Sunday, December 30, 2007

Dear Noah...

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MOM here.....TODAY is YOUR birthday party...nothing special really.....just having relatives over for cake and ice cream....but you are very excited and I just want to say I love you and am very proud of you and all your amazing progress!

and for all out there in blog land........Noah, Opie and I wish you all a very Happy New Year!

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Dear Noah......you are so flexible!




When I walk past your room every day I can pretty much be sure I will see you sitting like this with one foot under your chin/cheek supporting it like a hand would. In fact when I first started noticing this I did not think it was your foot but DID think it was your hand. You are super flexible and will remain so your entire life.

I love you!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day and after 2007

Noah woke up super early.....checking around to see what Santa brought him. He got what was on his list.....and he was very happy. He ended up with his new camera.......and a football......and the memory card to go along with his new camera. I got him some books about toilets which he was ecstatic about......and even a little miniature bathroom play set....he LOVES that. He got even more at his grandma and grandpa's house from everyone there and his aunties...too many photos to post but I will tomorrow...because Blogger is not wanting to upload them now and I need to get to bed.

I also have some cute clips if Noah and his cousin Audrey dancing around.....so adorable. AND some photographs of them.....I will post later. I am tired and it is way past my bedtime! Hope your holiday was a happy, safe one!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

WISHING YOU ALL A VERY MERRY, JOYOUS CHRISTMAS!

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a little something from me and Noah to you and yours:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Dear Noah....."school's out for winter and you have a fever"

I wonder what you think about...
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We went to see Grandma C. last night and were surprised to also see Grandma L. there visiting. So we had a very nice visit and stayed for supper.

You had a great last day of school for the year and the Christmas party was a success. You were so excited about the fact that you got to eat 2 fruit roll ups. You gave your parapro a photo-card with your school picture in it and when I asked you what you wanted to write inside it you said "I love you very much?" asking me if that was okay. I told you I thought that would be very sweet to write in the card so you did. Of course she also adores you and was totally thrilled with the card and present you picked out for her.

Life is so very sweet and I am so grateful for so much. Today you have a fever of around 102 degrees though it might be a little higher as you cannot really hold a thermometer in your mouth very well yet. The fact that you have a fever is ironically timed with an article I read this morning where these doctors have been given GRANT money to do research on autistic children's behavior "changing" when they have a fever. Well duh......I think everyone's behavior changes during a time of fever. However, without being able to offer up SPECIFICS they tried to say that the behaviors changed more than just what would normally change with children having a fever. Whatever that means. I do know when you have a fever you are very subdued and quiet and do not usually display any of your normal quirky tendencies. However, I think that applies to us all. No real big news there as far a I am concerned.

So today you have a fever which did not surprise me as I know you have had sinus issues again. You also said your throat was a little sore which I am sure is from postnasal drip. So it will likely be a PJ Day for you today with lots of symptomatic care and treatments from mommy dearest. I promise to try to NOT nag you! haha

I also read another horrific story about some autistic teens living in a group home who received 77 and 20+ skin shock treatments from the staff there because someone called in ordering it via the phone and the idiots working there provided the treatments without verifying jack shit about the caller apparently because the call ended up being a prank. DO NOT EVEN GET me started on what I think about that fiasco. I am happy to hear 7 employees from that facility were apparently fired. Has anyone seen what shock therapy does to anyone over a period of time? This is not the shock therapy that you are probably thinking of. It is "skin" shock therapy but still. They say the shocks feel like bee stings.

SO okay.....imagine getting stung by a bee 77 times in a row.....one right after the other. HOW WOULD THAT MAKE YOU FEEL AND REACT? It amazes me anyone with half a brain would think that would actually CALM ANYONE down and not make them end up having bad behavior long-term. It is very much like poking at an animal in a cage....over time the animal becomes very mean.....mainly due to its own defense mechanisms kicking in. They learn to not trust ANYONE around them. They live with huge levels of anxiety because they never know what is coming up next or when. Apparently these kids were awakened from SLEEP in the middle of the night to get their "treatments" and I use that word LIGHTLY. AND they said they were using it as PUNISHMENT for the teens not doing something correctly earlier that day or the day prior. Holy shit.....you have to correct children immediately when they do something wrong especially with autistic kids....NOT hours or days later! You have to replace the negative behavior with POSITIVE behavior. I do not see ANYTHING positive in this mode of therapy.

I am so thankful Noah you are not in any group home and I cannot imagine anyone wanting to leave their child in a home like that although apparently some say it has helped their children be able to "get by" in our world.

Of course we all hear horrific stories about nursing homes too and children being abused in foster care, etc. I really want to focus on the positives but sometimes it can be very difficult to do so.

During this time of year when we all start to reflect on days gone by and times ahead, I really am so grateful for so very much. I am so thankful Noah we finally found a school and staff who are really working well with you to make your school experience a success. They do not give up on you and I am thrilled with that. Your parapro loves you and cares for you like I would and I cannot ever say enough about that....ALL answers to my prayers and expressed concerns I had before you started school. Our GOD is powerful and great. Our universe has abundant resources to give if we only ask and believe it and imagine it as already real. AND then most of all be "grateful."

I love you Noah.....and I am very thankful you are my little boy.

Mommy
XOXOXOX

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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dear Noah.....your last day of school for this year ...


is today! You are very excited because you will have a Christmas party today and one of the snacks will be fruit roll ups and you cannot wait to eat one. I guess eating something at school during regular class time makes it a lot more special? haha

Anyway.....when I picked you up yesterday after a tremendously good day for you at school, I took you to Kentucky Fried Chicken to eat INSIDE the restaurant and you were thrilled.

While "visiting" across from you eating (as I did not get anything).....we talked and talked. You told me that your male teacher asked you what you wanted for Christmas...and I guess you mentioned your list. I guess somewhere along the way you must have mentioned you might be concerned you had not been "good enough" to earn those presents from Santa. SO what did the male teacher do? He whipped out his cell phone and across the table from you CALLED SANTA! haha He apparently proceeded to tell Santa how GOOD you have been and how well you have done this year so far. You were ecstatic about the fact that this would greatly increase your odds at receiving those presents!

You are such a sweetie....and so deliciously innocent. Making memories to treasure forever.

Which reminds me of a flip side to all this goodness. At Kroger's the other night at the check out line you got your fingers squished in the shopping cart.....and I was asking you if you were alright and what do you say back to me? "QUIT NAGGING!" "Nagging?", I asked. "NAGGING!?", I implored. I explained how I was trying to be NICE and CONCERNED about your possible injuries to your fingers.....and that was most certainly NOT nagging.

So Noah....this is your mother.....nagging you about loving you.....

I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you so very much Noah.

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dear Noah...."we have had incredible snow"...

Sorry for our absence the last few days. Been busy with school and working full time now and getting ready for Christmas and...and....and.....

It started snowing Saturday and continued through Sunday.....we have at least 12 inches out there. Here are a couple of pics....

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I will post a movie clip later......

BUT.....Noah watches a lot of videos on You Tube and there was one of a tornado in Miami back in 1997 and they used the song The Tide Is High by Blondie as the background music.....well.....Noah has been going around singing that a lot lately...so I told him they probably had it on SingSnap and he could use my account and record it and we could post it which he did. He is a doll......he sang a few others after this one.....but....he loves this song and I think he did pretty well. Here it is:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dear Noah.....indoor recess....


I found out yesterday when the weather is bad and all the kids have to stay inside due to the bad weather...they have them stay in their respective classrooms. Okay..I thought that sounded okay...but I also thought the teacher or a teacher was present monitoring the kids.

NO. Apparently NOT. During recess INDOORS there are NO teachers within each individual classroom monitoring anything. There are TWO patrolling monitors who are responsible for checking on all the kids in the entire school. We are talking a few hundred. MANY classrooms. ALL 3rd and 4th graders. SOME special needs children too.

