Girl Drama

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My older daughter is turning 12 in two weeks. For those of you that have been there you probably know the signs. Going from 0 to 10 on the freaking out scale for no reason. Stomping around her room because she has “no clothes,” and sometime I’m just waiting for her head to spin.

Honestly, I’m pretty lucky. For the most part she is an even keel kid with a good head on her shoulders. I think being a child with dyslexia has made her work hard for her grades and in turn she knows that hard work will get her where she needs to be.

She has had the same core group of friends since kindergarten or first grade. I feel blessed that they are good kids. But now it’s middle school and life is changing. I’m proud of her for standing up for her friends when people are unkind, and in general she really hasn’t had any girl drama…until now.

My daughter is a quiet kid. She is busy with ballet several hours a week and spends several hours studying to keep up with her peers due to her disability (which we never refer to as a disability in this house).

In the past few weeks there is a girl that has gotten upset if she doesn’t have enough of my daughter’s attention. For example, my daughter was talking to her friend abut something that happened on the bus and this girl cried because they were leaving her out. This girl cried when my daughter’s friend offered her some potato chips, and then decided they were no longer friends and she wasn’t going to talk to my daughter again.

My daughter came home upset but we talked about it and I tried to explain that there are girls like this at 12 and there are women like this at 40. If someone brings drama into a friendship, it’s not worth your time. Surround yourself with people who make you happy. She seemed good with that talk, until she heard from other friends that this girl was telling mutual friends my daughter was bullying her.

Now I don’t live in a glass house and my children are not perfect. Every person who knows my daughter has burst out laughing at this, because she is one of the kindest souls you could meet. My two other children struggle a bit socially and if they feel hurt, they have been known to come back with some not so nice things…we are working on that. Again, not a perfect family, but my shy middle child is not a bully.

I let it go because my daughter knows she’s not a bully. She has friends that know she’s not a bully and I believe that we need to let our kids try and solve their problems as much as possible. That was working well for me until today when I found out the mother is telling people my daughter is a bully and mean.

Now I will say things here with unnamed people that I would never say to people I know, but this mom should really spend more time paying attention to her daughter’s needs and cries for help than worrying about my daughter. When her child is texting girls at a party that she is going to kill herself because she wasn’t invited and the party host’s mom calls the mom worried…and the girl’s mom laughs it off, that’s a fucking problem.

Sometimes we need to look at our own situations before we start casting blame. I’ve done it with my own son. My son has pushed away friends because he doesn’t know how to fit in and when he feels hurt, I’ve wanted to blame the other kids, but I do know my son is very much responsible for his actions.

That’s not to say I’d ever condone a child being mean. But when this girl tells two other girls at a party that the song they are singing sucks, and my daughter tells her that is rude and that makes her cry, I’m sorry…that doesn’t make my kid mean.

And for heaven’s sake if you have a problem with my kid how do you think going to other moms to talk about her is going to help? Are you trying to enlist other children against her? Because that’s super mature.

I’m sleeping well tonight because at the end of the day, my daughter has at least three friends she knows she can trust and count on. She knows they like her for who she is and she like them just they way they are.

If I’ve done anything right through this it’s that my usually shy and sensitive child really understands this isn’t about her as much as it’s about the other girl’s insecurities. I told her she could ask the girl what it is that she did that made the girl not like her, but I doubt she’d get a straight answer. I left that up to her whether it’s worth doing.

At 44, I don’t do dramatic people who suck energy out of you if you aren’t paying enough attention to them. She might feel differently at 12. We all have to learn out own way.

 

 

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Another Bump in the Road

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I’m not in a good mood today. I’m not sure when it went bad, but I think it was when I received a letter from the endocrinologist saying that the male factor hormones that they tested were all in the normal range. Elevated androgens are a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I still have every symptom of the disease, including the most important one of the highly cystic ovaries.

I suppose I could have had a normal result because I’m on the birth control pill and that could be helping to regulate those hormones, but it doesn’t change the rest of my symptoms. So what’s really bothering me? I’m afraid to walk into that office next Tuesday and hear that there is nothing wrong, and that they just don’t have a reason for the weight gain and other symptoms.

