Early Intervention for Who?

Doing our best to keep this behind us. Photo by tswicegood

Here’s the best kept secret that only parents of kids who are taking their time talking and developing know about: Early Intervention Programs. Here’s the skinny: after evaluating  whether your toddler is developing normally in the areas of speech, motor skills, cognitive and emotional functioning, sensory perceptions and a host of other things, states may help kids catch up in said areas  (read: therapy). I never knew about this until I had a kid. Now, I’m knee deep in the process.

When we live in Los Angeles, A. qualified for California’s equivalent after four evaluations done by a social worker, occupational therapist, sensory occupational therapist and a speech pathologist. After our one at-home evaluation, he qualified for New Jersey’s program.

But after going through this process twice, I wonder who is the early intervention for: him or me? I seem to walk away from these sessions thinking that I am the bad mother and that I have failed as my son’s first teacher. I know it isn’t entirely true but for a woman who is pretty hard on herself it’s hard not to think that it is. This intervention says: Stop your bad parenting!

I do what all the parenting mags advise. But I also know that he drinks more milk than he should (I’m as guilty as Katie Holmes for letting him continue to use a bottle); that he watches more television than he should; and that he rather play cars than sit and have me read to him. Will I continue to try and wean him from the bottle, play with him outside and read to his wiggly body? Of course! But I’m still happy I have a little help for him (and me) make up developmental ground.

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Early Intervention for Who?

My Dog Life

I have been blessed with many pets in my lifetime. If you have been reading here for a while, you know that I have two fabulous kitties, Moo and Pumpkin. But before adopting them (M. came to our relationship with them), I lived my life with dogs. In many ways they were my siblings because my mother loved and cared for them as she did and does me.

There was Grover, the dog we had until I was 4 and moved to California. I used to sit under the table with him and share my food like most kids that age do. Tabitha was my first dog and a Christmas present when I was about 7 or 8. I named her after the daughter on “Bewitched.” My Mom and stepdad got her from a rescue organization and, boy, could she run fast. She would tear around our backyard like a greyhound chasing a rabbit. In fact, we think that our second dog, Apollo, was trying to keep up with her when he fell into our pool. That golden cocker spaniel was sweet, but clumsy.

Both Tabitha and Apollo lived until I was in high school. They died within a month of one another. Their absence in our house was heart-breaking. We vowed not to get another dog. Then, six months later, Sable, a black Pomeranian, was the featured guest at my parents’ Christmas party. I don’t think there could be a more affectionate dog. She would wait on my bed in the morning and at the slightest move, she would pounce on me and start licking my face. After I went away to college, she would agree me with TONS of kisses when I would sit down. She had a bionic tongue and I went through a lot of face cleanser. Eventually, my mom craved puppy kisses again and adopted Blaize, an American Eskimo.

I never lived with Blaize, but he was happy to see me when I would go home to visit. When Baby A came, Blaize was patient towards this little boy who used him (as he did Moo) for support to stand, who insisted on petting him and who giggled as he drank water. He taught my son the meaning of the words dog and puppy.

This morning I received a text from my mom: “This morning Blaize joined Sable. He’s home.” This beautiful dog had grown old and feeble. His health was deteriorating and my parents took care of him as if he was their sick child…well, he was. I do not have words to ease their grief.

For me, he was one of the glorious animals who fill my life with joy, laughter and play.

My Dog Life

The Third State is the Charm

It’s been over a month since I blogged, but don’t think  I haven’t been thankful for anything— actually it’s quite the opposite. Instead of giving you the gory details, here’s the Cliff Notes version (do they even publish those anymore?).

It started with a crazy idea. If you have been reading this blog for awhile you know that M. and I come up with these wild plans, then act on them. This one wasn’t so wild: Change our job search from Chicago to the Greater New York Area.

Then a job materialized. M. mentioned our intentions to a colleague and a job appeared. Literally two weeks after we agreed to the plan, he was offered an exciting job where the pay was right.

And then a place to live came available. My good friend ML had lined up a renter for her townhouse in the suburbs and that renter fell through just as M.’s offer came in. It was perfect for us, close to the city and the job. Plus, what parent can say no to having a playground 100 feet from their front door? Already a better life for A. was shaping up.

Baby A and I saying good-bye to the bench.

Here was the hard part. I packed and said good-bye to an area that I had lived in for most of my life in a matter of two weeks. Friends and family were the most difficult to bid adieu to even though I know I will see them again. But visiting my dad’s memorial was much harder than I expected. Overlooking the Seal Beach pier made me remember talking to my dad about events and decisions that were important during my high school and college years. After his passing, going to the bench we have in his honor allowed me to think freely about divorce, job opportunities, and new relationships. I will miss it the most.

Traveling cross country with two cats and a toddler. M and I packed everyone up in our car and drove from LA to New Jersey. My FIL drove the moving truck. (A huge amount of gratitude goes to him.) Everyone did great despite spending over 14 hours in the car for three days. We were lucky to have hosts in Denver and Illinois that allowed us to stay for two nights and one day so that kitties and Baby A could run around.

East coast, Baby! Everyone has been super friendly. ML has hooked us up with our neighbors and other friends. Baby A can’t get enough of the playground, pool or just walking around the area. So far so good.

For years I have wanted to make this move and now I wonder why I didn’t do it sooner. In two years and three states, it’s nice to finally feel like we’re home.

The Third State is the Charm