Sunday, December 26, 2010

For a mere moment, I forgot

I know this will sound like I am a bit of a nutcase, but I'll say it anyway. Sometimes I forget that Ignatius has Asperger's. Here's today's story.

We were at church, right around the Gloria, when I realized there were absolutely no altar servers. So, I turn to my altar-serving son and say, "Go put on a cassock. They need at least one server." He looks at me with sheer panic on his face. You see, with Asperger's comes a challenge, dare I say an inability, to think on one's feet. When he serves... when he is there on time and as scheduled... he has very little problem (finally) with the ins and outs of altar serving. However, I was demanding for him to do many things that he was unaccustomed to. After about 5 minutes in the pew, I decided I needed to also climb over our pewmates and check on him to be sure he knew what was expected.

There he was, in the room with the cassocks, with tears filling his eyes. As soon as he saw me, he said, "This is really freaking me out." My response, "I know, that's why I came back. You can do this. You will do this. I'll help you through."

His biggest concern was that people would think he was the scheduled server and he showed up super late. I stressed to him that this was not what people would think at all. He was also concerned about how to unobtrusively get to the front of the church without making a big scene. I showed him that he could walk along the side to get to the altar server pew. Neither of these things were "common sense" to him, but both were enough to paralyze him with fear and anxiety.

So, all during Mass today, my mind kept coming back to social stories needed for altar servers with special needs. I did not hear a word of the homily, as I was too busy wondering if Fr. Jerry would take time to be photographed with an altar server in the different roles needed throughout Mass. A simple laminated card in the pew for those kids for whom multi-step directions are difficult to follow. Perhaps a "what if" story with scenarios that could cause anxiety: "What if I drop the water cruet and the crystal shatters everywhere?" "What if I trip on the altar?" "What if I forget what to do?" And, of course, I was trying to determine when I would pull all of this together.

That little voice again. The same one that e-mailed Fr. Jerry about reaching out to special needs kids in our parish, but did not get a response. The one that creeps up every time something like today happens. What if there are kids out there who COULD serve, but whose parents don't think they can do it because of certain challenges they face? There are such easy things that could be done, and yet are not being done. I do not say this judgmentally. Until about 4 years ago, I didn't know what a social story was, because I didn't have to know. I do not expect others, especially those with neurotypical kids of their own, to know what one is. Yes, you should be able to lean over and say to your son, "Hey, they don't have any servers. Go pinch hit." But, alas, it just isn't that easy for some.

The good news...after Ignatius, another boy showed up to help serve. I would like to think it was because Ignatius stepped up... that my putting him through that made another parent realize that we need to instill an instinct for service in our children. It makes me feel better thinking of it that way, rather than thinking of it as the day I forgot about Asperger's.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to All!

Hoping your Christmas morning was as white and happy as ours! Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Taking pause

In the midst of the day-to-day, there are many things that can be overlooked.  A blessing of having a child with special needs is the ability to rejoice in things that others (or myself with my older child) may take for granted.

Suddenly, the magic of reading has entered Max's life.  He has started to recognize sight words.  He is able to determine beginning consonant sounds of words.  He makes requests.  He speaks in sentences.  He is having "emerging" conversations.  The threat of "Santa's watching" works as behavior modification.  He can write capital and lower case letters.  He can count objects.  He imitates tones of voice for requests.  He understands that, because it is cold, he needs to wear a coat.

Let's not forget son #1...who knows in the equation y= mx + b which term refers to the slope and which refers to the y-intercept.  Who has achieved an A in high school algebra as an eighth grader with minimal to no help from his mother or father.  Who completed a science fair project with only minimal adult help. Who gets As and Bs with minimal effort.

This weekend I am most grateful for being able to see what I have been given rather than what I am missing.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

We have our first snowfall today!  It started in the evening, and as I came home from work, I knew I had to get back outside with the camera.  I know... I am a bit odd.  I love this shot because it shows the snow falling.  This next shot, however, is AWESOME because, in the midst of all the snow, the camera captured just the house.  I wish I could recall the setting I used.  I LOVE MY NIKON D60!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Waiting for "Superman"

Sometimes you just have to let something settle.  Chew on it mentally.  Process.

