Friday, July 31, 2009

Farewell Mary Poppins

Miss Laura & Nick, "water day" on the play deck, July 2009
Today Nick is saying goodbye to Miss Laura, his very fabulous preschool teacher of two years.

Apparently, working with Nick over the last few years has had a profound effect. Miss Laura is leaving to further her elementary/special education degree and pursue an autism endorsement. I couldn’t be happier for her.

Miss Laura came into our lives as an answer to prayer during a time when we were lost and confused about which path to take for Nick. Things clicked between us instantly. Most importantly she got Nick and Nick was taken with her.

Nick began preschool withdrawn with no real student-teacher or peer bonds, parallel played exclusively with the trains, couldn’t cope with transitions, and couldn’t sit through circle time. Then there were the sensory issues: he avoided the climber like the plague, couldn’t tolerate the noise in the gym or getting his hands messy during art. He melted down daily in the hall as he approached the door to his class every morning – his anxiety heightening with every step until it finally bubbled over.

Over time we witnessed a transformation. One by one he shed these challenges like layers of an onion. I still remember the first time he came home and was able to tell us about his day. Or the first time he read a story aloud to his class during circle time.

Most of the time now, Nick is just one of the other kids. He has a favorite teacher (Miss Laura, of course!) and lots of friends. The climber is a favorite during recess and Nick is quite the budding artist. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not without any challenges – they’re just more subtle these days and not so much at the forefront all day, every day.

I don’t think Nick’s outcome would have been the same had he not had a teacher so willing and so invested in seeing him succeed. It’s because of these last two years that I’m able to look forward to Nick beginning Kindergarten in just a few weeks with confidence.

Hubs sent Miss Laura a thoughtful, heartfelt thank you letter for us. So touching it was, it even made me cry. Nick left for school this morning proudly clutching a little gift bag for his favorite teacher with a gift he helped pick out… a silver necklace and pendant, a circle with a shooting star in the center and inscribed around the circle the phrase, “one person can make a difference, and that person is you.” So true.

She entered our lives like Mary Poppins and now, her work done, she takes flight with a fond farewell.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Lies Just Below the Surface

Last week I tackled the mound of insurance paperwork and receipts that have been piling up, filling boxes. I submitted enough receipts to my FSA for reimbursement to pay our summer property taxes. Our kids are damn expensive.

I logged on tonight to check the progress of the reimbursement process; our first time since Hubs' employment transfer and on the new insurance plans.

I scanned the lines of expenses flagged by the usual reimbursement categories: Medical, Rx, OTC, etc. followed by the approved reimbursement amount. I was just about to click the little X at the top of the page to log off when the last one caught my eye: Learning Disability. The other insurance company had never flagged Nick's speech therapy as such. It was considered medical.

Nevertheless, I couldn't help but feel a familiar stab and veil of tears form when those words leapt out at me.

No matter how well our kids are doing, there's always a layer of grief that lies just below the surface, isn't there?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just A Barrel of Laughs

Life's been a barrel of laughs here this week.

Monday morning. Hubs sends Miss Meg to school clad in princess nightgown and flip flops for Pajama Day. Except pajama day isn't today. It's tomorrow. Hubs blames his Blackberry for giving him the reminder too early. Uh huh.

Tuesday late afternoon. Sitting at the kitchen table, IM'ing an old friend from laptop. Meg saunters into kitchen and announces, "Look Mom! It'll grow back!" Let me tell you that's never a good thing to hear from your 3 year old.

I found this in the bathroom:

There's no before pic because time was of the essence. Daddy was on his way home from work. I grabbed the kids' shoes and we dashed out the door to the local salon. Meg had taken a chunk out of either side and a gaping hole in the middle of her bangs right up to the hairline (!!!) a mere eleven days before my brother's wedding. At the salon, TWO hairdressers combed and parted her hair this way and that while they discussed different ways to remedy our little hair emergency.

Here's the after:

For my brother's wedding we'll part her bangs on the side, comb them over and put in a teeny-tiny (in Meg's words) barrett to hide the missing bangs in the center. It's not so bad. I kind of like it. Now if someone could just convince Daddy.

This kind of drama I can handle. These are the kind of stories we're going to tell when the kids are older. I can hardly wait to see what fun the rest of the week brings ;)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Autism Insurance Legislation in Michigan

Despite the eat and humidity, it was a good day in Michigan today!