I could not believe there were no teachers within the classrooms during this period of time. We have already determined you are lacking in the social skills area and need work in that area. This means someone needs to be present at all times with you during social activities such as RECESS to make sure you do the right thing.....if not they can redirect you.....because in order for you to learn appropriate behavior.....it is repetition of the appropriate behaviors.....being drilled into your mind to call upon later and into your routines. I cannot believe the school thinks ANY 3rd graders and 4th graders are okay on their own during this entire time and could settle any issues that might come up.

I personally think this is a time bomb waiting to explode. I voiced my concerns to the principal today via email. I have not yet heard back from her. I imagine they are understaffed or something but crap. We drop our children off to school with the understanding that they will be watching them and monitoring them and keeping them safe during that time. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE when the adults are not even present during indoor recess?

YOU Noah are supposed to be getting social skills training and they could take advantage of these opportunities to work on this during recess.....but are they? Apparently not. It is not possible if a teacher or aide or instructor is not present.

Noah, you can wander off. How do they know you will not do that when an adult is not present? Your parapro is apparently one of the patrolling monitors whose responsibility it is to monitor all the classrooms and children within the entire school.

It takes seconds for a situation to turn into a major meltdown or problem for you sometimes if the right circumstances develop. WHAT will happen with no adult supervision present?

I can understand strengthening the children's independence and responsibility and trust but this is insane.

I am anxious to see how we can all fix this as I think this is a HUGE problem. I doubt many if any other parent is aware that their child is also not being monitored in their classrooms during indoor recess.

Where the crap are the teachers? When I was in school we were NEVER left for an entire indoor recess alone. Our teachers spent that time in the classroom with us.

I hope and pray someone changes some things and BIG TIME. This is NOT acceptable to me.

Today Noah you got out 1 hour early from school so we went to the library and the park. Then back home. You had a great day. Everyone loved your new hair cut.

AND I love you too.

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dear Noah........your third and very SHORT hair cut....

We stopped by to get your hair cut today after school. We decided to go a little shorter this time around....just to see what you looked like and how you would like it. As fast as your hair grows we can try many different cuts to see what you like best. You are cute no matter the cut I think......but maybe we will leave a little more on your head next time round. I am not sure.

Here is what you looked like before:

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and NOW:

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yes.....it is very very short.......

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but you are still so cute and adorable.....and your eyes and eyelashes are even more noticeable now than they already were before! AND you and I both love to sit around and feel your head.......yes.....I love to rub really short hair....

I love you Noah!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Dear Noah....a surprise visit from your daddy...


Your daddy decided to fly in for the weekend and surprise you. He arrived late Saturday night/early Sunday morning so he could be here when you woke up Sunday. You were very surprised when you walked out into the living room and saw him on the couch. You had a very nice visit, going out to eat at restaurants (one of your all-time favorite past-times) and playing on your computer as well as shopping and playing with the cat. You also went ahead and had your Christmas with him since he will be out of the country over the holidays. You were so excited to find out he got you several of the old atlases you had asked for.

You told me the next day "Mommy, when I open my eyes after my surgery in June I want daddy to be there to hand me the 1990, 1980, 1976 and 1970 atlases." I told you to write all this down which you apparently did and then you also apparently already gave this list to your father.

The visit was short and when it came time to leave you became a bit sad.....but recovered quickly when I tried to redirect your focus onto more positive things.

I love you Noah. I will do my best to fill up your life with lots of love and positive people and experiences so you won't have time to feel sad very often if ever.

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dear Noah...Yellow Snow....

You had another SNOW DAY AND DAY OFF FROM school as they closed Friday due to another snowstorm that passed through our county. Yesterday you spent time outside playing in the snow making snow angels and other things. We even sculpted snow onto the side of brick walls outside the house.

You also lost another tooth yesterday and you did it all by yourself! You even said you were very proud of yourself for that!

CLIPS will be coming soon.......

Thursday, December 06, 2007

SNOW DAY- December 5, 2007....first day school closed due to the snow!




Noah was still not feeling well and running a fever so I was thankful they closed the school. They started out on a 2-hour delay but then ended up closing the school. Today Noah is a bit better....no fever....but the school is already on a 2-hour delay and it is like F-R-I-G-I-D at 7 degrees with an expected HIGH of 28 degrees. ..so I will probably keep him home one more day and send him tomorrow. He is happy about that because he can play on his computer he said. In a way I hope they close the schools today due to the extreme temps.

Anyway....it was beautiful snowing yesterday......here is another clip for those who long for snow but are not getting any filmed from my bathroom window! We ended up getting about 6-8 inches of snow when it was all over and done with. This clip reminds me of a snowglobe!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Dear Noah........you don't feel well....




Last night you suddenly complained about your right ear hurting...so much so that you cried and put on your jammies and decided on your own at 8:00 p.m. you were ready for bed. I put drops in your ears and gave you some nasal decongestant. You woke up numerous times throughout the night to go to the restroom....and I figured this morning you would be tired. You said not too bad and you acted okay.....saying your ear felt better and did not hurt and it was slowly opening up more. To me you felt like you had no fever. I was going to keep you home but you decided you wanted to go. You did all your homework this morning you did not do last evening. Then off you went.

About an hour later the school called.....saying they found you asleep in class. At the nurse's office you kept saying you were tired but your ear was okay today. They checked your ear and it was red and had some fluid behind the right tympanic membrane. You also had a mild fever. SO back home you came.

I still have to get my work done but will. Not much more to do really. AND then we will have to take you to the After Hours Urgent Care Clinic here in town later to get you some medicine. I could not get you in to see your doctor and that is too far away anyway. I really need to find us doctors right here in town.

I love you.....hope you feel better real soon!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dear Noah....

nothing new to report. You have been busy ALL day filming movies with your trains. You never even got out of your pajamas.

It has been sleeting off and on.....and very cold. Only around 20 with wind chill of about 10.

SNUGGLE UP TIGHT my little man....I love you!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Friday, November 30, 2007

Dear Noah.....a phone call from school.


When I saw it was the school on my caller ID I was instantly filled with old feelings of apprehension and knots in my stomach. It is a reaction I had almost gotten over as the school year has progressed as no one ever called no matter what happened at the school.

Today they called mainly just to give me a heads up so they did not have to mention all this when I picked you up...in front of everyone else. I appreciate that.

Apparently there was a misunderstanding between yourself and another little boy at school over an eraser! The one boy told you that you could have the eraser and another boy apparently did not hear it and he took it first before you could get it. Instead of telling the teacher like I have suggested or anything verbal at all.....you reacted like a typical 4-year-old emotional level child would. You HIT. You took your fist and hit this kid 3 times in the chest. The little boy did not retaliate and stood there and finally the teachers were able to intervene. I guess you had a pretty major meltdown. This is not totally uncommon for you the closer the holidays get. This trend has been lifelong for you and we have always attributed it to the extra things happening this time of year that constantly CHANGE things up for you. The natural normal flow is rare.

You now have lost your recesses today and had to verbally apologize to the boy and do a written apology. The teachers and you also discussed with the group WHY everyone does not react like that and WHAT everyone should do next time round...etc. I know they are sending a note home to the boy's father also stating there was an altercation at school though they did not mention your name specifically. SIGH......

SO......I have called GATEWAY today......a local program I had checked into before when we first moved back to Ohio but at that time you were too young to attend.......the school referred me to them again at the parent-teacher conference and I finally called and spoke with the woman today about getting you enrolled in their GROUP social skill classes....where once a week you would meet with a group of other children.....also with their own issues....to learn proper social skills.....the benefit here you work with people who understand what is going on and who can control the set up and outcomes....etc....because they have more time. It is grant-based so there is only a small intake fee on my part of 25.00 for the entire year so I am thrilled about that.

I have to do something. Working with you at home and some social situations at school are not always enough...and the older and bigger you get the worse the outcome could be for you and any other child involved.

AND my little man......you will NOT be going anywhere today after school but home....so don't even ask!

I still love you though.

