Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Darger



I've been putting some of my music up on band camp! Check it out. And you should know that I can see whenever someone skips a song without finishing it. I KNOW.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My Little Bird

The other day, I spent some time looking back over a few years of blog posts. I'm so glad I kept this blog! Oh, how I've changed, how my children have grown, how our world has shifted. I started this blog pretty much right after Beatrice was born. It's fascinating to go back and see a record of her early years. What she was like, how she progressed. The ways I described her and our challenges.

It's especially interesting because through most of those years, James and I knew she was different, but we didn't have any way of understanding her differences. Why was she so challenging? Why did she struggle so much in areas that Amby did not? Her development with just so strange and singular. But when you are in it, I mean, in the thickest part of the forest, you can't really see anything but the daily trials coming at you bam bam bam.

Last year, she was in K5 and things were not going well. At all. We thought it was just the big changes in her life (D-I-V-O-R-C-E) and she'd get over it and settle down. Amby was fine, but Bea always struggled more with changes. It got out of control. We weren't sure what would happen first: flunking K5 or getting expelled for violence.

Finally in a last-ditch effort, I took her to a new pediatrician who works with a social worker and psychologist in her office. After meeting Bea and talking privately with me about Bea's issues (I make sure to not talk about these in front of the child), the MD made a quick and easy ADHD diagnosis. James and I expected that. Her regular pediatrician had said ODD, but we did our own research. Then the pediatrician said the words that stopped me in my tracks:

pervasive developmental delays 

Doesn't that just sound awful? Don't even say it out loud. It's Autism Spectrum Disorder. Formerly, we would have said Aspergers Syndrome for someone like Beatrice, but terminology is changing as scientists learn more about this super complex issue.

So that began almost a year of research, insurance stuff, calling specialists, getting on waiting lists, emergency visits to Spartanburg Mental Health, seeking support and not finding it, learning new ways of dealing with a very challenging child and getting into therapy. And there's been a grieving process. I'd spent all of her first five years thinking she was just a late bloomer and it would all be "normal" soon enough. That fantasy is gone now.

Bea is in first grade. She loves math and science and her reading comprehension is remarkable. She can memorize like nobody's business (strange facts and number sequences, not things that would help her socially). I dress her and bathe her. She still hates to wear clothes. She doesn't have any friends her age, but now that she's on treatment, she can remember the names of some of her classmates. She deals with a lot of anxiety and still has trouble managing big feelings. Tantrums. TANTRUMS.

So there's no happily ever after with this. It's just a context.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

On Repeat



Lately I've had obsessions with albums. An album I play on repeat in the car. One for the office. One at home. They don't change for about a week. In some cases, it's a few weeks!

Here are some recent/current obsessions:

All Hail West Texas by the Mountain Goats. Every song rips out my heart and tears it into pieces that slowly float down in front of me while I drive. "Too far gone to catch them all, but not too far gone to care."

The Best of Leonard Cohen. What else is there to say? Before I switched to Cohen, it was Simon and Garfunkel's Bookends and Bridge Over Troubled Water. There's a way the sounds of these albums make me feel, but there are also associations that bring me back again and again. Justus sings some Cohen songs. Simon and Garfunkel provided a backdrop to the days leading up to Jonathan's return to LA.

Lodger by Bowie. All the way up, late at night, driving. I think Lodger rules.

Bloom by Beach House. This is on repeat in my office these days. It was nice when I had the office to myself for a few days this week and I turned this on and all they way up.

And then reluctantly on repeat is Alphabutt by Kimya Dawson. My kids are obsessed. They don't mind Raffi and they love the Beach Boys, but Alphabutt is their top pick. Every Effing Day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Basic Right


Daily outdoor free play is a basic child right. It's not a reward for doing well; it's not a treat. It's a need. And half an hour at recess doesn't cut it. 

I wish I could give my kids what my parents gave me and my siblings: fields and woods and creeks and time to explore it all. 

At this point, I can't give them any of those things. But I can take them to this park in our neighborhood after school. I can let them run around and climb and swing and wrestle until almost dark. I can chase them and tumble down into the grass to tell them wide-eyed stories about fairy rings. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Half Measure, Full Measure


I finally had a chance yesterday –yes, in the middle of the work week!– to pull out all this stuff and use it.

I worked a half-day at my job. Technically, I worked a full day, half at home. But I'm much more efficient at home than work. It's like when you're homeschooled and you finish everything by noon while all your public schooled "peers" still have hours to go.

Anyway, now I know how to use all this. Well, mostly.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Home



So, our wage system and the cost of living are based on the assumption that two adults support every household. Such is not the case. Oh, no. There are all sorts of families, you know, and a lot of them don't have two grown-ups bringing in money. Lots of them don't even have two grown-ups.

Apropos of nothing, as Dumas might say.