Saturday, May 30, 2009

Special Ed

I have been wanting to post for the last two weeks or so... craving a post, really... my writers block has been too strong.  Nothing has seemed important enough to share.  (Another reason I don't tweet...twitter... whatever... who really cares about my boring life that much that I need to update you every five minutes about its goings on?)  So, anyway... 

My weeks have not been painfully dull, as I am trying to make them out to be.  I've had plenty of interesting things happen.  There is never a dull day working in special ed.  I'll give you a run down... 

Lots of "he said/she said" 
plenty of breakdowns because "You are so mean, Mrs. Heyerdahl!"  or  "I thought you were nice, but you're a total b**ch!"  Niiice.  
A little bit of head banging/body banging/laying on the floor/crawling under desks. 
A few meltdowns over SOL tests.  (Not nearly as many as I thought we'd have, to tell you the truth.)  

But if you really want to know... here's my favorite moment of the week... 

At our school we have this rule that in order for a student to participate in PE they have to be on level 1 day 4.  (It's a whole point system that that we use and that I really don't want to get into... so, just go with it.  Pretend like you know what I'm talking about.  Smile and nod.)  Anyway... 1 day 4... so, there are lots of students who unfortunately are perpetual level 1 day 1 kids and they will inevitably have to stay back from PE to do health most days.  And likely, I am the one who stays back with them, trying to calm them and get them to actually do their health assignment, or really just to keep them from exploding and ruining their day once again.  So, as I was staying back from PE earlier this week with the health kids, one of the students was reading a section on STDs, because it's what every 8th grader needs to know.  Right?  Suddenly, his hand flies in the air (an unusual occurrence for this one) and he has a panicked look on his face.  "Mrs. Heyerdahl, I have to ask you a question!" he exclaimed frantically.  "Yes?" I say calmly.  "Well, I'm reading here about AIDS and I'm really worried.  See, this girl I'm going out with (another special ed girl who he met on the bus and who goes to a school like ours one parking lot over) has kissed a lot of boys and her immune system, it's not that good.  I'm really worried that she has AIDS and that I might have it too because we've kissed a lot."  wow!  It took all that I had not to laugh or smile.  He was serious!  So, I tried to be serious.  I explained to him what AIDS is and how you get it and that most likely he and his girlfriend were in the clear.  Now, I know 8th graders are not innocent.  I know that some of them have sex.  I also realize that this is a question coming from a student who may not be the sharpest pencil in the box, but seriously... I'm still saying wow!  Hilarious!  

Luckily, we only have 11 more days of this nonsense.  And yes, for those of you figuring the days out in your head, that means our last day of school is on a Monday.  ridiculous!  Four hours of baby sitting is more like it.  :-)  Ah well... I can't complain too much because then I will be getting paid for hanging out around my house, watching movies, going to the pool, reading, shopping, vacationing... and the list goes on...  I CAN'T WAIT!!!!  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Girls just wanna have fun!

Caroline was channeling her inner Cindy Lauper!  The first thing I thought when I looked back at this picture was 80's pop star!  And look at that tough look on her face!  Hilarious and OH SO CUTE!

My girl was feeling much better on Sunday!  Thank goodness!  We had a lovely Mother's Day picnic at the park with the cousins and Aunt Lisa.  So fun!

We had a great day and it reminded me again that being a Mommy is the greatest job in the world!  Thank God for amazing little girls that make life so precious!  

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Caroline the Brave!

Friday 12:00.  My students were finishing up lunch, and I am told there is an emergency phone call from my babysitter and I should take the call in another room.  


This is what I remember...

"Erin... we were at the mall... Caroline started acting weird... She wouldn't respond... I had to call 911... She's in an ambulance on the way to the hospital... I took the other kids home, but I'll meet you there..."

"She's by herself?!?!  I have to go!"  


Nightmare.  My two-year-old is in an ambulance on the way to the hospital BY HERSELF!  I ran into the classroom and yelled "I have to go" to whoever would listen.  And I couldn't breath.  I started crying.  They took the kids out of the room.  I ran out.  My coworker took me to the ER.  
"May I help you?"  

"My kid... my baby... my little girl... she's here... by herself!!!"  

Thank God they didn't make me wait.  Or show ID.  They took me right back. 

My tiny child was laying in this huge bed, surrounded by five doctors, nurses, EMT's... etc.  

She looked at me, but didn't respond.  The doctor started asking me questions.  Who was with her?  Why did she come alone?  Name?  Birthday?  Social?  Medical History?  I couldn't breath.  again.  Then they explain... Why is my baby not talking to me?  Looking at me?  She just laid there... chewing on a tiny hot pink stuffed fish. 

