How My Son Got Into Preschool: The Interesting Journey through Early Intervention to Preschool

This is a continuation of sorts to my previous post, to which I will summarize for those who didn’t catch it. I was anxiously awaiting the decision of my son’s fate being able to continue services through our local preschool’s special needs program. My son started into this journey because he barely spoke one or two words by the time he turned 1. After nearly a year of Early Intervention services, he has come so far though he is still much behind other kids his age or even a bit younger. I see kids younger than him that have an easier time expressing themselves and communicating, and I feel guilty that I have somehow failed my toddler. It isn’t true though; I didn’t fail him. He only missed 3  weekly sessions between both specialists in the past year, due to illness. I sat by diligently observing the sessions to see how I could help him, and listened to every piece of advice I was given to help. At age 3, he would be able to receive these services no longer and our only hope to continue these types of services was through the local preschool.

The meeting went pretty much as I had predicted, which I will get into. The evaluators were the school psychologist and the speech pathologist. The psychologist started speaking quite frankly to us. “I witnessed some worrisome behaviors”. “He has incredible attention and focus issues and is really unable to sit still for any amount of time”. “He is quite brilliant”. I was all over the place with what was going to happen. Not that I didn’t understand what she was saying; I understood everything she was saying. But it was all mixed signals. I felt I knew where this was going though. The speech pathologist also remarked how intelligent he was, but noted that she did not feel he had a speech delay. (This point was argued by my son’s actual speech pathologist, stating that not giving him specialize services could be detrimental to his progress, as she feels he may be diagnosed with apraxia, which can’t be diagnosed until 3.)When that happened, my heart dropped. This experience could have been good for him. It could have helped him.

Finally, after the evaluators stopped talking, the head of the special needs program spoke and mentioned it was decision time. She informed us that she had a checklist she needed to go through to see if he qualified. She asked the speech pathologist if there was a speech delay, she said “no, not significant enough”. I remembered thinking it was easy for her to say after only spending 20 minutes with him. The special needs lead said “cognition and social delay”. The psychologist said “absolutely yes, to a point of hindering his speech and possibly his future education”. After a the rest of the list was “no”, I had started to give up hope that this was going to happen. The lead circled another item or two on the list, and looked up saying “your son qualifies for services, so we’re going to draw up the IEP”. The moral of this story? As I had predicted, he would not get in on his speech. Also as I predicted, he got in based on his overly energetic, mischievous, curious and often troublemaker behaviors. (It was later joked by my husband that they took so much pity on me for having to spend so much time alone with him that they figured they would give me a break.) Their reasoning? He would learn structure and be able to learn how to control his often wild inhibitions and channel that energy into focusing on his learning, which they feel would help him be significantly more intelligent than he already is. If they can get him to settle down, focus, and start paying attention, it will improve his speech, and earn them a medal in my book if they can accomplish that enormous feat.

They started to write his IEP. “He is not to be left unsupervised at all; he will escape and do what he wants”. Fact: they are right. “May need breaks from the classroom to release some of his overabundance of energy”. Also fact, though it’s been my experience that he has a never-ending flow of energy. My kid will be the one having his hand held in the line because he won’t walk in it, and my mother and speech pathologist have correctly identified that it is better this way as he would probably lead a group of rogue toddlers away from the group and go to the playground by themselves. I will not complain. All that matters to me is that he got into preschool, with a guaranteed and free slot through the special needs program. He will get a positive start in his education that I would never have been able to afford. The speech pathologist said that they will quickly learn my son’s difficulties with speech and change his IEP to include services. There is no negative here. The system worked, and I couldn’t be happier.

 

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The Big Day is Here

After this often trying journey, the papers are signed and the keys are mine. My first order of business is going to be to get in there and just take it all in. This is ours, a place that we have worked hard for. There’s nothing more rewarding than being able to walk in and say “this is something we earned and worked our butts off for”. I say it all the time, there’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishing your goals that you worked a long time towards. Sure, it would’ve been easier to settle but this feels damn good.

It might not be the largest home but it’s our first and it’s ours, though the 0.35 acre yard is pretty awesome. It might be furnished with mostly second hand stuff, but we bought it. It’s a freeing independence to know that we’re succeeding enough to have our own home, something that is ours and we can do whatever we want to it without worrying about someone telling us we can’t paint with that color. A nice starter home where our boys can have their own rooms (for now) and can run free.

This is one of the most exciting, albeit one of the most stressful, things we have ever done. But to get the greatest rewards in life, you need to work and earn them. I can’t wait to turn this house into a home for our family. More to come, next stage will be following my journey to decorating our home.

Updates on Homes and Careers.

