Monday, January 16, 2012


I spent last week with my mom in south Florida. Since my dad passed away four years ago, she continues to be a snowbird, spending half the year in New Jersey and half the year in Florida. She wants to keep doing this as long as she can, and we hope that will be true for a while.

As I think I mentioned before, Toots moved into a girls' residence last month. We are having her at home every other weekend, more or less. She says she likes being home, but when she is here she keeps asking us to take her places - "Can we go to the movies? Can we go to Panera Bread? Can we go to the dollar store?" - regardless of what we are doing or have planned. Shopping and eating are her twin passions. When Toots is at the house, she can frequently go out on shopping trips or excursions with staff.

Being home does not seem to make her happy. Being at the residence doesn't seem to make her happy, either. We despair as to whether she will ever find a place where she can be happy.

Since Toots was in the hospital from the end of June until December, she received very little in the way of education. The hospital offered two hours of instruction per day, but the kids were not made to go, and from when she communicated, I have serious doubts whether it was worth anything. She told me one day that a "school" assignment at the hospital had been, "Make a list of all the team sports you know." Toots is nominally in eleventh grade. SIGH.

Since she moved into the residence, she has been receiving homebound instruction, also supposedly for two hours each day. The tutor often calls to cancel.

Last week, we had the screening to determine whether Toots would return to the special ed high school she attended from January to June of 2011. (A number of her new housemates also attend.) She had been saying for several days that she didn't want to go back there, she wanted to attend another alternative school program (which the abovementioned tutor had told her about). Upon investigation, it proves that the alternative school cannot meet her psychiatric needs, and it would not be an appropriate setting for her.

Anyway. We went to the screening, and the upshot is that Toots is accepted (and, as of this minute, is willing) to return to school tomorrow. While we were there, she saw a number of faculty members and friends who were happy to see her and expressed gladness that she is returning. I hope it actually happens tomorrow morning. She has gotten into the habit of sleeping very late, and I hope the house staff do not have trouble getting her out of bed to meet the bus. We gave her money to have her hair cut and styled today, and a member of the staff is taking her. She is a teenager, after all, and she does want to look good. It is hard, sometimes, to remember that she is just a kid.

I have many things to do today. I am not working outside of home at present (though I am doing some freelance writing and other things), and I have errands to run and projects to complete. When I have time (later today maybe? Ha), I need to sit down and figure out how to get the word out that I'm back online.

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