Autism insurance legislation passed in the House today by a huge margin of 84 to 25!! Now on to the Senate!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I am, admittedly, a Type A personality. I like my house neat and organized to a fault. I am a perfectionist. And I don't cope well with change. Gee, I wonder why my son gets his quirks from. So, you can imagine the bundle of nerves I became when coping with all of this at once....and you now know why I became kinda quiet on here over the last month:
  • Hubs division of "Megaware" was sold to "Megafocus" effective June 1st.
  • Hubs new office relocation (and time frame) remains undetermined
  • Aforementioned move will impact children's preschool situation at "Megaware" child development center.
  • How does one begin searching for new preschool when one does not know when/where one might need it?
  • New employer = new benefits
  • New benefits + child on spectrum receiving speech therapy = ??? coverage
  • New benefits + $15,000 out of network deductible = is Nick's developmental ped IN network???
  • Add one human resource representative who refused to speak to me, the employee's wife, or answer my email questions regarding said benefits because I "may not understand health insurance information." I only work in hospital administration. I'm just sayin'.
  • Oh, and throw in an IEP with a principal who didn't exactly want to schedule and IEP, or consider a para until I gave things a little bit of a push. ahem.

With a whole lotta prayer and a whole lotta Mocha Java Chip ice cream, we are making headway.
  • New office location is still in the Metro Detroit area. We won't have to relocate. It is considerably farther north, but hey, he's still employed, right?
  • We still don't know exactly when the office relocation will take place.
  • We still don't know what we will do for Meg's preschool after the move. Am considering a Montessori school near home but still need to go check it out. Am sad to leave the old school behind, but if the Montessori school turns out to be a good thing, I think it will be a good move.
  • New health insurance denied Nick's speech therapy. Yeah, I know this sucks. We were 12 weeks away from discharge.
  • Worked out arrangement with Outpatient Rehab Department: Nick will get to complete his speech therapy treatment plan in a condensed 7 weeks at a reduced rate with the same therapist we've been with for 3 years. We were awarded a scholarship. Out pocket cost: $215. Can you say amen?!
  • Yes, Nick's developmental ped is IN network. Phew. His labs, which are done quarterly, however, are not. Oh well. More money will go into the HFSA account next year.
  • And the IEP is done. We got the teacher we wanted and the parapro application is in to the county.

Still a few loose ends, but I'm not feeling like a peice of taffy being pulled in all directions anymore. One foot in front of the other, my friends.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tooth Talk

Hubs picked Nick up from school today. At first the 5 o'clock pickup went as per usual. Hubs began gathering Nick's belongings from his cubby and asking Nick about his day, except today Nick wasn't talking.

Hubs: "How was your day, Nick?"

Nick: looks away, ignoring Hubs (in his less verbal days, this was the norm)

H: "Did you have a good day?"

N: nods yes, looks away

H: "Nick, are you all right?" (growing concerned)

N: lips clamped shut

H: "Nick, have you got something in your mouth?" (now certain something is up)

N: shakes head for no and covers his mouth

H: "Open your mouth"

N: shakes head for no

H: "We are not leaving until you open your mouth. Now. Open. Your. Mouth."

N: opens mouth for Dad to see

H: "Nick. What happened to your tooth?"

N: "It came out in my hand."

H: "And what did you do with it?"

N: "I throwed it away in the garbage."

Hubs and 2 teachers then proceeded to pick through the trash until one tiny baby tooth was recovered for the tooth fairy.

A childhood milestone... and one (or two) parenting mistake(s).

1. We never realized he had a loose tooth, or two!

2. We never talked about the whole losing-baby-teeth-and-big-teeth-growing-in thing.

I sorta thought we had another 6 months or so before this would happen (*sniff* my baby is growing up!). Apparently I was wrong and fell asleep at the parenting wheel.

I can only imagine how confused and perhaps a little afraid Nick must have been all day. He probably thought he did something wrong, was going to get into trouble for coming home missing a tooth, or whatever wild imaginative things a 5 year old can dream up. So he told no one and tried to hide it.

This evening we made a big deal about becoming a big boy, growing new teeth and, of course, the tooth fairy. Suffice it to say, we've now had our tooth-talk, albeit a little late.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Lawn Bowling

We spent a super beautiful day together with my sister and her family and a fabulous time was had by all. They flew in from sunny AZ for the weekend so the family could all be together for our little brother's wedding shower (well, the bridal shower actually). So we had a little pre-shower BBQ and swim at our house the kick off the weekend....

Uncle Brian got into the action with a little lawn bowling of sorts:


Not pictured: my little sister wrapped up in a blanket sitting in the sun for warmth because the mid-70's is "winter weather" for Arizonians. We all had a good time ribbing her about it.