Friday, October 2, 2009

someone pass me the chocolate cake--I just had an IEP Meeting

I hate IEP meetings. I really, really do. The night before, I get a little nervous and just a touch nauseated at the prospect of sitting at this big table with a whole squadron of professionals who are there to list all the ways my kid is different from "normal." I know it is a touch illogical. After all, every IEP meeting I have attended has gone well. I have never been surprised by anything any teacher or therapist or psychologist has told me. I see the same delays and "deficiencies" in Danny's development that they do. And I have never had to fight for services as I know many parents do.

Still, I find myself in tears in the car after each and every IEP meeting. No matter how encouraging the teachers are, no matter how thorough we are in developing accommodations to assist Danny in his learning, I still come away feeling depressed.

Today, I realized that part of me, on some level, must have thought that by kindergarten, Danny would have totally caught up. I think I assumed that at this point, Danny would no longer need special services. Obviously, I need to change the way I think on this matter. I need to accept that he may struggle with some of these issues for the rest of his life. And you know what? That just sucks. It really, really does.

I know that it isn't the end of the world. I know that none of these labels or challenges change who my son is. I know that everyone struggles with different issues. We all have challenges. I know that these challenges don't define who he is and that he might just be OK. But sometimes those rationalizations just don't help me feel better. They don't always allay my fears for his future--both academic and social. They don't make it any easier watching my kid struggle with things other kids pick up with no help at all.

And though I know that life is not fair, I still occasionally feel a deep sense of injustice that my kid has these problems at such a young age.

On the way home I thought about why I struggle with IEP meetings. I wondered what it would take for me to come away from one without crying. And I realized that it would take the staff telling me that Danny no longer needs services. The meeting in which they tell me I no longer have to attend IEP meetings will be the meeting I come away smiling. Because though Danny has progressed and come such a long way and made enormous strides, I think I will always feel just a bit sad over all that he has to overcome.

And frankly, I am sick to death of people (no matter how loving, good intentioned, and knowledgeable they may be) telling me how different Danny is or what he needs to work on. I am so tired of evals and recommendations and accommodations and special ed crap. I just am. And even writing this makes me feel guilty.

I'll get over it. Don't worry about me. I just need to vent. And maybe spend some good quality time with the kids tonight playing games and making pigs in a blanket. That should cure my foul mood.....

Oh, yeah, that and a giant piece of chocolate cake with tons of frosting.


Anonymous said...

I thought Charlotte wouldn't need an IEP by the time she got to Kindergarten too. Sigh. And here we are.

Kelly said...

I'm sorry Patty. My heart aches for you and Bil when I read about your struggles. Just know that you are doing the best you can, and, actually, it sounds like you're doing pretty amazing with a tough situation. Your kids know that you love them and you are the kind of mom who cares enough to go to those IEP meetings and make sure your little boy is getting everything he needs. It's perfectly normal to feel depressed and to mourn the way in which you wish Danny could live his life.

On the other end of the parent/child spectrum, I don't think I've told you lately about my mom and how bad her health is. She is completely disabled and years of taking many medications have made her mind not what it once was. She's only 53. I do what I can for my parents, and I have my own moments of mourning for what my mom hasn't been able to accomplish and for her struggles.

Hugs to you. You're doing a wonderful job. Vent away!

Also, I recommend the layered chocolate cake from Cheesecake Factory. Not to encourage emotional eating or anything. :)

Amy Jane said...

Patty, I am hereby, right at this moment, giving you a huge, warm, enveloping virtual hug. Can you feel it? I really hope you can. And if I were there, I'd cut the cake and hand you the fork. :)

Love you,

Stonefox said...

Hey Patty, I know exactly what you mean. Hadassah has emotional issues and attachment disorder, which makes me very sad that she could carry this "handicap" around with her for the rest of her life. I (naively) thought that enouch love, time, etc...would make everything better, but wake-up call!!

It's okay to struggle with it. And if you cry every time, that is okay too. There are other mommys out there crying in their cars all over the world! We will make it! And so will our kids.

BTW, You and Bil do a fine job, Patty.

Susan said...

I often cry during- It is that I never imagined "this" for my kid. We want it all to be easy for them and when they struggle it is too much to bear.

Sarah said...

I would be worried if you didn't cry, Patty. I would be worried if you didn't get angry and scream about the injustice in it all. Its when we deal with the heartache and put it in its place, then we are able to be better parents and advocates.

And never think twice about eating a piece of chocolate cake....rationalizations aren't needed; just do it :)

lonestar said...

I kwym, our IEP mtgs generally go well too (and for that I am extremely grateful!) but they also serve as an extended reminder of all the boys' delays. I just try to focus on how far they've come and tell myself that if they've made it this far they are going to continue to make good progress on their own timetable.

I totally get what you're saying about it not being fair to them... Just like with Danny, they have overcome a lot (with a lot yet to come I'm sure). (((hugs)))

lonestar said...

Oh, and have yourself a big helping of chocolate cake with lots of frosting - you deserve it! :)

Shellie said...

I'm sending you virtual chocolate of the most delectable varieties now. Hope it helps make it more bearable.

Mrsbear said...

There's nothing to feel guilty about. It's just your reaction. You don't want Danny to have to struggle, you're being a mom. Cry if you need to. Let it out of your system and have a piece of cake (or two.) Sending you some virtual hugs too cause they can't hurt. :(

justincase505.blogspot said...

I have a bit of inspirational reading to suggest:
10 Things I Learned From BILL PORTER, by Shelly Brady [about an eternally optimistic cerebral palsy victim who became a successful door-to-door salesman]