Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Kaylen Report

I am beyond happy to report that Kaylen is working really hard to stay in her class and part of school activities. I am impressed with how much faster we (well...she) are (is) moving than I feared. After her really awful day (not last Friday - the time before that) she was determined not to have to leave class to go to her safe place with Sandy and I'll be darned if she hasn't stuck to that. Even when she would start to spin out of control, she would turn down the offer to go to Sandy and would work really hard to settle herself down. Her teacher and the counselor both have praised how much quicker she has become at settling herself down and they can see how hard she is working on herself.

I have one very determined little girl. She is fighting so hard for herself.

Last Friday was a different story. She didn't go to Sandy but she screamed at her teacher that she was tired and didn't want to do anything and then she cried. Loudly and for a long time. I was out on the hall listening, hoping she would pull it together. When it became clear she could not, I went and found the counselor who went in to work with her. They let her lay down in the class library area to rest for a while and once she felt better, she rejoined the class. Everyone agreed that she had done well all week, it must have been really hard on her to work that hard and yes, she was probably exhausted.

I was praised for not going into the room so that Kaylen could learn to rely on other people to help calm her down. Damn hard to do though, let me tell you.

This week a different child has been attending school. She cried Monday and Tuesday when I said my goodbyes but pulled herself together within 10 minutes both days (her teacher sent me emails to let me know she was ok). Today she happily went to class and when I asked if I could come back for her "kid of the day" presentation all the kids had created, she told me "Oh mom. *sigh* I guess so." With an eye roll.

I almost cried from happiness!!!!!! Who knew that having your child *almost* reject you would feel so amazing! I am so happy for her. She has worked hard and has come such a distance from 3 weeks ago.

I no longer have to stay on campus all day. I leave after dropping her off and then I go back for lunch and recess go home again for a little more than an hour, and then return for second recess. I stay the rest of the afternoon (75 minutes) and work on my PTO stuff. Kaylen makes me pinky swear that I will be there and I would never break a promise. Soon, we'll start weaning more. Probably afternoon recess will be the first to go since it's only 15 minutes.

So now, I get to come back home in the morning and do all the things that I have neglected for two weeks. I have hit the job trail hard and I'm taking care of scheduling appointments for various things, trying to find ways to cut back expenses, checking into a good life insurance rate and soon I'll go in and have my overdue oil changed in my vehicle.

I have to say, it feels good to be working on finding a job again. It means that things are stabilizing and while Kaylen will most likely never be "issue free", I am learning how to handle the new journey we are on - and most importantly, so is she. The kids are getting into the routine of life with school, homework, chores and downtime and I am feeling like I have a little breathing room. Now if only the perfect job would land in my lap.

Here's hoping!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I know just how she feels

I received this picture in an email and when I first saw it, I said to myself "Yep - I know exactly how she feels." That is how I feel - weighed down by so many important things. I can't let one fall or someone will get hurt.

I hear you, Mama Possum. Boy oh boy do I hear you. One step at a time.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bench Revisted

Kaylen sat down on a bench this afternoon while we waited for Kelton and I was struck by a memory: Kaylen at age two sitting on that exact bench waiting for Kelton when he was in kindergarten. Wow. Time flies. Now she is the kindergartner.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chatty Casey

I've been chatty this weekend. It happens when I'm alone and stuck inside my head. Make sure you read all the way through......and did you notice the new header and the new scrapbook page? Oh yeah. I rocked it. :)

And Another One

This one gets to me,too. They were sooooo little. Where did the time go?

Feeling Nostalgic

I was just watching some of my slideshows I made a few years ago and I came across this one. Isn't my three year old Kaylen adorable? I miss her being three - it was a great time with her.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Loss Compounded

I'm sure I'm not alone in this and well...if I am, I will come to terms with it on my own so no need to point out you think I'm crazy. We'll just go with that as the "given" factor.

For me, new loss seems to trigger something that brings past losses right up to the surface. The losses, all piling on top of each other threatening to push me down. Pets that I've lost in years gone by, relationships that ended, a dead mother, lost friendships...the list goes on and on. The panic rises and I can feel it building as the hours go by.

Loss. Pain. Heartbreak. Disbelief. Denial. Longing.

The tears flow and it helps bring the panic to a level that is mostly manageable. Then the tears stop and slowly, it all all builds up again.

Loss. I hate it.

Kit is ColorFall by Shawna Clingerman

And They Called It City of Angels

Our Little Gray Dynamo

Yesterday, Lucy, our little gray dynamo of a cat, went to kitty heaven. After 12 years of being in our life, and being the top pet in our house, she is gone. It's a shock. Not that we didn't know she was sick and dying because we did. She went from approximately 13 pounds to 5.5lbs in what seemed like the blink of an eye. A couple weeks back, Dakota and I talked about how we would handle things when the time came.

Over the past couple days I could tell she was getting weaker and weaker though to her credit, she really fought hard to stay with us. Until yesterday. Yesterday morning she was out and about but was only taking a few steps before sitting down. One look at her and I knew we were close. I had been thinking all week that she would choose this weekend mostly because I am on my own this weekend. Dakota and the kids are going camping today and Marlene left town yesterday for a family event.

