Thursday, February 25, 2010

Highly Commended, IQs, the Runaway

I got "Highly Commended" for last week's FaithWriter's entry! I just found out this morning. Actually, I was hovering over the computer at 9am, waiting for the results to be posted. I never used to get this excited about those entries. I guess that's because I never used to win. "Highly Commended" is just below the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners. It was my first time to enter at the Intermediate level, so it feels pretty good that I did so well on my first try. I'm really excited about the piece I just entered yesterday - maybe I'll have some good news to share again next week! What I want is to be chosen for "Editor's Pick." At the end of the year, they take all those (10 for each Challenge) and publish them in a book. That hasn't happened yet, but I sure would be be pleased if it did sometime this year!

I had a major computer problem the other night. I went to upload pictures from my camera and the computer would not recognize my camera any longer! Oh, I was so frustrated! I spent all night long working on that issue, snapping at anyone who dared interrupt me in my moment of crises. I don't understand why I get this way. I can live with a messy house, fractured relationships, and mold growing in my bathroom, but if something isn't working right on my computer, I go to pieces! All I can think about it getting it right again! Fortunately, I posted my problem on Facebook and within minutes, my friend Don had a solution for me. Thank you, Don! Now, I'm thinking I really ought to work on my attitude...

Ben's first meeting is next Monday at the school. We are meeting so that Ben can be evaluated and so that we can start his IEP. We have a friend at church who has spent his entire career in education and sat in on many, many IEP meetings. He's coming with us and I am SO thankful that he will be there to advocate for Ben and make sure that he gets what he needs. But my stomach is still tied up in knots over this. I know it's the right thing to do - but I'm scared.

Along those same lines, yesterday I received Ben's IQ testing results in the mail. I didn't realize they were going to be mailed to me because I really didn't want to know what they said. I suppose they had to send them out, though. The results are that Ben has an IQ of 47. A normal IQ is in the 90-100 range. So, he definitely is "feeble-minded" as the website I checked to compare his results to indicated (I'm guessing it was an old chart - who says "feeble-minded" anymore?) The letter went on to say that he falls between the intelligence and ability levels of a child ages 3 to 6. I wasn't prepared for how that made me feel. I felt like I'd been hit. That just seems so stark. And really, it's not indicative of who Ben is. My sister in law was telling me yesterday that when she used to work as a college admissions officer one of her jobs was to evaluate the ACT and SAT scores of would-be students. But she had to recognize that while those tests showed how they did on the tests it really was not a total picture of who the student was. And I can accept that about this test for Ben. Educationally, he is beyond the level of a 3-6 year old. He's been right at the 2nd/3rd grade level for several years now. But emotionally and behaviorally - yeah, he's closer to that lower level. Paul was kind of ruminating on this and he said that he can't totally accept this either. After all, he said, Ben is smart. And he's crafty (not in a paper/scissors way, but in the I'm- gonna- figure -out- how -to- sneak -around- Mom- to -get- what- I -want kind of way). But still, I've held onto the belief for all of Ben's life that he is not retarded - just severely delayed. But this test result says otherwise.

And, honestly, this low score will be in our favor. It will be easier now to get services for Ben that I wanted. And that was my whole motivation for having the testing done in the first place. So, I got what I wanted. I just didn't count on how it would affect me and my perception of Ben. I have a retarded child. Wow.

Oh well. Mentally retarded or not, he's still my boy. Lately, I've been wishing he were some one's else's boy because he's been just awful! But I have to remind myself that he IS 13 and the junior high years are generally not that pleasant for the parents of most boys that age. Will sailed through them, but that's just who he is - easy going, easy to raise, and easy to have around. Ben - isn't! Yesterday I caught a whiff of Ben so I introduced him to something called Deodorant. He was pretty tickled with that! Before we went to church in the evening I had him in the bathroom so I could comb his hair and Ben grabbed Paul's deodorant out of the cupboard and said, "I'd better use some of this!"

Last week I checked some cds out of the library. One is a collection of hymns sung by country artists. I've listened to it before - really enjoyable. So I had it in, listening to it as we drove home. I found myself singing along to "How Great Thou Art" and soon I could hear Ben in the backseat, singing too. I had to laugh because neither Ben nor I can sing worth a lick. He's flatter than a squished snake on the road and my voice is not pleasant at all. In fact, all the boys, at one time or another, have clapped their hands over their ears and begged me to quit singing out loud! But it was kind of a sweet moment, the two of us lifting our voices in imperfect praise!

Paul's cousin is missing. I posted this on Facebook Monday evening. It was kind of funny - I don't know if that's the right word. Astounding? Incredible? 3:00 I was in the van and listening to the news. They announced an Amber Alert coming from Council Bluffs. My ears perked up at that since that's Paul's hometown and we lived there for 12 years together. To my astonishment, I knew the girl that was missing. I remember when she was born and I've watched her grow up. She is the daughter of Paul's mom's youngest brother - Paul's uncle that's only about 3 years older than he is. So we have kids the same age. At any rate, Janakaye, who turns 15 this weekend, ran off with a convicted sex offender, aged 19. She and the boyfriend left suicide notes, which is very scary. I immediately called Paul and asked, "Did you just hear the news?" He said, "Yes! Is that who I think it is?" And so he called his mother and got rest of the story. Her parents had filed a restraining order against this felon, but those are worthless if one or more parties ignores it. So, they reported their daughter kidnapped. Later that evening they dropped the Amber Alert because the police had determined by that point that she had gone willingly. We've gotten a few updates from Paul's family. The couple is still alive and were last reported in Springfield, Illinois, where they stopped at the boy/man/felon's father's house. He urged them to turn themselves into the police, but they didn't. It's just incredibly sad. I cannot imagine what Paul's aunt and uncle are going through right now. I would be probably close to hysteria. Pray for the safety of Janakaye. Once she is returned home, there's going to need to be some major changes and much restoration needed. I'm not quite sure how that is possible without Christ, honestly. I was reminded the other day that my cousin ran away when he was 16. I was only 10 at the time. He was gone for about a year and I can remember my mom cautioning us not to mention cousin David's name at Christmas when everyone would be around. It was a different circumstance than Janakaye's disappearance, but I can still remember just how sad it was for my family that David was gone. He did come back, graduated, went into the military, and then was killed when he was 26 in an automobile accident. Sad times...

Well, it's back to work for me. I don't have to go anywhere for the next two days and I'm delighted! Hopefully, I can spend today and tomorrow catching up on things that I haven't been able to do for the past couple of weeks. Saturday evening I am going out with 3 friends from church. One is going through an extraordinarily difficult time right now and we are hoping to give her an evening where she can just have fun and maybe set aside her troubles for a few hours. I hope we can do that for her. Of course, we'll be happy to just sit and cry with her, too.

Sam is informing me "Sam stank" (stink) and then "Sam dirty!" Sigh...duty calls...

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