Sometimes I wonder why I can’t just be ok. Why it is that I feel like I need some sort of recognition, some form of appreciation, some acknowledgement that what I do every day actually matters to people.

Tonight I’m angry. It has been a long day. A long day of medicine for my youngest, who has a horrible croupy-sounding cough, and a long day of attitude from my son, who has reminded me over and over during the course of the day that he hates me. And why can’t I just leave him alone? And don’t I know how much I make his life miserable?

And I’m angry. I’ve done this all day, and I was expecting some respite. That’s what I thought the weekend would bring. Yet it hasn’t. And my house is a mess, because I didn’t have the energy to follow through making the kids help clean it yesterday, and because I don’t have the desire to scrub all the toilets and counters AGAIN. Thank you, son, but it is just SO disgusting and I’m just TIRED of cleaning up after you.

And I find myself with a bag of chocolate over and over again. This can’t be a good thing. It never is. It has been worse lately. Worse than it has been in a long time. And I’m just angry.

I’ve been reading about the Holocaust. And listening to podcasts about the feminist movements, and how there is still so much ground to be covered. And it just makes me angry.

I want to feel appreciated. I do so much, but it is stupid, meaningless, mindless, often disgusting stuff. And laundry day is tomorrow. But the kids couldn’t sort their laundry today. So that fight will happen in the morning, which I’m not looking forward to. And waking up all night because of the croupy cough.

My ears hurt from my earplugs. And my stomach hurts from the chocolate. And my tongue hurts from biting it so hard yesterday (hard enough I went into shock – that wasn’t a pleasant experience). My skin is breaking out, again, because I’ve been so stressed and crazy busy lately that showers have been few and far between.

Is any of this related? Is any of it relevant?

Does it really matter? Does ANYTHING matter?

Tonight I’m angry. And it is keeping me awake. I want appreciation. I want recognition. I want more. I want.

And because I want, I feel guilty.

Posted in Life | 6 Comments

The last week

So much has happened! And in such a short amount of time, too.

Last Sunday, Kimball went under the knife for an emergency appendectomy. Thank goodness he made it through, and thank the high heavens for all the help and support we received from friends and family last week! Many meals and calls and child-watching by friends and family made the days surrounding the surgery go as smoothly as they could. He is recovering (slower than he likes, but recovering just the same) and life seems to be settling back into normal.

The levy passed in Boise, which means my kids’ school programs are NOT going to be cut. A guarantee that one of them (the most urgent) will remain in the program, and a high likelihood that the other will remain in as well. Finally allowed to apply for enrollment for my youngest, and waiting to hear back about whether or not that application will be accepted. Hoping to find a principal willing to work with us on her situation, but that remains to be seen. Just the idea of getting her in to the system is a big relief. Certainly not enough to allay all my fears, but it is something.

And then yesterday, the most encouraging news thus far. Took Erica in for her intake appointment with the tester doing her neuro-psych testing in a few weeks. A definite NO to autism/Asperger’s (which was a relief) and an inclination toward some improper brain connections formed as an infant relative to her ability to accept soothing, self-soothe, and generally regulate herself and her emotions. No solid answers at this point, but certainly some hopeful inklings into what is going on in this child’s brain. We will go through with the testing and see what we can learn, and what this doctor can recommend to help. She did mention that there is some crossover in symptoms which could lead people to suggest Asperger’s, but calmed our fears by ruling it out and proposing to rule IN something entirely different but so much more believable.

And amid all of this, we continue to function. Days turn into weeks, and the time passes. The kids are growing up, and I’m getting old (slowly but surely). Sleep comes fitfully, but at least it comes. There is hope that we won’t have to go through with behavior modifying medication for Erica. My medication change seems to be sufficient for now. There are a few hopeful things on the horizon; reasons not to give up. In spite of the difficulties, many of which are never enumerated here, life continues to roll on.

I’m thankful for the help and concern I’ve been shown, especially this past week. It keeps me going. Gives me hope in humanity that is so vital to my emotional well-being. Reminds me that, even though there are dark days, the sun does occasionally come out. I need that reminder, and I need the hope.

