It has been a rough week.  First, Monday was Labor day.  Anytime there is a holiday on Monday, the rest of the week seems thrown off.  And boy was it.

I think there is something that everyone forgets when it comes to getting your kids acclimated back to school if they’ve had a long weekend.  PARENTS NEED TIME TO ACCLIMATE TOO!  Can I get an “Amen”?  Because all week I have been sitting here in my office listening to my second grader hem and haw and complain and fall out about this horrible thing called virtual school.  To add to that, the 9th grader has been on this “catch up” schedule since she just doesn’t do her work.  Having 2 special needs kids who both need TONS OF PROMPTING AND SUPERVISION can be just slightly taxing.  In my work, I see parents of kids who have WAY more difficulties with learning than I do.  I try to keep that in perspective.  

It is 9:45 am.  I have an alarm on my phone that goes off every day at this time that says “Prayer”.  I stop what I’m doing and pray.  Today I thanked God for providing me with opportunities to practice my patience.  I admitted that I don’t know that it’s working yet.  The funny thing about God is He knows it ain’t working.  Does God have a sense of humor?  Cause if He does, He is surely cracking up at me.  And Amen…
I’ve also been trying to figure out how to refer to my kids in my blog without actually using their names.  When I’m texting, I usually use their first initial…because I’m lazy.  Side note, my mom used to teach high school business.  We grew up with typewriters all over the house (the old school kind).  My 2 older sisters and I all learned to type at an early age.  Texting is not the same as typing.  I’m never too lazy to type out a full word.  But I’ve embarrassed my 14 year old enough that I should at least refrain from using her name.  But texting…yeah.  Although I still refuse to use “u” for you.  And I’m judging U if UR my age and I get a text with U and UR and any other word I think you should take the time to spell out. 
Heretofore and ever after — the 9thgradeAutisticDaughter shall be referred to as T.  And the 2ndgradeADHDdaughter shall be referred to as S. 
Let’s go there.  S has the unique ability to get all up in my nerves.  Then…she’ll have the nerve to cuddle and hug with me shortly afterwards…and she’s cute.  I’m torn.  Torn between throttling her and buying her everything she wants.  Is this normal?  I swear my parents didn’t have these thoughts about me.  Because I was perfect.
Anyway…the week’s highlights for S?  S has not paid any attention in her classes.  To help her pay attention, I abandon my job and go sit on the bed next to her desk to listen to what the teacher is saying and encourage her to participate, answer and ask questions.  It ain’t working.  Because with me sitting next to her, she is encouraged to ask ME questions, have side conversations with ME and have the nerve to get all flustered when I tell her to pay attention to what the teacher is saying?  Should I be surprised by this?  So for part of the week I have come back into my office and kept my ear tuned to her class so I can at least hear what’s going on.  She still isn’t paying attention.  I know this because they DO things during class.  Today I walked in to sit for a couple minutes, saw some kids on the screen working, the teacher looking, and my kid doing nothing.  “What are you supposed to be doing?” I ask.  “Quiet time…sometimes we have quiet time”.  S thinks that because the teacher is quiet, they are having quiet time.  S hasn’t paid attention to the fact that the teacher told the class to work on an equation.  I help her through the rest of the class in which the teacher seems to be reviewing the various strategies for adding and subtracting.  Oh yeah…they have an assessment today.  An Assessment is a test.  Let’s call it what it is.  Ain’t no need to lessen the anxiety of these kids.  Mine anyway…she decided to move her laptop to the bed because she swears there is a fly that keeps buzzing in her ear.  There is a lot of stalling, excuses, distractions, by kids with ADHD.  If she were playing Roblox and there was a fly in the room, she would likely invite it to play with her.
Speaking of, there were 5 flies in our house last night.  I’m pretty sure they got in when someone left one of our doors open.  It wasn’t me because I have been chained to my office all week.  So S swears one of them is out to get her.  She hates all kinds of bugs and earlier this week could not LEAVE the bathroom because there was a wasp in there.  I went into the bathroom to sacrifice my life so that she could quickly escape and live another day.  I went to find something to reach the corner so I could kill it (hey, I value life and all, but if you’re a bug and you’re in my house, you’ve made a choice to die).  If I encounter you outside, that’s your territory.  The screened porch is a grey area.  I find T’s old crutch from when she dislocated her knee!  I decide it is the right height to go to smash the wasp which is in the corner of the ceiling! It flies away towards the tub and now it’s mad…at me.  Mama raised no fools…I close and lock the bathroom door (so the kids won’t go back in) put a towel under the crack of the door so the wasp can’t get out and do the most sensible thing I’ve done this week:  Call The Hubs to kill it. 
