Sunday, December 8, 2013

TToT4: Annual Review and The Holiday Season

It's time to get get thankful and turn my frown upside down. Why? Because we had an annual review for my daughter this week. I know I am not original in hating these meetings. When I was a special educator and didn't have children, I had no concept of how anxiety-producing these meetings could be.

Maggie's a likeable student and is making progress, but no teacher will ever advocate for a student the way a parent can. And I hate confrontation. So once or twice I year, I have to gird up my confidence and get ready to say, "I would be more comfortable if...," or "I am concerned this amount of time is not enough," or "I think a goal covering X would be appropriate."

I hate every second of it. Partly because I know what it feels like to be on the other side of the table. I know how many conflicting messages are given to teachers regarding IEPs, and I know how little time they have. Plus, if I am going to be completely honest, I don't want to raise a fuss because I just want people to like me. But, of course, making sure my daughter receives the services she needs trumps all of that.

1. After that rant, I will say the meeting went pretty well. We may have gotten a bit bogged down in one area and had to exchange a few emails afterwards to follow up on some issues, but I think the team churned out a pretty good document.

2. And, as I said before, her teachers seem to really like her. If you're gonna have special needs, try to have a good personality so your teachers like working with you. From my experience, there are the students you really love and the students with whom you do your duty. I hope Maggie will always be on the "love" list.

OK, that's the best I can do on annual reviews.

So, onto the holiday season that is so much more exciting.

3. It's snowing! The day we decorated the Christmas tree, it snowed! So perfect!

4. Obviously, the tree.

5. Every year, I forget how busy this time is. How is it that even your regular duties that are not related to the holidays, get heavier? But, like Stephanie, I really do love the hustle and bustle. At an early age, I realized that the anticipation of Christmas is as much fun or even more fun than the actual day. The shopping, the decorating, the baking, the post office runs, I really love it all because it all builds the anticipation of the day. Yesterday, I ran to Trader Joe's for some groceries, and the store was a zoo. Why are all Trader Joe's so small anyway? But, everyone I met and nearly ran into was smiling and cheerful. Someone complimented my coat, and I had a nice conversation with the check-out guy. Plus, I was there all alone, and is there anything better than running errands sans kids?

6. I had a coupon to Sephora and needed mascara anyway, but I ended up with a new tube of lipstick as well. I reveled in the freedom of shopping alone and the joy of a new luxury. I let the saleslady have her way with me and enjoyed every second of it.

7. I have finished addressing nearly all of our holiday cards.

8. I thought my kids would get a kick out of taking a walk in the snow, so we took the cards to the big mailbox in our neighborhood. Let me tell you, it was the worst idea I ever had. My children thought the snow was torture. They screamed the entire walk home. I mean, people opened their doors to see what was going on out in the street. How is this #8, you ask? I took their behavior as a clear indication it was naptime.

9. Holiday bakiing has begun with brownie cupcakes. No more need be said about that.

10. My in-laws had a belated Hanukkah celebration last night, and afterwards, The Dude and I left them there and went and saw Catching Fire. It was intense and exciting, and I thought Jennifer Lawrence was excellent.

One extra because I can't help it:

11.  Maggie is singing in the background as I type this.
"M is for princess, mmm, mmm, princess;
"U is for zebra, uh, uh, zebra."
So glad we have a goal about recognizing initial sounds in words.

 Your hosts


  1. #11 is so cute, and having goals is always good, right?

    1. Thanks, Kristi. So, were you on your high school debate team? That's where I put you. Or, are you K1? I'm really not sure.

  2. ZebrUH - I kind of see where she went with that. Not sure about MmmmmPrincess though, unless she's been watching post-watershed TV...

    I'm so pleased that her adorableness means her teachers bond with her and are keen to invest their time and energy on her for more than just duty. That's really special and a great boon for her. And WELL DONE YOU for screwing yourself up and doing the slightly confrontational stuff which needed to happen to ensure the best for her :)

    So glad your Christmas preparations are off to a great start :)

    1. Thanks, Lizzi. Can't wait to hear if I got 7/10 correct!

  3. It IS all in the smack talk yessssss. haha! You are throwin' it down! I got them ALL right, lady! Don't make me get out my grape hubba bubba gum and get all super hero on you.....I'll do it! :)

    I can't wait to see Catching Fire! I was supposed to see it today with my book club peeps but we had to cancel because of the ice storm! BOO. We'll trying to resched for next weekend. So fun you got to have shopping and movie time w/o kiddos! nice.

    you rock for having the balls to do what you needed at the meeting for your daughter. I tend to "people please" too in those situations, but you're right, what your daughter needs trumps that. Good on you!