Posted in Kids, Life | 3 Comments

Just Another Day

I’m sitting at Erica’s therapy appointment, waiting while she has her session. It has been a pretty miserable morning with her so far today. I don’t know what to do with her, or for her, or about her. The therapist says they will need to work on some anger management with her and also that we as the parents need to come up with a better discipline system, though she has no suggestions. What that will be, I don’t know. Nothing we try has an effect on her. She claims she doesn’t care about any discipline she is given, and sometimes I think that really could be the case. That she really and truly just doesn’t care. About much of anything at all.

It makes me ill to think of life going on like this for years to come. Makes me seriously feel like giving up now, because what is the point? Nothing we are doing is getting to the bottom of this situation. Nothing is helping significantly enough to make me feel like it is worthwhile. My energy is shot, and I’m exhausted just thinking about another day of this.

We started her on melatonin this week to see if that would help her sleep and thus help her attitude improve. Sometimes I think it might be helping, because she seems quiet in her room so much earlier at night, but I don’t think I notice a difference in her attitude or ability to cope with stress/anxiety. Things have been so bad the last few weeks that it doesn’t seem like ANYTHING is helping. The psychiatrist says if more sleep doesn’t help, then we’ll move on to behavior modifying medication. So he talked to me (and Erica was in the room) about some of the side effects of that medicine, including the possibility that it might make her dizzy in the mornings when she gets up out of bed. Just for my information, in case we do decide to start that medication before we go back to see him. So we’d be aware if that happened. That night, we started the melatonin. And the very next morning, Erica came down the stairs, walking very slowly and carefully, and said, “Is it just me or is the room spinning?” I took a deep breath, because I knew what was going on, and proceeded to explain to Erica that the side effect she was attempting to experience was not caused by the medicine we had just started; it was a side effect of a medication she hadn’t yet taken. And suddenly, the dizziness went away. Amazing the way that works.

She is manipulative and cunning. She is dramatic and intense. At some point in her life, these things may be beneficial to her, if she can learn how to use them properly. But right now, these traits cause many hard days and nights.

I talked with her teacher a few days ago about why she is out of class so much for so many doctor’s appointments. The teacher was very understanding and not upset at all – just wanted to know what was going on, and if Erica is ok. I talked to her (probably for the first time with this teacher – it’s hard to remember who I’ve told the gruesome details and who I haven’t) about the violence and anger we experience at home, about the high anxiety and stress Erica lives with, and about what we are trying to do to help her. It is still absolutely incredible to me that people who spend so much time with this child don’t know what we deal with. Erica holds herself together so much, and so well, and it just astounds me that she is able to do that. And dismays me at the same time, because that means we, her family, take the brunt of her negative emotions and actions.

I’m anxious to have the neuro-psych testing done. Ready to know whatever that can tell us. I hesitate to try the behavior modification medicine before we’ve ruled out finding a diagnosis from the psychology arena, but at the same time, I’m not sure I can handle another 6 weeks like this, waiting and trying to cope. That’s asking a lot, and I’m not sure I’ve got that much in me. And yet, though I feel this way, somehow I keep going, day after blasted day. I wonder how much longer I will be able to keep that up.

I wonder what it must be like to live in her head. To feel life the way she must feel it; to experience the world so deeply and so intensely that it causes so much distress. I wonder, but I will never know. I will never be able to understand any experience but my own, and that is the case with all of us. But maybe I could find more empathy, more patience, more understanding, if I had some idea of what it is like to be her. If someone could shed some light on her thought process or her emotional experience. I guess that’s what I’m hoping for from the neuro-psych testing: an inkling of what goes on in her personal experience. Someone who can help me understand what she is dealing with. Someone to give me the tools to help my child. Someone with some answers.

Posted in Kids, Life | 1 Comment


Yet another tantrum. Over the lights.

We had an appointment with the psychiatrist today. Talked to him about how the behavior is still an issue. Still seeing violence a few times a week, toward herself and others in the family. It’s a vast improvement over the several-times-a-day violence we used to experience, but it is still not good enough. We still have a ways to go. So we talked about helping her sleep better, in the hopes that with less exhaustion will come fewer outbursts and less violence. Starting with melatonin for now (which I’m putting Cambria on as well in the hopes that she will start getting to sleep before midnight and be less exhausted in the mornings; maybe more sleep will help cut back on her violent behavior). We’ll see if it helps. If not, then the next step will be a mild behavior modification medication. One of the side effects of the behavior modifying medication is that it makes kids tired, so that might help with the sleep issue as well.

