“What if Alexander Graham Bell’s name were Alexander Graham Siren? The phone wouldn’t ring, it would GO OFF!!” ~George Carlin

When Pearlsky was about two months old we picked up and moved to a college town where her mom was teaching for a trimester. That left me as full time dad. Since Pearlsky was already messed up, we had an early intervention team. I wish I knew the woman’s name, but this one lady came by and did some minor therapy stuff twice a week. The thing we remember most is the bell.

She had this bell and when she rang it, you could count to four, and Pearlsky would break out in a tremendous smile. It was really the only thing that made her smile (I believe I have posted on how she was not ticklish before we found the core issue) (I’ll check and post on it if not). And it was a great smile, but truly, a full four seconds after a single ring of the bell.

with_bellWhen we were leaving town, I asked the woman if she would miss the bell. She mentioned that it was part of an entire set. During the three months we had accumulated stuff that I did not want to take back across the country (an infant swing, etc.), so I said …

How about all this stuff and $100 to your organization?

If you are wondering what she did … here’s a picture I just took:

The bell that cost me about $250 in total ... !

The bell that cost me about $250!

She does not react the same way anymore, but she does respond, and quicker, to the sound of it. Funny how something like this obviously had such an effect on both of us.

So, nu, why am I talking about this now? …

We saw the shrink yesterday! I honestly worked real hard on having the right attitude. She is, after all, a mandated reporter, dealing with Pearlsky’s guardianship, and did not know me at all. I know when to behave. No, really, I do. Sort of.

She took us five minutes early. It turns out she is a psychologist, not a psychiatrist, but that is fine for the state. She had a booklet that was at least TEN pages of things she needed to fill out. I must say, she was really great (50-ish, smart, confident, caring). She explained that she would get whatever info she could from the records but did have to do some stuff with Pearlsky. It was obvious fairly quickly that she “got it,” she knew this was crazy. I told her that some questions would raise my ire, but I would do my best, she smiled.

Does Pearlsky listen when you read to her?

I know she hears, I have no clue if she listens.

Can she point? Can she show where it hurts? etc.

No. No. …

Can she use a straw?

That has honestly been on the last 12 IEPs. No.

Then she said she needed to see how she responds to items. Pearlsky did not really hold anything or reach for anything. She tracked visually a bit more than by chance.

I asked how any of this had anything to do with guardianship. She looked at me and said nothing (I said it nice, she smirked). I said “just going through the hoops and motions?” She shook her head yes.

Then she took out a bell.

She stood behind Pearlsky, held the bell off to the left of her head, Pearlsky was looking straight ahead. She rang the bell once. Pearlsky smiled and turned her head left.

The woman smiled.

She moved the bell to Pearlsky’s right side. She rang the bell once. Pearlsky smiled and turned her head … left.

The woman said, “Oh.” I said to Pearlsky “Are you fucking with her?”

Pearlsky turned her head right toward me and smiled.

That is honestly exactly how it happened.

She wrapped it up, said the next step, the social worker, will be in touch next week. I can’t wait.

I asked why there are no questions about who the guardian would be, why that is not taken into account, she did not know.

I looked at my watch at the end (of the appointment that was scheduled for 3.5 hours). She smiled and said …

How did I do?

Eight minutes less than I guessed. Impressive.

A forty-two minute appointment. One hurdle down, 263 more to go …


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