Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yeah? for summer camp? - part 2

*cue campy soap opera music here*

Setting: Knee Path Day Camp (KPDC) - 27 gorgeous acres of fun in the sun!

Cast of characters:

Noah - our adorable six year old and lead character. Must have impish grin, be missing both top front teeth, have big brown eyes and lashes to die for. Must have enough energy to power a small city indefinitely with occasional impulse control and aggressive tendencies. Occasionally known to bite (note missing top front teeth).

M - Noah's Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS). His "one on one" charged with heading off his misbehavior and redirecting his energy so he uses his powers for good, not evil.

P - Noah's Behavior Specialist Consultant (BSC). Supervisor of M. Determines Noah's treatment plan. General go to gal to help deal with any and all problems dealing with agencies, insurance companies, camp, etc.

S - senior counselor of Noah's bunk, the Lions

E - head counselor for preschool thru 1st grade, supervisor of S

D - Program director at Knee Path Day Camp

T - senior counselor of the Panthers, Noah's new bunk

Announcer: When last we left you Noah was set to start summer camp at Knee Path Day Camp after a long battle fighting insurance companies and agencies to receive TSS hours.

Camp day 1 (Monday): Noah is so excited! We visited the camp the day before and met S, his counselor. He had a chance to play on one of the playgrounds and couldn't wait to come back. I dropped him off in the morning with his swimsuit on, full backpack and a big smile on his face. Mid afternoon I texted M, his TSS and asked how things were going and she said great. Yeah! A huge relief!

Camp day 2 (Tuesday): Still having fun and excited to go! At pickup though M is starting to express some concerns about how things are going. She says things are pretty unorganized and the counselors aren't exactly welcoming her. Also, Noah is already being targeted as "the problem child" so if something happens that he is involved in he is getting in trouble without them trying to find out what happened. The camp seems unsure what M's role is supposed to be and M feels like they are expecting her to act as Noah's personal counselor, which she isn't.

M tells me that there are other kids in the group that have problems, and one in particular is getting in Noah's face quite a bit. The counselors aren't stepping in to redirect the other child and M is feeling a bit unsure how to react, because it isn't her job to work with the other kids and she is afraid of overstepping her role.

M tells me that in the afternoon S gave her assistant counselor and the CIT's the information sheets on all the kids in the group to review. Day 2 and this is the first time they are actually talking about the kids and seeing their information. Way to work as a team guys!

Camp day 3 (Wednesday): Kiel's had a cold all week and I wake up not feeling well. I worked half a day and came home about 1pm to sleep for a few hours.

2pm the phone rings and it is M to tell me that Noah bit the kid she was telling me about on day 2. Noah was going down the slide (a tunnel slide) on the play ground and the other kid was crawling up the slide. He tried to stop Noah from going down the slide and grabbed his head/hair and pushed it against the slide wall, so Noah bit him. There was blood, and freaking out, and lots of finger pointing at Noah and M. M stuck up for Noah and insisted they find out the full story. S wanted to know why M wasn't on the slide with Noah (Hello! That's not her job! Why wasn't anyone stopping the other kid from climbing up the slide?) and says that if he does that again he'll be kicked out of camp. It's becoming clear to me via M that the lack of structure and organization in this group is continuing. I think at this point M had some uncomfortable words with the supervisor of the counselors, E.

3pm E calls me to introduce herself and let me know what happened. She expresses concern about Noah's behavior and M's role at camp. She does say though that the child Noah bit has been a behavior problem as well and they recognize Noah isn't the only one at fault, but, because it's biting, it is very serious. I ask if they would like to have a team meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page about M's role there and how best to handle Noah. E says that its difficult to find time for something like that and she doesn't really think its necessary. I expressed some concern that M felt there was a lack of structure and consistency and E says that they can't have a TSS coming in and telling their staff how to do their job. I left it at that because I really didn't want to make any waves and have a huge fear that Noah will be kicked out.

Camp day 4 (Thursday): Noah has a great day according to M. M says she spoke with S and with E and smoothed everything out. She feels more comfortable and I'm not worrying as much. Noah is having a great time and is actually talking about camp and what he is doing there. He rarely did that with school.

