A Modern Mom Managing Multiples

The Gaping Chasm

It’s IEP (Individual Education Plan) season again. An IEP, for those who don’t know, is a written-down-and-must-be-followed plan for a special-needs’ child. It tells about the child–their strengths and weaknesses. It tells where they need to improve. It makes plans for that improvement and the specific steps to follow for that planned improvement.

I just had Ethan’s 2 hour one last week and will have Laura’s much-shorter one this week. Because the kids will turn 14 within the next year they both will attend their IEP’s for the first time.

Each year I’m both filled with joy and awe AND a totally overwhelmed feeling. I see where these kids began; I see just how far they’ve come. I also don’t see the future. It’s this giant, gaping chasm of ignorance, lack of control and just plain old fear. Not so much with Laura, because intellectually she’s just fine. She will go to college. She will be able to support herself.

Ethan? Who the heck knows?

We made the decision to have his IQ tested. While the school psychologist will not be able to give us a number, she will give us a “he will qualify for ID services” or “he will not qualify for ID services” (ID being intellectually disabled).

It’s the same sword we played with all those years ago when we got the autism diagnosis. Ethan had all these quirky things–things that, to me, were disparate and didn’t fit together. The developmental pediatrician at duPont heard my list and said almost immediately that she thought he was on the spectrum. I was stunned. Somewhat horrified. But still, glad for the tentative diagnosis. All her tests were vision-based, so we went to the school psychologist and he confirmed with his testing that Ethan was autistic. High-functioning, but still, autistic.

So, fast forward some years and that’s where we are. The double-edged sword of a diagnosis. We don’t WANT him to qualify for ID services. We don’t WANT him to BE intellectually disabled. But if he IS, then we want what he would qualify for–services, support, help, planning, etc.

And the future continues to be a big, gaping, scary chasm of unknowing.

Last Thursday Catie decided it was high time someone got sick around here and brought home a stomach bug. She ever so nicely shared it with me. My children are often thoughtful that way. So we spent Thursday and Friday on the couch and loveseat, not eating a whole lot and feeling rather miserable. Sunday morning, when I woke up feeling quite fine, thankyouverymuch, Ethan woke up with a hacking cough and major congestion and Laura had the stomach bug.

1. One type of virus at a time, world. That should TOTALLY be in the rule book.

Sunday Ethan got a small nose bleed. That night I stepped off my side porch and my ankle gave out AGAIN and I went down on the pavers really really hard. Spend the rest of the evening with it propped up and not getting anything done. Monday, off from school, Ethan got a MAJOR nosebleed that we just couldn’t get to stop. I had us both in coats, ready to head to the ER at 9pm when finally FINALLY it decided to quit. Today, Tuesday, I woke up with a really sore throat and headache and overall I’m-definitely-coming-down-with-a-cold feeling.

2. Double not fair, world. I put off laundry because of being sick and then because I couldn’t stand long enough to do it and now I feel rotten? My kids need clothes! I NEED CLOTHES!

So from me to you, dear readers, WASH YOUR HANDS and keep your children away from mine. They are world-class germ sharers.

A Crisp and Shiny New Year

Just waiting for all the possibilities to become realities.

For the first time in awhile, I find myself somewhat excited about the new year. It is a man-made institution and really no different from yesterday? Sure! But it’s still a kind of great excuse to “start fresh” if you want. And I want.

For the first time in a LONG time, God is exciting. My relationship with him feels like a marriage that was on the rocks for a long time, but then the couple decides to really work on it and things improve. Except that God didn’t really give up on me, did He? I gave up, moved away and wanted the separation. I wanted the dingy, smelly apartment with the bug-ridden kitchen and dim bulbs and orange shag carpet. Because it seemed so much better than working on my marriage. Stupid, stupid Tina. I’m back at home with my Lord, cuddling on the couch and planning our future again. And happy about the fact.

