Tuesday, February 1, 2011

This is Your 3rd Reminder

Guess what time it is? It's time for teacher- parent conferences!

I'm trying to avoid mine. I just do not want to go. I'm an adult and so I can make these decisions for myself right? I do not have to do anything I don't want to do anymore, that's the deal.

I just don't want to hear it. I know Genea is doing poorly. I am well aware that she has taken some of her RAD fun out into the public now and her work is showing it. I know she is peeing herself all over town. I don't know what the heck to do about it anymore.

For our first conference, the teacher and I sat down and she started with this, "So! Do you have any questions or concerns you want to bring up first!".

Internally sighing out the entire tidal volume of my lungs and briefly closing my eyes so she would not see them roll back in my head I said, "yeeeeeeeeeeeessssssssss......................... I guess................ there are a few things................... ".

I was not informed that she had blocked out a 45 minute slot for me.

We are at an ugly point here at home where we cannot help Genea with her homework. Somehow she took the help that we gave and ran with it. It started taking her longer and longer to do her assignments. She began to have more and more "questions" about things she either just did, or we just explained to her, or she did all day at school just fine. When she realized we would not give her the answers it became a jumping off point for the wango tango and then for sure it would not get done. More wango tango. One night recently she came out of her homework spot to The Husband, getting the same math problem wrong over and over. She had a few incorrect but got fixated on this one. It got to where I thought, she should have gotten the right answer by accident by now! She did not. Probably eight to ten times over an hour she came out with that problem done incorrectly. I was ready to give. Also I was ready to scream and throw myself off a bridge. It came time for our evening routine when we wind down to bedtime with a small snack. Like a cookie. The Husband told Genea, this is your last chance, fix these 3 problems correctly or you will have missed the snack time.

Like Rainman staring at a box of toothpicks, my child ran to her homework spot and returned in under 2 minutes with the whole page done correctly.

How do you explain that kind of crazy to a regular person? It makes no sense and so the regular person will search the files in their brain for a slot that fits. Take your pick of the slots available. Mom is nuts. Dad is dumb. Kids do not do that so what are they doing to that kid?

So yes indeed, I DID happen to notice that this is my 3rd reminder. And by the way, since the system is set up to accommodate the entire district, I happen to have not signed up for my other daughters conference either. Call off your dogs, I will do it, I just don't want to. I mean I really don't.


That's where we are right now. We are stuck. I haven't felt like writing much because I am so tired of how we are living that I almost cannot stand to relive it long enough to write it down. Oh my unholy hell we are so stuck.

Unreasonable. Irritable. Escalated. Labile. Defiant. Argumentative. Explosive. Having fun yet? Me neither.

I have decided we need to get back into regular therapy. I have decided this periodically over the years and it has always ended in failure. You know how all the books say you should interview a therapist first to find out how much adoption experience they have, then their attachment experience, then their style and personal beliefs? I have never gotten that far. Seriously. I get to this........ Do you take our insurance? Usually NO. If YES, I continue to...... Does this therapist see children? Usually NO. If YES I move on to...... does the therapist have current openings? Then, NO. I have never been able to get past that one. I have been offered wait lists. I don't need a wait list. What does your wait list know about adoption and attachment? Right.  Nothing.

Stuck. We are stuck and this is your 3rd reminder.

25 comments:

  1. I think I've only asked you this 87 times, but my brain is a sieve. Does she have a 504 or IEP?

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  2. sounds difficult. I want a conference myself and both of my special needs boys teachers keep saying there is no need for a conference.

    i don't know but i hope you get some answers or help soon.

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  3. For Courageous...if you request a conference in writing they are required by Federal Law to have said conference scheduled within 30 days of the request. (whether the teacher wants one or not--you also get to decide who is invited to attend the conference...)

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  4. That's tough. Hope you get past the wait lists soon!

    -Kim @ AmericanMamacita

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  5. Holy cow. We got the homework issues but not nearly at that level and I was lamenting myself. Now I feel like one big fat wuss.

    I hope you can find some help for all of you, but mostly for you. You need to recharge yourself because man, this stuff takes the life out of you.

