So, remember when I was going to be less "Oh, woe is me" HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, I'm sure NONE of you saw that coming.
OK, so the kids started school, and after the initial craziness where we fought to get D. placed where they had told us he would be placed, he was placed there, and Mr. WG and I went there the first day to see how things were. I stood and observed the class and I said to Mr. WG, "Um… I'm not so sure about this placement."
Maybe I should back up a little.
When Mr. WG arrived in Israel, he called me one day. "So, I went to see this school," he said. "I thought it was in Karnei Shomron, but it turns out it's in Shavei Shomron."
"Ok," I said, because he could have told me he thought it was in Sweden and it was actually in Denmark for all it meant to me.
"So, like, it's not going to be Israel, eventually," he said. "You have to go through a machsom (checkpost) to get there. So, when I found out where it was, I didn't even want to go, but then I went, and I really didn't like the drive there, but… I really liked the school. It's a great school for D. But the location… it's not for us."
Instead, Mr. WG liked the school in Rosh HaAyin. They had a "small class," he told me, which he explained was the equivalent of a special education class. Except that what he *meant* was that it's the equivalent of a class for kids with learning disabilities, and when you take D's delays and add in the whole "Hey, here's a new language WITH ALL DIFFERENT LETTERS," we need a class that's -- well, not the class in Rosh HaAyin. And that was clear to me from the moment I saw the class.
On Friday, we went to a meeting at the school, a meeting we asked for. The teacher and the counselor tried very hard not to say it, but what they meant was, "Please, please take your son out of this school." I left the meeting -- what's the word? Oh, devastated. Yeah. That.
We made some phone calls and prepped for Shabbat. We went through Shabbat, and in the late afternoon, at our friends' home, there may or may not have been an incident involving me shouting at my husband that I don't have time to waste, that we need a KICK-ASS PLACEMENT for my kid, and WHAT THE HELL WAS HE THINKING putting him in the class in Rosh HaAyin. It may have happened. I'm just saying.
This morning, we went to see the school in Shavei Shomron. You go through a little Arab village on the way. "This is what bothered you?" I asked my husband.
"Yes," he said.
"Um, you do know that your parents live in UPPER NAZARETH and we used to drive through LOWER NAZARETH on the way there, right?
"But that's different."
"Why, because you've done it since you were a kid?"
"Well, yeah, and this is, like, 40 minutes from our house."
This is true -- the school is a bit of a schlep. If I had to get there weekly, say, to serve hot lunch, it would be annoying. But D. will have a ride there and back.
We got to the school. The secretary knew exactly who we were -- and we hadn't called ahead. The assistant principal showed us around and talked to us. We saw the different classrooms, saw the kids race over to hug the assistant principal when they saw her. We met with the psychologist, the principal, and the counselor. They saw a video of D., and all of them had the same maternal reaction to it.
They get that D. needs one on one. They can do that. They get that he needs first grade -- even though he's as large as some of the 6th graders. They get that even though he's as large as some of the 6th graders, he's only SEVEN.
I'm taking D. there tomorrow to meet them in person. Mr. WG will be off to Holland for work, but the school and D. can check each other out, and a decision may be made as soon as, you know, tomorrow. So. There we are. And here we go.
Monday, September 12, 2011
So, remember when I was going to be less "Oh, woe is me" HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah, I'm sure NONE of you saw that coming.
Monday, August 22, 2011
My husband just emailed me with the name and cell phone number of a woman with the note "Call me." He's off in London again for work. I called him.
"I just spoke to the principal at D's new school," he said. "She said we need to email D's translated developmental evaluation to this woman."
"Okay. You sent me her phone number."
"I know. Can you call her and get her email address and send her the report?"
Okay, so let's start with the fact that my husband thought it would be easier to email me, ask me to call him, explain the situation, and have me call this woman rather than just call her himself and request her email address. Fine. Fine.
I call her.
"Why are you calling my cell phone?" she demanded.
"This is the number I have, I'm sorry," I said.
"I don't understand why you're talking to me at all," she continued. "You should be talking to Office A, and THEY should talk to me. You should never talk to me. Why are you calling me?"
"Look, I don't know what you're talking about," I said. "All I know is that my husband called me from London and told me to call you and get your email address so I can send you a copy of our translated report."
"But YOU SHOULDN'T BE TALKING TO ME," she said.
"There are A LOT OF THINGS I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO DO FOR MY SON," I tossed back, and I guess she heard that she had already made me cry, so she allowed me to take down her email address and send the damn report.
Really, is it any wonder I hate people?
Posted by WriterGrrl at 7:20 AM
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Oh, my poor, neglected blog. This is what happens when you let life get in the way of the Internet.
