Archive for March, 2013

They Aren’t Called Timelords For Nothing!

Posted March 30, 2013 By kmarrs

When we finally get a 12th doctor, I’m going to start telling time by the actor’s names.  As in, “I don’t have to be to work today until David Tennant Thirty.”

Which will be epic.

Especially, I realized, since there is talk of possibly Rupert Grint, from Harry Potter, being the 12th.  It’ll bring whole new meaning to “The Witching Hour”.

Ba dum bum

Thank you, I’m hear all week.

Anywho, or you know, Doctor who, is back tonight at Paul McGann and that’s only 5.50 hours away.

But who’s counting?

Not the doctor.  This already happened for him

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A Brilliant Mind

Posted March 29, 2013 By kmarrs

We all brag on our kids.  So know that I know we all consider our kids to be the next Einstein, Henry Ford, Marie Curie, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Da Vinci, or in my case, Sheldon Cooper.  I do wholeheartedly get that.  Please understand that, as I quote the following comment left on Thawed, and then get into my response.

I’m sure you already know this, but on the off chance, here you go. If kiddo’s ADHD, showing signs of OCD, and isn’t able to manage in another educational setting (“it’s not them, it’s him”), these are red flags in the special education world. It’s worth asking the school district for a full psycho-educational run down on him. It should include academic, psychological, mental health, and anything else that you’re at all concerned about (speech pragmatics, ability to negotiate a playground, whatever). Your family may choose to homeschool, or to enroll him in a private kinder, and only you know what will work best for him and you, but it’s the district’s obligation to put him in a kindergarten with the necessary supports he requires to succeed (which damn well includes a school bus). Cognitive behavioral therapy and a tightly structured day can do wonders for kids with ADHD, and if that’s what it takes for him to manage school (and the school to manage him) then they get to provide it.

I think this warrants addressing beyond the comments section.

I don’t think the ADHD (or OCD, or any other possible diagnosis, for that matter) is why he doesn’t thrive in preschool, I honestly think he isn’t challenged enough. He went in there knowing basic multiplication so therefor couldn’t take them seriously when they tried to teach him how to count along with the other kids. At the same time he gets stuck counting past 12. It’s a patience thing. As in, he has no patience for the inferior brain trying to teach him.  He has to decide he cares and then teach himself.  Hence him questioning what the hell his brother is taught “at that school” when Thomas made a simple math mistake.  Kid was tired, Luke had no hesitation calling him on it though.

That dynamic of brothers competing aside, there is something in there that can’t be missed.  I haven’t taught Luke math.  Sure, I taught him how to count, and what the numbers looked like.  We even struggled on that.  Oh lord.  But even before he could count successfully past 8, he could tell you that 2 times 4 was 8.  Not because I taught him, but because he was watching me build something that had 4 screws on the one side and just assumed that meant there were 8 screws total.  Sure, he could have added it up, but he could only see one side.  That takes a certain amount of cognative thinking.  He was 4.

I pride myself on my math skills, but I couldn’t have done that, self-taught, at 4.  How many really could have?

He has a psychiatrist who is keeping tabs on him, though yes the school board could apply it to education. But honestly, I don’t want to IEP him if I can avoid it. And when he is medicated, I can avoid it. I was going to stick him in a regular class, the reason it didn’t happen that way is because I missed deadlines I didn’t realize where come and gone, and because of his age, but not the mental curiosities. The strive for pre-K was because he’s only had 1 year of pre-school and just doesn’t seem to be quite ready for kindergarten to me.  (The school bus issue was isolated to pre-K since it’s a separate program that happens to be housed in a school.)

And the relief that came when homeschooling suddenly became a serious option, goes beyond psych evaluations and IEPs.  It goes into knowing kids aren’t meant to fit molds.  Not every child is meant to be a brain surgeon.  And the most brilliant minds out there are going to look at a standardized test and a scantron and ask: what the heck are they teaching in these schools?  I mean seriously, WTF!

I have always known my Lucas was not meant to fit a mold.  And now I’m following my heart and acting upon it.

His mental health is a concern, always. But honestly, so is what the federal government is doing to the education system. I want my little engineer to be able to get excited about robots and spend his school day building his own and then programming it to carry off a hit on his older brother, and not having to worry about the latest standardized test out there.  I think Thomas is about to take his 3rd.  For this year.

