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I Am (the start of an awesome Meme!)

Thanks to Robin over at The Forgotten Wife blog for posting this “I Am” piece. I see “meme” written all over it, and I think it will spread like wildfire. It makes you take a really hard look at yourself and how you see your inner you, and it shows what others potentially see as your outer self.

On this Mother’s Day, I think it was the most perfect post to write (more like copy, paste and edit to make more use for my own self lol) and use as a tool of reflection. Feel free to do the same and see how special you are. To yourself and to others in your life.

And Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mamas out there!..

I am depressive.  It does not define me, but I do not ignore it.

I am a survivor. Of the loss of my mother at a tender age of childhood. And of medical situations that should have killed me at birth.

I am an only child.  But I always wanted a sibling and didn’t always get my way or what I wanted.

I am a GED Diploma Graduate. And I’m proud of myself to have finished High School, even if not under the circumstances I had hoped for.

I am a mother.  I have three beautiful children, two girls with a boy squished in the middle.  Even when they’re being bad, they’re great…. well, maybe not in that instant.

I am the proud mother of a special needs child. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I am a Stay-At-Home Mom, but I work.  I have a 24-hour-a-day job that gives no vacation or sick time. And I’m okay with that.

I am an avid reader.  I love to read.

I am an avid movie watcher.  Especially Nicolas Cage movies, Marvel Comics-based movies and a fan of comedy.

I am 5’0″.

I am a horrible cook. But thus far, no one has died or gone to the E.R. to have their stomach pumped. And even the house is still erect and in tact.

I am a lover of Chinese food.

I am a horrible housekeeper, cause I hate housework.

I am a former smoker. Almost 4 years now.

I am a lover of wine, but only in moderation.

I am the person you send your plants to if you want them to die.

I am a lover of animals.  All animals, even scaly ones.  However, this love does not include any kind of arachnid or roach.

I am generous, most of the time.  Or, I try to be. And other times, I am TOO generous and it comes back to bite me.

I am a talker.  I’m working on my listening skills.

I am a toucher.  When we talk, I’ll touch you on your arm or hand numerous times.

I am polite.  Everyone I meet is “sir” or “ma’am.”  These will never steer you wrong.

I am a disciplinarian of my children, and yours if you refuse to do so.

I am the person that knows that family is not defined by blood and I have many family members around the world.

I am someone that loves thunderstorms.  Nature’s fury makes me smile.

I am very empathetic to almost anyone’s situation… as long as it’s not caused by their own stupidity.

I am a person that gives her heart fully when she decides to give it.

I am a football fan and can’t wait for the football season to start!

I am more comfortable hanging out with guys than girls.

I am a master at putting my foot in my mouth.  What can I say?  I like the taste!

I am the person you see singing and dancing in the passenger’s seat of her car.

I am someone who talks to herself.

I am a proud person who understands the value of humility.

I am the person that says “yes” when you ask for help, even when she should say “no.”

I am fascinated by organized religion, but don’t claim any affiliation with one.

I am an absolutely, positively lapsed Catholic. And I’m down with that.

I am a one-time divorcee.

I am the bearer of scars from past relationships, but still give love freely.

I am the person that will find a silver lining in any situation, no matter how thin that lining is.

I am the person that has learned from past mistakes.

I am stronger than I thought I ever could be.

I am married for a second time and loving it!

I am all of these things and more.

I am who I am and I’m alright with that.

A Rant, a Worry & A Missing Kid

Not a good start. Not at all. Was going well until I got yelled and screamed at. For being almost 11, he acts like a three year old.

Oh, and I called the school to be certain my youngest had made it okay, seeing as I didn’t see or hear her leave, thanks to his fit taking my time and attention away from her, and the bus apparently must HAVE gotten her, being they rounded the corner to go up the road after dropping kids off.

No seven-year-old in sight, so I’m certain she got on to the bus and went…And it’s since been confirmed that she did. Thankfully.

THIS is the kind of stuff that I try to stress to his Case Manager. What B pulls/does/doesn’t do affects especially the little one. But to her, HE is the *only* important factor. Not the repercussions on the other two.

But this type of stuff is causing SAFETY issues, as well as eating issues that are not only upon him, but are rubbing off on his little sister. The oldest of the three can hold her own against her brother. Most of the time. But his little sister should not have to suffer as well due to HIS problems and reactions.

Of course, all SHE cares about is getting the proper papers turned in, and rarely will she call for other reasons than for that. THAT is the only time she asks about him and what’s been going on. And it’s never about how it is in the overall home environment. Just how HE is doing and if there are any problems that she needs to be aware of.

She knows he has a severe problem with eating. She never calls even to check on him for that.

Ugh… I get SO sick of dealing with Case Management. I’d rather just deal with his Psychiatrist and call it a day. Especially when they aren’t really doing their job.

Special Needs Parent Monthly (#1)

Welcome to the kick off of a NEW blog series, where MONTHLY, I will feature a Special Needs Parent. If you are interested in being considered as a featured SN parent in a future posting, please email me at melmom2angels@yahoo.com.