Mommy
XOXOX

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Dear Noah...Dropping Your List Off In Santa's Mailbox


We did it last night. On the way back from Grandma C.'s house we stopped by Santa's seasonal booth where a mailbox to send letters specifically to him is also standing by the street corner. I told you to get out of the truck and put the letter in the box. You came back saying it was locked up looking very sad. I asked you if there was a slot on the box. You said "OH WAIT!" and went running back. Then you again returned to the truck saying your envelope was too big to go into the slot. I finally got out of the truck which I should have done to begin with I guess, and walked over to check things out. Sure enough the box was locked and they did have a slot but the envelope was larger than the slot. I suggested FOLDING the envelope just a little bit to slide it into the slot which worked perfectly and you beamed and skipped excitedly back to the truck. As we climbed back inside another car drove by with an elderly man and woman driving who had been watching us and were smiling.

The MAGIC of Christmas.....as seen through a child's eyes is always something beautiful to behold.

I love you Noah.....I hope Santa can fulfill your dreams this year!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Dear Noah...


I heard you singing "Do You Hear What I Hear" so sweetly last night. I tried recording you without you knowing it but the sound is not that great. You rarely want to sing in front of me.

Thanksgiving has come and gone. You did very well and we had a very busy time. We did finish decorating the tree while watching Christmas movies....and you have actually finished a list to drop off for Santa.

You only have 3 things on the list. You originally had put down you wanted all the old atlases from 1940 to 2004 but then told me "I decided to take those off the list because that was just too much for Santa!"

Now your list for Santa includes:

1) A Lumix camera like the one I have.
2) A memory card for the camera.
3) A real football.

You are being on your best behavior....and trying even harder at school even though you are sitting in a section you don't really want to be sitting in.

I love you little man. It certainly won't be long till Christmas has come and gone again and we will be into an entirely new year.

love you always...

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More of the tree......a little CLOSER look...video 2

Our Christmas Tree 2007



IGNORE the exercise equipment in the background......and the tree is not quite finished yet!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Noah and I wish you all......

a very Happy and SAFE Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Dear Noah.. "I Just Want To Die!"

You are staying home today. You slept in very late and then woke up crying saying your stomach was very upset. When prodded further you told me about getting moved yesterday to a new section in your classroom.....which made you cry all over again. Apparently yesterday during school you even said you "wanted to die" after you got moved so all the girls you now sit with wrote "STOP" on your paper which upset you so you erased it and proceeded to bang into the lockers directly behind your seat, which got you into trouble.

It bothers me tremendously to hear you say you were "dying" or "felt like dying" because of any circumstance. Again while that is huge improvement for you to be able to verbally express yourself.....it tears me up that you feel so strongly in a negative fashion about all this. I know you tend to keep a lot of things bottled up inside yourself.....and with your additional diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, I imagine some things cannot ever be easy for you.

You seem upset about the move mainly because you are now with ALL girls who apparently are always trying to redirect you to do the right things by saying stop or writing stop..etc., anytime you do something you should not be doing. You went on and on about this a lot......about how you used to sit in a section with "both" boys and girls and now you are surrounded by girls....and girls who tell you to STOP all the time, etc. You apparently also told your parapro yesterday that you did not want to be in school anymore or that classroom, etc., then you told me the same thing today. I am sure this is part of your intestinal issues today as your emotions tend to play out in your gut. I guess you get that from me.

Regardless of all your drama that you can sometimes try to employ for your benefit...this will take some time to perhaps work through and get you to accept, if you can ever really accept it and not continue working against it. I am not trying to make excuses for you but it does take you so much longer than an average child to handle changes in your environment, etc. I asked you about returning to school on Monday and how you would handle it any better then. Maybe if one other boy could sit with you in that section it would be helpful? Of course you suggested Aaron because you said he is the nicest boy and you liked him....etc. (of course this is the same little boy you wave to after school and blew that kiss to that one day after school....which is yet another story). SO I am not sure that idea is all that great either as you might be too friendly and wanting to hug or who knows what because you are sitting with someone you really like.

I don't know what to say to you. I have explained to you that it is OKAY to move desks around and be in different groups with different boys and girls and that would happen throughout your lifetime and in most classrooms from time to time....and that it is a great way to meet new
people and try new things and again I reassured you with another "it is okay." You again only reiterated the fact that you are the ONLY boy sitting with ALL girls. I have to sort of laugh at that because I think it is amazing you have even recognized this at all and do not like it......something you would not have even noticed before let alone cared about. I think this is progress but also sadly a potential problem because now you are too focused on all the girls around you constantly trying to redirect you (or so it seems to you) that you can no longer focus on anything else. This will nag at you and nag at you until some sort of resolution or happy medium is reached.

I did send a note to your teachers today and because of the intestinal issues OR reported intestinal issues I allowed you to add an extra day on your long holiday weekend. We will have to continue to work through this and come up with a solution we can all live with.

Meanwhile....I still love you.....and hope and pray I can help keep you from ever feeling like you want to die again.

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Monday, November 19, 2007

here's the big wagon we rode....

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The two horses were a mother/son team. I thought that was pretty cool......and apparently the son/horse had been injured a year prior......in a cast for a long time......but had fully healed and was now pulling this Christmas wagon with his mother around our little town. I did not take many photos that night but this is one even though it is rather dark.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dear Noah.......Christmas carriage/wagon ride through town

It took a ton of coaxing to even get you to agree to try this Christmas carriage/wagon ride through town to see the Christmas lights but you finally to my amazement agreed to go. Once around town you did not want to get back off the wagon and instead......wanted to ride again. This is a short clip of part of our ride around town and some of the Christmas lights....we were at the back of the wagon so it was difficult to see some things as they came up. I guess I should have filmed from the backside!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Dear Noah....Parent/Teacher Conference and grade cards...

Friday there was no school because there were parent/teacher conferences. I had mine scheduled with your teachers on Friday and I actually got to meet with 3 of your teachers...which really impressed me. We got an entire 30 minutes which was an adequate amount of time to discuss everything.......and.......I again am so impressed with the staff and how much they really like you and are willing to help you. This is something I have prayed for a long long time...finding the right mix......the perfect combo .....to help you succeed!

They have all learned pretty quickly some things that can set you off.....but also remarked about how much progress you are making in handling changes in routine and environmental changes. They repeat the phrase "it's okay" like I do here at home and you are becoming more accepting quicker now...soon I know it will be smooth transitions pretty much all the time...no matter the circumstances.

I am thankful your meltdowns are very infrequent now....and short-lived when they do occur. I am so thankful we finally have the right mix of teachers and staff working with you.....it is so nice to be able to sit back and see such good positive progress and changes in you and your behavior.
They said academically they all have NO problems with you. You get all A's or every high B's in all your subjects! Your report card reflected all of that and I have seen your homework you bring home and the stuff you work on at school also brought home. I LOVE to see how much you are learning and what you are doing at school......even if it has been on a slightly different level than I would have had you at. You are succeeding and doing well and they will not hold you back they said if you are able to do more. They also push you like I would to always do your best and tell you over and over you CAN. CAN.....a word few have in their vocabularies actually.....so many these days look for ways out or excuses for their CANNOTs.

Anyway.....we had to make pit stops in all the restrooms while at school. This was the day you have been waiting for......when MOMMY could escort you into all the girls bathrooms so you could check them out and film them. SO in with your camera you went as we walked throughout the school and hit all the restrooms. You were in your element......going on and on about the specs of the paper towel dispensers and types or brands or toilets and the water pressure and things even I do not understand. Below is a clip.......and Noah......I adore you.

Mommy
XOXOXO

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dear Noah...and "I Wanna Know....If You Will Be My Girl"

Today when I picked you up from school another little boy came up and gave you a tremendous hug. I thought that was really sweet as you also hugged him back! The day before when driving home past the school you waved goodbye to another little boy....and at the corner also blew him a kiss. That little boy just acted a little embarrassed....haha....but I still thought it was sweet while I tried to explain to you why some boys would not like that and some would even say bad things about you or tease you so it might be best to not do that so much to the boys.