Camp day 5 (Friday): Rich has been away since the day before and I am home with Kiel. His cold is worse and his eyes are all goopy so I take him to the doctor. Double ear infection and pink eye. Guess who else has pink eye? So nice of Kiel to share with me.

12:30pm the phone rings. It's E.. There are problems, but not so much with Noah as with M. But, parents have started to complain about Noah, including the father of the child he bit. And M isn't fulfilling the role they think she should be. They don't feel she is being proactive enough and preventing Noah from doing things. According to them M is being very defensive and not doing what they ask, continually saying "that's not my job."

I'm perplexed. This doesn't sound at all like M. I tell E that we think very highly of M and that she's by far the best TSS we have ever had. E says that camp is different than school and so are the expectations. E wants to know how to reach P. I give them her number and then text P to warn her.

Thirty minutes later P calls me to tell me the camp wants a meeting with her and M and they need M to be more on top of Noah, which P explains is not really what M is there for. The camp basically rejects the idea that M is there to help teach them to deal with Noah, and want M to just deal with him herself.

I end the call with P and immediately the phone rings and it is E. She and the directors have talked and they feel it would be a good idea to move Noah to a different group. This group is slightly smaller and doesn't have any "problem" kids in it and has male counselors. They think everyone needs a fresh start. I said go for it. E says they are going to talk with M and try and get everyone on the same page.

Thirty minutes later E calls again to tell me they spoke with M and it did not go well. She says that M was very defensive and kept saying "that's not my job," "you guys are ganging up on me," and "I don't feel safe." E says she got so frustrated she had to walk out of the meeting.

Frankly, I'm shocked to hear this about M and it makes no sense to me. This is not what I have experienced at all. I trust M and have no experience to base any trust on with the camp staff. Yet, when I talk to the staff they sound very reasonable and like they want to work with Noah and have him there for the summer.

E says that they think it is best that M not be at camp until they are able to have a meeting with her and P to clearly define her role. They suggest that Noah go to camp on Monday without M, join his new group and spend the next 2 1/2 days without a TSS since we can't all meet until Wednesday.

I tell them I think they are a little crazy, but if that's what they want to do go for it. Just know what they might be getting in to. And that if they can't work things out with M I don't think I can find another TSS for him to cover the hours, so they need to know the risk. They continue to say M is being defensive and unreasonable.

I also spoke with the program director D who sounds incredibly nice and expresses that they want to work this out, but M clearly can't do it until P is there. He also makes it clear that they want this to work out for Noah and he hopes that the meeting Wednesday can make M comfortable and put them all on the same team.

P and I text and email a few times and agree we are both a bit confused.

I get to camp at 5pm to pick up Noah and am a little (pleasantly) surprised to see M is still there. I had assumed they were going to tell her to leave for the day. I guess she said she wouldn't leave, but they wouldn't let her back with Noah. She told me she had been separated from him for most of the day.

Apparently the problem started that morning when one of the fathers of a kid in Noah's group came up to Noah during the regular drop off time and started talking to him about bullying his son and how he better stop. I'm a little unclear as to what exactly was said, but I guess Noah knocked over this kids water bottle on the first day (I'm still not sure if it was an accident) and then said he was going to do it every day. So M saw the father approach Noah and told the counselor that was sitting there that that shouldn't be happening. The counselor didn't know what to do so he went out to get another counselor. M didn't feel it was her position to intervene with another child's parent but she also knew this guy shouldn't be talking to Noah. By the time a counselor came in to handle it I guess the dad was gone. I'm still kind of unclear on what exactly happened.

So this seemed to set off a chain reaction of events which involved M being in tears several times, lots of finger pointing by S at Noah, the counselors in general not interacting with him, and S whispering with E several times. M called P at this point because she didn't know what to do, and then got in trouble because she wasn't supposed to be on the phone and that she wasn't watching Noah.

