Thursday, August 23, 2007

Memories of my grandfather

Growing up, I lived near my grandparents--a short walk for me in the middle of the country. They owned 120 acres, living on one of the 40s, and we lived on the neighboring forty, with fields and woods in between. Great way to grow up.

I wrote this poem about my grandfather, in college. I think it sums up my memories quite well.


I remember walking through the woods with my grandfather, his pace slow to allow my tiny legs to keep up.
I remember the acrid smell of Autumn leaves, falling around us in a multicolored blanket, as he showed me the birch, the poplar and the pine.
I remember the whiteness of Spring lilies, poking up from the denseness of the forest floor.
I remember the patience of my grandfather as he taught me the bird song of the swallow, the chickadee and the robin.
I remember the buzz of yellow bees, flying among the acres of orange Indian paintbrush, purple fireweed, and yellow buttercups.
I remember the sound of our laughter, as my cousins and I played in Nature's bounty, unaware in childhood of what would make this time and place so special to us in adulthood.
I remember the love and acceptance of my grandfather, as he taught me how to understand Nature, and in turn, know myself.

I remember adolescence, with all the tumult and rebellion it brought into my life, and into the lives of those around me.
I remember grandfather, teasing me out of moods and laughing with me about old Danish settlers, taking me into his past with grace and understanding.
I remember spending the night with my grandparents, thinking myself too old for such things, yet loving the time playing cribbage with Gramps long into the night.
I remember feeling more secure in my grandfather’s presence than I would for many years to come.

I remember being twenty-one, hearing with pain of my grandfather’s cancer, knowing he would die too soon.
I remember the cold rain on the day of his funeral, as Nature joined our family in mourning her lost son.
I remember with pain the sound of my grandmother’s voice as she told me not to cry as we drove away from the cemetery.
I remember my recognition of my grandmother’s generosity, comforting me after losing her life partner of 52 years.
I remember finally appreciating the strength of my grandmother as we both reluctantly learned to let go.
I remember a twinge of conscience as I learned to go forward with my life, without the guidance that had led me into adulthood.

I remember my childhood wistfully, seeing now that I was given much more than I had realized at the time.
I remember freedom and laughter, and a peace that sometimes escapes me now as the days fly by.
I remember being one with the woods, in a time when the best friend you could have was a sheepdog named Spike.
I remember the wonder of squirrels and deer, woodchucks and bear.

And I remember my grandfather, knowing that his wisdom and teaching has made me the woman I am today.

Round 1

So, I called the special education director's office today, as I hadn't heard back from them yet. I guess school D has no room in their kindergarten program. Helen (the director's assistant) pulled Sophia's IEP and has been on the phone to various special ed personnel. School D is having a meeting to see what can be done to work Sophia into their program. I flat out told Helen that if School D cannot accommodate my daughter, that I was not comfortable with Sophia's attendance at School H. She assured me that she would let me know as soon as there was new information re the situation. Great.

You know, I am really hating all this back and forth. There needs to be a simpler procedure for special needs education. I am aware that I pulled this on them at the last minute. However, who guessed that Sophia, who LIVED to play outside in April/May would become afraid to step out the door by mid June? Her biggest fear is butterflies. She obsesses about any flying insect landing on her, to the extent that if she sees one she will curl into a standing fetal position and become hysterical. I will not be sending her to school without an aide. If the school will not allow her to refrain from going outside for recess, then they will provide the necessary accommodation so that Sophia can attend school fear free. And I know my daughter--the dread of recess, combined with waking too early, will drain any enjoyment from the school day.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Here we go again...

Well, after a fairly uneventful summer, school restarts soon: Sophia, September 4 and Anneliese, Sept 10. No worries for Anneliese. This will be the third year with this ECDD room--I know the routine, approximate bus times etc.

I called Sophia's school office the other day. Had not received a bus schedule, although I did get a welcome letter from the principal. The school she is to attend (School H) is not our assigned school, but the same one Sophie attended for preschool last year. We thought the consistency would help her. So, School H has a start time start time of 7:36 am. When I called the school re bus times, I was a little scared to find out time the bus would actually pick up my daughter. I was right to be afraid. 6:36 am???? For a 5 year old??? I heard that and thought "oh, Hell no." Sophie is NOT a morning person, and the thought of getting her out of bed at 5:40 am is not a pleasant one.

Plus, since Sophia has developed a severe flying bug phobia and won't go out side without a LOT of adult encouragement, I knew we were going to need an aide this year. The psychologist we see for Sophia's phobias agrees. I decided to look into the school closest to our home (School D), and see how their buses run. Turns out that School D starts an hour later than her current school. Plus, I already knew they have a Kindergarten special needs aide, as the school district explained to me in the spring that an aide was following to other students up from pre-school.

So, I did a little research today and placed a call to the special ed director in our school district. I spelled out the whats and whys for the director's assistant, and am awaiting a response. Let's hope this is easy to resolve. I don't want to start the school year for Sophie with the kind of big bang that will result if they mess with me. My husband and I agree on the course of action here, though. And, he is already starting to feel sorry for the school district. Gee, am I that big of a wench?

Yep, and more than that if I need to be. My girls have no voice but mine.