Tonight you were in your room playing Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 and making a cute video of crashing coasters you were purposefully building and you recorded this clip. It is adorable because during the clip you were singing this song you love.....a song you said you would sing to Brianne and Emma if they were still around.....so sweet.....I love you Noah..

Dear Noah...Tug Of War


Each day when I pick you up from school I stand among an entire group of parents, all standing around waiting for their children to be dismissed. Each day I see many kids running out of school at the end of the day, scrambling to their parents or grandparents to be taken home.

I have noticed one other mother....who stands off to the side and back of the group....very similar to me. I have noticed her son also runs out to greet her in the exact same manner as you do me. In fact....out of all the children there, we two mommies are blessed because you seem to be the only two children who run to your mommies not able to wait to give us body slamming hugs. Hugs so tightly we almost fall over from their forceful entries. You both have such big smiles on your faces! I hear similar sounds coming from this other little boy as I do you...sounds of non-suppressed glee in a world of I don't cares....as you also both roll your heads back with your eyes almost closed and mouths in big grins.

Then I notice something else similar you and this other little boy seem to do. You both begin pulling on us mommies to go! This does not consist of one or two pulls or tugs at our arms......but you put your entire bodies into it.....and us mommies do the same things too. Thus begins the daily tug of war. We both very calmly stand there and tell you kids to be patient and wait just one more minute. Over and over this same scenario gets played out......day after day......while all the other parents and kids are already leaving we continue to play tug of war with our two little boys as we talk about your days with your parapros.

I imagine from a Birdseye view we would definitely stand out. I imagine it would look much like we two mommies and you two little boys were oil wells moving back and forth, up and down, with a bunch of Army Ants scrambling all around us looking for the black gold. It does not appear many other parents notice this however, though they might....but they are really too focused on just leaving with their own kids I think.

But as I stand there each day I wonder if she too has noticed this. To a mommy like me the signs now are so obvious. I don't really care what diagnoses her child may or may not have. To me he is just another little boy like you....maybe with a few more obvious quirks than some of the other more hidden quirks of your peers. BUT....among a sea of many I do take some solace in knowing another mommy is facing similar challenges with her own son...and that she more than likely "gets it." While others around us may wonder what the crap is wrong with our kids or what is going on and why they are not always easily listening to our repeated commands and directives....we both stand silently just "knowing" and it all makes perfect sense to us. We no longer ask the whys. We just accept now and "get it" and "deal with it" and do the best we can like any other parent out there. It is only our circumstances are a little different.

As I watch her and her son interact with each other I see you in his actions and gestures. You both do many similar things. Yesterday this second mommy had not quite made it to the gate before her son saw her and started running toward her much like a defensive tackler in a football game. He bolted and charged......running nonstop to her...his destination.....and body slammed into her so hard it nearly knocked her down....the entire time not realizing he had also just run right out into the street and across it....without looking to make sure it was safe to cross. He also soon realized he made a mistake as the second mother calmly took him aside and hugged him tight and speaking very softly and calmly to him said the exact same things I would have to you......reminders about crossing without looking....what you did wrong and what you should do the next time....one repetition of the same material out of hundreds....and then dragging him back to the parapro to find out about his day.

Then their daily tug of war began with him pulling against her body wanting to leave...not able to tolerate standing still for even a second.

I found myself watching this and smiling. Because it was like I was watching us......only with different bodies and faces.

In this school you are attending now I have noticed a lot of special needs children all around us so I imagine there are many parents who GET IT......all in different ways.

With Thanksgiving approaching....I just want to thank God for you Noah....because you are indeed a blessing to all the lives you touch...and I know you will be successful at anything you set your mind to.

I love you...

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dear Noah....


Monday at Grandma C.'s house I caught you outside playing with the water spigot. I told you to please stop playing with the water......all you did was tell me you couldn't because you were pretending it was TOILET WATER.

Yes...the fascination with toilets and plumbing continues. On the way to Grandma C.'s house you took your Doodle Pad along and the entire time you were drawing.....yes.......toilets. Mostly urinals....but all different types and models.

This is actually pretty amazing to think about how far you have come over the years because you used to be terrified of toilets.....especially flushing of toilets. Some automatic flushing toilets still scare you and you refuse to use them unless I stand there covering up the auto-eye sensor with my hand while you go so it won't flush with you still sitting down.

Now you LOVE toilets but most especially the flushing! You are pretty good at sound effects of the different types of toilets too and the way they sound. Anywhere you go if there is a water source I will find you there pretending the water is a toilet flushing. You never tire of this.

Toilets, toilets, toilets. At night when you are in your room I hear toilet after toilet flushing as you watch video clips on You Tube about toilets flushing. You act like a kid trying to hide something bad from a parent whenever I walk into your room during this time. You cover up your screen and say "DON'T SEE ME!" and then cover up your eyes. I ask you if you are watching something "bad" and at times you seem to think you are. When I watch the videos you are watching however so far I have not seen anything inappropriate. NO naked people or anything like that. Simply toilets and flushing of toilets. I tell you that is "OKAY" and nothing to hide from me. You proceed to tell me you want "privacy" I guess so you can sit back and SAVOR AND ENJOY each moment of viewing in peace and quiet undisturbed.

Last night at the library you wanted to check out books about toilets...but our library did not really have many books about toilets.

You have continued to do very well in school. Friday is parent/teacher conference and report cards should also be coming home I think soon.

I LOVE YOU NOAH WESLEY and I have been very proud of how well you have been standing in morning line-up!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Opie swinging.......

video

which is stuffed...which is real?

can you find Opie amidst all of Noah's home plan books?

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Dear Noah....


You stayed home from school today secondary to what you call "EXPLOSIVE DIARRHEA!"

Yeah.....you have had it a couple of days but it seems to just be a bit worse than better today. SO...as you sat on the toilet this morning before school with tears in your eyes.....you asked if you could stay home today. I think you were afraid you might have to go a lot during school and to be honest....when you have these kinds of intestinal issues it is best to just stay home near the toilet! AND sometimes it can be contagious to those around you.....mainly due to people improperly washing their hands....etc.

So.......today you are home. You have sores in your mouth too.....I think your immune system has dropped and you are fighting off some things.

I love you.

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Noah's photograph of the sunset last night...

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Aqua Dots recalled because if ingested one of the ingredients can change to the DATE RAPE DRUG!


NEW YORK (CNN) -- U.S. safety officials have voluntarily recalled about 4.2 million Chinese-made Aqua Dots toys contaminated with a powerful "date rape" drug that has caused some children to vomit and lose consciousness upon ingesting the contents.

Scientists have found the highly popular holiday toy contains a chemical that, once metabolized, converts into the toxic "date rape" drug GHB (gamma-hydroxy butyrate), U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) spokesman Scott Wolfson told CNN.

"Children who swallow the beads can become comatose, develop respiratory depression or have seizures," a CPSC statement warned.

"Anyone with Aqua Dots at home should throw them out," CPSC spokeswoman Julie Vallese said. The toy was named toy of the year in Australia and recently made Wal-Mart Store Inc's list of top 12 Christmas toys.

Wal-Mart on Thursday listed Aqua Dots on its Web site as "out of stock online" and had removed the toy from its top toy list as well.

The arts and craft beads, aimed at children four years and older, have been selling since April at major U.S. retail stores as "Aqua Dots" and in Australia under the name "Bindeez Beads."

Toronto-based toy distributor Spin Master Ltd. stopped shipping the Aqua Dots toys and asked retailers to pull them off their shelves, where they had sold for $17-$30.

Melbourne-based Moose Enterprise Pty. Ltd. recalled the Bindeez toys on Tuesday after three children in Australia swallowed large quantities of the beads and were hospitalized.

"I was so frightened because I thought she wasn't going to make it," Heather Lehane told CNN affiliate Network 7 of her 10-year-old daughter, Charlotte, who was among those children.

In the United States, the Washington-based safety commission said it has in recent days received two reports detailing the severe effects of the digested beads.

