So. Yesterday sucked so bad, I couldn’t even wrench myself to my keyboard to write about it until tonight. It wasn’t the IEP- that was the easy part of the day- nevermind that it was at 8 am and I had all three kids up, fed, dressed and to the school with me by then, and all the way through the IEP. Yeah, that was the easy part. So the Cliff’s Notes version, for posterity:
Bean’s IEP was pretty simple- only its been a three years since his last full official evaluation, and we’re going to do another one. That’s fun. It means piles of paperwork, and him being observed by people who have their degrees in the same thing I’m working on. They’re professionals, but I’m his mama. I have to say, his team is great, and IEP’s don’t actually stress me out the way I know they do so many parents. I know the lingo, my rights, my son’s rights, and mostly the team is very good. But it’s still a draining process.
I came home from the IEP with Abby in tow- she hasn’t been in school since December 16th- and dug out my financial aid paperwork and got to work on making phone calls for that mess. Most people know how much fun that is…
Once I got that done it was time to complete my Quarterly Certification Review for DSHS- only I’ve been trying to get through to them since mid-December. I couldn’t get through on the phone lines, then they were closed for the holiday, and now I’m up against the wall and my benefits will be cut off if I don’t “prove need”. Again. It’s not a problem to provide them what they need- but it is a problem to get anyone on the phone to actually complete the interview. Hundreds of tries- usually I get an “All circuits are busy, please try later.” message. Occasionally I’ll actually get in the voice queue and input my account number, but every single time thus far, I get “All operators are helping other clients, please call back later.” And it starts again.
Yesterday, after the IEP and Financial Aid, this just pushed me over the edge. I felt so helpless. I need (and sincerely qualify for) this aid, and I’m trying to jump through all the hoops I have to, but because of a phone queue that doesn’t hold you in line, I cannot make the deadline. I dissolve into ridiculously hopeless, dramatic tears.
A good friend has some inside lines, and happened to call me during my torrent of self-pity- and was able to get me an actual phone number- not the toll-free number- and rather quickly I was speaking to an actual human being. She couldn’t complete my certification, but she did give me an extension, so my kids are still covered and we get food this month. Small miracles.
By the time I got off the phone with the lady at DSHS, it was time to go pick the boys up from school, and Abby was moaning about being hungry. Second day back to school, and the kids have a half-day. 12:30 release. When I open the door, there is a turn-off notice from the electric company. Yes, I know I’m late, but my student loans fund on Monday and I can pay the bill then- only I don’t have that long. I shove the bill in my purse and hurry Abby to the car. The kids’ Christmas money will have to pay the electric bill. I can pay them back next week. The balancing and trade-offs you make in poverty are astounding sometimes. I won’t tell the kids.
I pick the boys up, and we have to head downtown to meet with a nutritionist. Their pediatrician wrote us a referral back during their checkups, hoping a nutritionist could help get Bean to eat something besides PBJ and just generally help everyone. Its a fine idea. In theory.
The first half hour went fine. She weighed, measured and did an analysis on each kid. Bean is surprisingly healthy for having never ever ingested a single vegetable that was not a french fry or ketchup. Jeffrey needs to eat more fruit and vegetables, and Abby is just fine. But this all took a lot of time.
At the end of the first hour, Bean started to unravel. I told her this was going to get ugly, and it did- faster than I can ever remember. There wasn’t really time for me to get him out of there, and he tipped. When he started throwing furniture, I had to lay on him while the nutritionist sat at her table with her laptop, watching in fascinated horror. I told her if there was somewhere quiet and dark we could put him it would help. She opened a cupboard and shoved everything out, and he climbed in and shut the door. He hit his head for a few minutes and vocalized, but in about 15 minutes, he came out calm and happy and started to put the room back together. The look of fascinated horror on her face never changed.
Two hours. We were there two hours. Bean skipped out as we left, happy as a lark, and asked to go to the cafeteria. He loves hospital cafeterias- they have a conveyor belt that moves the trays into the dishwasher. None of us had eaten, so I acquiesced. Bean got a peanut butter sandwich. Go figure. The others had whole wheat pasta. And I had a diet Coke and an Excedrin. Dinner of champions.
On the drive home, my back started to spasm. Once in a blue moon this happens, usually in conjunction with a massive tussle with Bean. Et voila. By the time we got in the house, I sent everyone down to play, and tried not to puke from the cramping spasms and shooting pain. I would rather be in labor than have back spasms- no joke.
Jeffrey got me an ice pack, and I took the last four Advil in the house. Laying gingerly on the bed, I closed my eyes and waited for the pain to subside. Slowly… slowly… I could breathe again.
I didn’t remember until this morning that it was my kids’ Nana’s birthday. We never even called her.
So how was your day?