Luckily for all of us, I chose yesterday to leave the school grounds not just once but twice. It was the second time I was home that it was crystal clear that it was time. I called Dakota and, with tears from both of us, we set the plans into motion. Dakota called for an appointment while I returned to school for the second recess. We talked on the phone once the appointment was set. The plan was we didn't want the kids to know anything other than I came home and found Lucy (the kids have been prepped for the past 2 weeks that her time was coming) and Dakota came to take her body to the vet to be buried. Given all that the kids have going on right now, we couldn't put them through the pain of seeing her and having to say goodbye.

The appointment was set for 3:30. School was out at 2:50. So Dakota came over and gently picked up our very sick kitty and took her out of the house before the kids and I arrived home. My job was telling the kids and helping them through their pain.

When I told the kids I had something I needed to talk with them about, Kelton immediately said "Lucy is dead, isn't she." "Yes honey...she is." We talked, we cried, I cuddled them.

Kelton pulled himself together and them developed quite the sassy attitude. That little guys hides his pain and instead puts it out as anger. Kaylen's tears would come and go. I took the lead from them and let them talk about what they needed to talk about. We focused on the two cats and two dogs we still have here to love. How we love someone even after they go to heaven.

Dakota arrived back and we all cried some more (she told me the details of the visit. Even the vet agreed she was more than ready to go and she left this world very easily.) and then we packed up the kids and got them ready for their weekend with Dakota. Neither one really wanted to leave me but after a walk around the neighborhood with Dakota, they went off with smiles on their faces and about 20 promises from me that yes, I will be here when they get home on Sunday.

The house feels strange. Lucy was top animal and everyone knew it. The dogs even knew it which is why Maddie would try to upset Lucy and why Jordan wouldn't dare walk by Lucy if Lucy was stretched out in the hall. It was comical, really. A small gray cat running the house. She took on that role very early in her life and always held the title of Top Pet.

Today though everything is off kilter. No one knows who is in charge and it's evident in the way the cats and dogs are wandering around. It's so quiet - you wouldn't even know there were four animals in here with me.

Lucy. She was an amazing cat and we are so lucky to have had her with us all these years. She was a teeny tiny gray fluff ball when we adopted her from a shelter when she was 8 weeks old and she stole our hearts immediately. She was definitely more "Dakota's cat" (though she and I bonded very well in the past year) but she will be missed by all of us very, very much.

We love you, Lucy. I'm sure Apollo, Jaxon, Charlie and Taz were there to meet you.

Friday, September 24, 2010


Mimi brought up Kelton in her comment to my last post. No worries - he is not being lost in the shuffle. It is hard to give him equal time in the morning but he seems to understand that and instead of being upset and making it even more difficult for me, he tries his hardest to help Kaylen. It warms my heart to see him take her under his big brother wing and protect her in the only way he knows how - trying to tell her all about his school experiences and how school is fun and it's not scary to be away from me because I will always be there when they need me.

He is such a good big brother......when he wants to be. :)

Kelton is doing very well in school this year. All this teachers and specialists (music, PE, library, etc.) say that can see how much he has matured over the summer. He is doing very well in class and comes right home and does his daily homework. It is so nice not to struggle with him to get his homework done. As a result, Kaylen has taken to coming home and getting her homework done right away too. Sure makes the evenings less stressful.

Both Kelton and Kaylen have really gotten into building with Lego's. It's so much fun to hear them building and playing together. It's a good quiet activities that allows for them to interact and really talk to each other. I love it. I love that the TV isn't on as much and the DS games aren't going as much. The house feels calmer than it has in years....except the morning parts.

So no worries about Kelton being lost in the Kaylen stuff. I know exactly what is going on with him, too. :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Things with Kaylen are moving at a snails pace but they are moving. Sorta. Some moments. Some seconds.

Even though I know everyone who has experience with this says it will take time, my anxiety is getting to me over it all so I have made an appointment with her new pediatrician to see if we can pin down an official DX so we can start walking the path that needs to be walked to help her with her incredibly high anxiety. Quite different than what I expected to have to be working on. I figured sensory stuff was going to be the big dog but as it turns out, the thing you don't think will be a big deal turns into the mountain you have to figure our how to climb straight up. With no good foot holds to help you.

Ironically, her biggest trigger right now appears to be a lack in trust that I will come back and be where I say I will be when I say I will be there.

Never, ever, ever in her entire life have I not been where I said I would be when I said I would be there. Even Kelton tried to get her to understand that she could trust me and count on me. She can tell me that I have never let her down that way but emotionally? Emotionally she doesn't believe a word I say.

It's draining for me. The morning intense meltdowns, the swinging back and forth between ok and absolutely not ok. It's a lot. My sister said "You wouldn't hesitate to take her to the doctor if she broke her arm and you shouldn't be hesitating now. This is no less real."

Real indeed. Surreal definitely.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Today started out with so much promise. Yesterday, Kaylen handled the morning part of the school day like a pro. I met her for lunch, as was the plan, and then spent the afternoon in and out of the room as I worked on the never ending PTO fundraising projects.