The CPSC said a boy nearly two years old "swallowed several dozen beads. He became dizzy and vomited several times before slipping into a comatose state for a period of time." The toddler was hospitalized and has since "fully recovered," the commission added.

In the second incident, a child vomited, fell into a coma and was hospitalized for five days. It was not immediately clear whether the child had made a full recovery. The recall is the latest to target Chinese-made toys. Last month, U.S. government safety officials and retailers voluntarily recalled at least 69,000 Chinese-made toys over concerns of excessive amounts of lead paint, which can cause lead poisoning.
DAMN I am sick and tired of all this crap coming into our country from CHINA that is hurting our kids let alone possibly some adults. This is bullshit! WHEN IS THE US finally going to demand something be done to stop all this shit????? Crap if you did not think possible conspiracy before by now you would start to wonder!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Dear Noah....today went much better in line-up....

There were actually ADULTS present WITH the kids in line-up. A parapro was right at the fence when you came through the gate......and watched as you safely got into line.....but not before some other kid YANKED your hat off your head and tossed it to the ground. It all happened very quickly but you just bent over and got your hat in shape so you could place it back on your head. You stood there with a strange look on your face but did what you were supposed to do and because the parapro was present she went right over immediately to the kid who grabbed the hat off your head and straightened him up and I think had him tell you he was sorry but I am not positive about that because I was not right there but instead outside the fence. I will ask you later today.

You slowly were able to get your hat back on your head and kept walking on forward in line as by the time I dropped you off this morning the lines were already slowly moving into the building. I was much more impressed with how it was handled today.......which is more like it was handled when school first began...and obviously the way it is supposed to be run with ADULTS present monitoring the kids.

I am very proud of you and your mature behavior today. I will pray it continues and you continue to do well and learn more every day.

I love you my little man....don't forget......you get out one hour early today! See you then!

Mommy
XOXOXO

Dear Noah...

The principal finally called me back yesterday to discuss what happened on the playground in the morning. She admitted that the teachers/staff/parapros sounded like they were getting lazy and what was happening outside in the mornings was NOT what was set up to happen. There are to be at least 3 parapros outside in the mornings on the playground at LINE-UP as well as some other teachers and staff. The bell rings at 8:50 which is the time you all have to line up and that is when the STAFF is OFFICIALLY ON DUTY! That is their official UNIONIZED standard start time. NO excuses for them to NOT be out there to monitor and guide the students during their wait....ESPECIALLY the special needs children outside. They definitely need an adult present to help monitor situations as they come up. ALL the teachers used to walk out in the morning to stand with their classrooms and then escort them into the buildings in the mornings. The playground monitors consist of five people....not sure why there have not been at least five people outside with the classes in the mornings other than they just don't want to get outside in the cold weather!

To address a specific ANONYMOUS comment yesterday......YES I do think Noah should not be removed from social situations in real life....that unfortunately he will HAVE to be exposed to the harsh realities of this world in order to be better prepared to LIVE in the harsh realities of this world. However...Noah along with apparently quite a few other special needs children at this school DO REQUIRE AND DESERVE AND ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE an adult monitor present......a PARAPROFESSIONAL......to help DIRECT them in social situations. They are to be present to guide the child in correct behavior and responses to social stimulus....etc. That has NOT been happening. THAT is what I am upset about because they are getting paid to be present and do their job and they are not. They could actually get SUED because these kids even have it outlined in their IEPs that a parapro will be present at these times and what they are supposed to be doing and it has not been happening. I worry more for Noah's safety and someone being present to make sure he actually gets INTO the building and does not run off......or....someone setting him up to entice him into horseplay that turns into something worse and he gets caught and into trouble. He has to learn to avoid specific BAD behaviors and allowing a free-for-all on the playground with no one to direct any of the students is not the way he will learn this.

The principal confessed the parapros and teachers were getting lazy and she would have a talk with them all and demand they do their job or else they could find another job. She is really working hard to make their school a very safe school and I do admit that this is the FIRST school whose staff seems sincerely interested in such matters and the staff also really seems to give a sincere crap about the kids attending the school. I personally think they have been doing a pretty good job when they do their jobs. What upset me yesterday was the harsh reality they were no longer doing their job for that portion of the day...which does not make me feel very secure in thinking they are doing it at other times of the day such as recess...etc., the social outings that DEMAND a parapro be present to guide the special needs kids into appropriate behavior. This is not a one or two event deal. This can take MANY instances and YEARS for each child to actually LEARN a concept but they can learn.

I feel much better since speaking with the principal on the phone. I have a good relationship with the school and staff and I feel they are really doing a good job and they are quick to admit when they are not and they change things to fix that when it happens. That impresses the hell out of me!

On another note......Noah....my little man Noah.......yesterday I find out you were in the bathroom peeing at a urinal when you decided to stand there and PRETEND to pee/write on the walls of the bathroom and floor. NO you did NOT actually pee anywhere other than the urinal but another boy came into the bathroom while you stood there exposed and pretending so he ran and told the principal. You were called in and she discussed with you again how your private area is to remain PRIVATE and that a public restroom is PUBLIC even if no one else is present at the time you go in....someone else could come in at any time and you should keep your privates covered up. They handled it all very well and I am hopeful you will not be doing that again.

Otherwise you have had some really good days at school. The parapro again went on about how the kids in class really enjoy you and like you and so does she and the staff. They all really think you are an amazing kid and happy you are at school and believe it has been a really good experience for you thus far. I agree......I think it has been a very GOOD thing as Martha would say.

I love you Noah......keep the pants up today little man!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dear Noah......a time to vent!

You are doing pretty well in school still...which I am happy about. Yesterday you wrote with a marker on someone's desk and rubbed your teeth across it. The parapro told me they thought you were trying to lick the desk......you said you were feeling it with your teeth. The parapro then told me that on Friday they cleaned the school for MRSA. WHY no parents were sent letters telling us of this is beyond me. Once again we are in the dark. But for this small slip of the tongue yesterday I would still not even know.

Since the morning line-ups have the potential to be an issue for you....I have decided to take you as late as possible......at the same time as the first bell or shortly thereafter...so you can stand in line and wait with the other kids for the least amount of time as possible. I have also informed you I will be standing outside by the fence watching you and everyone else in the mornings......and let you know you were expected to stand there at attention.....hands to yourself......body to yourself...eyes to the front...until it was time to go in.

This has worked pretty well thus far. Today I saw something that really upset me and made me very angry. I mean the type of angry where you feel your chest tighten and you feel your blood pressure BOILING! I watched as the only TWO adults/teachers I could see on the playground go into the building before the rest of the kids did....including you. NO OTHER adult was outside at this point but myself by the fence. I watched as you ran to line....and stood very nicely....hands to yourself......body to yourself....eyes to the front. Another little boy kept trying to get you into some type of horsing around......you were telling him NO......so this little boy ran to the back of the line where he proceeded to take his backpack and swing it at another student's backside.......over and over again....till he knocked the kid down.....where the kid laid crying!!!! I mean he had swung at him at least 5-6 times in a row......HARD!

I still was not sure it was not just horsing around till I heard the other kid crying. AND he never got up. I could not stand outside the fence anymore. I walked inside and yelled "HEY!" to the other kid.....till I got his and everyone else's attention. I told him and everyone else they were not supposed to be beating the crap out of anyone.....that they were all expected to stand there like they had some sense and how he should say he was sorry to the other boy.....which he did. AND I told him he would not like it if someone was taking a backpack slinging it at him beating the crap out of him and he agreed he would not. I told them all if I ever saw anything like that again they would all be in trouble. STILL NO FREAKING ADULT came back outside to see what I was even doing out there or to help....though maybe they HEARD ME!

You better believe all the kids stood still and quiet after that. Amazing what the presence of authority or an adult can do! WHAT A NEW CONCEPT! Instead of having freaking peer buddies trying to do an adult job which is not working.....let's send the teachers outside or the parapros to do their job and not have the little kids trying to do it for them?

