Archive for March, 2009

Mar 31 2009

ROADTRIP!

Published by under amy's head,daily,kids

I am packing up the truck, taking the kids and driving to Indiana.

“Good God, WHY?!” you ask?

My brother and his family is in Indianapolis, and he is getting a promotion. He is in the army, and he’s taking over the command of a brigade. I have no idea what that means, but I am suitably impressed! Anyway, my folks are flying in for it, and really, considering the fact that 90% of my family is really REALLY far away, a 10-12 hour drive like this seems like a bargain. Usually to see my side of the family, we have to spend either thousands of dollars in plane tickets/hotel/rental cars or drive for 2 days (and that’s LONG days – if we take our time it’s like 3-4 days!).

So.. yeah, We’re going to Indianapolis! I thought about going alone, but a chance for the kids to see cousins AND grandparents.. the more I thought about it, the more sense it made. Plus, it’s cheaper to drive, so done! James can’t come because he has a project due for school Sunday.

We are going to leave Thursday right after school, which means there is precious little time to do all the things that need doing. Today I got new tires, because my old ones were nearly bald. I got Ethan new dress clothes over the weekend (including shoes) and took him to get his hair cut. I am getting my hair done tomorrow (hello 1 inch roots!) I need to find my video ipod and load it up with movies – i just use it to plug into the car dvd player. Easier than actually taking DVDS.

Tomorrow is going to be crazy. We have a meeting at Ethan’s school, an appointment for Ethan at the shrink, kindergarten registration for Jocelyn, I’m getting my hair done, Jocelyn’s first soccer practice of the year (oh, and I’m the team manager again!) and Ethan’s first t-ball practice of the year — oh, and I’m going to still try to get a full 8 hours of work in because I don’t want to have to take too much time off. I will likely be working late tonight though to make up for some of it.

And I have to pack to leave the next day.

ROADTRIIIIIIIP!

-amy

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Mar 29 2009

A Big Big Ethan Update

Published by under amy's head,kids

I debated writing this but finally decided to go ahead and do it.

Ethan had probably the worst 2 weeks of 1st grade.

But let me back up. I haven’t given any Ethan updates in a while. James and I met with the school folks a few weeks ago for the outcome of the child study/big bout of testing. In November, they mentioned the possibility of Asberger’s, but it has been ruled out (for now). The rest of the various results showed (and this is just me remembering, with nothing in front of me) normal results, with elevated results in attention/focus, issues with social interactions, and a high need for sensory interaction. Academically, he is on grade level for everything, including reading (which he was below grade level on earlier in the year), and below grade level for writing. Writing seems to be the time when he gives attitude to his teacher. Most students are writing 5 sentences, where she will accept 3 from Ethan. Sometimes, he will only do one.

At the end of the meeting, we agreed that the issues he is having is hindering his education, and thus, he qualified for special education. They assured us that he would stay in his classroom and that “special ed” is nothing like it was in our day. They also noted that while he was in the ‘average’ range in all of the IQ tests, his inattention and wiggliness may have affected the results to be lower than in actuality. In the vocabulary tests, he scored in the very high range, which for kids, can be a better indicator of IQ. We will probably be looking into the gifted program as well.

Mostly, I am SO GRATEFUL that we have such a great school, with kind, caring administration and teachers. They all commented on what a special guy Ethan is, and in everything they said and did, showed me that they want the best for Ethan and his education. We have a meeting this coming week to develop a specialized education program for him.

We had met with the new psychiatrist, and I guess in my mind, I thought he’d start weekly sessions and work through this stubborn/angry/borderline behavior, but we went over everythign that’s going on, and all the steps we’ve taken so far. He said that the group class is probably the best thing for him and this is a process that will probably take years for him to work through. He said that it will mostly be him learning the hard way, that when you treat people/friends a certain way it doesn’t work to your advantage. He said that since Ethan is a smart kid, it may be quicker for him to catch on. He gave us some information on ADHD medication – it’s been around for 60 years, and works by increasing bloodflow to the part of the brain that handles organization, etc. (I am probably getting this wrong, so keep that in mind!) I said I didn’t think we were quite there yet, and he suggested if we weren’t seeing any improvement in 3-4 months, then it’d be a good time to revisit it.

