School Bells Ring, Are you Listening..

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Photo by Tsu Nellis

Cause here we go again folks!  The school year is upon us here in the lovely Midwest.  I realize that in a lot of places school has already started… but perhaps you can still use this lovely thought as you’re sending your child back to school this year.

Speaking of THIS year.  Its a big one for us.  My BABY is going into Kindergarten!  And I’m so excited!  And also terrified!  And probably you know, I think there are maybe one or two staff members familiar with our family who are also somewhat terrified that our baby is going into Kindergarten because they have watched her grow up with two older brothers… Each season she would toddle in and out of the school walking a little taller, spouting a few more words, pointing out a few more numbers.  This child is ready.  MORE than ready.  She’s loud and exuberant and wholly unapologetic about her ideas!  I’m half way  expecting a phone call home the first day explaining  why she had to be removed from the principal’s office because she didn’t understand why she could not be the principal that day as she was certain it was her turn.  Some of the prayers I say for these children, I tell you.  They are something.

And my oldest.  My spectrum child, M is heading into fourth grade and I cannot even believe it.  Can not.  He had such a rough year last year that really by February, I had mentally tossed all of his academic goals and just told him to focus on making it though his day every day.  “Get to the end and try not to cry.  Afterwards we’ll have snack.”  Big goals.  Thankfully, as always, M absorbs much more than we think, and he seems to be in an ok spot academically.  He maybe be a little behind, but we have worked hard this summer to catch him up.  He is set up for a great year so far.  I have created a “transition plan” for him and his teacher reached out a couple of weeks ago to set up an appointment with us for an early meeting.  He has seen and spent time in his classroom and time with his teacher.  He is on great medication to help with his ADHD.  I have LOTS of backups at the ready for homeschool co-ops, additional tutoring and learning plans to supplement his school work if necessary and I have to say, having that ready to go, has really made me feel more comfortable with him being in a regular classroom.  Maybe because I’m not afraid to pull him out if needed.  I’m not afraid to try something else if this just isn’t working.  Sometimes you just cannot put a triangle where a circle should go, you just can’t.  If you have a special needs child heading back to school and you are concerned about “where they are” academically or how they are going to do this year, remember this:

The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all. ~ Mulan

M’s first grade teacher once made an announcement to the parents of her students at the beginning of the year regarding homework and expectations, “They are young.  They have a LONG road ahead.  Please remember this.  Pick your battles.”  ~ Mrs. P, First grade teacher

And Mr. A, my middle child.  *sigh*  I’m not even sure what to say.  I never worry about him; he doesn’t need it.  He’s responsible, a self-starter, super smart, even gifted possibly.  His biggest problem actually is that he indeed IS the middle child.  He always feels that he doesn’t get enough attention, even when we go out of our way to give him extra attention. Oh, and possibly that he is sleep deprived.  He has always been sleep-deprived.  Like from birth.  M just feels that if he is awake, Mr. A should be awake too.  Its been difficult for Mr. A, although he is learning to fight back.  We’re enrolling him in additional extra-curricular activities this year to try to broaden his world a little bit.

Good luck to everyone!  We’re all in this together.  #BeFierce

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

 

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That is not my favorite color!

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Did you know that they don’t make (most) boys’ shoes with velcro after size 3?  Nope.  Welcome to shoelace-land.  So with school around the corner, we were out shoe shopping today.  The real kind of shoe shopping – not the kind where you pop into Target for some flip-flops.  The children were measured for their shoes and are on average about a size larger than last year.  It took about half an hour or so for us to get Mr. A and Miss S all settled with their new kicks.  For M, however, the whole process was more difficult.  We learned that because of his new size, there aren’t anymore light-up sneakers.  *sad face*  It also means that there aren’t too many options with velcro.  (Where we were shopping, there was only one pair of velcro shoes and they were gray.  I think possibly he was personally offended by the color.  “That is not my favorite color!”)  Slip on varieties such as Vans were an option, but there were limited styles.  Anyway, we knew it was coming.  We knew that one day soon we would have to sit down and work with those motor skills on shoe tying.  I may order some of those little squiggly things that go in shoes instead of laces just in case, but we’re really going to work on tying shoes this week.