"We think she had a seizure brought on by a high fever.  The EMT's took her temperature and it was 103 in the ear, but most likely higher than that.  We're running tests to see what has caused her fever."  

I laid down with my little girl.  

Finally... her huge blue eyes looked into mine... "I love you, Mommy."  

I could breath again.  

The tests were not fun, but bearable.  

After three hours we were discharged.  They found nothing.  But still tonight, she has a fever again.  Not of 103.  Lower, thankfully.  100.7.  She's sleeping now.  I hope it's nothing.  She says her mouth hurts and she hasn't eaten much.  Maybe it's just a tooth.  I pray it's just a tooth.  And that no more seizures are to follow.  Andrew had seizures when he was a little boy.  It could be hereditary.  No one really knows.  I hate when there are no answers.  I like answers.  Especially when it comes to my little girl.  

(Here she is the other weekend when it was sweltering hot!  She took a dip in her kiddy pool!)

Today, we tried to still get out and have some fun.  We went to "National Train Day" at Union Station.  

We got to see Randy "dawg" Jackson from American Idol and some really cool trains as well.

  Caroline was a trooper.  She really liked getting on the train, but she was quite disappointed that we didn't get to go anywhere.

Andrew had been wanting to go to this for a while, and she hung in there to let her daddy have some fun.  
Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I find myself with my heart overflowing with love and thankfulness for my amazing child!  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Reflecting on motherhood...

When I was younger, high school age, I started feeling incredibly lonely.  Out of place.  Even with the friends I had had since I was a child.  Even with my family.  I felt I fit in no where.  It was a sad state.  I would contemplate and journal for hours on this isolated reality (or false reality) I had made for myself, but nothing came to be.  I never felt settled. I would hate myself for feeling this way.  Try my hardest to fit into the world that had been made for me, but long desperately to be a part of another world all together.  I couldn't figure it out.  It never made sense.  The grass was perpetually greener elsewhere.  It was never that I had a bad life.  I had the best life.  I especially know that looking back.  But what's that they say about hindsight?  It's most definitely true.  

Anyway, I wanted to move on... see another side of things... be my own person... stop being so "good" and draw some negative attention for once.  Or something like that.  My grades failed.  My friendships became rocky.  My depression deepened.  And my self absorption soared.  My grades got a bit better.  My friendships got stronger once again.  I graduated high school.  Went away to college.  Came home.  Ran away to NYC.  Got lost.  Ran away again to DC.  And finally, here, I found someone to ground me.
I will not say that this narcissistic trait decreased as I got older, but my world view has broadened into more than my tiny world.  I have seen more and become wiser, though I am more acutely aware now of how little I know and how much more I have to learn.  

This reflection has come from the idea that soon I will celebrate my third Mother's Day.  I remember a conversation I had with my mom while I was still pregnant with Caroline.  I told her I was scared, but excited.  I told her I had never anticipated something that I knew would be so life changing and permanent.  I was always in a state of motion and love to be in a state of slight discomfort, if only to challenge myself on a higher level than that of which I had been on previously.  Motherhood, however, seemed so stagnant.  It seemed as though that would bring me back down and drown me in comfortable monotony.  Yet, now I see how I could not have been more wrong.  In fact, motherhood is the complete opposite of what I thought.  It challenges me every single day.  

This egotistical view I had for myself, even when I thought I was "doing good" or trying to rebel, changed almost immediately when I took the reigns of motherhood.  It has brought me to a place I never thought I'd be and most definitely never expected to love.  For so many years, I was searching for who I was supposed to be.  But finally, I have realized, that life is about so much more than myself.   Yes, I still believe it is important to keep my identity as something other than "mom", but Mommy is not a title that I will ever push aside or try to stifle with my own self-love.  I adore my daughter more than life itself, and I feel that my new place in life these last two and a half years has brought me to a greater understanding of my own mother.  I feel that it has given me insight and brought me closer to her, and that couldn't make me happier.  

So, I guess, the point of this rambling, is to say that the loneliness I once experienced, the isolation I created for myself, has been diminished and wiped away.  My daughter is a gift beyond measure.  She fills my heart with so much indescribable joy and I praise my God for her every single day.  I have finally found it.  Who I was meant to be.  What I have been searching for.  And I truly couldn't be happier.  This is not to say that I don't still have dreams for myself or goals for my future, but right now, at this moment and in this place in my life, I am content. And for that, I am grateful.