Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Garden Update!

So far, the garden has proved to be a good think for Iraq! She has remembered to water her plants each day, and today we thinned out some of our over-planted cups and replanted some of the sprouting plants into other cups.

If all of these plants survive, we'll have a far bigger garden than I anticipated! Beware, Virginia friends! You may be receiving care packages of fresh veggies...

Then again, there is still plenty of time for me to kill them - LOL! I'm just amazed the seeds have gotten this far considering I'm the one overseeing the little gardener.

Just look at them grow!!


And a nice cucumber close-up...


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Iraqi Tea-Pee

Little known fact... Iraqi castles are full of pee. No - not the ones in Iraq the country. I mean the toy castles in MY Iraq's room.

Yes... unfortunately I am serious.

Now ask me how my day was. *sigh* I quit smoking years ago, but this is probably by far the worst cigarette craving I've had since quitting. The thought going through my head is that I either need to smoke something or run, screaming from my home. My husband is hoping I do neither (and I'm sure the neighbors would appreciate me holding back on the screaming thing).

So it all started this morning. I went into Iraq's room to encourage her to pick up a bit. I went over to where one of her toy castles was sitting on the floor and noticed I could see my reflection in 3 of the cup-like turrets. The whole thing is a mini-castle that doubles as a tea set when you remove some of the turrets. The only problem is that it wasn't tea in those turrets! I have lectured Iraq time and again about not bringing any food, water or beverages into her room... but this wasn't water, either. Taking a whiff of it, I quickly realized that it wasn't yellow Gatorade either.

Definitely a "WTF??" moment!!!

Recovering my voice (and my scalded olfactory system) I managed to ask without the use of any profanity just how the urine came to be in the castle.

Not surprisingly, I got the deer-in-the-headlights-I-dunno-blank-look.

After I very carefully relocated the castle into the bathroom and emptied it, I returned to interrogate my prisoner who looked up at me with her great big, brown eyes. When I asked her again why she had pee in her toy, in her room, she turned the water-works on and wailed "I don't know!"

"You don't know why you peed in the toy castle in your room??"


So I spent the next 15 minutes explaining (as calmly as possible) why pee goes only in the toilet, how pee smells awful and can make the whole house stink, how something like this should never happen again... if you have a child in the autism spectrum, perhaps you are familiar with the "blank" look. It's really fun to explain things to the "blank" look. It's like standing in a room all by yourself, explaining something to no one just so you can feel slightly more like a bad parent for no particular reason at all.

At least I tried.

Later in the evening I went up to ask Iraq to put on her pajamas. I picked up some clothes from the floor only to discover a large smear of bright pink lipstick in the brand-new carpet we had put in last summer!


At this point my dear husband took over the room-cleaning oversight position. This was a very kind thing for him to do... for both Iraq and me. Unfortunately, the discoveries did not stop there. While Iraq was scrubbing the lipstick out of the carpet, my husband found the rest of the urine stash... in a box... filled with stuffed animals... that Iraq loves. Well... loved.

*Insert husband's WTF moment here.*

Iraq quickly blamed the cat. The hubby brought the soiled items to me for a second opinion. Having worked as a vet tech AND as a mom, my poor olfactory system actually can tell the difference, and it was definitely a stink of human origin. So amid the howling of a child who just learned some of her prized toys were going away forever, the rest of the room was picked up and inspected for more "issues."

This was really one of "those" days! We can't attribute these happenings solely to behavioral issues - Iraq is almost 7-years-old and had all of her chap sticks and play makeup removed from her possession long ago. We don't allow her to keep anything like that in her room, and she is only supposed to use lip balm under parental supervision. She somehow managed to scale tall structures to liberate her incarcerated lipstick. There is no question in my mind that she knew full-well what the ramifications for her actions would be since we have had similar issues in the past. This isn't behavior... it's compulsion. It's autism spectrum overruling intelligent decision-making.

And the pee???  I think we can all agree that is not normal! Iraq still wets the bed at night. Every night. We've tried just about everything and will soon be investing in one of those alarms to try to end the problem. Four out of our four specialists agree that this is also an autism thing. But the pee in the toys??

Suffice it to say I will be calling Iraq's psychiatrist tomorrow as well as our Asperger's specialist who is a psychologist.

So, thus far, I have not smoked a cigarette, and I have not run from the house screaming...