So...with the exception of my little Amy Chua post, I've been kind of absent for a while. There are many reasons for this. In no particular order:
1. My eldest child had a bat mitzvah. It was awesome, but it also took a lot of my time.
2. We planned this whole "move to Israel" thing, sold our house, packed our stuff, and, uh, moved to Israel.
3. I haven't quite known what to say.
Let's expand on 3 a bit, shall we? I started this blog the day we met with the neurologist who gave us D's preliminary diagnosis, which turned out to be spot on. That was the beginning of The Dark Time. And my God, was it dark. For a long time. I blogged a lot, and that helped so much. And I read a lot of special needs blogs, and that helped, too.
Lately, the sun seems to have broken through. Now, I don't want to exaggerate. My son is still disabled -- and just typing those words makes me start to cry -- but on the whole, on the whole, I am far more okay with that reality than I ever thought I could be. I know there are so many things my beautiful boy will never do. And even though there is a piece of me that will never fully accept any kind of limitations placed on him -- because what the hell kind of mother would? -- I am beginning to be able to envision a future for my D. that is hopeful. It is different from the dreams I thought I would have for my children, but I am getting better at realizing that there is more than one version of success.
Basically, the last 3 minutes to the contrary, I don't sit around sobbing all the time anymore. This is good. But for a while I thought that it meant I should stop blogging, because, well, the point of this blog, in a nutshell was, "OH MY GOD, MY LIFE IS TRAGIC BECAUSE MY SON HAS SPECIAL NEEDS AND I HATE EVERYBODY."
So. I thought about stopping, about starting something new, about just closing the computer and quietly walking away forever. But then I thought about
the children. my constant and unrelenting need for attention. one of the things I wanted to know back at the start of this journey: "Will I be OK?" And the answer is, YES. And so I think it's important to keep writing this blog -- even though the focus may ultimately shift, even though there may be less WOE IS ME (although I can assure you that there will still be PLENTY of I HATE EVERYONE AND I AM BETTER THAN EVERYONE ANYWAY), even though I may not hyper-focus on the details of my son's progress or his failures. I think it's important for parents at other stages of this journey to know that I survived The Dark Times. I pushed through. I came out into the light, and sporting Chanel sunglasses, no less. And you will, too.
Posted by WriterGrrl at 3:54 AM
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
I’m so late to the party it’s frightening, but I JUST read The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua yesterday. I could not put it down -- and I was reading it on my phone. It was SO GOOD.
So, first of all, after the poor woman has been excoriated and vilified in the press, its really important to start where she started. She started writing this book at the moment she thought that everything she had done -- the very fiber of who she was as a parent -- had backfired on her in the worst way possible. She had, if you will, hit rock bottom. Her younger daughter had rejected her wholly and completely (it will probably not surprise you to learn that her daughter was 13 at the time) and Amy was devastated.
From that place of devastation, of questioning herself, of pain, frustration, and probably anger, Amy began writing. And the beginning of the book is laugh-out-loud funny. She makes fun of herself. She admits that she may not have chosen the best path for parenting, but like all of us, she started with what she knew. Who you are as a parent is shaped so much by your own experiences as a child. Maybe you swing completely the opposite way, maybe you follow your parents’ lead exactly, and maybe you take what worked and change what didn’t.
I think that my parenting style is very different from my own parents -- and because I am a genius and the best at everything in the world, my way is better. If you ask my parents, it is entirely possible that they will tell you that my children are feral animals over whom my husband and I have no control. This, in stark contrast to the docile “seen and not heard” children my siblings and I were (although I seem to remember my fair share of terrible behavior as a child). And there have been perhaps a handful of times that I questioned the wisdom of my parenting and wondered if I should maybe knock some respect into my kids. Metaphorically, of course.
Anyway, Amy started with what she knew, and it worked. Beautifully! Her older daughter followed the rules and excelled and sparkled. And then her second daughter came along. And everything Amy thought she knew turned out to be wrong.
Amy’s book is about her flaws as a mother. Anyone who reads it and comes away thinking that Amy is telling every parent everywhere to follow her methods with every child has a serious reading disorder. There are several moments in the book where Amy tells you what she was thinking -- and what she said out loud. Because -- and perhaps this has never happened to you, because I am sure that YOU are perfect, because you read my blog and I AM PERFECT -- sometimes we are stubborn. And sometimes admitting a mistake is really, really hard.
The crux of Amy’s argument, as I read it, is that good parenting is HARD. Guess what? IT IS. It is damn hard to parent effectively.
My youngest is two years old. If I worked a little harder, he could be toilet trained. But that would require a lot of effort on my part. Right now, we have a system where, when I remove his diaper and free his baby manhood, Baby A. grabs himself and shouts “Peepee! Peepee!” and then runs around the house screaming maniacally and laughing.
I follow him around for a few minutes, regularly scooping him up and taking him to the toilet, where he does not pee. Then, I either put a diaper on him, or go do something else -- whereupon he pees on the floor.
I am lazy.
Amy would never do that.
My daughters took music lessons. And like most Western parents, I settled for MAYBE half an hour of practice daily. Currently, neither of my daughters takes lessons. Amy’s daughters are concert-level musicians, and they are grateful. Yes, both of them.