**Side note: my parents’ house really had orange carpets when I was growing up. Orange has been my least-favorite color for many, many years in honor of that.**

My sister used an app called My Fitness Pal and managed, using basic math of LESS IN to lose 35 lbs in 2014. I have downloaded the app and been fooling around with it. While it’s somewhat depressing to see just how few calories a 5′ 1″ woman who wants to lose weight gets to eat, it’s definitely eye-opening to realize that my morning cup of coffee (that sometimes makes its way to two cups), eats up 1/12th of my allotted daily needs. That’s a LOT of calories for a drink!

So while I’m not making any ridiculous New Year’s resolutions that I will break in two weeks, my word for 2015 is RECOMMITTED. To God. To my health and well-being. To our new church. To growth. Such a good place to be, don’t you think?!

Awhile back I posted about Being Stuck. Addiction. God. Parenting one of my children. Those three things had me mired in a place where I just couldn’t move. Not an inch. I couldn’t seem to get out of where i was but I HATED where I was.

So I started counseling.

And put a sort of block on my cellphone. Because, people, even 20 freaking years into this recovery I still cannot handle unaccountable time on the internet.I MUST have someone looking over my shoulder. Really. MUST. For September and October and even most of November I was what I’ll call unwillingly sober. Forced because of my accountability software. Somewhere in late November something switched. Whether my brain chemicals finally caught up with the fact that hey, you’re sober! Or I’m far enough on the path towards God that it cleared my brain, but I finally WANT to be sober. If thoughts come into my brain I shoo them away instead of lovingly caress them and call them my precious. If a plot from a book floats into my thoughts, I put my thoughts onto something else. It’s GOOD people! Really GOOD.

God and I are back on speaking terms. That, too, is GOOD. We’re going to church, somewhat regularly. I’d like to make some friends there, but hopefully that will come in time. I don’t automatically blow Him off when something crosses my mind that’s difficult (i.e. Connor’s passing away). It’s good. I LIKE being on better terms with God.

The parenting thing…well…2 out of 3 ain’t bad, right? Just kidding! I’m still going to her (although taking a short break for the holiday craziness) and am still working on the parenting thing. I’m really struggling with one particular child right now–which has happened in the past and has ultimately passed–but this time it’s lasting longer and seems to be more difficult. So I’ll keep working on it…and the sobriety and the God thing and….life is work, Highness. Anyone who tells you differently is selling something. Right?!

For Today

FOR TODAY November 16, 2014

Outside my window… Mostly melted snow, sunny, upper 30’s/lower 40’s. Winter’s comin’ folks!

I am thinking…I should really start some laundry

I am thankful… that we watched our church service from home and consequently had a great conversation with the kids about money and tithing.

In the kitchen… On tap for dinner is pork roast, noodles and green beans. Which will be complained about. Because green beans.

I am wearing… Pajamas. Sorry, sad but true. Rare for me at 12 noon.

I am creating… a menu for the upcoming week. Chili and pizza are all I have so far.

I am going… to dinner with a friend next Saturday and an evening at church to put together gift bags of toiletries for women in shelters.

I am wondering… how long it will take to put away all the filing I have to do.

I am reading… Home Again by Annie Smith and An Unexpected Match by Gayle Roper

I am hoping… to continue on my path TOWARDS God instead of staying AWAY from God.

I am looking forward to… getting to know the women at our new church. Also, I’m nervous because I am shy.

I am hearing…Jim playing Age of Empires, Bennett typing playing Minecraft, Catie and Laura playing on their 3DS’s…oh wait, Catie just put on Disney’s Ant Farm. I am heartily SICK of Disney!

Around the house… our dishwasher is not working great. To get the dishes clean enough we have to run it on “super heavy duty”, which takes a long time and a lot of water. And the repair guy hasn’t showed up yet. I’m annoyed.

I am pondering… If I want to help out on Friday at Catie’s all-school-Thanksgiving feast. I’m not, by nature, a school-helper-outer, but I want to do SOMETHING.

One of my favorite things… We just found Rosatello Rosso, a sweet red wine that both Jim and I love.

