Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So very much loving the new school

I dropped Eli off this morning at school, and since his teacher's on vacation (which they've apologized profusely for, multiple times. How different is this place!?) we were trying to figure out which room he was going into. A little boy wearing Spiderman snow boots runs up to me and says "He needs to be in this room!" Now, I love bossy little kids about as much as I love the cat but I don't want to be a witch so I asked this little boy "Why's that?" "Because he's my friend!" he responded, and then he and Eli proceeded to show off various pieces of Spiderman clothing and have a dance-off. Take that "I'm going to cut your mom"!

Completely unrelated except that they also happened this morning, I was taking the kid to the doctor's office and he started talking about a friend of his who's skin is a different color. I was explaining that her skin is a different color but it feels the same, just like his hair felt like his dad's but was a different color. He of course argued and I explained that he had brown hair just like me. Seriously, it's the exact. same. color. He says "No mommy. My hair's brown and your hair's gray." Awesome. Then at the doctor's office (which was not the doctor's office at all and led to a frustrated, semi-frantic set of phone calls and no preschool papers signed but I digress) I look up and what do I see but my son, peeing on the front lawn of the freaking hospital complex! We are Classy. With a capital C.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The last few days

As part of Operation Love the One You're With, Eli and I continued to try to find a new thing to do this last weekend. Luckily I stumbled on an Easter Fest at the local nature center. Eli's still young enough that the egg hunt is a success if he gets two eggs (one with a gummy butterfly and one with a gummy penguin. Can you believe the luck!) and he wasn't real big on the DJ playing Disney pop, but the big hit was this little pond that they have. They give the kids fish nets and let them try to scoop out tiny fish, tadpoles, slime, whatever they get their hands on. We'll definately go back to do this again. Hopefully in the future I'll be less likely to have an anxiety attack everytime he leaned over.

Coach came into town for the night, and was able to get Eli all set up for T-ball. He's been dreaming of this day since the day we announced our engagement. E loves it, but also liked wrapping the string around a post in the back yard. He starts playing T-ball in a couple of weeks and I can't wait!

Finally, new school was a raring success! E made new friends, loved the school, and they loved him. He requested special to wear his cowboy shirt, boots, and belt. He also BEGGED for a haircut (as you can see). He wanted one "just like Daddy's." I was a little worried because not everyone can rock the buzz cut, but it looks good on him. Thank God for the C-section head! He also looks about 12 every time I see him now.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Fish or cut bait

Actually, I prefer "Shit or get off the pot" but it seemed weird to make that a title. Anyway...

The daycare issue has come to a head this week, and seeing as how there didn't seem to be any awesome magical daycares springing up in our neighborhood we decided to bite the bullet and go with the one that was further away than we liked. C and I decided yesterday to do it, and he called the corporate office to make sure that we could do this with almost no notice. Usually centers require two weeks notice, paid, if you plan on leaving but we didn't want to essentially fire the director and then keep taking E there for two weeks. Today I took E to meet his class, see the school, and pick up the paperwork.

I've had a couple moments when I wondered if I was over-reacting, or if this was more my issue than a concern for E. I waffled last night, and then after talking to C realized that even if E liked the school okay, if I couldn't stand the woman in charge it wasn't the right place for us. I waivered again when I picked him up because one of his teachers made a point of telling me that E and his "best friend" had gotten in a fight that morning. Then she said she had a 4 year old, but that he went to a different school. Not the most glowing recommendation.

So the new school. The director met us and took us to E's new room. Where the walls are covered in kids' artwork and the toys are clean and organized. When I asked if they ever showed movies she said, and I quote, "We have a no-TV policy. There are no TVs in the building. I feel like, 30 minutes is fine at home or when you're making dinner, but we're paid to be creative and we need to find other ways to entertain the kids." I asked about homework. She responded with, "I know there's a focus on getting ready for kindergarten, but I really feel like they're only 3 once. And I think that they can learn just as much, if not more, by painting and playing and imagining and experimenting than they can by doing worksheets. Of course, if a child wants homework I'm sure we could find something to send home." Do you hear that? It sounds like angels singing from daycare heaven. There were only a few kids from Eli's future class there, but within fifteen minutes they were playing with Eli and working together to get into some mischief. When one of the kids fell down, the others ran over to help him up. There was no screaming, no kicking, no icky chaos. On top of all that, I finally figured out a way to get to this place in under 30 minutes.

Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty good about our decision. The new daycare is a much better fit for us and I feel like Eli's going to thrive there. So so happy. C's giving the old daycare notice tomorrow, and next Monday we'll start at the new school.

Eight(ish) months

I promise that I wear different clothes. On the plus side, no cluttered bathroom shot!
Also, not to brag or anything, but don't I make cute kids?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wonder if they'll let me put a playpen in the prison?

I've talked about our daycare before and have continued to have "icky" feelings about it. However, after the movie and blanket issue Eli was switched to a different classroom (without our knowledge) and we decided to give it a little time. We'd begun looking at schools, and quite frankly the options were looking not-so-great. We found another center but it was a little too far away. There are very few places that will take both infants and preschoolers. So we thought we'd wait it out a minute.

Unfortunately, it seems like the situation's just gotten worse. Eli comes home and instead of talking about what he did he asks questions like "Why do all the kids laugh at me?" and saying things like "No one will play with me" or "Johnny says no one's going to be my friend" or my personal favorite "Robert said if you picked me up he was going to cut you up." There are a couple of kids that seem to be his friends, but for the most part the focus is on getting kicked, hit, or made fun of. Not once has a teacher mentioned anything about any of these things happening, but he has come home with scrapes and bruises. Again, I'm trying to be rational, but it's getting out of hand. And when I mention it it's always "Oh no. We'd never let that happen."

It's not just the kids either. I actually told off his center director this week. I can count on one hand the number of times I've told someone off. I'm much more of a "discuss the issue later and more rationally" kind of person. I guess I'd just had it. She had offered a "trial enrichment class" and let Eli pick which one he wanted to attend (cooking). Then she told him how awesome it was going to be and how much fun he was going to have. Everyday he asked if it was cooking day yet. So Wednesday I pick him up and she tells us the pizza's almost ready, so can Eli wait so he can have some? Sure! Great! Love to! I ask Eli how class was and he says he didn't get to go. Let's all say it together. WTF? And I ask her. At which point the excuses begin. He did go. So first she calls him a liar. Oh wait, the other class did cooking. So why did we sign up? OH NO! You signed up for the series, which will be X amount. So why did she say that he'd done it if he hadn't? She must have been confused. Oh, his class will be doing it tomorrow! And on and on. So I told her that that was unacceptable. Long story short, I went off. I also pointed out that the day before apparently some kid had kicked him down, scraped his arm, and been sent to the office and yet no one had mentioned it to us. Again, unacceptable. Next day, she presents multiple pictures of Eli making pizza, says that the reason he missed it is because it went too long in the other class, and gives us an "Ouch Report" that Eli pinched his finger lightly in the toilet seat. Backpedal much?

The whole thing has just become one thing after another, and now on top of it all we're being lied to. And everyday brings something new. Today the school pictures came in and guess who's is missing? Are we sure he had them taken? No. But if you mean, did you remind us over and over to bring him early and then did we ask specifically if he got his picture taken? Then yes. It all seems so silly and petty, but overall it's a bad experience. I'm tired of Eli needing constant reassurance that people like him, that he's safe, for Christ's sake, that no one is going to cut up his mom. I'm tired of stupid homework folders and dirty classrooms and kids who throw play-dough at my face everytime I walk in the room without being redirected. And yet. I spend an hour a day on the internet and the phone and can't find another fucking daycare.

I'm not being overly picky. There really aren't that many options here. The only one that's felt half-way decent is at least 20 minutes out of the way, each way, for both C and I. That adds at least another hour onto an already long day for all three of us. I'm starting to lose hope, and it's beginning to feel more and more important that we not wait to pull him out of where he is. These are times when it sucks that we're not closer to family, because we don't have grandparents or aunts and uncles that can step in for the short term.

Work-Life Balance, my butt.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Possibly the weirdest therapy day ever

It's Thursday! Thursday means that tomorrow's Friday and is generally a good day. I also like my schedule on Thursdays because it's a nice mix of meetings, therapy, and hanging out on the unit (where the inmates live). It's also my chance to get everything set up for Friday, which is perfect for the Type A side of me that wants "a place for everything and everything in it's place."

Today started well. The kid slept late, which meant I didn't have to take him to school, which meant I had 10 more hours before I had to face pain-in-the-butt daycare director (who I actually told off pretty good yesterday.) I got to work on time, no crazy chaos, life is good. Then I got pulled in for my surprise final performance evaluation, six weeks early. That was on my list of "work-life balance challenges" because my probation period was going to be up while I was on leave and I wasn't sure how that would work out. Now I don't have to worry about it because I've officially been recommended for "permanant civil service." Yay!

