Thursday, May 31, 2007


How do you see your future? How do you prepare yourself for the future, as in, do you do anything or do you roll with the punches?

I had a long talk today with The Kid's therapist. He told me, in as nicely and non-judgementally a way as one could, that I am a fatalist. I think in worst-case scenarios. That is not to say that I expect certain bad things to happen in the future (specifically, this came up because I voiced a concern that the rest of my life will be spent taking care of The Kid in one way or another, and I have to recognize that with his diagnosis that there are social lures that exist, or the typical 'pitfalls' of bipolar--drugs, alcohol, spending, etc), but I am just really aware of all of the bad things that could happen. I'm not an anxious person, I'm not a depressed person. I think I'm realistic. I also respond to the stress of being The Kid's parent by researching. I'm an academic, and I have always felt like if I know as much as I possibly can about something, I will be able to handle it, handle anything.

When I found out I was pregnant, I chucked my master's thesis out the window. I've never looked back. Instead, I dove headfirst into everything I could get my hands on about childbirth. Childbirth, but, Natural. I read medical books, advice books, lay-medical books, apparently I also read this book (according to my sister), and all sorts of hippie midwifery books. I think it's fair to say that by the time The Kid came to town, I knew everything about birthin' babies (that one could learn from reading a book, which, as you can imagine, is a far cry from knowing the first thing about childbirth, but anyway).

With years of perspective, I realize that I did all of that preparing and reading and Kegels and meditating and hotshot knowitall bullshit to prove to myself that I could be a mom in the first place.

So, what am I doing right now? What kind of hotshot knowitall bullshit am I pulling with myself right now?

I haven't the slightest, but I'm certain the fatalism isn't new to The Kid. I think I have this perspective on life, borne from a very happy life, marked with a series of significant losses from pretty early on (my father, my grandfather, my uncles, and so on), that generally, life is worth it, and good, but that bad things are going to happen. It's so Mark Twain-ish to say, but one thing we can count on in life is that we will go through periods of complete sadness, maybe misery.

That's a view of my whole life. I am not entitled to be happy, which is why I am a happy person. I know that sad is always around the corner, but it's definitely coming, so why anticipate it too much, like how the first snowfall of the season will always end the pleasantness of autumn.

But when it comes to The Kid, and all of the billions of possiblities that exist for his future... Am I wrong in reading up on the worst, just in case I need to know it? I don't sit around and plot interventions. I don't expect a life plagued with problems for him, I just know that if it hasn't been easy thusfar, it's bound to continue in a similar pattern, right?

So, The Kid's therapist called me a fatalist today. I'm actually perfectly okay with that title. Molly G, Fatalist. [Ms. Dillinger, can you please make me a label?]

But you know what? You wanna know why this has turned into a blog post? He did annoy me when he tried to 'remind' me of all of The Kid's strengths, and that he knows kids who have gone on to live very productive, mental-illness-free lives after having tough goes during childhood. I say, DUDE, I'm aware of that outcome too. I PRAY for that outcome. But I just can't be caught unaware. I'm an academic by nature. I live to be in the know.

But I still wonder if I'll look back on all of my current reading and writing on this subject some day, like I can about the childbirth stuff, and identify it. Ah, this is what I was compensating for, or Oh, I can see how I was preoccupying myself back then.

And here's the part where I tell you, and remind myself, that hindsight is also best left unanticipated, because, well, it just shows up one day. I guess I'll just wait.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Practice Makes Perfect

The Kid: Hey, mom! Let's have a staring contest!

Me: Sure.

[staring contest begins]...

...[two minutes pass]

Me: Wow, Kid, you've gotten good at the staring contest.

[we're still staring]

The Kid: Yeah, I've been practicing.

Me: Do you practice with the kids at school or something?

The Kid: No. I practice with my stuffed animals. But they always win.

[I lose the staring contest]

Monday, May 28, 2007

What Will the Rockstar Scare Sound Like?

You know, the band that The Kid and Mr. Lady's kids will be starting in about 10 years? Haven't you wondered what kind of music our kids will be listening to (and in my case, making) in the future? Here's my theory...

