Hello, where has the time gone? I can't believe the kids have been back to school for almost a month already. I've been telling myself that whole time that I would update my blog, obviously that hasn't happened, lol! Things have been pretty nutty around here lately. Dave was called away, literally with only 5 hours notice, to go to Hawaii for three weeks in August. Of course that fell right when we were getting the house ready for our pack out, needless to say, things were insane. The good thing, he was able to make it home in time for the kids to start school. They came and packed all of our stuff September 2-4th and we've been living with loaner furniture since then. Honestly the stuff we have now is 100 times better than what we had when we first got on island, but it still isn't the same as having your own stuff. I had to laugh when we went to open house for the kids school last week, and we read something that Caitlynn wrote about the lumpy, bumpy loaner furniture she had in her room.
I can't believe we only have a little over a month left before we move and everything changes. I know it's still the Navy Dave will work for, but being an Officers wife will definitely be a bit different. I feel like this year has centered around new things. Just to name a few: Elijah's diagnosis, Dave being chosen LDO, Caitlynn hitting double digits, we'll be moving to the west coast, someplace I've never even been close to, I've learned how to advocate for my autistic son, my gifted daughter, and my "average" daughter. Who knew all kids need to be advocated for? I have to say the school will be so happy when I leave lol. It started when we first arrived and they tried to tell us they just didn't see Caitlynn as gifted, even though her school in the states, which was very much ahead of this school, tested her and had her in the gifted program. Long story short, it took 6 months, but she was evaluated and placed in the gifted program and has now started her third year in the program. That was about the same time we started noticing problems with Elijah. Just a week into kindergarten he was no suspended but asked not to attend school the following day because he hit someone in his class. I begged for help, tried to tell them that even though his speech no longer required therapy there was still something wrong, but nobody else saw it. I think the hardest part was because of his job Dave wasn't around enough to really see it either. It all started this awful cycle, we'd have an incident at home and Dave would agree something was wrong, then things would smooth out for a while and he'd start questioning if we were wrong. I'm sure if I wasn't the one with him all the time I would have questioned it too. And in school, the kids figured out that they could make Elijah upset and he wouldn't tell on them, he'd just keep taking it until he finally lashed out and hurt someone. This cycle continued through his entire kindergarten and first grade years. I spent those years begging and pleading for evaluations. I started with his doctor, who referred us to the peds clinic at the hospital. What a joke, the Dr. who saw us came in, talked to him for about 10 minutes, told me all her surveys etc, you know that great paperwork that asks everything about every milestone your child ever hit and every behavior he's ever exhibited? Well she told me all that official paperwork was on her home computer and there was nothing she could do to help us, we needed to talk to the school. So I went back to the school with all this and finally got them to do an evaluation, which consisted of them sending the counselor into his classroom a couple times, then we had this big meeting at the end of the year where they all basically told us there was absolutely nothing wrong, it was all in my head, and I just wanted something to be wrong with him. OK, WHO wants something to be wrong with their child? Certainly not me! Honestly if we hadn't had the big safety issue I may have given up and stopped the fight. Actually when 1st grade ended I had decided that I was done fighting the school and Drs. here and I was going to start all over when we moved back to the states. And here enters our angel, 2nd grade started off much the same as any other grade, his class work wasn't getting done, he wasn't paying attention, and he still had no friends, it broke my heart, but I really thought there wasn't anything I could do to help him. At our first quarter conference with his teacher, I think she was nervous about how we'd take it, but she told us she felt there was a problem and some testing should be done. This was the first teacher in all this time to stand up and say YES there is a problem. Poor Ms. Borja, Dave and I just looked at each other for a second before telling here our entire story from the beginning. And that's when we got on the right track again. I made an appointment with our new primary doctor and told her everything, while I sat in her office, ahe called the school and basically said what the heck?????? She then called the peds dr. and started asking questions. What absolutely blew my mind, she read me a bit straight from his medical file that the peds dr. wrote, and it basically said something to the effect he displayed autistic like symptoms and needed a referral to a psychologist, this was all news to me! The next step was to get on the waiting list for the child psychologist that came in from Japan every 6 months or so. That appt. was another joke, he told us he was ADHD and we medicated him, he took one med in the morning to help him focus and then another at night to help him sleep, long story short there were no improvements and he became aggressive and weepy all wrapped up together. I absolutely didn't want to medicate him, but I new if we didn't try their diagnosis they wouldn't work with us, so we tried it for about 1 1/2 months and that was it, it didn't help and I refused to give it to him anymore. So we went back to our primary doctor and told her what had gone on since we'd last seen her, and I was honest, I told her I'd lost faith in the Navy Drs. here, I wanted a referral for a doctor out in town and she gave me one with no problems, it helps that she saw how long we'd been trying to get through this with no help from anyone. That's when we went to see Dr. Taimanglo, after over 2 years of fighting with the school and Drs. here was someone who believed me finally. It took us so long to get to this point, and in just 4 months she was able to administer extensive tests and give us a diagnosis. I try not to be bitter about it all, but it's really so hard, I just think of all the time lost that he could been getting support in school. Then inevitably I think back to when he was a baby, what if I'd listened to the doctor when he was 15 months old and not responding to sound or talking at all? He wanted me to wait until Elijah was 3 before we did any kind of testing, would he be as well off as he is today if I waited? I seriously doubt it!
OK, how this went from a post about time flying to a post about autism I'm not sure. I've really just had autism on the brain lately, it seems everywhere I look I'm meeting another kids with autism. The medical community can tell us there's no epidemic and that it's just that they're better at diagnosing, but I don't believe it. Labeled or not, I never knew anyone with these behaviors in all my life. In the 3 years we've been here including Elijah I've known personally 5 kids with autism, and it seems like everyone I meet has a tie to autism somewhere in their family, sounds like an epidemic to me.
Anyway, back to you previously scheduled update.....I can't believe we leave November 2nd. It's bitter sweet, I've really loved our time on the island and met some incredible people, but it's really time to be back closer to family(and Old Navy hehe). I'm nervous about San Diego, the only places in the us I've been besides the east coast was Chicago, and that was for boot-camp, needless to say I didn't do much sightseeing. We'll still be far from family, but at least on the he same continent, and airfare home will be much cheaper. The only family I've seen since we got here in 2005 is my mom when she came out for 2 weeks in 2006, so it's time to go home. The nice thing about being our here though? I've been a lot less involved in all the family drama, which has made it all a little less stressful for me.
I thought I was going to have all this time for my photography after all of our stuff was packed up, but I didn't think about us being a 1 car family again, needless to say, I haven't done anything with it lately. I do need to work on my portraits though, I want to try to get hired in a studio as an assistant when we get to CA, and then when we move on to New Hampshire I'd like to branch out on my own and try to start up my own business.
Ok, it's 9pm and I feel a headache coming on, so I'm going to be done for tonight.