning ahead, of course, I would have just left the top three inches unsewn... but it worked anyway.
I had Husband buy black grosgrain ribbon, an inch wide (I thought just going with black would be easier than matching reds), and cut two big chunks (since I didn't know how much I would need), sewed the end of one to the bottom of the bag, threaded it through one side of the open seam at the top and back through the other. Did the same on the opposite side. Then I had to make some judgement calls as to how long to sew them - I didn't want the arm straps to be WAY long, he's short, but it has to open far enough to put a folder in. I think they ended up being a good length...
And there is some hanging on each side (I finished off the ends), so if he needs it longer I can just take a seam ripper and undo the top stitches and re-sew.

And he likes it!
I'm definitely going to do this again!!! Just think, a reusable shopping bag you can wear on your back!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Today, I threw a tantrum...

...and told Kittyboy I am no longer picking up after him.
You cannot picture the disaster he creates in ONE DAY. Folded linens and blankets off the foot of the bed, EVERYTHING off the bed, toys all over, books all over, no floor visible. We're talking, 4-6" deep of no floor visible.
I told him HE and only HE was picking up his room. I sat on his bed and directed - for an hour. "Monster truck, under the rocking chair - under the rocking chair - next to the school bus, under the rocking chair - yes that. To the vehicle box. Vehicle box. Yes! Now the shirt. Shirt. Gray shirt. By the shelves. By your foot. UNDER your foot. Look down. Shirt. Gray shirt. YES. Take to the bathroom - and come back." Long hour. Long, long hour. But, he did it! I refolded what had been folded, because he can't do that, but HE got all his bedding - pillows, sheet, 8 lb blanket AND huge comforter - back on his bed, and I made him straighten them out himself. Straightening the sheet involved several games of peekaboo, as he threw it over his head and then pulled it off to flatten it out, and his face was so serious the whole time, it was all I could do not to laugh. Then he climbed back down, grabbed the corner of the weighted blanket, and could only get the corner up to the edge of the mattress on the first try. He grabbed it lower and tried again. After a few tries, he got enough of a corner on top of the mattress that it didn't fall all the way down again, so then he scrambled back up, sat on the mattress, and started hauling hand over hand. I kept waiting for him to get frustrated, and was going to prompt him to ask for help, but he got the entire thing up. And straightened it out.
I did help straighten the big comforter, that was too big for him. But YAY for the three-year-old picking up his own room!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trying out my Valentine's gift...

My Husband, the most wonderful spouse ever, said a few weeks ago that we would sell my iphone and get a Nokia of my choosing (within, you know, a reasonable price range). And Saturday, we were on the interstate at 7:30 a.m., headed to 543 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, the NOKIA STORE.
Friday night, Husband showed me a virtual tour of the store, so Saturday morning felt like Christmas! (Nokia E75)
My new phone! My new toy! I love-love-love it!! More later!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Update on Mrs. Frank

Helen is out of the hospital and will be in a nursing home while her leg mends. God is good - I was having trouble imagining even a half-way good prognosis for a woman her age, in her health, with shattered bones. So this is good news and a blessing.
Thank you for your prayers!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Week of School

