In the blink of an eye, B's year of PreK is over. It hasn't been a great year, though his growth, development, and skill acquisition have been nothing short of staggering. (As evidenced by Where The Wild Things Are.)
My baby. Time. Speeding by. Too fast.
It was a melancholy day. There is a part of me that is relieved that his year in this class is over. It wasn't a great fit for him. But we have been in this building for three years: L's preschool, and daycare and PreK for Brodie. We said good bye to a lot of friends today.
It is that time again. End of school year. Along with concerts, IEP meetings, awards assemblies, field day, and PreK graduation comes my most dreaded of annual traditions: teacher gifts.
I never know what to get. Social media has provided me an unhealthy insight into what many teachers truly think of (some of) the gifts they receive. And I am on a budget. And Team Munchkin is huge. And despite the fact that I mark the passing of time by writing the date multiple times per day each day at work, the last day of school snuck up on my unprepared ass. (Suck it, Pinterest, with your fancy homemade gifts.)
So...we asked L what she wanted to give her teachers. "Stars", she said. Super. How to combine "stars" with quickly procured Dunkin Donuts gift cards???
First: quickly procure gift cards! Eleven of them to be exact. (One teacher, one aide, and two other aide-type entities that hang in the misnomer'd 15:1:1. Three therapist. A bus driver and monitor. And two teachers for Team Buddy, as well. Yikes.)
Second: Find star shapes paper things at AC Moore.
Third: Find yellow paint. Aforementioned stars were $0.33. They don't come star colored at that price.
Four: Get as crafty as this Mama gets.
And viola! Star themed, quickly procured gift cards that came straight from the heart.
Next year, for the love of Pete, someone remind me to start thinking about this in April!
I came across a great post today over at my friend Ellen's blog "These Broken Vases", which deals with a very terrifying reality for many parents of children with disabilities. It is something that we've dealt with with Munchkin. And while the intensity of this worry often reduces down to a slow simmer, it's something I think about constantly: Elopement.
Outside of the secretive nuptials context, "elopement" is just a fancy way of saying "My kid wanders off whenever she damn well pleases." For some families the concern is more prevalent than in ours. Thankfully (knock on wood, people) she has only left my house once, and to the best of my knowledge has only wandered away from her class once. Of course, she spends about 98% of her life with people who know this about her, are very well versed in these behavioral tendencies, and deal with kids with special needs on a daily basis. When we went to the Ds convention in DC last year, she even wore a tag that said "Runner" on her back during kids camp!
That being said, the 30 or so miles between my office and my living room have never felt so insurmountable as the day last summer when my hyperventilating and near-hysterical mother called me at work to tell me that L had wandered out of the house. She told me that I was so calm but inside there was a cacophony of fear...terror actually...and a paralyzing helplessness. She was found within minutes but it felt like an eternity of not being able to breathe. In the aftermath it took a 40 minute walk around campus with a friend before the shaking stopped. We now have alarms installed on our doors so that she will never be able to slip out unnoticed.
As she gets older, I hope this behavior dissipates. But in the meantime, it's still a reality and I am still faced with putting her in new environments that will test her impulse control, and my sanity. This summer, she will spend a week in camp...and not her special needs camp that asks right on the registration form "Has your child been known to elope?". But an honest to goodness, "main stream", community based camp. I am excited about this for her...it's a great opportunity for her to be integrated...but it's so scary because I can only hope that they listen to me when I say "Watch her. Like a hawk. Because she will wander." Over and over again, I will tell them. Watch her.
The linked post has some great resources that I plan to investigate further. I thought I'd share it here for any other nervous mamas.
Yesterday, I grabbed a copy of We'll Paint the Octopus Red, a children's book written to explain the birth of a sibling with Down syndrome. L was up at the ass crack of dawn very, very early this morning, and so she and I had a little one to one time. She saw the book and wanted me to read it to her.
I started crying about four pages from the end.
She looked at me like I had lost my marbles.
We use the words Down syndrome in our house regularly, but I do not believe that L has any inclination that she's in any way different from her non-chromosomally enhanced peers. So, today, I broke the news to her. "Baby. You have Down syndrome."