    One of my friends told me that the homework thing--for us anyway--was rooted in my DDS fear of losing me. what I mean is, as she grows up and learns, she fears she won't need me and then I will go away. And it is this fear of mastering new things that makes her stop learning, or refuse to complete homework by herself for example --even when she is quite clearly capable of completing the homework. But the fear they have is that growing up equals losing you and that very tentative attachment as well.

    Anyway, that is what was suggested to me. And it was only after reassuring her that it was ok to grow up, it was ok to learn, I would still be her Mom even when she was an adult, only after saying it over and over and over and did I mention over and over? that it got mildly better.

    Her fears have recently come back so I guess we have to go back and reassure her again, but just goes to show you that some kids needs reassurance FOR-EVAH.

    Good luck hon. Sending you a big hug.

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  6. I really don't know what to say. I just felt I couldn't read that and not at least say 'hi!'

    I know you aren't alone in this, and I know writing sometimes helps, and I know that I can't go wrong in reminding you to take some time for yourself to recharge.

    Also, I find that either crying or having hysterics helps with little issues like wait lists. Mind you, you can't fake it. Let the real feelings flow...

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  7. So, so, so sorry!

    We go to a therapist who does not take our insurance and is 6 hours away. It is worth every penny and every moment of the drive just for my sanity. I wish I would have mortgaged the house to go sooner.

    Hugs and strength to you today.

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  8. No advice but wanted to send hugs!! We are dealing with school issues with Southern Darlin' right now and although the teacher is fighting with me to get more services, I still dread the conference to discuss the simple things that my child cannot understand.

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  9. During the last 2 years of my oldest' school experience, I had stopped going to conferences. I just didn't want to hear anymore as there was already the DAILY!!!! phone calls and notes home and they would not follow my suggestions so...I figured enough had already been said. Hope you find a happy solution.

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  10. Hope you can find help soon...

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  11. I don't have any words of comfort. I can help you scream though....AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am so sorry. I wouldn't want to go either.

    Would any of this be residual effects from the horse's ass across the street? Fear showing up now that he's gone. Cause it's safe to show the scared now? I don't know....wish I could fix it for you. I would if I could.

    I will, however, meet you in Orlando with the drink of your liking. You name it. I'll greet you with it.

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  12. I can sympathize. We went through the same thing when the girls came home and 9 yr old was in first grade. Our therapist at the time told us it was an attention-getting thing. She would seek out both negative and positive attention.

    Her reading was horrible and she would struggle over each word. We were afraid we would have to send her to tutoring. Her math was horrible and she would struggle with the basic addition. We would help her and she would just say she could not do it.

    Then one day I talked to her reading teacher (class split off and went to separate teachers for reading). I asked if she thought we should get her a tutor. She looked at me and said, "why? She's the best reader in my class." It was at this point that we realized she was seeking the negative attention.

    Our therapist at the time told us to stop her when she is making a fuss and tell her we'll need to come back to her homework at another time. She was enjoying the one on one with us so much that she'd scream "NO!" and settle down and do her homework. One day she had make up homework last year and we thought the issues were gone, but she continued to drag it out all day. So she still resorts to this behavior when she wants the attention.

    Leigh has a point in that now that we have had our adoption finalized almost 2 years and she knows she will be with us forever, she doesn't resort to that behavior anymore.

    I hear you on the therapist. I know 6 yr old needs to go but I always get to the point where you do (or the 'do you take our insurance' question)of do they have any openings, and they don't. So at the moment we are not seeing a therapist.

    Does Genea have a school IEP? That's important to have. Luckily only 6 yr old needs one and she has the same teacher that 9 yr old had in 1st grade so we've been lucky there. She helped us to know our Parent's Rights (and you should look them up also)and to help us get testing and Special Ed for 6 yr old (who needs it). If nothing else,know what your rights are and how to advocate for your child. I think that the teacher knew I was burnt out though, because she used to talk to me every day at pick up and I was just so tired of hearing how 6 yr old's day went. So for a bit there she would just send her out and not talk to me. Now we are back to getting the daily updates.

    I know that it gets tiring. Time away is important, even if you take some mommy time or Mom's night out time. I don't get it nearly as much as I should and you really need it when you have a child with different needs/behaviors, etc.

