No rest for the wicked

19 Oct

I had a lovely birthday week last week, with friends and wine and desserts and french toast and a pomegranate – but all that ended Friday afternoon.  That’s when I went from totally relaxed and feeling zen about life to Super Spidey Senses, Alert!

Of course it had to do with Maura.

Friday afternoon, I took her with me to the chiropractor (we’re hoping to get her used to how things work there so our chiropractor can work with her as well) and from the get-go, I felt something wasn’t right.  She was spacey in the car.  She was very quiet.  I tried to chalk it up to maybe she was tired, maybe she was nervous about being in a doctor’s office.  But at one point, she seemed twitchy and pale, but then a moment later was all “Ooo, I’m watching Magic School Bus on your phone, best thing ever!” perky.

I told the chiropractor that she might just be screwing with my head.  He laughed and said “Welcome to parenthood.”

She wasn’t.

We got home, she went and watched tv, all seemed well enough, I tried making evening plans with a friend, went to deal with something first…and found Maura laying on the couch, watching tv, complaining “Oh my head!”

Well shoot.

Took her temperature – 103.

And thus ended my plans for the weekend.  Instead of going out with a friend, I stayed home and cuddled Little Miss Feverish as she made four hundred demands on me (which is fine, I know she’s okay as long as she’s got an opinion.)  Friday night we put her to bed only for her to shiver at the cool blankets (which explained the earlier twitchiness, she was shivering…sigh..).  I got her settled.  She went to sleep.  I went to sleep.  I woke up at 5 am to peek in on her.  She was fine.  She slept in until 10 am, where we then transferred her back to the couch and demanded to watch “Winx”.  She vomited every so slightly, which is understandable – those long legged vapid “Winx” fairies make me slightly nauseated as well.  I hung out with her all day, watching my shows on my tablet with headphones and knitting while she watched her shows on my desktop. Every ten to fifteen minutes I stopped all my things to get up and meet a demand – tucking her back in, finding a different show for her, or trying to convince her that laying down would help her head stop hurting. And so the day went on. Eventually we tucked her back into her bed, where she went right to sleep.

Until 5 am this morning, when she did a belly flop onto our bed, right between us.

She was feeling vastly better.  It showed in her little perky wake up call as she crawled between us, elbowing us in the kidneys along the way.  Once she was certain we were awake, she decided to crawl back out of our bed, elbowing us in the kidneys again, and went back to her room to play.  Knowing we wouldn’t sleep because she could be wandering the house, Josh lured her back to our room with promises of a movie.  I found something for her to watch, and we tried to go back to sleep as she spent the next three hours elbowing us, poking her toes into my legs, using my hip as a pillow, elbowing me some more, stealing my blanket, poking her toes into me some more, trying to steal my blanket even more, and  taking over at least my side of the bed.  I’m not sure what she did to her father, but he’s probably equally as bruised up as I am.

Her temperature’s now only 99.5.  Just enough to probably keep her out of school tomorrow.  She is feeling great today.  The parental units are considering an iv hook up for their coffees and feeling like death warmed over spread thinly across toast.

Once, as an adult, I was re-reading the Little House series, and in the book where Laura gets pregnant, she wrote a line about how if you want to dance, you have to pay the piper, or something like that.  And I laughed, realizing what she meant.  But really, all of life is that like.  We dance, then we pay the piper.  No rest for the wicked.  There’s always something.  Those kids will screw with your head.  Welcome to parenthood.

Just tween enough to be slightly annoyed that I'm taking her picture, lol!

Just tween enough to be slightly annoyed that I’m taking her picture, lol!

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IEP Season

14 Oct

Maura’s IEP is coming up.  At the sight of those letters – short for Individualized Education Program - every parent of a child with an IEP just shuddered.

So the idea that I’m here, going “Eh” over the IEP, is amazing, even to me.

Back in Michigan, we had to fight for everything for Maura.  Not just us as parents, but some of those working with her had to fight to make sure she got what she needed, what she actually needed.  Not just what the barest of minimums forced them to give.  I went into every IEP knowing how so many people had our backs, were going to make sure Maura had as much as they could give her, and I appreciated every one of them for working with us, and for Maura.

But it was draining.  And disheartening.  I cried – and I never cry at stuff.  IEPs made me cry.  I had to make sure I did my homework, had The Binder with all of Maura’s stuff in it, I would contact people by email, then print out every email conversation and put it in the binder.  I had a book to guide me through the legalities of the IEP.  I talked to people, to outside therapists and other parents, to find out what they thought Maura would need, what their kids were getting, what worked for them.  Then, when the day of the IEP came, I’d arrange for babysitting, because I knew I’d be there for hours.  Seriously.  Four hours once, with fourteen people. They never had a conference room big enough for Maura’s IEPs.

