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Starting off with a bang

10 Sep

Well, we’ve been in school for a full week and Maura’s decided to keep them on their toes.  I keep getting notes of “Lots of “no” today” and “Difficult time this morning”.  We’ve also now been told she can’t wear her Crocs to school because she decided to kick them off and go barefoot and was stubborn about this.

Of course, the little stinker came home, Crocs on, and kept those suckers on her feet ALL EVENING.

She also told us she had a good day at school.  A good day making her teachers earn their paychecks apparently.

I know it’s wrong, but I kind of laugh at it all.  I mean, what can you do?  Maura’s maturing, and yet not, so there will always be difficult times.  She likes doing her own thing, so she is bound to be balky getting back into the school routine.  Extended School Year (ESY) was not offered to us, so there was nothing to keep that routine in place.  And let’s face it, she’s my kid, and my mother tells stories about how I gave teachers hell, so she’s just keeping up with the proud family tradition.  Right?

It’s also funny how once again, she’s doing the opposite of what the others did.  When my other three were little, they were model students, then came home and were cranky beasts to me.  That’s actually quite the norm with little school kids adjusting to school life.  Maura has decided to do the opposite – she’s being a brat at school, then comes home and is the perfect child.

Part of me is really happy about this.  I couldn’t deal with cranky right now.

And I will state – we’re doing our best to make sure things go well at school.  We make sure she gets enough sleep.  We make sure she gets breakfast in the morning (today’s breakfast was a granola bar and eggs – yay protein!).  We send a full and relatively healthy lunch.  She gets cranky when hungry, so I’d rather extra food come home than her be hangry.  We make sure she poops (because not pooping makes her cranky too).  We’re doing our best on this side of things, I swear.  I will do what the teacher asks to make her life easier, even if it means Maura can’t bring her big My Little Pony dolls to school (she can bring dolls)…or finding a matching pair of socks so she can wear gym shoes instead of Crocs to school.

Hopefully she’ll settle down once she gets a hang of the routine again.  Otherwise, I may suggest that if they want a more cooperative student, allow Maura to start school at 9 am instead of 8 am.  Because she’s really not a morning person.  And every note home confirms that.

Not a morning person

Not a morning person




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“That time my child realized she was different…”

4 Sep

Has never happened.  Not here.

I know there are others who have had those moments, when their child realized they were different because of autism, Down Syndrome, missing limbs, skin conditions.  But in our case, that has never happened.  Maura doesn’t get that she’s different.

Maura thinks she’s just like anyone else.  And in so many ways, she is very typical.  She likes to shop, likes going to Starbucks, has her favorite shows, knows what she wants to wear and how she wants her hair done.  What makes her different is that sometimes, she loves things too much.  Like going to the movies.  It is the most exciting thing ever….until we take her to the pool.  Then that is the most fun ever.  I guess another difference in her is she’s not afraid to show emotions.  If she’s sad, you know it.  If she’s thrilled by something, we all know it.

But different?  She doesn’t know that.  I’m not sure she gets the concept.

So she greets everyone as a potential friend, certain that they’re going to love the same things she does, or be interested in her Frozen backpack or new shoes.  And most people smile and compliment these things, assuring her that yes, they are nice people.  I love those people. I love them in a way they will never know, these complete strangers who say “Wow! Look at those new shoes!”

Every so often though, there will be a person who doesn’t get it, doesn’t get that they’re supposed to be friendly, who look at her with that crinkled nose of disdain.  Sadly, they tend to be kids closer to her age, that peer group she’s supposed to be included into but have outgrown her years ago.  It started in first grade, when her classmates decided to mock her and call her a baby for crying when she was upset.  Despite inclusion, some children did not become more sensitive to her differences.  Instead, they made fun of her.

