Thursday, August 28, 2014


You can always tell when Thing Two's annual evaluation with the neurodevelopmental pediatrician (NDP) is coming patience (never my strong suit to begin with) becomes almost nonexistent and my stress levels go through the roof.  I hate those visits with a flaming vengeance even though the doctor is as pleasant and professional as she possibly could be and the news she's delivered the past year or two has actually been more positive than negative.  It's mostly an emotional holdover from the earlier visits with her where we sat and watched him tank all the tests and then had to listen to how far behind he was in pretty much everything language-related...tough to take as a parent.

We take him to her once a year because it's good to have that annual 'snapshot.'  Everyone else he works with sees him so often that they have a hard time stepping back and seeing changes, but she can tell us about progress year-to-year, and she also gives her professional input for his school IEP--what accommodations she thinks they should provide, what therapies he needs, that sort of thing.  Luckily, the school and the NDP are very much on the same page and we haven't had any major conflicts, a situation which I am not taking for granted, believe me.  I'm very much aware how fortunate we are in that respect!

He's never actually had a formal diagnosis, interestingly.  In younger children, behaviors resulting from communication disorders, autism spectrum disorders and ADHD can overlap to such a significant extent that it's hard to tell what's going on with any individual child, since appropriate social behavior, language and the ability to focus are all highly interdependent.  He's in the age range for testing now, but the NDP is reluctant to recommend that we go there because he'll still be getting the same therapies regardless of what the tests show, so there's really no point.

Anyway, back in 2013 the powers that be published the latest update to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American classification tool for psychiatric issues.  The current version is DSM-5, and in this version there is a new diagnosis called Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder.  The NDP showed us the list of diagnostic criteria for this disorder yesterday, and more so than anything else I've seen, it fits this child.  Again, the diagnosis doesn't matter, except inasmuch as it helps us to get our son the help he needs, but in a way it's a relief to see that our kid isn't the only one out there with this specific constellation of issues.

On the bright side, this year's evaluation was very positive.  The tested area with the LOWEST test results has him functioning at grade level (third) and the highest results were fifth to seventh grade level.  The kid is bright, no doubt.  What concerns me is that, precisely BECAUSE he is so bright, the kid on paper is not at all the same as the kid in front of you: the language and social deficits that the test results might otherwise mask are obvious in person.  My concern is that for the first time since this whole bloody mess became apparent, he's entering a gray area where some might say he doesn't need help just because his scores are so good, despite the fact that anybody who actually talks to the kid for more than fifteen seconds can clearly see that there's still a problem.  At any rate, for the first time in the five years we've been seeing her, she dared to predict that his deficits might not be significantly affecting him by the time he gets to high school, which would be such a blessing that I cannot BEGIN to tell you, especially considering how staggeringly low-functioning he was as a preschooler.

He's told me on more than one occasion that he "does not want to need help," itself a reflection of how far his ability to articulate his thoughts has come in the past few years.  He's a proud little guy and hates every.single.minute of all the assistance he gets (speech and OT and social group and all the rest of it) but clearly it's working, and so we will persevere.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Don't I Wish

Two of my kids' collective four fall soccer seasons (Thing One has two teams; travel and school) haven't even started yet and I'm already sick of it.  Bad, BAD soccer mom.

At least these made me laugh.

Both boys have had practice every night this week.  Thing Two had practice every night last week as well.  Wonder if Domino's delivers to the soccer fields at the park?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

On Not Judging Books By Their Covers, Part I've-Lost-Count

I met her last year sometime at a school function.  Her son was a new kid in Thing Two's class; she, taller even than me, was quiet and somewhat distant when I introduced myself.  Sadly, I assumed at the time that perhaps Thing Two had annoyed her son somehow: the kids he's been in school with since kindergarten or before are generally used to his eccentricities, but he'd already had a minor run-in with another new boy earlier that year.  Nevertheless, when we were making plans for Thing Two's birthday party and Thing Two wanted to invite her son, I added him to the list and hoped for the best.

When she arrived at the party with him today, an attempt to break the ice with a question about her son's teacher assignment for next year revealed that he's once again with Thing Two, and I did have a brief inward cringe.  But only brief, because the conversation quickly turned to some of her concerns about next year, and I discovered with astonishment that her son has many of the same types of issues as Thing Two and even sees several of the same professionals.  (I also think she is a bit shy by nature.)  Since they are still relatively new, I was able to reassure her about next year's teacher and even make a suggestion or two about things she can ask that the school do for her son to make things easier for ended up being a really good conversation and I walked away feeling like I might have a new friend.  Glad I didn't take that whole first-impression thing as now looks like both my son and I would have been missing out!  Live and learn.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Today's belt test ran just over two and a half hours in length, with not much by way of rest.  Notes to myself for future reference: next time I need to bring a towel for sweat and a much bigger container of water.  Say, one of my kids' half-gallon jugs that they use for soccer camps...had to send a friend's son out to the water fountain to refill my bottle halfway through the test.


I now have one of these, and I earned it fair and square.

