Thursday, November 29, 2012

Line Leaders

Yup.....when I fall behind, I find myself writing multiple posts in the same day, or on consecutive days, don't I?  And today is no exception.

This one is a less happy story.....this is a new issue that we've been having.

This story is about Ballerina.

We've known for a while that Ballerina wants to be first with everything.  For any activity, she insists that she's the "Line Leader".  Music Man really doesn't care that he's following his sister.  Big Brother is a bit more of an issue.....he too likes to be first.  Sibling issues I can deal with.

But things have become more dangerous.  When I pick them up at school (and to a lesser degree, when I drop them off), Ballerina needs to be the first one to the car.  Since I'm not AT the car, but waiting for them outside of the school, she doesn't necessarily know where the car is.  She runs off to find the car.  I am careful to park so that she shouldn't have to run into the parking lot, but there aren't assigned spots.....I can't guarantee that one of those will be available when I arrive at school.    In the morning, I can make sure that she never has to go into the parking lot, but not in the afternoon.

The last 2 afternoons, as soon as Big Brother comes out, she goes running.  She has to beat him to the car.  The first day, I was able to get one of those spots and she ran to the car and waited for me, and (at my request), Big Brother chased after her (which may have made it worse) and made sure she stayed put until I could get there with Music Man (who was doing everything in his power to go as slow as possible [including body drops]).  With Big Brother's help, Ballerina remained safe waiting at the car.

But the next day, I was later arriving at the school and was unable to get that parking spot.  She ran off and, despite shouting after her that the car isn't in that same place (like she'll understand this when she's on the race to be "First"), when she arrived at the expected parking spot and didn't see the car, she started going into the parking lot to see if she could locate our car.  At 3:05, there are numerous cars driving to pick up their children, buses picking up other kids to bring them to day care, and lots of activity.  Fortunately, she stayed near the sidewalk and we were able to get her under our control before something happened or even came close, but we are facing a potentially dangerous situation.

When I dropped the kids off at school today, the administrator who takes care of the Learning Center program at the school pulled me aside to speak with me to come up with a strategy to get my children safely to the car.  It's been decided that, starting Monday, they will be receiving curb-side service......I will drop them off in the morning and they will all be escorted into the building and they will be escorted from the building to the car in the afternoon.

Once again, I'm relinquishing some control.  I really like our drop-off routine in the morning, and enjoy seeing the other Moms in the afternoon.  But my children's safety is at stake.  So, next week, we'll give this a try.  Hopefully, Ballerina will realize that being first isn't the most important thing.  Hopefully, she'll realize that safety is far more important.  And, if she can't abide by the rules, she's going to be losing privileges faster than she earns them.

Progress Comes When You Least Expect It

I'm way behind in the stories that have been happening in our lives here.  But I'm just starting in fresh again.  Those stories, well, maybe I'll find another way to incorporate them here.  But for now, we're just going to start with where we are right now.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

On Tuesday, it finally happened.  I got a phone call from school to tell me that Music Man had a toiletting accident.  Since he was trained (well, urine trained) over President's Day weekend, we haven't had an accident at school.  Apparently, I had never brought in long pants (he had plenty of shorts) and they needed these ASAP.

I had mentioned during Music Man's IEP Meeting that he was not yet "Poop Trained".  In fact, he has never INTENTIONALLY released poop into the toilet.  He showed no interest.  And he never showed any indication that he was uncomfortable when he had an accident.  I'm not sure if anyone in the room agreed that that last statement could be true, but they did take me at my word.  Well, on Tuesday, when he had his accident, they realized that I was telling the truth.  He truly just didn't care.  He just sat there. He was able to completely ignore it.  He didn't fidget.  He didn't do anything to indicate that he was the one that the teachers were smelling, other than simply sitting there in his own poop.

Yesterday (Wednesday), his teacher sent him home with a social story.  She found me outside the school waiting for dismissal and told me what they were starting to do.  She was keeping her own copy of the social story at school and she informed me that, since he likes Oreo cookies, he wasn't allowed to have an oreo unless he successfully "Pooped on the Pot".  This last bit threw me a bit.....I would have to follow this as well, and Oreos are his regular after-school snack.  But, I agreed to go along with this regime and I figured we'll see what happens.

Before Music Man is allowed to go downstairs to play, he has to go to the bathroom (I don't know when he last goes at school and this way we are starting fresh with the timing).  He had to urinate and that was no surprise.  But after he was done, I asked if he needed to poop.  I pointed out that, if he did put his "Poop in the Pot", he'd get a Double-Stuff Oreo cookie.  He immediately decided it was worth trying.  So, he sat on the toilet and was clearly putting in the effort.  He asked for me to sing a song, which I gladly did.  We went back and forth between the song and reading the social story.  And, sure enough, he put his "Poop in the Pot"!  3 times actually.


After cleaning up, he got his Double-Stuff Oreo cookie and then went downstairs to play.

Today, when I pick him up from school, I intend to do the same thing.  We will have snack (that isn't an Oreo) and when he goes to the bathroom prior to going downstairs to play, we will take the social story with us and we will try again.  I will give him a smaller snack so, if he's successful, he can have his Double-Stuff Oreo without getting too much sugar, but I'll take the added sugar rush to have this whole thing behind us!

It's not like we've been complacent with the toilet training thing.  But, just like in February where the breaking point was reached, I think that's what we are seeing right now....everyone has simply had enough.  He needs to know that this is the way it's supposed to be and how it will be.  And, thanks to his teacher, we figured out a way to convince him that we really mean it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

What is Election Day?

To me, this means it's my opportunity to make my voice heard.  I get to publicly say the way I want to see my community managed, whether that community be local (county-based) or national (like this year's presidential election).  I have voted every year where there has been a vote since I turned 18, and have done so with great pride.  I may not have always been happy with my decisions after-the-fact, but when my vote was cast, it was done so believing I had made the best possible choice.

This year, I took advantage of "Early Voting" because all 3 kids were going to be home from school and I was concerned that the lines that may incur would cause me difficulties in the polling places.  I went to a local community center on Thursday where they were holding the early voting and made my choices.  I placed my vote president/vice-president, my representatives, other local posts, and I answered all seven state-based ballot questions, the couple of county-based questions.  I knew when I left the polling place that many of the votes I made would be "cancelled out" by my husband who does NOT share my political views, but I had done my part to make sure my voice was heard.

I am SO grateful that we had the opportunity for Early Voting this year.  This fall, Tuesdays has become the crazy day that was Saturday last year.  On Tuesdays, Ballerina has her dance class after school and then, after running home for a quick dinner, I'm rushing off to take Big Brother to Cub Scouts, and we're usually late.  Dad doesn't get home until we are between those two activities.  Even though we aren't doing much during the day today (until dance class), the added insanity of going to the kids' school to vote (and have them NOT attending school) would have made things unbearable for me.

But there's a trade-off.

I feel bad that Big Brother didn't get to watch me cast my ballot.  He knows who I voted for and he knows that his Dad will be voting for his opponent.  He knows that Dad and I are two different people with differing political views and that doesn't adversely affect our ability to love one another and share our lives together.  And he even knows some of the specifics as to why his Dad and I disagree, which will hopefully make him a more informed voter when he turns 18 and takes on his responsibility of making his voice heard.  But I wish that my fear of the behavior of his brother and sister didn't prevent me from taking him to see democracy in action.  I wish he could have seen what it means to go into a voting booth and cast a ballot.

In 4 years, I'm making a promise to do my best to bring (at least) him with me when I vote.  He deserves it.  My fears of the public's reaction should not prevent me from teaching such an important lesson to my son.