Thursday, March 28, 2013

Konner's Story

As a baby, Konner was easy going and mellow.  Such a little sweetheart.  He did everything early, teethed, walked, talked, everything.  Every Dr appointment I was told how advanced and mature he was for his age.  And then he turned 18 months.

Turning 18 months seemed to be some sort of trigger for my little buddy.  Gone was the easy going, mellow baby.  He entered the Terrible Toddlers.  AND HE NEVER CAME OUT!!  He was hyper.  He could not or would not just sit still and concentrate on one project.  He threw tantrums.  He climbed on everything and got into everything (he even patiently picked away at the duct tape I used to keep the lid to the fish tank closed with one little finger and then went fishing).  He did not have an off button.  And he would NOT take naps.  He fought bedtime every night.  And he would NOT sleep in in the morning!  Normal toddler, right?

Except after a few years, it wasn't lessening.  He was adding to his arsenal of frustrating habits.  By the time he was 4, he was having meltdowns if his shoes weren't "Konner tight".  And "Konner tight" was so ridiculously tight that I could never get them tight enough.  So almost every morning on our way to preschool, he would have an exhausting meltdown.  He started arguing almost everything with me.  And he started back talking me.  I asked the Dr about possible ADHD.  I knew it was a possibility.  It's genetic, and it runs in my family.  He told me that they don't diagnose that until the kids are in school.

He started Kindergarten, and his struggles seemed to plateau.  Same struggles.  Nothing new.  Same old issues.  Sitting still in class was a struggle for him.  Not talking to his friends while in class was a struggle for him. Keeping his hands to himself was a struggle for him.  Homework bored him.  He had no interest in it.  So I had a meeting with his teacher.  She was great.  She genuinely cared about Konner, and she was very willing to work with me.  She put him on a daily contract that micromanaged his behavior throughout the day.  His behavior in class improved.  He brought home more blues (the best behavior color).  She gave him harder work to do.  He excelled.  He tested advanced in most of his benchmarks.

He went into 1st grade.  He tried to get away with slacking off.  I talked to his teacher.  I told her not to let him get away with slacking off.  She didn't believe that he was as smart as I claimed he was.  Because you see, my little buddy tends to be a little bit of an underachiever.  And he is only going to give the bare minimum of what you expect of him.  He has no desire to spend more time than absolutely necessary on anything other than play.  When he took his spelling tests at school and brought me home a 6 out of 10 regularly, I was a bit baffled.  I mean, after all, he got 10 out of 10 on his practice tests at home.  Something did not make sense here. So off I went again to the teacher.  The next week she sat him right next to her during his test, and he got a 10 out of 10.  Hmmmmmm......  From then on, she sat him next to her for his spelling tests, and from then on he brought home a 10 out of 10.  Another time, the kids were taking a math test.  She walked around the class and noticed that Konner was writing down all the answers his friend wrote down (copying/cheating).  She picked up his paper and asked him "Konner.  Math is your strength.  Why are copying your neighbor's work?"  She gave him another test and moved him next to her.  100%  And the friend he was copying?  Not so good.  From then on, all tests were taken right next to her.  When benchmarks rolled around, she was excited to tell me that he tested advanced in everything.  Duh.  Didn't I tell her in the beginning of the year?

He went into 2nd grade.  Plateau is gone, and now we are spiking again. The principle told me that he belonged in the 2nd/3rd combo, but because he lacks the ability to focus, she put him in straight 2nd grade.  I was ok with that.  When the 1st report card came out, he brought home a mediocre report card.  No 4s (As), very little 3s (Bs), and mostly 2s and Ss (Cs).  You may be thinking that that's not a bad report card.  And you'd be right, but it is nowhere close to what he had brought home every time before.  And it is nowhere close to what he is capable of.  I talked to his teacher.  I told her he was slacking off and not to let him in class.  Her response was "I don't think his report card was horrible."  Ummm ok.  He took his 1st benchmarks of the year and tested proficient instead of advanced.  What?  He started getting in constant trouble for being "aggressive" with his friends.  He's hyper.  He's ridiculously silly.  And he's rough.  He thinks it's funny to jump on his friends.  His friends don't like this.  They tell him to stop, and he keeps right on bouncing around.  I started getting regular reports from his teacher of bad behavior, aggressive behavior.  He all of a sudden no longer even cares to do his homework or even if it's done right.  He's just writing random answers down (example:  If Anna's watch says it's a quarter to 3, which watch is Anna's, A, B, or C?  Konner's answer: Purple.  I kid you not).  I talked to his teacher again, about sitting him by himself in class, Sitting him near her in tests.  She would not do it.  She has her reasons. By December she and I are now disagreeing and arguing a bit.  I wanted her to challenge him.  She told me that he isn't interested in being challenged.  Gate testing rolled around.  My hyper kid, who can't sit still, and can't focus on more than one thing at a time got an 88%.  You need an 89% to get into Gate.  His score was pretty dang good unfocused.  I can only imagine what it would have been if he were focused! She told me that the score showed he's a high thinker, but he's still not interested, only my husband and I are interested in him being challenged.  What the heck, lady???  What kind of teacher refuses to challenge a kid when his mom specifically tells her she wants him challenged just because he's not interested????  So what???  I don't care.  Give him the work.  He'll do it.  Second benchmarks of the year roll around, and my child who has gone from testing Advanced, advanced, advanced, advanced to proficient, now tests basic.  What?????  Around the same time he takes his 2nd benchmarks, I discover his friends are now being unkind to him (telling him to go away and play by himself, moving his lunch away from them, calling him names, pushing him, and not inviting him to any of their parties this year). 