I missed Friday on account of it being errand day, full of doctors and dentists. I tried my best, especially since I swore I wouldn’t miss any more posts, but it didn’t work out for me. Today I am back, and as mediocre as ever. Now, to play catch up.
The appraisal came back on our (hopeful) home. I was concerned about this, just slightly, since this was pretty much the only huge obstacle between us and the loan approval. This is considering that the cash gift doesn’t tank the whole deal. Most people agree we should be fine. Since we had the capabilities for a higher preapproval than we asked for, I hope that means we don’t have to worry so much soon. With our closing date approaching at the end of next week, I’m getting anxious that we haven’t heard anything yet. I’m mastering the deep breathing, since this entire process has caused my anxiety to spike. Soon. Everything with come together. It’s fate. This house would not come back to us twice if it weren’t meant to be. Right?
My comic venture is almost complete. I’ve gotten used to my awesome graphic tablet, and I can draw as successfully on it as I can paper. The next step is figuring how to add text in the program I am using. Currently I am working with Comicado lite, as I’m not sure about going with the full version just yet until I figure out if this venture is worth the time. (Not just monetarily, but enjoyment as well.) July 14, I hope to officially launch my first comic.
Other changes coming in July? My blog, which has mostly been focused on the house hunt, will be changing topics assuming the close happens as planned. It will focus on the obvious next step of the move: the updating and decorating of the home. With pictures included. I also hope to be able to restart my parenting/mom Hubpages, since the setup of the new house allows for double duty of stay-at-home parenting and work from home writer.
There are so many changes coming and I’m glad to have you guys around for this ride. With getting a now steady cash flow from my writing and getting this new home with my family, I feel like I’m living a dream I never thought would happen. I’m a published author (ebooks available on the Kindle, link on the sidebar “To Buy My Work”), blogger, and a contributor on a music website called Musikface. I couldn’t have achieved any of this without my husband pushing me to not give up on my dreams, which was a tough job for him at several points. Thank you guys for continually coming back and sharing this journey with me.

The Easter Bunny Never Forgets

In all my parenting emails and reading parenting magazines, I saw several articles about making the holiday fun and exciting for your kids. I saw a few stress-free party ideas. I never once saw an article about “Survival Guide to In-Laws and Other Awkward Situations”. Luckily, all my In-Laws are nice people. It’s really not their fault I’m an anti-social shut in that doesn’t know how to associate with other people. It’s actually a miracle my husband puts up with me, because sometimes I lack any sense of what’s appropriate and not. So far, I don’t think I’ve offended them so let’s hope I keep up the streak.

For instance, I was more excited that I dared to try on a “pre-pregnancy” shirt to see if it fit so I didn’t have to wear my husband’s shirts like I do around the house. A miracle, it fit! I tried on another, with similar luck. I tried on the jeans, and that wasn’t even close. I say it all the time, but “little victories”. Sad to say, I was actually more excited about this than the holiday. I should be ashamed that I said that, but I’m honestly not. I feel very awesome at this time.

The truth is, your mother and mother in law will never let you forget that you gained weight. They don’t do it purposely, and I doubt it’s really malicious. I think it’s just nature to note things of that nature, and they decide that you deserve to know whether you want the reminder or not. So when one mentions that you’ve lost a lot of weight, you get giddy like a schoolgirl and get excited. In my head, I squealed with delight. I’m not entirely sure whether it was just in my head. I really don’t care though, I just want to fit in my clothes again and feel like a human. Or I’ll settle for “just like a me”.

No matter how long you’ve known your in-laws or have been married into the family, I still feel like there’s a need to make sure they don’t hate you. They don’t need to like you just because you’re part of the family. They can sense insincerity and will definitely prey an any weakness that might make them consider you as unworthy of their child’s affections. So the big tip is to be yourself, but a more tamed and better version of yourself. Bite your tongue more often than you normally would and smile and nod when you need to. If you keep those in mind, you’ll be fine and you’ll have a happy life with your spouse. Mostly because every holiday won’t be a fight because you’ll actually enjoy spending time with them.

Oh Pregnancy, Where Did You Go?

I was posed a question on a website the other day: what do you miss most about being pregnant? I laughed for a moment, and wondered what someone could possibly miss about being pregnant. You’re fat. You can’t see you’re own feet, which is shocking with how much they seem to swell up. Every muscle in your body feels like they want to fail you. You have pimples and skin tags and sweat a lot. The only relief to any of this is to a) get half your body numbed while you pop out a baby that seems way too big to come out; b) get half your body numbed while they cut you open right in front of your eyes; or c) refuse medicine for whatever reason and squeeze out something that seems 100lbs and 7 ft. tall. What could you possibly miss about any of that?

