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The Screening from Hell

*Note: there may be strong language throughout this, mostly because I’m still mad.*

I had to take Thing 1 to a screening before school started. I guess it’s the norm in Wyoming, because as a kid, I never did anything like this in Florida. But, whatever. I figured it wouldn’t be that bad, that they may make him say some words, name some colors and do a hearing test, vision test, etc. All the things that he’s done before, in other screenings, since we’ve gone to yearly since he was about a year old. (I’ll explain why in another post).

Anyways, I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, and I thought it might actually be a little fun for him to see other kids his own age and maybe meet some of the teachers he’d have.

Let me say: I am so glad that none of these people are his teachers right now.

So, we get there and they hand me a few papers to fill out about him, his emotional state, etc. Mostly things for them to use as data to give to the state.

We go to the first “checkpoint”, which was a hearing exam, and went easy breezy. He was in and out in a minute and things seemed to be great. I thought to myself, “Man, this is going to go by so fast.”

Was I wrong.

We go to the second “checkpoint” where they do a series of other “tests” to see how developed Thing 1 is. It was comprised of a few different sections that would test how well he spoke, how well his motor functions were, and his knowledge of things. There was also a Math station.

Let me pause for one second to tell y’all that my kid? Has a speech “issue” — he knows the words and how to say them, but he doesn’t say them very well. I guess that’s more of a “speech impediment” except that it’s actually His Very Own Language, which is a mixture of mermaid/phlegm and some sort of foreign language. He’s taught it to his sister (they are only a year apart) and that’s how they talk to each other. We call it “babbling” but it’s a little more than that.

By saying that, I’m telling you that I expected them to say he has a speech impediment, and that he would need some sort of speech therapy.

What I didn’t expect was to be treated like we were 3rd class citizens and that I was a moron.

The first sign that this would be a bad day was when the lady that would be doing his speech assessment walked over to us and asked Thing 1 his name.

“[Thing 1],” he said. (He doesn’t say his name very well.)
“What’s your name?” she asked again.
“[Thing 1], he said.
She looked at me. I’d already handed her the folder with his name on it, so I pointed to it.
“What’s. Your. Name?” she asked slowly and a little louder than before.
“It’s on his folder,” I staged whispered.
He didn’t say anything.
She shook her head at me, “What’s. Your. Name?” she asked him again.
“His name is [Thing 1],” I said through gritted teeth.
She looked down at the folder, “Is your name ‘[Thing 1]’?”
“Yes,” he said, looking at me like the woman was a moron. Wasn’t that what he’d just said.
She made that “tsk. tsk.” sound and grabbed his hand, “Why don’t you come with me?” and then to me, “You can sit over there.” she nodded at some chairs against the wall.

Less than a minute later, she yelled for me to come over to where they were sitting.

“Your son doesn’t speak very well, does he?” she asked, looking from him to me.
Me: No, he and his sister have their own language, which they normally speak around grown ups. Sorry.
Her: No, that’s not possible. Twins don’t make up their own language. Neither do “Irish Twins”.
Me: Well, they did, so.
Her: You know, you really shouldn’t speak baby talk to your child ma’am. He’s almost six years old.
Me: I don’t speak baby talk to him. I never have. He’s not a dolt.
Her: Well, he definitely is going to need speech therapy. He may be autistic.
Me: Excuse me?
(Note: She’s saying all this in front of my son, who looks like he’s going to begin crying.)
Her: He may have a mental delay which is keeping him from speaking correctly. Why haven’t you had him checked out before?
Me: I have. Yearly. He’s been on target. They said his speech delay was nothing to be concerned with, as it would disappear on it’s own. Why don’t we speak over there? (I pointed to the other side of the room, away from my son.)
Her: No, ma’am. He can go to the next section, you can take a seat.

My jaw was literally on the floor.

I went and sat back down, trying not to cause a scene, but I was … I don’t know really. I was upset, clearly, but I wasn’t pissed off yet.

After the next section, which was Math, that lady told me that Thing 1 did really, really well. Above and beyond actually.

Her: Have you had him tested for autism?
Me: No, he has no signs of autism.
Her: He may be on the spectrum.
Me: He’s not.
Her: It’s nothing to be ashamed of. (She said that to Thing 1 as she walked him over to the next table.)

