We spent a lot of this year trying to outsmart Moe, who continues to find new ways to get into trouble.
We re-engineered his diaper.
He figured out how to open the child-proofed doors and we had to replace all the door knobs.
He started climbing everything. I found him everywhere from the top shelf of his closet to the fireplace mantle to the top of the refrigerator.
Moe had several months of pretty awful aggression.
We had four contentious IEP meetings with Moe's school, meetings that I am still not able to write about in case we decide legal action is necessary. But I did write one piece about how I felt after the last meeting.
But this was also a year of transitions, fueled by those contentious IEP meetings and the realization that the school was failing Moe. And one that proved that Moe is capable of learning and change.
We pulled Moe from school this summer. We started working with him at home. And at the end of the summer, we decided to keep him home.
We learned that Moe's aggression is primarily behavioral - an attempt at communicating frustration, rather than a "sensory" need.
We learned ways to manage that aggression. (It still happens sometimes, but we know how to respond, and it has dramatically changed the way we work with Moe and the way he communicates with us.)
As a result, Moe's communication skills are improving. He points, nods his head yes and no, and sometimes approximates some words.
We are working on finding him an AAC device that may help him communicate more easily.
Last year, I asked these questions:
What will this year bring? Will this be the year Moe learns to speak? Will this be the year we are able to travel to visit family? Will this be the year both kids will be potty trained? Will this be the year we sell our house? Will this be the year I stick to some kind of exercise routine?
And if none of those things happen, will this be the year I am able to find peace and acceptance of where we are, no matter what?If I look at those questions alone, it seems very little happened in 2012. Moe did not learn to speak. We were not able to travel, and both kids are not potty trained. We pulled our house off the market, and my exercise was sporadic.
But if I look closer, I know that while Moe didn't learn to speak, he is trying, something he wasn't doing before. Travel still seems a distant dream, and although Moe isn't potty trained, Jelly is. We pulled our house off the market, but we are now in a much better position to move if we wanted to, and the market is back up a little. And I have been going to the gym, having fun in Body Pump and U-Jam classes among others, and although it isn't as regularly as I'd like, I am making an effort.
As for peace and acceptance, I suppose I've made progress, although the decision to pull Moe from school has thrown me. We know Moe will continue at home at least through the spring, and likely through the summer. Beyond that will depend on a lot, most importantly whether Moe is ready to go back. I am working hard to separate Moe's need to be at home, the progress he is making in this 1:1 environment, and the choices I make for myself. It is up to me now to decide how I am going to handle that, whether I can find a way to be happy at home with him or if I need to get back to work for my own sanity.
I am looking forward to sharing 2013 with you all.