You can fix anything.

fix anything

Or view it here on “U Tube.”

p.s. it’s not my IEP woes, but my pal’s that need fixing. We all know what a long lasting headache that can be.

Slurping Life
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Half full and slightly tarnished linings

The lizard, who fails to acknowledge his given name of “'Gecky,'” is poised immobile. My pose should also be supine. I prop myself up on my elbows, nursing a mug of crunchy coffee to contemplate the day ahead. The day ahead has merged into the it's neighbour, because one of my children has turned nocturnal. I wonder how the child that can sleep on his head, in a cupboard or drop to the ground at any time for a nap, has morphed into a waking creature, a very perky one at that?

Bed at 8, 'up' at 10 to tell us a secret, followed by hourly visits to impart vital or confidential information, has left us dazed. The 'warning' note to his teacher, will put her in a better coping position. If I had had a 'warning' note yesterday, I might have been in a better coping position myself. Perhaps I should have consulted the star's alignment for guidance? I was certainly in a position to examine each and every constellation with frequency throughout the night. Gecky is still alive after 3 days in our household. I am uncertain if I will fare as well.

I don't bother to check the calendar as I already know that I have a three hour appointment at the dentist in the morning and a three hour [plus] appointment at the school, for Junior's IEP in the afternoon. It is hard to assess rationally, which will be more painful?

Several zillion jobs [translation = chores] scream at me, from the never ending and constantly expanding list of 'things to do.' I consciously ignore it on the counter behind me. Things to buy, things to fix and mend, to include the sprinkler system, which in turn requires speech from me on the telephone. Is there no end to the misery and torture of my current existence?

Since I will be seeing real people today, this means that I must dress accordingly and attempt 'rational parent' appearance. Do I possess any matching garments in my closet? Will I recognize anything that matches? Will I be able to gain entry to my theoretically 'walk in' closet? Would attendance wearing a dressing gown be to obvious? I wonder if the shower I had at 3:10 a.m. can 'count' for 'today'? I fail to see how a shower at any time of the day or night will make me sound like a rational parent, when my speech is slurred by braces and my brain is slurried by sleep deprivation.

Since I am now an American, this means that if I am to present myself in public, I must be hairless. Do I have one of those things still? What is it called? Oh yes, a razor. Surely I must have one of those rusty old things hanging about somewhere?
Maybe I should just dip myself in a vat of “Immac” and be done with it?

Forget eugenics, I'm all for cloning: 'Clone! Get thee hence forthwith to the IEP meeting, and don't forget to take careful notes. Report back with 'done deal.''
I pull over the dish of 'homework' coins. I fumble. I pull out the pennies, discard the foreign rogues. I slip the former into a bag for the school charity drive. I recall that once upon a time, this was an easy exercise, swift and efficient. Did I ever “work in a Bank” or was that someone else? I cross off number 623 of the list as 'done.'

Out of the window, I see the first rain drops plop onto the patio. [translation = deck] Typical! That's all I need, a 'fight' with the tactile sensitive and the tactile immune, one with a 'rain dance' and another rolling in the puddles! Struggles with umbrellas, the armour of protection but a Rubic's cube to open. I pout, or would do if my lips were not numb.

I attempt a crooked grin. I won't have to water the garden tonight! Maybe I won't hide in the closet under a pile of rags. So there's no pot of gold, but I can still manufacture my own rainbows.

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Game set and Match

A couple of years back, I came away from my son's IEP meeting with a heavy heart. At that time he was progressing well, had come on leaps and bounds. However it was at about that same time that I learned a new fact. I'm uncertain how this fact had eluded me for so long, but it had. Obvious as it was, I had failed to recognize that no matter how well they did, no matter how much progress they made, when you compared their trajectory of development, it was still at a lower angle than their typically developing peers.

I'd like to blame this on my poor math skills, but that would be a feeble excuse, as even I, visual learner that I am, can see that one line has a steep incline and the one, beneath it, less so. Maybe I needed a pi chart or a superimposed Venn diagramme to make reality pop out for me, but whatever the case, one day, reality did just that, popped out and reminded me that not only was there a gap, but that as they got older, the gap would widen. It was quite sobering at the time.

One of the specific, neatly tailored IEP goals with his Occupational therapist was for her to bounce a ball towards him so that he could catch it, slightly to one side of his body and then the other side. This was designed so that his eyes had longer to track the ball as it came closer, and was off to one side, so that he would need to align his body in advance, amongst other things.

In the first measurement period, he would achieve this two or three times in every five. During the following period, they would hope that he could catch the ball four or five times in every trial and so on. I don't know why I found this goal, of all the other goals quite so demoralizing. For him it was a tough goal, for every other child in the school it was a 'no brainer.' I was dubious about this goal. I had spent many a long hour, coaxing him to come out into the garden where we could 'play ball.' 'Outside' was loathsome to him, so I soon dropped that bit and we played 'ball' in the house. Of course 'playing ball in the house' is not what the average civilized parent encourages. Most parents would read their children the riot act if they were discovered occupied in this activity, but no us.

It is hard to describe the feeling that a parent experiences during this activity. You sit on the floor opposite your child, an animated face, cheerful tone and a lot of superfluous activity. You roll or throw the ball at your child. It hits his body or hopefully his hands, but there is no response. His eyes do not 'track' the ball, it's hard to get him to even look at the ball. You keep your words simple, repeat them often, at appropriate intervals, because it takes time for him to process words. This might be o.k. the first couple of times, but sometimes you can do this for minute upon minute, before he simply lies down and rolls away from you with a wordless sigh. You haven't even managed to 'engage him.' His face doesn't register 'pain' as such, mere indifference, possibly boredom.

With most social interactions, there is just that, interaction. Anyone, parent or otherwise playing with a small child, gets the pay off of seeing pleasure in the child, it is self reinforcing. “Just one more time,” is so hard to resist from the gleeful toddler. When however, there is no reaction, it is much harder to sustain the illusion that anyone is playing.

Depending upon your skill set, I think this is where a skilled therapist is the answer. It is not only their unflagging enthusiasm, but their objectivity, that will serve your child well. It is both disheartening and soul destroying if you are the parent. I would like to offer something positive and helpful at this point, but I am at a loss to know what that might be? If the option of the professional is not available to you, I think perhaps you have to change your 'mind set' as we Americans say. I'm not sure what exactly that 'mind set' is nor what it is called, but it does exist and you can do this too.

There was such a long way to go.

I am in the kitchen at first light, [when am I anywhere else I wonder?] when the boys appear. They are naked from the waist down, clutching pyjama bottoms and pull-ups. Following our group hug when, two small craniums collide with a clunk, I go about calming the walking sqaulking wounded. Junior continues to wail, quite reasonably. I pay heed to the additional lumps forming under his hank of hair, and pay no heed to his older brother who is oblivious to pain. The corner of my eye detects movement. I turn to watch him as he chants, because chanting is easy first thing in the morning, when you have a full compliment of words available to you, if you're a non-verbal type:


With each word, he throws the pull-up to the ceiling where it makes a puff sound and then catches it, as it falls back down into his two open palms.

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