I wanted to tell her that I was not ashamed of my son. I didn’t like them pushing a diagnosis on my son after spending only three seconds with him, but I kept my mouth shut. Which seems to be my main problem, keeping my mouth shut.

After he went to the Motor Functions section, all three of the “teachers” came to talk to me, in front of my son, who still had one more section to go.

Teacher 3: He couldn’t jump on one foot for a whole minute. Has he had any problems like this in the past?
Me: Well, he didn’t start walking until he was 18 months old. Why don’t we let [Thing 1] go to the next section while we speak?
Teacher 1 (the one that had trouble with his name): No. He’s fine. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Me: Why do y’all keep saying that? I’m not ashamed of anything.
Teacher 1 (the math section lady): We’re just trying to help.
Me: <nothing>

They take him to his next section, where he has to name off as many colors as he can in two minutes. He named off five. Not because he didn’t know the names of the colors, but because he was sweating, close to tears and kept looking over at me, where I was trying to smile encouragingly.

After he finished with the sections, they took Thing 1 and I to a back room to ask again whether I’d had him tested for Autism, whether I talk baby talk to him at home, and all kinds of other things.

I pointed out 2 or 3 times that he scored ABOVE AVERAGE in the Math section, which they completely disregarded, because he wasn’t supposed to even score in that subject.

I finally stood up and said, “We’re finished here.”

The next morning, Thing 1 got into bed with me and asked, “Mama? I’m normal right?”

I wanted to cry.

There are many reasons why I was upset. One, I was being accused of not taking care of my kids (they didn’t believe that we’d been screening him almost consistently every year, they wanted to see documentation), two, that I was being basically told my child was stupid, and it was being insinuated that it was all my fault, and three, that they were making my kid feel inferior.

If he did have something that made him “different” — I would not be upset by it. I love my kid, no matter what. It wouldn’t bother me. But don’t try to push something on my kid because he’s not “developed” to your standards.

I went up to his school and talked to them about it, which was where I told that the screening meant very little to them, and that they would basically be starting with him from the assumption that he’d learned nothing and go from there. They also assured me that if there were any concerns, they would call me.

I knew that the screening would be tough. When Thing 1 was about 2 months old, we moved in to a house that had been a meth lab before we moved there. We didn’t know it until I was two months pregnant and Thing 1 was four months old and hadn’t developed at all, had lost weight and was so skinny and small and I was completely scared he was going to die.

Then, our landlord told us that the house had once been a meth lab. Wanna see someone really mad? Tell them that their infant is living in a house that was a meth lab. If you survive that, you’re lucky.

Our landlord was lucky.

In any event, since that happened, he’s been behind on basic every developmental threshold that he’s supposed to reach. Sometimes not reaching one for up to a year later than other kids his age.

But no one cares about that explanation. Because to them, he should’ve gotten over it by now. There should be nothing “wrong” with him now, so he must have some developmental disorder.

Which, like I said above, if he does, I’m totally okay with that. Some days I think it might be easier to just let them think he does have a developmental delay rather than trying to explain to him what happened when he was a baby.

He’s been to speech therapy, until the pushed him out because he was “fine”.

So, yeah, I am seriously considering not taking my daughter to the screening next year. Especially if I am going to be treated this way again. I don’t like it.

It’s not fun.

And to me? It’s not helping anyone.

Mea Culpa

So this week came straight from the bowels of somewhere not nice and also unkind. Probably somewhere like hell, but also maybe somewhere like my worst enemies house. I’m not sure but it came in, slapped me, and then kicked me while I was down.

Yeah, it’s was that much fun.

Drama Queen (aka Thing 2) was sick all weekend but never got a fever, so I thought maybe it was just one of those late summer colds, which seem to last for weeks on end. Other than some coughing and a scratchy throat, though, she seemed totally fine. Until yesterday, after her first day back at Daycare after last week, when she was lethargic and kept complaining of a headache. I felt her forehead and realized she was burning up. One trip to the ER later, the diagnosis was pneumonia.

Crap.

Pneumonia sucks so hard because it can go from being “not a big deal” to a “freaking big deal” in a matter of a few days. Thankfully, we caught it early, which was good.

She’s on antibiotics with orders to stay home until Friday. Which means Mama is staying home with her, because Daddy gets to finally go back to work *hopefully*.

