Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bumblebee status update

Bumblebee’s case manager called recently to say that the state-required 3-year evaluation would be due this year, but “he spoke with the school, things are going well, and they all agree that they don’t need an evaluation on Bumblebee.” I called back and said that we don’t think things are going well and we would evaluations in several areas.


Bumblebee’s grades in his four main subjects are C’s and D’s, and even those classes are watered down not as challenging as mainstream courses. We would like an Academic Evaluation of his strengths and weaknesses with suggestions for improvement. For example, should we be working more on Basic Skills, functional academics, and life skills?


Bumblebee’s handwriting is very poor. We are not concerned whether his handwriting is print or script, but it should be functional and legible.
Bumblebee spends much of each day in repetitive self-stimming activities (clapping, leg jiggling, echoing, singing, shouting out, etc.). Bumblebee’s Developmental Pediatrician has suggested that Bumblebee would benefit from a sensory diet. What kinds of things can we do at home and at school to calm him down?


Bumblebee’s speech is still hard to understand, and he still doesn’t understand many of the pragmatics of speech. Unfortunately, Bumblebee’s speech deteriorates quickly when he is frustrated, just when we need to understand him the most. We would like a Speech Evaluation with suggestions and exercises for improvement.


Bumblebee is easily frustrated, and his frustration quickly escalates to violence. Bumblebee has broken many things at home, including punching holes in walls. We would like an Emotional Evaluation with suggestions and techniques for improvement.


Bumblebee is so far behind his age peers that he can not make friends. His age peers do not return his phone calls, and younger friends are now outgrowing him. We would like a Social Evaluation of his strengths and weaknesses with suggestions and techniques for improvement.


Do we need an IQ Evaluation to help plan his future?
What is available to Bumblebee at his school, or otherwise, post-12th grade?

Stay tuned.
Love, the Mominator

Friday, April 6, 2012


A few weeks ago, Parish Council Woman asked us if Bumblebee could be an Apostle for Holy Thursday’s Washing of the Feet. I reminded her that Bumblebee has autism. She said that she knows that, and she was trying to get more diversity in our Apostles. Oh, and she forgot to mention that she would like Gadget Guy to be with him as another Apostle. She’s seen how well Gadget Guy gets Bumblebee.

We were extremely nervous very honored.

In the meantime, the Sacristan asked us if Pink Ballerina could be an Altar Server. I asked if he wanted Princess Imagination as well. He said no, he was recruiting senior servers only because Princess Imagination is really too small to be holding the heavy books or heavy candles for that length of time.  I also asked the Sacristan if he could warn remind tell every one who would be working with the Apostles that Bumblebee has autism. I gave him a few hints: Bumblebee works best with simple directions, no figures of speech, no rushing.

Thursday came. Bumblebee was having a tough day (maybe because school was on a half schedule?).  We had him take an early shower, and we had an early dinner. Gadget Guy took Bumblebee over to the church early. They had some guy time together while waiting.

The procession began. Bumblebee and Gadget Guy got separated by a pew. The prayers began. Bumblebee got fidgety. A lady Apostle worked with him. The readings began. Bumblebee got more fidgety. The other Apostles helped, some room was made, and Gadget Guy was able to slip over next to Bumblebee.

Finally it was time. The first half of the Apostles went up in pairs. One Apostle snuck out of order to make sure Bumblebee would later pair up with Gadget Guy. Feet were washed, Bumblebee watched.

The second half of the Apostles went up in pairs. Bumblebee and Gadget Guy were the first pair; Gadget Guy was seated right next to Bumblebee.

And then the miracle happened.
Bumblebee was just a regular Apostle who got his feet washed.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Got the results of Pink Ballerina’s most recent lab tests…m

The nurse reports that everything looks normal, throat culture was negative for Strep and Pink Ballerina seems to be recovering well from the Epstein-Barr virus.

Me: Epstein-Barr? You mean she had mono? When did she have mono?

Nurse: Sometime after the October 11, 2011 tests and before this round of tests. There's no treatment other than rest. The mono can still make her feel tired and it can reactivate when she gets run down.

Me: OK, then, good to know.

So on top of everything else, Pink Ballerina had mono along the way. Maybe when her friend had mono? We’ll never know if one infected the other, or if both got it from another child. It doesn’t really matter.

And how did we miss mono? I guess it was just mixed in with all those dizzy and tired spells. We know that the Norovirus recently went through our school, and that may be what sent us to the doctor’s office last week.

Never a dull moment.

Love, the Mominator

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mommy pride for my empathetic daughter...m

Princess Imagination has been a very, very good friend to Orange, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s last spring. Princess Imagination helps Orange in social situations and includes Orange in everything. Princess Imagination really “gets” Orange, especially O’s (many!!) sensory issues, and helps her through them.

