Thank you all for sharing in the lives of our three amazing children- Mairead, Jack, and Ben. We hope you visit often!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


As you may have heard, or seen, it has been snowing here. A lot. As in, Mairead went to school a total of 6 days in January. As in, the lampost out front is nearly obscured by snow. As in, we are in the house all.the.time. The snow is so deep that the kids really can't go out and play in it. And today, they could have run up and down the plowed sidewalk at least, but now it is sleeting and is not really 'play outside' kind of weather.

They are being pretty good about it. Mairead has the toughest time, I think, with being stuck indoors. She needs stimulation and socialization and routine and none of that is happening lately, so we are very anxious for her to get back into some kind of routine. If that ever happens, which seems unlikely since snow is forecast again Saturday and then Tuesday!

We are finding lots of ways to keep busy. Jack, for example, has taken up piano. He loves it! He asks for music and then sits on the stool to 'play.' He is very serious and carefully 'reads' the sheet music before he starts. I'll have to get it on video- it's very cute. Mairead has always liked the piano, too, so maybe she and Jack can play some duets.

He LOVES to scream, "CHEESE" whenever I get the camera.

We gave the kids this art table for Christmas 2009 and it has been one of the best purchases we have made. They love it and use it every day. It's big enough for all three of them to share without an issue, and they happily color and craft there together.

Don't mind the window screen in the background. We have had to pop out several of the screens to get access to the roof in order to remove snow and ice. The kids used to get very excited about seeing people on the roof but now barely even notice. It's been that kind of winter! Although, this morning, Jack looked out the window onto the roof and started asking, "Brian? Brian?" Apparently, he thinks that Brian comes over to fix the roof every time it snows.

Mairead has been using the rocking horses a lot. She puts a bucket on her head to be a helmet. She must remember the helmet from hippotherapy because it was her idea to find one. When Dave got home yesterday (after a two hour drive home!) she grabbed his hand and mine and said, "C'mon, Mom, Dad! Let's something together!" Very cute. She wanted to ride one horse while Daddy rode the other and they had a race.

Klassy. Somewhere, my mom found this hat that doubles as a beverge holder and she gave it to the kids for their dress up collection. Mairead will kill me for this picture when she gets older.
The boys are becoming more interested in learning their numbers and letters. They love coloring, though they love coloring on the walls, furniture, or whatever else they can find. What's funny is that you can always tell who was the culprit. Ben's scribbilings are all straight lines and Jack always draws circles. Neat, huh?
The other day I found some of Ben's handiwork on the wall and spoke harshly to him telling him. "No color on the walls! No Ben!" He looked at me and said, "Paper?" because we always tell him to color only on the paper. He knew I was angry with him because as I knelt down to clean the wall, he ran over and threw his arms around and and said, "Hi, Mama." Hard to stay mad...
Jack has adopted Mairead's habit of saying, "There. Perfect" when something is finished. It seems like he imitates her speech a lot, and then Ben imitates Jack. That's how it usually works in terms of birth order- each child learning from the one before, but it's funny to see it play out in kids so close in age.
In non-kid news, this last picture is from a dinner we had on Sunday. Instead of a gift for Nana, we (six grandchildren) got together and held a dinner for her. She loved it... and not just because of the chicken livers from Athenian Corner. It was really nice to have everyone together and Nana loved telling us her stories. Thanks to Brian and Jen for hosting and thanks to everyone else for making it a very nice night for Nana.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Mediation Did Not Help

So, once again, we did not get anything we wanted from the schools. I am too exasperated and defeated to get into every detail right now, but basically, the mediator's hands were somewhat tied. In Massachusetts, schools are not mandated to provide education for three year olds. In fact, they don't even HAVE to provide it for four year olds. Since there is no mandatory preschool for three year olds, there is NO curriculm for three year olds as far as what they should be able to accomplish. So, I can't prove that Mairead cannot access curriculum because there is, in fact, NO curriculum to access... if that makes sense. Since I can't prove that she is deficient in any area, they are not legally responsible to provide support services.

This is actually a change in the original problem. They used to pretty much ignore all reports from doctors, etc, and deny that she needed help. Now, they are basically acknowledging that she needs help, but saying they are not legally responsible to provide it at age 3.

Thing is, they aren't. The mediator was pissed at the way they have been handling things and assured me that she made that quite clear during the confidential meeting with them. She said that I am doing everything I should be doing and that she wishes that she could make a recommendation based on the right thing to do versus the legal thing to do. She also suggested that I would probably not 'win' at hearing because, again, there are no clear expectations for three year olds, so I can't prove that she isn't meeting them. So, I will probably not go to due process at this point since I would be spending money on something I can't win.

The only thing that is new is that M's SLP (who we LOVE) and I get to make a list of things we think Mairead should be doing. The teacher in her (regular ed) preschool has to complete the 'checklist' weekly to let us know what she is or is not doing. When Mairead's IEP is up for review in the Spring, we will at least have evidence of what she can and cannot do in a classroom.

I don't even know how to tell you I am feeling about it. I'm angry, frustrated, sad, tired, incredulous, and a few other things. Mostly, I am trying to come to terms with the fact that at least until she is 4, there is nothing I can do to force these people to help her. We are on our own as far as helping our little girl, and that is very difficult to accept.

We already have to accept every day that she is different. That she is not doing what typical three year olds are doing and that she (and other children) is becoming increasingly aware that she is different. I have to accept that I can't have a conversation with my three year old. That she is not going to be able to play a game with me, that she is barely treading water when she should be advancing. WE watch her try to play with other kids and it is like a knife in the heart when she isn't able to. Personal things are hard- she is going to be a flower girl in my brother's wedding in July, and she has no idea what a wedding is, what it means to be a flower girl, or how to anticipate such a fun day.

I am going to stop typing because I am probaby not even making sense at this point. Thanks for all of your advice, support, prayers, and good thoughts. We need them every day and you are always there for us. Thanks, everyone, for understanding how special our girl is.