Monday - walked the Kittyboy in thinking we were late, and no, the bus was late. We hung around about ten minutes trying to get him settled in and happy. That wasn't happening, because we weren't leaving him in the way-cool classroom with the big trucks and big dollhouse and all the awesome toys, we were leaving him in a gymnasium with a lot of other little kids running around being really loud. The other only time he's been in a gym with kids loudly running, he was walking through the gym at the school where he was getting speech, and he cried the length of it - and went on and on, the rest of the day, about "da gym SOOO YOUD!!!" One sweet little boy, who was adorably determined, repeatedly took his hand (or wrist, firmly, after the first couple times), and lead him away from us. Like clockwork, about three yards out, Kittyboy would tear free from his new friend - or was it "fan"? - and run back crying. After a lot of that, we just handed him to his teacher Miss K, and left. Could hear him out through the fire door and down the sidewalk.
When I picked him up, he was all smiles! Miss K said after about 7-8 minutes, he calmed down, and was happy the rest of the morning. He chattered all the way to the car, and as I buckled him in, I asked, "So did you make any friends today?" He thought for a moment, and said decisively, "No Mommy." And went on chattering, but WOW! A yes/no answer, straightforward and without repeating a single word of my question!! Sweet!
Oh, and we sang "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" all afternoon and evening. Boy, does he like that song now! I figured they sang it in class or something...
So Tuesday morning, we said, "Hey, you're going to play in the gym when we get there, right?" and he seemed to be okay with that, but then when we got there, "okay" was not it. I commented on "Twinkle Star Music" as he calls it, and she said, "Oh, that was sooo cute. All the other kids were all around him when he was crying in the gym, just hugging him and loving on him, trying to cheer him up, and Mrs. B suggested they sing to him. And they all sang 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star' to cheer him up!" I just love that mental picture, don't you? He was crying when we left again, but once again was happy when I picked him up - and better yet, was DRY ALL MORNING!
Wednesday morning, Kittyboy ran eagerly into the gym - which was empty! ALL buses were late! (Buses being ridiculously late was the theme of the week, seriously - hour and ten minutes one afternoon, Miss K said). Kittyboy immediately ran out again, his lip quivering. Here he was finally all geared up to play *sniff* and he had no one to play with *sniff sniff* and it was very sad! He grabbed the teacher's hand and ran back in. Playmate found, problem solved!
And Wednesday afternoon, he called himself "I" so many times in a row, I was afraid to say ANYTHING lest he revert to the echoing "you"!
Mrs. B also told me that he is just WILDLY popular with her class, they all just adore him and want him to play with them. SO FUNNY.
This morning, he ran into the living room, saw a cat on the trampoline where he wanted to jump, and said "Get off the trampoline!" After we laughed, we realized that he had just said a whole sentence declaring what he wanted. One thing that kinda annoys me - documented by Those Who Evaluate in his district speech eval - is that instead of saying, "Can I have ___" or "I want ___" or "I don't want", "This isn't working", "I broke this" or whatever, he will label the object ("Kitty??") and make you guess what he wants. "Do you want Kitty to come to you? Do you want Kitty to move?" and in this case he would have said "Kitty? Trampoline? Kitty on the trampoline?" and from the whiny tone, we would figure out that he wanted Kitty OFF the trampoline. Yeah, it can often be just as tiresome and annoying as that sounds.
"Get off the trampoline!" Now THAT is communication! We can work on niceties later.
One possible reason I can think of why his speech is already changing in FOUR DAYS of preschool is that I remember the EC people mentioned "role-playing" as a common exercise for practicing conversation and social interaction (I know, that sounds so artificial, doesn't it?). Maybe he's a kinetic learner and that's just right up his alley. Or maybe when he hears conversations back and forth between other kids and the teacher and aide, over and over, now it's actually clicking. My mom said, "Well, you were an only child at that age, and you were home with me all day long, and you didn't have that problem" but maybe if a kid has trouble getting personal pronouns, for example, one-on-one is just not as efficient at correcting it as a whole group - where EVERYONE calls themselves "I" and the others "you", over and over. I was slow to talk, but I will bet I didn't call myself "you"! I think my mom would have remembered that if I had!
Tomorrow they're off school, Monday they're off school, and Monday we have a conference with the teacher where I am going to ask, "What on earth do you do, and how can I reinforce it at home?"

Monday, February 8, 2010

This post seems to have deleted itself from Blogspot...