I was so ticked off......I parked around front and went inside to go and talk to the principal. Figures too.....of all days when I did NOT put make up on before I left the house this morning. My skin was blotchy and red and being mad I am sure did not help that! That always happens. I even thought to myself....the last time I did this and did not look presentable that crazy father backed into the front of my truck outside the school and I had to call the police and be seen again all blotchy and red and weird. Like who gives a crap anyway but me.

SO......I march inside.....and the man who normally unlocks and locks the fence outside was at the front door like he was waiting for me....to let me in. He saw me and smiled and WELCOMED me inside. I wonder if he saw the whole thing?

Anyway......inside I went. The secretary knew I was pissed off when I walked into the office. I asked for the principal and she was in the room next door talking to ......yep.....the kid who beat the crap out of the other kid....along with the hurt kid and a "witness" kid.

I proceeded to tell her how the situation outside in the mornings has spiraled downward very quickly since school began and how this little boy was beating the shit out of the other little boy and I was not going to sit by and watch it all happen anymore! I quickly got reminded to WATCH MY LANGUAGE as there were many little ears around to LISTEN to my SHIT and CRAP!

I told her how I sit and WATCH every morning what has been happening on the playground....in fact I have thought about filming it or taking pictures and now I wish I had. BUT I told her where there used to be many adult teachers present on the playground......in fact I believe ALL the teachers for each classroom used to be outside......now there are maybe TWO if we are lucky.....and those 2 walk into the building before most of the kids even walk into the building in the mornings....meaning the rest of the kids and Noah's class along with many others......are all outside NOT BEING MONITORED by anyone! AND there are other special needs children out there.......besides Noah. WHERE THE CRAP are the parapros? WHERE are the teachers?? I told her that every day I sit and watch other kids horsing around to the point where they end up hurting someone....or they try to entice Noah to misbehave......which has been successful a few times.

I asked the principal where the teachers were and she said there were FIVE adults assigned to monitor the playground in the morning. WOW.....FIVE for how many hundred students???? AND I have only seen TWO on the playground most mornings. She had me walk into the office to verify these were the kids involved......and they were. She then pulled me aside and told me the kid doing the hitting was also a special needs child. Well fine......but if Noah has to LEARN how to behave all kids....special needs or not......should be required to do the same thing. AND IF THEY NEED extra help in that area...they damn well should not be allowed outside without their parapro.....like I have said all along about Noah. SOMEONE ...SOME FREAKING adult needs to be outside present at all times to MONITOR THIS shit!

She said they could allow the kids inside their classrooms in the mornings but the same things would happen there because NO TEACHER would be IN the classroom to actually MONITOR anything until their UNION STATED START TIME OF 8:50 a.m.! AND that the parapros did not start their days till 8:20 a.m.

OH REALLY??????? wow.......how about asking for volunteers?????? WHAT happens to all the special needs kids from 8:00 to 8:20 am? What happens when children need monitoring and direction on the playgrounds in the mornings??? WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT?

I kept saying I felt something had to be done and changed. This was not being handled the best way possible for all the children involved. They could not possibly be safe at all times and remain safe and doing the proper things without an adult present at least at every section of lines...something!~ AND it is absurd to think that the teachers are not in their freakin classrooms by the start time of the day! SO I guess that is the reason for the line-ups outside in the mornings......because they have playground monitors.......BIG JOKE.....to REPORTEDLY monitor what is going on outside in the mornings........because there would be NO ONE monitoring anything inside. I've got news.....it ain't happening outside either!

AM I THE ONLY ONE HERE that thinks this all stinks and sounds totally absurd??? What .....it is a free-for-all in the mornings?? Including with the special needs kids??

I am so thankful it was not you this morning Noah - - I am not sure what I would have done other than grab the back of the kid doing the slinging and marching him inside the office myself! I am proud of you for standing and doing what you were supposed to and telling that other kid NO!

I am not sure what is wrong with the kid doing the slinging but he responded very positively to my direction of NOT beating the crap out of someone else and telling the other kid he was sorry. He did look remorseful.....but maybe only because he got caught...I don't know. I felt badly for the other little boy.....because he was not so little actually.......and he probably gets picked on a lot anyway for his size and now he was bawling. Another little boy did come up to him and kept asking him if he was alright.....where the hurt boy kept saying no.......that it really hurt him....etc.

These are all the harsh nonsensical realities of understaffed public school systems.......or systems that are perhaps not being run as efficiently as possible. I am still fuming mad! The principal had to deal with the KIDS and said she would call me this afternoon to let me know WHO was on the playground and who was apparently missing in action and where the breakdown occurred...like I was not even present outside and witnessed this entire event!?? Holy freakin crap.....like I would lie about this? She said someone must have seen something because the kids were all brought to the office. I thought to myself yeah when the kid was still bawling his eyes out walking to his classroom I am sure questions were asked THEN! THAT is how they found out......or one of the other little boys told the teacher what happened.

I am not going to stand for this crap. I told the parapro a week ago if they needed volunteers to be playground monitor or line-up monitor in the morning I would volunteer. I am doing it anyway regardless......just from outside the fence in the mornings unless I see something happening at which time I will walk INSIDE the fence. Crap I may just be on the inside regardless until I know the assigned adults outside are actually OUTSIDE and doing their freakin job. I am sure today they did not want to be outside because it was COLD outside....very cold and windy and the teachers had no coats on.......stupid crap. I will not allow this shit to keep happening. I see the same shit happening for the kids riding the buses in the mornings. I also informed the principal I was not the only parent seeing this SHIT....YES I SAID SHIT again.......because I heard this other mother go right up directly to this other child and tell him to stop beating the crap out of her son one day! NOW again this may have been to a special needs child and I am torn there because I would not want someone coming up screaming at you like she did this boy.....but dammit at the same time if you did that crap you would deserve having some fear put inside you from an adult or person of authority and being told what NOT to do......and maybe you would actually listen better next time round and not do it? Of course this other little boy may have been "normal" ...it really makes no difference in the end.

I guess I am still amazed that they think for social things at schools......given this freakin dysfunctional society we live anyway......that any child requiring special needs should not be entitled to at least one person standing there to make sure they stay safe and do the proper things and have the proper things being done back to them. WHERE ARE THE RESPONSIBLE ADULTS????? Too busy? Too cold? Need another cup of coffee? TOO DAMN BAD I say......it is your job. Get your asses out there and actually do your jobs for once!

There!! I feel slightly better. I am not sure what I will do with you Noah. I can continue to take you as I do......but the kids never walk into the building anyway till after 8:50 a.m.....eliminating the time standing in line is what I will do......as much as possible. UNLESS I get permission to start dropping you off out front or something. Personally I would like to see the people getting paid to be there to work with our kids and yourself....actually be PRESENT to do what they are getting paid for.

I love you Noah......damn I hope I have done the right thing throwing you into the frying pan.

Has our society and teachers become too afraid to even raise their voices to kids for fear of being sued or worse? I don't know. So many act like they don't want to get involved or it is not their job or they are too freakin busy.

There are ways to provide authority and redirection without having to YELL and scream! Sometimes just the presence of the proper person is enough.

I am going to end up with a headache at this rate and I have a ton of work to do.

I love you Noah.....and while I know some of this CRAP is all part of growing up......I could go an entire lifetime and have you go an entire lifetime without ever being around it or exposed to it. Of course this would mean we would have our heads stuck in the sand all the time....

Mommy
XOXOXO

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Dear Noah....

It is Saturday morning....you are waiting for your hash browns to finish baking in the oven because you are "STARVING!"

While waiting....I hear you in your room playing your keyboard. You just played by ear a praise and worship song....

My Life Is In You Lord

My life is in you Lord. My strength is in you Lord.
My hope is in you Lord...In you, It's in you.

I will praise you with all of my life.
I will praise you with all of my with all of my strength.
With all of my life, with all of my strength, all of my hope is in you.

My life my strength, My hope are in you. In you, it's in you...in you.



Amen!

I love you Noah.....so very much!