I gave up hope that I was going to hear that I don’t have rheumatoid arthritis weeks ago. When I self-diagnosed hypothyroid, I thought the muscle and joint pain might be caused by that. The endo was clear when he shot that theory down. I suppose the newest plan is to hear what he has to say on Tuesday, and then going back to the rheumatologist to start plaquenil again before it gets really cold and my joints get worse.

In the past week my hip, legs and feet have been stiff and painful. My hands have been experiences the neuropathy symptoms with the painful pins and needless and numbness. Who knew numbness would be painful? Believe me, it is! The colder weather also brings out my Raynaud’s, which just adds to the pain.

I’m frustrated tonight because I am still here with no answers and now I’ve already decided that the endo is going to say there is nothing wrong and to exercise more. I haven’t really been hungry at all lately. I’ve hardly had a snack and my meals have all been healthy. In my depression today, I opened the damn bag of Halloween candy and had 4 KitKats. Do I regret it? No! They were delicious.

The highlight of my day was at a clinic meeting for my son at school. They set up monthly clinics to stay on top of his progress after they fucked up on his IEP (Individualized Education Program) last year. He receives special education services for dyslexia and comprehension issues. My son can be a big pain in the ass when it comes to getting his services, mostly because he’s so afraid of looking different or standing out. I do understand that, but I’m trying to explain the harder he works now with comprehension and reading strategies, the less time overall he’ll need to go to resource.

Anyway, what a wonderful meeting. Each of his teachers wrote up really nice things about what a good student, and hard worker he is. Both is science teacher and his literacy teacher noted that he does struggle with writing, but both said he is working really hard and seeing them during his free periods for extra help. It was one of those meetings that you just can’t help but smile. I know school isn’t easy for my son, but at one point this semester he had straight As. He now has a B in Spanish, and that’s completely fine. He’s working his butt off, and I think (I hope) he’s also proud of himself.

I have a lot to be happy about, but I’m just not tonight. I’m blue and sad. Not sad enough to cry about anything, but with the exception of my kids, this just isn’t the life I thought I’d have. And, I don’t know whether it’s best to accept that I now have limitations, or try and find help to work through them.

I don’t talk about it with friends. I used to talk about it and my insecurities about it with my friend (the one who is no longer a friend). He was actually a good listener for a long time. The thing is, it went both ways as I was always a good listener to him…and he had no shortage of drama. When he told me that he didn’t want to hear that I didn’t feel well or was in pain anymore, it really hit me. Even my friends don’t get it. Of course, I have way more polite friends than him–many of whom ask how I’m doing and really want to know. Ok, maybe not many, but definitely a few. That one conversation though, made me re-examine how much I was talking about it.

I never thought that I was talking about it 24/7, but when he asked, I would tell him if I was in pain, etc. But, because someone pointed out that I was talking about it too much, I think I shut down. I don’t want to be Debbie Downer. I love to laugh and have fun. I smile and laugh more with my kids than I do anywhere else. I truly enjoy them (even when they are beasts). I thought there was a balance, and now I’m not so sure. I don’t bring it up unless people ask, except on this blog, of course. This is my place to vent and talk about my autoimmune issues and if anyone is annoyed they can simply stop reading.

I just wondered if anyone else has had a friend or family member tell them they are too focused on their illness. I always joke that I’m a hermit and not a people-person, and things like that are the reason why. I don’t want to open up and be shut down by someone.

I hope you all are having a pain free night!

Is It Friday Yet?

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This is a long week, and today was a long day that started really early for a girl with autoimmune issues who doesn’t do early mornings. Well, even before being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia I was never a morning person, those issue just make it harder to get up and get moving. But this morning I had a mission. I was taking on the special education department of my son’s middle school. The biggest debate within myself this morning was, do I take a half a xanax or not? I opted for not and for a car ride full of deep yoga breathing (it totally didn’t help my nerves).

When I got there, my advocate (and co-worker) was already there, which in itself lowered my stress level quite a bit. When we were called into the meeting you could feel the tension, and it wasn’t pretty, but I was lovely, LOL. I smiled and greeted them all graciously because I knew I was about to have all of their heads on a platter. We might as well start off sweet.

