Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Upside down and 'round and 'round

What a crazy mixed up week it has been. My entire neck, back, and spine feel like someone is shooting poison stress arrows at me on a minute-by-minute basis. I'm surely getting old, which I guess isn't that bad of a thing to be doing.

The girls started school on Tuesday. Dakotah has a pretty full course load, but she seemed ready to return and dig into the routine. She has just two years left of high school, and even she seems a bit shocked by that - its going by as fast for her as it seems to be for me.

Paige was more than thrilled to start back at school too - she loves it, loves being there, loves being with her friends, loves the routine. Unfortunately, there have been some bumps for her start this year - we haven't figured out busing just yet, and I was more than shocked to arrive Tuesday after school to pick her up to discover that her aide had been cut to just a half day.

I was most upset because it was done without speaking to me, or even informing me, and even her teacher and the aide herself were surprised with the news on the very first day of school.

She has an IEP in place, and I'm confident that it will be ironed out, as it seems to be mostly a scheduling blip made during the summer by the former principal, but it isn't solved yet, and I've got my hackles up about it - ready to make some noise if it doesn't change by week's end.

Right now, she is physically dependent for help with basic needs like walking and toileting, and its not even comprehensible that anyone would think she could go a half day every day without assistance in those areas. Couple that with the fact that she is non-verbal, and needs someone to work with her academically during the day, and well, it is not only unacceptable that they do not carry out the IEP as outlined, it is illegal.

I'm trying to be calm and nice about it, but I'm also determined and quite ready to be assertive in any way that will bring the quickest result. The nice way would be to schedule meetings and bring representatives in, etc, but the fast way is probably to make some noise publicly - the whole squeaky wheel theory, you know.

So, we'll see how that goes.

My job has been really stressful lately too - my boss isn't sure of the direction of his company, and every day seems to bring a different "game plan" to the table. Its difficult trying to follow rules and procedures when they change on a daily basis. So, I don't know where that is going either.

And of course, regular "life" stuff happens - the engine on my van went; it was a $2,000 repair. Next week, we are putting in a new oil furnace at a cost of $1,500. Back to school uniforms and expenses have crept up on me - its always something :)

Last Friday night, Dakotah was at a friend's house for an end of summer party, with about 20 or 30 of her friends from high school when one of the boys was called away suddenly. They found out later that his dad had died very suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 52.

All of Dakotah's friends went to the wake tonight - the first one Dakotah has ever been to. It was emotional for them all, and powerful to know that they were all supporting one another and leaning on each other to be there for their friend Cody.

I was proud of her for going, and would have liked to be there when she did, but it was sort of a rite of passage for the kids as they all went in to express their sympathy together.

As I was driving to school to pick Paige up today, I was thinking there isn't a single spot in my life that doesn't feel stressful. Of course, that isn't completely true - everyone is healthy, well-fed, has a nice warm bed to sleep in, etc.

But, I was feeling a little whiney, to say the least.

Then, I arrived at school, went into Paige's classroom, where I was met with the most beautiful little girl-our friend Emma - who ran to me, jumped in my arms, hugged me tight, and said my name over and over again, and then jumped up and down with excitement.

With a greeting like that, who wouldn't leave with a smile on her face, no matter how goofy the world is acting right now?