Mommy
XOXOX

Friday, November 02, 2007

Dear Noah....you crack me up...


The Friday before an Ohio State game we wear our colors and today you had on your OSU jersey and coat and when you went to get out of the car as I dropped you off at school I said "GO BUCKEYES!" and reminded you of the game tomorrow.

As you got out you said "Yeah!"(very excitedly) then added, "but some say Ohio State SUCKS!"

My mouth dropped open and I was actually speechless.

Yeah....I can see you are learning MUCH at school!

GO BUCKS!!!! ALWAYS an amazing team......but this year outstanding!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Dear Noah...the morning line-up...

seems to be a difficult place for you in the mornings prior to entering the school. All the kids are assigned a homeroom line on the blacktopped playground to stand on in the mornings after the first bell where they wait before entering the school every morning. The teacher or a teacher is supposed to be monitoring this time outside and then each line takes turns going into the school. Your line is the last one that enters the school each morning. The time spent standing there has been difficult for you. You want to hug the other kids or try kissing them or just horse around with them. Keeping your hands and body to yourself is at best very challenging and something always seems to happen. This is where you told that one little boy you loved him and he said he hated you. Back and forth the banter went until some pushing and shoving started. Of course when you were pushed and shoved you thought it was all a big game and the other little boy was playing with you. You did not realize he was trying to hurt you.

I always drop you off and make sure you get inside the gate in the mornings and then I drive around to park and "observe" you standing in line. I see a lot of darting in and out of the line on your part as well as some physical contact with other kids. Most of the time it does appear you are just playing around and they are playing around with you. Yesterday you and another little boy were playing around because he even admitted you both were.....but you apparently accidentally banged into another little boy who apparently did not like that so he tripped you on purpose. I saw this part happen as I sat in the car waiting for you to enter the building. I wondered what you were going to do as I watched you lie there on the blacktop for what seemed like an eternity. You waited and waited....and that's when I realized you were probably boiling mad. You soon jumped up and ran over to the kid and really let him have it. I saw your arms flailing around wildly at him and he was definitely backing down.

Was there any teacher around? No. Any monitor? No. Somewhere along the way the paraprofessional who should be out there monitoring you or others who might need redirection or help from time to time no longer is there in the mornings. I found out she is not your personal para but a BUILDING-WIDE para. She now has other duties to attend to inside the school in the mornings. The number of teachers outside in the mornings has also decreased to about three. Considering there are many 3rd grade and 4th grade classes outside in the mornings...meaning ALL of them.....I do not believe three monitors can adequately monitor what is happening on the playground in the morning.

At the same time I understand kids will be kids and you have to experience some of these things to learn....but therein lies the problem....because while most kids would learn the rules of these social dilemmas, you need special instruction and prompts and guidance. If these things occurred any time I took you to the park for example, I would be there to let you know firsthand what you should or should not do and the reasons why and then ask you if you understood what I said. Just exposing you to the social elements as a free-for-all is not going to teach you much of anything. This concerns me. A lot.

I have already started to drop you off AFTER the first bell rings in the morning to reduce the amount of time you even need to be standing in line-up in the mornings. I suppose I could bring you even later....and just allow you to walk in at the last minute with the tail end of your line.....or....bring you on time but have you sit in the car with me until the other kids are all in the building and then allow you to get out and walk directly into the building. I think that is the best bet for at least avoiding these situations that seem to cause problems. BUT again you are not going to be learning anything.

The teacher suggested using PEER BUDDIES.....where basically a couple of smart, good-natured students would be assigned to you as a peer buddy, with their job being to keep track of you and others around you....and guide you all to what you should or should not be doing. Um.....excuse me but I have a slight problem with giving your peers adult authority on what is happening on the playground though the concept and intentions are pure enough. Basically if they see you do anything inappropriate they are not to touch you but merely tell you that you need to stop because that is against the rules for the school. Same goes if they see other kids trying to set you up (which some are now purposefully trying to do). They are also to remind them to stop as that is against the school's rules. I don't have great feelings about this so I will probably take you the normal time but then pull forward in the drop-off line far enough ahead and park so you can sit and wait till most of the students have already entered the building in the morning. Then you can get out and run up in line.

Otherwise the teacher told me yesterday all the kids now refer to you as "the smart kid" which makes you feel really good and always brings a smile to your face. Without giving myself too much credit for your being smart I do hope and pray the school can keep up with you academically at the same pace I did when I homeschooled you. I also plan on continuing to homeschool you here part-time. I don't want you to fall behind and I want to give you some things academically that I know they are not at school. I believe you are learning things at school. You are doing very well. BUT I also want to make sure you continue to learn specific things I want you to learn and know and not fall behind. I mean you are reading at least 6 years ahead of your grade (which was verified on their assessment)...which impresses the teachers...and I do hope they are not holding you back if you can be ahead of the rest of the class. In other words, I want to continue to challenge you to do the best you can do and not just settle for passing.

Today will be a shortened day. You have an early release so you get out of school 2 hours early. AND then the weekend begins.

Oh....the man who moved in next door where the little girls lives has two little yappy dogs....who appear they would likely nip or bite at me or you if we got near them. SO, this means you and probably even myself will not really be able to go outside anymore and enjoy the yard and outdoor activities because every time we go outside here come those two dogs up to the fence line barking and barking and jumping at the fence....not acting very friendly. And I mean EVERY TIME WE GO OUTSIDE. I could not trust you to go out by yourself and not go up to the fence to get them barking and avoid getting bit. In fact, you do not even have to be near the fence for them to bark and carry on. It is relentless and I cannot believe the owner does not HEAR them outside yapping away!

Anyway.......I love you. Very much!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dear Noah....Day Three of the Walking Zombie...

Again when I picked you up from school your face revealed the "walking zombie" expression. I know I personally am exhausted from all the running around we have done lately with trick-or-treating, and birthdays, and other seasonal events. But I don't want to get off on a tangent about me.

This afternoon before you came out another mother went up to another little boy standing there and loudly told him to basically quit hitting on her son. I have no idea the details other than she apparently saw this little boy pushing and shoving her son's head and body around. I know sometimes boys will play like that and it looks much worse than it is but I also know how I feel when I see the same thing happening to you. And then it hit me. Oh great, something else I might have to worry about? A parent coming up to me telling me or you to stop pushing or shoving their child around? Or trying to bite them? I imagine some would not even care that there could be an explanation for your behavior. In a public setting it really makes no difference and you MUST learn what is and what is not socially acceptable. The sooner the better off for everyone involved.

You have been trying to "fit in" by mimicking the other boys and girls...something I was afraid might happen...and something I am not really thrilled about; because some of the mimicking is for expressions or phrases that only get you into trouble. You are extremely naive and impressionable. I have surrounded you with nothing but as many positive people and circumstances as possible your entire life. I admit I have sheltered you from the rougher reality of the world and the people in it. It was always much easier to tell you to just stay away from kids who played rough than it was to let you get in the mix and watch while something triggered a major meltdown response or worse from you.

Because you are in the public school system again and in a regular classroom for most of the day I am aware that this can be exhausting for the teacher even with the help of a paraprofessional. When I have told them you would need "constant prompting" on specific things before you would "get it" I am getting the impression perhaps they underestimated what I was trying to tell them. Now they are getting a taste of what true constant prompting and redirection means. It can test your patience and also tire you very quickly if you allow it. When I home-schooled you I controlled your environment and world. I could teach you things much faster because I controlled the outside stimulus. This was good and bad. Good because you learned positive behaviors and more academically, but also bad because you have no clue now how to handle some situations that might be less than desirable. Of course even if you had always been exposed to the rougher reality it does not mean you would know any better ways to handle those situations because your reality is you just do not even understand what is going on. You do not understand when someone says "oh you dog!" that they are joking around and it only needs to be said once. You figure if they got such a good response saying it once saying it ten times would be even funnier. This however only disrupts class those few minutes longer than it usually would.