This morning we had our usual "I don't wanna go to school." comments but we were off and running on time. We walked Kelton to his room and then off to Kaylen's room we went. She took care of all the things she needed to take care of and I told her I was going to go start my work and I would meet her for lunch. She gave me a kiss and off she went to hang out with her friends

I worked on PTO stuff and when I came out of the room to ask one of the secretaries a question, she gave the universal sign to back away which I knew meant Kaylen was in her safe place behind the desk. I went back into my room feeling sad and defeated.

Soon enough I saw her happily heading back to class so off I went to get the info I needed and to check my mailbox for more items. I was gone about 10 minutes and on my way back, I saw Kaylen sitting back behind Sandy. DAMN. I waved at her with a cheerful, confident look and went back to my work hoping she owuld pull it together and go back to class.

I received a personal call on my cell so I went outside to take the call. About 15 minutes later the school counselor came up to me, clearly needing to talk. I ended my call. Kaylen was really struggling and what did I want done about it.

We talked for a few minutes and I decided that I would go in and talk with her and see if I could get her to rejoin her class with the promise I would meet her in her classroom on 15 minutes to go to lunch with her.

I did just that and then I took her to rejoin her class and then I met her for lunch. I sat on a bench at recess while she ran all over the place with friends playing. I had some nice conversations with a few other children but mine would just wave from a distance as she played.

Ok, I thought. We're getting somewhere.

I hung out in her room for a while after lunch and then I left to go do a bit more of my own work. I wasn't gone more than 25 minutes or so when I started my way back down to the kindergarten room. And there she was. behind Sandy's desk sobbing hysterically.

I swear to God it's like a knife through my heart.

I went over to her and we had a heart to heart about us both having jobs to do, blah blah blah. I gathered up my crying child and her bear and we headed back to her class, which had just gone to recess. I took her outside and told her to go play with her friends.

She did and then I spent the rest of the time (an hour) in the classroom helping. I left briefly to go get my personal belongings from the PTO room and on the way I noticed the school psychologist was in her office so I stopped quickly to talk with her. It's not really in her realm of things to do but after hearing what I said, she offered to stop into the room next Monday when she is back in the school to watch Kaylen and see what is setting her off. Hopefully by then, things will have settled down (they are moving 7 kids to a new teacher tomorrow which will take her class size from 26 to 19) and I will be keeping myself busy in the staff lounge during the day reading up on weight loss information. A girl can dream, right?

So - the upshot is, she made it through the day but it was stop and go. I am mentally and emotionally exhausted from the roller coaster I have been on for 2.5 weeks (which feels sooooooo much longer) and I am really ready for a magic bullet to make this all ok for her. If only I could find the magic potion.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fighting Back My Own Demons

Kaylen isn't the only one with anxiety issues (brother and sister of mine, you can stop rolling your eyes. I know you know.). I struggle with my own demons constantly and today is one of those days when I feel like life is getting the better of me. The stress of Kaylen's issues, the kids fighting, the emotions running incredibly high for Kaylen, issues with the main all feels overwhelming today.

Oh how I wish today was a stress-less day. Ok, to be fair, I wish my life was, for the most part, stress-less. I'd give a lot to have regular every day worries of "When will I have to to fill the gas tank tomorrow." or "I wonder if I should look into blackheads treatment". Instead of stressing out about how I will afford to fill the gas tank or whether or not my child is going to sink further into her issues or find a way through them. Instead of worrying about the computer having something seriously wrong with it and how I will be able to afford to fix that, I'd rather worry about how to get the cat vomit stain out of the carpet. Instead of worry that one of our cats is living what is most likely her last weeks and there is nothing I can do about it at this point, I'd rather worry about fixing the fence to keep the cats inside the yard instead of escaping through the hole in the fence (which, I actually successfully dealt with two weeks ago).

I want small worries. It feels like all I've had for well over a year are big worries. Worries that threaten to consume me. Saying it's better to "live in the moment" is great and all but I don't need the future biting me in the butt because I chose to ignore things until the moment it is do or die.

Life. I'm ready for it to be easier.


My head is spinning already and it isn't even 9am. I've already had to deal with a little girl who is stressing about school tomorrow and I'm sure that is just the first of many times today. In a while, a friend I haven't seen in over a year will be coming by for a visit on her way back to the Seattle area. My house? Yeah...not all that clean. In years past I would have been killing myself cleaning the house. This time? I'm still in bed. A quick straightening up will have to do. Cleaning the house doesn't even come close to the top of the priority list these days. The house is picked up, don't get me wrong. But deep cleaning? Not gonna happen at this point. :)

Yesterday we took the kids and went to Costco. That was a test in patience for me. It was still very busy and crazy and were the kids. They found a place where the rain was dripping through the roof and all three stood there laughing as the drips hit them. That was a good moment.

Marlene needed to get new contacts so we all hung out by the optical area and there was a huge eye chart on the wall that the kids started testing their eyes with. It's always shocking to realize how awful Kaylen's vision is without her glasses. And she must agree because she wears her glasses all day every day willingly.

We walked up and down the aisles...through blankets and pillows, toothbrushes and
men vitamin and got all the things we needed. From there we headed over the the mall and the new Star Wars store. The kids each picked out a lego Star Wars person and then it was off to the food court for dinner before heading home and putting kids to bed (Andrew went to his other mom since Marlene is working all day today).