So the week we met with the shrink, Ethan’s behavior went down the crapper. He was not doing super good before, but suddenly, it just sucked. He was not doing his work, being super defensive and aggressive when asked to do things, handing in BLANK assignments, antagonizing other kids. Ugh. The vice principal took him out of the class to walk around and cool down, and he threw his library books over a railing and ran away from her. These past two weeks have been pretty hard on James and I. It sucks to be in a pretty good mood on your way home, and then get the email from the teacher about how he tried to turn in a writing assignment COMPLETELY BLANK and then sassed his teacher when she tried to give it back to him to do. Then I would pick Ethan up and have to deal with his total shut-out-everyone because he’s so pissy (because of the consequences he has at home for not getting a “green” at school). It’s very hard to keep your patience up and keep your cool when your 6 year old is talking like a sullen teenager, or refusing to talk at all while he sits alone behind the couch. Generally, after he cools down, he does better, but even then when you try to talk about what happened, it can throw him back into this angry defensive mood again.

Pretty soon we were living each day dreading the news from school, feeling sick to our stomachs all the time, and feeling HELPLESS. What more could we do? Not much. I halfway joked that this whole situation was going to drive ME to medication, let alone him. My back has been killing me, I got sick and missed a day of work, James has been stressed out with all of this, plus midterms, papers to write, and projects to complete.

Social Achiever’s was abysmal. Kicking. Whispering to other kids to shut up. Getting in other people’s personal space. Giving attitude to the counselers. The conversation with the counselor afterward was laughable, but it was very telling. She let me know all the issues they had with him in class and I told the counselor he had a terrible week at school as well.

She suggested we coordinate with the teacher to use some sort of system when he does good or not.
I told her we were already doing that.

She suggested maybe some sort of immediate reward for good behavior.
I told her we were already doing that and explained the system they were doing in class for him.

She suggested contact with the teacher every day.
I told her we were doing that and that I was feeling very discouraged and I just didn’t know what else we COULD do.

She reassured me, and said she would like to have some psychological testing done so she could make some recommendations on what steps to take next. She didn’t feel comfortable giving any recommendations without seeing results, which would give a general look at his outlook.
I told her we had already done that in the round of testing from the school and we agreed I’d send her the results and she’d call me with ideas.

I had called the psychiatrist and told him of all this new trouble we were having and he suggested starting Zoloft, which would help keep him from having such dramatic mood swings. I had called still hoping I guess for .. well, a miracle, I guess. Weekly sessions that would miraculous suddenly get through to him and turn off the sullen teenager switch! Disappointed, I thanked him and said we weren’t quite there yet.

After I sent the test results to the group counselor, James and I both got on the line and called to hear what suggestions she had. She also suggested a mood stabilizer. She said that once he was a bit more on an even keel and able to keep his emotions from getting the better of him, he would be in a better position to get more out of the social achiever’s class.

There was more to the discussion but that’s about what it boiled down to. After James and I hung up with her, I cried. James was on board with the medication when the doctor had suggested it, but after talking to the counselor, I had to get on board too. They both had suggested it unbeknownst of each other, and honestly, it made a lot of sense to me. The more I thought about it, the better I felt.

Not only is Zoloft a mood stabilizer, but it is anti-anxiety medication, which I am sure he has. I think he is very anxious about failing at writing, which is why he is refusing to do his writing assignments at school. I know he gets anxious about reading still as well, even though we try to keep it as light-hearted and easy going as possible. Just yesterday, he mentioned how he is nervous meeting new kids and commented on how he wished it was as easy for him as it seems to be for Jocelyn. I think he is anxious of being rejected by other kids, which is why he acts FIRST – on the defensive and aggressive. I’ve always thought that is has been kind of a “i’ll hurt them before they can hurt me” sort of a thing.

