Wednesday, January 21, 2015

You can take your "checked box" and.....

Even before I became a Mother, I knew deep down that I would be overprotective of my children. Always wanting to keep them safe and wanting nothing but the best for them. With Alex, I am probably 10 times over what I should be, because he has so many more needs and I am always worrying about him being ok. I know that both of my boys will be subjected to teasing and even ridicule as I think all of us as children are. I know I was. It is hard as a parent to wonder and worry about things like this as much as it is to experience failure. I don't ever want either of them to think or feel like they are a failure, that is why dealing with certain things when it comes to my boys is especially hard on me.

With the boys going into Kindergarten next year, (I know right?) they have been doing hearing and vision screenings so they are all set with the paperwork. I was unaware of the vision screen back in September but I got the paperwork yesterday that Evan passed. There was also a slip for Alex and his was noted that he was "unable to screen". I know this. It isn't news to me that my child cannot read the letters provided or speak to the person screening him. I guess I just don't understand why they would even attempt to screen him when they know he won't pass and then give me a slip of paper that pretty much says FAIL on it. I guess they are just doing their jobs. I know they have to screen him for their records and maybe it just stings a little when I see something like that. He sees an eye specialist, so I planned on getting a report from him before school starts so that they have it on paper that he can see just fine and that his vision is good. I know all is good, but it broke my heart into a million pieces when I saw his note.

As for the hearing test, I was actually there the day they did that so I was in the room with him. The objective was that when the child heard the noise they were to put a block in the bucket. Well, Alex isn't going to make that connection, but I explained to the screener that I bet he will make some sort of facial expression when he hears the noise. Sure enough he smiled when it beeped into his ear on the headphones. We went through the whole process and then she tells me that she can't pass him because he didn't do the test the way they require it. It took everything in me not to smack her across the face for being ignorant. What was the point of making him sit there and go through it when you were going to fail him either way? Can you tell my blood was boiling? So now I get to look forward to receiving that slip of paper with the "unable to screen" box checked off again.

I am sure some people are going to read this and think I am being overly dramatic and I shouldn't let it "get to me" or I shouldn't stress because it "isn't that big of a deal". Well it IS a big deal to me.
My child is special needs and he is in a General Education class. I am grateful for that, but if you know that he isn't going to pass the screening, then why put him through it? Why not just contact me to see if there is a way for me to get the information you are looking for instead of making my kid look like a failure? It is different if there is an underlying issue that I don't know about, but with Alex it is pretty cut and dry. He is non-verbal and there are certain connections that his brain just cannot make.

I get it. They are doing their jobs and while I am grateful that Alex is included in these screenings, it just gets emotions running high within me because it completely zeros in on the fact that he has this disability and there are certain things he just cannot do.

I am sure these situations will get easier and just become the "norm" for me, but today I wanted my voice to be heard because no matter what box is checked, Alex will NEVER be a failure in my eyes.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Circus Fun

On Sunday we took the boys to the Shrine Circus! This year we went with our favorite family - The Raddatz's. As always we had a great time amongst the whining and stress. Can't expect anything less with four kids under 7. Here are some pics from our adventure together. Afterward we went to this Chinese Restaurant that Eric has been wanting to try. He was NOT disappointed.

Evan climbing the bounce house wall

Alex Riding a Pony


The Clowns "Clowning" around


This dude looked like Elvis busting some moves

Our Best attempt at a photo

The Raddatz Family
Eric enjoying his Chinese Food

Our Fortunes from the fortune cookies. Clockwise from top:
Eric, Alex, Evan and Me

Eric's fortune fit him to a T. Evan and I got the same fortune which I can also see ringing true for both of us, but it was Alex's fortune that stood out to me. I couldn't believe out of 9 cookies, this was the fortune he got. 'You will overcome difficult times". This is the one fortune I will believe in.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Flint Children's Museum Fieldtrip

This past Thursday, Alex and Evan had their first field trip of the year to the Flint Children's Museum. We have been there before so they are very familiar with it and love it there! Here are some pictures of them having fun!!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Finding Another Special Needs Mom - A Dream Come True

Over Christmas Break I finally got to see my friend Rhiannon and her boys Blake and Casey. We haven't had a play date since summer when we would meet up at the park. We have been lucky enough to see each other at the Horse Therapy program that both Alex and Casey ride at, but once I started working on Fridays, we haven't had time to get together. I knew Christmas break would be a good time to meet up and I am so glad we did.

Evan and Blake have missed each other so much! It was really good to see them back together. They get along so well (at least in the beginning) then by the end they are fighting like brothers would. Not only did Evan and Blake need this get together, but I think Rhiannon and I did as well.

We are each other's only "special need" parent/friend. So when we get together we are able to talk and vent about our lives as special needs mothers. Our successes, our frustrations, our worries and sometimes things that are bothering us that no on else would understand. That there is the key sentence to this entire post. "No one else would understand".

Sometimes when I am having a "moment" I often think of Rhi because I know she would understand. When we are together talking and venting, we always seem to relate and agree on things. That is why I feel so grateful to have met her and her boys and to have her in my life.

I know I have said this before, but before I met her, I had hopes of finding another Mom in a similar situation to me. I thought finding another special needs mom would be impossible and then we met and saw how close our boys were in age, I just knew it was going to be a perfect fit - and it has been. It really has been a dream come true.

Casey and Alex are very different. Casey has Down Syndrome and Alex has Cerebral Palsy. But one thing that is the same is that they are equally important to both of our families. Rhiannon and I as mothers to special needs children are always dealing with an array of emotions. Happy for milestones, Sad when the boys are sad or feeling left out, content when they are happy, overjoyed when they do something out of the ordinary, frustrated with the doctors, tests, test results, therapists and appointments. Then there are moments when they will melt our hearts. Casey and Alex are both very happy boys and that is something we both are thankful for.

Being able to relate to someone outside of my husband on these feelings and moments we go through as special needs moms, is a very comforting and fulfilling feeling. Don't get me wrong, I have a great group of friends who are supportive, always listen, comfort me when I need it and even offer up help with my boys. But for someone to truly understand what you are feeling and going through, they have to had gone through it or experience it themselves. That is just my opinion on it and I think a lot of people would agree.

So, Rhiannon if you read this, Thank you for being my friend; the one who knows what I go through being a mom to a special needs child, for listening and understanding me; for never judging me; for loving my boys as much as I love yours. You have no idea how much your friendship means to me and I am so thankful for all of the memories our boys have shared and look forward to many years as friends.

Rhi and I

Evan and Blake

Alex and Casey

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Year, New Goals

New Year, new set of goals. That is what I like to call "resolutions". I don't want them to stick for a week or a month or even a year. I prefer they become a way of life.

The goal that I continue to fail at every year is weight loss. It has been an ongoing struggle for me for many years. I am hoping that this is the year that it sticks and I actually make changes that will stick around. I need to be healthy for my kids. These boys keep me on my toes and they aren't slowing down anytime soon!

The other goal (which is a carryover from last year) is to try and do something fun and different (outside of our normal routine) at least once a month. I actually succeeded at this goal last year and because it created so many great memories for our family, I look forward to doing it again this year.

We are off to an early start. We went bowling with some friends this past weekend and then out to lunch. It was kind of a big deal because it was the first time Alex actually bowled. He loved it! He would push the ball himself and watch it roll down the lane. No matter how many pins he would knock down, we would celebrate and he would get so excited!!

In two weeks we are going to the Shrine Circus! I know that these little things really make the boys happy - and they make me happy too. Here's to another eventful year!