It feels crummy to be treating the symptoms without understanding the cause, but at this point I don’t feel like there’s really any other option. We’ve done everything we could. My life and the life of our whole family already revolves around this child so much, and every week with her therapist I get a new list of things we need to do to make life easier for her. And I’m just exhausted. So we’ll keep doing the therapy, and keep dealing with the anxiety, and keep trying to accommodate her as much as possible, but I’ve got to get some help. If the sleep meds don’t help, then we’ll take the next (drastic, but necessary) step of behavior modification. Oh, how I hope it will make a difference.

So the talk with the doctor today included such things as “Try to be still and rest and relax after you take your medicine. Turn the lights down low and don’t get up and move around a lot.” Thus came the argument at bedtime over the lights. Mom wants her to use the bedside lamp. She wants the overhead lights on high. Ok, I’m willing to compromise. Turn the overhead lights down low. Not good enough – Mom wants them too low. So instead of communicating, she runs to the lights, turns them off, screams about how I hate her and how frustrated and exhausted she gets when she wants to do something and I tell her no. I told her I loved her, that I love her too much to argue, that all I want is to be able to help her but that she won’t let me, and then I left. And she screamed. And stomped. And punched things. And screamed some more.

I don’t know. Maybe it is asking too much to change more than one thing at a time. Today the changes were medication and turning down the lights. Maybe it was too much. Maybe the doctor appointment was enough to throw her schedule off for the day, and now I’m sunk no matter what because we’re “off” normal. I don’t know. I can’t keep guessing because there’s an infinite amount of things that really could be the issue, and I will never really know what happened. She won’t talk to me about it.

I feel so much like I spend so much of my time, physical and emotional energy, money, and resources trying to help this person who is usually absolutely unwilling to be helped. Partly because I want her to be happy, partly because I want my other children to be safe, but also largely because I need some calm in my home. I have spent YEARS dealing with this and I am simply, completely, and totally exhausted.

I get away from time to time. I do. I do things because I want to every now and then. I even have some pretty amazing friends that I’d call more than just acquaintances. And to top it all off, I’m on some pretty heavy-duty anti-depressant/-anxiety meds. But it’s not enough. And I’m sinking. Coming up for air a little too infrequently. The weights are just getting to be too much, and I’m just not strong enough to keep my head above water any more. And so today I made the call to my doctor’s office, and tomorrow I will go in. And we’ll change the medication. I’m maxed out on my current stuff, so I guess that means a whole med change. Not thrilled at the prospect of being in flux for months, but I’ve got to have hope that it can get better. Something has got to give. I’m so exhausted and just completely and totally drained in every way.

Sometimes I think to myself that if it was just one big thing, or maybe two, that I’d be ok. But there are too many enormous issues going on in my life right now that I just can’t seem to keep up any more. Things were tough when winter started and the weather changed, but I thought I could power through. And since then, more and more things have been piling up and I just can’t seem to make it work. This is too much.

I hope, with all my heart, that there are sunnier skies in the near future. That there are answers, or at least band-aid solutions to tide us over until the answers come. Because without that, I just might drown.

Posted in Kids, Life | 8 Comments

Deathly Fright

“Hey look – we’re going to kill ourselves!”

This is what brought me, at a full run, from my few minutes of quiet and dark in my room, following the ear-piercing carpool ride home from school today.

In Isaac’s hand? The butcher knife. Unsheathed. He and Erica were hovering around Cambria at the computer with it, gleefully proclaiming their intent to kill themselves.

Of course I took the knife. And put it away. And tried, in my calmest angry mommy voice, to explain to them that this was NOT acceptable, in any way, shape, or form. And proceeded to choke on the vomit threatening me – the physical reaction to the emotional jolt I had just experienced.

