Saturday, September 22, 2007


We have an interview with a new school on Thursday. It's a well-established Montessori school. I would really like Andy to go there, because the glimpse I had of the facility was really promising, it comes highly recommended from both parents and previous students (who are often the same people), and Montessori does emphasize skills and ideas I would like Andy to have. Self-discipline. Wonder. Interest in learning. Being able to read the map, rather than just know the route to specific destinations.

Andy is three years old. He does not currently possess these skills. We just left a school that seemed to assume kids possessed skills I thought were the goal of preschool- things like sharing, following instructions, self-care. A big worry is the idea that if we go with this school, we are obligated to the full tuition. In other words, if something goes wrong, we're out a lot of money and probably cant afford to try another school. What if the environment turns out to be over-stimulating, so that he can't focus? How common is it for kids to get so interested in new things that they forget the bathroom? I thought it was pretty common, but apparently not. What about the impact on his personality of spending so much of his life in waiting rooms, of having a brother with a disability? The impact of his own weaknesses in sensory integration and communication? What if he melts down? Will they throw him out? Do other kids sometimes melt down in school? What if he becomes aggressive with his frustration? Will they help, or just tell me to come get him? Are these "normal" problems to have?

Having Andy tossed from preschool (well, technically, I pulled him out, but he was clearly unwelcome) has been a real shock. He is so very ready, and yet he has issues. I thought all kids had issues. Now I'm not so sure. What if his issues are considered unacceptable?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Blogging Meme

Abfh has put up a new meme, and hey, what's wrong with a meme now and again? So here it is:

1. Is there a regular time of day when you compose your posts?
Yes. 2 am is pretty good, but around 9 pm is very usual. It is the time between getting the boys in bed and when I start checking up on my online class discussion forums.

2. Do you prefer to write a certain number of posts per week (or per month)?
I write when I can. I like having something as daily as possible, because I like reading blogs that post almost daily.

3. Are you more likely to write a post when you're happy about the topic, or do you mainly blog when you feel like ranting?
I'm a ranter. Sometimes I rant about being happy.

4. Do you write from notes or an outline, or are your posts mostly spontaneous?
Spontaneous- though sometimes I've stewed a few hours/days/weeks before I get things into words other people can understand.

5. Do you try to maintain a central theme for your blog and avoid random topics that don't fit the theme?
Yes. I try to stick to life with Joey and Andy, and I'm usually Joey-heavy because so much of my own life is taken up with work to support and advocate for him. I think we just learned this week that Andy is about to eat up more time, because he's in an unusual position in life.

6. Are there any interesting rituals associated with your blogging?
No. They're all very boring.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

School shopping

it's official. I fired the school this morning.

I can't very well send my child to a school that had not one positive thing to say about him, could I? We're SO happy to not be in one of those with Joey this year. I was not expecting to have such a problem with Andy. What's up with normal preschool?

So now we are school shopping. I have found a couple of schools with slots available. They are both Montessori schools, which around here means they are pricey and want the whole tuition even if they kick you out. :P I did get a glimpse of the inside of one already, and it looks really lovely- bright, clean, lots of things to do and get into. The director was very nice. We have an interview on Thursday. Wish us luck.

In other fronts, Joey is ill. Tummy bug. Mommy is tired. Perpetual.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Snag in the Plan

Andy is on the verge of being tossed out of preschool.

Andy loves preschool. He has no trouble seperating from me. He's very interested in the activities. He loves having friends. He has some usual 3-year-old troubles of sharing and paying attention. He's eager to learn and to be at school.

So what is the problem? Anyone else who has dealt with a "normal" preschool probably guessed it- toileting.

Many boys do not fully toilet independantly until they are four years old. Preschools don't care. Normal preschools now expect three year old children to be able to communicate effectively when they need the bathroom even during busy and interesting activities, walk into a bathroom stall by themselves, pull down their own clothes, completely void, wipe themselves effectively, pull up all clothing themselves, walk out of the stall to the sink, wash their hands, and return to the teacher waiting in the doorway, all independently- no prompts. None.

This means a child can be developmentally appropriate, even gifted, and have no where to attend school. Here, unless you can demonstrate a child has a 25% delay in something, the child cannot get into the special ed program. At age 3, 25% is a serious delay. However, even within a normal toilet-training timeline, a child is denied a "regular" program, because children must be "fully toilet-trained" as defined above. Verbal prompting through the steps of toileting is not an option. Visual prompts are not an option. The person cannot walk in and help the child unless there is another adult also in the bathroom (state law), so if the child, say, has trouble pulling up their underwear, they are not "fully toilet trained." If they have trouble focusing on tasks or pulling themselves away from tasks independently (if they need the prompt "Time for the potty!"), they are "not fully toilet trained." You can count to ten, ID all your colors, and know three letters, but you need a prompt for the potty? Sucks to be you. Get out.

Now, had I known this was the definition when I enrolled him last spring, I would have spent more OT time and more home time on these skills, instead of letting him "take his own time." All this literature about not pressuring kids to toilet train? Throw it OUT THE WINDOW. If they can't go to preschool with their peers solely due to this one weak skill, then more focus needs to be placed there, because it seems to be the one and only weakness that precludes participation in preschool absolutely. You can't wait, because you can't hold the child into an extra year of preschool. You can't place a normal 5-year-old into the 4-year-old class. You can't just stick your 3-year-old with the twos. All of the other kids have two years of preschool, some of them three, and your kid has one, guess who gets left behind? Guess who doesn't have the socialization skills and experience? Classroom skills? Andyes, there are kids who show up to kindergarden with no preschool at all, for various reasons. I've seen what becomes of them. It isn't pretty. When all the other kids are in reading group, writing their names, and standing in line, your kid gets labeled real quick- and its not a label you want the kid going through school with.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Stay Tuned!

We had the Best Vacation Ever.

We got two good shots at the ocean, cool enough to not burn our feet on the sand, warm enough to really get in the water.

Joey rode every ride we'd let him on. Andy got to go fishing and win prizes.

The boys played skee ball and prize cranes in Marty's. They had taffy from Dolle's.

Allan and I got to have a walk to ourselves. We got to have fries from Thrasher's and popcorn from Fisher's.

We had crabs at Hooper's. We saw ponies at Assateague. We even tried a new resteraunt, Greenwood Farms, which was wonderful!

So stay tuned for the pics, the fun, the stories...