As I think I mentioned in another blog, my son did not meet one of his fourteen IEP goals this year (even though he’s on the Honor Roll). I requested all their data from their work with him on is IEP goals because according to special education state law, they are required to keep data on all special education students. This means that all along they should be tracking his progress from September to now in measurable sources of testing. I was given a graph from the end of March through yesterday. I allowed them to thoroughly explain the data, and it did provide some valuable info about the last two months.

Then, I asked about September through March and the blank stares began. Why? Because there was no data from September to March. They had data from the end of March because my son started using a computer program that tracked data. So we had a bit on a problem. Problem number two arose when they mention that they just didn’t have time to work with him on his goals. Oh no, no, no, people. YOU created the goals. YOU had a full year to work with him or meet with him and change his services, goals, etc.

It was around this time, that I smiled. I smiled because I won. I waited for them to move on to the next bullet point on my list, which they attempted to argue with me. The wanted my son to go into a developmental reading class five days per week next year. I’m not saying that’s a bad option, it’s actually a good option, but unfortunately it means my son would have to give up Social Studies and Spanish, two subjects that he received no academic support in and maintained an A+ average. I looked at the plainly, and said just that. I want my son to go to developmental reading every other day, and continue to take Spanish so he doesn’t become one year behind his peers.

Social studies isn’t a subject where if you miss a year you become completely lost. If you miss a year of a language, it’s a big deal. Not to mention, I felt that my son worked his ass off this year and it was important to meet him half way. They were NOT pleased and wanted to go on record that they didn’t agree with me. My advocate jumped in with reasons backing up my decision, and again, I politely smiled and said I was making the decision in the best interest of my son.

I could have made it a truly ugly meeting, but I have to deal with these people for the next 10 years with three kids coming through the school. I could report the school to the state for violating my child’s IEP, but I won’t. I think it’s enough that everyone at that table knows that I know my rights. I left there feeling very good about how it was handled, and that I did the right thing for my son. I also got them to commit to summer tutoring (which I haven’t told my son about yet…he won’t be thrilled), but they wouldn’t even consider that at the last PPT.

All in all, it was a good meeting. My advocate said to me in the parking lot, “you know you didn’t need me at all for that” and that made me feel good, but honestly, just the mention of bringing an advocate scares the crap out of the “team” and sometimes that’s a darn good thing. I bet they don’t screw up my son’s services again any time soon.

My guess is that tomorrow I will have a migraine due to the stress. I didn’t realize how much it all was weighing on me. My neck is already very tight. I’m going to try some preemptive ice on my neck.

I believe tomorrow begins a few days of rain here, so that won’t help. The good news is that other than my class, I don’t have too much on my plate.  I will have time to nap!

Need Some Prayers for Tomorrow

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Ok, here’s the deal…tomorrow is my follow-up PPT. If you don’t know what that is, I’m going to need you to review, LOL! Quick recap: my son has dyslexia. He is on the Honor Roll at school. Big YAY! He did not meet one of his IEP (Individualized Education Plan) goals for the year. Big Boo! Actually that’s more than a boo! The school actually has to answer to the state for note meeting their own goals, and they had every opportunity to meet with me at any point during the year to revise them or change services, etc., but instead they treated me like an idiot and merely tired to not let on that he didn’t meet all his goals.

So tomorrow we go back to finish the PPT with my advocate. Oh my advocate! God bless him! He sent an agenda. This in itself had me laugh with picture in my head of the special education teacher scrambling to come up with data that they were legally supposed to have collected throughout the year, that we all know they didn’t do. It should be interesting, but I’m truly very stressed about it. The main thing isn’t proving that the school fucked up, it’s getting my son appropriate services that are actually going to help him.

The kid shouldn’t have to spend three hours on homework that other kids spend one hour on. He needs help, and it’s my job as the mom to fight for my son’s education. The good news is I’m going in with the big guns, in that my advocate is a wealth of knowledge. He’s calm and soft spoken, but he knows special education law inside out. I know I’m in good hands having him at my side.

