10.03.2009

You Could Make Me Cry In Two Seconds If You Wanted To

It's been a rich, roiling, emotional, and ultimately amazing week here at Casa Rosenberg.

My nose has been to the cash-generating grindstone for a week now, and it feels good. I made a couple of noob mistakes that my co-workers graciously downplayed, but otherwise feel as though I'm getting shit done, and getting it done faster and better each day. Working is certainly making me more efficient; the piles of dirty laundry still threaten to engulf the laundry room, but they've not gotten any larger and in fact have shrunk some. Now I just need to figure out the sleeping thing, because at the moment getting sleep is what's giving.

Somehow, I maintained this efficiency though Seymour was in Jackson Hole for the week, impressing the coolest people in the wildlife filmmaking world by winning awards for his online media work against piffly competitors like the BBC and Alexandra Cousteau (yes, that Cousteau family). My partner and I are both feeling good about ourselves this week.

But I'm tired. It would be absurd for me to say I'm not. Though I'm thriving on these feelings of productivity and competence, stretching myself means stretching the membrane protecting my heart from the world -- which means it doesn't take much to make me cry right now.

I cried when I read this story about an adoptive mom's soul-searing realization that she doesn't have what it takes to parent a special needs child, after all. It's easy to condemn her, but I can't. I feel for her, I'm grateful to her for sharing her story instead of trying to rally through a reality she wasn't equipped for, and wonder what special needs considerations were left out of the brief article. I hope her son is thriving with his new family.

I also cried when I read the transcript of Thursday night's Redwood City School District school board candidates forum (SEPTAR co-sponsored the event, but I was solo parenting and couldn't attend). The perennial shit-disturber libertarian candidate is determined to defund the school district, yet has no interest in learning how the school district actually works, or investigating the root causes of its challenges. His lack of compassion and complete cluelessness regarding the civil rights of special education funding are what triggered my outraged tears:
Question: What are the two most important areas in Special Ed the district needs to address?

JH: cost and inequitable expenditure of assets. Students that can’t take advantage of the free public education should be given their 10 thousand dollars as a family.
So even though our children in special ed are entitled, by law, since 1973, to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE), JH wants the district to hand them the same amount of money they'd spend on any other child, then kick them out the door to find their own way. I'm not sure which is more repellent: JH's attitude or his ignorance. This man does NOT deserve a place on my town's school board.

Jennyalice made cry twice, in a good way. Once when she offered to do the overnight death match to sign Leo up for camp, and again when I told her I found out she was going to go sign up Leo because I couldn't go, even though she was refusing to do so for Jake because of the camp's refusal to revise sign up policies. Huh? And what an amazing friend. And Leo got in anyhow, seeing as the regional centers are no longer funding overnight camps and only people who can finagle self-pay can go.  Those are conflicted tears, people.

My kids are making me cry too, but not through their specific actions.

Leo is doing so well in so many areas that I'm tearing up with excitement over his potential. His teacher is pleased with him, his classroom staff is eager to soak up the training Supervisor M has been providing, and my son is excited to go to school every day.

He's been demonstrating his smarts in sneaky ways both there and at home, like when I present an array of familiar items and ask him what is missing, and he tells me. Or when I ask him to go get my car keys -- which I've never before pointed out to him, nor have I specifically shown him the drawer in which they live -- and he does, without hesitation. There's a lot more observation, processing, and complex thought going on in his beautiful head than he's able to demonstrate, and I look forward to further expressions of his smarts.

His tolerance keeps expanding -- he is willing to wear hats, leave on slightly damp clothes and even complete soaker shoes (he stepped in a creek at the farthest point of a woodland hike, I thought -- and even said -- GAME OVER, but he walked the two miles back to our car without complaining), he ate ten macadamia nuts and licked a chicken nugget.

I couldn't help crying today when Mali's teacher told me that while our girl has figured out the kindergarten routine and is "cute as a bug," now the biggest boy in her classroom is obsessed with her, and his attention is starting to become more and more physical (the teacher is ON it, so no comments needed). But my poor bit who is just starting to feel secure at home after months of carefully managed interactions with a formerly unpredictably violent and much larger autistic brother is now being physically harassed at school. After almost a year of telling her "we don't hit, Leo is still learning not to hit," another child is hitting her. All our talk about walking away or getting an adult to help evaporated the moment that boy made contact, because she walloped him right back. I'm not even angry with the boy or his family, because it honestly sounds like he might be one of our spectrum friends -- his attention to Mali is nothing if not perseveration -- I'm angry and sad that of all the little girls in the classroom, he had to pick one who could use a break from a bigger child's physical intimidation attempts.

And I did a milestone cry when Iz left for her first middle school dance last night.

4 comments:

  1. With all that going on, I can see how it's been a very emotional time. But it's mostly really great stuff. I am especially thrilled to read about Leo's cleverness— though I never doubted he had it in him considering the rest of his family! Yep, our boys see and take in SO MUCH MORE than they are able to tell us. You're doing such an incredible job at helping Leo tap into his abilities and coping skills.

    And that Jennyalice? Such a good and loving friend. We all need those in our lives.

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  2. Ok, hand over the Kleenex....... And I'd like to tell JH a thing or two.

    Several thousand yays! [sniff]

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  3. Now you're gonna make ME cry.

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