Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas and Neuropsych testing

This is the third, maybe fourth, time I've sat down to write an entry since my last one. I either get distracted, or just sit here and can't think of anything to say. My brain is tired, and I want to go back to bed. But. For you, dear reader, I slog on forward. Duff Gardens! Hurrah!

It was especially difficult to sit and write when the brain is tired and TBS is running 24 hours of "A Christmas Story" and I was somewhat addicted to it... and can't ... focus... when Ralphie... is about ... to say "Oh, Fuuuuuuuudge." So I abandoned the entry on Saturday.

It was especially difficult to focus to write when it was Thursday and Sunday night and I was kind of overwhelmed by Monkey or Kangaroo wine.

It was especially difficult to abandon my husband with my parents on Monday and come up here and slog through an entry, so I abandoned you instead and sat and had a nice visit. With more monkey wine and a huge prime rib roast a la Douglas. And then I had a food coma, and one cannot write at all when one is in a food coma. Can one? No.

And as my hit counter tells me, all y'all were busy too. Because I think I averaged 20 hits per day from the 21st to yesterday. So I know I'm not alone in my busy and blank-brain slate state. I have a feeling we will all be getting slowly back on track this next week, and that will be good.

I hope everyone had a great holiday, no matter which one was celebrated.

We had a good Christmas here at the house. First Christmas here in our new old house. And it was nice. I know now how much more decorating I can do in the future, and am hoping that the two front rooms will be in a more organized state next year so we can enjoy them more.

For a change, this year I had all my shopping done quite a ways in advance. Except for stocking stuffers for the kids, and I always wait until last minute to get those... Go me!

Doug even did some shopping, because as of late he hasn't had a lot of work in the afternoons so he's been bailing at 3 and coming home. That's another story all together. So he went out and bought things, and helped out quite a bit. And for that I'm exceedingly thankful.

On Friday we had a nice lunch at work, and everyone left early. Except for me. I stayed late and finished what I needed to do. I love having the office to myself and get so much more done, that the three hours I had solo there were more productive than all the hours of the week prior.

Well, not really. It just felt like it. And that is always surprising to me, that perceptions are not always exactly what reality is, but things "feel" different and more successful when circumstances are altered.

On Saturday, I took Geoff to a doctor's office to have neuropsych testing done. His doctor had requested we do this back when he was in Kindergarten. So we did, and he was non-compliant. He took one test, or actually just a part of one test, and walked out of the room. He said he didn't see the point. It was stupid. He couldn't accomplish one of the tasks, so rather than go on he just quit.

Doug and I decided to give him some time to mature and understand the circumstances are that you just don't quit and walk away when you need to take a test. I made this appointment back in September and thought to myself that sure, two days before Christmas will be an EXCELLENT time to ask a very over-hyped and excited 9 year old to sit down and concentrate on neurological tests. I was actually just plain thrilled to get an appointment prior to two years from now, so when they threw the date out there, I scarfed it up like a hungry croc on a piece of steak.

I began to have second thoughts as December 23rd started to approach.

Geoff couldn't concentrate on anything. He was jacked up for Christmas. He was turned up to 11. He was probably more excited and anxious than I ever remember him ever being in his entire life. It started right after Thanksgiving, and I swear to you, I swear... if someone's head was ever going to explode ever in recorded history -- it was Geoff over the last four weeks of his life.

I thought about cancelling the appointment, rescheduling. Something. There was no way I could expect him to perform well on this test. What was I thinking? They threw the date at me and I said "yes! of course!"

I'm a dumbass.

boy of the blue tongue tribeBut we stuck with it and went. Geoff was a trooper -- he finished all the tests the doctor gave him, including two that most kids really hate doing. He was ready for more when she said they were all set and she didn't need to give him anything else. Lately his teacher has had the kids wear special "thinking hats" when they are organizing their writing and working on papers, so Geoff has this little fleece hat that hasn't fit him for a few years, and that's his hat of thinking cap choice.

So he wore it to the testing and said that it made all the difference.

Results won't be surprising. We've got a diagnosis of Nonverbal Learning Disorder. We know he has visual/spacial issues. We know he's left handed. We know all sorts of things about Geoff. This just consolidates the label for him, and allows people to know going forward exactly what he's all about, and hopefully as time goes by, this will help him have some concessions made through middle school, high school and college, so that he can sucessfully complete programs and get places.

I was exceptionally proud of him, seeing as all week he couldn't focus long enough to tie his shoes or eat or anything... so six hours of neuropsych testing was a lot to ask.

Way to go Geoff!