I'm beyond confused at this point. M is telling me things, which I have no reason not to believe, and I'm getting frustrated that this camp is basically not wanting to interact with my son. That I'm paying for him to go, and providing him with full time support, so they just feel they are supplying the grounds. Yet, talking with E and D they made it sound like they want Noah to be successful there.

I get home and email P, who then calls me and we agree that it must be somewhere in the middle of what camp is saying and what M is saying. We are both surprised by what they are saying M is doing/saying, but it has to stem from something. We agree that a new group for Noah is a good idea and have hope that this will work out for everyone. We also think they are a little crazy for wanting to try Noah without a TSS but figure they must know what they are getting themselves in to. I kind of feel that E and D have both verbally committed to keeping Noah there for the summer, even if M doesn't work out.

I really feel bad for M. She's a single mother working on her bachelors degree. She is very committed to Noah and is very much his advocate. She's not going to let herself get pushed around and she isn't going to let that happen to Noah either. I know her intentions are good and I hate that this is going on, for her sake and for Noah's sake. I don't want her to hate coming to work every day, but I also don't want to risk Noah not having her there.

Saturday: Ironically we have a family picnic at the camp for our karate classes. Noah is excited to show us everything and I'm a bit nervous because I know it is inevitable that we will run in to the camp owner. We do, and we talk for a few minutes and I thank him for working with us. Rich and I both express surprise that this is going on with M. We all agree that we hope the meeting on Wednesday smooths everything out.

Later that afternoon Noah's new counselor T calls and we have a good talk. I feel good about him and that he will be consistent and fair with Noah.

Announcer: stay tuned as we begin week two at KPDC. Will M and E resolve their differences? Will T be the answer to our senior counselor prayers? Will Noah keep his mouth shut and his teeth off the other children? Will Mommy keep her sanity or delve deeper into the wine cellar?


Yeah! for summer camp - part 1

This was the first week of summer camp for Noah. We have all been very excited for him to go to the camp he's attending. They came well recommended and willing to work with us with Noah's issues and his Therapeutic Staff Support (TSS) (part of his wraparound services). We visited the camp last summer and we were impressed. Finally, an easy decision for us to make. A great camp with all the activities Noah loves, a guarantee he would come home tired every night, and the camp is only five minutes from our house!

Although deciding what he was going to do this summer was easy, I spent most of the school year worried we wouldn't have a TSS for him either because the insurance company wouldn't approve it or the agency we work with wouldn't have one available for the hours we needed.

I don't think I blogged about the struggles we had this year getting a TSS for Noah for his afterschool program. The first part of the year we were trying to change agencies to one that was closer to his school. So Noah had only occasional TSS coverage prior to January. In January we found a new agency but it took a while for them to find the right TSS for him. It took four TSS's before we were matched up with M, who has been with him since April.

M has been amazing with Noah. She does far more with him than any other TSS he has had. She see's his potential and is really an advocate for him. We've been thrilled with her. And she wanted to stay with Noah for the summer and go to camp with him! Yeah! Another hurdle down!

Now all we needed to do was get his hours approved with the insurance company. The insurance company that has pretty much fought us since we first tried to get him wrap around services when he was 2 1/2. The insurance company that we had to go through multiple grievance procedures with before they approved him.

Take make a long, boring story slightly shorter, the agency we are working with could send in the paper work requesting camp hours 60 days prior to the start of camp. I had been talking to them about this since December when I first met with his case worker prior to bringing them on board.

Approximately six weeks before the start of camp they told me he needed an updated visit with their psychiatrist. And then they asked for a letter from camp stating they required him to have a TSS. Then I had to sign more paper work. So just over three weeks until the start of camp I was told his paperwork was submitted. It was our understanding the insurance company had three days to give us a response.

So a week after I was lead to believe the paper work had been submitted I received a call that the insurance company was requiring an inter-agency meeting with the camp, which they would attend. We scheduled a meeting for the next day between the camp owner, Noah's Behavior Specialist Consultant (BSC), me, and someone from the insurance company.