But I really want to.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Best Laid Men Often Plan of Mice and Go Astray

Uh... I mean, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray"

Plans. Yes, once upon a time I had plans. I planned to graduate from high school and go to college. I planned to graduate from college, get married (once) and get a job. I planned to pop out two normal kids who would go to school and then move out at the age of 18 at which time I would have tons of freedom and horses... Of course I planned to have horses the whole time.

Ahhh - the best laid plans...

To date, approximately none of my plans have worked out quite the way I planned. But honestly, so far everything has worked out.

So amazingly, I planned on having two normal kids. When you look at all the statistics, most people can expect to have "normal" kids. I doubt there are too many people out there that actually plan to have un-normal kids. (I realize un-normal isn't a word, but it still seems to get the point across, no?) One in about every 800 live births results in a baby with Down syndrome. One in every 150 girls is diagnosed with Aspergers and between 3 and 7 percent of school age children are diagnosed with ADHD. I wonder what the chances were that I would get one of each? I guess what this means is that I should be playing the lottery a lot more often!

To start off with, I figured I'd get pregnant within a few months of trying. Yeah... try, about 29 months. Of course when my first was born, I planned to breast feed. THAT didn't quite work out (see: ). I didn't plan on getting divorced (twice) nor did I think there would be 8 years between kid 1 and kid 2. In fact, kid 3 was never planned - she just... happened... with a little help from a French maid outfit...

But I digress...

So a few things happened in my life that weren't part of my great initial plan. Yet I wouldn't change a thing (other than the current lack of horses in my life and maybe a marriage or two). I will never know firsthand what it is like to parent a "normal" child, but that's OK. I have no idea how old I'll be when my last kid leaves the nest, but that's OK too. If everything had gone just as I had planned, I would have missed out on so many wonderful surprises and so many cool life lessons.

Every so often my mother will still ask me "so what are your plans for this weekend?" Honestly... who knows?  But one thing is for sure - what ever is meant to happen will happen! And it WILL all work out!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

That's Not Brown Play-Doh

My youngest is now becoming quite good at playing dress-up... and un-dress-up. Of course this is a noteworthy skill that we should help develop and nurture, right? Except during nap time.

It's not the first time this has happened. Honestly, on most days I either change The Skink into those onsie-zip-up jammies or make sure she's in jeans with a belt (she can't yet get out of a belt). Today she was so sleepy I just put her in bed in her little sweat-pants and onsie shirt. I paid extra close attention to the monitor to make sure I didn't miss anything.

I missed something.

Within a few minutes of hearing The Skink stir from her nap, I went up to get her. Upon opening the door, I realized she must have been awake for at least a little while... quietly playing... playing with...


It wasn't brown play-doh, but it was being used in just the same manner. It had been squished back and forth between the fingers, used to finger-paint the bedclothes, made into a prized sculpture and it was...


Making matters even more interesting, I suffer from migraines and today's was a tenacious one. I take Imitrex - a medication I certainly could not survive without! It does a lot to help the throbbing, unbearable head pain, but when I have a migraine I also develop a heightened sense of smell and nausea... Imitrex doesn't help those, and neither does finding one's tot covered in... uh... you know.

I survived. She survived. I sterilized her in an almost too-warm bath laced with enough soap to wash a small elephant. I scrubbed and rinsed and let out all the water and then gave her a shower and washed her again...

I love her for her creativity. For her willingness to experiment and find ways to play with the most unusual of things, but I didn't love the way I found her today! I got her all cleaned up, but if only I could find a way of getting her to do the laundry!!!

I'm sure you'll appreciate the absence of a photo for this blog. Trust me!

Friday, March 19, 2010

How to Smack Your Doctor!

Sunday, March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day! Why, you may ask, is this day set aside for Down syndrome? Well, it's because 3/21 is representative of the triplication of the 21's chromosome which causes Down syndrome.


I know... right? OK - so If you Google "Down syndrome" you will likely find all sorts of glorious explanations about chromosomes and symptoms along with a long and illustrious list of the things that will be WRONG with individuals with Down syndrome.

If you are a mother who has just learned your baby has Down syndrome (either in-utero or after the birth of your baby) you may have a visit from a doctor who unloads a dump-truck full of medical jargon on you about all the (mostly negative) things he or she thinks you should know about Down syndrome.

So - please raise your hand if you are the parent of a "typical" child and some doctor sat you down after your kid was born to go over all the things that could possibly go wrong with your baby??

Anyone? No one??