It was a crazy, wild, frustrating, wonderful afternoon. Here's hoping for a calm Sunday. I could use it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


My emotions are running on turbo. I thought today would be a relief from the stress of it all but really? How can I stop thinking about my girl and how to make school easier for her. Everyone says I am doing the right things but I just feel like there is so much judgement being cast upon me and my daughter who can't "suck it up" like everyone else.

Probably my own projection but still....I feel it.

Yesterday was a tough day for Kaylen. She left her class at 11:00 after completely losing it and I couldn't get her to go back so she hung out with me while I worked hard and fast on our PTO fundraising sale processing. The tears kept flooding my eyes because I feel like I've somehow let my child down. I somehow didn't give her the tools she needs to fight her demons and well...I probably contributed to it all by being overprotective of her because of her pallid breath holding and sensory issues. I feel guilty and I can't show it to her. All I can do is put on a happy face, excitedly talk up school and get her to a place where she can handle being there for 6.5 hours.

If only my stress could be bottled into weight loss pills that work. Wouldn't that be awesome?! Instead? Instead I flip back and forth between stress eating and not eating.

I miss my happy, secure girl.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Kindergarten is Exhausting

I kid you not. I am exhausted. No - I don't *really* think it's the kindergarten work that is making me crazy tired, it's all the stress and worry and well...just being at the school for hours and hours every day. Today I came home and ate way too many sour jelly bellies (which I don't even like) because that what I do. I stress eat. So by the time this is all said and done, I'll sure to be looking for weight loss supplements that actually work. And no. I'm not kidding.

Kaylen made it four hours today. Which, honestly, is 30 minutes more than Kelton's kindergarten days were and I remember how tired he would be after getting home. She did not, however, make it very long without me being in visual range. I'm am bummed about that because I was hoping to double up the progress with both longer days and less time around me.

I seem to be in a state of denial.

At 12:05pm, with 25 minutes left before early release and reaching our goal, she turned to me in a panic and said "I want to go home now." I didn't want her to fail at her goal so we agreed to get Fuzzy the bear and head down to her safe spot for a few minutes. I settled her in with her bear and gum and I left her to go take care of some things. When I got back, she was ready to go back to class. Of course it was time to get coats and backpacks BUT most importantly, she met her goal and can say she made it four hours.

I'm going to stick with four hours for tomorrow too with hopefully more time out of the room for me. I might just stick with 4 hours through Friday so she can have a rock solid block of time that she knows she can do. I do worry about what she is missing but I know she is a smart child who will catch up easily and while math is important, her mental health is much more so.

Now it's time to get my chores done, search for jobs and suck down the rest of my pot of coffee from this morning. I'm pretty sure bedtime for me can't come soon enough tonight.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tuesday, Day 7 of School

So....where was I?

Kaylen had a VERY successful day yesterday and stayed 70 minutes without tears (once we got there. TONS of tears beforehand though) and without me being in the room the entire time. She was happy and very proud of herself and set the goal for two hours for today. Everyone at school was happy for the success and thrilled that she was willing to double the time so quickly.

Dakota and I later met with the principal, teacher and counselor yesterday and came up with some plans to put into action. Mostly, they let us take the lead but did asked questions about her SI, her early days dealing with it, the new anxiety piece that we've discovered (but can trace back to her infancy as well). It was nice to be listened to, respected and asked how we thought it should be handled and together, we all came up with a plan.

Basically, we have built in an "escape hatch" for her. The "escape hatch" works like this: She picked out a stuffed buddy to take to school. It sits on a shelf behind the teachers desk. When she feels the need for a break from the noise and confusion, she goes to get her bear. The teacher will then send her down to her "safe person" which Kaylen choose to be one of the secretaries. Sandy has a special place for her to sit and gives Kaylen a piece of gum that I supplied. (Chewing helps reset the nervous system) She can sit there for as long as she needs. When she is feeling better, she spits out her gum and returns to class.

I ran her through it all this morning and Sandy showed her a special place to sit and showed her exactly where she is keeping Kaylen's gum. We then went to class where she did great! I stayed for about 15 minutes and then I told her I had PTO things to do and she gave me permission to leave. I was gone for well over an hour. When I started back to her room, Sandy told me that she had been done once and stayed for 5 minutes. She sat down, chewed a piece of gun and seemed much more calm than when she arrived. She then headed back to class.

I went down to the room where she was working on reading. She had such a huge smile when she saw me. I pulled her aside for a quick minute, gave her a hug and told her how proud I was that she squished her brain bug and took control to make herself feel safe. She then went back to work and I went back out to the office.

At the two hour mark I went back into the room and they were getting ready to go to "walking club" which basically takes them on a nice walk before lunch. She looked at me and said "Mom? I'm ready to go now." SHE MADE HER TWO HOUR GOAL!!!!!

I am so proud of her and she is proud of herself.

Tomorrow will be interesting. She and I are planning to make it to the early release time of 12:50 which would make it a little more than double what she was there for today. That does take into account walking club, lunch and recess so I hoping like heck she can make it.

This is quite the unexpected journey she and I are on but so far, we are seeing success which is a very good thing.

