My girls.

you thought i’d miss a day, didn’t you? This is technically going to be “yesterday’s” post, even though it will show up today, and then today’s post will show up LATER today. confused yet? good. we all operate better under that assumption of craziness.
Yesterday I was just so busy…

One of the prompts for NaBloPoMo is to write about “a day in my life”….That would pretty much be a book so i’ll spare you the gory/overwhelming/boring/crazy details and just say – I was busy doing all the things I normally do to keep Atkinson General Faux-Hospital running and then I had to add in Parent Teacher conferences.
Kendall’s 15 minute conference turned into nearly two hours of IEP Re-evaluation planning with part of her awesome team from her school. But in spite of the fact that it took so long, it was awesome to feel like my concerns for her were being truly heard, and I think our IEP progress for Kendall will be so much smoother thanks to all that brainstorming.
Then we ran to therapy, then home, then I had to run and pick up the girls from my friends’ house where they had all gone because we were at therapy when they got out (early dismissal due to conferences), then home to get dance stuff together, then to dance, then to conferences. Then dinner, Kendall troubleshooting, cleanup, bedtime. Ehh – I guess that wasn’t so bad.
Anyways – we all survived.

Conferences for the middle two were a split. Karissa is currently in the middle of a re-evaluation for services at her school due to a MAJOR gap in her tested intelligence/cognitive level, and how she is performing at school (her grades). She is just such a non-verbal learner – symbols, patterns, numbers, choreography, movement – these things are how Karissa interprets the world around her. Everything is a dance. And words interrupt that dance. In her words “the letters squiggle”. She wears bifocals (progressive lenses), made in an effort to help her vision be as good as it can be for both near and far sight. We have identified a visual processing disorder (her brain doesn’t always interpret two-dimensional information – words on a piece of paper for instance – as one cohesive image), an auditory processing disorder (she cannot differentiate background noise from a dominant noise – for instance, if a teacher is talking while there is ANY kind of other noise going on in the classroom, papers rustling, pencils scratching, noses sniffing, etc.), and we believe there is a possible element of an ADHD like process at play too (executive functioning, the ability to prioritize and order tasks into a list to be done in order to complete something like homework, or getting dressed in the morning, etc).
All of this is making it very difficult for Karissa to perform to her best in a typical classroom setting. She is in the honors program at her school, but is quickly falling farther and farther behind compared to her peers because….well – we don’t know why. I am hopeful, but not optimistic, that her school is going to be able to help us identify WHY she is failing at school all of a sudden. I hope that someone is able to help turn the lightbulb back on in her mind and help us unlock all of her amazing mysteries residing in that crazy, cloud-filled, puppy-riddled world in her mind. I know there is SOMETHING, some piece of info out there, that we will be able to say – “Ah-ha! this is how we help Karissa! THIS is her problem, and THIS is the solution!”
To that end, a child with a less than stellar report card, a frustrated teacher overwhelmed with how to keep a child like Karissa at grade level, and my own worries for my child led to a less than productive conference for her. But still – I’m so proud of her for fighting through all that is stacked against her, for plugging away at homework that “squiggles”, for not letting any of her issues get her down.  she’s awesome.

Kaylen, however, the one i WAS worried about – sure her conference would be filled with stories of how she destroyed this, that or the other thing in her classroom, or other tales of the terror she can bring on at home – Blew me away.
Her teacher told us a story at the beginning of her conference that left me with tears in my eyes.
They were having a special day where all the students got to eat lunch in the classroom with their teacher. (I’m not sure how or why such a thing would be a “reward” for the teacher, God bless her, she’s an amazing person…I digress.) anyways – there was one little boy in the class who was sitting off on his own. My beautiful little social butterfly got up from her group of friends, took her lunch, and went and plopped herself down next to this boy. She told Mrs. Pullos – “I think he is lonely and needs someone to sit by him.”

Would I have done that? Would you?

Oh to be more like my beautiful Hurricane Kaylen…
(Later when I asked her about that situation, she said “yeah i think maybe he didn’t WANT anyone to sit by him. But it’s ok. I sat by him anyways.” That’s my girl!)

And then today was Kealey’s conference. Her school does this super trendy “self-directed” conference thing. It actually worked out very well for us – Kealey is such a good kid and it was so great to see her really digging into her work to look for areas where she excelled and areas where she could improve. Every single one of her teachers came to tell us that they were so impressed with her work ethic, her compassion for others, and her amazing persistence in doing her very best, all the time, no matter what. And my girl who works so so so hard to be my little helper, my mini-me, help me keep everything together when Ben is out of town – this girl on whose shoulders rests so much responsiblity, and grace, and grown-up-ness – this girl made the High Honor Roll.  I sat there listening to her read her self-assessments to us, looking at the beautiful young lady she is becoming – and I could not help but cry, just a little bit, just to myself.  How did we get here? How did my little Kealey Grace, my constant companion for all these years, the wriggly little crying baby who i brought home scared to death I was going to break her almost 12 years ago – how did that little baby grow into this vision of loveliness? Where did that time go?

So that is what I wanted to tell you about My Girls.

They are amazing and I love them and I am so so so proud of them. For all that I do wrong – THEY are what I do right. By the grace of God, my own amazing examples of parenting, a village of friends and family around to support us – by all of those things – my girls are amazing.



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