On Wednesday, Jessie and I went to see Waiting for "Superman."  If you are not familiar with this movie, please read this synopsis.  If you want to see it, and do not wish to hear any spoilers, stop reading this post at this point.  Let's start with the trailer:

I remember my days at Blackburn when we discussed "inner city" schools, and I wanted to be a part of teaching in an urban setting.  I felt a strong calling to do so.

I have been a teacher for 20 years. My career started in a city, went affluent and private for a few years, came to a school that had both extremes, and has recently alighted upon a school with a large number of students who have what is called "low socio-economic status" in an urban setting.  I have served Catholic and public school systems.  I have worked with and without union protection.  I have pulled "all-nighters" grading student papers.  I have worked through weekends and over most summers.  I have earned a Master's degree and National Board Certification and re-certification.  I was one of the only twenty-somethings who worked (alas, unsuccessfully) toward building a teacher's association in the Catholic diocese in which I worked.  I believed it was necessary because much was expected of us, while little was paid.  I have served as a building representative and as a negotiator for my local teacher's union after moving to the public sector.  I make contact with each of my parents/guardians, whether they welcome my correspondence or not.  I want students to feel like graduating from high school and educating themselves beyond that is not only something I believe they can do, it's something I expect them to do.

It is through these eyes that I watch this movie.

The trailer upset me, as I assumed teachers would, again, take a public bashing.  Because, as you know, everyone has gone to school, and therefore, everyone is an expert at education.  Right?  Right.  I can take it, though.  I have thick skin.  What was more troubling was watching students sit in a public lottery that was deciding their educational fate.  I knew that some parts of that movie would require some tissues.

However, my good and wise friends made the point...If we are going to have an opinion about the movie, we need to see it for ourselves.  Seen it I have.  It inspired the following thoughts to anyone who sees it who is outside of education:

PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know contact parents on a regular basis, especially when the parent contacts them first.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know care deeply about the students they teach and wish for them to succeed.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know are judged solely on one state test that happens once a year on which they can offer no support or assistance for their students to succeed.  In Illinois, we are not even permitted to look at the student booklets when they take the state tests.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know use several points of data to make decisions about the achievement levels of their students.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know NEED the protection of a union because not all administrators in the school setting make just, or even logical, decisions.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know try to touch base with the parents of each student they have, even when they have over a hundred students on their caseloads. 
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know have been stood up by parents who have scheduled meetings with them.  Recently, a colleague shared with me that she had 1 out of 6 scheduled parents show up for conference times on an evening when she spent a great deal of time after school waiting for them.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know would LOVE to have the parents documented in the movie, as well as the kids.  Those kids will be successful BECAUSE of their parents.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know who are tenured continue teaching with the same fervor as they did when they were probationary.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know have never, ever had the chance to even sit at their desks much less fall asleep or read a book at them while class goes on (I do know some who have pulled this crap, though).
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know communicate regularly with students about their achievement in their classes.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know have had a parent tell them that their after school lives are too busy for their children to complete homework.
PLEASE KNOW that most of the education professionals I know could, indeed, do things that tenure cannot protect.  There are tenured teachers who have been fired.  It depends on how good of a job the administrator does at observing, evaluating, and documenting his experiences with the employee.

With that said,
YES, sometimes unions can lose sight of their purpose and get in the way of education reform.
YES, unions are largely involved in politics, as the money schools get comes from budgets created by legislators.
YES, larger metropolitan areas have a hard time maintaining buildings and hiring and keeping good faculty. Please consider the working conditions and ask yourself if you are willing to commit to that before assigning judgment.
YES, some charter schools are successful.  The data on charter schools over all was not mentioned in this movie.  The "education system" was painted with a wide brush, but charter schools were looked at standing on individual merit.
YES, union contracts level teachers too much.  I believe in merit pay, but I don't have a solid idea of how to create a "just" way of implementing a plan that will not compromise teacher integrity and is not based solely on the opinion of one administrator.
YES, I agree that using a traditional tracking system for students is not best practice.  However, students do have to be grouped at some points of their day according to instructional needs.  We call it "differentiating."
YES, some teachers should never, ever have entered the profession. Some should be let go.  Some children should not have to suffer through apathetic teachers.
YES, the times are a-changin'.  We HAVE to teach children in preparation for a world in which "blue collar" jobs are becoming non-existent. For some, it will require showing them an existence far different from the one in which they currently live.  We need to stop fighting the world they live in, and learn to teach them not only to survive, but to thrive.

