Tuesday, January 12, 2010

a visit from Oma

I'm having incredible physical difficulty with this pregnancy, so I'm not running the house as I would like. Calliope gets worse every week, so running the house at all is more difficult than it should be. Stress and worry keep me from taking care of myself as I know I should. I can't get out for a walk to improve my mood or even just to take the kiddos to the park. My whole life is a runaway train, and I'm along for the ride and inevitable train wreck. I have no control and am powerless to change things.

My husband wants to help, but he just doesn't do much. Dishes, laundry, house cleaning; they all wait until Chris wants to do them, so we run out of everything on a regular basis, and cleaning doesn't usually happen. I know he wants to help, but he won't let me tell him what to do that is helpful. So, he's arranged for his mom to come help.

Over thanksgiving his parents were here, and I was very disappointed to watch her sit in the backyard and play solitaire on her blackberry while I tried to play with the kids. She sat on the couch while I worked in the kitchen or helped Chris with laundry or sat on a kitchen chair. She is just as clueless as he is.

She'll be here today to stay with us for I don't know how many days. I expect to have to entertain her, cook for her, clean up after her, and keep the kids from disturbing her while she plays on her blackberry. So, I am not feeling great about the visit from the 'help Christa with the little kids' angle.

Then there is the terribly embarrassing situation with Calliope. I really don't want to have MIL feeding the beast. Calliope feeds off attention and will keep going as long as anyone will talk with her. My MIL doesn't seem to get this, even after being told several times, several ways. The MIL will go around and around on whatever subject Calliope chooses for however long Calliope wants, letting her perseverate and get more and more upset all the time. We've got her bullshit calendar on the wall, her behavior expectations, the chart with money paid for each chunk of the day, and all the info and phone numbers of the people working with us on her. This is NOT normal and will have to be explained to her at least once. The consequence for Calliope's record length tantrum on Sunday morning was me taking her clothes (I give her things to wear daily-my choice). The consequence for her record sized hole in the wall on Sunday night was completely stripping her room. These things will also have to be explained.

If mental health professionals don't understand the problem or know what to do, my mother in law has no chance of understanding. She's on her way, and it's going to add another layer of stress and worry to my load.

Friday, January 8, 2010

First meeting at school with our advocate, :)

The day after I had the phone book open looking for educational advocates and ended up looking at attorneys, a social worker gave me the name of an advocate. His business is non profit, so he doesn't have hourly rates, but he does want us to pay expenses, so it isn't going to cost us $150 an hour to have him with us at meetings like her Dr. did! Yippee! That's a relief already. Just talking with him over the phone I got the feeling that he knew what was going on in our family and how the school was avoiding their responsibility to Calliope. Then he made came to one of the school meetings.

We've had these meetings at least monthly since school started, and it's usually the school stringing me along with one thing or another, pushing me to look at her assignments online, reminding me that there are kids with worse behaviors and worse grades, and saying that her problems are at home and not at school. They have put off and stalled and backpedaled on the special education testing-evaluatiion-assesment of her needs, even after I put the request in writing last school year. Sometimes Calliope's Dr. comes with us (and charges per hour) to back us up and add her advice on dealing with Calliope.

This meeting was so different. Our advocate was just super nice, laid back, but I understand his name is known to the school, and I believe it now. The school totally offered up that Calliope was yelling at teachers in class, hostile to adults, is a problem in the classroom and between classes, she even hit a girl the day before the meeting and yelled at the teacher when she asked 'What happened?' The school counselor even suggested that having high test scores and not performing to potential was reason enough to get the testing I've been asking for (since 4th grade!) and been denied. Total turn around from what they had been doing and saying before. Phew!

Our advocate said 'She clearly qualifies' a few times about school services, County Mental Health, and Regional Center services. He told me not to worry about it, and he wants to be at any meeting where Calliope is the topic. I felt such relief knowing we had help. He knows the laws, the terms and jargon, and can talk to these people in their language. They don't have the polite mom to push aside anymore. It's great.

Since I've submitted the forms and questionnaire for the testing, they have 60 calendar days to complete the testing and have an IEP meeting for Calliope. We are going to have news by February 26 about changes for Calliope at school! Of course the changes will be nothing to brag about. My smart girl will be in special ed classes. But it will be better for the teachers and students that don't have to deal with her disrupting their classes and taking her abuse.

Things with county mental health are looking a bit slower. Calliope hasn't seen her regular Dr. since before Christmas, and the Dr. won't see her now that she's been taken up by CMH. So, the first appointment with her new therapist (I don't know if she's a Dr. or not) is Friday morning. Calliope is very upset about missing class, but that is the only appointment we can get next week. She's not been taking her medicine, so I don't know how the next week is going to be; they may see more than they want to see. But, there is a possibility for more intense therapy, in home therapy, and it is all going to be paid for through Medi-Cal because Calliope is lucky enough to have an absent parent and a parent with no income. So, a financial burden has been lifted from us, and all the driving to SLO to see her Dr.s is a thing of the past.

So, there was good news this week. Nice.