I know that B likes his indie rock and/or nerd rock, like Weezer. The Kid has recently been exploring his country roots, but still just wants to scream into microphones and be famous. His hard rock growl has already been perfected. Like, seriously. L is going to bring the sweet pop sounds, and she'll totally end up pulling a Stefani and be more famous and successful working on her own projects. And T. Well, something makes me think (bad connotations be damned) that he might bring a little old school Michael Jackson flava:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Godzilla Pooped On My Honda

I'm about to do this meme that Shannon and Diane have been up to lately, which is a big list of books and I'll tell you if I've read them or not, and I get to understand why I went to college because having attended means that I've read a good amount of those books, which, in turn, I get to list off on a blog. God, that was a good $100,000 spent.

But first, I need to share with you the last book I read. It's titled, Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (and other stories you're sure to like, because they're all about monsters and some of them are also about food. You like food, don't you? Well, all right then.) So, anyway, as if the title doesn't totally give it away already, it's a fantastic book of poems about various monsters. So, like, there's a poem about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde where in the doc messes up the potion and instead makes himself turn into an incredibly boring old man named Mr. Henderson. Then there is this rivalry between the Yeti and Bigfoot. The phantom of the opera is annoyed, continually. And finally, the title of the last poem, which I stole for the title of this post, had The Kid crying with laughter for a full 5 minutes. I timed him. He loves the poo jokes.

So, if you have a 7 year old, and you know who you are, you MUST go check this book out of the library, like, THIS WEEKEND. Okay?

Anyway, I read books:

Use blue font for everything you’ve read
Use red font for everything you’ve started but never finished
Use purple font for everything you’ve read but wish you hadn’t
Use yellow font for everything you’d never read, even you and that book were the only things to survive the apocalypse
Use black font for things you’ve never read
Use green front for things you want to read
Use orange font if you’ve read the author but not that particular work

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) [and shannon begins to wonder why it is she calls me her best friend]
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She's Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones' Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard's First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

But, like, anyway, of all of these books, none of them are my favorite. Here's where you actually can learn a little something about me and my feeling about literature (other than poop/dinosaur/poetry): My favorite book of all time and ever and forever because it just gives me the shakes thinking about it is Lolita.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

She's Baaaack....

Mr. Lady, you know, my bff, has hit the blogosphere again, this time in green.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

And they said Howard Dean was a freak...

Can't. Comment. Laughing. Ha.

edited to add:
No John Stewart in this one, I forgot that they've cracked down on the you tubing of the daily show. However, one cannot delete McCain's preposterous smile...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Word to the wise: Don't Yell at School District Administrators

Word to the wiser: Don't let THEM yell at YOU, either.

I haven't been writing very much lately, and part of the reason why has to do with the fact that I'm working through, in my brain, a number of things I am really not going to ever write about.

But have to break my silence because I'm finally ready to tell you this story:

In March, The Kid's school and I met for an IEP addendum meeting. You review an IEP on an annual basis, and his annual date happened to fall in the midst of last fall's placement fiasco, so I was never satisfied with the goals they set him, or about the information contained within the document in the first place. In fact, when the IEP was written back in October, I had pages of requests for changes, but those changes never happened. I let it slip, for a little while, knowing I could, or rather thinking I could, approach making those changes at a more appropriate time, like when I wasn't spending my time between bed, work and a hospital. So, when The Kid started his current school, I asked that they work toward cleaning up his IEP, and setting goals that fit his needs.

When I got the new IEP, I saw some really great teaching going on. His goals are measurable and real. Like, they changed from 'The Kid will behave better' to something more along the lines of 'he will increase the amount of words he can read.' 'He will gain the ability to work independently during writing.' And after each goal, they wrote really excellent plans to make those goals happen. Because, when you are a kid with an emotional/behavioral disability, or at least a kid like The Kid, your ability to attempt academics are a direct demonstration of how well your behavioral issues are being addressed.

They aren't "easy" goals, but they are attainable, and really, isn't that the "goal" of goals? I think it is. The feedback and the background information the current school wrote described my son, not some monster that was keeping a teacher's day from normalcy.