I appreciated that the film acknowledged that there are hard-working, good teachers in America.  I believe the basic point of the film was that each child deserves to have one.  I agree 100%.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Where are we now?

Several months have gone by since the first days of school and the havoc that was described.  There is much good news to share.

Max has made some nice gains.  We have met multiple times with his teachers, most recently to open his IEP to make it align more closely to his needs.  He will presently be "pushed in" the general Kindergarten for calendar time, science, journals, and centers.  They were already having him go in for calendar/Heggerty time even though it was not on his IEP.  The teachers suggested that he participate in gen. ed. science and journal time in addition to what he was already doing.

They have also gotten the ball rolling for the observations necessary to determine the level of support he needs in a gen. ed. classroom (aka, a teacher's aide).  His behavior is not an issue.  The issue is that someone needs to keep him on-task.  He will sit there, but will not necessarily do anything or say anything.  Very unlike the Max we see at home.

So, there we have it.  For now.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween, the Tooth Fairy, and other whimsy

Yesterday's news... Max lost his first tooth!

The Tooth Fairy brought him a bag full of pennies.  He took them to Menards to help pay for a US flag.  Backstory: Our neighbors have various flags that they hang for various sports teams and whatnot.  He wanted a flag for our porch.

And in other news, the car wash costume is complete!  Check it out at my craft blog.  Hope he wears it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Doing OK until...

Life does move on.  Every now and then, the wind gets knocked out of my day-to-day. 

I was simply adding things to my calendar.  Sending Outlook "invitations" for various dates.  In my list of invitations for Ignatius' Confirmation, it hits me that Marita would have been on that list.  Wham! 

I think Scott thinks I am nuts.  One minute OK, the next minute, melting down.  Yeesh! 

I know she'll "be there," but it's so difficult thinking of this being the first sacrament for my kids where she will be absent.  It's particularly hard because she so loved Ignatius. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Different, not less

I finally got Temple Grandin from Netflix this week, and I courageously watched it last night.  I had heard so many great things about it.  I must say, it was well-done.  Claire Danes, one of my favorite actresses, proved herself to be in the class of Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding, Jr., in playing an individual with social-emotional challenges.

The performance that spoke to me most, mainly through tears, was that of Julia Ormond, who plays Temple's mother, Eustacia.  Alas, Temple was diagnosed with autism at a time when the most popular recommendation for children was institutionalization.  It was also the theory of the time that children who had autism had mothers who, at a crucial time of their development, in some way denied their children of the affection they needed.  Her fight as represented in the movie epitomizes the fight of all parents of children on the spectrum, regardless of the extreme of the diagnosis.  Still, in 2010, parents must advocate for their school districts to "do right" by their children.  More of the law is on the side of the parent than was true in the 1950s through the 1970s.  If more parents only knew their true power in an IEP meeting, no one would miss one.  My favorite line was when she emphasized that Temple was "different, not less."  That small line is the core of the battle for parents... to convince others to act on this belief.  At Max's IEP meeting last spring, my statement was that I wanted his teachers to, "believe he can rather than assume he can't."  That is a goal that continues to challenge us as he gets his education in a public school.

What was also inspiring to me was the role that David Strathairn portrayed as Temple's high school science teacher.  It takes a teacher or two to believe in the ability and potential of those who learn differently from the "norm."  Many times, these children have a lot to bring to the academic world, but alas a large portion of teachers see themselves as teachers to the "neurotypical," forgetting that children learn differently.  I have been guilty of this myself as a teacher, but the critical difference is I have changed my outlook and my practice.  The question I ask myself each day is, "For whom are you here to teach?"  It is also critically important for us to create accepting cultures in our classrooms.  When I saw the kids tormenting and making fun of Temple, openly laughing at her as she stood in front of her French class, I thought of the role of a teacher to create a community of support and not ridicule for students who have differences.  We can make our classrooms as tolerant or intolerant as we so choose.  May my children have at least one or two Professor Carlock's in their lives.  He observed Temple.  He listened to her.  He tried to convince colleagues of her brilliance and how she learned... and that she COULD learn.  He planned his lessons with her visual strengths in mind.