That was another thing this week, my husband, who works in the Natural Gas industry, basically hasn’t worked since last week. Most people would be like, “Yay! He got time off!” which I totally was. Until about Tuesday, then I started freaking because, see? My husband? Is paid by the hour, which means if he doesn’t work: No freaking paycheck. Talk about stressed out.

Maybe he’ll get some work before the end of the week, but it’s not looking too good.

Which just absolutely pisses me off to no end.

Then of course, there’s all the school work I’m having to do, which is totally fine and everything, I mean, I did sign up for it. But when you’ve got a sick kid at home, a husband not working and another kid starting Kindergarten and all the fun that is that, it starts to get a little much. 

I can totally do this, though, I think.

I also have to deal with a group project from hell, which should make for some interesting posts.

Today, though, something happened that made me want to punch someone. We drove by the school where Little Man (aka Thing 1) had to go for the Screening from Hell (which I promise to write about soon) and he says, “Do I ever have to go back there, Mama?” I told him, “No. You don’t” (which I totally meant). He said, “Good, because those people there? They made me feel stupid. They kept trying to get me to do things that I couldn’t do. I can do them now, Mama, I really can. I’m not stupid, right?”

I wanted to pull over, march over to the school and punch someone. Hard. Beneath the belt. Twice.

I was so upset that my son, who isn’t perfect, but also isn’t stupid, had to go through someone else making him feel inferior. It just made me want to scream.

I smiled at him in the rear-view mirror and said, “Honey, you are *so* not stupid. You are the smartest little boy I know, and sometimes I think you are even smarter than me.”

He smiled and said, “Thank you, Mama.”

Then his sister said, “Why’d you make him go there, Mama? Why did you do that?”

And I wanted to cry. Again.

UGH.

This week? Can totally kiss my butt, because I’m so over it.

Yeah, and that, too.

I dropped my Latin class. And I actually feel okay about it, today. Yesterday, not so much. Today? Yeah.

Someone once said that I tend to chew and bite something, and I’m not sure, but it hadn’t something to do with biting and chewing.

So, I did some of that, figured out I was not able to do what I wanted, and backed up.

Much happier Mama.

On another note, I got my iPod classic yesterday.

And my husband hates this song:

So I try to play it ten thousand times a day.

I’m mean like that.

So, yeah.

One More Random Post….

Because hiking across campus? Is hard. Plus, with the past two night’s sleep combined, I’ve had a total of 6 hours of sleep since Sunday. Yeah, that’s just awesome.

  • Today was a good day. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my “early days” — meaning I get up at about 5:45 A so I’ll have enough time to get myself ready, get the kids ready, make us all something edible and drive across (the small) town to get us all at the school on time.
  • My first class was okay. There’s a lot of requirements, and I have to do each one, obviously, to pass the class. One of those requirements? Means going 5 hours away to Denver to observe classes being taught and kind of see the “other side” of teaching. That means that my husband? Is going to have to take off work to be home for one. whole. day. so that he can do things like take the kids to school, and ya know, things like that. Because I? Have to be at the school to leave for dinner at FOUR AM, y’all (I’m already starting to die a little inside from this). This? Is not going over well with the husband. Sometimes? I wish we lived in FL, closer to family, so I could stop worrying so freaking much.
  • This is my new background on my computer. Yeah, it’s raunchy, but it’s also fabulous:
  • Drool over that one for a few minutes, ladies. Okay, stop now. Time to pay attention to me, now.
  • I’m not advocating that one should walk around with porn on their computer, or anything, and dude, he’s just without his shirt. But, I mean. C’mon. He’s one fine specimen of a man, ya know?
  • I know. I’ll change it. Tomorrow.
  • I miss being able to watch that show. Although it was bad. Really, really, really bad. Like, watched it with my dad once and turned so beat red that my dad thought something was wrong with me. That bad. Like porn. With better dialog. And blood.
  • Ok, I’ve gone off on a tangent about True Blood, but have y’all actually tried the drink? Because it’s really, really good. It’s blood orange juice. And it’s really good. Really.
  • How  many times can I say “really” in one post? At least once more. Really.
  • So, I’m glad I signed up for all the classes I did, because although they seemingly have nothing to do with one another, they are all tying in with one another, which is interesting. At least for today. And, I’m talking about my non-education classes. Russian, Latin & Ancient Greek Civilization. This week I’ve gone over almost the same exact thing in each class. Which is good.
  • Next week? I fully expect that to change and the hail storm to begin of “OhMyGOD I’m so behind and I’ll never catch up and someone hold me!”
  • Because I? Am cool under pressure that way.
  • What? I totally am.