I took the question seriously though, there must’ve been something. My husband is always amazing so it’s not that the pregnancy transformed a moderate guy into an angel. In fact, it turned my husband into a completely nervous version of himself that jumped at every “ouch” or clung onto me as if every step I was going to take was going to make me fall. It wasn’t that I got to buy a whole new wardrobe, I got a few things to survive but I hate shopping so there was no enjoyment in any of this. Then it hit me, and I decided to make a list of what I miss about being pregnant.

1) You’re not fat, you’re pregnant. With every pound that was gained, I felt it. Obviously it was completely mental, I couldn’t physically feel every pound that I gained. I was fat, in my mind. I was huge. Well the being huge wasn’t in my head, I really was pretty big. But I wasn’t fat. Every time the words “I’m fat” came out of my mouth, 10 people would point out that you’re not fat, you’re giving another human being life. Pregnant does not equal fat. It’s all a sham, you really are fat when you gain that much weight. But it felt really good to pretend that it really was just being pregnant. That isn’t a license to eat whatever you want though, that’s really terrible for you.

2) Sure, You can carry that. You always have no faith in people. There’s not a nice one in the bunch… or is there? People are surprisingly nice when they see that lovely baby bump. I’m not sure if it’s because a pregnant woman brings out the kindness in people, or they’re just afraid of the wrath of a pregnant woman’s hormones. Either way, I won’t complain about people giving up their seat for me or helping carry bags to the car because my husband’s arms are full and I obviously can’t help because pregnancy does equal “inability to do anything”. (Sarcasm.)

3) Cravings? The final positive is cravings. Some people believe cravings are a myth, I don’t. But I definitely know cravings aren’t only felt by pregnant women. My biggest cravings were Chipotle’s Chicken Tacos (with extra cheese and spicy salsa), Panera Caesar Salad, and fruit salad (Strawberries, Watermelon, and pineapple, to be exact). What’s great about that is those are foods I constantly want when I’m not pregnant, just when you’re pregnant you just get them to appear in front of you with little effort if any at all. What’s better is my husband definitely used my pregnancy as an excuse for his cravings. “She wanted fruit, and I figured I’d get some beef jerk, salt and vinegar chips with pepperoncinis, and chocolate since I was at the store anyways”. I was a scapegoat, but this one definitely benefited us both. Though, now I really want Chipotles…

It doesn’t feel like it when you’re fat and it’s the middle of summer, but there are some positives that you need to find. Otherwise, you’re going to go crazy and sometimes you need more than the imagined version of that child inside of you. They cry all the time, they poop and pee all over you, and you never get a good night’s sleep. If you focus on the negatives all the time during pregnancy and that first year, you won’t make it out with your sanity intact.

The New Mom Diaries

Now that it’s halfway through my baby’s 4th month alive on this planet, I think I have as coherent list of advice as anyone can who chases around an active infant. It’s always important to impart whatever wisdom you have on others, a nice way to pay it forward. Everyone is so willing to give advice, and let’s be honest, most of the time you never asked or wanted it. Sometimes you’re lucky and you think back to it and go “oh well that was great advice” in a non-sarcastic manner. I’ll be honest though, most of the time you won’t be that lucky. A lot of what I’m going to say here, I have written before. But I think that my advice was so awesome, that I should reshare it. That, and I’m way too tired/lazy to go back and see it as I’m sure you are. Or maybe you’re new here, and you’re in for a treat. A treat of some sort, anyways.

