Blogging in and around Autism's Edges is one of the most rewarding parts of my life. Thinking about Sweet M in a safe semi-public space, learning about what goes on for other families, visiting at other blogs — these are the experiences of the past year or so that have saved my sanity, if not our lives. So only the most compelling necessity could keep me away for more than a month. Often in the past six weeks, I'd visit at few other sites — checking in at Autismland to see how Kristina, Jim, and Charlie were doing; keeping track of Bud's progress in the chronicles of MOM-NOS; hoping that Kyra and Fluffy were thriving and that she'd keep on posting. But posting I wasn't. No comments. No posts.
All my attention was focused on two things: getting my work done and looking for a better school for Sweet M. I won't bore you with the details of the work piece, except to say that I was seriously overbooked: preparing a 150-page grant proposal due in mid-January; negotiating a possible new job for the fall; and finally finally finalizing the contract that has been under negotiation for nearly a year; writing a chapter for a book on academic labor; and curating an exhibition for a small New England museum. In short, I worked 10-14 hour days without a break from the second day of January until now. I don't recommend this to others, but somehow that is just how the saying the word "yes" too many times accumulated into a January logjam.
During the same time, it was also incredibly important to look at other schools for Sweet M, get a new ed-psych evaluation done, start thinking about summer camp (or not-summer camp) and deal with the ongoing negotiations with her current school about what they are willing to do for her. Fathersvox and I looked at the $73,000 school that I'd previously seen and wondered if there was any way in the world she could go there. I checked into other schools that are two-hours out of the city and wondered if there was any way I could get comfortable with the idea of Sweet M sitting on a bus for four hours a day roundtrip — or any way we could get comfortable with moving to the suburbs. We met with the principal and head of school at Sweet M's current school and learned that they are willing to keep her next year, but think of her as a burden on their resources. We went to the "summer camp fair" organized by the folks at Resources for Children with Special Needs. And we spent two Saturdays, Sweet M and I, with a psychologist who is a gifted evaluator of children so that Sweet M can have a new ed-psych evaluation for the school applications that we will be doing. (The good news: her performance IQ jumped 10 points from the last testing and the Woodcock-Johnson shows a one-year gain in reading in a little more than one year of instruction. The bad news: the Weschler shows her reading at a mid-first grade level when she's slated to go into fourth grade.)
All in all, it's been an awfully big month. But the biggest thing that happened all month is that Sweet M told me she's in love. She's totally infatuated, completely smitten, deeply enamored, and just plain old in love with a little boy in her class whom she's known for four years. Last week she shared this, along with a flood of anxiety — How can I tell him? I can't tell him, can I? What if he knows? What should I do? Can I marry him? Oh, he has to ask me, doesn't he? How can I let him know that he's the most hunkiest guy? (All of this, her language.)
We've been gone nearly two months, but I think we're back just in time for Valentine's Day.