Helen is the wife of our wonderful chanter Pete Frank. She's weathered cancer and I don't know what else, and had a bad fall on the ice Friday afternoon. She's at St. John's, some bones are shattered, and they can't operate. She and Pete have been married 68 years. Please pray.
(anyone else had a post mysteriously disappear? wrote it this morning, this evening it was GONE - but it was up long enough to import to my Facebook page...)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday, Super Bowl, School

Kittyboy was so spectacularly good in church today - we only left once, and that was to go to the bathroom. Such a good boy! Books, not toys, are the key! He's also learned how to kneel on a kneeler!
YEAH SAINTS!!!!! WOOOHOOOO!!!! Sooooo very very very happy. The Colts beat the Bears, the Saints beat the Colts, all is right with the world. Plus, as a Cubbie, I have to love a team that hadn't yet BEEN to the Super Bowl, AND WON their first ever time.
Husband is trying to track down something called "Clorox Anywhere" as part of Kittyboy's school supply list. Apparently that's hard to find. Tomorrow morning, I have to figure out what to DO with two and a half hours toddler-less. I just can't think of anything...

Friday, February 5, 2010

School starts Monday!

There was a very good reason Miss K wasn't calling me back - it's even better than "I'm sorry, they didn't tell me I had a voice-mail box." There's no phone in her classroom. Yeah, we both had a long and good laugh about that!! Used to be people had phones and no voice-mail; now, we have voice-mail without phones to answer!
Wednesday evening Husband brought in the mail, with lo and behold! a flier for an all-day open house Thursday. We were there bright and chipper at 9:30 that morning, and met Miss K and Mrs. Z, teacher and aide in a very small classroom with a LOT of toys. Kittyboy split his time between some huge toy trucks and a dollhouse roughly two feet tall. Another boy's parents came in a few minutes later, and Kittyboy got to practice sharing. The other boy took all the construction guys out of the other trucks, put them all in the toy school bus, and was giving them a ride around the carpet - with Kittyboy chasing him on all fours, trying to get the guys back to put them back in the trucks. That was a hoot, honestly. This should be interesting.
I like both Miss K and Mrs. Z, nice ladies. Feitshans is a uniform school (ROCK ON!!) and tomorrow I'm going through Kittyboy's wardrobe for all solid-color or striped polos and t-shirts, and khaki or navy pants, to make sure he's got a week's worth of school clothes. I remember being a kindergartener at Visitation (parochial school) and envying the "big girls" in their plaid jumpers. And being soooo happy and proud to be wearing my own blue-and-white plaid jumper and white blouse when I entered first grade.
I don't know how you reconcile being pro-homeschooling and pro-uniforms, but - I am. Totally.
I made myself some bracelets today, big clunky cuff bracelets, using cross-sections of plastic bottles, strips of cloth, and superglue. I'll have to take pictures, I LOVE these. I've been wanting that type of bracelet, but didn't want to pay much for something so quickly in and out of style. So now I can make ones that look however I want for free! I love being crafty!
Potty training, not going so hot. I've come up with a variety of inducements for various milestones - huh. We'll see. Rather discouraged. Ah well - by age five he'll be able to change his own pull-up, so less work for me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Communication Issues!

