Friday, October 26, 2007

Evaluation Update: Some Answers

We have finally received the full report on the evaluations they've done for G through his school. The school psychologist (who has been amazing through this whole process) called both GH and I first to explain what it is we'd be seeing on the report, what it meant, and what the possibilities for G's school future looked like.

The first thing that was addressed, once again, was G's incredible intelligence. All of his cognitive testing confirmed that he is above normal intelligence, which gives him the need to be constantly stimulated and challenged. When this is lacking, it causes G a lot of boredom and frustration. Though they don't begin testing for Gifted and Talented classes until third grade at G's school, it was suggested that we all try to work together to make something happen for him sooner than that.

On the emotional and social side, it was determined that G was lacking some critical connections. Combined with his intelligence level, it made the gap that much wider. To make a long evaluation summery short, it was determined that G has a high probability of Asperger's.

Unfortunately the school psychologist can not give us an official diagnosis. However, with these tests already in place, and the the determination of Asperger's in place, it should make the official diagnosis piece that much easier.

Excited with the progress, I called the specialist who's waiting list we're on for G's further evaluations and diagnosis. Since I hadn't heard anything since I sent them the initial paperwork, I wanted to check that he was still on the list, and fax them the school evaluations to put in his file. The secretary confirmed that he was put on the list in April, and reminded me that it was up to a year out before someone would be available to see G. Six months down, perhaps another six to go before we receive the final, definitive answers.

Even though nothing is officially official quite yet, at least now we have some validation as parents for what we've been experiencing for so long. Now we can tell ourselves that we're not just ignorant parents who don't know how to respond to their own child, but parents who have faced a challenging situation the best we can while operating blind.

We will be meeting with G's school team again soon to start to work on what's best for G in his school life. Now that we have a little more light, I hope it will keep us from running into the walls, at least for a little while.....

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sleepless Nights

The past two weeks have been plagued by sleeplessness. The stress, the anxiety, has finally decided to manifest itself in endless tossing and turning, in vivid, startling dreams, and babbling nonsense to my husband in my sleep.

GH still hasn't found a job. The bills pile high, threatening to drown me. I fight, I swim, I struggle to keep my head above water.

G's evaluation results are almost ready. The school psychologist said she wants to call us and talk to us on Tuesday before she sends them out. Did she find something so bad she wants to break it to us personally? Or, did she find nothing, and wants to let us know we're the nutty ones here?

K has been acting out now too. We suspect it's because she's jealous of all the attention G has been getting lately. I found my deodorant crushed and smeared on her furniture and rug. She emptied a bottle of detangler, though I have yet to discover where. She snuck into the kitchen and shoved a cinnamon roll into her mouth, dashing to her room to hide it, like a greedy little chipmunk. The list goes on. We will deal with it the best we can, as always. If I start finding decapitated Barbie dolls though, I'm running away from home.....

My work is suffering. My mind slips from lack of sleep, anxiety makes me jumpy and irritable. I have a quiz tomorrow as part of my medication certification. I worry I won't pass.

I feel unfulfilled in my career. I want to be a writer. I want to be a teacher. But being a teacher requires more school, and we can't afford for me to be out of work. Being a writer requires time and talent I'm afraid I no longer have. Putting myself through college as a single mother, all the work, all the dreams, seem for not.

I'm failing. I'm falling. I'm suffocating. Sleep will continue to slip away...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Haiku Friday

Part of Play Groups Are No Place For Children's fabulous Haiku Friday :)

Haiku Friday

Bills I have to pay
Can I live without cable?
Food is essential

Siblings fighting loud
Their voices pierce the morning
Coffee won't fix it

Children do strange things
Makes me want to scratch my head
Small funny weirdos

Yeah for Haiku fun
Gives me good things for my blog
Less work for my brain

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Watch Me, No Watch Me! has tagged me for a meme, and I couldn't be happier. This is the first one I've ever been tagged for. I feel like a cool kid now :)

4 Jobs I have had:
Victoria's Secret- Yeah for employee discount!
Advertising Sales- Painful, oh so painful...
Trade Magazine Editor- My favorite job by far
Working with adults with disabilities- Rewarding, but oh so stressful

4 Movies I love to watch over and over:
Fried Green Tomatoes
The Princess Bride

4 Places I have lived:
New Jersey

4 TV shows I enjoy watching:
Law and Order: SVU
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (yes, it's off the air, but I have all seven seasons on DVD)

4 Places I have been:
Mexico City, Mexico
Moscow, Russia
St. Petersburg, Russia
New Mexico

4 Websites I visit daily:
Everyone on my blog roll
The Superficial

4 Favorite Foods:
Fried Chicken
Anything Mexican
Anything Asian
Anything Indian

4 Places I would rather be:
At home working on crafts
Playing with the kids
On a tropical island, laying on the beach
Back in college

Thanks again to Watch Me, No Watch Me!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


*While getting K dressed in her PJ's*

Me: So K, how do you like Mrs. E so far? Is she nice? Are you learning a lot?