First up is Robin. In her own words, she will tell of herself, her family, and her life with having a disabled child.

basic info….stay at home mom, married 16 years in Feb., I enjoy reading, photograghy and word games.

have 2 sons Derek 11 and Jacob 13..

life as a special needs parent well, I don’t sleep much lol. it’s a struggle to balance my time between my sons since Jacob needs so much of my time. Jacob was dxed at 2 years, he was a good baby, well a great baby…only cried when he was hungry. Everyone was jealous but in the back of my mind I was worried. He was To good! He didn’t regress, he just reached milestones late. He didn’t babble, point, or “play” like other kids his age. He started PT at 8 months, Ot and speech at 18 months and early intervention at 2.

He is in the 8th grade and I’m going to start home schooling next because he will be going into high school and I feel like he will benefit more from one on one and I can pay more attention to the areas that of important to Jacob. He LOVES music, football, water, and food. lol which is a challenge because he is on the gf/cf diet.

He’s a good dancer. He has severe IBS and when he is in pain he becomes very aggressive. He doesn’t know his own strength. He gives the best hugs in the world! He has a lot of sensory issues and likes deep pressure and massage.

He likes to be petted on his arms some times which gets us strange looks in public. lol Doesn’t bother me, I’m outspoken if people are rude I let them know about it.

Autism is just part of our family….you learn to adjust your life accordingly. Jacob is non verbal so I am his voice….and I have a big mouth (hehe)!

Enabling vs Disabling

Thanks is going out to a fellow Special Needs mom, Amy, over on FaceBook, who I have become friends with, and her “push” for me to post the following.

We met in a WONDERFUL group for parents like ourselves who are parents to kids that are disabled. And it’s a locally-based group for our region, but we accept people from outside the Virginia state lines, as well.

The group is called Parents For Progress, or P4P for short. Our kids have ALL different types of disabilities and mental capacity. We sometimes DO disagree, but never get cut-throat.

So without further ado…

Just two summers ago, I learned how to swim/float for the first time. I was 33 years old (now 35)! If I had what I needed to have done BY the time I almost turned 6 or 7 years old, then I would have learned to swim much earlier, among other things.

Sometimes, even all of these years later, I can find myself angry at my mom for disabling me even more and literally taking away my childhood. And I refuse to let my son to think/feel about me, let alone his sisters for doing the same to them.

I love my mom, and always will. But ever since I can remember, I vowed and have kept my word to it, to NEVER be like her, where parenting is concerned. Even after she had died. And to this day, I will have a moment of anger and resentment pop in to my head. Especially around the anniversary of my “official removal” of my trache tube (December 1, 1989… not even two months after my mom died).

Heck, the way I have been told in the past, I was THE reason why my parents never had anymore children after me. She was scared another baby “would turn out to have the same problems”… Um, MY problems were *somewhat* because of her (having a 50 LB tumor sitting next to me in-utero).

I was extremely tiny and lightweight at birth. I was born almost a month early with extreme fluid on my lung (which collapsed from the pressure and weight of the fluid) and a esophageal fistula (a break in my esophagus tract to determine between the airway and the stomach routes). I died on the operating table like 2 to 4 times in the 18-hour repair surgery (after a touchy care-flight ride to another hospital when I was LESS than 24 hours old), which forever changed the appearance of my shoulder blade area on the right side (and left me asymmetrical in the breast area).

From the day of my birth, she basically (at first, I understood being that I was so tiny and helpless, and gravely ill with having NO hope for a chance at life, really) became a “helicopter mom”. Later in my elementary school years, she was STILL so overly protective, that not only did she volunteer, but also was a yard duty person at lunchtime, a lunchroom supervisor, but decided to also become an “assistant” for MY classroom or one near me as to “keep an eye on Missy”… In other words, I had NO break from her. She watched me like a hawk. 24/7. If I did go to a friend’s house, most times, she would constantly check on me in one way or another.

Now, maybe some people, especially fellow parents, like myself, of disabled children, can see it from our kid’s perspective as well when it comes to being either too lenient, too harsh or too overprotective (or even NOT protective enough).

I know all too well the fine line EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US walks on a daily basis with our kids. It’s such a difficult balancing act. But they also thrive on being treated as “just another normal kid”. Even when getting in to trouble.

NT Parents vs. SN Parents

I am a mother.

I am a mother to three children.

I am a mother to three kids, where one of them has “problems”.

I am a mother to three kids, where one of them has “problems”, but that I love all equally.

You say that there is NO way you could do what I do, put up with what I put up with, and defend what I have to defend.

You say we are a strong, but rare breed. But there are more parents like me than you most likely even know. Because we don’t look to be recognized or placed on a pedestal.

We do what we have to do, when we have to do it, as to ensure that our “special” kids are getting everything in life that they deserve.

That includes being as close to “normal” as we can get them. And to obtain the specialized services, that though are supposed to be rendered by Federally mandated Laws, are not always put in to place.

We rejoice at what most people take for granted. Especially when they are “late bloomers”. We cry from the frustration. Not just our own, but the frustrations that our children display.

