Just another Minnesota Mom blog.

Run Run Run Run Runaway

Posted: June 17th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Minneapolis Schools, Misc., Out and About, Parenting, Stream of Consciousness | No Comments »

I just want to write.

Every night as my head hits the pillow, my eyes blink open and that thought flashes across my mind. I just want to write. But when? How? What do I even write about?

Brain dump!

I’m in the deep end of the parenting pool, and I’m treading water like crazy. Everyone is so loud. Everyone needs me all of the time. Yesterday I actually told my kids that I was going to run away and never come back. And for a few minutes, I think I actually meant it. We aren’t far enough into summer for me to be losing my grip here. Don’t even get me started on the state of my house.

There is a lot of energy in my house. My almost 6-year old is without his best friend Monday-Thursday, and spends the day antagonizing everyone from dawn til dusk. There is not enough coffee in the world to enable me to start the day on the right foot with him. I do not do mornings well to begin with, and I dread getting up when I hear him downstairs at 6am. Which is in itself a problem- 6am?! It’s summer, we have nowhere to be in the mornings. Why must my kids get up at 6am?

My 2-year old just figured out how to climb out of his crib, so naps and bedtimes are a nightmare, and we are suddenly back into up-all-night sleep deprivation mode. I was completely spoiled by the ability to put him in his crib, let him snuggle in and be awake for awhile, and then fall asleep on his own. Now we are all rocking and shushing, and sitting in front of the crib and putting him back when he climbs out. Did I mention he is still nursing? He’s still nursing. We’ve been trying to wean for a good year at this point and although I think we are close, I’m completely over it.

My 7-year olds are (as usual) the easier of the four to keep entertained during the day, mostly because there are endless screenplays to read on the internet, and the yoga balls are in abundance. Easy if you ignore the fact that one of them likes to dump all of my jewelry out and drag it all over the house, and the other one won’t wear pants. Easy if you ignore the fact that we are all on constant lockdown because they are an elopement risk and my biggest fear is one of them leaving and me not being able to track them down and/or catch up to them. But they aren’t yelling at me at 6am, so that goes a long way.

We wrapped up all spring sports and activities! Newsflash: much to my surprise, I am not cut out to be a sports mom. I have zero patience for watching games, and even less patience for chasing my other kids around parks and fields while their sibling plays. I also really like not having things scheduled at night. Maybe it’s good none of them like hockey.

Speaking of sports moms, I got to witness another mom walk out onto the field during a game to yell at MY KID for throwing sand. Of course every other kid was also throwing sand at the time (this is T-Ball after all), mine just happened to throw sand at her kid. Asher’s Mom- Your face is seared into my brain.

We spent approximately 10% of our income on various car repairs and major appliance replacements in May. So that was fun. I’m never getting a new couch.

My 5-year old took it upon himself to open up a can of paint, and proceed to paint on our walls, and his bed frame when I allowed him to stay home while Yogi Dad was on a conference call (home, but not supervising). I guess I need to actually get the painting done this summer. Anyone like to paint?

We finally figured out what our upstairs ceiling was made of. The weird ceiling that when we bought the house we told the realtor we would eventually replace because it’s weird, and ugly? ASBESTOS. The ceiling is made from asbestos. Because OF COURSE IT IS. I guess we just paint over it and live with it, because we probably aren’t going to be replacing it anytime soon. Shouldn’t that have been in the truth in sale of housing documents? It feels like that might be important information.

Another important piece of information that we recently learned was the fact that the teacher hired from Spain to teach in my 5-year old’s brand new Spanish dual immersion program last year, was a gym teacher when he taught in Spain. Nothing against gym teachers, but I think we can all agree that this was a major oversight on the hiring team. He was not a general education teacher. He was not a dual immersion teacher. He was not a kindergarten teacher. I’m not sure how many times I asked what he taught, but it was never specifically stated, and the answer always led me to believe that he just taught a grade other than kindergarten. Of course, I didn’t learn this information until we had already pulled our kids from the school for next year, partially due to the fact that the Spanish immersion experience had been so poor. I am disappointed on so many levels. But mostly I fear that we wasted my son’s entire kindergarten year. We put a lot of faith in the district and our administrators that this was going to be great. We knew it would be hard starting a new program, but we trusted that it would work out. It was a total fail.

(Now I’m just sitting here angry. Think Lovely Thoughts!)

