Gratitude in the Midst of COVID-19 (II)

I didn’t post anything yesterday because I was dead exhausted. I slept a chunk of today as well. I’m trying to be gentle to my body, so I took my last chance to take naps for a while.

Here are some more things for which I am thankful.

  • For the opportunity to be part of live streaming worship for my congregation on Sunday. Yes, we were sideways for part of it and upside down for others, but we still got it together!
  • For Michael Curry, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (and Royal Wedding homilist!), who is posting a meditation every Monday on his official Facebook page while we are in the midst of COVID-19. The first one is here.
  • For my black beastling who snuggled and napped with me today. Mama loves you, baby.
  • That, in the midst of restaurants and bars being closed for everything except take-out or delivery, I can still mobile-order my latté from $tarbux every morning before 9:30 and have it brought to my car.
  • For getting to start physical therapy tomorrow so that we can get me walking normally again.
  • That Daniel got one more day of school today before he is off for six or more weeks. He is going to miss his teachers, aides, and specialists and they will miss him. (They love their kids like their own.)
  • For Pure Leaf Raspberry Tea fresh out of the freezer. (I like drinks chilled, and this chills it relatively quickly.
  • For YouTube and the amazing things one can find on it.
  • For discovering that I can set an image as a virtual background on Zoom. I have a meeting inside the Great Hall of Hogwarts tomorrow!

COVID-19, You Suck

I had just sat down at Daniel’s IEP meeting when Governor Inslee announced that all K-12 schools in Washington would be closing for the next six or more weeks, effective March 17th. The teachers and specialists present were feeling sick over it because they love their kids something fierce. They’re feeling sick over it because parents like me are being put in really difficult positions where our jobs could be on the line because being stay-at-home parents and homeschooling our kids is not a luxury we have. (I’m a single mom. I *HAVE* to work. I’m waiting to find out if I can work with students remotely until Daniel can go back to school.) They’re feeling sick over it because they know the kids are going to have a hell of a time dealing with school, the one place some of them feel joy, is being taken away from them.

I honestly feel myself like everything that brings me joy is being systematically taken away. My church is functionally shut down for the next two weeks at least. (I’ll be there Sunday only because I’m part of the effort to live stream worship, but there are only going to be 5 of us present and we’re basically going to record stuff and then vacate the premises.) Daniel’s teacher, aides, and specialists are part of my support network with him, and now I’m losing them for six weeks. My degree program, which transitioned into a job for me, was 75% of what got me through my divorce, and now I’m uncertain about how much of a job I’m going to have come April 5th.

I’m honestly pretty angry with the world right now, and it seems like Satan is rubbing salt in my wounds by throwing tone-deaf remarks from homeschooling parents in my path about how interesting it is that everyone is going to be homeschooling now, how we’ll never stop once we start, how we withdraw our kids from their public schools, and/or how we give notice that we’re going to homeschool them. They all seem to be from the people who are the absolute last people I would seek out for advice on the subject, especially because they managed to raise some screwed-up, sociopathic, and/or barely literate kids. All the people I would seek out for advice have been classy enough to trust that I’ll seek them out if/when I need their help. (I have a large number of behaviorists and special education teachers in my friend group.)

Comments are disabled on this post because this is me venting my spleen and none of this is up for discussion.

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: May 8, 2016

For Today… May 8, 2016

Simple Woman's Daybook

Looking out my window… dark. It was cloudy for most of the day and Lick Observatory was quite socked in with fog when we went up there in the afternoon. It got sunny in the late afternoon though.

I am thinking… about grade inflation in the homeschool world and misreporting of class values in portfolios for college. Long story, trust me.

I am thankful… for the chance to see the big telescope at Lick Observatory and for the volunteer who let us walk around on the platform while he was talking. Keith, you rock!

One of my favorite things… a quiet evening after a busy day.

I am wearing… jammies. (It’s 8:45 p.m.) Church clothes were a black decorative top, black pants, black flats, and my burgundy choir robe. After-church clothes were a charcoal fitted tee from Old Navy and black capris from Kohl’s with my running shoes.

I am creating my temperature afghan. I’m about two months behind but I might be able to get a little caught up this week, depending on how long a couple tasks take me and if I can get them done at the beginning of the week.

I am reading… Accidental Saints by Nadia Bolz-Weber. I might be able to finish this week if I read during lunch instead of being on my laptop.

I am hoping… to get a lot of my errands done in the first part of the week.

I am learning… to ask for help and not act like everything in the next month is completely for me to do.

In my kitchen… Dad made the usual Sunday fare for us for Mother’s Day — steak, tater tots, and caesar salad. It was what Mom and I both chose as it was our day.

In the school room… I’m working on fine motor tasks with Daniel to strengthen his hands and help him maintain his tripod grip while writing without special grips on the pencil.