No - when you have a "typical" child, it is more likely people will speculate about whether the child will someday be a doctor, or a football player, or a race car driver. Nobody comes in to go over the likelihood of heart conditions, digestive issues or the percentage of children that develop leukemia!

Why is it that few new parents receive BALANCED information?

When The Skink was born, I knew very little about Down syndrome, and now the doctors were filling my head with all the possible negatives about the condition they thought I should know - regardless of the fact that MY daughter did not even HAVE any dangerous heart condition, signs of strangulated bowels, or any of the other horrible problems that SOME people with Down syndrome have. Hellllllooooooooo - guess what? SOME people who DON'T have Down syndrome have those conditions too, but I'll bet their parents didn't get all the doom and gloom information on these problems until they actually knew the child HAD the issue!

The doctor who informed me about Down syndrome even went so far as to tell me there was no way to know how "profoundly" my daughter would be affected. Knowing what I know now, I realize that has got to be one of the most stupid and outdated concepts still floating around! There is no such thing as a profound or mild case of Down syndrome. It's either Trisome 21 (a triplication of every 21st chromosome) or Mosaic Down syndrome where only some of the chromosomes have triplicated, and neither is an indicator of how smart your child is.

Just like any child, IQs will vary. The people with Down syndrome who were classified as "profoundly affected" back in the dark ages, actually had secondary issues like autism or early-onset Alzheimer's. Just as any child from any family *might* have autism, children with Down syndrome can have autism too, making them seem less aware or less able to learn.

Now the TRUTH about Down syndrome that every parent SHOULD be told:
Most individuals with Down syndrome grow up to hold jobs, live independently, have fulfilling relationships and, most importantly, are happy!

WOW! Who knew?

When Iraq was born, I didn't get any doom and gloom information about the stuff that could be *wrong* with her. She looked completely normal and doesn't have any extra chromosomes. In fact, it took us 6 whole years to get a proper diagnosis for Aspergers (autism spectrum disorder) AND anxiety disorder AND childhood depression.

Now - ask me which child has been harder to raise. Ask me which child has required more life-style changes for mom and dad??? Go ahead...

Honestly? Are you seriously ASKING me that question?? (kidding)

Our little Skink with Down syndrome has always been happy doing what ever was on the schedule for the day. In all honesty, the family schedule has always been created around Iraq's needs. Iraq's frequent melt-downs, anxiety over strange things and tendency to become over-stimulated in a variety of settings have dictated where we can and can't go with her, what we'll need to bring and how we need to prepare.

The Skink just seems to enjoy what ever we do. The Skink is creative, and smart, and funny, and engaging. She is just a kid like any other kid. She is an individual. She loves school. She can read over 250 words at the age of 3. She enjoys new experiences, and museums and trips to new places. She smiles a lot. She loves going to the park. She likes to help out around the house. She learns new things every day. She makes me smile every day!

And THAT, my friends, is exactly the information I wish I had been given about Down syndrome.
What is Down syndrome NOT?? It is not some horrible thing. It is not embarrassing. It is not an indication I'll be spending my life providing for somebody who can not provide for herself. It is not something sad. It does not mean my daughter will have horrible medical problems. It does not mean she won't graduate from high school, or even go to college. It does not mean she won't have a job she loves someday. It does not mean she won't get married and have love, happiness and joy for the rest of her life. It does not mean she'll never experience heartbreak - just like the rest of us. It is not something I am afraid of or upset about!

She is just my kid. And I love her with all my heart!

So, lets CELEBRATE World Down Syndrome Day - and share the truth :o)

*Disclaimer: The blogger does not in any way advocate the smacking of doctors. Some of my best friends are doctors and do NOT require smacking. The only doctors that should be smacked are those that express smack-worthy and unenlightened opinions about Down syndrome. This blogger advocates properly educating smack-worthy doctors and asking them to present a balanced (and non-religion based) picture about life with a child with Down syndrome by providing positive information along side all the medical crap.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My 3-Year-Old Has Lovely Cleavage

Siblings stand to learn a lot from each other... both good and not so good. This can present a special challenge when all three of your children have some unique behaviors to share with the family.

For instance, Broadway sometimes has issues with impulse control, predisposing him to making rather loud exclamations every now and again. Iraq, on the other hand, is given to frequent meltdowns, sending her off into a volley of noisy tears at the drop of the hat. And then there's The Skink... quietly watching and learning all the behaviors she sees.

In the past, I've caught her pacing back and forth with a toy phone to her ear, just as I do at times. She'll also share a book with her plush toys, just as her teacher does at school. Lately, however, there are some other behaviors she's been copying. Some that I'm not really thrilled about.