Anyway, all of this is to say, if your only exposure to Amy Chua is what you’ve read ABOUT her, you should read her book. And Amy, we should really have coffee.
P.S. I JUST read Amy's web site now, and it made me laugh a lot because she basically says exactly the same thing about her book that I just said.
Posted by WriterGrrl at 3:44 AM
Thursday, March 24, 2011
You may recall that Aetna makes me insane, and I had the audacity to write about my annoyance at their sudden decision to not cover therapies they had covered in the past.
Well, an anonymous commenter has chosen to take me to task. There is NOTHING I love more than dissecting anonymous comments. Here it is:
I wanted a new 2011 Lexus but they wouldn't give it to me for $1,000. The nerve of those car dealers!OK, Anon, I will totally spot you the misspelling, because I'm feeling generous, and because I am well aware that I have typos in my posts. The random capitalization of Insurance? OK, I can let that go. Let's attack the substance of your comment, not the style.
Why does everyone think that Insurance covers everything for everybody? The limits of you specific policy are the limits you live with (or not). Pay more and get a better policy (or car). Unfortunate situation but stop whinning...
Maybe you're not aware of how insurance works for most of us in this country. That is, we don't have the luxury of shopping around for the best possible policy. Rather, we're limited to the paltry offerings our employers make available. And not cheaply, I might add.
Anyway, Anon, if you actually read my post, and the other posts on the topic, you discover that yes, I do find it reprehensible that Aetna does not feel the need to cover my son's therapies, but I am even more disturbed by the fact that they DID cover him and then abruptly decided that they were just kidding. Essentially, they sent me a letter saying, "Hey, we want a do-over!" To which I respond, "NO BACKSIES."
Your analogy sucks, Anon. When I go car shopping, I can decide how much I want to spend, and what I want to get for that money, and then it is up to me to find the seller who offers what I want at that price. In fact, I am going through that process right now. And do you know what? If you are patient and careful, there is an excellent chance that you can get a 2009 Sienna with under 50,000 miles and dual power sliding doors for under $17,000.
If Aetna offered me a policy that would cover my son's speech, OT, and PT for $X/month, I would most likely buy it. If I could shop around for an individual policy that would cover those things, even better. But that's not possible these days in this great country. Health care reform? Yeah, not really very helpful when it doesn't REQUIRE INSURERS TO COVER TREATMENT.
And that is all for today. Internet, I still have to tell you The Great Saga of Selling Our Honda Odyssey, but I have to save it for after my work is done.
Posted by WriterGrrl at 11:09 AM
Friday, March 11, 2011
Every time my son asks for a playdate, my heart breaks a little. Adi is seven years old. Although he is sometime invited to the birthday parties of my friends’ children, he is usually overlooked. Although my five year old son is often invited to someone’s house to play, Adi is always left behind. We try to arrange occasional interactions for Adi with his peers, but it’s asking a lot of a first grader to play with a child with special needs whose speech isn’t always intelligible, who can’t play the way other children do, who is clearly, visibly different.
The first time I heard about the Friendship Circle, I was skeptical. Teens were going to come to my house and play with my son for an hour? My son could go to activities and someone else would interact with him while I had a cup of coffee and chatted with other parents? Maybe it sounds cynical, but I’ve learned not to get my hopes up.
If I say that Friendship Circle has changed my life – and my family – you will think I’m exaggerating, but I assure you that I am not. For three years now, Monday afternoons are filled with anticipation in my home. From the moment Adi returns from school, he announces, “Dean’s coming!” And when Dean arrives – the jubilation is tangible.
Dean is happy to do whatever Adi wants to do – watch videos of garbage trucks on YouTube, play in the park, act out episodes of Blue’s Clues – whatever Adi wants, he gets, for that hour. Most exciting, of course, is that he gets a friend. He gets a playdate. And it is amazing.
When we go to Friendship Circle activities throughout the year, Dean meets us there and whisks Adi away to have fun. At first, I was nervous, but I’ve learned to let them go -- not that Adi gives me a choice. “That’s my Dean,” he tells me. “Not your Dean.”
People who don’t know me know Adi from Friendship Circle and greet him warmly when we are out and about. Sometimes I feel like wherever I go in Houston, Friendship Circle is there, a small but shining presence that lightens my step, that makes my days easier.
I was surprised to learn recently that just to break even with their current programming, Friendship Circle of Houston needs $80,000 annually. And they have plans for expansion – but those plans take money, of course. When you donate to the Friendship Circle, you help support the programs that already exist, and you help build the vision that is slowly coming to life. You give Adi, and other children like him, playdates. You give respite to parents, support to siblings, and you give the world a chance to see my son’s smile.
Our family is participating in this year's Houston Friendship Walk. We need your support to reach our goal! Please make a secure online donation today.
You will automatically receive an acknowledgment and I will be notified by email of your support. Together we are truly making a difference for those in need!