Post Script… This is an interesting piece on missions and why you shouldn’t build a house on your next mission trip.

Shared Quote…

This week's quote found on Facebook.

A moment from my day… A picture from my first Mother’s Day in 2009.

Hard to believe this kid is now only a foot shorter than I am!

Closing Notes: May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. Learn more here.

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: TGIAF!

7 Quick Takes

It’s been an insane week here and I have one more thing tomorrow before I feel like I can breathe again. Thank goodness it’s almost Friday!

— 1 —

Prayer request. The person assigned to Daniel at the Lodi Social Security Office fouled up his SSI payments and I have an appeal hearing tomorrow on some issues related to them. Please lift me in prayer around noon PDT. Thanks!

— 2 —

Climate change deniers. This video explains climate change in a way that even Donald Trump supporters can understand. 😉

— 3 —

One last political take. While I am completely overjoyed at Ted Cruz dropping out of the race and Carly Fiorina being an even bigger loser than before, I’m kind of bummed that I won’t be using this picture more often…

Thank goodness this isn't a possible combination in the White House!

— 4 —

I want this shirt! My birthday is two weeks from today and I will be your BFF if you get me this shirt in green and XL.

— 5 —

On the homeschooling front… Dawn of Ladydusk wrote this amazing piece on starting to homeschool and what she learned from it. I recommend reading it if you think you eventually want to homeschool your kids as Dawn is a mom I trust for this kind of thing.

— 6 —

Making a crossbow out of office supplies. This is kind of cool.

— 7 —

Doctrine vs. discipline. Simcha nails it with her post on Ascension, the crazy go nuts schedule of her kids, and why it actually matters to make it to Mass if it’s a holy day in your diocese. (San Jose abrogates it to Sunday.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: The News From Here

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Temperature afghan progress. I’m slowly but surely catching up and if I could drag myself away from Cross-Stitch World, I’d probably be making it more quickly. Maybe if I get home from choir in time, I can do some more work on it…

Progress as of today.

— 2 —

Concerning Donald Trump. I read two interesting articles concerning Donald Trump in the last few days. The first one was Matt Walsh: The Primer for Trump by Leticia Adams. The second was Donald Trump and a Tale of Two Gospels by Rachel Held Evans. I recommend both of them, not because I hate Matt Walsh and adore Rachel, but because I found them to be well-written and compelling.

— 3 —

Simcha! Simcha Fisher knocks it out of the park again with why she decided to stop homeschooling and finally got rid of all her homeschooling stuff. I’m not anti-homeschooling by any stretch of the imagination but she talks about keeping the stuff out of fear that she was making the wrong decision and that public schooling would ruin her kids. Fear isn’t a valid reason to make decisions and her kiddos are doing fine in their public and charter schools.

— 4 —

Oh thank heavens! After having to fight to get Daniel’s ADHD meds for the last three months, I finally have an intake appointment and psychiatrist appointment with a group that will do medication management for him. The difference between him medicated and him unmedicated is like night and day, so this was definitely a worthwhile fight for me.

— 5 —

Daniel story. My parents’ cat Jethro was in a fight last week and developed an abscess that wasn’t draining so he was at the vet on Monday and Tuesday where they eventually had to put him under anesthesia, open the abscess and drain it, and put stitches in. He has a lovely cone of shame to wear and my mom and I are having to clean the area and medicate him. Yesterday, Daniel wanted to look at pictures on my mom’s phone and my mom told him he needed to wait, using the words “first cat then phone.” (“First ____ then _______” statements are an ABA thing.) Daniel’s response: “Cat bye!” (Translation: “Take a flying leap, cat! It’s my turn.”)

— 6 —

Prerequisite weather take. I was hoping to go for a long walk tomorrow morning but it is looking like we might have rain. Oh well… I can work on entering receipts for taxes instead, I guess.

— 7 —

New Year’s resolution progress. One of my New Year’s resolutions was to get my prayer life back to normal. I’ve had some long drives this week for various things and it has definitely given me an opportunity to pray! Now if only I could get that integrated into my normal day…

— Bonus —

Pick Jen’s Lenten discipline. The raffle ends next Friday so come on over and enter! All that you have to do in order to enter is leave me a comment with what you would choose for me. Previous winners are allowed to enter again. *coughcoughcoughKellycoughcoughcoughBethAnnecoughcoughcough*

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

7 Quick Takes: Temperature Afghans, Chuck Jones, and Why I Don’t Homeschool Daniel

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Temperature afghan progress. My yarn finally arrived yesterday and I did all the calculations on how many to chain for the correct width for this pattern. Let me tell you… it’s so much easier to chain 402 stitches in groups of 16 than it is to count to 400 and then have to put stitch markers in various places! (Don’t worry — I just counted to 16 every time and then counted the stitch markers, 25 in all, plus the two extra chains for turning.) I’m in the part I hate most right now (the first row) but when I’m done with that, things will be a lot easier!

