Monday, August 24, 2009


It's a chilly and dreary day here. Alone, not quite enough to put me in a sour mood--I'm happy about the temperature drop since I prefer cool weather and, this year in particular, have been looking forward to switching to my fall/winter wardrobe since nearly all of my maternity clothing fits into that category.

But I've spent the morning being reminded of why I've held off so long on getting my teacher certification. (Which, by the way, I've decided to get my teacher certification and enrolled in an online alternative licensure program.) The information available on my course so far does nothing to correct my long-standing perspective that most education courses are fairly simple, but make sure you'll put in time by creating busywork. I have a worksheet to do this week.

I've also been trying to track down and clear up the problem that has led to my acceptance papers showing the wrong endorsement. I'm working on my secondary license, requiring me to pick a subject. Given the state's requirements and my own personal preference, I of course indicated Latin. Except the paperwork came back to me with Language Arts (i.e., English). I've already received several different, sometimes contradictory answers about why this happened--all from the same person. And while I most likely will get a second endorsement in Language Arts (especially if it looks like I'll be pursuing high-school teaching as a full-time gig), I do not have enough credit hours to qualify for it as a first endorsement.

The most recent email informed me that there is no Latin endorsement. So I've sent back an explanation of where its definition appears in the education department's regulations (there's a general Languages endorsement with more specific information in the subsections) and am hoping we can get this cleared up.

Then I'm also dealing with some pregnancy-related anxiety. I had already decided that I wouldn't get the H1N1 vaccination when it becomes available, despite the high priority given to pregnant women. But it looks like that will be a moot point anyway, as there's a decent chance it is currently working its way through our school system. There's a chance it's regular flu, and we won't find out test results until the end of the week, but the speed and severity with which it has hit our middle school sure makes it sound like H1N1. I expect to see it hit the other schools within a few days now. So I will probably end up exposed to it well before the vaccine would be available anyway. Of course, this makes me nervous about accepting sub jobs, so I'm trying to keep a close eye on developments in order to balance my health with our checking account. (And counting down to the end of the month when A. is supposed to get paid for the job she started this month--but we've already played one round of "where's my money?" this summer, so we're waiting to see how this goes.)

I see that I have a new email in my inbox. Hopefully it's the positive conclusion to my endorsement issue. And then, having vented here and had a happy resolution, I can return to the paper I've promised my supervisor.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The terrible twos at six

In all the reading I've done on developmental delays and the like, I seem to remember coming across the idea that children who do not hit certain milestones at the expected time will go through them at a later date. I feel like we've been hitting at least a couple of these this summer.

As a toddler and preschooler, E. did not get into very much. We did some babyproofing before he could even crawl and then didn't get to much more. We always figured that we kept a pretty good eye on him and would be able to take care of any location that caught his fancy. We did not add any more latches, didn't need to. In retrospect, I suspect it is part of the Asperger's; since he tends to see the world from his own perspective only and just as it is presented to him, he simply didn't think to open drawers and doors and climb on things.

Similarly, he has not put on great displays of independence. Sure, he has learned to do more for himself, but his proclamations of "I can do it myself" have never been as frequent or vehement as one might expect from a preschooler, even as stubborn as he is.

That has changed a lot. He's into everything now. My mother-in-law has said that she never worried about leaving him for a short time, but now she knows that any amount of silence is not a good thing. At my sister's, he kept showing up with rolls of tape, taken surreptitiously from a particular drawer. When A. and I stocked up on medicines, in order to use up her flexible spending account before she was off payroll, I installed the first cabinet latch in our house--not because of the baby we were then hoping would be in our future, but because we worried that E. would be into it.

The past few days have added his loudly announced belief that he doesn't need me anymore. (Me specifically due to being the one who has denied him some things.) He's chafing at the bit and wanting to be bigger, older, able to do more.