A part of me is wondering why a mood stabilizer seems “better” .. or perhaps, “more acceptable” is a better way to put it, than ADHD medication in my mind. Maybe it’s because I have more personal experience with friends and family needing antidepressants, or more likely, it’s probably because of the “press” or “word of mouth” bad rap ADHD meds have, which I obviously have taken to heart. I spoke to some family who has 2 of their kids on ADHD medication and have seen great results. I just want to make sure we need to, before we take that step.

So to cut a too long story short (TOO LATE!), we’ve started Ethan on Zoloft. It’s been 3 days now at a low dose. I’ve heard that sometimes you can see some improvement right away, and I’ve also heard that it takes 2-3 weeks to really start working. I don’t know if I’m just imagining it or not, but I think he has been a little less apt to fly off the handle.

We’ve talked to him a bit about it and said that it is to help him not get quite so angry. His very first response was, “HOW can MEDICINE help THAT???!?” in disbelief. James told him that it for the brain. Today on the way home from Target he asked me again, “Why am I taking medicine?”

“Well, it’s to help you with anger, and I think that if you’re not getting as angry, then it can help you with that then I think it’ll be easier for you to be polite and respectful and use a bit more self discipline.”

“I think it’s working. Well, I dunno, but maybe. I think my brain thinks it is.”

I have no idea what to read into this response, but I’m glad he doesn’t feel weird or strange.

I’m nervous posting this. I know some people I care about a lot, friends and family alike, who disagree with giving medicine to these precious growing bodies. All I can say is, I really believe we’ve explored every avenue, and this is the right choice for our precious growing boy.

-amy

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Mar 18 2009

The Luck of the Irish!

Published by under amy's head

4 Leaf Clover

Ethan found this 4 leaf clover on St. Patrick’s day.

He held it pinched together in his fingers as he went about his business for a few minutes, and didn’t notice when it fell out of his grasp.

So he went back to the clover patch and found another one! Talk about a lucky boy!

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Mar 18 2009

Ethan In Flight

Published by under daily,kids,photos

Ethan In Flight

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Mar 10 2009

new banner

Published by under amy's head

Someday I’ll get this jewelry photography worked out. The banner is not bad, but ergh. It could be SO MUCH BETTER. Ah well. New March banner!

All banners ever!

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Mar 10 2009

Complicated Birthday Day!

I have actually been meaning to post on the old blog-er-oo for a while now. I know! Crazy! I have had things to say that take more than the 140 characters allowed by twitter! I just haven’t had the time to sit down and write. Which is a bogus excuse because I’ve had time enough to play Fallout 3 on the PS3!

Today was Jocelyn’s birthday. I hope it was lovely for her, I think it was. It was not as lovely for James and I.

We planned to do her “party” at her school. Meaning, not really have a party at all, but make a bit more of a fuss than just send in cupcakes. We got party hats for all the kids, enough balloons for everyone in her class (36 kids!!) to take one home, and cake of course.

I was on my way from work when I got a call from Ethan’s school’s vice principal. Something had set him off in his classroom and he wasn’t able to settle down, so his teacher asked the VP to take him out of the classroom. She walked around with him for a bit but he still was giving her attitude. At one point he threw his library books, and finally, she had the Principal come get him, and carry him to the office (because he would not go himself).

Ugh. I mean… UGH. Our first objective was to make sure that Jocelyn’s birthday didn’t get ruined. James picked him up right away (he was planning to get him early anyway so we could all do to Jocelyn’s class) and we didn’t make a fuss about it. We basically didn’t do anything about it, except let him know we would talk about it later.

