Monday, December 24, 2012


Ever since the unimaginable tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I have been reeling. First, those babies. Oh my goodness. As a teacher (and future teacher in the public schools), I cannot imagine. I love my babies with everything, and I would protect them. Those brave teachers and sweet babies...

Second, the unconfirmed link and media speculation to the autism connection. Some media outlets went as far as to blame the tragedy on the killer's reported autism diagnosis.

Autism does not lead to violence. It's been proven again and again, autistic individuals are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators.

So I posted, "Autism is not a mental illness."

But here's the deal. While I did not intend to make the link (after all, our family is knee-deep in mental health diagnoses, JT has bipolar for example), it makes it sound like I'm linking all people with mental health issues to violence.

According to NIMH, 26.2 percent of Americans suffer with some sort of mental illness.

26.2 percent.

It is SO wrong to demonize in ANY way those with mental illness. 99.99 percent of them would never hurt anyone.

And as far as we know, the killer didn't have any diagnosis.

I know it wasn't the autism.

I don't know what it was. Why it happened.

But it's not fair to lay it on mental illness in general, when we have no idea what it was. It leaves the millions upon millions of Americans struggling with mental illness with blame they don't deserve.

We have to be careful. Just because it wasn't autism, doesn't mean we should divert the blame elsewhere just to divert it.

It was just evil. Plain and simple.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Last week, we had my little guy's IEP meeting. It was a re-determination meeting (our first 3 year re-evaluation, actually), so it was LONG. And draining. We went over so many tests, goals, accommodations, learning aids...

I learned a few things at this meeting.

First, I adore his team. The clearly love my son, and believe he will succeed academically and in life. They talk about his sense of humor, his intelligence, his strengths - non stop. They frame his weaknesses as 'not yet's' and 'we're making progress'. I left the meeting feeling like everything was good - and anyone who's ever been to an IEP meeting knows that isn't always the case.

Second, we have a long road ahead of us. I'm not talking academically, I'm actually talking about psychologically. The psychologist, when going over IQ results, told me he is 'acutely aware' of what he cannot do that his peers can do. He gets upset when he can't do something - calling himself 'dumb' or 'stupid'. On the flip side, he is immensely proud of himself when he does something right - he thrives on praise.

He's got a long way to go as far as speech and academics - really just reading, but it is so hard for him. I try to think about how that makes him feel. To know his peers can easily read a book, and to be unable to sound out a word. To hear his peers speak, and know that everyone else can keep up with the conversation but you can't. To understand (the speech therapist pointed this one out) that you are trying as hard as you can but you cannot produce the /f/ or /l/ sounds. Basically hear yourself say it wrong, despite telling your mouth to say it right. How hard it is to know you act different than everyone else, that everyone else is fine with those loud noises and sensory input.

Her point was proven a few days ago.

While visiting his classroom, I saw a picture of a little boy on a cubby that I had never seen before. I asked Graham if there was a new boy in his self-contained class he spends part of his day in.

"Yes, N is new. He's 'special'. He's 'special' enough to be in Ms. G's class."

He didn't say it in a positive way.

And in that moment, I felt my heart break.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Grad school...

Semester 1 is done (except 3 points in my intro class).

It has been challenging, stressful, and wonderful. I have loved my classes this semester, and I have learned so much.

I've had to get used to taking tests again, learned how to balance life and school and kids and work, learned how to study, how to take notes, how to keep up with a thousand due dates at a time and get everything in on time.


But I officially have a 4.0!

I cannot wait to start next semester. I know I will learn so much more.

So, until January 9... I can relax.

(If you know me... stop laughing. Relax a little.)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My baby...

Dear JT,

Happy birthday!

Today you are 7 years old. It's hard to believe it's been 7 whole years since you came into this world.

You came into this world fighting. You had your little hand between the (double wrapped) cord and your neck... so lucky you made it. SO. LUCKY.

Since then, you have shown again and again that fighting spirit.

When someone has said 'can't' or 'won't', you have proven them wrong.

I love that about you. You are hard-headed just like your momma. It has always served me well, and it is definitely working for you. Never lose that fire.

You are the most amazing person. You never give up. Ever. You know what you want, and you go after it. Even if it makes you, and everyone else, crazy :).

You love with all you have. Your sister, mommy, daddy... You love us. And kiss. And hug. And tell us. I can't explain to you what hearing the words, "I love you, too" mean to me. Someday, when you have kids, maybe you will understand. I waited years to hear it. It is beautiful.

You are funny. You entertain. You love to see people smile, and perform to get them to. Your sense of humor is amazing. Everyone talks about you and your funny self. We all love it.

You are smart. SO smart. You don't always think you are, and that makes me sad. I hope soon you will realize how crazy smart you are. You amaze me daily. You will go SO far. Trust me. You may be only 7, but I see it in you. You're going places, kid :)

You love to hug, to run, to giggle. You love Beanie Baby Boo's (they are ugly, but you and your sister collect them... so we oblige). Your favorite movie (that we saw today, your first birthday 'party' with our neighbor!) is Wreck-It Ralph. You LOVED it. You are good at riding your balance bike. You could ride a regular bike if you wanted in a second. You just don't want to! You hate waiting. You prefer to stay home rather than go to school. You like to fall asleep in my bed, snuggling. You hug cats. You giggle hysterically at goofy shows and things like burping.

There is so much more I could say about you. You are amazing.

I cannot wait to see what the next year holds.

Love you... to the moon and back,

Happy #7

to the cutest, sweetest, smartest, most awesome boy ever.

Today he told me, "Mommy, I'm your baby. I'm your 7 year old baby."

Forever and ever my baby :)

It was an awesome day filled with Wreck-It Ralph with his friend, lunch, cake and iPad-playing. Best birthday ever, as told by him!