While this may be developmentally appropriate for him at this point, it is more wearing than I imagine it would have been at 2 or 3 (or even 4). The combination of a couple more years and a creative mind is problematic. He can reach higher than before, even more so now that he's grown a couple inches this summer, and has the ability to plot out at least part of his action ahead of time. His idea of what constitutes independence is grander and more sweeping now--we've had to say no to the driving and remain insistent about holding hands (or finger, as he allowed this morning) when crossing certain streets.

Some good may come of this--he's suddenly interested in not wearing pull-ups at night since they're for babies--but I can't wait for the rest of this to pass.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back to school

The other night I had a school anxiety dream--about Scooter's school. It was right before the class lists were going to go up and I was inside the school and knew I shouldn't be there and needed to get outside. See, the tradition seems to be that the class lists go up just as the secretaries are leaving for the day, meaning the building is locked up and empty just as people start to get their information.

I've spent the summer wondering which class Scooter will end up in and if it will be a good fit. I found out at the end of the school year who the two 1st grade teachers would be; Mr. Teacher and the classroom assistant gave me a brief rundown. Although both teachers are solid in academics, the teacher who is more academically oriented is also stricter and without much humor. The other teacher is more fun, but a bit flaky. The first teacher would probably provide more structure, the second more flexibility. I could see how he would have trouble with either one, but was hoping a bit more for Mrs. Fun. I worried that since both Mr. Teacher and his assistant thought Mrs. Strict would be a good match with Scooter academically, he might end up in that class.

My worry was allayed a bit by knowing that Scooter has people on his IEP team who very much want him to succeed. A couple different conversations with his OT included heavy intimation that they would make sure he ended up in the class they thought best for him. So I've tried to remain calm with the knowledge that regardless of which teacher Scooter was assigned to, it would be the best fit available.

As I walked up to the school with Scooter to check the lists, I hit upon a sign I would look for that all had been arranged as planned. Scooter had both OT and speech therapy with a particular classmate, a kid who has some similar issues. It seems likely that this pairing would continue and it would be easiest for the therapists to schedule them together if they're in the same class.

Sure enough, Scooter's name appeared just a few lines below this kid's--under the Mrs. Fun column.

Even better, he has two other friends in his class, including one with whom he's had several playdates this summer. We even like the mother a lot.

Even better than that... the two kids I least wanted him to have in class--both picked on him and one of them is a master manipulator--are with the other teacher.

The teacher's name is only an abstract concept to him right now. I think even the list of kids he knows is mostly abstract. It'll take being in the classroom and starting back into the routine of school to make this real. But at least he's excited to go back and maybe I can stop with the displaced anxiety dreams already.

Monday, August 10, 2009

In search of the wellspring of patience

When Scooter was born, I learned a lot about myself. One thing that surprised me was the depth of patience I discovered. Even when I was frustrated and overwhelmed, somehow I managed not to take it out on him. I made it through the initial hormone fluctuations, breastfeeding difficulties, picky eating, and years of sleep problems--crying copiously to Trillian, of course, but not losing my cool with my son. I understood that he simply couldn't help it and that getting agitated wouldn't help the situation.

Increasingly that's not the case.

Intellectually I get how hard some things are for him. It's not as simple as tasting a new food or then eating more than a single bite. He truly does not process our requests until the third or so repetition. He must find one particular toy before he can settle in to go to sleep.

He needs me to guide him gently in the right direction, understanding when it's more than he can handle for the moment.

But I find myself becoming short and sharp more often than I would like. And wishing he could just get over it--even though I know it's not that simple.

I worry that my patience is gone forever and that Scooter will remember me as being more tense and curt than fun. I worry that the next child will never know the mother who had bottomless reserves of calm and that I will be frazzled and frustrated from day one. I know that I don't have the ability to step out of the situation and determine the best way to find my center again.

Summer vacation has been particularly difficult. What does it say that I think all of us view the start of the school year as our real vacation?

Sunday, August 09, 2009


I found it interesting that Aliki commented on my last post that she had been wondering, after reading my previous post, if I were pregnant. While it was not foremost in my mind when I wrote that post, we definitely blamed pregnancy fog for my forgetting the pull-ups and Trillian has been a lot more concerned over my bedtime lately. On the other hand, there have definitely been a good number of posts that were carefully crafted to write around the issue. I thought I'd share some of those moments with you now.