Though The Skink's language skills have been developing quite nicely over the last two years, lately instead of asking nicely for her cup, she will suddenly yell "CUP!" at the top of her voice. It reminds me very much of how Broadway sometimes exclaims "WOW!" in a loud voice in response to something funny on the television. When I admonish The Skink for yelling, she will hold her finger up to me (in the "wait a moment" pose) and lecture me in that same drill sergeant voice. Yes, it's true. I've been put on "finger hold" by a 3-year-old and given a piece of her mind!

So of course when I get that 15-year-old-type back talk from my generally sweet tot, I put her in time out. Time out is no easy task with any 3-year-old, let alone one with a few little challenges and a naturally stubborn nature. Time out means that as the jail-keeper, I have to stand right there with her and enforce the "sit right there" part of the time out.

On The Skink's especially stubborn days, I have had to resort to marching her up to her room and shutting her in it. She can't open the door by herself yet, so I win... sort of.

At this point, everything she has learned from living with Iraq comes into play. We are talking about a temper tantrum of terrorist proportions!! She has watched and learned well. She employs the "lay on the floor and kick your feet" method like an old pro, and her "fake-screech-cry at the top of your lungs" routine could win her a Tony Award. Then there's the "beat your little fists against the door while yelling at mom at about 3,000 decibels" thing that seems to make the whole house rattle.

When she goes into the "copy your sister's meltdown" mode, I generally walk away breathing deeply and telling myself that this stage won't last forever. And, generally within a few minutes, The Skink's room becomes quiet again and I'll creep up the stairs and quietly open the door to find her happily playing with some of her toys.

Ahhhh, motherhood!

I can also enjoy the irony in life. There was a time I struggled with infertility. It took over two years to create Broadway, and there is an 8 year and 2 husband lag between him and Iraq. In those looooooonnnnnggg 8 years I had regular talks with the Good Lord Above, and I told G-d that "I would do ANYTHING for another baby!"

I get the feeling He (or She) is holding me to that promise!

But along with every negative one can find about raising children, there are at least 1,000 positives. As a preemie, The Skink never got to breast feed. As much as she loved mommy, she developed a very close bond with a rather well-endowed nurse in the NICU. Since then, she has always been very drawn to breasts. I have the teeny-tiny type of itty-bitty titties which automatically makes my chest far less interesting than any woman with real BOOBIES! We're in the process of trying to teach her that there are certain appropriate ways to reach out and touch someone that don't include greeting a new friend with a free breast exam. But... her fascination continues.

This morning she was happily playing about the house (we didn't need a single time-out before the bus came) and she disappeared for short while in her toy closet in her room. After a few minutes she apparently found the two cloth bean-bag balls she was looking for and came down stairs looking like this:

Yes, that's my sweet little Skink with blue cleavage. Pretty good boob-job for a 3-year-old!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Fever

Absolutely without a doubt I have a raging case of Spring Fever! Yesterday I was able to get to WalMart sans children (the need for me to go without them is another story for another blog another day... ) and while there I noticed all the garden thingies... you know... the seeds and dirt and tools and stuff.

Now mind you, I do great with animals and children, but plants see me coming and keel over dead on the spot. When it comes to gardening, my thumb is apparently a shade of death-brown.

Yet... for some inexplicable reason, those garden thingies were calling to me.

For the last couple of years, dear Iraq has been asking about growing a garden. Considering my previous history as an unwitting plant serial killer, I never gave her requests much thought. Yet seemingly out of nowhere yesterday it hit me that growing a garden (or at least making an attempt) might provide us with a great little project, and help occupy Iraq.

As I gingerly placed a few $1 packets of vegetable seeds in my cart, I had visions of Iraq becoming restless and tyrannical (as she can do so often) and having the option of suddenly redirecting her by announcing that it is time for her to go water the garden! I can send her OUT and make her feel important all at the same time! How cool would that be??

Now honestly, I don't know if I'll be able to make this garden-thing work, but the idea of having a project to involve Iraq in, that will last the majority of the spring and summer months is wonderfully enticing!!

Once we are out of danger of a renegade frost (I hear that's a bad thing when you're trying to make green things spring forth out of the dirt so you can eat them) we'll clear the spot next to the garage and poke some seeds into the dirt. After that, I can send Iraq out on a daily basis to make sure the garden is sufficiently watered. If we have any success at all and some of these poor seeds actually grow, Iraq will have a taste of victory... of quite literally, reaping what she has sown.

