Monday, September 5, 2011

Retail Therapy

A specially ordered card for a special little girl!
Supplies: Image from Mo Manning, Digital Pencil;
watercoloured with Distress inks;
letter stickers from Basic Grey;
Happy Birthday Outlines sticker

It's not nearly as gratifying as shopping in person, but I just placed a few orders yesterday for some Halloween and Christmas goodies. Now the stalking of the mailman! I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but last week we went to visit Grammie in Miramichi. The boys had a great time hanging out in the pool and playing on the trampoline, and Abby had a great time with free run of the fenced-in backyard.

Riley and Connor, the unicorn.
I had an interesting experience as well. Rob's mom lives near the high school, which has an open parking lot perfect for driving practice. I've had a couple of parking lot lessons, but it's slow going as our car has a standard transmission. So, driving over to the high school was my first time practicing in reverse, and my first time driving on the road. On the way back, in a 30 km/hr school zone, a car came up behind me. I was driving at 25, so Rob hit the flashers so the other driver would realize I was going slow....and the guy PASSED ME, in a school zone, on a curve, with oncoming traffic he couldn't see until he pulled up beside me. I nearly had a heart attack. Back to the parking lot for a few more lessons, I think.

Oh wait, pictures of Abby the wonder pup!
But I want to go in the pool too!

Snuggling with Riley

Look at those fluttery eyelashes!
Training took a few steps backward last week, so I turned to the books once again for advice on housebreaking. The puppy pads are gone (she started going wherever she pleased) and now Abby is in the kitchen unless she's invited. Since we started that, she's now gone 4 days with no accidents in the house. With the pads she wasn't indicating that she needed to go out at all - she didn't have to. A few more weeks to see how well she's doing, and then a deep carpet clean is definitely in order.

Supplies: Image & sentiment from Mo Manning, Digital Pencil;
watercoloured with Distress inks;
star gem strip from $store;
mushrooms & flowers from Walmart kit;
Sakura Stardust pen - for mushrooms & 'wonderful days'
I love this image, drawn by Mo Manning, and it's fun to colour. I love playing with her hair colour, and dirtying up the knees of her sweet overalls. I printed the images out slightly larger than usual, and I found with the second card that I liked the simplicity of the white space.

School starts tomorrow. {Gulp!}
I am hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst. So far there seems to be confusion, a lack of planning, and a lack of information sharing. Connor is supposed to be taking the bus to a new school - but the website has no information on bus stops or times, and after repeated phone calls even the transportation supervisor said he wouldn't know until Tuesday. Seriously? I can understand juggling the times, but you can't even tell us WHERE he's supposed to get on the bus? And the school itself couldn't (or wouldn't) tell us who Connor's homeroom teacher would be, or the names of any children in his class, apparently because even on Friday they hadn't yet finalized the class lists. So, with no aide, a massively anxious autistic child has to sit in the gym with 2-300 other nervous kids & listen for his name to be called, and that's how he's going to meet his teacher for the first time. What could possibly go wrong?

And Riley...I must say that I'm quite glad this is his last year in elementary school. The current administration seems to believe that information is a precious commodity, and that as parents we shouldn't have access to any of it. Riley will not have an aide this year, something I'd speculated about based on the number of layoffs last June. However, no one has officially told us. Part of me wants to wait and see how long it takes for us to be notified. Then again, last March or so both boys had their part-time aides switched, and we have yet to be officially informed of that.

It's beyond frustrating to have to fight every single year for services, only to lose them without notice. Both boys may very well surprise me and adjust perfectly - but chances are, just like the last several years, September will bring regression, aggression, and lots of tears and anxiety. We're already experiencing all of those. We almost lost our respite funding this year as well, because the boys aren't considered intellectually disabled. As it is, it's been reduced by 20%. What it feels like, is that we are losing resources because the boys are beginning to succeed. If they had a reduced curriculum, they would qualify for more help. The problem is, I can't make up for the deficits they have at home anymore. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, we've done that and continue to. I can't go into the classroom with them and ensure that they are able to do the work. I can't  regurgitate the entire curriculum for them at home to give them the one-on-one instruction they often need, and I can't expect that a teacher with a full classroom can take the time to do that either.

You know, I just thought of the perfect ending here - regardless of the song's actual meaning, the title works. "Wake Me Up When September Ends."



Emily Keaton said...

Great photos, Jessi! I'm feeling for you with regard to the start of school. Sounds like your boys' school situations are horribly frustrating. I hope that you are able to ease some of the anxiety and can have a successful start. I'll be thinking of you!

Theresa said...

I'm so sad to hear all this about the school - it's so terrible!! I hope it all goes well.

Your card is fabulous!! Great coloring and layout. I just love it!!

Thanks for sharing the photos.

Susan Raihala said...

I hope all is going better than you expected. It is for us, and what a relief! But I totally agree...the end of September can't come fast enough.