It was a tough movie to watch when you are in the midst of raising children on the spectrum.  Temple's experiences with not being able to understand people's faces and emotions, much less express her own emotions appropriately, reminded me of our constant reinforcement of societal "norms" with Ignatius.  Her mother's constant reminders of how you introduce yourself to others hit very close to home.  Also, when her mother took her to boarding school and saw her daughter in stark contrast to the other, "neurotypical," students there, and began a spiral of panic that she was making a mistake with Temple, that was spot on.

It was most definitely inspiring, as is the entire life of Dr. Temple Grandin.  I thank her and her family for their perseverance which laid the groundwork for my own children being able to reach their potentials.

Monday, August 30, 2010

One week later

It's hard to believe a week has gone by since the boys kicked into high gear with school. Ignatius is having what seems like his best school year yet. Eighth grade suits him very nicely. He is taking Eighth Grade Algebra at Bloomington CCHS, and he is really on top of his studies so far. He will receive Confirmation in November. Today he finally learned to ride a bike. His friends helped him out at a weekend sleepover.

Max began his formal schooling this week, as you might recall from my previous post. Scott is making intermittent visits to his school to see him in action and get a grasp of his day. He has met with the principal as well as the teacher, and we have asked for a meeting to re-evaluate his IEP. We met with his PLAY consultant this week, and she offered data that helped us with the decision to push for more time in the gen ed classroom. The principal told Scott they would do whatever we wanted. It's their first year with the program, so I think he's fairly flexible with seeing how things run.

I am typing this at midnight, as I lie here with a racing mind that needs to just sleep! I have worked on school stuff (my own) pretty much all weekend. Still lots to do before my week is fully ready, but I have somewhat of a grasp on things. Or so I think! Here's to the possibilities a new week brings.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Max Begins a New School - A Diary of Sorts

Thursday, August 19: I attend an Open House.  I speak briefly to the general education Kindergarten teacher assigned to my son.  She explains that another teacher, his special education teacher, is a person with whom I should speak.  I do so, relaying that I am quite nervous about this experience.  She answers a good deal of my questions, and I go to the general education room, believing that it is there where I will receive both pertinent and important information about my son's experience with what I thought would be Kindergarten. 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday: I check and recheck, much in Walter Paul OCD fashion, the school website.  Students and parents in Kindergarten are to attend the first day of school for an hour.  Last names A-M come from 8:30 - 9:30.  Last names N-Z come from 10:00-11:00.  Sunday night: Generic voicemail from principal says Kindergarteners should come at 8:30, causing a small heart attack when I listen to it Monday morning.

Monday, August 23: Max has a restless sleep, and wakes up with the rash he had for a while blazing across his trunk.  Doctor is called.  I call school (a little frantic) in response to the voicemail from last night and am reassured that he is to come at 10:00.

I take Max to get his favorite breakfast and take some photos.  He's a happy little dude.  We get to school.  We have our first day of school cards ready to give to the teachers.  We see the general education teacher.  The special education room's door is closed and the room appears empty, but we are early, so no worries.  The general education teacher, along with the other Kindergarten teachers, are welcoming their classes and parents with various activities. Max and I sit in the common area watching.  A kind teacher, not any of Max's, gives us some books to read while we wait.

At around 9:55, I am brazen enough to open the door to the special education classroom.  No one is in there, but there are traces that a class has been here.  At 10:00 I go to the office.  At this point, I am getting visibly upset, as all of the other parents and kids have started their happy little scavenger hunts throughout the school.  The office assures me that the teacher will be there.  I assist Max in upacking his box of supplies in a manner that it seems like others in the room have done.  My mind wonders why, exactly he, too could not have been doing a scavenger hunt with me.

At 10:10, I go back to the office, this time, unable to hold back tears.  The principal takes me to find my son's teacher and class on the playground for recess.  They had expected us at 8:30, and "wondered where we were," but the office told them we would be there at 10.  (Yes, when we were told to be there.  You are following.)  I later wonder why one of the aides did not stay back in the room and wait for Max, since they were told he would be there at 10. We re-enter the room, where we are given a card and told he needs to put his name on it and decorate it for a magnet.  I speak briefly with the teacher and a bit more with the aides.  I await direction.  None is provided.  It appears that students are playing with different games and blocks, so Max and I follow suit.  I am told that he is cute and is "so dressed up" for school.