The past few months have been very difficult with and for Konner.  Now he cries daily over thee most ridiculous things.  His temper is exploding over small things.  He's gotten rather mean to his sisters.  He's flat out rude to me.  He's defiant.  He's started shoving me when he's mad.  He's throwing things, slamming doors....  What happened to my sweet buddy?   Getting him to school in the morning has been a literal fight.  Never has he so fiercely fought going to school. I've gotten to the point where I dread picking him up from school.  I know that the second I pick him up until he is asleep I am not going to have a moments peace.  And I start crying.  I'm crying because I'm angry that he is behaving the way he is. I'm hurting that something is going on with my kid that I can't seem to fix.  I'm upset that his teacher is more interested in arguing with me and picking at my kid, than she is in actually helping him.  His behavior has gotten worse, and his emotions have gotten more fragile.  His friends are now being unkind to him.  He's now being bullied because he's been so obnoxious.  That makes my heart ache.  I understand why the kids are behaving the way they are with him now, and I understand that they don't understand what is going on with him, but it breaks my heart that he is going through this.  On top of that, he's got a teacher who picks on him.  She has not once had a kind thing to say about him.  She doesn't praise him at all when he does anything good.  But she doesn't miss a single negative thing about him, and unfortunately, Konner gives her lots in that department!  (Another mom in the class caught on to her picking on Konner all by herself, it was very validating for me to know I'm not just imagining things).

Two months ago I took Konner to the Drs.  I told her what was going on with him.  She had both me and his teacher fill out 2 different sets of evaluation forms on him.  And she diagnosed him with ADHD.  I've learned a lot about ADHD since.  So much makes more sense now.  We decided to go with behavioral therapy.  For the past 2 months, Konner goes to weekly therapy sessions.  This therapist is wonderful.  She's kind to Konner.  She actually likes Konner.  And she wants to fight for Konner.  That makes me so happy, because up to this point it's been me against the teacher.  This teacher is stubborn and a my way only kind of teacher.  I've never had such an experience with a teacher before.  I'm used to getting along with them.  This one not only refuses to do as I ask or work with me, but she also refuses to do as the therapist asks.  And I have left out all the belittling of me, condescension, and flat out defensive arguing every time I try to discuss Konner with her.  And no, I'm not exaggerating.  This is what I deal with with this teacher, she really does belittle me and speak in a condescending tone to me.  

After 2 months of therapy, and his teacher telling me there has been absolutely no positive change in Konner, seeing what has happened with his friends, his emotionally fragile state, and his grades and benchmarks quickly declining, we've decided that medication is in his best interest right now.  He started yesterday.  I'm hopeful that this will help him.  Because as stressed as I have been, he's suffered more.  We'll get through the rest of this school year.  And hopefully 3rd grade will bring a change and a happy Konner.  And a MUCH better teacher.  I wouldn't trade this kid for the world.  He has a good heart, and even a kind heart.  He's sensitive and caring.  And I hate that some people can't see through his struggles to see all this.  He's my buddy, and I'm always going to fight for him (all of my kids), regardless of how much a teacher dislikes me.  I want the best for him, and mediocre from him and resistance from his teacher are not what's best for him.

First day of second grade.  He was so excited.

Slumber party in his sisters' room! This just melts my heart.

 3 year photos

All 3 of my babies

2 years old.  I found him in my bed listening to my Ipod.

Watch out 3rd grade teacher!  I'm a force to be reckoned with!!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our journey this summer

Life sure has been a journey.  And this summer was NO exception!  We moved, AGAIN, in June and scattered for a bit for the next 2 months.

Throughout the year Kaylin had been sick constantly, tonsilitis, ear infections, sinus infections, and so on.  So we decided to have her tonsils out. First picture, Kay in recovery after her surgery. The day before her surgery I took Konner and Kylie to my mom's for what was supposed to be a week.