We got to Jocelyn’s class and she was so excited and happy. Birthdays are her absolutely favorite things EVER :) Everyone was very excited to have cake and see the balloons and sing happy birthday. It was very low key, lower than I had anticipated, really. We sang, served cake, popped party hats on everyone, and after the cake was consumed, everyone went out to play outside. Jocelyn and Ethan went out and ran around on the playground a bit, and then we came home to open presents. We got her a new scooter, a little pink bin of legos, a Barbie mermaid, fairy, and (of course!) a strawberry shortcake doll (Rainbow Sherbet!)

After a few scoots around the driveway on the new scooter, we left and went to Jocelyn’s choice of dinner restaurant: Chuck E. Cheese. That place is so much nicer on a weeknight than it is on a weekend. Wow. The kids ran around and had a ball, eating bites of pizza in between video games and crawling around in the kid-sized gerbil tunnels.[1 Seriously. All they need to add is a big wheel and a water drip and the illusion will be complete.] Home, little more playing, and then bed. We still have a pinata that we will probably gather the neighborhood friends together for tomorrow evening. Overall, a big success, and all without the stress of planning a major party – which I love to do, and usually have fun doing, but still, the stress is there. I’ve had enough stress, thank you. I hope we can do something similar for Ethan’s birthday when it comes up, but I’m not sure what.

So, the birthday girl had a lovely day. James and I were pretty much on edge with that sick feeling one gets when their child is having issues. The Ethan update is pretty much, he’s got issues, man. He had a good spell in January, and DOES seem to be less in trouble for *hurting* others, but his behavior still has the same issues. Impulsive, inattentive, aggressive. The plethora of testing done by the school is complete, and tomorrow we meet with everyone at the school to discuss the results. James and I have the reports already and have read them over, and as far as we can tell, it’s really nothing new. Which I guess is good – no mention of any learning disorders or anything — just the same things that we already know. Hyperactive, short attention, impulsive, little self control… We’ll see what they recommend.

On the shrink front, we had an appointment with a psychiatric nurse practitioner but it got canceled for insurance issues. I called back and went ahead and made an appointment with someone different, a psychiatrist who was recommended by another child psychologist from a practice that doesn’t take our insurance. Our appointment with him is next week.

I’m feeling pretty down, but this is an atypical feeling.. just because his day at school today went so badly. I am usually pretty upbeat.. because I have seen a significant improvement in our interactions with him at home. He is playing with his friends pretty well, which was NOT the case at the beginning of the year. I am feeling down because I feel like we’re a step closer to an ADHD prescription which I really am not ready for. And I am definitely not taking the final step until I *really* feel like I’m ready.

I also feel down because I took the most ridiculous fall down the 3 steps down into the garage pre-party. I mean, RIDICULOUS. I don’t even know HOW I fell. I just went ass over end and I hurt ALL OVER. It doesn’t help that I’m having back issues again, which really sucks. So basically… HOST BODY BROKEN. MUST FIND NEW HOST BODY. (god don’t I wish!)

Ahhh well. In other news, I have become a chainmaille weaving addict. I bought a jump ring cutting system and am impatiently awaiting my latest order of silver wire so I can go crazy with the SILVER chainmaille. In the meantime I have oodles of copper wire and even have a few new things up in my etsy shop, so take a look :) I had my very first silver byzantine bracelet up there, but it was purchased by an old friend from High School who saw it when I posted to facebook! How’s that for a go ’round, I love it! I’ll post more about the jewelry soon. I have LOTS to say, especially about how much jewelry photography can suck it, and how sick I am of taking a photo I think will totally ROCK, get it into photoshop, and it looks shitty. SUCK IT, JEWELRY PHOTOGRAPHY! I used to think I could take a decent picture! No! I can’t! I suck! Ahhh well. I will learn.

I hope!

That’s it for now. Wish us luck for our meeting with the school tomorrow!

-amy hears the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, of the tumbler, tumbling her newly cut jumprings to a burnished, awesome shine!

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