Libraries. Dude. I finally updated my card and I’m newly obsessed with working on my To-Read list without feeding my Amazon addiction. The best thing so far is the audio books. I spend way too much time doing dishes every day, and listening to something I want to read is making those hours feel like less of a loss. Also: podcasts. I’m sorry I ever turned my nose up at the podcasters at the blogging conferences!

Ice Cream. This is the summer of ice cream. Northeast Minneapolis needs a good ice cream shop, it sounds like we have donuts figured out, but our ice cream options are lacking. In the meantime we are eating our weight in DQ.

Neighborhood pools- best invention ever.

My gardens are really coming along, there wasn’t much here when we bought the house, and we have since removed all of the shrubs and replaced with perennials, so it’s a work in progress. If I like it, I stick it in the dirt, so there isn’t much rhyme or reason to what is happening there, but now that things have had a year or two to establish, I can see where we need to move things around a bit.

Our summer is pretty well stocked with fun things to do. I hope the boys enjoy our daytrips and vacations. I hope that I can enjoy them and not just be constantly stressed. Cross your fingers for me?
.
.
.
.
Aaaannnd we’re back to negative, so I’m going to stop right there for now.

 

 

 


Communication is Key

Posted: May 31st, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Autism, Early Intervention, Living in the City, Minneapolis Schools, Parenting | Tags: acceleration 2020, ASP Program, Burroughs, Citywide autism program, Minneapolis Public Schools, Sheridan | 1 Comment »

Change is Coming

If you are going to make big sweeping changes to how something is done, you need to communicate early (and often!) to the people those changes will be affecting.  This seems like a simple rule, but  it’s not always put into practice.

Over the past few months our district has been talking about upcoming changes to the autism program.  I have zero issues with the current program, it’s been fabulous for the boys, and they are thriving.  We are very happy in Minneapolis Public Schools.  At the Monthly SEAC meetings I’ve attended, any discussion about the changes have made sense to me, and I have been comfortable with what is being rolled out.  There has been very little push-back to the changes at the meetings I’ve been to.

If the changes are implemented well, this could be a great way of getting kids back into their classrooms, back into their community schools (vs being segregated into cluster schools), and more aligned with the federal settings.

I am not so naive as to believe there will not be stumbling blocks, or that the changes will be right for every single child, but I think the reasons for the changes are sound, and I think the changes are overall good, and I think this could really work.

I seem to be very alone in my opinions, at least I haven’t found many other parents who agree (or are willing to speak up on the matter).  I am starting to think this is because the vast majority of parents do not know about the changes yet, and those who do are being informed by a very vocal group of parents who are absolutely outraged (Call the media! This is Criminal! This is detrimental to our kids!) vs by the people who should be sharing the information: the people who came up with the plan- the Special Education department.

You can not imagine how much this has made me question my sanity or intelligence.  How can I, an educated mother of two autistic sons entering 1st grade, be so daft as to think these changes are OK, when everyone else is screaming for every advocate in the sate to take up the cause of putting an end to these changes?  I’ve asked nearly everyone I know who has seen and heard the same information if I am missing something, and I have been assured I am not.

Am I just more level-headed?  Maybe I can see past the knee-jerk reaction to freak out whenever something will affect the boys, and give it a chance?  Maybe I am more trusting in my boy’s abilities?  Maybe I am too trusting of the boy’s educators to want the best for them? Maybe I can see the good the changes will bring?  Maybe I am right and they are wrong?  Maybe we are both right?

What I want to know is this- what would the motivation be for a district to set up kids for such failure?  Because that is what these parents are saying these changes amount to- nothing but detrimental, criminal level failure of our children, who will be no doubt ostracized in the process, and left on their own to fumble through.  Apparently in this world, IEPs don’t exist, and neither do federal settings.

So far all I’m hearing is the token “it’s all about the budget”, but I hate to break it to you, in a school district EVERYTHING is about the budget.

There has to be more.  I don’t think the district would do something to cause this much blowback, if they didn’t think the changes were good, and important, and that kids would be supported.

At this point I want to completely remove myself from the conversation.  Those who are talking the loudest do not want to hear dissent.  They are only interested in finding people who agree, or those who haven’t heard any information yet, because they can be easily swayed.  And really, what could I possibly say?  I have nothing to back myself up- there is nowhere to direct people to get information at this point.

Do you see what I mean about communicating early and often?  The district has already lost on this, because they are letting a group of unhappy parents write the script.  As we go into the last week of the school year, with the last SEAC meeting this Thursday, I just want to skip ahead to August, and have the changes in place.

Let’s get some information out there MPS.  Stop letting this conversation be based on fear and negative propaganda.