The day before I was supposed to leave to go to my mom's and get Konner and Kylie, my dear uncle passed away. He was 97. And he left my 90 year old aunt widowed.  I can't begin to tell you how much these two people have meant to me.  They have been my rock for the past 18 years.  So naturally, I went out to my aunt's for a couple of weeks to take care of her.  Through all of this, I was trying to deal with the fact that my baby sister was in jail, and we'd lost her kids to foster care. I had to rely on strength that I just haven't had to pull from in so many years. I had a little girl recuperating from surgery, and an elderly aunt who I had to hold together.  I was hanging on by a thread!  And through it all, my oldest and youngest were still at grandma's (second picture).  They spent a month in Central California without me.  And my husband was an hour away from me staying with his friend. I hadn't felt so helpless, so lonely, and so depressed since well.... my daddy issues.

In the middle of July, I left my aunt and headed to Cen Cal to reunite with my kids. While there I was able to finally see my sister, through a monitor while talking to her on the phone. I still to this day have not been allowed to see or speak to my nieces and nephews. My other sister and I met with the lawyer and worked on a plan for trial.

Two days after our meeting with the lawyer, my kids and I headed up to Oregon where we stayed for a month (third picture).  My kids had a great time.  They met cousins they didn't know and made new friends.  My husband was still in So Cal.  Konner turned 7 while there, and Mike and I reached our 8th anniversary apart for the first time.

At the end of August, the kids and I traveled up to Washington to spend time with grandma Rigby and aunt Susie, uncle Jay, James, and Maggie. My kids were so happy there. They had a blast. Grandma gave us the tour of daddy's life growing up in Washington and took us to do fun things. Picture 4 is The Great Wolf Lodge where grandma took us for a very fun time!! My kids also had the opportunity to meet my Kindergarten and 1st grade teacher (picture 5) while there. After a week there, we began our journey back home.  And boy was it a loooooooong journey home!

We got home (to a new home) 12 days ago. Mike moved us into our new home while we were gone. We got home in time to be 2 days late for school, but better late than never! (Pictures 6 and 7 are our first day of school!). We came home to a full plate of our typical life.  Back in soccer, back in school, back to homework, and through it all I have to get our place unpacked!

Mike has completed his Masters (Yay, finally!!). That should alleviate some of our stress.  It's wonderful to be back in our own home with just each other.  My kids are happier! I've realized that my life has been so full and so busy with my children, that I no longer have anyone of my own. Somewhere in being a mom, I lost being a friend and having friends.  And while that saddens me, I've discovered that my life is so full of my kids that it's ok.  I'm incredibly blessed.  I'm married to the love of my life (and for those of you who know our story know that is quite literally true - he is indeed the love of my life), I have 3 incredibly wonderful, smart, beautiful kids, and we have a home and so much more!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A little behind maybe?

I should possibly, maybe update me blog.....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The luckiest girl....

Valentine's 2012
Mike and me in my early 20s, his late 20s.

19 years ago I met the love of my life. A few years later I fell in love with him, or realized I was in love with him. A few years after that he broke my heart in a way I didn't think was possible. And a few years after that we found our way back to each other. I don't know anyone who has overcome the obstacles we have overcome. But I do know that those obstacles strengthened our love. We have 3 beautiful, fantastic, loving children. I have a hardworking, wonderfully faithful, fantastically hot husband. No one is luckier in love than I am! I simply adore you, Michael Alan Rigby!

Three???!! Really??!!

Well, it's happened. My baby is no longer a baby!!! She's a potty trained (FIANALLY!!), big girl cup drinking, Sunbeam (sorta) little girl. It's so nuts I can't even process it!

Kylie woke up the morning of her birthday and wanted to watch Barbie. So she sat and watched Barbie while Miss Kaylin tried to tune her out to finish up her beauty sleep!
This year she got to choose what she wanted to do for her brithday. And wouldn't you just know, she wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese!! And she wanted her pal Jane to go with her. Do you know how hard it is to get 2 little girls to cooperate for a picture??

She loved her cupcakes!

And she loved her presents!

Three years ago, on my way to my friend's house, a big truck ran into me at a stop light and Miss Sassy Pants Kylie came 3 1/2 weeks early! She has had quite the 3 years - pneumonia, asthma, hospital trips, crazy infections, allergies, constipation, but she has always been quite the little determined trooper! She's sassy, she's very strong willed, she's clever, she's determined, she's cuddly, and she's our little firecracker! We love you, baby girl!! Happy birthday!

Fun Together

At Disneyland with our friends. We're really going to miss Disneyland!

Riding scooters out on the sidewalk in front of the house. They really do love this! I really hope that when we move we can find a house on a safe street!!

Slumber party in the girls' room. They love to sleep together! And I love when they love being together!!

We are so lucky to have 3 sweet, fun kids!!

My kids

My kids LOOOOVE to dress up!! Well, my girls do. Konner just likes to have his face painted! But it is so rewarding to see them dress up in something that I made them!! And the girls love it when I make them stuff! They make awesome models.