And I'm not talking about Kittyboy, either, I'm talking about great big grown-ups who have full command of the English language!!
Back in December, when Kittyboy was getting his IEP, aging out of EI, and on the waiting list for an EC classroom - I know so many acronyms - they offered us the option of starting therapy while we waited for a classroom to open up. I should have jumped on it. Instead, we said, "Oh, we may as well wait for the classroom, no point in getting him started with someone and then have to change all over again." It was going to be hard enough to go from his weekly therapists whom he knew, to a teacher he wouldn't, I didn't want to throw in another therapist to whom he'd have to say goodbye as well. At the time, that was a reasonable decision. Then it was mid-late January, I was hearing nothing, no one knew ANYTHING about when a teacher would be hired or classroom found, and they offered again to set him up with at least speech, sort of "outpatient" as it were, and I said yes. So last Wed, he saw his "new" therapist for the first time. It went, meh, okay.
I got a phone call later that day from his future teacher, Ms. K, basically introducing herself (she'd JUST been hired), the classroom will be at Feitshans, and saying that she "thought" there would be an open house "Wednesday or Thursday of next week" i.e. THIS week. Didn't know for sure, it depended on the principal, and she didn't know when the classroom was going to start - the absolute earliest being the 8th. Great, and we just started him with the new therapist.
So Monday was his second day of unenrolled therapy (it didn't go as well as the first), and therapist said she'd "heard the news" about him starting school the 8th! Really? WHAT news? This was yesterday, the 1st, and I didn't even know yet if/when there would be an open house this week! Well, according to therapist, she'd gotten an e-mail saying he would start the 8th (and so to drop him from her caseload as of then). So we went home, and I sat down at the computer with phones and numbers to find out what times, when enrollment was, when orientation, when when when?
Long phone-tagging story short - Feitshans said to call Early Learning Center. ELC said to call Feitshans. I got that the class would be 9:30-12 (Husband works at 12, transportation glitch here), but nothing about open house, orientation, "meet the teacher" thing, nothin'. So this morning I called the school and asked directly for Ms. K. I got voicemail. Reminded her who I was (she called ME last week, after all), said I'd heard class was starting the 8th, if so when was the open house? Nothing-nothing-nothing, so I called after school was out and talked to the secretary. The secretary knew nothing, but HAD seen Ms. K bring in fliers to be mailed (mailed, as in Postal Service) which mentioned "an" open house. Secretary helpfully put me through to Ms. K's voicemail again.
Tomorrow's Wednesday. No one knows anything. A therapist got an e-mail. A secretary saw fliers to be mailed that mentioned an open house. The teacher may, for aught I know, not have been instructed in how to check her voicemail at this school (she was just hired, after all). By definition, an Early Childhood classroom has ten kids max. Ten sets of parents, possibly fewer. How much time does it take for someone - anyone, the secretary, the teacher, someone in Student Support Services, someone at the ELC - to sit down with those ten-or-fewer names and CALL? "I'm sure you heard from Ms. K already? Good, the open house will be this day and this time, classroom starts on X Monday." Obviously the therapist's e-mail about it starting Monday has to be wrong - they can't be mailing notices today and expect to have an open house (for registration!) before Monday.
And, therapist and I had already talked earlier today about how Kittyboy, who is not a fan of change, chaos, new people, etc, had not exactly cozied up to the new arrangement of going to therapy in a school (the gym had a class in it the second day, the noise and running and chaos TERRIFIED him), and she'd said it might be best "since he's starting school for real on Monday" to skip the rest of this week. Don't even bother trying to get him settled in with HER, since he would then have to settle in with yet another teacher, environment, etc, next week. Sage advice indeed. And we commiserated on "Why even start him with a therapist in the first place, a week and a half before his classroom will start?? Big transitions for the little guy..." Except now it probably will not be next week after all. (I'm NOT calling her back to restart, that WOULD be insane).
And Kittyboy will not be the only child in this class for whom the surprising and different is Not Fun. Not by a long shot, if there are kids who really are autistic (not just looking like it to the "experts" as Kittyboy does). I would think this is a population you would want to have as much preparation in advance for THEM as possible. Not, "Oh surprise, you're going to school Monday." And if not for the therapist mentioning the e-mail, I would know NOTHING.
I am probably overreacting because someone e-mailed the therapist prematurely, but this is unnerving. I'm a bit of a control freak - I don't need to be running the show, but I DO need to know that whomever is, IS firmly in control and on top of things. Not getting that feeling at the moment. Doesn't seem to be, anywhere, any one person in charge who knows everything. And so it's bringing up everything that's made me nervous about leaving Kittyboy (the controlling, the strong-willed, the easily-unnerved - the ME clone) with strangers.
Come to think of it, now I know not only where he gets his will and his take-charge nature, but also the tendency that once he's unsettled, anxious, unnerved, he'll stay that way. And once unsettled, the greater the need to have control...
Someone, just! Tell! Me! Something!