Sunday, May 20, 2012

Long Time No See

It's been quite a while since I've posted - I kind of got run over by life the past couple weeks.  I caught the super-cold that's been going around up here almost three weeks ago, and that knocked me for a loop.  I'm still slogging through the last remnants of that experience (still coughing).  I took a day off of subbing, but I've been pretty busy working aside from that, 3-4 days a week.

Last week was a miserable week for subbing.  One day for one class (pretty good), and three days with another class (jr. high, six periods per day - most of them pretty miserable).  I wanted to tell the school I couldn't do the last two days after the first one was such a pain.  I should have listened to my gut instinct, because it didn't get any better - it got worse.  Days like that make me wonder why on earth I do this job.  But at the end of all the drama, another teacher made a point of telling me that her daughter had me as a sub in AP History, and thought I was the best sub she'd ever had for that class.  That was nice of her to pass that encouragement on to me.

(Last week was a real train wreck of the good, the annoying, and the ugly - subbing follies, broken washer AND dryer with two visits for repairs, soccer practices and game,  PYY's first band concert, Boy Scouts, my own exercise class. . . .)

So I'm trying to regroup and gear up for another week of subbing - with some of the same kids as last week, although in a different subject.  I think this week will be better, though.  And at the end of it, a four day weekend for the Memorial Day holiday.  We might be going to visit my parents for a couple nights, which would be wonderful.  We haven't been down there in a while, and we always enjoy spending time with them.

To deal with some of the emotional upheaval lately, I've been spending a lot of time in the garden.  I've gotten a lot done the past couple weeks, in spite of my ongoing cold and crazy schedule.  I've done lots and lots of weeding, planting veggies and annuals, transplanting some perennials, mulching various things, mowing and trimming - it's been very therapeutic.  And, I finally put up my hummingbird feeder last night, and had hummers at it today, so that really made me happy.

I'll put up pictures of my gardening adventures later this week.  I've got some lovely things in bloom:  tall bearded irises, oriental poppies, lupines, alliums and cosmos are all very happy with the warmth and moisture we've had recently.

Have a lovely week, friends!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Looking Ahead

Safety Guy's annual IEP meeting is just around the corner, so I met with his teacher today for a conference as she's getting ready to prepare his IEP for 8th grade.  We're on the same page regarding Safety Guy's abilities and needs, so it was a pretty stress-free meeting.  It's never pleasant to discuss your child's difficulties and poor choices, which we did, but Mrs. W. was equally willing to tally his strengths and positive choices. 

Safety Guy has been struggling to get homework done off and on all year.  We've tried to give him as much independence as possible as a 7th grader, but he clearly needs closer supervision in this area - much to his intense dismay.  We've been through a couple rounds of this before:  "Show us you can make an honest effort and turn in the assignments, and we won't be looking over your shoulder and your daily agenda all the time.  Slacking off and not turning in work means we'll be on your case."  Well, we're back to being nosy parents now until the end of the school year. 

One thing that has been on my mind is the likelihood that our son would be having classes with many of the same disruptive, bullying kids again next year.  I know that formally "tracking" students into classes by ability fell into disfavor years ago.  I don't have hard stats, but I think it's making a comeback under other names as school districts have been increasingly finding that keeping classes with mixed abilities across the board creates problems of its own - namely, that the students who WANT to learn CAN'T learn well in a class with a number of high-maintenance behaviorally challenged kids, and the middle of the road kids get ignored or fall behind.  Mainstreaming is good for special needs students, but what about those students who may or may not have any special needs educationally, but definitely have issues with their behavior that require more of a teacher's time than the rest of the class combined?   Safety Guy's school has quite a few of these students at every grade level (most schools do), with a cluster of them in junior high right now for some reason.

My concern is that if Safety Guy has to continue to be in classes with the kids who are disruptive and bullying to him, will he act more and more like them?  Or will he eventually lash out physically at them, not just verbally?  I'm not content to leave him in a lose-lose situation until he snaps, then punish him for not having superhuman patience and self-control.  As far as I'm concerned, he's been expected to have patience and self-control beyond what most kids with AS can normally muster for almost two years, and it's a miracle he hasn't clocked someone by now.  But to maintain this level of control for another year (or two or three) in that situation?  That's just cruel and unfair to him.  I brought up the issue of next year's class makeup, and Mrs. W. understood completely.  But, God bless Mrs. W., she told me today that a special class for "difficult" students has been proposed for our junior high school.  And, she has already told the powers that be that Safety Guy is NOT an appropriate candidate for such a class and would not benefit from it at all.  In fact, it could have the opposite effect on him, and set him back for years to come.  So, she's got our backs.

That's a huge relief for my husband and I.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bloggers For Birth Kits

The Mommyhood Memos Bloggers for Birth Kits We take a lot of things for granted in the United States, and elsewhere in the developed world.  Chances are if you are a woman reading my blog and you have children, you gave birth in a hospital, birthing center, or clean home environment.  Chances are you didn't doubt that you'd survive the birth, or that you'd have an excellent chance of having a healthy baby.  However, in the developing world, the risk of dying in childbirth and the incidence of child mortality are mind-blowing.  For instance, in rural Papua New Guinea 1 in 7 mothers die in childbirth.  For every woman in the world who dies in childbirth, another 30 incur injuries or infections related to the birth, many of which are preventable.  (Source:  World Health Organization)

Today I learned from Rants From Mommyland about a program run by Adriel Booker for Youth With A Mission Ships (YWAMships.org) out of Australia, ministering in Papua New Guinea.  Her initiative is called Bloggers For Birth Kits.  I think it's an amazing opportunity for moms I know to help other moms in parts of the world where the risk of dying in childbirth and child mortality are incredibly high, often for lack of sanitary birth assistance - a preventable tragedy.

Making a birth kit is easy and inexpensive. A birth kit is simply a ziploc bag of sanitary supplies for a birth attendant and mother to use to reduce the risk of infection for both mother and baby.  The kit includes a plastic sheet (3' x 3'), a pair of rubber gloves, three pieces of string (10" each), five squares of gauze (3" x 3"), a razor blade (which the attendant will be taught to sterilize before use), and a piece of soap (about 1/8 of a large bar, or a hotel-sized bar).  A more detailed list and a video are available at Bloggers For Birth Kits - please go take a look.

You can also contribute money to this ministry of YWAM, where a $10 donation will provide 5 birth kits.  (If you do this, be sure to write "Bloggers For Birth Kits" in the memo section!)

It's a simple way to make a possibly life-saving difference to mothers and babies who don't have the same access to safe, sanitary birthing conditions and medical care that we are blessed with.  These kits will provide many happy mother's days for many families.

Thank you.