But (and with me it's always about but, isn't it?), they wrote all of those "new" things without altering or adapting anything that had been written by the old school. So, those errors that were made about The Kid seeing doctor X and taking medication Y on date Q, they were still in this legal document. And, in some cases, when there was no update to add, they left an evaluation in the IEP, unattributed or undated, that described The Kid when he was at the nadir of his insomnia, anxiety, negative drug side effects and what I can only describe as a mixed state of the worst of The Kid's life with bipolar disorder. For example, under the heading of "Present Level of Communicative Functioning," it stated that he had variations in intelligibility, and that his words often run together and were slurred. When I read this in March of 2007, not realizing that it was describing my son of October of 2006, I completely freaked out. The mishmashed speech and slurring, those were side effects of the evil meds he was on for about two weeks last fall. We immediately discontinued those drugs, and those side effects stopped as well. I have grave concerns that an acute reaction to one med he was on for two weeks in the month of September was recorded as his "present level of functioning."

I asked the school to attribute that information to an author, or to please update it. If it were a matter of, "oh, he grew out of that," it would be one issue. But because of the nature of that description, being brief and because it was due to a bad reaction to meds and therefore ultimately anomalaic, it doesn't belong in the IEP. In my opinion.

So, in this March IEP meeting I expressed my concern about these things existing in a legal document with my son's name on it. I thought I made a well reasoned case on why I would like to see some of these things correct, and also made it clear I wasn't trying to remove warts from my son's record, nor was I even trying to take the district to task on our dispute over his old school's IEP violation wherein they made me homeschool him because he wasn't allowed back at their school again. The current school asked me to list the changes I wanted made, and they would see about it. I could tell the lovefest we were having about the great things they had been doing and the strides The Kid were making melted into a pool under the table. Being a therapuetic school, no doubt these folks have seen it all.

I made my proposed changes and sent them in a lovingly worded email to about 6 people at the school district. I heard nothing for over 5 weeks, when I received a call from a district special ed supervisor informing me that none of my changes would be adopted because they were all conjecture, and that would be that.

He told me that I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees, and asked me "how could making all of these changes actually help The Kid?" I gently counted, "I don't really see how having incorrect information in his IEP could help him much, either." I then explained, as if this man needed explaining--and really this is where my big, expensive college edumacation and my fancy words and well, my bitchiness really isn't a helpful tool--that I'm well aware that the goal of therapuetic schools are to prepare a child for reintegration into a more mainstreamed classroom setting is the main goal. Right now, we're looking at a change in placement again for The Kid as soon as second semester next year. Further, I explained, it appears that the habit of the schools in the writing of IEPs are to build upon what is already written (he was evaluated by special ed services in preschool, and all of those items remain in his current IEP), and if that is going to happen, it needs to be right. Even further, think of the worst case scenario. A scandal. A horrible violent outburst. Something we can't even forsee. If his IEP is inaccurate, it hurts us all. Finally, I told him, these things are not conjecture. I can go get my pharmacy records if you'd like, but he was not on med Y prescribed by Dr. X on date Q. It's a inexorable fact. No conjecture.

After that, it turned into screaming, me at him, and he at me. He insisted that I'd missed my chance in changing things in October. I had been told we could address it later. He told me I was SOL. I never called him a name, but boy did I want to. He was not allowing me an inch of power in the writing of my son's IEP. And that was the final word.


Today, out of the complete blue, I received in The Kid's backpack a copy of his IEP. Everything written by any previous school had been removed. All that remains is the "new" info. The good stuff, I guess, but I'm still not mollified. Why can't they even meet me half way? If it is a practice of the schools to include a history, have they wiped his out, rather than find one we can both agree on? And what the hell happened to make them decide to do that? I fear they won't call me anymore because I have such a bad reputation with them all.

I throw up my hands. I am not a teacher, and I am not a school administrator. But I am a damn good mom, and a strong advocate for my son. I've been told I'm an important part of this process.

I can't think of another way to end this one, mostly because I don't believe it's over yet. It's perplexing, and counterintuitive to me. I read all over the internet, I grew up in a house with parents as teachers, and I know how frustrated they get when they have parents that don't care. In me, they have a parent that cares so much. I care so much I've started a fucking geeky blog to document how much I care.

My friend and I were laughing on the phone the other day about how if The Kid were not The Kid, but some completely typical child, I'd be such the PTA mom. The school would know me, and I'd do as much as a working parent can do to help her kid and his school. But I have this whole other direction, and I know they hate me. But I don't know how to do it any other way.