    Hang in there. Sometimes you just want to ignore that 3rd reminder. And sometimes the behaviors are tiring and hard to deal with and no one else gets it. I get that part completely.

    Hang in there.

    Molly

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  13. Frankly, I choose a school based on their feelings about homework. My older kids went to Montessori because they DON'T BELIEVE IN HOMEWORK!!!!!! It was worth the tuition.

    Their present school believes in family time at night. YES!!!!! There were a few years when Lydia was in Catholic School and we'd put her to bed so she could get enough sleep, and settle down to do her homework together. Really. (Well, not always but some of it was ASSENINE!) And I didn't think it was worth our not having a decent dinner, or her not getting enough sleep.

    But, that's me, I guess. As a teacher I only give the sort of homework that is necessary to do at home. Memorizing. Research. Reading books. No worksheets!

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  14. I agree to whomever's comment about the attention-getting related to homework.

    I did a few little experiments. With my Neurotypical (love that word) child, I just have to be in the same room. I can read, load dishes, do whatever. For little RADish, I have to sit and observe. Every question he finishes he says "done," and looks up at me to get a prompt to go on to the next question. Grrr. If I read a book or write bills, or whatever while he is doing his homework, he'll just sit...and sit...and sit...waiting for that d**ned prompt.

    Oh, and then there's the test he took at school on owls. *We* studied, he knew the answers. He took the test...got all the answers right, then went and erased them to answer them all WRONG! The teacher was puzzled (snort, I wasn't)...he's just looking for attention. You don't get much when you do it right, but boy, when you struggle or get it wrong, there is attention galore. Whoop! He figured that one out real quick.

    What's irritating, is we tried praising him for all the right answers, etc. thinking that would give him the feedback he needed and he'd stop screwing around. Nope...he wango tangos when we praise him and preens under the negative stuff. Talk about a feedback issue....

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  15. Sorry to hear you're having such a hard time! What if you started homework right before bedtime snack time? It worked for you once.

    As for the constant questions, would it be crazy to pretend ignorance? "Mommy doesn't know that one. I guess you'll have to ask Teacher tomorrow." Or tell her if she's asking mom and dad so many questions it must mean she's not concentrating in school. And maybe she needs to stay in at recess to work with the teacher on homework. Didn't you once say she just loves lunch and recess?

    Hope you figure things out!

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  16. Orlando.Orlando.Orlando. I would suggest that you stop fighting the homework battle. Homework is the school's problem. Tell Genea that her homework is between her and her teacher. and you will longer get involved Fill in the teacher and tell her to feel free to give Genea any consequence she feels is appropriate, but you have bigger fish to fry. If you want to emphasize YOU value homework, keep a regular HW time , just tell her whether or not her work is correct or complete is her choice. The key is to disengage from HW completely. Give her attention when HW isn't involved. I personally would tell the school I would be happy to talk them during Genea's IEP meeting. It is amazing how quickly these meetings occur when the district is motivated.

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  17. gosh, i can barly imagine the battles HW is giving you, I agree that you should try just letting it go,don't worry so much if her school work is okay, maybe try telling her she has to do it alll wrong, or giving her wrong answers if she asks for the answer and you know she knows it. or maybe tell her she's not allowed to do her home work anymore? i've found with my RAD telling him he's not allowed to do something is a sure fire way to get him to do whatever it is, and Properly TOO!

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  18. I totally empathize with the homework thing. My kiddo does EXACTLY the same thing. At one point we just had him stay in his room with the door closed until the homework was finished and correct - though we still get the on-going wrong answers - makes me CRAZY!
    As for therapy - we've been in and out but it hasn't been until this past year (he's just barely 11) that I feel like he's starting to be a little invested in making changes. Before that it didn't seem to help him much (though the validation for me was valuable). And we never had any success trying to go through insurance. I just found someone that was experienced with adoption and attachment issues and wanted me in the room for the entire session. We pay out of pocket and it's worth it.
    Don't lose hope! Sending good thoughts your way.