And more importantly, I walked out of that test feeling good about myself, unlike the last one.  This is not to say that there aren't a bunch of things I still need to work on.  There are, without any doubt.  But this time, I didn't embarrass myself.  All the work with cardio and weights paid off: when the test ended, I still had some gas in the tank, and I didn't crash and burn on any techniques.  I could have kept going at the end if I had to, and that is HUGE.  (It would have been beyond depressing to have trouble with basic fitness again.)  And best of all??  I managed to avoid further injury, which was a big worry going in, especially since my bad knee was bugging me this morning.

I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I am to have that over with.  I likely won't be testing again for a year or so, which is just fine by me (generally, the higher the belt, the longer it takes to earn the next one up.)  It'll be next fall before I'm willing to undergo another round with the wringer, anyway!


Friday, August 22, 2014


So, my long-awaited (or long-dreaded) red belt test is tomorrow.  In our taekwondo school, the red belt is the lowest of what are considered to be the "high" belts, and accordingly the test for this belt is the first of the longer and more difficult ones.  Tests for the lower belts are fairly brief and held on weekday evenings, but the high belt tests take place on Saturdays and can be a 3+ hour proposition depending on how many people are testing for what color/degree of belt.

I wasn't happy at all about how my last belt test went.  I was out of shape and I got my butt kicked in an embarrassing fashion.  The week after that test, knowing that I was looking down the barrel of a cannon at the coming attractions, I started doing some extra cardio, using some weight machines, and watching my diet for empty carbs a little better.  As I've mentioned in a few posts since then, there has definitely been progress: a loss of 20-25 lbs, increased strength and endurance, and a few smaller items of clothing as well.  Very happy to report that my current belt is now way too big--I'll be going down a size with the red one!

That said, my body has been paying the price for the extra activity.  I joke that I'm an "old lady"--at 41, I need to be careful about going too far overboard, because I still have to carpool and shop and do laundry and all that fun stuff even if I get hurt!  I've been wearing a steel-hinged knee brace on my right knee religiously since coming back from the knee surgery two years ago, and that knee's holding up pretty well under the circumstances, but the rest of me is pretty well banged up from the last month or so of ramped-up prep.  Bruised left hand, bruised left foot, wonky right shoulder, jammed right thumb.  I'm a mess...sadly, I also have a SERIOUS case of nerves going on right now.

I've often commented in the past to my husband when he gripes about his marathon training or a race that these activities are things he *chooses* to's not like he's in the Army and there are orders involved.  I am now finding myself in the same boat...putting myself through a physical wringer for a purely voluntary activity--and one I actually PAY to participate in, yet.  Who's the crazy one now??

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Question For The Peanut Gallery

Anyone who has not been buried under a rock in the deepest bowels of the earth for the last couple of weeks has doubtless heard of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which is intended to raise both awareness and research funds for a truly terrible disease.

Videos of people having buckets of freezing water dumped on their heads have taken over my Facebook feed.  I understand that this viral fundraising effort has been wildly successful, and God knows that the poor souls who suffer from this miserable affliction need all the help they can get.  But am I the only person who cringes a little bit every time I think about this campaign??

I have a good-sized cantankerous and contrary streak.  I know it.  Those who know me definitely know it.  I was sincerely hoping not to be nominated for this challenge, since the thought of having the public force of social media (about which I am ambivalent at the best of times) pressuring me into choosing between

a) donating $100 to a cause I might not otherwise have chosen for my donation dollars (even though it is undoubtedly worthwhile and then some) or
b) having ice water dumped on my head and posting a video of it on the selfsame public social media platform

gives my "don't-tell-me-what-I have-to-do" side hives.  Even for the aforementioned very good cause.

A friend nominated me this morning.  I decided that the response that sat best with me was donating $100 (which I have just done) toward research into another terrible, grossly underfunded disease: pancreatic cancer.  My friend responded that she thinks the challenge is fun and goofy and that basically I am being a big perverse annoying PITA, which is of course entirely possible.

So I ask.  My response to the challenge: appropriate or not?  You won't hurt my feelings either way: just curious.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Is WRONG With These People??

Congratulations, Facebook: you finally got me to click on one of your tremendously annoying sidebar ads.  Not, however, for the reason you might hope.  I was so dumbfounded by the image of the product displayed that I had to get more information!  The site is, and this is a sample image of their product directly from their website (heaven forbid that photo credits not go where they are due.)

I gather from the website that the founder of the company is a doctor, who was addressing a desperate medical need (ha) when he developed it to help women slim their hips back to pre-pregnancy size after delivery, the idea being that pregnancy hormones serve to relax the hip joints and that even women who subsequently lose all their baby weight are often still left with wider hips postpartum.  Oh, the horrors.  Does it surprise you one iota that this jackass went to medical school in NYC?

For those whose most pressing postpartum (and I mean IMMEDIATELY postpartum) concern is getting back to their exact prepregnancy shape, this device is to be worn for the first EIGHT WEEKS after delivery, 4-6 HOURS A DAY.

Good god and little chickens, people.  This is what you're most worried about right after delivering a baby?  Or what your husband/SO is most worried about?  And to the extent that you are willing to wear this barbaric-looking, medieval-throwback contraption for hours every day WHILE nursing and changing a million tiny diapers and being up all night every night and doing mountains of laundry and not even having time to shower?  (Yeah, maybe I'm just remembering back to when I had newborns around...I would have decked the person who brought one of these anywhere near me.)