Several of my posts mention an inability to focus, blamed on either the heat or simply "too much to contemplate." Trying to get pregnant and then being pregnant certainly played a role. Only 6 days after our first insemination attempt, I reference trying for child #2 before Trillian was employed again. It was weighing especially heavy since I knew there was a chance, a good chance since I had timed things correctly, that I was already pregnant.

By the time I wrote about Scooter's perfectionism, we'd already had a positive test. That post reads as it would have at any other time, but obviously the idea of genetics and what I may pass on is a frequent topic of rumination right now.

The big piece of subtext is the crib post. The night before I headed down to Albuquerque, I re-assembled the crib. Trillian truly had wanted me to in order to make it easier to chase down dust bunnies, and I decided to put it together before any possibility of pregnancy instead of waiting until the second trimester. Of course, by the time I downloaded the picture and got around to writing the post, the "hope" in the title had switched from hoping for a positive test to hoping for an uneventful first trimester.

And yes, although Trillian and I started discussing a minivan a couple months ago, the timing of the post was due to my growing resignation that this will be our next major purchase.

The discussion I had with my sister about potential future children is portrayed fairly, especially since I waited to tell her until just before my big announcement here.

I know that I mentioned the horror Trillian and I have felt at the possibility of 16 straight years of diapers (if one includes night-time pull-ups, the kids were 8 years apart, and each used them until 8-years-old). When I wrote that, I was staring squarely at the fact that we are pretty much guaranteed no break at this point. I'm hoping for a second child who feels quite differently from Scooter on the issue of potty-training!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Cat, bag, etc

Originally, I had this grand idea. I would post the following for Wordless Wednesday:

And then on Thursday I would tell the story of two Julys ago when the first person who found out I was pregnant (for the third time, which would be my second miscarriage) was Bea, because our families were spending the day together and when we started discussing dinner options, I turned down one with a phrase like "I'm not eating feta right now" (which is immediately code for I'm pregnant, but don't want to say).

As it happened, the announcement ended up on Facebook today. Since nearly all of my core readership is on my friends list over there, it just wouldn't have the same impact.

Instead I'll say the following: I've just exited my first trimester, I'm due in early February, and we've been able to see and hear the baby several times now. I wrote a few drafts during the past few weeks about the first trimester and will be posting those over the next few days.

I'll also say that the nausea has pretty much passed, but I could do without the headaches that seem to have taken its place.

ETA: And since there are so many people from my department on Facebook, I feel I should tell my supervisor now, as opposed to a few days from now when I hope to have a draft of my paper (which, realistically, may or may not happen). I'm not looking forward to telling him that my comps are going to get extended by the length of this next leave of absence.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Notes from the road

Scooter's fresh out of his bath in the hotel, has taken his vitamins, and has been rubbed with lotion. Time for the pull-up...

I vividly remember looking at the pack under the sink in his bathroom and making a mental note to pack some. Guess what I forgot!?

Quick trip to the local grocery store in this tiny little town. As I drive down there, I realize it's already 8:30 (thanks, time change) on a weekend night. Fingers crossed they're open until at least 9:00. Rejoicing when I discover that they're open until 10. And they have the exact pull-ups I know will fit Scooter without any leaking!

* * * *

I also pick up a bag of raisins. We have other healthy snacks in the car too, but of course Scooter focused on the sugar today, with a side of Fritos. He was in a foul mood this evening and had a meltdown over how he needed more candy. We insisted on something healthy and managed cream-cheese crackers with apple juice. Absolutely no more sugar! As he winds down for the evening, he's a bit more pleasant, so the detox is already working.

* * * *

I'd forgotten that the Indigo Girls cuss on their more recent albums. Like the f-word. In multiple songs now. One of the times I'm thankful that Scooter's auditory processing issues and lack of interest in our music means he's not paying attention to the words.

* * * *

Trillian's insisting I head to bed. Given that I woke up just after 5 this morning, I'm inclined to agree with her.