Punky Mama

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Ha Ha Harmoney Screammmmmmm

We have had some stressful stuff happening here. Nothing I can talk about but suffice to say it is hard. It has dealt us some late nights and enough seriousness for  a lifetime.

My kids and our carpool friend have been the antidote to the stressful happenings. We have a long commute home from school, but all the kids love school, the carpool kid included. Some days all the kids are quiet, others they bicker, well mine bicker and the carpool kid tells them to stop fighting and listen to me.  Have I mentioned how much I adore my carpool kid? Actually we have all developed a certain fondness for each other on the mini road trip we take together five days a week.  The kids learned a game in school called the HA game.  You try to say HA in a sentence and try to get the other person to laugh, whoever laughs is out. It started a few weeks ago with my kids screeching HA at each other as we commuted without the carpool kid. Over time they taught him and the game has gotten more and more sophisticated. We have come up with some jems.  I started it with a deadpan ha ha I laughed I am out when I was done playing.  The kids are getting more and more creative with it. Yesterday Aaron came up with, I hope you don’t miss HAlloween. Ryan settled on JAlapeno peppers burn! Where I came up with, don’t be a HAter.  The carpool kid came up with can you sing in HArmoney?

That got us going. I would start singing a note.  The kids would follow with a similar note and whomever was IT would screech in harmony. We laughed so hard. It went round and round and round and my ears were ringing more than they would after a Thorazine rehearsal by the time we got home. We all laughed so hard the commute felt like it lasted less than a  minute. Eventually, it morphed into us all screaming along with Thorazine songs after the carpool kid exclaimed, lets listen to Thorazine. People on street corners were looking twice at the car because even though all the windows were closed they could hear us screaming along with the music.  It was just so fun and cathartic, like the Sound of Music with punk rock.

Eventually I dropped the cool carpool kid off and we went along with our after school routine of homework, dinner, and my husband took the kids to swim team as I went off to work.  As I got in the car alone I really felt like screaming, just for fun.



In Where Ryan Makes a Table Full of Women Teary

Last week was Ryan’s bi-annual evaluation for his behavioral services. It involves a ton of paperwork, discussions of his behavioral difficulties, goals, treatment plans, ect ect ect. These evals are long drawn out affairs that leave me feeling like I filled out more paper work and questionnaires for the evaluation than I did when I bought my house!  They are depressing. It is hard to just focus on Ryan’s deficits for a whole hour. I know he is not wholly defined by his deficits but to listen to them mapped out in excruciating details leaves me raw for a few days afterwards.

At the end of the evaluation the psychologist leading the meeting asks Ryan to write his name, the date, and this year she wanted him to finish the sentence, I am most proud of… Ryan wrote the beginning of the sentence and got busy with an answer as I filled out even more paperwork.  After he was done the doctor asked him to read his answer.  He began I am most proud of my Mom.  She fights really hard for me, loves me, and still rocks out with her band every week.  The four people at the table stopped and visibly gasped as I reached over to Ryan for a hug. After the hug there was not a dry eye at the table. The doctor stopped and said, Ryan you got all the people here crying tears of joy. He just beamed and hugged me again.

He is so much more than his deficits.


Back In The Saddle

I needed to take the site down and regroup for a few days.  Actually it only took a few hours but I am over run with work, school parent board stuff, band stuff, and swim team board stuff. Really I have never been so busy in my life. It’s good though.

I will be around next week with new tales.

First we are off to the country to a Halloween Party with old neighbors

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No Score For My Kid On The PSSA

My oldest son Ryan has never taken the PA state standardized test, my younger son has not gotten to standardized testing part of school yet, but I also plan to opt him out. Last year after the opting out of the test I never received anything in the mail and life went on.  This year the mailman brought us a four color book explaining the results and how to get your kid to test better. I wonder what pays for these four color booklets?  Ryan’s booklet has NS (no score) where the results should be posted.  I had a mountains of feelings and as I read the booklet a wry smile spread across my face, and then I promptly shredded the booklet.

The PSSA tests mean nothing. They cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and have many teachers now are teaching to a test and not to the students. Learning is not a one size fits all endeavor and high stakes testing is bad for schools. Ryan who is incredibly smart, is learning disabled.  He will not test well and this test will tell him he is a failure, which he is not.  He has a very high IQ and doing well in school, but this test will not tell us what he really knows. I don’t want my kids or my children’s very capable teachers judged by the outcome of this test. Not taking the test taps into my punk rock roots.  It is a form of protest.  It’s my small way of telling the state of PA that my kids, one learning disabled and one academically gifted are not to be measured against a test that is not a real barometer of success.

The smile was because I was remembering what we did the week of the PSSA testing. I purposely brought hands on learning to my kids that week.  We visited the Franklin Institute, a science museum twice that week because the sun had historically big sunspots, and we got to see them and discuss them twice with astronomers and among ourselves.  We also participated in many science activities. We joined the aquarium that week and my shark lover got to see real sharks in action. Aaron told me every fact he knew from all the reading he has done on sharks and spent most of the day smiling ear to ear. I will never forget Ryan’s smile as he petted the Rays who were leaping out of the water to his gentle hand. We also visited the zoo and had an amazingly quiet day as most kids were taking the PSSA as we happily visited the zoo. The time I had with my kids  during the week of testing was bonding and lovely but  I brought them amazing learning opportunities outside of a classroom.

I smile at the thought of opting my kids out of the PSSA’s.



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