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  19. Oh Essie. The homework thing- that IS Princess. My right eye started to twitch just reading it, because it's the EXACT. SAME. THING here. We have an IEP. The teacher and I had a meeting about RAD and homework at the beginning of the year. We e-mail at least three times a week. We revise our plan about once a month.

    And nothing works. Nothing.

    For what it's worth, after two years of this, I'm pretty sure it's shame. My best guess is that Princess isn't sure she knows the answers, doesn't want to admit to herself she needs help, and certainly doesn't want anyone ELSE to know, so she acts like her brain has been sucked out by straw-toting coyotes.

    Sometimes. And sometimes I think it's just plain RAD. And sometimes I think she's trying to torture me into an early grave. But I think I'm wrong about that one. Maybe.

    Anyway, I feel you. And just know she's not the only one.

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  20. Oh, Essie. I'm so sorry you're so worn out. I know just how you feel. We are sort of there ourselves right now with P being in the biggest rut imaginable, and me and M allowing ourselves to be drawn into it ways we know better than to do. But that's another story.

    The homework/school issue is so hard, and you are only at the beginning of it with Genea in first grade. We went the Love and Logic route with P's homework, and it worked for the most part. It took many many (many many...) negotiations with the school == all the way to the senior administration -- to get them to back us up, and to truly make homework between P and the school and not triangulate us into it. But that time and exhaustion was worth it because it lessened (virtually eliminated) the RADical nonsense interactions/battles of resistance in our home each evening. (Wouldn't you know that our younger son, the non-RADical, has had only teachers who don't believe in homework!) I don't know how much of our success with the L&L approach to homework was a function of where P was along the healing trajectory, his age (8 when we resorted to trying it), or other things unique to him/us.

    Despite this minor victory surrounding homework, school has remained a horrible thing in our lives. Not just for P, though that's the biggie, but also for B just because some of those elementary years strike me as sooooo mean what the kids are capable of doing to each other. I honestly can't believe it. And we are in a granola belt neighbourhood! Anyway, it's so bad that we are seriously considering home schooling starting next year and getting at least P through the middle school years at home. It is a seriously scary thought -- mostly because of our own ongoing issues/struggles to remain therapeutic -- and that should tell you the brink to which the whole school thing has pushed us.

    This was a long post to tell you that I think I know pretty much exactly what you are feeling, and I am so sorry for both of us. Hang in there and don't give up.

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  21. OMG. I totally empathize with the homework thing.

    And my RADish is JUST like Ericka Scott describes her RADish. We praise and she sabotages because she's being praised. We give consequences and they have no result. UGH.

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  22. I know how you feel! I try to avoid my son's teachers like the plague! I really love how they said he is not motivated to work and refused to acknowledge his special needs UNTIL I spent a ton of money on an advocate. Now it is meetings every week! UGGGHHH!!

    Catherine
    http://wronginalltherightways-travcat.blogspot.com/

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  23. Oh school....we have an IEP and things actually started getting worse, once all these special school modifications were in place. Plus, we were doing some OT therapies too...What A Joke!! We have stopped it all. It just wasn't working. It was like he had too many choices; he would pick and choose which "special" modification/activity he wanted, when he wanted....using them to his advantage. Not the point!! It was getting so frustrating, and frankly still is.

    **My college friend is on Oprah today, sitting in the front row. I told her that is SO not fair. She said she got on "by chance"...never once requested tickets..NOT ONCE. She told me she has some connections in Chicago, where she lives and works. She and her friend went to the movie premier the night before the taping, then the producers pick who gets to sit in front, by how cute/pretty you are and the clothes you are wearing. Not sure if that's true, but that's what she told me...Ha! I have been wanting to go to Oprah since I was 12 yrs. old....Oh well, I'll survive :-)

    Hang in there, you are doing a great job!! I seriously find it so hard to find any empathy lately for this kid...somedays I really feel like this is such a game to him, then he pours on the sweetness the next second. It helps his teacher keeps me informed almost daily, of course he doesn't know that.

    Happy Friday!

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  24. Hahaha! What do you expect from a bunch of cheeseheads!
    Have you seen this?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y3pFD-xdPRE

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  25. nice pics seen more pics go to http://todaysstuff.com/

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