If the garden thing fails miserably, I'll have that excuse to fall back on every year going forward when Iraq asks if we can grow a garden.

Honestly, I hope it works. It would be nice to have some fresh veggies we grew ourselves, and possibly a new hobby for Iraq. SO... I welcome any and all gardening advice! Keep it simple (and cheap) because a 6-year-old will be doing most of the work (if this garden thing works in my favor).

Happy Spring!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Birthday for Broadway

Tomorrow is March 17th, a date known to most as St. Patrick's Day. For me, this also marks the anniversary of my son's birth... in this case, that would be 15 YEARS AGO!!

While my dear "Broadway" is overjoyed to be a mere 6 months away from obtaining his learner's driving permit, I am not so sure about all this "teen" stuff. I remember getting behind the wheel for the first time like it was yesterday. It can't possibly have been that many years ago!

I suppose one of the first lessons we'll have to instill in him will be "no driving before your ADHD meds kick in!" Every morning we go through the same routine. When he first gets out of bed, it is much like watching one of those silly sets of wind-up teeth. "Chatter!Chatter!Chatter!Chatter!Chatter!Chatter!Chatter!Chatter! Chatter! Chatter! Chatter! Chatter! Chatter! Chatter!   Chatter!     Chatter!         Chatter!              Chatter!                Chatter!"

Over a period of about  25 minutes, we watch him unwind as the medication kicks in. (Then we all breathe a sigh of relief.) I really can't imagine him trying to DRIVE like that!! It would be like one of those dogs from the movie 'Up!'

"So I'm driving carefully up to the stop sign at the corner of Main and....      SQUIRREL!"

On the flip side, there will certainly be benefits to having an extra driver around. Once we are confident in his driving abilities, I can have him drop Iraq off at ballet each week. Broadway is also involved in a number of after-school activities, like Jr. ROTC and Model Club (no - he's not learning to be a model. They put together intricate model airplanes and the like). Juggling Iraq's after-school activities, The Skink's nap time, cooking dinner and picking him up each day can make for an interesting challenge on many days! Soon I'll just hand him the keys to the car and tell him I'll see him when he gets home that evening. (Hmmmm... I might be able to live with this set-up.)

On a side note, Iraq got off the bus in tears today. From what I can gather, a little boy on the bus called her "Diaper!" This was truly one of those Aspie-Mom moments where it took everything in my power not to laugh. While most kids would probably have laughed and asked the kid if that was the best insult he could come up with, poor Iraq became frustrated, insisting she was NOT a diaper, but a PERSON! She can be very LITERAL... about EVERYTHING.

Such is life in Adasperdown Town! And to all a good night!

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Skink Rides Again!

It's Monday, and how I wish we could all feel that unparalleled joy that my 3-year-old is able to express so eloquently when the bus pulls up in front of our house! With squeals and  unabashed giggles, she races to the door, screeching "BUS! BUS!" She demands at least partial independence as she negotiates her way down the front steps and runs (sort of) down the front walk to the awaiting big yellow conveyance that will whisk her off to school.
After TWO WHOLE days stuck with mom and dad, what utter bliss it is to know that bus will carry you to a veritable wonderland of friends, activities, smiling therapists and colorful paper & paste projects for the next 3 hours!!

How wonderful it must be to have the ability to find so much joy in Mondays!!


Line Up!

One of the things about Aspergers (especially in girls) is that the symptoms can be almost unrecognizable to most. Outwardly, these kids look totally normal. K (who will henceforth be known as Iraq) is an honor roll student at her school, and according to her school, this means there is nothing wrong with her.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting there is anything "wrong" with her, either. I'm just saying that she's a bit... unique.

For instance, this morning I grabbed her new shoes - recently purchased to replace a pair with a hole in the side of one. As I went to try to help her put them on, she went into near-full meltdown mode, informing me that she couldn't possible wear her NEW shoes! She wanted to keep them safely in their box in her closet where they wouldn't get scuffed or dirty.

I spent the next 15 minutes gently explaining that the reason we BUY new shoes is so they may be worn. I was able to finally talk her into wearing them by saying that if she didn't wear them out, we wouldn't need to buy new shoes... ever!