I have no doubts this kid is brilliant. But he’s brilliant in a way that won’t come across on a scantron.  It will, however,  come across when he’s making millions on government projects you don’t have the security clearance level to hear about.  Momma just prays it’s ethical.

In a sea of education options, what works for one child shouldn’t have to work for another.  If I honestly thought a public school classroom was the answer for him, I’d go fierce momma and there he’d be come fall, with or with the evaluation and IEP.  Many of you nod your head knowing this to be the case.  Some of you are just thankful you won’t have to help me hide the bodies that could potentially pile up during the process.

In the same way I know this to be the answer for Luke, I know pulling Thomas out of school is the worst education decision I could make for Thomas.  Oh my anger of teaching to tests and government interference makes me daydream about it, but he thrives in a classroom.  I know, in my head, better than to mess with that.

Sambam, meanwhile, might inspire a 3rd option.  I’m thinking an all-girls, private, boarding school.  But only when I realize she has my personality, Aphrodite’s beauty, and breathes fire, like the red dragon she is.  Once puberty hits… well she’ll be the one we hide bodies for.  We’re going to need a backyard.

The homeschool program we are placing him in starting this fall, is a virtual classroom.  They’ll provide a computer, and then he’ll have a full class with a teacher heading it, just online.  There will be field trips you can try and make it to. (All across Ohio, hence the “try”.)  There is an initiative to connect those living close to one another for play-dates.  There is a PE log sheet so that they know you are up and outside running around, skinning knees, and pelting daddy with snowballs.  I’ve seen the curriculum for K-12th grade.  Not a standardized test in site.  It’s taught to foster brilliant minds, not convince the federal government of anything.  It’s amazing how much interference we have from the government and yet how uneducated our nation really is.  I know Pat and I aren’t brilliant, but with the freedom this program gives, paired with the structure this program offers as well, I think this will meet all of Luke’s needs.  And I don’t have to worry about Pat trying to teach him algebra, because there is a licensed teacher on the other end of computer who has it covered.

Speaking of, I’ve introduced him to algebra, he thinks it’s silly, but seems to be on the cusp of understanding it.  Give me til the end of summer.  He’s got this.  He already understand that if 2+5=7, then 5+2=7, and 7-2=5.  That is step one to understanding 2+x=7, solve for x, after all.

So in short: while his mental health diagnostics will always be something to work with/around, I think in ways they will inspire greatness, and I think conventional school will only hold him back.  It’s also worth noting that his behavior in the pre-school classroom is spot on.  They find him to be a helpful, sweet, loving, joy to have around.  They just can’t seem to teach him.

As an interesting note, tucked here at the end, that’s why he isn’t going back after Spring Break.  He’ll finish out the week/month, but once we decided to homeschool, it started to seem ludicrous to spend so much time, energy, and money to try to force pre-school to happen.  He isn’t getting anything out of it.  So he can spend those hours each week working on his math workbook I bought him.  As well as the letters and phonics books.

 

Our next step is a lined dry-erase board so he can work on penmanship, and which direction the numbers 7 and 3 face.  It’s the only thing I have to teach him in this exact regard.  He doesn’t seem to need my help otherwise.  Unless you count reading the instructions.  Other than that, I handed over the book and off he flew.

And he does.  He will.  He flies.  He will fly higher.  And I’m actually relieved to be able to loosen a chain or two.

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With Great Stupidity

Posted March 27, 2013 By kmarrs

I woke up in the early hours with a sword through my chest.  Swear to The Almighty He Who Is Or Isn’t that while it may have not been visible, it was there.  It started from the front, over the center of my chest, plunged through, and out through my spine.  Oddly, I think my spine hurt the most.  But nothing felt awesome.  I was nauseous.  I was dizzy.  I had indigestion like I’d eaten the whole damn chicken, feathers beak and all, and not just some of its breast hours earlier.

This wasn’t the first time.  Each time I half asleep panic that I’m having a heart attack.  Each time I tell myself I’m not even 30, I drink some pink stuff, and I curse my body for about an hour when *poof* it is magically gone, as quickly as it came.  Fine.  Fine.  Sleep.  Sleep.  2AM DYING.  DYING. DYING.  3AM fine.  Sleep.  Sleep.

My body only does this in the dead of night when I’m in a sound sleep that the roof caving in couldn’t wake me from.