The First Day of College Post

In an easy-to-read bullet-point-style post to boot! (What? It’s easier to read.)

  • My first class of the day, Ancient Greek Civilization, or some such something, was like a slap in the face. Our professor went over the syllabus, but not thoroughly, and he (gasp!) didn’t let us out of class afterwards. If you’ve never been to a community college, then you have no idea why I’m being sarcastic. Community college is basically high school for grown ups. It’s sort of easy, and it’s basically laid back. Now? I’m at the Big Bad University, and apparently, they don’t play that. So, yeah. It didn’t take me by surprise, but some people groaned aloud when the Professor told us to open our books and started lecturing.
  • The course itself is going to be challenging (there’s a theme here of that) — mostly the sheer amount of stuff that I’m going to have to remember/memorize/pretend to know/BS my way through is the part that is going to get me. The subject matter is going to be awesome, so it shouldn’t be hard.
  • After literally sprinting across campus to my next class, I arrived (I thought) early. There were people that were waiting for my class (Latin) sitting outside. Twenty minutes after class was supposed to start, we figured out that Latin had actually started early, and we were now late. Oops.
  • This is going to be one of the hardest classes for me, because learning languages doesn’t come easily to me. I thought it would be the hardest class I would have, until I went to the next class after lunch.
  • After finding one of the oldest buildings on campus and walking in to the closet-sized, no windowed classroom they’d stuffed thirty 1920s-era desks in to, I realized that the class after lunch was going to be crowded and smelly. When twenty men/boys filed in (only four girls) I knew that it would be smelly. And crowded. And uncomfortable. Because those desks straight out of 1850? They aren’t very big. And? When one is right on top of you behind you and filled with a big, burly football player? You’re gonna wanna ask for dinner first, it feels like you are that close to one another.
  • The class itself? Awesome. It’s a Russian History class, which isn’t really my interest or area of expertise, but the class is going to be challenging as hell, which I like. To add to the challenge, our professor is Actually Russian, which means his accent is thick, he’s also Actually 9,000 years old, which means he basically whispers when he talks. Which just adds to the challenge. Because who doesn’t want to wonder what their professor just said and whether or not it was important enough to ask him for the four millionth time to speak up and also repeat what he just said. I mean, when does that become rude?
  • In addition to the rooms being crowded, the whole campus was just overly crowded. I also really adore skateboarders. Zipping through the crowd and almost knocking down everyone in their path? Charming. Trying to do a board flip  in front of you while you’re trying to run to your next class? So adorable. No, really. What? Sarcasm? Me? No way.
So, there’s that.

Random City

*I know, I know. I disappeared again. Sorry. It was for a few different reasons. Hence: Random Post!

* I got my new Macbook Pro!! I love her. She is precious. She is be-utiful. I’ve named her Sheila.

*I name almost everything I own. My car? Silver. (Heigh*, Ho, Silver! Away! Ahem.) My Kitchenaid Stand Mixer? Sandy. My big blue beautiful enamel-covered cast iron pot? Bertha. See? I name everything. My iPod will be named as soon as I get it.

*I also had an experience from hell-o the other day that I’ve been bouncing around in my head on how to make it real, sarcastic, funny and sad all at the same time. Because Mama’s pissed.

*Did I mention I got my very own laptop? Because it’s nice not having to ask my husband if I can use his every two seconds. (What? If I don’t check twitter every few minutes, I miss out on important stuff.)

*Wordpress’ new feature where, after you hit “Publish” on a post, it’s all “Super Fantastical, Amigo, this is your 4,950th post! You are the most awesomest awesome person on the whole planet! That post? Was pure awesomesauce and had 10 words in it! You sure do groovy things!” makes me giggle and also infuriates me. Not sure why.

*Sure, go ahead, psychoanalyze that one.

 

*Note from above: Is it “heigh” or “hi”? I have no idea, so….whatever.