They thought it was funny. They had this huge knife out, and were messing around with it like it was no big deal. I didn’t scream. I didn’t even yell. Spoke sternly, yes, but hopefully in a way that didn’t make them shut me out.

Dear universe, must I now remove all knives from my home? In addition to putting locks on all my upstairs windows because of the repeated threats (and half-attempts) to jump out or push someone else out the window? And hover around my children at all times to keep them from hurting themselves or each other so much that one of them actually dies???

I feel ill. And highly anxious and stressed. There is no silver lining to this experience. No wonderful lesson learned or beautiful revelation. Only anxiety and frustration and a furthering of the depression I find myself sinking deeper into, day after day.

Posted in Kids, Life | 2 Comments

The Kids and Feminism

Sometimes I think I must be crazy. Here I am, at my computer, at 5:15 in the morning, because of course I couldn’t sleep again. The dog was on the bed and at about 3 seemed to have a rather loud case of the hiccups, which woke me. I haven’t been able to sleep since.

But that has given me a chance to catch up on some of the reading I’ve been meaning to do, including an article Kimball sent me about a boy who, at age 14, achieved nuclear fusion. Absolutely incredible! The thing that strikes me the most, and gives me the most pause, is the support that young man had from his parents.

I spent some time looking into the Davidson Academy in Reno, and I have to say that I am cautiously interested in sending Erica there. (This is why I asserted, at the beginning of this post, that I must be crazy. Move to Nevada? Because of a junior high/high school?) While it may sound extreme, articles like the one I linked to above make me realize the importance of allowing these children to develop their potential.

Which brings me to another topic entirely: feminism. I have recently become aware that I identify strongly with feminism. There have always been things about the way women and girls are treated in society (here and globally) that have bothered me, and only recently have I been able to find a name for that and recognize what, exactly, it is that has bothered me so much. Our society seems to have made some pretty great advances on this front over the last several years. And while I’m grateful for that, I do have some difficult feelings about what my church teaches girls and women about their roles and potential. My daughter is extremely intelligent. Call me proud if you want, but her intellect is a fact that I have to live with on a daily basis. And I know that at church she is being taught, and will be taught, that her “calling” in life is to become a wife and a mother.

Now don’t get me wrong – being a wife is a wonderful thing, and I suggest it to any woman who finds a man as great as my husband. And being a mother is an experience with so many great benefits, and it can be very fulfilling. BUT… I don’t know that this is the best course for everyone. And for that reason, feminism really encompasses what I feel about my daughters.

My son is being taught his importance. He is being taught by his church and by society that he can be whatever he wants. That he can do anything he sets his mind to. That his potential is great, and that there are numberless opportunities out there for him to become whatever will fulfill him.

My daughters, however, are not consistently receiving the same encouragement. The focus for girls in the LDS church is constantly on becoming a wife and mother. Nurturing and being in the home as much as possible. Which is great… if that’s what you want.

But what if it isn’t?

I want my girls to know that they can be whatever they want. That if they choose to be wives and mothers, I will be thrilled. That if they choose to pursue a career, I will be equally thrilled. That the world is open to them just as it is to my son. That their personal worth is not defined by their ability to bear and raise children. That they are not “less” if they choose a path that leads them away from motherhood.

My youngest told me recently what she wants to be when she grows up: A doctor (specifically a pediatrician), a teacher (specifically a preschool teacher), and a mom. And I think that is wonderful. I think if she wants to do those things, then she should. I think it is laudable that she wants to make a contribution to society in all those ways, and I am thrilled that she sees her own potential to be whatever she chooses. But I do worry so much that her professional goals for herself will be squashed as she gets older and realizes the tendency of the church to marginalize women’s roles in the business world.

My children have incredible brains. They are capable of so much. I worry so much less about my son realizing his potential than I do about my daughters in the same regard. What I want for all three of them is happiness. In whatever form they find it. If that means being parents, finding a career, curing cancer, or traveling to space (or any combination of the multitude of options out there), all I really want is for them to do what THEY want. I don’t want my children living life by someone else’s plan.

And so, at 5 in the morning, I am here, on the computer, wondering what to do with my oldest child in 3 more years when she exhausts the current school program. Wondering what she will want when she reaches adulthood. Hoping that she will have been given the tools and the encouragement to be what she feels will give her happiness. And feeling the weight of my responsibility to instill that belief in her, despite what she may hear elsewhere.