And now - just for fun; here are two pictures I took last night. As you can see, Kaylen climbed a tree in the yard. She climbed higher than I could reach. This is not a fearful child by nature - and we all know that she can do anything she sets her mind to. Thankfully she loves school and wants to be there so hopefully this rocky part will be short lived. She's an amazing child. Simply amazing.

Monday, September 13, 2010


We did our best to prepare Kaylen for school today. We had agreed that we would have here there only one hour and then I would pick her up. There were many tears over the weekend but we just kept assuring her that she was going to be ok and that her brain bug was playing tricks on her and that she had to learn to squish the brain bug.

This morning started out ok. She took a shower with me but then went back to my bed and hid under the covers. I asked her what she wanted for breakfast and she started in with "I don't want to go to school." I just said "I know you don't but it's what we are going to do today. You are going for one hour and then I will bring you back home."

I went out to take care of Kelton and get his breakfast and make his lunch. She came out and then flipped out completely when I turned on the blender to make fruit smoothies for Kelton and me. From there it was downhill all the way but I couldn't just sit and comfort her because I had Kelton to take care of and things to do to get everyone ready to leave.

Dakota arrived as planned and took over Kaylen and got her calmed down. Until it was suggested that she get dressed. Finally I said "What is going to make this doable for you?" "Momnmy in the room with me." Fine. Done. I told her I would sit in the back of the room for the hour.

She got dressed and ready to go and off we went.

We got her checked in and settled at an activity without any tears. Dakota said goodbye (we will be meeting with a team at 12:45 this afternoon to figure out a game plan (and if all of this works out like I hope, I'm going to need to get assorted gift baskets to give out to the team as a big thank you.) and I took my seat in the back of the room.

She seemed completely fine. Calm and in control. I hedged my bet and walked over and said "You are doing really well so I'm going to go do the PTO stuff and then I will be back." She gave me permission to be gone 5 minutes and I left.

I was actually gone 20 minutes and when I got back, I snuck in and sat in the back and watched her. To see her, you would never know how stressed out she has been. She was participating and writing and doing all the things she was supposed to do. I honestly believe it was because she knew she only had to get through an hour.

She actually hit 1 hour 10 minutes before another activity started. I asked if she wanted to stay through that activity or if she was ready to go. Gratefully she looked and me and said "I'm ready to go."

But....she was SO proud of herself! I was so proud of her! She squished her brain bug for the morning and she could not have been a happier girl. She even suggested that tomorrow she try for two hours.

I'm thinking I can be in and out of the room and see how she does but I know her confidence is pretty high right now.

Today beats the pants off of last week. She is happy. I am happy. And later Dakota and I meet with the team to see how we can keep her happy and secure and confident.

And yes, Kelton is doing well. He has trying to hard to help his sister get through this. A better big brother she couldn't ask for.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Disorders Galore

So - all my thoughts the last week have been consumed with how to get Kaylen through whatever it is we need to get her through. I've picked up some books that people recommended on both sensory integration disorder and anxiety disorder in children.

I was knocked off balance to find out that she fits both profiles - which, as it turns out, is fairly common for SI kids. I had Dakota look through the books last night and she agrees that she sees Kaylen in both disorders. Things we never really thought about after we got her through whatever it was she would freak out about tie in perfectly with the extreme anxiety part. SI tends to set anxiety into motion.

For the most she isn't an anxious and scared child. It's isolated to situations which seem tied into her sensory issues. The chaos of school sets her anxiety into high gear which then feeds the SI issues which then feeds the anxiety issue.

Basically, it's become more complex and it's going to take a team of us to work her through all the things that is making school pure hell for her. The saddest part in all of this is how much she really, really, really wants to be able to go to school. It seems so cruel.

Instead of focusing on finding a job and taking care of everything under the sun that needs to be done (like getting insurance quotes to see if I can save money on car and home insurance), I will be focusing on how to get Kaylen to a place where she is ok.

Between Dakota, Kaylen's teacher, the OT guy, the counselor, the principal, Kaylen and me, I know we can figure something out. We have to find a way to let her succeed and enjoy school. She's been looking forward to going to school since she was knee high to a grasshopper.

This is so not what I expected. I was prepared for clothing issues, I was prepared for pallid breath holding syndrome. I was in no way prepared for what is happening. And I know neither was Kaylen.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sensory Issues

Ok all of you people who either have or have a child with.... or heck...even know someone who has or has a child with sensory issues (SI): I need your help.

I have not been this befuddled with Kaylen since she was newborn and then again when she was two.

She is being referred to OT and PT through the school district but I need help NOW.

If you have experience, please email me at


Thursday, September 09, 2010

My Sweet Baby Girl

I'm heartbroken over the trouble Kaylen is having with school. I honestly thought she would have no trouble at all and it would easily become life. Instead, it is ripping both her and my hearts into pieces. I say and do the right things. I'm upbeat and positive and still.......

Today they had to peel her off me screaming and crying. I told her I loved her and would see her soon and left. I could hear her screams echoing down the halls. Oh how I wanted to run back and grab her in my arms. I kept walking.

I worked on the PTO stuff I needed to get done and then went to the front desk and stood there. One of the secretaries said "They just called the counselor in for Kaylen." Tears sprang to my eyes. This is killing me.