It was 2 1/2 weeks (a Wednesday) before the start of camp and it wasn't looking very good, especially after the inter-agency meeting, where the insurance rep basically told us that no one was ever approved for the number of hours we were requesting (full time) and that basically that was one step before residential treatment. She told us realistically he would probably be approved for ten to fifteen hours.

To say I was freaking out at this point is putting it mildly. I had no idea what we were going to do if he didn't get approved for the hours, because he couldn't attend camp without the TSS. And I had no control at this point about how the paper work was being submitted or what was in any of the reports. All I had was confidence in P his BSC that she was doing all she could to make this happen.

P told me that she went over all the paperwork with Noah's case manager with the agency and it was submitted on Friday. We should know something by the middle of the next week.

So we waited. Wednesday came along and there was no word. Thursday came along and there was no word. I talked with P and she told me the case manager was on vacation that week so she was going to have the assistant check in with the insurance company Friday morning.

By then, ten days before the start of camp, I wasn't going to rely on someone else to get me an answer. So I had Rich call the insurance company to find out when the paperwork was submitted and exactly how long they had to give us an answer.

Well, imagine my surprise when they told Rich that the paperwork hadn't been submitted yet! So I told Rich to call the agency and find out what had happened. Which he did, and received some pathetic excuses. So I had him call back and ask for the head of the agency. At this point the head of the agency was making all kinds of promises about personally delivering the paperwork. And I was on the phone with P, who was PISSED when she found out about the paperwork. And then I was on the phone with T at the insurance company who was telling me we had plenty of time because his camp didn't start for over a week. To which I responded "wtf! if you don't approve him I'm screwed. How am I going to find another placement for him with just a week?" OK, I used less swear words, but I think I got my point across. T promised to call me Monday when he reviewed the paperwork to let me know if anything was missing. He wouldn't come right out and say Noah was going to be approved, but he did alleviate some of my anxiety so I wasn't completely freaked out over the weekend.

So, Monday comes along. One week before the start of camp, and Noah's last week of school. All day I'm waiting for a phone call from someone. Mid afternoon I pretty much said fuck this being patient bit and called the agency to speak with his case manager. I'm guessing she caught hell that morning when she came in to work because she was very accommodating and said she would call T at the insurance company right away.

About fifteen minutes later she called me to say Noah was approved for all the hours we requested!

I think we were all a little shocked! But Yeah! A huge relief! We had a camp, a TSS we completely trust and insurance approval. Let the summer begin!


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blog Sponsorship Opportunity

A few weeks ago I heard about and their blog sponsorship program. It sounded like a cool idea so I applied for it, even though I didn't think my blog was even close to big enough to be accepted. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to find out they did accept me. You may have noticed their button over on my left sidebar!

Now, I'm am going out on a bit of a limb here, as I haven't actually ordered any of their products yet, and I've always made it a policy of MNT to be honest with any reviews I write. But, when I checked out their website I was impressed by all the products and options they offer. And, I really like that they offer eco-friendly printing (e.g., they use vegetable-based inks and recycle their unused paper scraps).

This week they are offering their sponsored blogs 500 free business cards for blogging about their blog sponsorship program. I thought that sounded like a great way to try out their products so I can really give you my opinion! Not to mention it was quite timely because I just started to think I need cards to take with me to BlogHer! I sure hope I still have time!

So check them out here and read about a few of their highlights below.

Why isn't your average printing company:

Blog Sponsorships:
If you are looking to find a sponsor for your blog, is definitely interested. We offer giveaways, advertising and more for qualified bloggers.

Non-Profit Sponsorships:
The U-Community Program sponsors hundreds of non-profits and education to improve our local communities.

Social Justice Projects:
The UPrinting Kiva account promotes small business growth in developing countries.

Green Printing:
UPrinting supports a sustainable future by recycling, using non-toxic inks, and offering eco-friendly recycled paper stocks for business cards and postcard printing.


Friday, June 26, 2009

I sukey at sake

Instead of doing a regular workout in karate last Saturday someone asshole suggested we torture ourselves we play something they were calling sake.

Of course my first thought was Hell to the yes! I mean wow, this karate thing just keeps getting better and better. We're going to play drinking games man!