Usually on Thursdays I run one large therapy group on the unit. This group has evolved nicely and is becoming a really good, functioning group. It's got good reviews from both staff and inmates and is fun to run. Today's group started with a lot of "you've gotten bigger!"s and "that's going to be a healthy baby!" The women are all super-interested in the baby and it's become friendlier and less awkward to share small details like "yes, bigger by the minute" and "no, definately not twins." It didn't hurt that shortly after group started one woman raised her hand to say "Dr. Chiconky, you're so pretty." Hey, I'll take it where I can get it.

So group's going. And the women are working hard to grasp a difficult concept. I'm starting to see the lightbulbs and we've got a good energy going. Then I hear it. A gasp from the second row. Then I see it. Feet, in state issued white tennis shoes, shaking underneath the first row. And in that moment I realize that one of the women in my group is having a seizure.

As an aside, I've learned over the past year and a half that pseudo-seizures (seizures without a neurological explanation) are common in this population. I've seen my share of them, and they all look different but have the same time-slowing, tightly controlled calm effect on a unit. It's really very interesting and a fascinating thing to watch.

So I pressed my alarm, the officers stepped in, and we waited. After a few minutes she stopped shaking and we were told to carry on. So I'm back to running my group, trying to recreate the energy while six officers and two nurses attend to the seizing inmate. And then I hear it. Another gasp. More white shoes shaking under the couch. This time in the third row. Another alarm. More inmates being moved. More officers.

So now there's two seizures happening. A third inmate says that she can't be near it or she'll have a seizure is gearing up in the back. And again with the tightly controlled calm. And then I hear it AGAIN. A third gasp. A third pair of shoes. This time in the fourth row. The woman with the prophetic powers is in the fetal position next to her door and I'm waiting for her to go (I'm still surprised she didn't). At this point one officer starts placing cones to identify where the seizing inmates are. The rest of the inmates (probably 20) are still sitting calmly, just as they're taught to do when there's an alarm. There's now well over 10 officers, 4 nurses, and 3 inmates spread through my group in various states of medical emergency.

All of this happened within 15 minutes. By the time the third was done, we decided to recall the unit (send everyone to their rooms) and consider the group a wash. And then I got to revel in my first experience with contagious seizures, something that I've never ever seen before. Even better, the jokes just keep coming.

I'm thinking that my business cards should say "Groups so good it'll knock 'em out of their seats."

Friday, March 12, 2010

The good and the bad

What drove me crazy today
1. My cat required being let in, and out, no less than three times this morning. Before I went to work.
2. My son appears to be incapable of doing anything the first time I ask. Anything at all. Ever.
3. While trying to get my kid dressed, myself dressed, my lunch packed, my cat in and out, my husband slept peacefully in bed. For an extra hour.
4. It started raining today 30 seconds after I decided not to take my umbrella out with me.
5. Blockbuster raised it's prices on kid's movies from $1 to $5. Which means with tax I paid $6 for the privelage of watching "Alvin and the Chipmunks"
6. The only Pizza Hut that will deliver to us always says "It'll be about an hour and a half to two hours"
7. And then the pizza shows up cold and burnt.
8. C, who as you'll recall got the extra hour of sleep this morning, is trying to pick a fight. Most recently taking on the ACLU.
9. I realized that the artwork on the walls of the daycare hasn't been changed or added to in over six months, and we still can't find another center.

And for balance

Things that went well
1. Not one but two clients who told me to fuck off last week sought me out today
2. The psychiatrist I work with, who I thought maybe thought I was an idiot, maybe doesn't.
3. I took an actual lunch with a friend today.
4. I like my job more every day, and I'm starting to feel like I know what's going on.
5. My kid's learning to read, which is about as awesome as it gets
6. I remembered that we had cookie dough in the freezer.
7. And had plenty of room for dessert.

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Official!

Although I've been technically "done" with school since August, it took an act of divine intervention to get this paper into my grubby little hands. It's now safely stored away, since I can't take it to my office. What this really means though, is that I am D.O.N.E. with school. There were a lot of times I thought this would never, ever happen.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

7 months

Pretty sure I get substantially bigger by the day. Lately it feels like me and the belly are two separate entities. She also loves to kick in public, which both thrills and freaks my clients out since they can see it across the room.