At 11:00, students line up at the door as if they have been doing this for quite some time.  We leave for Max's doctor appointment.

And this was the experience of my son's first day of Kindergarten.  I left out the crying I did almost all day, feeling majorly robbed of what should have been a welcoming, organized, fun morning.  I did not expect for it to be perfect.  I know better.  But I did expect for it to be MUCH different.

You see, Unit 5 keeps talking about "inclusion."  I am wondering what their operating definition is of that term.  Mine is that the students are with a general education teacher until and unless they have severe needs that make that impossible.  Their version seems to be that his general education experience will be rendered to PE, music, art, and lunch, with some centers with the other students as the teachers see fit.

Mind you, I am wounded, but not broken.  Once I can get through my feelings of sheer disappointment, we will have clarity about how this year will go in the LEAST restrictive environment for my son. 

What I did not mention was the stress of the last week with getting my own room together and getting ready for my own students as well as getting my own children ready for their new experiences.  But that's a whole other story.

On an up note, Max was diagnosed with hives and is taking an antihistamine, which seems to be giving him some relief.  A friend shared that her son had pityriasis rosea, and, when she saw Max's photo, she thought it looked familiar to what her son had.  When she described it, the symptoms sounded REALLY familiar.  Either way, he looks a little less like a leper!  Yeah!  And, when all is said and done, he did not know that his experience with his first day of Kindergarten should have been any different than what it was.  I sure did, though.

Tomorrow is his first full day without me.  There was a darling little boy named Caden in his room.  Caden likes foraging for acorns at recess.  He's a pretty cool little dude, and quite chatty.  He enjoyed my rendition of If You Take a Mouse to School.  I think he and Max will be great friends.  :)  And now, I must wrap my brain around what, exactly, tomorrow will look like in my own classroom.

On a very high note, much earlier than expected, my student teacher got to be in charge of the room today.  She did a great job planning, and I can't wait to hear more about how everything flowed.  I am SO grateful to have her!!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Same difference

When Max was just six weeks old, I remember looking at him the night before going back to work and just crying. It was too soon. I had no control over the fact that he had to go somewhere before he was truly ready. Now, five years later, I am looking at my five year old, not so sure he's ready for what's about to start. Again, this is what we can do right now. I don't want to hold him back, I just hope I am not sending him in to "school" before he's really ready. I guess I'll find out soon enough!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Doctors and such

Last Thursday, we met with April from the P.L.A.Y. Project, and we have more goals to build upon with Max:

1. In his play, increase the interactive range of affects and emotions when problem solving (like bad acting). 
2. Use pretend play and drama. Use the stuffed animals for fighting.  Make sure ideas are guiding the play.  Enter Max's ideas through his make believe world as a character in his drama using words and actions together.
3. Play tag.  Freeze tag.  Simple motor play.  Simple rules.

We also received a write up of all the pre-assessments they had done prior to accepting us into the program.  They will compare this baseline information with re-assessment at the end of our time together.

All of these goals build upon things we do a little of, but we need to step things up a bit.  There was a lot April talked about that we can do in play that will prepare him for how to handle peer interactions in school.

Yesterday, Max had his Kindergarten physical.  Silly me, I thought, for the first time with either of our kids, that I would let Scott take him.  I was still scarred from holding him down when they tried to find a vein for his bloodwork, I figured I had earned a time off just this once.  I tried my best to prep Scott, but he did let his guard down in between rounds of shots.  Max actually bent a needle in his leg when he slapped it about.  Also, Scott and Dr. Farinas had some conversation regarding vaccinations, and Max came home WITHOUT having been given his MMR.

{pause to let that sink in}

Let me give you more of the story.  I was at Zumba and Scott called from the Dr.s office and suddenly told me he wasn't sure about the vaccines.  To which I replied, "Just get the vaccines.  The vaccines did not cause the autism.  Plus he HAS autism!"  So, I call back an hour later to hear about the bent needle and the chat he and the good doctor had.  Apparently Dr. F. wasn't that big of a fan of giving so many vaccines at one time.  That did not help the situation.  So now we have this form stating we knew about the vaccines but we opted out of one of them.  Eventually, I am sending someone's A$$ back to the doctor's office for the MMR. 