Yesterday we gave Orange a ride to a birthday party. Orange’s mom insisted on brushing Orange’s hair right before we left. Orange totally freaked out (running, screaming, arms flapping). Princess Imagination was able to calm her down.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Momma Bear lost her temper this morning...m

Each week, the fifth graders are required to read at least 75 minutes, log the time, write a long summary, and have their parents sign it.

I saw one of Princess Imagination’s reading logs from two weeks ago. She read 90 minutes. Her summary was very long. She forgot to have me sign it, but she handed it in on time. Her grade was only 90%, which is only a B.

I signed it this morning and sent it back with a BIG note right under the 90%: “Is this because it was not signed? Please explain this. Thank you, Mom.”

She certainly read beyond the required 75 minutes, and she wrote an excellent summary. Hello? This is 5th grade, and this is a just a simple homework, not a quiz or test on knowledge. It should have been an easy 100. Yet her grade is only a B because she forgot to have her parents sign it and there were a few spelling mistakes.

Since then, I have found a few more of Princess Imagination’s reading logs. All of the logs have at least 90 minutes, and long summaries. One has 95 minutes, a long summary, and 5 spelling mistakes. That one is graded 88%. Another had 165 minutes, a very long summary (half Princess wrote, and half she dictated to me (and I wroted "scribed by Mom, per 504)), and no spelling mistakes. That one is graded just 95%. So I wonder, what must she do to get 100%??

But it’s not just reading logs. It seems to be every homework, project, quiz or test. Princess Imagination is getting marked off for being messy, for forgetting things, for every little thing. In short, for having ADHD.

I have a meeting with her team of teachers next Wednesday. I will bring these reading logs and other work in as examples of how her ADHD is hurting her grades.

The Mominator becomes a Momma Bear when her cubs are threatened or hurt in any way.

And Momma Bear is NOT happy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

For the first time in 16 years, 8 months, there are no car seats in my car...m

When Princess Imagination was born, Bumblebee was 6 and Pink Ballerina was 3 1/2. I had 3 car seats across the second row of my Honda CRV. Princess Imagination's infant carrier just barely fit in the middle; fortunately, the baby seat fit best when it was turned backwards.

After Princess Imagination was 1 year and 20 pounds, her infant seat was turned around, and I needed to get a mini-van to fit all the car seats. Bumblebee and Pink Ballerina were still in car seats. In NJ, car seats are mandatory until 8 years or 80 pounds. I kept all three in their seats until they out-grew the shoulder height.

Princess Imagination, at age 10 years, 7 months, finally outgrew the shoulder height.

I must say, she still looks mighty tiny in a regular seat.


Two more reasons why my Parish drives me crazy...m

We received two letters from my Parish this week. Both of these are form letters (very ancient form letters with fill-in-the-blanks, which someone printed years ago and now are copied from copies) with hand-written explanations in the margins.

 Pink Ballerina 7D
has been absent from
Religious Education classes on 10/11; 10/18; 11/8; 11/15; 2/7; 2/28
Please call the Religious Education office to discuss the
Situation or to let us know the reason for the absence.
Justa Cogg
Assistant - Rel. Ed
Ext 310
Note: Pink Ballerina has missed (6) classes
+ is required to do "make up".
I will notify her teacher. Please
follow up.

The Diocese requires us to maintain complete files for all children
in our Religious Education Program. While reviewing our files we
found the following document/documents missing for your child. (Princess Imagination)
Please complete and return to the Religious Education Office as
soon as possible.

*Certificate of Baptism
Justa Cogg
Assistant - Rel. Ed
*copy required even
if baptized at
Our Parish

Pink Ballerina has missed several classes this year because of her dizziness issues. She also had a terrible teacher and we requested a transfer to another teacher. While the Office of Religious Education, the Associate Pastor, and the teacher worked that out, Pink Ballerina missed 3 more classes.

Unlike many of her CCD classmates, Pink Ballerina actually attends Mass every week. She has been attending Children's Liturgy Mass since she was 4, and has been helping there since she was about 10. She knows all the Sacraments, the liturgical seasons of the year and what they mean (and even the color of vestments), and can list most of the Ten Commandments. Even more importantly, she understands what the Ten Commandments mean.

As for Princess Imagination, I have to go to the Parish Office, get a copy of her Baptismal record, and then walk 1 block down the street, and give it to the Religious Education Office at the school.

At least these two problems are minor annoyances caused by simply bureaucratic ineptitude, quite unlike the petty politics that runs, and ruins, everything else at our Parish.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quietly wispering another progress report...m

I'm down 3.5 pounds for the last 3 weeks, down a total of 6.6 since January 1st.

I had such a great start, losing 4.7 pounds in the first 2 weeks.