Hah. Joke was on me. Sake was really "sockey" a game they described as something between soccer and hockey. Three against three using kick blockers as rackets and balls. Sometimes more than one ball. The object of course was to hit the ball with the blockers and get it into the opposite teams goal.

Somehow I ended up on a team with two black belts, one who had to be at least 6'6" (no exaggeration).

Now, its no exaggeration when I tell you that I'm not exactly the most coordinated person on the planet. In fact, that's probably an understatement.

To an observer I probably looked a bit like a weeble with a white circle around its middle. Except not only do I wobble, but I also fall down. Hard.

I'd like to think people thought I was diving for the ball. Really, I was. A flying dive at the ball. It had nothing to do with tripping over my own well pedicured feet.

I went down hard. One of those times where it felt like I was falling slow motion and couldn't do anything to help myself. But, I got right back up and finished out the fucking game.

It wasn't until a few hours later that my knee started to swell and hurt. Six days later this is what it looks like. One big bruise from my ankle to my knee. The picture doesn't do it justice.

Oh yeah baby, I am fierce! And I most definitely suckey at sockey!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

A chance to help change the world - one $1 at a time!

Received an email from Purex this week that I wanted to share with you!

Purex® has launched an exciting new initiative to help change the lives of families across the developing world, and we would like our valued Purex® Insiders to get involved.

Purex®, Kiva® and Angie Harmon have teamed up to create the Purex® Changes Lives program to help moms around the world who are struggling to provide for their families. When you submit the bar code from the back of your 20-count starter kit or 24-count refill pack of Purex® Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets™, Purex® will contribute $1 to the mom entrepreneur of your choice, allowing you to make a difference in the developing world and help empower a mom to lift her family out of poverty.

Kiva® is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending web site, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe. Visit to meet the amazing mom entrepreneurs we’ve selected from Kiva’s database.

You can also help these moms by spreading the word and introducing to your online community. The more people we get involved, the more moms we can help.

If you haven't tried their new 3 in 1 laundry sheets yet now you have another reason, besides they are awesome, to do so!


Monday, June 15, 2009

When behavior goes all to piss over a UTI

Noah woke up Friday night crying that his penis hurt. He'd actually mentioned a few times late in the week that his penis hurt when he pee'd. I can't believe we didn't pick up on it until he was crying in the middle of the night. Oh yeah, rocking this parenting thing. In our defense, he does this rocking thing, which I'm sure I've talked about before, and sometimes that irritates it, so it's not that unusual for him to say it hurts.

So we took him to the doctors Saturday morning and yup, he has a urinary tract infection. He started antibiotics and was doing much better by Sunday.

That alone doesn't really make for an interesting post, except for the fact that I talk about my son's penis and if he ever reads this some day he'll be mortified and probably need even more therapy than he already does unless you know what an awful week we had last week.

Noah's behavior was horrible. He earns points every day in his class, and he had the two lowest days all year last week. And on Wednesday he was involved in a "scuffle" and bit a kid, which could have gotten him suspended. Fortunately they took the time to figure out what had happened and with the help of Noah's TSS realized the other kid was equally at fault. Still, there is no excuse for biting and even if Noah was provoked we had to take it seriously.

All in all it was just a rough week for Noah, which means a rough week for Rich and me. And lots of losing patience on my part.*

So, the moral of this story, in my round about way, is that I need to remember that when Noah is off, especially for more than a day, I need to open my eyes and consider what else might be going on. I also might want to look at my overuse of commas. We already know that when his encopresis is acting up he tends to struggle more with his behavior. It makes complete sense to me that if his body is fighting an infection it would impact him.

Such a sensitive child we are raising.

On another note. Did I offend anyone with my sock drawer post? Only one comment and I practically had to beg my friend Ozz to leave that one. Or maybe I just left you all speechless?

*Can you buy patience? Because seriously, I seem to be losing mine faster than I can find it.