I’m opted to take a half an Ambien tonight because I’m so wound up about the meeting that I know I won’t sleep. I just want it all to turn out well for my son. The school really screwed up and failed him this year, and I won’t let that happen again.

And for those of you waiting with baited breath I lost three freakin pounds. I was royally disappointed this morning. It’s ten total from my heaviest, but I was hoping for four or five. I’m not giving up. One week down and I’m on to week two. Slow and steady…still hoping for five pounds this week. A girl can dream.

My hands have been pretty stiff today and my legs and lower back have been bothering me. While the weather has been really nice, I think my exhaustion is getting the better of me and I just want to sleep. If you could send me some positive thoughts at 8AM tomorrow, I sure would appreciate it.

 

 

 

Deliquent Blogger Again

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Things have been nuts…again. Between work, kids, autoimmune crap, and just plain old exhaustion, I’m crying uncle. It’s been a really long two weeks. I think I started a blog last night and fell asleep halfway through the process.

Overall, I must say that physically I’ve been feeling pretty darn good. My headache has really subsided, and my joints have been significantly less painful. The last two days have been cool and rainy, so I have had that numb, tingly feeling in my hands and feet, but nothing unbearable. I did break down and call my doctor about further testing due to my weight problem. She felt I needed to give it another month or two before we do image testing, but she did suggest trying to go off of my Celexa, as that might be adding to the problem.

We lowered my dose from 20mg to 10mg for the next few weeks and then my doctor wants me to call her in 3 or 4 weeks and let her know how I feel. If I’m doing well, I can try going off of it completely and see if that helps with the weight loss. I also made the decision to try MediFast to jump start things at least for a month. I’m pretty excited about it, though I haven’t tried any of the food yet. My box o’food was delivered today. My plan is to start the diet on Monday.

We are taking the kids to the zoo on Sunday for Mother’s Day, and I just figured it would be best to take the weekend and start the diet on Monday. I’m looking forward to getting started, though.

It’s been a year stressful week in terms of my kids. I had my son’s annual PPT meeting. For those of you who don’t understand special education, that basically means it’s his yearly meeting to go over the goals that were put in place last year and decide new goals for the coming year. With no indication that anything was wrong (and my son making the honor roll all year long) I was informed that my son didn’t master one of his IEP goals. It’s May. They waited until May to tell me this. No one thought to mention it in January or February when we could have changed goals or revised his services to compensate for whatever was going wrong. To top it all off, one of the special education teachers asked me if my son was on anxiety medication, which happens to be an illegal question.

My Mama Bear claws came out. My first questions was “Does it concern any else at this table except me that he did master any of his goals?” To which the special education teacher replied, “Well, these were some pretty lofty goals.”

It takes a lot to set me off…okay, maybe not a lot, but when you set me off regarding my children, look out. My son worked his ass off this year to make the honor roll. Their suggestion was to take away Spanish and Social Studies (two subjects were he had an A average in each) and give him developmental reading. My son’s response was very intelligent and well-thought out. He said: “I got A’s in those two subjects where I had no extra help, and I got a C+ in literacy where I had to go for extra help all the time. Why am I being punished after I work and studied so hard?”

The kid has a point. I sat at the kitchen table and made color-coated cards, an idea I got from a dyslexia website, to help him study. He really did work very hard for his grades this year, and he should be punished. So I decided to hire an advocate and fight the school to pay for a private tutor in the reading method I want him taught in, Orton-Gillingham. The school doesn’t have a teacher certified in this method, but I found someone in the next town over to tutor my son, and my advocate thinks I have a strong case to get them to pay for it, since they wasted a year of special education services.

The best part of today was that since I work for a nonprofit that helps families of children with special needs, when I wrote to our staff advocates and explained the situation, two of them immediately wrote back and said name the time and place and we’ll be there to fight for you…no charge. I couldn’t be more thankful. I work with a truly amazing group of individuals that really puts helping families before the money. They look at the kids getting help before the dollars, and that’s rare. I spent a good five minutes in tears not even knowing how to say thank you because an advocate can run into the thousands…easily.

So, aside from that, work is busy. This are okay, though. I hope I can sleep until 9:30 tomorrow. That would be a true joy! I hope everyone is having a pain-free day.