Yes, it is!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Moments Like This...

...make motherhood so worth it. 

Yesterday started out good but quickly went downhill after I got the kids home from karate.  Both kids kept ignoring my repeated requests pleas yelling to clean their rooms up and to put away their clean laundry.  They did everything else but.  (And it never ceases to amaze me that they beg to help me clean house but they won't even touch their own bedrooms). Nearly two hours later, I lost my cool with them, especially with Jackie.  Jackie became upset, I became more upset.  Then Jackie hit me. Then I said some words that I regret saying to the kids.  Jackie started screaming at this point.  Everything just started to spiral out of control.  (Surprisingly, Ben was pretty cool about it all.)  I finally had to leave the house to cool off and leave Tim on daddy duty.  I went on a couple of errands and while I was out, I guess the fear of god (or perhaps abandonment? I know, bad mommy) got to Jackie.  I came home to clean bedrooms and stuff put away.  Even though Jackie was in a better mood, I could tell that she was still a bit shaken from the earlier episode.  I reminded Jackie that I love her no matter what but that it upsets me very much when she and Ben blatantly ignore and disobey me.  She's at the age where I have no problem being honest and frank with her about how her behavior upsets and angers me at times. 

So, this morning while I was singing with the church choir, Jackie must have felt inspired to write me a very touching note.  She quickly finished it and gave it to me after I was done singing with the choir.  This is a first and it brought me to tears.  In church.  And I didn't have tissues on hand.  Words just will never describe how very much I really do love my girl. 

Oh, I couldn't help but remember this one from a few years ago which still makes me nearly collapse with laughter:

Third Place!

Jackie placed 3rd Place in the 2nd grade Spelling Bee at her school this past Friday.  I am so proud of my little girl.  What makes this even more exciting is that ALL 3 winners are from the same class.  Congratulations to not only my Jackie but to her teacher, Mrs. Lay, for having the top 3 spellers from her class.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Champion Speller

I am so proud of my Jackie.  My champion speller has qualified for the 2nd grade spelling bee.  I am beyond proud of her for so many reasons.  Jackie has proved so many people, including people, wrong.

When Jackie was a toddler, one of her doctors warned us about the likelihood of Jackie having learning disabilities.  And behavior issues.  And not be able to run.  The list goes on.  I realize that doctors feel that they must prepare parents for the worst but to hear that my baby might not be able to learn felt like a punch to my gut.  I was determined that my baby girl was going to continue to learn and she was going to be a conqueror.

Jackie has received physical and occupational therapies since age 9 months, just 3 months after she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.  As a toddler, Jackie started to receive speech therapy due to a speech delay, a delay that we're not sure is related to the CP.  Unfortunately, at Jackie's school, having an IEP is considered to be part of the special education department.  Until last year, Jackie had an IEP in place so that she could receive physical and speech therapies.  At the last IEP meeting nearly a year ago, it was recommended that Jackie be released from the IEP because, based on her academic standing, Jackie did not belong in special education.  I have to admit being a little confused about that because Jackie was always in a regular classroom and earned nearly straight A's from the beginning.  Apparently, it was the speech therapy component of the IEP that caused Jackie to be considered a special education student despite her excellent academics.  I was more than happy to have Jackie released from that and have a 504 put in place instead.

Looking back, I don't know why I continue to be amazed with my daughter.  I always knew she was a smart little girl, even as a baby.  Perhaps I was biased.  I do know that those who qualified my daughter, at age 3,  for the Early Childhood program thought otherwise, based on their testing.  I'll never forget Jackie's very first IEP meeting.  I was 8 months pregnant with our little surprise bundle and I was so nervous about this meeting.  I was so afraid of what those people thought of my little girl and what they thought of me and Tim as her parents.  Were we inadequate parents?  Did we not teach our daughter enough? Would our soon-to-be born son be considered an additional burden to us now that our daughter has a label.  I already knew that Jackie did not do very well with all of the initial testing/evaluation but it was because Jackie refused to talk to them.  But I felt like Tim and I were outnumbered at this first meeting.  I mean, the occupational therapist, the physical therapist, the speech therapist, the school psychologist, the school social worker, Jackie's soon-to-be teacher, it seemed like everyone was there sitting around the tables, looking at me for answers, and perhaps even evaluating us as parents. Then copies of the IEP were passed around for everyone, including us, to have their own copies.  As the first person started to explain the IEP, I couldn't help but glance ahead.  There it was, glaring angrily, the words, global developmental delays.  In other words, in addition to her physical delays, my daughter also had intellectual delays.  The tears stung as I tried desperately to hold them in.  Those people were wrong.  So very wrong.  As they got to that page that explained the criteria for labeling my daughter with such a diagnosis, it took everything in me to not just fall apart and collapse to the floor.  I knew my daughter was smart.  Why couldn't they see that?  I left that meeting feeling a little defeated (and perhaps a little ashamed) but also determined to prove to these people that my daughter did not have low intelligence and that she was a smart little girl.  Yes, she may have been very small for her age and a bit delayed physically but she was certainly not delayed intellectually.