Reminder: You can vote for me every day for Best Local Blog in Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Awards! I'm still in third place! I've even moved up from 10% to 11% 12%! Yeah me! It just takes a couple seconds and it would make me feel so good! Yes, my self esteem relies on you! Vote here!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Hiyyy Yahhh

So guess what ya'all?

I'm learning karate!

Me! Learning karate! Shocking, I know!

I've been so impressed by Noah's experience with the instructors and classes that when they offered to let me train free for a month I decided to take them up on it.

Here's Noah competing in his first tournament. He did so awesome! We were so proud of him!

He even won a trophy! OK, all the kids won one, but that didn't matter to him.

Anyway...I'm training in karate and it is kicking! my! ass! I am so whipped after a class it takes me hours to feel like anything but a wet noodle. And I am so sore the day or two after. But I love it! It feels so amazing to learn to move my body like that.

I must look pretty comical in class. Short, round, all dressed in black except for a white belt around my middle. Kind of like a black egg with a white circle around the center. But, I really don't care that much. I'm really proud of myself that I'm doing it and I want to keep on doing it.

If I train consistently I could earn my black belt in three years. Now that is a pair of words no one would ever have associated with me. Never. In a million years Never! Neh.Ver. Mommy Needs Therapy and Black Belt. Practically a contradiction right there.

But if you know me, I have a hard time turning down a challenge.

So I have a goal; to earn my black belt before I'm 45. That gives me a few months of flexibility in case something major comes up.

So watch out at BlogHer ladies. I'm fierce and I know some MOVES!


Saturday, June 13, 2009

When Eden Fantasys, the toddler's sock drawer, and the babysitter collide.

The other day our babysitter was over watching Kiel while Noah and I went to my karate class. (I really need to tell you guys about that sometime.) At the last minute as I was running out the door I pointed to where Kiel's shoes were in case they wanted to go outside.

Getting in the car I saw one of Kiel's socks, which reminded me that he was only wearing one sock at the time. Ehh..I thought, she'll find another one for him. And on my way I went.

A few hours later I was getting Kiel ready for bed and it hit me that he was wearing socks on both feet, and they were cleaner than they usually were at the end of the day because I'm so damn good at keeping my floors clean. And then it really hit me. The baby sitter had put a new pair of socks on Kiel. And to do that, she had to go into Kiel's sock drawer to get them.

Guess what I keep in Kiel's sock drawer. No...really...guess. got it. My "toy" collection. Well, a good portion of it anyway.

Now I know your first thought is "why in the hell does she keep things like that in a baby's sock drawer." And I can understand your confusion. But really, it makes perfect sense. Who is going to go into a sock drawer? Certainly not my boys. It's too high up for Kiel to reach, unlike my bedside drawer where they used to be. And since I was tired of finding Kiel with a vibe in his mouth, it seemed prudent to move them out of his reach. And Noah isn't going to go in there and check it out since its just a boring sock drawer, so no risk of him finding something and asking awkward questions. Questions like "Mom, what's this?" to which I reply with statements like "a back scratcher" or "something that helps mommy write better," etc. All of which I've used before btw.

So yeah, the baby sitter found my toy stash. When I realized it I wasn't sure if I should laugh or cry. Mostly I laughed. Because my baby sitter is teh awesome! But she's very "pure" and despite being in her 20's (in case you are concerned I'm corrupting a minor), according to her sister has probably never seen "toys" like that.

Rich thinks maybe she really didn't see anything. I'm finding that hard to believe. What do you guys think?

Pretty obvious huh? Even for the uninitiated?

Just in case you see anything interesting in there and want to know what it is I went ahead and labelled everything for you. It's all available at Eden Fantasys btw. My favorite online adult toy store!

click on the picture to enlarge it

And just in case you read this Drew, I know I owe you a review for the
"Ooooh! that's it!" G-spot stimulation gel. Sad to say I haven't tried it yet. Things have been a little slow in the bedroom lately.

Reminder: You can vote for me every day for Best Local Blog in Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Awards! I'm still in third place! I've even moved up from 10% to 11%! Yeah me! It just takes a couple seconds and it would make me feel so good! Yes, my self esteem relies on you! Vote here!