So call me crazy. Call me a heretic. Call me whatever you will, but know that for me, the most important thing about raising these children is helping them know that I want, most of all, for them to find joy and fulfillment in their lives.

Posted in Feminism, Kids, Life, Mormonism | 1 Comment

Too Much, Again

Another day of that anxiety-provoking attitude from my oldest. Quite the unpleasant ride home from school today, and more than a little worrisome hoping that she wouldn’t lash out and physically attack one of the other kids. Concern over her unwillingness to wear her seat belt. Her attitude is, of course, unexplainable to me. I’m sure something happened to provoke her, but I’m equally sure I won’t be able to figure out what it was.

I hate needing to protect my other children. I hate needing to separate them constantly to keep them safe. It feels so terrible. But I don’t know what else to do. Her consequences are under scrutiny from the new therapist, and that always makes me anxious. I don’t know what to do other than what I’ve been doing, and I hate feeling like it’s not good enough or appropriate. Behavior modifying medication was suggested. On one hand I’d love that – just medicate it away. On the other, it doesn’t seem fair to her to simply treat the symptoms without understanding and addressing the actual problem.

She has been lying to me again about a lot of things lately. I get so frustrated because I want to be able to trust her, but she doesn’t make that realistic. It’s hard to feel like I can’t believe anything she says, and she gets frustrated and upset that I don’t trust her, but she isn’t willing to be honest with me either.

I don’t know what must be going on in her brain. I don’t know what to think or what to do. I’ve been absolutely exhausted and emotionally drained lately because of some completely unrelated issues, and I’ve been thankful that we’ve not had any really explosive incidents in the last week or so. But I know that won’t last forever, and eventually I’ll need to deal with the other issue and Erica at the same time and I just worry it will be too much for me. I’m already not sleeping much at night, and not eating a ton, and the stress of Erica’s issues and my own and then knowing I’m letting too many other important things slide (like figuring out school for Cambria, for instance) is really getting to me.

I just want to believe that life won’t be like this forever. But in the day-to-day it feels like it is never ending, and hopeless.

Posted in Kids, Life | 3 Comments

It’s Not All Misery

Just a quick update on life here. Things aren’t perfect (they never are, right?) but stuff with the kids has been surprisingly mild lately.

Sunday at church was hard for Erica. We managed to wind up sitting in front of a single dad with three kids and, while they are just the cutest kids and I love them because I do know them well, the noise factor of the youngest (who is just a toddler and of course EXPECTED to be a bit noisy during church) was too much for Erica. I was so proud of her for telling me. She actually said the noise was too much, and we tried having her switch places with the other kids a few times to see if that would help. She was a trooper. She tried – she really did. But I could tell it wasn’t going to last. So I took her and Isaac a few rows up (didn’t want to up and drag the whole family – I’m sure that would have made that man feel like we were avoiding him or something, and I’m just not that mean) while Kimball and Cambria stayed. Got a few strange looks from a few people, but really, you do what you’ve got to do for these kids. Erica was SO much better up there, away from the constant noise. I was so proud of her for speaking up for herself and then so proud of ME for acting in the best interests of my child, despite the strange looks and what I suspect are the wonderings of people around me. I mean really: how can it look? I get up in the middle of church, take half my kids, and go sit a few rows away from my husband. It makes me giggle just thinking about what people probably thought.

We’ve got a few extras this week (my nieces are staying with us) and while they really aren’t adding much to the stress or chaos factor in my home, I know it has been overwhelming for Erica. More stimulation, more noise, and we’re a touch off the schedule because of it. Last night she fell apart a little (not as much as she would have if they had gone home for the night because she does still hold it together for other people) and had to be physically carried up to her room. But there was no fighting while I carried her, which is abnormal for a breakdown like that (and a wonderful blessing for my back – no ribs out today!). I did still have to lock the door to keep her in until she was calm enough, but it was such a milder episode than has been typical lately. I wonder what will happen when they do go home on Friday – how big the fallout is going to be. But for now, she’s trying, and I’m trying to be patient with her about it.