Clearly not a heart attack.  I’d be dead by now.

This last time I got curious and Googled the symptoms for a heart attack.  Oh.

Age ranges?  Well, do you have a heart?

Twitter, does it realistically happen to those under 30?  Oh, you know someone personally who died from one when they were 14?  Awesome.

Then oh hey, about 12 hours later, ok more like 10, but I’m starting to sound dumb here, my left shoulder started in.  Now I have chronic pain, don’t take the damn arm seriously.  Ever.  No, it doesn’t matter that it’s my right shoulder and not my left shoulder that acts up.  Chronic pain.  All joints prone.  Major weather changes at that.  OHIO!  OHIO WEATHER!  (I’m seriously not a fan of calling weather “bipolar”, btw but if I was…)

So I kept everything in mind, because I’m not dumb, but I weighed in my age and other risk factors (recently declared perfect blood pressure and cholesterol levels, but kind of sort of fat) and decided I’d give it some time.

Then with great stupidity, I ordered dinner.  The following is pretty much directly off twitter since it is quite hilarious, as long as you don’t know about the earlier heart attack symptoms.

See, when a Chinese restaurant takes the time to warn you that something is spicy, they don’t mean Wendy’s spicy chicken, spicy.  In fact, I’m fairly certain that the dish in question was more Vietnamese and less Chinese.  And the ability it gave me to breath fire, my husband informed me, was thanks to the liberal use of ghost pepper seeds.  And I can now from experience tell you that ghost pepper is named for its ability to turn diners into restless souls searching for cold water.  Water doesn’t help, just to clarify.

Also, damn that stuff was good.

And?  Not a peep from my stomach, or heart since.  See, the way I figured, it was indigestion and eating something spicy would give my stomach to chew on, or I was indeed having a heart attack and this would fix my indecision.  Either way, I’d know.

And I do know.

I know that when the Chinese restaurant takes the time to tell you something is spicy, they are referring to something more than your local fast food joint’s seasoned sandwich.

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I Don’t Have Photographic Evidence

Posted March 26, 2013 By kmarrs

Hippopotamus and the BloggessOn the 19th of March, my mom, sister and I piled into my mom’s car and drove.  Her GPS “Maddy” took us the scenic route past farms, cows, horses and trains, without an interstate in sight.  But we were in no hurry.  We gave ourselves 5 hours to make a 2 hour drive.

We got to the bookstore in Dayton with plenty of time, so we parked the car and decided we’d go into the bookstore to look around, and find out event details.

Around this time, I realized my husband had given me a 50 with the idea that he didn’t like me wondering so far from home without any sort of cash.  I sent him a quick note warning him he’d set me loose in a bookstore with cash.  He made it clear he had been aware longer than I had, of the situation, and that I would indeed owe him.

There was one survivor.  He goes by Washington.

Funny how all three of us bookworms didn’t really realize that the book signing in a book store would involve, you know, many, many books.  I think we blocked that part out in our quest.

Our quest to meet The Bloggess.

After we spent ourselves broke, we wandered to a nearby subway for an early dinner and then a few other shops to poke around.  But with only an hour and a half left before the signing started, we made our way back to the bookstore to find our place in line.  With a heads-up from the vixen Dawnie, I knew we needed to be there well in advance.  We were the second group in line, but it grew well before 6, when we could find seats.  By the time The Bloggess was presented at 7, it was standing room only.

We had front row seats.  Score!

The Dayton reading had the privilege to be the audience that was not allowed to witness a single curse word, as she read a chapter from her book.  So Jenny, in advance, set about finding the chapter with the fewest F-bombs, and friends.  The winning chapter had only 12 words that needed replaced with hippopotamus.  You heard me, hippopotamus.  But oh you should have heard her!

We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more.

Then we single file got to meet the Goddess that is the Bloggess and have her sign our books.  Our coveted books of inappropriate hilarity.  I was lucky enough to be able to have 2 copies signed.  I bought the paperback version for myself (with a new bonus chapter, yo!) and had my older hardback version signed for my good friend Lisa who was spending the day back in Columbus growing older.  No, seriously, it was her birthday.  When I mentioned this to Jenny, she was sure to wish her a happy birthday in writing.  Lisa is one lucky hippopotamus!

We are all very lucky hippopotamuses.  Not just that this book has been written by someone so very real and honest and inappropriately hilarious.