Why so long and so many?  Because at the time, the school didn’t have children with special needs, not like Maura’s.  It was her and one other student her age with the same levels of disabilities, and they weren’t sure what to do with them.  We were the proverbial guinea pigs the entire time we were in Michigan – for the new special ed preschool program, for the new resource room in the elementary school they had to create to handle a child like Maura, for inclusion to this degree.  It was a bit scary, I can admit that.

So four hour IEPs that left me feeling unsure became the norm.  Battles with the special ed director became the norm.  Ranting about the special ed director (who at one point told me my signature wasn’t necessary for the IEP) became too much of a norm.

To sit here, four years later, and have an IEP looming and the thought of it doesn’t make me want to drink?  That is still a gift I can’t get over.  I cherish the idea that I don’t have to worry and wind myself up and gird loins for battle.  I love the idea that an IEP doesn’t have to mean instant crazy-making.  I could hug each member of our current IEP team who make all this non-craziness possible.  I wish that every parent could have this good of an experience.  And I will never take it for granted, because I know that this could all change.  I could go back to the old ways, the tension and the tears and the loins girded for battle.

I’d rather not though.  I’d rather keep our new nice IEP ways.

Oh, I’ll have notes.  Suggestions as to how to help Maura grow and mature.  Questions as to why she’s being such a pill at school (go figure, she’s an angel at home!).  Questions about her future in this program (which I’m not doubting, she’s earned her place in the life skills program, just that she’ll be transitioning to middle school next year.)  And a couple apologies for being a slacker parent this year (though in my defense, I never even saw the paperwork sent home the other day, just the mangled note saying “Please send completed forms back…” – Maura beat me to her folder and took care of the forms for me.  Oops.)

The IEP will be a meeting as to how we can all help Maura grow.  As it should be.  And I am thankful for it, and this program Maura’s in, every single day. Because I know it could be worse.  I have been there.  And I never want to go back.


Why I can’t buy pomegranates

9 Oct

Many years ago, when the kids were shorter than me, I found a deal where I could get a box or two of organic fruit and veg delivered to my doorstep.  We’d get exotic things, like kale, and pineapple.  The children always found these boxes to be amazing, and were always willing to try something new.

At one point, we got a pomegranate.  I’ll be honest, I’d never had one before, and had no clue how to open it.  So I left it in the fridge, with plans on researching what to do with pomegranates on the internet – as you do.

That afternoon, my 4th grader came home – with his light blue shirt covered in purple splatter.

“Sean, what happened?”

“Well, I took the pomegranate to school, but I wasn’t sure how to open it.”

I felt sorry for the kids who sat around him at lunch.  They probably went home a bit purple as well.

“Sean, new rule – you can’t bring fruit to school that you don’t know how to eat.”

I’ll admit, from that day forward, I wasn’t much into buying pomegranates.  I’d buy it already scooped out, seeds in a container, if needed.  But really, there’s not a lot of call for fresh pomegranate in my life, and I’m okay with that.

But yesterday…yesterday I was lured into buying them at Whole Foods.  They were on sale, a twofer deal.  And I knew more about how to open a pomegranate.  My children were older now.  It was safe.

Or so I thought.


That evening, Miriam asked if she could try one.  I said “Do you know how to open it?”


Seriously, I will never learn.  So I told her to cut it open, scoop out the seeds, eat seeds. I heard the sawing of the knife, then silence, then some scraping and pounding.  But it seemed okay, right?  She’s fourteen, right?  This is the girl who knows savvy things like how to get through airport security and how to haggle with souvenir sellers in Rome and what to do in case of a seizure.  Surely my instructions were clear enough.

I was wrong.

So very wrong.

The kitchen looked like a crime scene, where a magenta corpse was dragged about.  There was pomegranate splatter everywhere – counter, clean dishes on the drying board, soaking into my lovely oak farmhouse table.  The girl?  My sweet teen girl?  Coated in pomegranate splatter.  Bits of pomegranate were left between the kitchen and dining room.

“Miriam! Really?  What happened?”

The reply is a bit of a bur, but there were bits of “it was tough” and “I got frustrated with it so just started stabbing at it with a spoon.”

I turned to my husband and said “You would think I’d know better by now than to buy pomegranates.”

You would think.

There’s still one left in the refrigerator.  I should probably do away with it before I find it splattered all over my living room or the like.



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