Friday, April 30, 2010
Today I got a call from USC (University of South Carolina). I decided in March that I wanted to go back to school and get my master's in teaching special education. I applied on March 23rd, the cut off date was April 1st. I was able to get my references and MAT testing done in time, they already had my transcripts on file. The university called me for an interview and to do a sample writing. I find it sad that they need to have candidates for a master's program come in and prove that they are able to read and write. I told them I would be in town after May 21st so should have an interview shortly thereafter. I applied without a plan on how to pay for it. If the house doesn't sell by Monday then looking for financial aid will be added to my list of things to do.
I took John's pick up truck to Jason's apartment today and helped him move some furniture. When he moved into his apartment he bought all his furniture off of Craigslist. He was able to sell most of it today and we even delivered it. Now he needs to clean up the place. I am still staying out of that part. Sometimes it is easier to step in and do things yourself, but what do the kids learn from that.
I am not sure what we will do this weekend. I want to go downtown and John wants to work around the house. Maybe we will try to do both.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
So, I have 24 days to prepare and I seem to be getting nowhere. Actually, we have prospective buyers looking at the house this weekend so we are not even sure of where we are moving to. If these buyers don't bite then we are taking the house off the market on Monday. I think that the little unknown is adding to my delaying. Oh well, I am a procrastinator my nature so it will all get done in the last week regardless.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
When he came to us at 2 1/2 he had several issues, behaviorally and developmentally. We are still dealing with both issues but lately his language development has become my biggest concern. Thankfully, his behavior issues have improved enough for me to be able to concentrate on his other needs. Anthony hadn't been talked to before coming into care so he missed so many language development milestones. We got all available services for him and when he turned three he attended the school program. He also received speech services outside of school. By kindergarten he tested out of speech services because his vocabulary was on target. I knew that he still had a communication issue but it wasn't obvious at testing for his age level.
This year he started first grade (against my suggestion that he repeat kindergarten) and it quickly became apparent that he was not ready emotionally or behaviorally. Thankfully, he was quickly placed back in kindergarten. By December I was becoming very concerned by his language development. Particularly his conversation skills. It was very difficult to have a conversation with him, he couldn't answer questions and quite often just gave a blank stare when I talked to him. I requested testing for speech services.
I knew that he was struggling but when testing showed that he had problems with both expressive and receptive language skills I was shocked. Based on his scores it was apparent that he has a language disability and he is now receiving speech services in school. However, I don't feel that it is enough and I am not sure where to turn for help. This is not a mental health issue but I do feel that it contributes to his behavior issues.
In the last week I have really noticed that he has serious issues with his homework. As the concepts has gotten more difficult he has just not been able to keep up. Most frustrating to me was for me to show him how to do a problem and then have him sit down and write something completely different. For me to give him an answer and then for him to go sit down and write something different. If it is frustrating for me I can't imagine how it feels for him. Finally, at some point I would just write a note saying that he is unable to do the assignment. I have been doing a lot of that lately.
So yesterday I pulled out his test results to see what else I could gleam from it. When we got the results we were in shock because it was so much worse then what we thought. I didn't really take the time to go beyond the results. Looking at it now I see that his pragmatic score was 2, the standard score is 68. I have been researching pragmatic difficulties and have been so surprised by what I have found. Pragmatics is the use of language in social contexts (knowing what to say, how to say it, and when to say it - and how to 'be' with other people).
"Children with pragmatic difficulties have great trouble using language socially in ways that are appropriate or typical of children of their age. They often do not understand that we take turns to talk, and they will 'talk over the top of you' at times, or, at other times respond to what you say with inappropriate silences, or in a voice that is too quiet. They may interrupt excessively and talk irrelevantly or about things the listener shows no interest in. Their communicative behaviour often appears rude and inconsiderate." Caroline Bowen
Ah, that fits Anthony to a tee. So, when you add that to receptive and expressive language difficulties then what are you dealing with? Many articles say that children with pragmatic difficulties are often high functioning autistic. That was new to me, I don't really feel that Anthony is autistic.
I wonder if his educational issues are all related to his language difficulties or is that another issue we need to address. Seems like the language issues make testing for anything else difficult. I am not sure where to go from here. He receives services in the school but I feel that his issues are severe enough that school based speech services are just not enough. He meets with a group of kids and I think that he needs some one on one services. At this time my plans are to pursue getting him back into individual speech services during the summer. I am also thinking that I want to get more testing done as well. We are moving in a month so I will have to wait until we are moved to do anything. I have requested a meeting with all his teachers so that I can get any suggestions from them before we leave.