Sunday came and Doug took Geoff and the dogs for a long walk so I could wrap things. Excellent. That afternoon I went out and bought all the last minute things we needed.

Sunday night, we could not get Geoff to go to bed. I had to stay awake, lest I had another "tooth fairy" experience where falling asleep resulted in someone getting up before me and discovering the tooth still there... So by about 11:30 I was ready to kill someone shorter and blonder than me because he just couldn't go to sleep.

He went to bed at 8. Came out at 8:30 all amped up and excited. Went back to bed at 9:30. Came out at 10 saying that he remembered he had things to put under the tree... Went back to bed at 11... was singing in his bed at 11:30.

At about midnight, I switched over from watching "A Christmas Story" to "Dirty Jobs" (love me some Mike Rowe) and realized I didn't hear any more singing. No one was coming downstairs. It was time.

I set everything out, with Doug's help. And he stood there and looked at the two small piles and said "That's IT?"

doug and roboreptile 1Well, yeah. That's it.

Size-wise everything was small... but price-wise, it was huge.

I spent more this year than last year, and they got exactly what they asked for, save for one thing for Jess that I couldn't find and one thing for Geoff that I didn't think he really would ever EVER play with even though he asked for it.

The biggest thing under the tree was a Roboreptile from Santa. Geoff wanted a Robodog... but they were out of stock. Plus, he has three dogs already. He has no skeletal dinosaur monsters... so Santa figured this one would be a better gift.

I'm not sure who enjoys it more... Doug or Geoff.

Speaking of Doug, I had a hard time picking something for him for Christmas. I didn't know what to get in the first place, and then I still was kind of hurt a bit from my birthday being a total fiasco and not getting a gift. Being sick was not his fault -- but not giving me a little something to unwrap, that was.

So I didn't know what to get. I've been of the mindset lately that unique things mean more than just some crap you're TOLD to buy by a TV commercial. My friend Amy said that the recent commercials from jewelry stores telling you what the necklace or diamond symbolizes is crap -- you don't get told by the store what something symbolizes, you create that yourself. I couldn't agree more.

I got in the car and went for a drive, wondering where my wheels would take me. I found myself at an antique store a town or so away, looking at cool things that would look cool in our house.

I bought a cool illustration/drawing thing of different types of snow, and what the conditions are when temperatures are in a certain range... it is meant for cross country skiiers, but I liked the art work. Doug HATES snow -- but I figured that he could shake his fist at the illustration of the scary snow cloud face man thingie while throwing another log on the woodstove, and that would give him some satisfaction.

Also, I picked up a small set of antlers mounted on a piece of wood. They are really small -- mostly meant for keys and whatnot to be hung on. I thought it would look equally nice in our woodstove room -- possibly over the woodstove itself. I like them. I only hope he does too.

Earlier in the month, I started shopping around for him for a Jack Lambert football jersey. I had asked Doug over the summer what player he would want a jersey for, and was surprised by his answer. NFL dot com sells throwback jerseys, but they are prohibitively expensive. Four hundred smackers for a jersey is too rich for my blood. So I dragged my feet and hemmed and hawed and finally broke down and did some searching. I found one online on eBay for $19.00. It was in Korea. They shipped it to me, and the shipping was more than the shirt (I didn't do next-day or express. It was just regular shipping. Next day shipping would have made it as expensive as buying from NFL dot com, I think...)

It arrived yesterday.

So I gave it to him this morning, and he was honestly pleased and surprised. "Too bad I can't wear it while watching them this year..." He said as he looked it over. Guess the season is over, they're done, and that's it.

There's always next year.

And I know that all y'all are wondering what he got me, if anything. He did. He hooked me up with some XM satellite radio in the Subaru, and bought me a stand-alone Epson photo printer. I need to set it up and figure it out, but it looks wicked cool. And the XM is going to come in handy when we take our trip to Florida in February... by car. Yikes.

So he made up for the lack of birthday giving with very wonderful gifts -- and no jewelry store can tell him what a journey necklace symbolizes. Screw that. XM radio is better.

Alright. I am officially very late for work. I wanted to stay home for a bit this morning because Geoff has been complaining that he is bored and misses me and hates that I'm going to work while he's on vacation. "Haven't you ever heard of WINTER BREAK! You need a winter break. You need to stay home on vacation like me."

Sorry honey, sometimes grownups don't get winter break. It's just that way. So yeah -- I'm feeling the mommy guilt today, and really want to not be at work but I have a lot to do... perhaps I'll stay late again on Friday when everyone bails early for New Years.

My contractor just pulled in the driveway, so I may stick around for another hour because Jess is still in bed. I've gotta email the girls or something and let them know I'm coming in later ...

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