But that this single person could make it clear to all of us who are so very isolated and alone, that we are in fact one of millions and not so different after all, is something we all needed.  We aren’t the only one with chronic pain.  We aren’t the only one with crippling anxiety.  We aren’t the only one with depression so bad we can’t leave our bed for days if not weeks.  We aren’t the only one who has cut to feel something.  We aren’t the only one.  You, I, Jenny.  We are all so unique but in the ways we need to be the same, to not be alone, Jenny has made it clear we are a community.  She has given us that gift.

So we are very lucky hippopotami indeed!

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Thawed

Posted March 22, 2013 By kmarrs

Everything I said the other day about standing out in the cold to reserve a pre-K seat, how I was #19 but it was all worth it he got in?

Yes.

Well.

About that.

Seems, that nobody bothered to mention the class was for 4-year-olds only… Oh they did go to great lengths to make sure you knew no 3-year-olds, but nothing was said about 5-year-olds who aren’t ready for kindergarten.

It wasn’t until days later when I went to fill out all the registration paperwork and we were discussing busing… See, even though his big brother comes from the same home and would be going to the same school, they are cutting the funding for the pre-K busing no exceptions.  Ironically, that was a huge reason we were choosing that pre-K, he’d be bussed.  So I mentioned that might be a deal breaker and I might just put him in the regular kindergarten instead.  She was confused.  I explained he was old enough for kindergarten but not ready, so I was putting him in pre-K instead since he only had one year of preschool under his belt.  And that’s the story of how person #21 on the waiting list just had their day made.  They were out in the cold from 4:30-8 AM, they deserve it.

While I was there, learning I couldn’t put him in their pre-K, I asked when the lottery opened and closed for regular K-12 so he could still go there, where his brother goes, but just be in kindergarten, and we could master letters over the summer.  Oh, that opened and closed in February.

And that’s the story of how I learned I have no place to place him next year with his brother at all.  Period.  End of discussion.

My choices are his current school, which is expensive and doesn’t seem to be effective for him (it’s him, not the school), another program with likely the same cost and results, or just homeschool the kid at least through Kindergarten.

OK, so we’ve discussed and discussed the idea of homeschooling all three kids.  With Thomas we decided the regular school was the best choice for him.  With Luke, I think his best bet might actually be at home.

Fact is, the kid has quirks.  He’s ADHD, showing signs of OCD, and there is also something else.  I don’t know what.  He’s 5.  But there is something there.  Tic based.  Mood based.  Something.  It’ll get figured out as he grows into it.  No immediate rush.  The main concern now is the ADHD and keeping him safe from himself and that’s being handled.  The rest can wait as long as it isn’t causing harm, and it’s not.

Either way we look at it, there is a mile long list of pros and cons for all the school options.  But unlike Thomas, I think Luke’s best bet when everything is measured out, is to keep him home.  Ohio has a wonderful homeschooling program.  He will be teacher led over a computer they provide, and it doesn’t have all that ridiculous testing that the federal government mandates.  Luke is more imagination/creative based and doesn’t do well with structure, so he won’t standardize test well.  That’s just setting him and his poor teachers being graded on his test results, up for failure.  Especially since he’s incredibly smart, but not in the format the US government would prefer.

So, we’re pretty set on giving it a try.  And come next January, we’ll take a long look at if it’s working.  If it isn’t, come next February we’ll lottery him into his brother’s school.  But if we’re right, and home is what’s best for him, then home he will stay through at least middle school if not all the way to graduation.

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Frozen

Posted March 19, 2013 By kmarrs

It’s a cold, dark March morning.  The clock strikes 4 and the fierce momma bear leaves the warm nest, headed to the frozen concrete outside the big, brick building.  She sits outside the front door, in the cold, huddled up with many fierce momma bears, thankful the snow storm is hours off.  Small blessings on a cold, dark morning.

The first 20 people there get the goal.  The remaining will get wait listed.  She was number 19.  Number 20 and 21 showed up within 15 minutes of her arrival.

But she had the foresight to leave earlier than originally planned.  It meant 4 hours waiting outside the school in the cold.  But her fierce, little bear cub got his seat.  Next fall her fierce, little bear cub gets to go to pre-K at the big kid school where his older bear-cub-brother goes.

And it was all worth it.

 

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