Today was to be a day when the teacher had "a talk" with the other students about things such as this. How specific things they say and do around you only cause you to then do the same in return and not just once. You do it many times, over and over again. This has to stop and the teacher felt if she had a talk explaining this to the other students maybe it would help. You and your paraprofessional were not going to be in the room during this time. I do know the teacher was not going to say anything direct about your "autism" which I think is best. No need to single you out even further than necessary.

When I asked your paraprofessional if the teacher had the talk today she did not know because the teacher apparently left early to go home sick. She told me you had a great day today though and that you did well.

I see a need here, a common trait among many autistic children, are the social aspects they just do not grasp and are missing. There has to be overall instruction to provide a link, both at home and at school. It should consist of constant prompting and redirection while being exposed to specific, controlled social situations. The free-for-all whatever happens theory used in a regular classroom may not be the best way possible to accomplish this. I think it will take specific classes and training to learn this. AND YOU CAN learn these things...it will just take you some time. It does not come natural or instinctively for you like it does with most other children.

So we have a lot to get busy with Noah! I love you!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dear Noah...

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When I picked you up from school yesterday you walked out with your paraprofessional with a strange expression on your face. I instantly recognized it though I have not seen it for awhile. I call it the "walking zombie" look. This usually occurs after you have had a period of stimulation and then you "zone out" and recuperate. I do not see this look often these days, but the last time I did, it lasted for three days.

When I first noticed you having these spells of zoning out years ago it did not take long to connect them to the periods of over simulation that occurred prior. I soon realized it was all part of how you "work" and you "must" have these periods of zoning out afterwards in order to cope.

Every year about this time of year you become a lot busier than usual with all the holidays and special events and I guess it does tend to act as a trigger for these episodes. In the past this has been when school time in the public classroom setting spiraled downward. I am very optimistic this year you will do very well regardless though I have to admit my stomach and body fills with dread when I see this look on your face coming out of the school. I know this usually means you have had a pretty "active" day, with at the very least some "behavioral issues."

This held true yesterday. Again when you were in the bathroom another little boy came in and you tried to pinch him. I am not sure why. I don't believe you even know why. When the little boy was telling you "No!" you apparently then tried to bite him. So this meant you had to move your tag from the green "good" zone to the yellow "warning" zone at school.

I believe this is the third time so far this year you have attempted to bite someone. This is such a regression of how far you have come. You have never gotten close enough to actually bite anyone or even touch them with your mouth but still, it is the point behind it all. I have to wonder if the school is implementing the "social skills sessions" they were going to begin according to your IEP. I cannot emphasize how important this is for a child such as yourself. In fact I believe all children could use some training in social skills and what is or is not acceptable behavior for specific situations. We will continue to work on this at home as well as we have always done.

Needless to say you acted like you were drugged by the time you got home. We had planned on going to the grocery store and doing some shopping with the highlight for you being taking your camera to film the toilets flushing, but you did not even want to do that. You started to cry and said you were "not in the mood" to go to the store OR film their toilets. You wanted to go see your grandma, but really only ti film her fans turning upstairs as you discovered some fans plugged in up there the last time you were there and you wanted to record the blades spinning around.

I allowed you some down time and then slowly coaxed you into going regardless of how you felt because it was my day off and the only day we could really go grocery shopping as we needed some things we could not wait on for the next day. I told you if you had no energy to walk in the store you could ride in the shopping cart. Suddenly I was transported back in time by at least 3-4 years as it flooded my mind with all the memories of how things used to be for you on a regular basis, of times when I could never even make it to the store. Where one adult would have to stay home with you while the other ran all the errands. Of being cooped up inside the house 24/7 never venturing outside for any reason.

You sat in the cart as I tried to cram the groceries in all around you. You decided to play with the canned cat food, stacking them and saying they were "poop" and falling into the toilet. Times like these are when I know you think a little differently than most and that difference is striking. Your obsession with toilets and flushing of toilets is at an all-time high. If you could go into public bathrooms or the school restrooms and stand there and flush the urinals over and over again it would be what you would call "my best day ever!" I realize you need to do these things as it soothes you and calms you. I do take you places to film toilets most days when we can to satisfy this. The other night at the local drugstore I could be found waiting outside the men's restroom listening to you flushing the toilets and squealing "WOW!" over and over again. When you came out your face was beaming.

Tonight we are to go trick-or-treating at nighttime at my parents' town. I think it will go well and I am thankful you have an early release on Friday as I think you will likely need it after such a busy past few days. Meanwhile I will work harder to give you what you need and plenty of "quiet time" afterwards to recover and cope.

I love you Noah. Here's to your success!

Mommy
XOXOXOX

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dear Noah...

As each day passes and I sit back and watch you, I am always amazed to realize what progress you have made over time. It is October and Halloween, a time for tricks or treats! I remember in years past where you would have nothing to do with any of it. You did not want to dress up in any costume let alone think about going out trick-or-treating. The thought of putting on any clothing that did not, in your mind, resemble actual clothing, was not an option for you. Clothing had to be just right, and snaps had to be just so, and if they were not you would have a meltdown! Back then you rarely wanted to venture from home, preferring instead to stay inside, usually inside your room, surrounded by familiar things. Your daily rituals were very routine then and any variance in the rhythm would set you reeling. You did not handle change or trying new things well at all.

Flash forward to today. I hardly recognize the little man you are becoming. You have made such incredible progress. Whenever I read over former medical documents about you from even two years ago, it hardly seems I am reading about the same little boy I see standing before me now. It has definitely been a process and a very trying one at times, but I am very proud of you for the way you are learning and growing. You are much more mature than you have ever been in your life.

Moving back two years ago to be closer to our extended family was a good move for us. One of the best for you in your lifetime. You have been exposed to many more social outings and I have exposed you to as many social playtimes with other children and even adults as I can. You have come alive during this time. Many times it is like I see you slowly waking up, shaking the sleep from your eyes, sometimes things still being seen a little fuzzy; yet at other times with a light going off and you "getting it!"

Yesterday we celebrated your grandparents' birthdays. You got to see the family and play with your cousin Audrey whom you adore:

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The week prior we went to her Halloween party:

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You really got into the games and wanted to try them all. Your writing is improving so much and I am amazed to see how well you can hold a pen or pencil let alone actually use one now, something I wondered if you would ever master.

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You went to the Halloween parade this year and the store-to-store trick-or-treating earlier this week...and really enjoyed that.

Today you went trick-or-treating in town, then we stopped by grandma C.'s house so she could see your costume. While there you got to see your cousins who were also out trick-or-treating so you were all in costume. I have to say you were all adorable and will all break many hearts one day soon! You all played very well together....though you thought the youngest little guy played a bit too rough. You all had a great time and we will have to arrange a play date again soon!

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In all these photos I notice your face. You look the happiest I have ever seen you look! It is striking. You are so excited to be around all these other kids too. Tonight we went to an alternative trick-or-treating event at a local church. While there you saw two other children you go to school with so you hung around real close to them.

I stood back on the sidelines in my usual "monitoring-just-in-case" position, when I suddenly realize I am not there anymore to be ready to cart you off should you lose it and breakdown. I am only there to perhaps redirect you if necessary. But I have noticed in most cases you can now redirect yourself or I can help, simply by a look your way. Tonight you looked back my way often, your eyes seeking approval or direction from me. Assurance you were doing the right thing. A nod of the head, a look of my eyes was all it took to steer you in the right direction. You watched the other kids. You were very careful with your arms and legs and body. You did try to keep your distance. You just wanted to be a part of the rest of the group. And do you know what? You were. Oftentimes you fit in so well now most do not realize anything is different about you in any way at all, unless they are around you for a long period of time and one of your quirky ways pops up.

I have had a couple of people ask me recently if this meant you were "getting better." I tell them it is not so much you are getting better like your autism is going away, as it is you are learning ways to cope in order to live in our world. I know that it is not easy for you, but you are doing great.

And I love you so much Noah. And I am so very proud of you.

Mommy
xoxoxox

Boys will be boys......and these boys are dolls!

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