K: Mmmmmmmm...... *looking skyward, thoughtfully* she's, um...... tender.

Me: Tender? *Immediately breathless at such a deep, and very complex descriptive word. Congratulating myself on raising such an intuitive and brilliant little girl.* What do you mean by tender?

K: Well.... *fluffing her hands a bit* just tender.

Me: *At this point wondering if "tender" means "soft and squishy" which she is fond of calling me. I saw my Mother Of The Year award slipping away* You think Mrs. E is soft?

K: No, she pulls the sting *making strange pulling motions with her hands*

Me: Pulls the string?

K: Yeah, she pulls the bad string.

Me: What the heck is the bad string?

K: *exasperated at me now* The bad string. The one that that makes her mean. She's made me work on something for three days because I didn't finish it.

Me: Well K, that's what teachers do. You have to finish your school work you know. Don't you like Mrs. E most of the time?

K: Yeah, well, she's been under the weather. I'm sure she'll be nicer when she's not under the weather *trotting off to brush her teeth*

Me: Um, I see.

K: My friend Mary taught me those words you know. Tender, and under the weather.

Me: Good to know you're learning something.

Mary is also the friend that has taught K to cheer lead obsessively. And swing her hair around while she does it. And do the sassy little hip tosses that freak me out.
Thanks so much Mary.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More Tests, More Questions, More Progress

This morning GH and I had an appointment to meet with G's school psychologist to go over the evaluations she's done, discuss her findings, and to answer a whole slew of new questions.

Thanks to this impending meeting, I slept poorly last night, and this morning was an anxiety ridden, Type A freak fest. I rousted GH out of bed who grumbled and asked what I was flipping out for. K needed a lunch packed for her fist school field trip, I was in such a frantic state that I didn't realize I packed a peanut butter sandwich until about 15 minutes ago. The kids school is strictly peanut-free, and I'm usually super diligent about follow the no peanut code. Now I'm just hoping the teacher doesn't think I'm an ass, and wondering if K will be able to eat her sandwich.

When we sat down to begin the meeting the psychologist, a very sweet and attentive lady, shared with us what she had found so far. In tests regarding G's cognitive abilities, G shone. His intelligence level is incredibly high, and the psychologist was stunned with how bright he was and how fast he picked up new tasks. We basked in that moment. Of course we always knew G was brilliant, but it's a hard thing to say out loud without sounding like, well, a loving parent. But now, there before us in graphs and numbers, was proof of my troubled child's brilliance. It took all I had not to ask for a photocopy to stick on the fridge.

Next, the psychologist assured us that she saw no need to worry about depression, something GH and I have indeed been worrying about. She told us after speaking with him, and asking a variety of questions, she didn't find any red flags for depression problems. A huge knot loosened in my chest. Now, when G screams, in one of his rages, that he hates himself, I will still be hurting for him, but know that deep down, everything's all right.

And then came the questions. The first round was a lot of questions about socialization and emotion. Does G recognize emotions in other? Does he show a knowledge of what other people are interested in? Does G have trouble interacting with groups of other children? Some of them, the answers were easy. Others, GH and i talked back and forth about, letting the psychologist pull out the answers she wanted.

After a second round of similar questions, the psychologist let us know that the first series of questions was geared specifically for determining signs of Asperger's Syndrome. She said when she was done analyzing the information, in conjunction with the information she's gathered from G's teachers, she would be able to tell us how probable it was if G indeed has Asperger's. Finally the answers we've been looking for. They're within reach, after so much time.

Amidst an impromptu fire drill, the psychologist told us she would be sending us a full report of her findings, so we could share them with our doctor, and with anyone we chose to consult with for further evaluations.

As the answers draw closer, it brings with it a whole new set of fears. What if G doesn't have Asperger's? What if it's something I'm totally unprepared for, something I haven't read up on? What if I don't know what to do? And, perhaps the strangest fear of all- what if they find nothing? What if it turns out that I just don't know how to deal with my overly intelligent child? What if it's just my parenting that's causing his fits, his frustrations and his eccentricities? What if all of this is my fault?

So, I will continue to worry, as I do everyday. I will keep telling myself that some answers will be coming soon. And I will try not to think about the fresh worries that the answers will bring.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More Mom Ink

After my last post about motherhood and tattoos, I ran across another great article on this topic on MSN. I just had to share.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Mom Ink

When I was pregnant with G, I signed up on the Parent Center website thanks to the advice of a helpful co-worker. As my pregnancy progressed, they sent me helpful articles, and updates on my baby's development. Even after G was born they sent me great updates on important milestones G should be reaching, and helpful articles and tricky parenting situations.