I said "What if she keeps crying?" (apparently she cried almost the entire day yesterday, too) I was told they would call me to come get her. To which I replied "But then we have to go through all of this again tomorrow only it will be ramped up because she will know she can come home. That's not an ideal outcome." Both secretaries nodded their heads.


I gathered up my stuff and Kelton (he is claiming a sore throat and when we looked in his throat it is red and the secretaries said sore throats, cough and fever is going around already. Awesome.) and walked by the kindergarten window. I saw Kaylen working with the counselor and two of the adults looked at me, gave thumbs up and I waved goodbye.

This sucks so much. I really wanted this to be easy for her. People at the school are surprised she is having such a hard time given that she knows the staff and the school inside out and backwards. Add me to that list. I never saw this coming but hey - that seems to be a common issue with me; I never seem to see things coming at me.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

She can see clearly now!

Look who got her glasses today! She was beyond funny at the eye doctor's office when they put them on her. It was so obvious that she could SEE and she was delighted! She has been spending time this afternoon looking over the top of them (I need to go back this evening and have them fitted better) saying "That looks really tiny! Now it's really big! Hey Mom - you have a tiny head and now it's bigger!" She can see clear across the living room and tell you what someone is wearing in a photograph. This is all VERY exciting for her and me. I never realized how bad her eyes were but today? It's crystal clear how much she needed these glasses. She goes back in about 4 months for a change in the lens or sooner if she starts complaining that the glasses aren't as good as they were.

A Haiku

Fall is coming soon.
I rush inside to get warm.
Leaves are falling down.

-By Kelton Duncan

Kaylen Revisited

Seriously? How did she get to be five so fast? She was this little just last week - I swear.

Seems like yesterday.......

How can they both be in school already? *sigh* Mommy is having a hard day today, can you tell?

The First Early Release Wednesday

In our school district, every Wednesday is an early release day for the grade schools which means, in a nutshell, I get my babies home early!!!!!!!! In case you are wondering, I am not a fan of the school year. I miss my kids and they seems to grow so much while they are gone during the day.

Anyway - I'm thankful for the early release day today because I know Kaylen can make it through the 4 hours which will help her feel like she can do this whole kindergarten thing. To be honest, her issues with school have caught me off guard mainly because she has been a fixture at the school since she was under 2 years of age. She knows her way around, she knows most of the staff, she knows the rules, etc. We have eaten lunch in the lunchroom many, many times over the years. Played on the playground at recess more times than I can count. I have zero worries about her and school. Even with the full-day schedule they started this year I knew that, she out of either of my kids, would be able to tackle it.

So how could it start out so wrong?

She is scared of the bus driver because the first day on the way home she was yelling at the kids causing trouble (not my two, thankyouverymuch). It completely traumatized both kids and I had tears galore to deal with. Perhaps the microphone was broken? Starting out on the tough side so the kids know she is in charge? I didn't know. I told them we would give her a week or so to settle in and see how it was going and if she was still yelling, I'd talk with the school (well...the transportation office but whatever...).

Then Kaylen had two days off. The bus driver thing was handled on Friday when parents came to the bus stop to see if all the kids were complaining. They all were. So - all the parents approached the driver once the kids were on the bus and asked what was taking place. Her microphone had been broken but it was fixed and she was sure everything would calm down. She even ended up apologizing to the kids that afternoon, I was told by Kelton. There have been no more complaints but Kaylen is still leery.

Yesterday, my very excited girl got dressed and ready and was eager to go. I talked with Kelton and he would walk her to her room before going to his (he has to walk right past it on the way to his). Kids enter classrooms through doors from the outside of the school. I kissed them both, reminded Kelton and got them on the bus. I then got busy with job hunting.

Around 10:30, I headed over to the school to take care of PTO stuff and then go run some errands. Just as I park, I see the kindergarten class on their way to lunch. As I walk past Kaylen's teacher she said "Kaylen had a rough morning. She cried through all of it. I even had Mrs. Q come in and try to talk with her. She's already in the lunchroom if you want to go see her."

I went over to her table and she looked at me, smiled and then tears sprang to her eyes. I sat next to her and got her eating her lunch and talking with me. As it turns out, she got lost. As they got off the bus Kelton said "You know where to go from here, right?" She said yes and off Kelton ran to be with his friends (and I can't blame him. I take responsibility for this one.). With all the kids and chaos, she got turned around and ended up at a locked door and didn't know what to do. She called for Kelton but he was too far ahead to hear her. She just stood there and started to cry.

The PE teacher found her and walked her to class but apparently didn't tell anyone where he found her so she just walked into the room in tears and then wouldn't talk with anyone. Poor baby. Traumatized on her second day of school.

I left Kaylen for a minute and went over and told her teacher what had happened and she said "I wonder why she wouldn't tell us? We could have helped her to make sure it didn't happen again." I don't know why - all I know is she was a mess.

I went back to her and told her that tomorrow (which is today) I would follow the bus, meet her as she got off and walk her to her room.

As it turned out, I ended up spending the rest of the day in her class helping her teacher (the class is full with 26 kids so they will be hiring aides in the short term until the figure out of they can get another teacher. Yes yes - it would be a great job and I want it more than anything but there are several roadblocks we are trying to work with) and then I took her room at the end of the day. Kelton opted to ride the bus with his friends.