I am open to suggestions about where to get services or what to try. I feel like I am walking blindly at this time. Dang, this parenting can be tough.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
We started our morning bright and early cleaning out the garage, yuck. Why is it that after hours of work our garage doesn't look much different?
It may not look much different but it is more organized. All similar items are now grouped together ready for the movers to come.
One bonus was finding the blow up castle. This was a great find, $20 at a garage sale. Naturally we had to set it up.
Maybe the kids are getting too big for it, doesn't really matter because they had fun.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Since I have a teenager that meant a stop at Hot Topic. They actually give a military discount there. I remember the first time I went into a Hot Topic when my older kids were younger, strange stuff. But they do carry many band shirts and that was Sarah's objective.
Sarah did find a Reptar hoodie and was excited to get one.
She also got a band shirt for some band that I have never heard of. Actually, I don't recognize a lot of the bands on their shirts, guess that makes me old.
We hit up JCPenny's. They are having a great sale on children's clothing if anyone is interested. Larissa loves to shop and knows what she likes. I guess she should know, she changes her clothes at least 5 times a day.
A serious shopper doing some serious business. (Training her right Tasha)
Right after this picture my camera battery died. Anthony wanted pictures of him shopping but I couldn't get them. He surprised me when I asked him what he wanted he said shorts. When I let him loose he went for the plaid shorts. Funny, I have to buy him size 5/6 shorts and size 8 shirts, which are in two different sections.
Since Anthony missed out on pictures at the mall I had to get pictures at home.
He was most thrilled with the Avatar shirt he picked out.
Oh, the car.....it is still at Sears. MAYBE it will be ready tomorrow. They did offer me a rental car but I just had John pick us up. When they called me to tell me what was wrong I immediately had them call John because they sure were talking foreign to me....all I understood was replace rear axles and about $1600. Dang, sure puts a damper on a shopping trip.
So, Joselin will stay in TN. We have found out that the program that we have enrolled her in is also available where she moved to so she will be fine. My only concern is that the cosmotology program is 2 years long and I worry that when she turns 18 she will quit. I have to accept that she will have to make the decision to complete it or not herself and I can't force her.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
This girl was not willing to let the issue drop. She continued to threaten Joselin. Two days ago Joselin and Kim's daughter DJ were walking home from school when this girl and about 5 of her friends stopped them. She wanted to fight Joselin but Joselin said that she wasn't going to fight over a boy and walked away. That didn't satisfy the girl so she started on DJ. When DJ walked away the girl hit her on the head. That led to a fight. Joselin had never actually been in a fight before. She grabbed one girl by the hair and apparently tore out her weave. That girl ran to her mom. Her mom came down with a car full of adults and kids and they all proceeded to attack the two girls. They had both of the girls on the ground and were kicking them. At some point neighbors stopped the attack. Imagine seeing the following picture of your kid in the news.......
They were taken to the hospital and both released that day. They have bruises and scratches but will be fine. Joselin surprised me in that she didn't seem too concerned about further problems. However, because of threats the family moved today and are no longer living in Memphis at all.
The entire incident shocks me. The fact that parents were willing to actively participate is such a beating just blows my mind. What are they teaching their children? How much of the attack was racially motivated? All the attackers were black. Why was that girl so angry about a perceived slight that she was willing to orchestrate such an attack? How do we protect our children when the world seems to be going crazy?
So, to add extra guilt today I had to talk to her about our impending move. We both really like the nursing home she is in, the people are great and so is the food (mom has gained a few pounds). Problem is there are no other family members here in San Antonio. So her options are to go to SC or near my brother in Texas. She says that she wants to go to SC but will not fly so that leaves my brother. However, she is now afraid to move because she is comfortable where she is. I can understand that. You hear all these horror stories about nursing homes so when you have found a gem you don't want to leave it. My brother is looking for a place closer to him so we will see what he comes up with. To give someone else that control is hard for me. I told him that if the place had a waiting list then she would be fine short term where she currently resides. We will see where this all ends.
Less then a month until our move and there seem to be so many complications. Will the house sell in the last minute or not, what to do with mom, need to write notice to landlord, coordinate with Jason who is going back with us, cancel everything, either hold or transfer mail determined by if the house sells and we have an address, still sorting through clutter and garage. I need to go to the schools and pull out kids, we are leaving 10 days before the school year is out so I have already coordinated with Sarah's high school teachers for her final exams so she doesn't lose credits. Oh, need to schedule physicals for Sarah's camp and foster care so I don't have to do it after finding a different doctor. Anything else? Oh, how I miss the old days where I could move everything in the back of a pickup truck.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Well, I got tired of making a house payment and rent so decided I wanted to go back. My husband put out an email announcing that he needed a job back in the SC, GA, NC area. Within 15 minutes he was offered a job in Augusta, GA and he accepted it. He will be about 100 miles away so will need to rent something and come home every weekend, unless the house sells between now and the end of May. I had thought for sure that I would be moving back into my house. Now, I realize that I won't know until the last minute. Two days after my husband received his orders to move two families have said they want to see the house. Now, I know that neither may buy the house, I just find the timing strange. One family is looking on April 30th and they actually sound promising, an air force family with 5 kids. If the house does sell it will be a great thing, we could all move together to Augusta. Well, where I don't know yet but we would be together.