I am not an irrational person.  Had we discussed this prior to the eleventh hour, and decided it together, it may have turned out the same way.  It's just that, when I relinquish control to someone else, and this happens, it sets me back on the whole delegation thing.  Plus, if he gets measles, mumps, or reubella, someone better be ready to bail me out of jail.  Enough said?

So today's appointment was seeing the eye doctor for Kindergarten.  Amazing, isn't it?  Dentist, physician, optometrist...all before Kindergarten.  I believed, again, that others had control of this, and I would take a back seat to the professionals.  I didn't need to control the situation.

{pause to let that sink in}

Well, I should have known when the assistant pulled up a string of letters and asked Max what letters he could see that I was in for trouble.  Or when they had him look at a picture of a clown and several other things and asked him what he saw... yes, again, I needed to step in and instruct.  The doctor herself was not bad.  Just a few cues from me, and she got it.  Have my son, whose expressive language is a year delayed, POINT to a PICTURE of what he sees.  Voila!  20/20.  It was a rocky start, though.

So, now Max is set for Kindergarten, as far as the medical/paperwork requirements are concerned.  Just one, big roller coaster ride.  Lots of hills.  I need to scream at the top of my lungs more, though.  I think that's what's missing...

The Commencement of Learning

It's that time of year.  Shown below is Ignatius' pile of clothes for school that no longer fit him... all purchased within the 2009-2010 school year, mind you.

We shall be doing some shopping soon.

Another pic is of Max's school social story.  This was sent to us from Northpoint Elementary earlier in the summer.  He loves having it read over and over.  During the summer, he was not interested in even hearing the word "school."  We changed our wording to "Kindergarten," and now he is VERY excited.  We shall see what happens when the first day rolls around.  Hopefully, he will not sense my own nervousness.  I shall practice.

Friday, July 16, 2010

A "Disney" World, No Tab Aftertaste

When Ignatius was 5, we went on our first family trip to DisneyWorld in Orlando.  It was such a good time.  Every person with whom we had contact had the same demeanor: it was ALL about the customer.  The customer was, truly, always right. 

We came to find that we were being charged mini-bar charges for our room, yet we were not using the mini-bar.  We went to the consierge and explained the situation.  He did not have to believe us.  The person who checked the mini-bar each day could have been called and questioned to be sure we were on the up-and-up.

His response was, "I am so sorry, ma'am. We will take these charges off your bill immediately."  From that point on, for the last 8 years, we have shared this story.  Talk about handling things well on the business end.

Now I know that Disney is a large enough company that they can take the hit for dishonest customers.  And I know people might be able to share some, not so fuzzy, stories about Disney.  But, firsthand, I witnessed what it felt like to be on the other end of great customer service.

For many years, I had jobs where I was trained along the "company line" in customer service.  Never was I trained to deflect the issue back onto the customer.  Even when I had customers who "bought" expensive dresses, wore them for an occasion, and returned them, I was trained to take the items back and make the customer happy.  I did as I was trained.  The customer is always right.

So, there are those who might be wondering why this iPhone4 issue is working my last nerve.  Yes, there are pitfalls to all cell phones.  I am an AT&T customer, I get that.  And yes, the iPhone4 is a delightful, smart phone.  The display is crystal clear.  It takes wonderful photos and video.  I appreciate having 3G.  Face Time is cool (with my husband), though I don't see me using it too regularly.  It's amazing technology.