So, Jackie was scheduled to start the Early Childhood program on the day that I was scheduled to deliver Ben by c-section in mid-December.  Even though I felt time was of the essence in proving these people wrong about my baby girl (at least, in my mind it was), Tim and I decided to wait and have Jackie start school after the new year.

I have to say that I am so thankful for that program, as resistant as I was in the beginning.  The teacher is incredible (Ben has the same teacher).  Within a couple of months, Jackie started to come out of her shell and she began to blossom.  And her teacher and the aides could see that Jackie was nowhere near low intelligence.  Jackie was just a very shy little girl and it used to take her a long time to warm up to new people and situations.  Jackie also received additional speech, physical, and occupational therapies at school.  Pretty soon, the speech therapist was able to see how smart Jackie really was, despite her speech delay.  After Jackie completed a year and a half of this program, it was recommended that she graduate to the regular Pre-K program on the same campus.  Tim and I decided at that point to place her in a private Pre-K where she attended 3 full days each week.  Jackie continued to thrive there during that year.

Jackie is now in the 2nd grade at the very same school where she was labeled as being developmentally delayed.  Some of the staff who remember (and were part of the initial IEP team) Jackie during those early years still express amazement at Jackie's progress.  This makes me proud.  Jackie is a shining star student at her school and seems to be well-liked by most people there (kids and teachers alike).  Because Jackie has been through so much already (one can't tell by looking at her), I will continue to brag shamelessly.  Jackie talks about becoming a doctor and a teacher.  I truly believe that she will do it and I have faith that she will continue to conquer whatever curveballs are thrown at her, just as she has done before, to achieve her life goals.

Monday, April 8, 2013


I recently realize teenagers can actually be good accountability partners.  Why?  Well, it's because I really do want to be a good example for them. 

In the past few years, I had a handful of teenagers send me friend requests on Facebook.  At first, I was reluctant to accept those requests because I thought it was a bit awkward.  I don't know what the true motivation was for those teens.  Perhaps it was because they were on a quest to see who could obtain the most friends on a social network.  Or perhaps, they truly cared about having a friendly relationship. Whatever the case may be, I mostly accepted their requests because I did not want to hurt any feelings.  However, within the past year and a half, I began to feel uncomfortable to have such young people on my Facebook friend list, especially considering that I never heard from those people.  I was only subjected to their daily drama.  Oh, the drama that came from those particular kids! And I must say that I was becoming a little concerned about the foul language coming from such young people. Nothing really shocks me anymore.  However, I was appalled at the number of young (even preteens) teens who use certain acronyms, knowing full well what those letters stand for.  (When my kids are old enough for social network, you can bet that I will be monitoring their accounts on a daily basis). I finally made the decision that I needed to remove some select young people from my friend list.  I kept a couple of teens on my list because I actually did have an active relationship with them, mostly for babysitting my children.  

Lately, though, I have had a number of requests, again, from young people.  These are really good kids, kids who attend church. The religious kind.  I don't know why these young kids want to be "friends" with me.  Perhaps it's a numbers thing or perhaps it's just because so many of these young people know my daughter.  I don't know but I figured that it wouldn't hurt to accept them and that it was just another good way of getting to know them in case I am in need of a back-up babysitter, or even pet-sitter.

These kids are actually (and unknowingly) great accountability partners as they are forcing me to keep my language (and behavior) mostly clean.  I want to be a good, non-religious example for them.  My hope is that parents will appreciate that I was not a cause of corruption in their young person's life.  In recent months, I have been much more careful with the stuff that I post on Facebook.  In a way, perhaps I can be a sort of mentor without even knowing it.  Who knows?  I can also learn from these young people what to expect when my daughter reaches that age, too. I'm sure I'll be learning a lot.  Thankfully though, I haven't seen the drama that I saw in the past from other young, former Facebook friends.