Initially, M wanted some red and blue Geoux sneakers like his brother Mr. A.  After realizing that they didn’t have them in his size, we checked the men’s department out for alternatives.  M was not thrilled. I was not thrilled.  The men’s department??  Really??  He’s 9!!  Still.  He has big feet.  He’s growing.  I can do this.  Ok, the men’s department it is.  They didn’t have anything that really looked like a boy, so we decided to break for lunch and go to another department store.  After a minor meltdown whereupon we nearly put that, “No Shoes, No Service” rule to the test, we had lunch.  At the second department store we  (again) explained to M that he couldn’t have light-up shoes anymore, they just didn’t make them in his size.  He was saddened, but he was coping.  Then we had to break it that there really was no velcro option available to us on that day except for the slip-ons.  He had a hard time with this one.  Mostly I think he felt like he was losing control of his situation.  He could no longer dictate what kind of shoe he wanted in terms that he understood.  We went through rows and rows of shoes.  This took literally all afternoon.  He was to the point of refusing to wear his own shoes that he had worn into the store, until we found new shoes.  We began to focus on colors and he decided that red would be his color choice because it was similar to the first pair he looked at earlier in the day.  We went through all the red shoes and eventually he reluctantly agreed to a pair of very red sneakers.  Fabulous.  The relief!  G and I felt like we had run a marathon.  We quickly changed gears and headed to a playdate at the park with friends.  The trials and tribulations of shoe shopping were quickly forgotten, but I did have to re-tie M’s shoes several times.  Gotta work on those skills.  One problem at a time!  Third grade here we come!

*side note:  Incidentally – Miss. S’s shoes….um, they’re musical.  I’m going to let that sink in.  ::::MUSICAL:::::  When you walk, the toes light up.  When you put the toes of the shoes together, they play music and the toes and heels light up.  Yeah.  We did not realize that until we got home.  I have to say, it was a little weird discovering that we had bought our daughter musical shoes.  I just don’t even know what to think.  I suppose it will add a new dimension to waiting in lines…

pTSA-20396289p275wMiss S’s musical shoes.

Twinkle Wishes by Skechers.  Photo by Sports Authority.

Be Fierce.  #dropthegrayshoes

#IamAFierceMom

Kelly

Playing Grown-Up

Have you ever heard that if you smile, even when you don’t feel like it, you will eventually feel happy?  (or at least happier?)  Its supposed to be true.  So, I’m trying this.  I’m going to pretend that I feel like a mature adult and hope that I eventually actually feel that way.  Think it will work?  Yeah, I know, I’m not 100% convinced either, but I’m going to give it a go.  

First day of school went so smoothly for my mons-ners, M seems to have jumped back in like he’d been gone a week.  A switch went off in his head and suddenly he’s in school mode.  Awesome-sauce.  “A” seems to be enjoying it, but more gradually easing into the routine, in the meantime enjoying his new lunchbox and new salad box to bring to school.  (He loves salad so much, he asked if he could start bringing it for lunches.  As long as he eats, I don’t feel like I can complain.)  Miss. S had her meeting with her preschool teacher and she will start in about a week or so.  We’re enjoying some quality time together this week.  I did however find out the afternoon of the first day that M has a special education T.A. that I am not really on good terms with.  We don’t have a good history.  I tried to think of how to handle the situation and went over a bunch of scenarios in my head.  The best I could come up with was to start out on a positive note and hope that the situation works well for M.  I mean, after all, its not really my situation.  It’s M’s.  He has different relationships than I do.  He can make friends on his own, he can handle his own schoolwork (when at school anyway), and I am just going to take a deep breath and wait it out.  The T.A. seems to have a good rapport with him and I feel like she’s a good person, its just me that she’s not nuts about and you know, that’s ok, as long as that doesn’t interfere with anything and I’m going to go for positive and say that I think its going to be ok.  The “mama bear” approach isn’t going to always work and we’re all in this together for the next handful of years so I think erring on the side of caution and good intention is my best choice.  As a friend of mine just reminded me, its difficult being a parent and being a special needs parent sort of ups the ante on that.  I feel like I always need to be there for M, always explain things for him, sort things out for him, but you know, I’m not always going to be there and although he handles situations differently than I would, he is now old enough to be able to speak for himself at least a little bit.  So, I’ll keep tabs on things and monitor his progress and we’ll see.  Mature adult on the outside, crazy childish ravings on the inside.  Yay me!  

It also helps me that I was reminded recently of how fortunate I am to have children in the first place and to be able to stay at home to have these challenges/opportunities to conquer.  I’m glad that I have my problems.  Actually that is not true.  I am thankful that I have my challenges.  

And let’s see – the Man burns in 3 days at Burning Man.  

I am on day 10 of 16 of being on my own with the mons-ners and it has gotten substantially easier with school being in session! Plus, I have an evening out with friends tomorrow, so I’m excited about that.  Also, I think we’re past the “scariness’ of the transition from summer to school schedule, so *whew*!  Transitions.  Transitions are hard and I don’t know about yours, but really hard for my kiddos.  

Alrighty, well I will say a little prayer that our school situation works out and I hope all of you are enjoying settling into the very beginning of the school season.