She put them on begrudgingly, and lamented that she never wanted to throw away ANY of her shoes, EVER! (Oh great - I'm raising a future reality star for the show "Hoarders.") With visions in my mind of a house filled with thousands of old shoes, I told her that keeping all those shoes would eventually make our house smell like a giant foot. As she giggled at my joke, I could see the gears turning in her head. I am truly hoping this means I have changed the course of the future and prevented poor Iraq from becoming the little old lady who lives in a shoe - or at least a house that smells like one.

Then it was time to wait for the bus. Aspie kids are creatures of habit... and I don't mean that lightly! They rely on routine to the point that any variation of  their routine may cause the world to shift upon its axis! Iraq gets on the bus each day and plants herself in the front seat on the door-side of the bus. I almost had heart failure when the bus pulled up today and I saw two children already occupying Iraq's seat! I held my breath as I watched her climb up the steps of the bus. I could see her stop with a dumbfounded look on her face when she realized her seat was taken. I could see her attempt to negotiate with the seat's occupants (who clearly had no interest in moving). After a tension-filled moment, poor Iraq took one more step down the aisle and sat in the second seat. She was so clearly distraught that she wouldn't even wave good-bye to me.

Until only recently, little Iraq never participated in imaginary play. In fact, for the first 5 years of her life, she spent most of her spare time wrapped about my ankle. Now it would seem she is catching on to the concept of this type of play from the other children at school... to a point. She has successfully detached herself from my ankle, and will spend periods of time in her room "playing" with some of her toys. Her favorites are Hotwheels cars and small Disney princess dolls. Her method of "play" might baffle most non-ASD (autism spectrum disorder) children. She does not make up and act out stories that involve her toys, but spend hours arranging them - sometimes is straight lines, sometimes in patterns, sometimes by color... and don't even THINK about TOUCHING one of the toys once they have been arranged!


At very least she is on the honor roll at school, right? I mean... that makes her normal...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

IEPs and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

On Friday "The Skink," who attends a pre-K special ed class through our public school system, brought home a thick manila envelope. Oh yay! It's IEP time already.

Yes, the dreaded IEP. For those  of you who don't happen to have a child who requires one, an IEP is a gazillion-page book that outlines every last weakness and delay your child has, may have, or might someday develop. For every positive mile stone we special-needs moms celebrate with our children, the IEP can point out ten milestones our child has somehow side-stepped.

Of course these packets are a necessary evil. They line out to every last minute detail what the teachers need to drill our children on. One can almost imagine a WWII style German officer barking out commands to our little ones, all in the name of learning to scoop food onto a spoon. "Scoop! Now LIFT! Don't spill! Now eat! Repeat!"

Of course I'm rather certain my daughter's school does not employ retired WWII German officers, but I'm just saying...

Here are some of our current objectives:

"The Skink (nickname) will play purposefully with 3 new toys that are introduced on 3 out of 5 opportunities by 3/15/2011."
"The Skink will use a pincer grasp (thumb and index finger) to pick up 5 small objects/items off the table or floor with 3-4 verbal, visual, and/or tactile cues on 4 out of 5 opportunities by 9/26/2010.


And best yet, we get to go over all 2094 of these line items in a meeting with teachers, therapists and school officials next week! Can I just say, "whoopee?"

When you have a special needs child, you quickly come to discover that the Good Lord made that child just as perfect as can be in his or her own special, non-typical way. Instead of sitting around wishing that your beautiful child could somehow be different, we parents suddenly find our eyes are open to every small milestone... each tiny joy that we might have taken for granted with a "typical" child. Suddenly the sun shines just a little brighter, the breeze is just a little warmer, and each and every smile we get from our "special" kid seems to send angels off on a new choral adventure.

We learn to enjoy exactly what we have in our child... right up until we get that giant manila folder filled with seemingly thousands of line items specifying just how "disabled" our child is, with a note specifying we must read the ENTIRE thing very CAREFULLY.

As I read through the line items discussing my daughter's hypotonia, over-pronation and wide-set walking gate, I paused for a moment. Wasn't it just a few months ago we were rejoicing that she had taken a few steps on her own? Well - at any rate, I'll be interested to see how the teachers proposed to teach her to walk "better."

When all is said and done, I'll be just as happy with my daughter and love her just as much no matter how many line items appear on her IEP. In the greater scheme of things, it doesn't matter. If the school system wants to sit down and discuss ever last nit-picky detail of my daughter's development, and label speech at one year behind and gross motor skills as a delay of 18 months, so be it. What ever works for them. All I know is that my 3-year-old loves school, and she loves me. Good nuff!