The chain last night with stitch markers:

The chain with stitch markers.

The first row (yarn is Herrschner’s 2-Ply Afghan Yarn in “Forest”):

Row #1

What I have left to do on the first row:

What I have left on Row #1

— 2 —

Beep-beep! I did not know that Chuck Jones had 9 sacred rules for every episode with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. This explains *SO* much.

— 3 —

The immigrant experience. Reddit users were asked what the most pleasant surprise they experienced when they came to America as immigrants. Here are their answers.

— 4 —

A political sign I can stand behind. Godless in Dixie shared this on Facebook and it cracked me up!

Anyone but Trump 2016!

— 5 —

To the twits who give me a hard time for not homeschooling Daniel. Seriously, I still get people asking me why I don’t homeschool Daniel because he’s autistic. For the last time…

#1: I don’t have a degree in education with specializations in special education and rare conditions. I believe that whoever is teaching my kid needs to have a 4-year college degree in the subject and the specialized knowledge to do so. (Most of the people I know who turned out brilliantly from being homeschooled were that way because their parents had college or graduate degrees which gave them the mindset and skills to teach them well. I’ve also seen some people come out almost completely illiterate when the parents have barely a high school diploma and decide that it’s enough to be able to teach their children.) This would apply even if Daniel was neurotypical — I’d still send him to school because… I DON’T HAVE AN EDUCATION DEGREE.

#2: I have the patience of a Marine drill sergeant. Can we say “not a good combination with a kid who does not respond to conventional tactics”?

#3: I am a serious introvert and already am pretty taxed by the amount of intensive time I spend with Daniel and what that time constitutes. You can’t give what you don’t have and if I don’t have some Daniel-free time to myself to recharge (even if that means I’m working a 9-5 job outside of the home), I have a really hard time being the mom I need to be. I’m good with spending time away from my kid — it means I get to miss him a little bit and it makes the time we do spend better.

— 6 —

For those who love to read. There’s a reading group over at Liturgy of Life and it looks interesting. I’ve got too many balls in the air to participate but I wanted to put it out there for those who are interested.

— 7 —

Because Geraldine is AWESOME. For those who are into yoga and fitness, go read this. You will die laughing.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

Why I’m Not Homeschooling: Socialization

Several of my homeschooling mama friends are blogging about their upcoming school year and a conversation with my mother-in-law coupled with all of their posts on the subject brought to mind a large reason why I am emphatically *NOT* homeschooling Daniel right now: socialization.

Before I go into my reason for saying this, can I get something out of the way first?

I’m fully aware that in most cases, homeschooled children have no issues with socialization and are capable of getting along with other kids and adults.

Mine is the exception. One of the things that Daniel’s preschool did was mainstream him during recess and field trips so that he was able to spend time with neurologically typical kids. The point of this is to show him how to behave in certain situations, to help develop play skills, etc. We could have probably done preschool with him at home except that I really wanted him to have this opportunity. Thankfully, there was a preschool only about a block away that had the exact program we needed and he thrived there.

Living with my in-laws this summer (and dealing with the incompetence that is Special Education in the Claremont Unified School District) showed me that there is a big reason why I do this. When Daniel is around other kids, he behaves better, focuses better, and is starting to take social cues from them. If he were around other kids in places other than at school, we might be able to consider homeschooling. However, my normal for church is this post by Kathleen and the churches Jon has pastored lately do not have any kids that are Daniel’s age. (We haven’t been in a parish with really any kids period since 2010.) As much as I *love* getting the stink eye from people (/sarcasm), it gets really embarrassing to be asked by people why I’m not making my kid try to behave while he is spending storytime at the library running around trying to open/close doors because that’s his autistic stimming behavior of choice. (Well, it’s that as well as opening/slamming drawers and flipping light switches.). It’s also incredibly mentally tiring to still be in “parenting a toddler” mode when your kid is five and to constantly be trying to figure out how to reach your child who is largely locked up in their own head because they can’t talk. (Autistic kids tend to deal with apraxia of speech and Daniel is no exception.) Without being in school, he is around his incredibly introverted and quiet mother (me), his dad, my father-in-law who has cancer, and my mother-in-law who is trying to take care of my father-in-law. We’re not exactly the best people to teach him how to be a 5 year old.

Additionally, Jon/Daniel/me are in transition mode at the moment and school is pretty much the one stable thing right now. Autistic kids tend to do the best with a very set schedule and the easiest thing to do right now is to give him that in the form of a school day. It also gives me a chance to try for some freelance work to help with finances and I tend to be a much more mentally healthy person when I can contribute to the family financially. (OK… getting out of the house by myself also helps.)

I’m not trying to justify my decision to myself or others in the least — it’s one of those nights where my brain won’t shut up so I’m up blogging to get it to calm itself.