A few plans for the rest of the week… Driving the daily carpool to West Chester, Catie’s conferences, Catie’s horseback riding lesson, Catie’s orthodontist appointment, Ethan’s horseback riding lesson, dinner with Carol, dinner at church, policing the daily schoolwork…so much of my life revolves around the kids these days!

7 Quick Takes Friday

7 Quick Takes Friday

1. As of yesterday, I am coasting more quickly towards the big 5-0. At 46, I can still say I’m in my “mid-40’s”, but I’m closer to 50 than 40. You know what? It doesn’t bother me one bit. Other than the lower back pain I have every morning, and the various muscle aches I get when I weed the front garden, and waking up in the middle of the night a lot more often, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the 40’s. I’m guessing the 50’s will only get better…and worse. Better emotionally and spiritually, a little worse physically.

2. As I’m typing here in our schoolroom, I glanced around for a moment and caught sight of one of our dogs. Both used to sack out in the living room on the couches for their naps. One day I had the bright idea to bring downstairs the unused cat bed. Jake, being a small dog (22 lbs), and loving anything that squishes him and puts him into a small space, immediately fell in love. See?

Jake in Bed

How cute is he??

3. Driving the carpool home yesterday afternoon, what started out as liquid precipitation (aka RAIN), about 2/3 the way home switched over to frozen precipitation (aka SNOW). Now, I don’t know about your part of the country, but southeastern PA is not known for getting snow in November. It’s even rare in December. This does not bode well for the upcoming winter. None of us, and I mean NONE OF US, want to live through a repeat of the winter of 2013-2014. Please, Lord, come quickly? :-)

4. Counseling is going well, I would say. And God is doing that thing He does, you know, where you’re working through something and all of a sudden all you hear is songs and sermons and messages about that particular topic? Yeah, that. I’m working though Connor’s death and now Ravi Zacharias is speaking on his new book about suffering. James MacDonald speaks about it. There’s a new song out about it. I GET IT, GOD! (not yelling in a mean way, but in a good way!)

5. I didn’t put this on Facebook, but I’ll say it here: Ethan was kissed ON THE MOUTH a couple of days ago at school. Um, WHAT? The teacher talked to both the girl and Ethan, and then had a general conversation with the whole class. It would never have occurred to Ethan to kiss someone–he’s just not there yet developmentally–and he was kind of embarrassed about the whole thing. My youngest, Catie, has a major crush on a boy at school. She’s 11. He’s 13. I don’t think an 8th grade boy is going to want to have anything to do with a 6th grade girl, but oh, man, I was not expecting all this romantic stuff this year! Bennett and Laura don’t have that yet, for which I am extremely grateful.

6. I just yesterday found out that iPod Touches can do FaceTime and texting. I am extremely excited about this, because it has the potential to put off the phone conversation for a year at least. If they can text and talk to their friends, they don’t need a phone! And it’s cheaper, because there’s no monthly fee. I just have to pay for iPod touches, which, ok, I’m not thrilled about, either, but it’s better than the cost of a phone!

7. A casting director is going to get back to me today about whether Ethan can try out for a Comcast commercial for blind 6-12 year olds even though he’s 13. I’m of two minds…it could be a wonderful experience for him. On the other hand, the filming would be mid-December for three days. That’s three days I’m (or Jim is) not home with the kids, including the day of Laura’s Christmas concert. So, yeah, mixed feelings. But we want to have Ethan do neat things, and quite frankly, how cool is being in a commercial?! Oh, the struggles of being a parent. Hard, but so darn worth it!

15 Second Challenge

One of the blogs I read talked about kissing one’s spouse for 15 seconds each day instead of a peck. I don’t know when it happened, but we’ve settled into a peck marriage. Oh, not always, obviously, but one day I tried to do the 15 second thing. It completely changed the kiss, and my feelings in the process. I told my husband about it and agreed it was a nice idea.

The sad thing is, you guys, that we haven’t done it since. 15 seconds of kissing is just too long, apparently. I blame us both. We’ve gotten so stuck into pecks that being intentional about it is what it’s going to take, and we aren’t doing it.

So I’m challenging you AND myself–try it! Be intentional! Kiss your spouse!

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 57 other followers