It was touch and go this morning but I got her on the bus and I drove over to the school to meet her. While I waited for the bus I noticed there were no adults meeting the buses as in years past so I talked with the principal to see why. He didn't seem to have answers but said he would look into having the older grades meet the buses to help the kindergartners. He then waited until Kaylen got off the bus, introduced himself to her and said he was sorry about what happened yesterday and if she ever got lost again, look for him in front of the school and he will help her. (And I again pointed out the the flag pole is in the front of the school. All she has to do is look for it and go in the main door.) It was a nice gesture. (Our regular principal is on maternity leaves until next month.) I walked her to her room and with tears in her eyes she hugged me goodbye.I went and took care of PTO stuff and then stopped by the window to her room to see how she was doing. She was engaged and seemed fine so I left the school.

I want her to know she can do this....and at the same time, my Mama Bear instincts are kicked up into full protection mode. I have to let her succeed so she knows that she can do this but man oh man is it hard to walk away from her.

She is, after all, my baby bear.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Weekend of Conversations

It's been the weekend for intense conversations with the kids. Last night Kelton and I had the opportunity to go on a date together to the Spaghetti Factory and the "How are babies made?" conversation came up. It's been a topic sitting in the background between him and Dakota for a couple weeks now but I guess because he had me alone, he thought he'd just go for it. It was interesting and I think I answered his questions pretty well. I text'd Dakota to let her know and she was sad that she missed out. I relayed that to Kelton and he said "Tell her not to worry. I'm sure I'll have a lot more questions." My kid cracks me up. :)

Tonight we were on our way back from Oregon back into Washington and we noticed the southbound lanes were a mess. It didn't take long to figure out there was a jumper on the bridge. ( Suicide threat closes I-205 southbound bridge) This, of course, spurred the conversation of why someone would want to jump. Hmmm...not sure I was ready to tackle that one but ready or not - there it was.

So I told them about how some people are so sad that they see no other way out of their pain but to kill themselves. We talked about what that kind of pain must feel like and then Kelton hit me with "You've never thought about killing yourself, right Mom?"

I swallowed hard. I had a choice: lie and possibly lay the ground work for the kids feeling lost and alone when and if they ever feel that way or tell the truth.

I choose the truth.

"Yes." I said, "I have felt like that. I think everyone feels that way at some time in their live but the thing is, feeling sad like that doesn't last very long and even though it feels like you will always be that sad, you really won't be. So hurting yourself isn't really a good choice. Talking with me, your mom, or someone you trust is a much better way to go. We can help you see that you won't always be that sad and we can help you feel better again. That's what all those police officers are doing for that man; trying to help him feel like he won't always be as sad as he feels right now.

They seemed to quietly digest it. And I fully expect this conversation to resurface in the near future.

Making the decision to be truthful about things in my past, when they come up, is what I have always said I will do. I just didn't expect it to be so soon.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


The house across the street from me is a really nice blue. It's a nice color to look at each and every time I look out the front window. Then yesterday I noticed it. A four foot section of beige painted near their garage.

Beige? Oh dear Lord, they are going to paint their house beige? That can't be. It just can't. The colors of houses on that side of the street are beige, gray blue, beige, blue (the neighbor across the street), beige, darker beige, gray blue, gray blue. Notice how many boring beige houses there are?

They were outside yesterday afternoon so I asked "Are you going to be painting?" (You know me - always pointing out the obvious.) Yep - they are. I said "So you chose beige?" "Yes - we are tired of sticking out like a sore thumb. We wanted to blend in better."

WHAT?!?! I couldn't believe it. Really? Beige.

Boring beige. Wow. No worries about sticking out now. Maybe I should just call that side of the street "Beige Lane". Ugh.

Saturday, September 04, 2010


When Kelton was a baby Dakota and I talked about how when he was bigger, we wanted to be the house were the kids hung out so we could make sure Kelton was always safe. We'd be "the cool parents" and kids would want to hang out at the house.

Fast forward 8plus years and for the last three days the knocks on the front door have been increasing. "Can we play with Kelton?" Oh sure - come on in.

I currently have 5 children running around the house; 4 boys and Kaylen.

I have to say "What the hell were we thinking?!?!?!"

Actually - I'm glad that Kelton has friends who want to come hang out and play with him and I'm glad I get to keep an eye on the shenanigans but WOW. It's noisy. Really noisy.

Another hour to get through and then it's time to send the friends on home. Though I am sure, like last night, they will check in with their parents and show back up on the front porch within minutes.

Sanity? Yeah I have no hope of ever seeing that again.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Pizza and Movie Night Recap


Seriously. I had the best of intentions. I swear I did. Pizza and movie night with five kids while three moms talked, drank and enjoyed life.


Not so much.

It was more like pizza and the wild bunch on crack. I gave up on the movie about 15 minutes in since they were bouncing off the living room walls and screaming so loud my ears were ringing. After I shut off the TV I heard "Can we go outside and play?"

"YES YES YES!!! GO!!" was my answer.

So out they all went. I'm sure the neighborhood thanks me. It was only two hours of time but man - I think I've aged 15 years.