A big thing was amiss, however.  When presented with this big thing, the 3 million people who bought the phone were not greeted with, "I'm sorry, ma'am.  We will fix the issue right away."  We were made to believe that:
-we were holding the phone "incorrectly"
-we needed a software upgrade
-calls weren't REALLY dropping; we just were not aware of our reception at the time
-there is a fix, but it will cost you $29
-there's not a problem
-if there is an issue, put some tape over the antenna--that will solve the non-problem

Then, finally, 4 weeks later, in an orchestrated "press" conference I hear:
-Apple's not the only one; all cell phones have antenna issues (oh, now there's an antenna issue?)
-less than 1% of the buyers called to complain (that amounts to about 15,000 complaints; I did not call to complain, as I figured I would be greeted with the same party line that the company mouthpiece was giving the press)
-but, my goodness, data shows that calls ARE dropping
-OK, we don't really believe there's an issue (we're victims of "Antenna-gate"; feel sorry for us), but we just want our customers happy (to shut up)
-so, everyone is getting a case

My issue is not with my iPhone.  No way.  Too many people went in to making a really great idea.  I daresay, my problem isn't even really with "Apple."

Yes, Steve Jobs, my problem is with you.  This entire thing could have been diffused by you.  You would have looked like a superhero by simply saying, "Woe, there's an issue here.  Let's do right by our customers."  In fact, I would have lauded you from this lowly blog for doing just that.

Instead, you acted like a tired parent, so weary from his toddler's persistent whining, that he gives in.  Your customers are some of the smartest people in the world, sir.  Don't treat us like village idiots.

Thanks for the case.  I appreciate that the company is making good.  It's kind of like the experience of drinking a Tab, though.  At first, bubbly and seemingly sweet and familiar, but leaves a terrible after taste.

Now I am sure some devout Apple-lover is going to argue with me about Tab, right?  Bring it.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday, July 4, 2010


July 4th is awesome. Our country celebrates its birthday and its freedom. It's mid-summer--some is behind us, some is in front of us. Usually it's warm weather. I love the 4th of July.

This weekend has been filled with quite a few interesting happenings.

On Thursday, we visited with Miss April from PLAY Project. We watched some interesting video from our last visit, she did some modeling, and we set up some additional suggestions for the month:
1. Play dumb. Make him show you or tell you what he wants. Make him work to show you what he wants. Use playful obstruction in play. This is a goal that I find interesting, as we have become so accustomed to "reading" Max that we really haven't done too much in allowing him to tell us what he wants.
2. Use rewarding/reinforcement. When he initiates a response (called "opening a circle"), reward him with a tickle, rub, or rough housing. Give immediate reward or sensory motor play. April pointed out the proprioceptive need he has relating to pounding his feet. After we PLAYed a great deal, he did a lot of jumping on the concrete (made me cringe) over and over, fulfilling a sensory need for pressure on his feet.
3. Use simple pretend play. Give things feelings or personalities (talk through the toys). Use slapstick humor. Use theme and variation in play. This was interesting, as during her visit he started to play on the PC. I thought for sure he was "done--" focused on his game and the rest of the world was shut off. She initiated play with a stuffed animal, as if it was playing the game, too. He engaged in this play. I guess I underestimated how much he could be drawn from his game time.

On Thursday, I also made a trip to the dentist, as, while flossing, I broke off part of my tooth. A crown will come on Monday, alas.

On Friday, after Zumba, I finally went to the podiatrist. I needed to be fitted for custom orthodics for my feet. No fracture. But the way I walk messes with the tendons on my feet (I have now messed with tendons on both of my feet due to exercise), and he felt the orthodics were necessary so I could avoid tearing a tendon, which would require surgery to fix (no thanks).

After that appointment, we headed to Rochelle, IL, to the Rochelle Railroad Park. This is a crossroads for many railroad tracks and is one of the busiest crossings in the country. Man, was it noisy, too! We then stayed in a hotel (Hilton Garden) with a very cool pool in Rockford. On Saturday, we visited the Illinois Railroad Museum in Union, IL. Great time, although way too much for Max in one 24-hour period.

Today, we started the day off with church. The whole family went, and Max was extremely well-behaved. He knew we planned to head to the car wash, one of his favorite things in the world at the moment, and that brings out the inner angel in him for sure. After the car wash, we had a series of storms, and I completely sacked out. What else do you do when it rains, right? We barbecued some tasty marinated pork chops, had some couscous, and corn on the cob, and the all-American strawberry shortcake desert. Now, we are patiently awaiting heading to the fireworks (yeah, I forgot to get sparklers this year... bummer). It's all good. :)

There are many other photos and videos on Facebook, for the ever-so-curious. My personal favorite is the car wash video... a must see!