She kills me. I asked her if B had Down syndrome and she said no. We then went through her other friends, and talked about who had Down syndrome and who didn't. It was helpful that we were just at the DSA picnic yesterday and her friends there were fresh in her mind.
So, now she knows. Honestly, she handled the news much better than I did! Ha! I am really excited to have this book on hand, though, because I don't think it will be much longer before both of my children start to realize that L is a little bit different than some of the other kids we know. I want them to have a good understanding of what that (and other types of) differences mean, but also feel free to ask questions and be confused...and, ultimately learn to celebrate Down syndrome.
Yesterday was one of the very, very best days of the year: our local DSA's annual family picnic. Given that the last two years our picnic has fallen on Father's Day weekend, we've so named it in honor of the dads that we love most.
Of course, it's also just a super fun day to hang out with some of our goodest, bestest friends and enjoy a summer's day.
Highlight of the day was getting L and her little ladies back together. Remember this post?
I love the excitement on B's face in this picture!
T and L, enjoying some watermelon and sunshine.
B made a friend, too!
It was a great day! All of our favorite friends were there!!
Including B's future love! Aren't they sweetness?
I look forward to this beautiful lady being my co-mother-in-law! ha!
And there may have been some more swinging. I just can't help myself! A swingset and sunshine will cure a thousand ills.
Frequent readers, and Goodreads friends, and of course my girl, AG, all know that Where The Wild Things Are is my first favorite book. Long before Gatsby, this tale of wild rumpuses and good things to eat was my go-to book in my little elementary school library.
Of course, it has brought me endless joy to read Max's story to my wee ones. I noticed on B's school calendar that they were reading it as a class this week. I grabbed our well-worn copy this morning and was happily surprised when he began reading it to me!
Tonight at bedtime, I asked him if he'd read it again so that I could make a video "to share with all of Mommy's friends in her computer". Ever the showman, he was thrilled to oblige.
Enjoy the show.
This may, without question, be my proudest moment of motherhood to date.
I have an issue. It's troubling and disheartening and leaving me feeling a little disjointed. I collect quotes, and thankfully, I found a couple that sum up my issue in a more succinct fashion than I ever could.
I am an avid user of Goodreads.com. If you look over at my sidebar (for those who are not using google reader and are actually on my blog's homepage) you will see a couple widgets I've added from that great Nerd Haven of the World Wide Web. It really is one of my favorite social media sites. I get a ton of new book suggestions, I have won a few brand new books through their First Reads giveaway program, AND, it gives me a place to keep (and easily access) my "To Read" list.
Which currently numbers 203 books.
This may not seem like a huge problem, but when looking at my "Read" list, you will note that in my entire young/adulthood I have only read 371 books. I have a handful of children's books on there which, I suppose, dilutes my actual total. Of course, that is off-set by my inability to add a bunch of melodramatic teen books I picked up in the 7th and 8th grade book mobile (you know...cheerleader breaks leg and falls for a computer geek, girl's dad has Alzheimer's, girl's sister is killed in a car accident, girl goes inexplicably blind). But all told, 371 is probably a fair estimate of what I've read over the course of my life. With 203 to go...and more added daily.
I will never finish my To Read list. Unless I can retire tomorrow, I suppose. Become independently wealthy? Start a new career as an English teacher? Sedate my kids for the hours between coming home from work and going to bed? OR...even better...find a way to exist on 2 hours of sleep each night so I can stay up past my bedtime reading???
Where the Wild Things Are and Madeline aside, the books on my "Read" list date back to approximately 4th grade (the aptly titled Tales of A Fourth Grade Nothing, of course.). So, approximately 28 years of reading? I might finish my "To Read" list by the time I am 80. Maybe.
Today, L and I went to meet friends at a Touch-a-Truck event. For future reference, L does not approve of Touch-a-Truck events.
Care bear love!
She loved the tumble bus. This was the last genuine smile we would see for a while.
Fake smile in the ATV.
Super fake smile while touring the ambulance.
Thankfully our friend Aunt Karrie saved the day with tiny noise canceling headphones.
Even with the headphones she only made it another half hour before informing me it was time to go to the toy store. Of course, first we had to hit up the library's free book mobile, where she scored The Poky Little Puppy! A classic!