So, right now it is kind of up in the air. My husband thinks the house won't sell so is looking at apartments. I have this feeling that it might so have been looking at realtor.com, just in case.
My real estate agent tells me that our azaleas are blooming beautifully, I miss them. Then I find it odd that I miss them. At some point I realized that I miss my home. It is actually a funny feeling to me because I have moved my entire life and up until that house the longest I had lived anywhere was 4 years in PA for high school. I find myself conflicted, I know I need to be where my husband is but I miss my home. When the real estate agent said that someone wanted to see our house....I thought "but that is my home".
I decided to put down all my moves:
Dallas, TX -born
College Station, TX
Half Moon Bay, CA
Union City, CA
Walnut Creek, CA
Beaver, PA -spent 4 miserable years here going to high school
College Station, TX (several moves)
Ft Huachuca, AZ
Colorado Springs, CO
Bryan, TX (2 moves)
St Louis, MO (2 moves)
San Antonio, TX (2 moves)
White Pigeon, MI
Small town, SC -lived the longest in my life 7 years
San Antonio, TX
pending SC or GA
I have been told that I don't have an accent, when asked where I am from what am I supposed to say?
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Middle school, yes middle school is where my son purchased his first drugs. It was pot and very easily available. This was a nice school in a nice neighborhood. Not a school in the middle of a drug infested neighborhood. According to my son it was also available in the elementary schools.
Honestly, I am not sure how long he had been using before I realized that he had a problem. Dealing with drug issues was very difficult. I talked with the school and they denied that there was a problem. I talked with the parent that sold to my son and he blamed my son. A few years later when his son was caught dealing at school he apologized to me and said that he wished that he had listened to me. I guess that hearing that news from a parent is hard to take and easy to deny.
I quickly realized that this was an issue that no one wanted to hear about. How quickly everyone was to judge me and my parenting abilities. It didn't matter that I had never done any drugs in my life, I didn't even smoke and very rarely drank alcohol. How quickly my church family was to turn a cold shoulder to me. When I needed support the most, everyone turned away from me. I guess everyone thinks that by cutting off from THAT family they are protecting their child. So not true, I knew which kids were using and found that talking to their parents was not helpful in any way so I learned to just worry about my own.
Drug addiction is very hard to break. It affects the entire family. There are no easy answers and it is so isolating. We spent a small fortune in a security system for the house, not to keep burglars out but to keep kids in at night. I became a jail warden. How I loved my son and wanted him to change, to stay away from drugs; I feared for his life and future. I took him to therapists and looked for answers. I found a great program and I drove him 30 miles everyday to attend. Before he was able to complete the program our insurance ran out. How could they not insure for an entire program? How can they think that it is cost effective? He told me later that he did learn to stay away from the harder drugs there. Thankfully, he has never done meth or crack. Funny thing to be thankful for, huh?
Years, yes years we dealt with the issues related to drugs....stealing, lying, dropping out of school. Honestly, I thought I had lost a son. I didn't think that anything would help. We tried tough love and just about anything we could think of. He lived in his car for a period of time, had no ambition to do anything.
Today, life is better. He did get his GED and is working two jobs. He is contemplating going to a trade school. I feel that I was successful because he doesn't have a police record, no children and no addiction to any hard drugs. Years ago I wouldn't have considered those goals to be very big ones, however with this child I am delighted! Does he still use? Yes, he still does pot, but now on a very limited basis. He says that he no longer has time for it because of work.
Why would I write about such a personal issue? Because someone else may be dealing with these same issues. It may even be one of your friends and they may be afraid to say anything. Support them if they do confide in you, they need it. If a parent comes to you, listen. Don't think that your child would not do any such thing.
Drugs are easily available in our schools, even your child's. We sometimes would rather keep our heads in the sand then to look too hard at our children. Educate yourself on the language, what does 420 mean? Look, if your child's eyes are red.....look, if their eating habits change........look, if they smell of cologne to mask other smells.
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Ohhh, the excitement!
This fellow was quite aggressive, he kept sticking his head into the car looking for food. He had quite a peck and Larissa was scared of him.