  1. A Deer in headlights looking at the parenting section. I can recall staring at the pregnancy section of Barnes & Noble, wondering which book on breast-feeding I wanted to get. Wanted? More like needed. (More on this topic later.) Books are terrible when it comes to pregnancy, breastfeeding, and child rearing. I actually think they’re scamming new parents half the time. Sure, they are great when it comes to the changes in your body or what to expect in scientific scenarios. They don’t capture the emotions or the possibility of other scenarios you’re going to need to adjust to. Any book on these topics are a fantastic starting point. I say starting point because they don’t discuss any variables, just the way things are in normal circumstances, but how many live through normal circumstances. None of my pregnancy books had the information to prepare me on an induction, but thank goodness for free information on the internet that seems it’s only there to make you more terrified about an already terrifying situation. So, books are good if you’re new to the game in general and great for tidbits of knowledge like the fetal development and such. Terrible on everything else.
  2. What To Expect When You’re Not Expecting It. My first pregnancy was perfectly storybook, well in terms of its progression, not anything else about it. I gave birth right down to my exact due date. The second one? Entirely different. I gained a lot of weight, I gained it quicker, and I was nearly 2 weeks past my due date. You can compile all the knowledge you think you need, then you can compile all the information on top of that you think you also should get. I’ll give you a great word of advice: All that knowledge can only go so far, because you really can’t prepare yourself fully for any of it. It’s like a crash course, only if you fail, you take little unknowing children down with you. This is one class you really can’t afford to fail. The best thing you can do is realize that you’re not going to get what you expect to. Plans change, and we need to adjust. And in this case, always prepare yourself for the worst case scenario. It can mentally prepare you in case you’re faced with it.
  3. Great Expectations and Failures. Never ever let someone make you feel guilty because your plans failed. You want to go in for natural child-birth, and 4 hours later you beg for an epidural after all. You plan and study on how to breastfeed, but for whatever reason things didn’t fall into place for this. People will probably judge you for this, I’m not going to lie. I’ve even experienced this as a second time mom. It’s your job to readjust your plans however you think you need to and be strong enough to stand up for that. I planned to breastfeed, and my son just couldn’t do it. He even had problems latching onto the bottle. It wasn’t in the cards for me to nurse, but my husband felt very strongly about his children getting the best. He bought me the best pump he could afford to buy me, and I learned to grow accustomed to feeling like a milk cow. People said “you just didn’t try hard enough” or made me feel like they thought that because I couldn’t nurse my son, that I couldn’t bond with them. (More on this topic later.) My adjustment made me no less of a mother than a person feeding their child formula or having an epidural. Everyone is different, and children are born into all of these scenarios and come out perfectly fine. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty, life is all about changing plans and adapting to your situations.
  4. The Great Mother/Child Bond. People say that nursing and skin to skin contact is the best way to form a bond with your child that is everlasting. I think that’s a lie. You’re child will bond with you because it can sense your love and it trusts you to take care of it. Your family and friends mean well giving out this advice, but not everyone’s comfortable with the idea of putting a naked baby skin to skin with you. I wasn’t comfortable about this, and my children are doing very well. Babies know who loves them and knows who takes care of them. That’s all a baby really needs to bond with you. Every time you feed it, while you stare into each others eyes, you are bonding. Every time you smile at each other, you’re bonding.
  5. The Gut. My final piece of advice is simple: You know. As a mother, you might be completely lost your first time. People have asked me “how do you know if ___?” My answer is always the same: You know. Your instinct will be the #1 tool in your arsenal, followed only by patience and the ability to work under very stressful situations. You can sense when you’re child is in pain, you know when they’re hungry, and you’ll definitely know when they need to be changed. Babies are simple beings, but they know exactly how to tell you what they want. Likewise, you’ll get a nice gut feeling that you need to learn to follow. A mother always knows, sometimes even more than the doctors and other professionals do.

Keep all that in mind. All the books in the world won’t be able to help you, neither will all the advice. Sometimes you just have to accept that things won’t go as planned or as expected and you need to learn that it’s completely ok. All that matters is you raise your child to be a great person and an incredible addition to this world.

 

It’s Like Petfinder, But With Kids.

It was going to happen eventually, when the discussion would end up with a consideration of our future with kids. Are we done, do we want more, etc. I laugh when people ask me, “are you going to have more?” The last thing you think about when you can still close your eyes and remember and re-feel everything from the last birth, is another child. I made no secret that I wanted a girl this time around, since I already had one boy and I didn’t want to be overrun in a houseful of testosterone. No such luck, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because my baby is absolutely perfect.

I did know that a point would come when we had to have the talk. Do we try again in 2 years? 5 years? Are we done because we have 2 beautiful boys as is? We do want a girl, that much we absolutely agree on. How we get there though, that’s what we’re figuring out. What happens if we try again and we  are blessed with a 3rd little boy? We can’t afford the test tube baby for a guaranteed girl, and quite honestly I’m certain no one would be happy with us going that route. Then my husband researched adoption, and said that maybe we should just consider that. They need a home, we’d love a girl, why not?

I decided to research this myself. I’m on the fence, mostly because I like the idea of a baby with a clean slate. Adopting a baby girl is a lot more expensive and a lot longer of a wait. In researching, I discovered how sad it was. It was almost like when I look at Petfinder to look at all the puppies I’d love to adopt, only with children needing homes. It seemed so wrong to make that comparison. But I mean… how can you not? You chose from age and gender options and up comes pictures with descriptions. I’m not sure which saddens me more though: the fact that there are that many kids that need a home with a loving family or that we’ve resorted to picking them out like you pick out your future animals for their “forever home”.

It’s a lot to consider. I know that despite all my self-deprecating humor where I talk about how terrible of a mother I am, I’m actually pretty decent at it. Shocking considering I never really wanted kids, but it came pretty naturally. I’ll approach it like I do most everything in life: I’ll think about it in a mostly cold and logical manner until I just know what I’m going to do. I’ll admit it’s enticing to think about having a child without having to destroy my body further with another pregnancy for a guaranteed outcome. We’ll see, you never know where the road will take you until you follow it. Unless you have a map… which unfortunately life doesn’t come with.