Cambria didn’t have to go out in the hall this week at church. That in itself is worth cheering about! I can’t say for sure if it was because she was on a row with Dad by herself or not, but I suspect it helped. Makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to simply sit on two different sides of the chapel all together. Not exactly the way I want to spend church but…

Isaac has been doing a decent job of not harassing his sisters lately. I think that speaks directly to the time his dad has been taking with him. I notice a severe drop in his acting out when he’s getting quality Dad time. It’s been good to know that Kimball sees that too and has been willing (and actually suggested it himself recently) to spend more time with him doing happy, positive things.

At any rate, I wanted to make sure that some of the positives make it out there. I know on this blog you read a lot about my strong negative emotions regarding my everyday life. There is good. There are days when I don’t feel like crawling back in bed forever. Not frequent, but they are there. I’m thankful for the small blessings.

Posted in Kids, Life, Mormonism | 4 Comments

My dirty little secret

Times like now, I’m reminded of my dirty little secret. The one that haunts me. The one that makes me feel, more than any other fault I’ve got, that I’m a failure. The secret that I hid so well for so many years. The secret that still embarrasses me to admit, but that I’m getting better and better at fessing up to.

My secret: There are days when I hate being a mother. Days when I want to run away. Days when I think there is nothing that could be more miserable than what I endure each and every day of my life. And the worst part of the secret? Most days I feel like this. Not just occasionally, or sometimes, or even frequently. Most.

Does that make me abnormal? I honestly don’t think so. I think a lot (maybe not the majority but still a fair amount) of stay-at-home parents have feelings like mine. Maybe not on as frequent a basis as me, but then again maybe so. Does admitting I feel this way, to myself and other people, make me abnormal? Likely, at least in the culture I live in where being the stay-at-home parent is the ideal.

Don’t misunderstand me: I love my children with all my heart. I’m grateful for the chance I have to be a mother. For a long time I didn’t know if that would ever happen, and so I feel even more guilty that I don’t enjoy this. But this day-to-day stuff just really, really sucks. The laundry, cooking, cleaning, picking up, homework, lessons, fighting, whining, etc – all of it just wears on me. Today was laundry day at my house. I dread Mondays because I know that no matter what I set out to do, I’ll be lucky if I manage to just get the laundry done. And then I feel like I’ve spent a whole day doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. At the end of my days, what do I have to show for all my work? A messy house, a lot of whining kids, and not much else. Sometimes the laundry is all folded and put away. Sometimes I manage to actually cook dinner (as opposed to making my family eat sandwiches again). But most days I have two angry children (because who really wants to do homework anyway?), a sink full of dishes (because cleaning out the dishwasher is the most detested chore of all the jobs I give my children so it almost NEVER gets done), a list of everything I needed to do that day that I never got around to (that list just grows and grows), and I am emotionally spent.

I wonder what, exactly, I thought motherhood was going to be. Why, precisely, I thought this was something I would actually want and enjoy. There are sweet, precious moments that make up for a lot, but they are simply too few and far between to tide me over. My emotional stamina is not capable of maintaining the happy, cheerful demeanor I have been led to believe comes “naturally” to mothers.

I wonder what to do with myself. How to keep myself going when I feel so utterly and completely drained. I sometimes fantasize about running away. Or dying. I wonder if I should get a job. Something that would give me the kind of fulfillment I’m not finding in my current position. And I wish I had waited and spent some time focusing on me before I had my children. I wish I had learned what I like and who I am and what I want to BE instead of just doing what I thought I was supposed to do and what was expected of me. Because now, it feels like it is too late.

Call me horrible if you must. Call me a terrible nurturer or a failed Mother. But one thing you can’t call me is a liar. Being a parent is hard. Being the parent that stays home with the children is a tough gig. And regardless of the effort I put into this, it is a thankless job.

If you are a person who completely disagrees with everything I’ve said, I applaud you. You have done what I can’t. You amaze and astound me. However, if you, like me, feel less than fulfilled and less than thrilled at the role you play, know you are not alone. Know that there are others who understand. Know that the happy faces you see are not always true faces. You are one of many, and there is no shame in the way you feel. You are human and important, too. Don’t ever forget that.

