We had our first IEP (Individual Education Plan for special education kids) conference for Julia for school next year. Sort of creepy, to be with a bunch of people and decide that your child is disabled. She fits the autistic profile in a marginal way (and to decide whether it is developmental delay in some areas caused by lack of experience or neurological difference is impossible), but the label is so very necessary for her to get the support that she needs for First grade. Actually, it was incredible to sit around a table of experts from “downtown,” all who are interested in helping your kid, our kid. And they really are committed to kids and education, which is so much different from what I encountered during our short time in the Washington Township school district. I think IPS would have been way worse than that! No one tried to prove that Julia did not need the support.
It was great to hear Julia's teacher talk about how Julia has done this year, makes me realize how far this little girl has come -- from almost pre-scribbling to drawing and writing her name. Christy said one thing that I didn't know -- how it escaped my almost daily updates is beyond me -- she said that when they were talking about family traditions and heritage, Julia piped up with "I from China." It was around the same time as Julia's decision to wear her Chinese clothes to the Chinese New Year party. I was beginning to think that Julia had really closed the door on her past, and that one day it would need to be traumatically opened, but as usual she is integrating her past on her own terms in her own time.
I had a job interview on Tuesday in Kanosha which is about 50 minutes away from Madison. It is not ideal travel-wise, but it is a job I am qualified to do based on past experience. Considering that I worked for courts and not firms, these jobs are few and far between. One of my interviewers was not keen on my living in Madison and he pressed the point. What can I say? Yes, I'd rather work close to home, but basically I'd rather work! It is so interesting in an interview when the interviewer has made up his/her mind that they are not going to hire you. I saw it when I looked for jobs in Indy after law school and the pressing point was that I came from the east coast and wouldn't I prefer going back there. When you get to this point in the interview there is nothing at all to do. I'd love to be sassy enough to stand up and say, “it has been nice meeting you. I see you are having trouble with blah-blah-blah. If you change your mind and want to talk further about hiring me, I'd be happy to come in again.”
But no, I don't have that much sass.
The same interviewer asked about my children. Such a no-no, but what is the correct answer – I go into survival mode and try to suggest that kids and this job are a perfect fit, and that my kids are oh so independent and that my partner is a real, working partner. Again, none of this works and it is completely futile. Anyone whose eyebrows go up when you say, “I have one in Kindergarten,” is not giving you that job.
Again, I'd like to have the sas factor.
I also did a qualifying test for another job the same day. This town is the Sarah Lawrence of the job market. There is always another written test, an essay, or more opinions to offer before the real job interview comes. Right now, I am still not churning out the essays with ease but it is getting easier and I am getting used to it.
Anyway, there was the rather cool sounding job related to zoning. Zoning law and regulations are an old favorite of mine. If I could have found the right zoning related job years ago, I'd still be in pig heaven. I think of this job as Zoning Queen of Madison, although it has a very boring managerial title. My essay application scored high enough for me to take the qualifying test. (Interestingly, I did not score high enough on the Department of Corrections application to merit an interview for counsel in that department. Was I on the wrong side in my previous life?) The zoning test was an 81 multiple choice, plus essay, of course, test that came with a portion of the state code related to zoning. The code booklet was about an inch and a half thick and you litterally had to look up every answer. I came in late (another story about bad directions and totally my fault), but I was determined to plow through the test. Midway through the test, I realized that I was having fun! Yes, I love zoning and I love that codes about it! I am sure that I missed plenty of questions – I guessed at some and I was not as familiar with the WI code as someone who had been working with it – but I had a great time.
I have a Public Defender essay to finish for another screening interview and I will probably take a guardian ad litem seminar next month. Some where there is a job.
Closing on a Julia note, which is so much more fun than the job hunt. Julia had received a big box of toys about a month ago that our friend Alison was finished playing with. Julia has been playing with the princesses' castle and little figures for weeks and I quietly put away the dress up clothes that were also in the box. Yesterday evening, Julia checked her makebelieve box and found the princess dresses and shoes. She had a great time with the dresses but it was the shoes that were the real hit. That very distinctive sound of little girls in plastic dress up shoes echoed in the house. And those little feet with silver and jewels and feathers! What little girl bliss!