Next time? It's just the moms. :)

Individual Health Plan

Kaylen starting school brings with it special concerns for her health and safety. This, of course, calls for MUCH faith on my part. Yesterday the school nurse and I worked out Kaylen's Individual Health Plan for both her mild sensory disorders and her Pallid Breath Holding Spells.

I feel better knowing that there are copies of the plan with every adult who will have Kaylen in their care and another copy sitting at the front desk. The upshot is; if it happens at school, they are calling 911 immediately and then me and then Dakota.

I have to say, as a mother to a child with medical concerns, sending them off to school is it's own special hell and challenge. Not unlike leaving her in the care of a babysitter. I can't wait for the day when we can say "She used to have that but she has finally outgrown it!" Until then, I just have to go on faith.

Party Central

Tonight will be party central at the house. Right now the plan is pizza and movie night (well...the Disney Channel premiere of Camp Rock 2) with 3 adults and 5, maybe 6, kids. Definitely five kids though spread in age from 3 to 10.

For the moms? There will be adult beverages flowing. Can you blame us? :)

It's actually really great to see the kids social circle enlarging where it isn't just the three of us as it has been for the past 5 years (Four while Dakota was in school and one while we adjusted to our new lives). For me, it's great to have adults to hang out with as I was pretty isolated raising small children with high needs in earlier years. It's nice to witness the rebuilding of my own life.

Sure, I still have a ways to go before this life is completely mine and runs independently but I have faith that one of these days soon a job will fall into place. It just has to with all the applying I have been doing on a daily basis. (I read a news article this morning that said employers are starting to hire again so hopefully that means good things for me.)

So tonight we will celebrate the end of summer with the loudness of children enjoying life. There is nothing better than the sounds of happy children.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

School: Day 2

Thanks to a program called Smart Start, I have Kaylen home with me until Tuesday. Smart Start is a program in which they have small groups of kindergartners start over the course of three days. This gives them time to get to know their teacher, the rules of the school and where things are located. It's a great way to go, in my opinion, because it makes it so much easier for this mom. :)

I think the only way I got through yesterday was knowing I would have her with me today. :) I'm used to Kelton being in school but Kaylen has been my constant sidekick while he has been gone. Both of them gone is just not right.

Yesterday, on the first day of school, it rained like crazy until afternoon when the sun came out. Temps stayed in the high 60's. Today though it is already shorts and flip flop time. It's supposed to be in the mid-80's. So yesterday I sent off my kids to protective clothing to keep them dry and today Kelton took off wearing shorts and a t-shirt. The weather is crazy.

This morning Kaylen and I were over at the school to get the first fundraiser of the year ready to go. Thanks for the helping hands of 4 other parents, we knocked it out in about 90 minutes which is a huge accomplishment. And that included delivering everything to classrooms.

Now we are home and Kaylen is playing while I catch up on stuff and look for jobs. Really? All I want to do is go cuddle my girl for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The First Day of School

Well. It's almost over now but today was the first day of school. Kelton woke early, very excited about his day but little Miss Kaylen needed to be woken and she was not excited. She was quiet and reserved and then completely lost it while eating breakfast.

She didn't want to go. She didn't want to be away from me for so long. I reminded her that she had been away from me for whole weekends to which she replied "But I always had a mom with me!" My poor little girl was beyond all reason. I text'd Dakota and she called but it didn't help. I finally picked up my baby girl and carried her to my bed where I cuddled her and talked softly until the tears stopped. She quietly whispered "I think I'd feel better if I could take a buddy with me."


"You can!" I told her. Let's pick out someone special and you can keep them in your backpack for the whole day. She picked out a little stuffed turtle, placed it in her pack and ran off to get dressed. Crisis averted!

Phew! I have to say, it's hard for this mommy to say and do all the things I know I need to say and do to make them feel safe when really all I want to do is pick them up, cuddle them and keep them from what scares them. I do the right things and say all the right things - but inside, I hate it.

Soon enough Dakota arrived for the annual first day of school pictures. In no time at all, the bus arrived and they were off. We followed to the school to get them settled but Kelton is waaaaaay too cool for that now (just another sign that we raised him well and he is an independent kid who is doing ok) and when we went to walk Kaylen, she bounced ahead and said "I'll walk myself, too."

"Oh no you won't!" I said, as I took her hand. She settled in quickly and we were on our way. With tears streaming down MY face. *sigh* it was hard to walk away from my baby.

Dakota dropped me back at the house and we talked about how fast they have grown. She left for work and I took a bit to have a good cry.

A while later I was out and about so I drove by the school. I saw Kaylen's teacher taking the kids to the music room so I pulled into the parking lot. I was able to wave at Kaylen who looked so happy....and so big! And then I drove around and caught up with her teacher 9who I know well). I rolled down the window and called her name. She came over and I asked how Kaylen was doing and she said "She's doing great! Did you think she wouldn't?" I recounted the morning meltdown and she said "No - if you hadn't told me I would have had no idea. She seems very happy and is helping other kids learn to sit criss-cross applesauce. She even raises her hand to talk. I just need her to learn not to talk just because she put her hand up." :) That's my girl! :)

I was greatly relieved to know she was doing so well. I can't wait until the bus pulls up in 15 minutes so I can hug them both and hear all about their first day!