Posted in Kids, Life | 11 Comments

Schooltime Woes and Glimmers of Hope

The school year is far from over, and already I am deep in the mess that is next year’s enrollment. This happens every year – the worrying about which school is the “right” school for each child, and the battle that ensues between me and the school district(s) over what the correct placement is for each child.

My children each attend a different school, two in the next district over and our preschooler in our home district (if you can pretend, like me, that preschool is actually in a district). This means on a daily basis, I go to three different schools to drop off and pick up my children. Two of these schools are a 30 minute drive (one way) from my home. Thankfully, the third is a mere 5 minutes. We carpool with another family to the two distant schools, which has also helped a lot – it means I only drive to the far schools once a day instead of twice.

However, since my two older children aren’t in the district where we reside (because they needed gifted intervention as early as possible and our home district doesn’t offer that until 2nd/3rd grade), that means we are enrolled via “open enrollment” – basically, we don’t belong to the district so they are being nice and allowing us to attend their schools because of our extenuating circumstances. Until this year, the open enrollment policy was “in once, in until you change schools.” Not so this year. I have applied for open enrollment status again and hope they will grant it, but I don’t have a definite answer yet and I don’t know when I will hear back. However – only one of the schools has requested I fill out the paperwork again, so perhaps this means my other child is still under the old policy? Honestly, I get so confused with three different schools and policies that it sometimes seems I’ll never be able to remember who needs what when. I am operating under the assumption that my two older children will be allowed to continue at the schools they currently attend, in the programs they are currently enrolled in. I hope this is the case. It has been so beneficial to our family to have them with age peers who are also their intellectual peers.

My preschooler, however, is another issue entirely. I need to find a good placement for her in kindergarten, and there just aren’t any fantastic options out there. I’m considering grade acceleration as one possible option, and at this point I’m torn between doing that in the next district over and sending her to a Harbor school here in our home district. The Harbor school claims their curriculum is advanced (though they will not allow me to actually talk to anyone who can give me specifics until/unless my child has been accepted) and I wonder if that would be enough for her at this stage. (This school also has a junior high and high school in addition to the grade school, and it seems like it would be a great option for my oldest child when she is old enough. They have an IB diploma program that looks fantastic.) However, their enrollment policy is by lottery, so we had to put her name in the drawing and wait to find out in a few months if she has been accepted to that school or not. In the meantime, I will look into the willingness of other schools to let her skip kindergarten and do first grade in the fall. We need to have her IQ testing done, but I would prefer to do it next year, after she’s had a little more time for her attention span and small motor skills to develop a bit before we send her off for hours of testing. My oldest tested into the highly gifted program and my middle child tested into the full-time gifted program. I expect my preschooler to test into the highly gifted program as well, and if the stars align just right there is a chance she may even be admitted in a year when she is old enough to qualify for the program.

In the meantime, I will continue to look around at schools and pray that we will be led to the right placement for her.

You may wonder why I am so concerned about getting her taken care of this young. A few reasons: 1) The younger children can be allowed to work at their pace and not be held back, the better. Wait too long and they will learn to shut off their brains while they wait for everyone else to catch up. 2) The increase in violence over the last several months follows the pattern of my oldest child. It made such a big difference for my oldest when she started going to the highly gifted program and started to feel like she finally belonged somewhere, and that she wasn’t the only child who was “different” than her other classmates. I am hopeful that getting my preschooler into a suitable school situation early will help prevent some of the problems we currently have with my oldest child and possibly improve some of the issues we are dealing with for my preschooler.

I, like every parent, feel my children should be given just as much chance to succeed as other kids. When the regular classroom is holding kids back, they frequently act out at school or at home. For a wonderful explanation of this, watch this video produced by SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted).

The stress and anxiety of trying to figure out how to do the best for my children I possibly can sometimes wears so heavily on me that I lose all my focus and find myself in a state of panic. I have to keep reminding myself that things have worked out thus far, and that things will continue to work out. This path was not chosen by me, and I am being guided by a greater mind than my own. And so, for now, I do all I can and put my faith in God and know that He loves my children so much more perfectly than I ever can.

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