Next, in a mere two days I went back up 2.2 pounds.

Then, I spent three frustrating weeks dancing around the same 2.2 pounds: watching what I eat, lots and lots of walking, doing the elliptical, and not making any progress at all. Oh and Aunt Flo visited and she was horrible.

Thus, in 9.5 weeks I have lost 6.6 pounds.
My average rate of loss (so far) is a mere .69 pounds/week.

So what have I learned? Losing weight is hard. Duh.
But I'm not giving up. I'm just going to work harder at it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I think I may be invisible...m

I got my hair cut today and none of my family members noticed.

This wasn't a teeny-tiny trim. This was my-hair-is-so-shaggy-and-my-bangs-are-so-long-I-can't-even-see-you desparation haircut.

You would think, OK, maybe that's a one time thing.


My last 3 haircuts have been desparation haircuts and no one noticed.

I may not be the only thing they don't notice.

My children can leave their dirty clothes anywhere, and once the clothing touches the floor, it becomes invisible. Similar things happen to dirty dishes.

I wonder if they'd notice if I stopped cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. Mominator

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hello, Snow

Finally, first real snow of Winter 2011-2012. It came after Christmas (darn), and on a Saturday (kids say darn, parents say yeah).

It looks really pretty, is easy enough to shovel and didn't cripple the state. Maybe this Winter is trying to make up for last Winter.

Gadget Guy was up at the crack of dawn (as always). After he finished changing the critter cages, he tackled the snow.

Princess Imagination looked out the window astonished, "Look snow! Actual snow!! And there are bunny tracks leading out from the back porch!!!"

Now just an hour after sunrise and the falling snow has turned to rain. I can already see the grass poking through the melting snow. If Pink Ballerina doesn't wake soon, there will be no snow left.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Did I jinx myself my mentioning my great start of 4.7 pounds in 14 days?

It feels like it, because I have hit a huge set back: in two days I went back up 2.2 pounds!

This morning I was back down again a mere 0.1. The running total is down just 2.6.

No, I haven't gone on a junk-food binge.

No, I haven't stopped exercising. In fact, I've done 30 minutes on the elliptical plus my allotment of jumping jacks.

So what can this be? Water retention? Constipation? Nasty Aunt Flo lurking in the shadows?

I'm hoping the next few days will bring good news.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Progress report: two weeks in, 4.7 pounds down

In the last few years I've discovered that I now gain weight very easily. It slips on smoothly, like a comfy pair of slippers.

Losing weight, eh, not so much. I lose a few, gain a few, back and forth. It’s never a straight line down. And it never stays down for long. As soon as I let down my guard, it creeps back up again. And then there's that scary big 200 looming in the not-too-distance.

I’ve decided that it’s time to change all that.

Since January 1st I’ve lost 4.7 pounds.

Those pounds were frustratingly hard to lose: over those two weeks, I was down 3.8, up 1.3, down 1.8, up .8 and down 1.2.

I write down my weight every morning, then I plot it on a graph. But as I plot it I can see that even if it’s not a straight line down, it will be overall down.

As of New Year's Day, I really changed what I eat. Lots more fresh fruit and veggies, lean meats, reduced carbs/starches, and very little sweets (except that tube of cookie dough in the fridge leftover from NYE).

I stopped buying all the junk food that the kids usually request. Instead, apples, oranges, bananas, cantaloupes, and honeydews fill the crisper in the fridge; ready-to-eat containers of pineapple, peaches, and pink grapefruit now live on the shelf above, making friends with the lite yogurt.

In fact, there was more fruit than room for it in the crisper. But then I learned everyone likes their apples "warm" (not cold from the fridge). So the apples stay out in a basket on the table.

Gadget Guy and the Pink Ballerina are on board the eat-healthy bandwagon. Pink Ballerina said that she "really, really wanted some ice cream" the other night, but understood that "we're eating just healthy food now." Princess Imagination is fine with just apples and frozen fruit pops. Bumblebee usually eats a serving (or more) of everything that’s available. Since all that's available is fresh fruit and yogurt, that's all he's been eating. (Mental note: if you want your kids to stop eating junk food, stop buying junk food.)

But changing my diet is not enough. I have been exercising. I can't always get the classes at the gym, so I have been creative. For the last two Saturdays, I had to squeeze in a quick workout: take kids to Tae Kwon Do, walk down to gym, push hard for 30 minutes on elliptical trainer, grab a quick shower, throw on fresh clothes, walk back to TKD, pick up kids, drive home and serve lunch! On school days, I can stay on the elliptical for 45 to 60 minutes. Too many days, someone is home sick, or something else gets in the way. On those days, I do 20 to 30 Jumping Jacks an hour every hour.

Well, it's a start. Happy New Year!!
The Mominator