We want what ALL (okay, MOST) parents want for their kids. A better and fulfilling life.

You and I aren’t THAT different in the world of Parenting. We, like our children, just do things a little bit different from the rest of you. And we see things (like first words, first steps and the other norms of growing up) a tad bit differently as well.

Other than that, I’m not much different from you. And yes, you CAN do what I do on a daily basis. Because when push comes to shove, when it comes to your child, you would do most ANYTHING and move every mountain and boulder to help your child achieve their very best potential.

Do I want to just throw my hands up and quit? YES! Sometimes, the fight to help your child achieve can really tire you emotionally and mentally. As can their daily struggles and fights of will. But in the end, no matter how much you want to just turn around and walk away, you CAN’T. You know for a fact that you have invested WAY too much time, energy, and most important, love in to helping your children succeed to the best of their ability.

So, the next time you think to yourself that you could “never do my job as a parent”, or think I must be a lot stronger than you, take a step back and think, and know that when it all comes down to that fine line in the sand, there is really no line at all.

Schoolward Bound. Fifth Grade, Here He Comes!!

This past week we are about to leave, and the one that is coming upon us has been and will be fairly busy. It’s back to school time. And I think that ALL of us are ready. For the most part, anyways.

This week was filled with filling out paperwork, taking in paperwork to be filled out by Medical Professionals, a doctor appointment and school supply shopping.

Geez! Just thinking of what I just listed, I’m tired all over again! *hehe* (=

This coming week, it’s REGISTRATION time! And this means now, TWO different schools for three different kids. My oldest is moving on to Middle School.

B is in fifth grade this year. And thankfully, I was able to place him in with my oldest’s former homeroom teacher, who is the ONLY one of the three in their grade to be Special Education certified.

It also helps that she taught my HUSBAND when he was a kid at another school, for the third grade. And she started LAST school year to acclimate him by saying good morning to him, giving him his “morning hug” (their classrooms were next to one another at the time between the two grades). And she already has gotten an idea of what his needs will be with classroom placement and what will possibly work best to get the best ability out of his potential.

She runs a pretty tight ship. You do as expected, she is your BFF. You decide to make her life hell and not do as instructed, then your ass is grass. And he needs that kind of firm structure. And she is already on to his manipulations. BONUS!

Do I worry? Yep! But not as much as I have with the teachers of the past in regards to B. This lady is one of the best in her field. And one of the most patient and kind. But also one of the most strict and not able to be bamboozled, too.

I’ll more so worry NEXT year, then I will THIS year. Because there is a VERY good chance that B and his older sister will NOT be in the same Middle School, being she was accepted in to a school across town that takes those that are highly advanced/gifted. If she is able to remain there next school year (2012-2013), then he will be in our Zone School for Middle School all on his own.

Yes, he too is advanced in most areas of study. But he doesn’t have the work ethic and focus for a Gifted Program. Thanks to his emotional instability, lack of maturity, and his severe ADHD it takes him out of the running for advancement such as what his sister is in. And it hurts me. But at the same time, I can safely say that a setting such as that is clearly not for him.

Should I compare? No. But it is extremely hard to NOT see the difference versus the similarities.

You sometimes, I feel, HAVE TO compare the “odd one out” to the others because it forces you to see just how different the one with the problems truly is from most of society. It makes you step back and think a little more and be more compassionate, understanding and willing to have more patience. Not just with YOUR child with Silent Disabilities, but other children (and adults) with the same afflictions as well.

So, here is to (hopefully) smooth sailing for this school year. In just over a week, and then all three are off on another school-year adventure of learning and fun. But this year, it will be minus their big sister. And I think they will do just fine.

Inclusion…As it should be.

My child has mental health issues. They do NOT have him, though. He may have his quirks and his ways of viewing the world around him. But when you get down to the brass tacks of it all, he is just your average, ordinary, everyday kid who loves, loves to be loved, plays hard and loves to play with others (most of the time).

Also, we got his SOL (Standards of Learning) scores back from taking them for Reading and Math. He placed Advanced in both. One of them (Reading) was a 2 hour to 2 1/2 hour test. He was able to go to another area to take his test and have as much time as he needed. He felt less stressed and anxiety-ridden, and felt more at ease at knowing that he could just take HIS time and not feel any pressure.

We are now officially out of school for the Summer. But we are getting B in to the Day Treatment Camp. And I already have his new Homeroom teacher lined up for next year. She is the ONLY one of the three in the 5th Grade Unit Special Ed. certified and is already acclimating him to be with her. In fact she started it MONTHS ago, seeing as they are only three doors down from one another. I love H’s (now former) teacher!

     (My niece who is going to be a Senior in HS and B at the family reunion)

     (Five…yes, F-I-V-E generations of my husband’s late Grandfather’s side of the family. 7 kids, 16 grands and 32 great-grands, and 1 great-great grand. NOT all pictured here, but includes spouses/significant others, with my son in very front in red shirt and blue shorts.)

                (B in the school’s Field Day race this past Thursday.)