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Monday, May 31, 2010

Shame and guilt

Tessa finished up her first grade year last week, and as of right now, she is going to repeat the school year. We go next week to have her tested for dyslexia and ADD. If she does have either of those, she will not repeat first grade, because I don't believe it will do her any good, but if she doesn't, I do think it will benefit her to repeat the grade.

I'm going to make a confession, and it may make me sound like a terrible person. This is truly hard on me. I have spent all of my life as the smart one, and I grew up believing my children would be just as smart as me or even smarter. My whole identity is based on being the smart one, and it is really hard to hear that your child may have a learning disability or even is struggling not to fail a grade. I am jealous when people post things on Facebook about their children making straight As or receiving school awards, especially when these people weren't the smart ones in school. My cousin, whose son has autism, says she felt the same way.

I can't put into words what I'm feeling, which is unusual for me. It's not that I'm ashamed of Tessa, because I'm super proud of her for being a good friend and a good big sister. It's not that I think she's dumb or stupid, because I know she's not. She picks up on certain things really quickly, and she's able to read people faster than she can read a book. Maybe it's that I'm scared of what it's going to mean for her, how it's going to make her feel, how it's going to affect her life. I don't know exactly what it is that is so hard about it for me.

The biggest thing, though, is I am ashamed I feel this way. I feel like I should be saying, "She has a learning disability or is struggling with school. No big deal, we will handle it and get her through it," and I am saying that aloud to everyone else. But, deep down inside, it is bothering me, and I hate that it is. I hate that I am jealous of people who kids are doing well in school, and I am ashamed of that, too.

Then, there is a part of me that feels a sense of guilt over the fact she may have dyslexia or ADD. I wonder if I did something to cause it, even though her daddy has it and so does his mom. And, I feel like I should be doing something more to help her with school, even though we work together every night on her homework, I read to her every night, went to the school to advocate for her, etc., etc., etc. I still feel guilty.

No matter what though, I'm not showing any of this to Tessa. We have told her about dyslexia and that it simply means she learns differently, not that she has a learning disability. We have told her her daddy has it, and she might, too. We have made it out not to be a big deal. She also knows that if she doesn't have it, she will being doing first grade over again. I asked her how she felt about that, and she was ok with it, as long as she didn't have to have her first teacher, the one who dumped her desk out in front of the whole class, again.

In the grand scheme of things, I guess I just need to look at it like this. I know she is intelligent. I know she is beautiful. I know she is a sweet child with a huge heart. It doesn't matter if she repeats first grade or if she learns differently. All that matters to me is that she is a good person who tries her best.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ella's six month appointment

Ella has not had any insurance since she was a month old. Brian's work doesn't offer insurance for family members, just for employees, and I couldn't afford to put her on my COBRA coverage which was just about to end anyway. Tennessee has a special program for kids called CoverKids, which Tessa is on. It goes by your income, and for children ages one to 18, the income range is $21,000 to $55,000 a year. With me not working, we fit into that.

However, for babies under a year old, the income requirement is $40,000 to $55,000. When I was signing Ella up for it, I looked at Brian's pay stub and recording his take home pay and not his gross income. This put us right under the $40,000 mark, and they told us we didn't make enough money. However, we made too much money to put her on TennCare, our state's version of Medicaid. The good thing is I realized my mistake after Brian got a raise, and she now qualifies. She should have insurance in the next month or so.

So, I paid out of pocket for her two month and four month check ups. I didn't do shots, because the check ups were $175 alone. If we had done the shots, it would have been over $300 each time. I wanted to do the shots on a delayed schedule anyway, so waiting to get the shots was fine with me. I knew we didn't need another $175 bill right now, and I knew I needed to start her shots now, so I decided to take her to the health department. I really didn't want to do this, because we aren't needy, and I truly feel their services should be reserved for the needy. But, I put that aside and went, because I didn't think she should wait for her check up.

She weighed 16 pounds, 6 ounces and was 24 inches long. This is the 75th percentile for weight and a little less than 50th percentile for heighth. They said she was strong for her age, and they expect her to crawl really soon. She also got three shots. She didn't cry for the first one, but she screamed about the other two. I felt so bad. I was also afraid she would be really fussy afterward, but she was still my happy, smiley baby.

When the nurse was examining her private parts, she said, "You can tell your momma takes care of your little girl bits."

It makes me wonder if some people don't. My aunt said they probably see the worst of the worst in there, and I'm sure they do. They acted surprised she was so well cared for. As much as I am glad the health department was there for us (we did have to pay but only $29 compared to the $300 it would have been at the doctor's office), I am glad Ella will have insurance soon, so I can take her to the pediatrician for the next check up.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seven years ago

Seven years ago at this time, I was on my way to the hospital, in labor with Tessa. It wasn't the easiest night of my life. In fact, my labor with her was scary and difficult and made me wonder if I ever wanted to do it again, but it brought me one of the best moments of my entire life.

When they placed her in my arms the first time, I sang You Are My Sunshine to Her. I cried. So did Brian and my sister who was in the room with me. She was beautiful, all five pounds, seven ounces of her.

She is still beautiful. Spunky, high-spirited, funny, smart, stubborn and so many other descriptors, she is just my girl. She's kind-hearted and sensitive, sometimes too much so. I worry about her feelings a lot. She makes me laugh on a daily basis. Just the other day, I was telling her that I had to take my last final, my statistics one. She wanted to know what sadistics were. I totally laughed out loud about that. She wasn't meaning to be funny, but she was.

My biggest dream in life was to be a mother, and she made that dream come true. I never knew what it was like to love someone that much until she was born. So, tomorrow at 8:48 a.m., she will turn seven. I can't wait to see what the next seven years bring, then the seven years after that and on and on. Happy birthday to my big girl, you are my oldest sunshine (when I tell her about that, she'll know what it means, lol).


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Update on my sister

My sister and her husband were all set to go to court this past Thursday. Last Saturday night, my mom's phone rang around 11 p.m., and it was my sister. She was crying. Momma asked her what was wrong, and Erin said, "I've been a f*cking fool."

Her husband had just been arrested again, this time for making meth out in a field. His bond was set at $250,000, which is a good thing, since no one could come up with the $25,000 it would take to get him out. She told Momma she thought he had stopped making it, but he hadn't. I had hoped this would get her away from him, but the feeling of being a fool didn't last long enough. She told Momma and some other family members she wasn't going to jump into a divorce.

Erin went to court Thursday, and she received two years probation. She also has to pay a fine and do some community service. It is up to her probation officer as to whether she will have to do rehab. I am trying to talk Momma into finding out who it is and calling them and telling them Erin needs it.

Miller is mostly with Momma right now. The trailer Erin and her husband had been living in isn't decent enough for adults to live in, let alone children. The trailer's floor fell in, and they put a huge board over it. The pipes have busted, so they have no water, and the back door doesn't shut all by itself. Erin told Momma she didn't want to stay there, but even though Momma told her to stay with them, she wouldn't do it. When her husband was arrested, they were in the process of getting an apartment that would go by income. I guess that's out now.

She texted Brian tonight and asked him if he would use his debit card to put some minutes on her phone so her husband could call collect from jail. Instead of him texting her back, I did it. I told her that I would help her out in any other way I could, but I just couldn't help her talk to him. It made her mad, but I can't help it. I will not help her be with him.

So, keep us in your thoughts. I am so hoping she soon finds her mind, goes to rehab and realizes what all she has thrown away for a career criminal.