That’s part of why I’ve embraced the idea of special schools and classes.  Because when Maura started school in Ireland, suddenly, she had a peer group she could relate to.  She had kids who wanted to be her friends (including one boy who proclaimed that she was President of the United States, which still makes me smile.)  She was invited to all the birthday parties, and had friends interested in the same things she was, things their typically developing peers may have outgrown years before.  I remember being at the school for an event, and watching a couple older boys teasing each other, and it hit me just how much normal were in these special kids.  They still sought friendships, still could tease each other, still took care of each other when one was nervous, or showed concern when another was upset.  They were able to relate to each other, be friends, have that normal teen relationship.  It was something special to see.  There, they weren’t different, not really.  Yes, in a way, it was a bubble.  But it was a bubble where these kids were truly included in life, in ways school inclusion never gave us before.

Now Maura’s in a special classroom.  There are moments of inclusion, but she’s still around peers that are her speed.  She doesn’t really have friends her age, but that’s something I’ve gotten used to.  In the meantime, the older kids have their friends all coming through the house, and they have all become Maura’s “friends”.  She will see them coming and go “Look! Friends!”.  They come into the house and say hi to her, comment on the show she’s watching that she insists on pointing out (we’ve gotten a lot of “OMG, “Lilo and Stitch!”! I loved that movie!” this week.)  They let her watch shows with them, are impressed she’s into Doctor Who, let her “play” Settlers of Catan with them – and they will have no idea how eternally grateful I am that they treat her like a normal kid, and how they restore my faith in human beings.

I don’t know if Maura will ever get the concept that she’s “different” – honestly, I don’t think she ever will.  In the meantime, she’s showing the world how to treat her and others like her more normally.

Letting her sister do her hair for school - totally typical!

Letting her sister do her hair for school – totally typical!

I got nothing

3 Sep

For two days, I’ve been trying to come up with a blog post.  But it seems the children succeeded in destroying all the brain cells over the summer.  My brain is mush.

It’s a bit sad, I had plans on being Productive once children went back to school.  Instead, I’m sitting here in a “Man, I hate waking up this early” coffee fueled haze, thinking of all I should do, and really just wanting to binge-watch something on Netflix.

The tiny dog is enjoying my sluggishness.  We took a lovely nap yesterday (considering I got five hours of sleep because I was worried I’d sleep through two different alarms, so woke up at 5:15 am).

<this blog post was interrupted by a tiny shivering dog, who needed a sweater because the weather switched from Summer to Autumn the day after some woman shaved most of the hair off the tiny dog.  Tiny dog was snuggled, and made a comfy nest of warmth to hang in while the woman contemplates making a tiny dog holder, maybe a sling so the tiny ridiculous one will stop rolling off the woman’s lap as she tries to type>

It is funny how it’s only been one day of school and suddenly we’re on Fall Schedule, weather included.  After a warm and sunny summer, it poured rain yesterday.  There was also thunder and lightning, rare for the PNW.  Maura was quite excited by the thunder.  Zoey (big dog) was not as enamored.  We got to hear the sounds of pine cones hitting the roof and deck as well.

As I was only emotionally prepared for the start of school, I realized yesterday morning that we had none of Maura’s beloved Mac and Cheese for her lunch.  She actually loves all sorts of food but is a stickler about what her main lunch item is.  I somehow conned her into a roast beef sandwich, and was happily surprised to see she ate it.

This morning, she was less than perky, and balked at the idea of any kind of sandwich other than Nutella.  I told her how she can’t have Nutella at school, it would make her friends sick.

It seems Maura could care less about her friends.  Luckily, I care enough for the both of us, and she got jam sandwich instead.  She also hated every snack I put in the box.  Then she turned her nose up at the hot chocolate I made for her that she said she wanted.

The good news is, Wednesdays are early release days, so if she doesn’t eat lunch, she’ll be home by 12:30 and can eat then.

And that there is a snippet of my exciting life.  It’s like having jet lag, without the fun souvenirs and travel tales.

Now, here’s a picture of part of Maura’s outfit today.  Behold the many colors of Maura.  She was quite proud of them all.



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