    1. Ugh, the ice is here now, so I'm glad we went out while we did!

  4. THat meeting stuff is sooooo tough on both sides... You have my undying respect and admiration! Ya gotta advocate for your kid and giving up your own comfort level to do it is tough but necessary and awesome of you! People pleasing goes away for situations like that one... my kid was deaf and had learning disabilities... it was toughest at IEP time! I want a sock monkey ornament! I was just saying that (no lie who the heck says such things?) yesterday... and there he is!

    1. It is. It is the. worst.
      Wish I could remember where I got that ornament!

  5. My daughter and I went to see Catching Fire before Thanksgiving and we loved it too. I liked it better than one. I hope three is even better. I didn't like Book Three though. I read the whole series. I am glad your IEP went well. My mom went through similar times with my brother, but I don't think they did IEPs in the 70s.

    Mary-andering Creatively

    Mary-andering Among the Pages

    1. My husband said he thought #2 was better, too, because they didn't have to waste time on educating the viewer on characters/setting and just get going with the plot. I am just so impressed with JL's acting chops, as always. And Stanley Tucci's. He may actually be my favorite portrayal of any of the characters. Ryan Seacrest on steroids.

    2. The Dude was most impressed with how Elizabeth Banks made Effie into a sympathetic character, but all the acting was good.

  6. I found myself nodding and smiling all the way through your list.
    I'm glad the meeting went mostly well. Those meetings really do have the potential to be torture.
    Shopping without kids is the most fantastic thing to do in this world. Especially this time of year. Go you!
    Your #8 was hilarious. It's not like your kids were trudging through deep snow. They were on a sidewalk with a dusting of snow. So stinkin' funny.

    1. I know. And today my son fussed when I wouldn't let him go out and roll around in the ice it's turned into. Capricious, capricious.

  7. Loved your list. :)
    Your tree...the snow, though I don't like driving in it - not around here, haha.
    And you put it so well: students that you love and students for whom you do your duty. Oh man...I've had lots of both, lol. The life of a teacher.
    And Maggie is entirely cute! I really do hope her teachers just love her. I worked - teaching Spanish, even - in the inclusion classroom at Hall Fletcher in Asheville and though all eight kiddos were nonverbal, I always had a ball singing with them. They were awesome!
    I hope you're having a good holiday season. HUGS

    1. I hate driving in the snow anywhere, and especially WNC!

  8. OK, on the topic of the song Maggie was singing? I have to recommend a book that I think you will love and kind of goes with the whole alphabet and sounds thing. The book is called Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham. It's hysterical. Kidzilla loves it so much she's checked it out of the school library multiple times since September.

    I hear you on the annual review thing. We don't exactly have that for Kidzilla, but we have already had our first IST meeting since starting Kindergarten. You are so right about needing a great personality if you are a kid with special needs. Zilla has a great one - unfortunately, it does not seem that her classroom teacher necessarily sees that in her. Sooo...we're on an uphill climb in that direction. It's heartbreaking, really, because while Zilla does have her share of struggles and difficulties (and God knows they do make some days very difficult) remembering what a great little girl she is makes it so much easier to deal with that part. Sorry - rambling. Just nice to know others out there understand.

    And as I am way behind on my pre-Christmas preparation and Hanukkah pretty much flew by while I had the stomach bug, I am going to attempt to get myself in gear before the entire month is gone!

    1. I am so excited about this book recommendation! I am going to put a hold on it at the library immediately. We have a trip planned this week.
      The problem with even a good personality is that it won't necessarily mesh with the teacher. Sometimes there's just a clash, and that's a shame. I'm glad you came over here and rambled.

    2. The book is awesome - let me know how you like it!

      And yes, the personality clash is just a shame. We briefly considered requesting a classroom move, but it really doesn't solve the person. Zilla is going to meet lots of people who don't get her, don't mesh with her, etc. May as well learn early how to handle it. Plus, now that she's firmly entrenched in new friendships in her classroom, we really didn't want to disrupt the social order three months into the school year. She spent five years at her daycare/preschool facility and literally grew up with a large number of those kids - some came and went, but most were her buddies from infancy until the end of pre-K when they all went their separate ways to new Kindergartens at new schools. She still misses them terribly and is really just now moving on to embrace her new buddies. Throwing another social disruption in the pile seemed too much to ask anyone. So we'll continue to work on both ends of the equation and hope it all balances out.

      Holy crap - I made a math reference. That was frightening.


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