Back to the assessment.  “Mommy there IS no assessment.”  S doesn’t read directions.  If she did, she’d read the screen to see that there are 4 pages, and the screen she’s looking at requires her to type in her name then click next.  Next takes her to page 2 which begins the problems.  “I need help!”  Sorry kiddo, I can’t help you, it’s an assessment, take your time and do your best.  Minutes pass…”Oh My Gosh they expect us to answer 25 + 25!  That’s too high! I can’t do it”  It is at this point I recall her math tutor telling me that in second grade all they need to do is add and subtract to 20.  I contemplate whether or not to confront the tutor at S’s next session and tell her she’s lying.  Instead I “kind of” help her by saying, “draw out 25 dots and use the counting on method to solve it”.  “MOM!!! These are super high numbers! This is too hard”  Ok…I’m all for kids loving math, and in second grade, getting the fundamentals is crucial to how one performs for the rest of life.  So I get my cell cam ready to take a picture of these hard problems so I can have proof for her tutor.  As I do so, I actually READ THE DIRECTIONS — which say “these problems have NOT been covered in class and there will be no points given, just try your best“.  As a reminder, at the top of this paragraph, you’ll see that I say “S doesn’t read directions”  so I explain to her that she doesn’t have to worry about getting them right, just try.  I take a picture anyway because I want proof of torture.  She finishes.  The teacher told the kids that when they finished they could play some math game.  Unfortunately S finished right at the time for the next class.  And the whining about not getting a break ensues and I answer:  “School is ALL DAY, just like it was when you were actually in a building. You have 1 minute to get a snack then get back on for your ELA class.”  She has moved to T’s room where apparently there are no flies.
T’s week.  So let’s talk about my high schooler shall we?  When we last met, I was kvetching about how I don’t need to monitor her because I KNOW she’s not paying attention.  The Curriculum Assistance class I referred to (which one day will get it’s own blog) is supposed to be helping her with this.  This kid is smart.  This kid has been in regular education classes with kids who don’t have any diagnosis since first grade with less than an hour a week pull out for special ed resource work.  She can do the work of any other non-autistic/adhd kid.  Her issue is in staying organized and on top of things.  The “semi new” term for organization in the special needs world is called Executive Functioning.  T’s is pretty low.  She doesn’t deliberately skip work.  She will get an assignment, log off to do it, see something shiny, get distracted and move on to something that interests her more…like watching slime videos.  Since she’s in all honors classes, and it’s HIGH SCHOOL, these teachers don’t play…she has multiple assignments daily!  So we’ve been playing catch up and staying on top of her to get these things done.  Earlier this week in Honors World History, she had to watch an episode of “The Story of God” with Morgan Freeman and fill in a worksheet as she watched.  I don’t even want to go into how bad our internet has been this week.  She couldn’t watch it on her PC…luckily I knew it was on Netflix.  I offered to watch it with her.  It was really good!  It’s hard for T to follow along because she has SPD along with her autism and ADHD.  So a 43 minute video takes longer.  But I have TIPS!  Instead of looking at her questions on screen, we printed them and looked for key words in each question so that we’d be ready and alert for when that topic came up on the video.  So a question about Buddhism would use Buddhism as the key word so when Morgan said it, she would pay close attention to see if the answer to her question was given.  It worked!  Did I mention we didn’t start this until around 9pm though?  And that she had another video to watch and answer questions for for Health class?  That video was pretty cool too.  All about the parts of the brain and spent a great deal of time explaining how the prefrontal cortex doesn’t not fully develop until age 25.  Boys and girls, can you guess what the prefrontal cortex is responsible for???  Can you???  EXECUTIVE FUNCTIONING!!!!  I kept stopping the video to show her how a lot of her issues are due to the fact that her brain isn’t finished developing.  All this stuff about neurons and synapses.  Why is it so fascinating now as an adult?  I remember some of this stuff as a kid.  Maybe because my prefrontal lobe has been fully developed for 26 years, I now find all of the stuff she’s learning to be really interesting.  Maybe they should wait until people are 25 with a developed pre-frontal cortex to teach them about their pre-frontal cortex.