Now that G and K are older, I still receive the occasional email from Parent Center, notifying me of new articles, trends, and parenting advice. These days I usually glance at the title and the delete the emails without much thought. Then, a few weeks ago they sent me a link to an article which actually peeked my interest, "Trend watch: Mommy Tattoos"

Being a mom, and being tattooed is something I've struggled with for a while now. Ink became an addiction for with my first home done tattoo at 17, progressing to an artful passion as my taste and maturity developed. For me,tattoos have always been a way for me to capture an aspect of physical beauty that genetics left me lacking in. The pieces of art etched into my skin could always inspire the admiration and appreciation that my naked flesh never could.

I was always very proud of my ink, despite the admonishments of my parents, and the looks and comments from strangers. My tattoos were a part of who I was, they let the world see what I thought was beautiful, and the things I held close to my heart. With those who were kind enough to ask about my ink, I'd tell them all about the artist who did it, what the image meant to me, and why I wanted it on my body for life. To those people who never took the time to care, who could only shoot nasty looks and mutter offhand comments, well, to hell with them. I didn't let it bother me.

When I became a mother, my relationship with my tattoos changed. Because I was so young when I had G, I worked very hard to be viewed as a mature and responsible parent. This was made even harder by the fact that I was single, on top of being young. As I put myself through college after having G, I was careful to hide my ink, to make the good grades, and be a serious student. I joined a group of other single parents who attended the same college, and received support to be the best parent I could be. I don't think any of them ever realized I had any tattoos.

When K arrived, halfway through my college career, I had become more in touch with myself, no longer afraid to be outspoken, opinionated, and different. I matured as a parent, and as a person. However, my tattoos were still covered when picking up the kids at daycare, when shopping at the local grocery store in my teeny home town, or doing anything else that connected me to the world as a mother.

It wasn't until quite some time later that I broke broke with my mental stigma of tattoos= bad parent to the rest of the world. I had put myself through college, gotten a good job, and was raising two wonderful, bright, happy children. I was a good parent damn it, and I had done it all with tattoos. After I embraced that, I was ready to own my love for tattoos and show them to the world once more. A dragon took shape on my foot, winding gracefully around my ankle. A raven adorned each of my upper arms in a half-sleeve, celebrating my Nordic heritage and my pride in my guiding animal. While I could still hide my ink easily, I chose not to more often than not.

According to the Parent Center article, tattooed moms are becoming more and more commonplace. Celebrity parents proudly sport ink, and parents make up approximately 25% of the clients at the famous Hart & Huntington tattoo studio, featured on the show Inked. If you ever watch any of the other popular tattoo reality shows such as Miami Ink or L.A. Ink, you will inevitably see at least one or two parents get tattooed with an image commemorative of their children. Tattoos are becoming an more widely accepted form of expressing your love and devotion to your children. After all, they are a much more attractive body modification to show off than stretch marks. lol.

I've always known that my next tattoo would be one to represent my children. It's taken me a long time to come up with the right image, the right placement- something that would still be me, but represent my children at the same time. Finally, I formalized an image in my mind. For G, I decided on the image of an archangel, strong, just and loving. For K, a pink pixie, with a suitably naughty expression.

This past weekend, our good friend, and phenomenal tattoo artist, Jake Noury, came up to stay with us and do some tattoo work for people we knew in the area. After watching others get tattooed for several days, I was ready to take the plunge once again. Jake spent hours consulting with me on what I wanted, finally sketching a completely original design, encompassing all of the elements of G and K that it was most important for me to represent.

When I sat down in the chair, I had no idea what I was in for. The piece covered nearly half my back, my largest piece so far, and a lot of it went over my spine. I sat, I whimpered, and tried not to twitch. I nearly passed out for the first time ever while getting a tattoo. During one particularly painful part, I asked if Jake was working on G. When he said yes, I chuckled and said it figured.

The pain of the work healing has been intense. Sitting in a chair has been a torturous experience. I couldn't wear a bra for three days (true torture). Now it's itching so bad I want to rub up against a tree like a cranky bear. But it's all been worth it. The work is stunning, and I couldn't be prouder to carry my children on my back. The pain and suffering it's taken to bring to work to completion is just another cycle of birth, to bring something forth that will will be with me, and that I will love, for the rest of my life. I'll post photo's of my work as soon at soon as it's done healing.

So, the next time you see a mom with a tattoo, be kind, be considerate. Ask about it, appreciate it's story. Or, if you truly hate tattoos, please have the courtesy to keep it to yourself- that's someone else's art, someone else's body. And please remember, that mom may be a mom like me. A Strong Mom. A Smart Mom. A Professional Mom. A Tattooed Mom.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Yeah NaBloPoMo!

Yup, I'm going to do it. I'm going to blog once a day for the entire month of November. Yes, yes I am. Please join my insanity by hitting my new little button over on the side ------->>>