23 August 2012

Rejie vs Coyote

Here's Rejeanne

Today is Rejeanne's first full day of school this year. She did NOT want to go today. She pitched a huge fit this morning, but gave up on it once she was in the car. We get to school and, as I'm parking, I see a guy in a coyote mascot suit approaching small children as they head to school.

Here's the Coyote
All I can think is "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! She's never going to want to come here again and the fit is going to be HORRIBLE!!!!" So, I decide maybe I should try to warn her, so I ask "Rejeanne, do you want to see the coyote? Look over there, do you want to go see the dog?" Then the most amazing thing happened: she said "want to see dog".

We go over to the school, and the coyote approaches, and I tell him not to, so he just stayed put and knelt down. Not only did Rejeanne smile and approach him, she offered him her Gary.
Here's Gary
Rejeanne was smiling and gesturing, almost like she was excited there was someone to interact with who didn't talk to her and didn't expect her to talk back. The coyote snuggled Gary and offered the snail back to her. She took it, then coyote opened his arms for a hug, and she demurred, so then he put his hand up for a high-five. She was all about that and gave him a high-five. Then we walked into school.

I was fighting back the happy tears. This was so amazing!

11 August 2012

The Cy Brain in Action

Cy: "Let me get my flashlight!" *opens fridge, removes flashlight*

Lee: "Cyrus, why was your flashlight in the refrigerator?"

Cy: "Because I wanted it cold!" *runs off*

29 May 2012

Great-Grandma's Flowers

I love that I finally get to tell Cyrus about Great-Grandma's flowers. Of all the bulbs I swiped from my mother-in-law's garden, only this one has produced anything! Hopefully it will make some more bulbs or at least survive for a few years. In the meantime, it makes me so happy to have Helen's special flowers in my kitchen. I never met her, but she spent a lot of time with my husband when he was little and it's nice to have something of hers here.

03 May 2012

Decisions, Decisions...

So, I took about a year just contemplating whether or not to keep doing a blog. As far as I can tell, the main person who reads it is my ex-husband's wife and I'm still not really sure how I feel about that.

Anyways, obviously I just decided I may as well keep blogging. I have such a bad memory that it's good to have this spot to remind me of how cute my kids were back when, after I've forgotten.

A lot of things that were up in the air have been mostly settled. We are definitely staying put in our little town for at least four more years, so that is a big thing off of my mind. I love it here. Crimson has successfully conquered her first year of middle school with the best grades of her life. That's a pretty big accomplishment in my mind! The best part is that it was entirely self-motivated. That's one awesome life skill and she's really blessed to have that one!

Rejeanne has made so much progress. She's starting to express herself more verbally which is very exciting for me. She's also engaging other kids more. I wonder if the two are connected at all. Either way, she's really growing and doing well. She's still an impish little sweetheart.

Cyrus makes me laugh so much. He totally has my personality, so I now understand how I infuriate people all the time. Sorry about that. He gets over stuff so fast and he's constantly in motion, both body and mouth! He's my little buddy and I love him to bits! He hurt himself yesterday and I think he pulled a groin muscle. He kept insisting a freckle was an ant bite because he was hurting right under the freckle from the muscle. He said he felt good enough to go to the park, but after 20 minutes he comes over to me and says "Mama, I lost my run!!" So it turns out he's hurt himself enough that he's not able to run, which really seemed to annoy and perplex him. I guess things aren't as much fun if you can't run everywhere!

I guess the other big news in life is that I'm having another baby this summer. I'm due on Cyrus' birthday and he's very excited about getting a baby for his birthday. Of course, he's been planning his birthday wish list AND his birthday party since January. I've never seen such a thing before. Hopefully it will live up to expectations!

The other big thing is that my oldest daughter Kellie is turning 18 this month. It's hard for me to believe. I love her deeply. She's a beautiful, complicated, talented, kind, lovely girl...woman? Yikes! She's tough and I think she's awesome. I'm seriously blessed to have her in my life.

Maybe someday I'll get all five in the same room. You never know, it could happen!

01 May 2012

For the guy with the signs, and maybe this kid's parents, whoever they are...

So, there is a dad out there with a mission and a set of signs in muggy heat just trying to be heard. Trying to do what he thinks is right. He reminds me that sometimes, there is a firm line between right and wrong and that silence is not always golden. Where is the line between "privacy" and "keeping an abuser's secrets"?

I'll preface my note below by saying that the school system here has been nothing but awesome for my kids, and has been receptive to criticism and open to change since the incident in 2010, but the fact remains that I doubt this kid's parents know what happened to their boy and I should have made it public two years ago. I owe those parents an apology for not calling the cops to make sure a third-party informed them of what I saw, since the school can't tell me who they are because of "privacy" even though the school knows which kid I'm talking about, even though I don't! I hope I can deliver that apology in person some day.

So, here's part of what I sent to the school back in 2010:

After thinking this over for seven months, figuring out which teacher was involved, and discussing it with my friend Suzi Wickerd, I've decided that it would be best for me to discuss with you the school's policies and procedures regarding the isolation room at Austin School. I would also like to share with you the incident that was witnessed by me, my husband Lee Wessel, and school psychology intern Tammy Klinefelter (not sure of the spelling). I believe Troy Garrett walked back into the room after the child had already been shut into the room and did not witness the actual incident.

In late February, or early March 2010, my husband and I met with Troy and Tammy in the area behind the stage at Austin School to review the results of an autism evaluation for my daughter, Rejeanne. At the tail end of this meeting, Troy excused himself to go make a photocopy of the evaluation and left the room. While he was making photocopies, a teacher (we believe this to be Jean Hansen after looking at photos on the district website) dragged a child up the stairs to the isolation room. This event was incredibly shocking to both my husband and I. Given that we grew up out of state, we had never heard of such treatment towards children or of isolation rooms being employed in the public school setting. I had no knowledge that what I thought was an equipment room/closet was used to isolate children at your school. Not only that, but the way that Ms. Hansen treated the child was lacking in dignity and may have resulted in physical harm to the boy.

In detail, I observed Ms. Hansen literally drag a screaming blond boy by one arm up the stairs to the behind-stage area. This child was not on his feet at all. He had one arm held straight up by Ms. Hansen and his other arm wrapped around her leg. He was screaming and begging her not to put him in the room. Ms. Hansen said nothing to the child. She got to the room, opened the door, light on, and walked into the room dragging this boy along all the way into the room. She then started backing out of the room, with the boy still wrapped on her leg, screaming and begging. She shook her leg vigorously to detach the boy from her leg and started closing the door. He started screaming and begging more to the point of hyperventilating. She used her foot to shove the boy further into the room enough so that she could shut the door (much like you would with a dog), and did shut the door.

 At that point, Ms. Hansen turned to us and addressed us like nothing happened. I don’t know what she said because frankly I was stunned by what I had just witnessed. My husband, Tammy, and I just basically stood there staring at her. I believe I finally asked her what was going on here or possibly if she does this often. Troy returned right as I started asking Ms. Hansen questions about this room and hurried my husband and I out of the room.