We're getting into a groove at our house. Z is enjoying preschool and beginning to understand he gets to go 4 days a week. Although the oatmeal for snack today was a big downer. For the kid who will eat anything, I guess we can add oatmeal to the list of "no thank you." And what have I been up to with my free mornings? Volunteering at school. This gives me a chance to be with Carver and Lily in their classes, help their teachers, get to know the students, and my favorite: help in the library. Where else can I have non-stop Harry Potter conversations and look cool? The 5th graders love me!
We did not get tickets to Obama's speech tomorrow night. I got a very nice rejection email letting me know we were on a waiting list. I plan to watch it on TV, of course, and I'll have to be content with that. As an Evangelical Christian Democrat, I set off alarm bells at polling booths and profile surveys. But I continue to believe that we can make a difference with poverty, health insurance, peace, and equality.
This is the week David began classes for his PhD. Every Wednesday night, from 4 to 10. He left this morning at 6:45 and Carver--our early riser--said, "See you tomorrow, Dad." Isn't that sad? So to keep us all happy I've dubbed Wednesdays "slob night." We made cookies and had dessert before dinner, and I tossed some baby carrots and bananas on the table in an attempt at a balanced meal. The kids are currently playing computer and we are living the American dream of lazy evenings in front of a screen.
I figure one night a week won't kill us.
And that is why Zinabu is going to preschool. Carver and Lily never did preschool because, well, it was expensive and I really didn't see the reason. Zinabu is going to Head Start (free) and it meets at Carver and Lily's elementary school. So they're all in the same building, though Z is only there Tuesday through Friday, 8:00 to 11:00. And if you must know, I really don't want Zinabu to spend every morning this year watching TV. And that's the road we're headed down because I have more on my plate and I need to keep him busy. So no TV, yes preschool, and eveyone is happy.
I am a terrible blogger for not updating recently. Did you know that our washing machine has been broken for 6 days? I feel fortunate that everyone had enough underwear to last through the drought of clean clothes. Yesterday the part we needed finally arrived and the appliance repair man (bless him) came and got our washer up and running again. Unfortunately, he was incredibly chatty and after I paid him and gave him all the cues to leave, he kept gabbing away about the benefits of a Whirlpool over a Maytag. Inside I was actually screaming at him, "Don't you know I have 2,000 loads of laundry to do? Get out of here!"
The first day of school was on Monday, and not only am I a bad blogger but I am also a bad mommy because I forgot to take a picture. Admittedly, the novelty wears off when you have a 4th grader, but still... It would have been cute. Too many other things to remember, I guess. School got off to a great start for everyone! And everything was going all right until today when I told our dyslexic child the special education teacher would pull them this morning and give them a spelling evaluation. Child burst into tears and said they are sick and tired of spelling and writing. I don't blame them. They are facing "testing" burn out, but still I'm hoping it won't take too long because she (the teacher) needs those results to figure out where to begin Phonemic Awareness skills. Sigh. Our child was so discouraged, I feel sick.
Zinabu starts pre-school next week, which is another post entirely so I'll save the details. But just know that I am pretty excited to have a few mornings a week to myself.
Hope all of you are doing well!
I am tired! Wiped out! Utterly exhausted! The emotional roller coaster is interesting. My two main symptoms that I'm not functioning at 100% are eating melted chocolate chips drizzled over pretzels and standing in the middle of a room, staring at the wall, with no memory of how I got there. Good times.
Today was the conference meeting with the school principal, teacher, special education teachers, and our tutor. I felt about 5 years old and was sure I was going to melt under the emotional marathon, but all in all it was a great meeting. Our child's teacher is amazing, and is already happy to accommodate us in any way. The bigger issues revolve around instructional help for our child. In special education circles, you have many, many philosophies and ideas about how kids' brains work and how best to treat areas where a child is falling behind. The big problem is everyone thinks their way is best--and that their way is the only way. So our tutor is reaaallllly pushing the word dyslexia to the hilt, while another special ed. teacher doesn't like to use the word dyslexia and won't treat it as such. There are theories, remediation, trainings, interventions for the same issue but they all go about treating it in different ways. No one was really arguing, but I found myself saying things to make everyone happy.
From my perspective, I just want my child to feel good at school and learn how to spell and write. I don't care how it happens, just that it does.
So our kiddo gets to have a small word processing laptop for their desk and we will be encouraging them to use it as much as possible. I can see it being a very slow start--picture laborious pecking at each letter--but as they get more comfortable using it we hope the speed will pick up. Our child will also have a lighter homework load, and will be able to dictate long written answers for big tests. I will also meet again with the teacher tomorrow to find out what the day to day schedule looks like in the classroom and how we can best modify it for our babe. I want to be the teacher's ally, her helper, and I want her to know that we don't want to burden her with extra accommodations for our child, just that we want our child to enjoy school again.
From here on out it is a week to week, bit by bit, moving forward. We can start remediation but will they be enough? Can we get more? We can get accommodations in the classroom, but will they work? Are they realistic? We will know a little more as time goes by.
Thanks for listening through all of this. It's very, very hard to really describe how tough this has all been. My heart goes out to the many parents that have to navigate the "system" for even bigger issues than what we're dealing with. And we're the ones who are pro public school and David works for the district!
No parent has a child and thinks, "I'll let them use whatever language they want." Nooooooo. Of course not. That would be "bad parenting." David and I subscribe to the "good parenting" motto and don't allow our children to use crude language. Absolutely no potty talk. We have a zero tolerance policy, and we strictly enforce it. The kids know that bathroom humor will land them in a time out. But I've noticed a flaw in this well-constructed discipline method. By making certain words "unspeakable" we've upped that humor factor at the same time we're trying to discourage this behavior. Just knowing you're not supposed to use a certain word makes it so much funnier when and if you do hear it. The chortles and snorts, guffaws and snickers that ensued when Carver saw the book "Walter the Farting Dog" at Barnes and Noble were really so unnecessary, in my opinion.
Yesterday I was reading a book to Zinabu. It was about a cat that has a secret dream to be a super-hero. The poor cat, in his exuberance, dug up his owner's perfectly planted garden, and the owner thus called him a nincompoop. When Zinabu heard this he about had a seizure he was laughing so hard. He then wanted me to read it again. By the 6th time, I figured I needed to capture his response on video--just for memory's sake. Please note that I am in NO WAY glorifying the word "nincompoop" or Zinabu's laughter at it.
This website--stuffwhitepeoplelike--has given me a lot of laughter over the last couple days. When you go to the top of the page you can click on the tab that says "Full List of What White People Like" and scroll through the topics. My favorites are #100 about bumper stickers and #16 on gifted children. But they're all a riot! Hit this site whenever you need a good laugh. (Editorial Note: This is satire, people. Don't get too worked up over the content of the website. Read it and enjoy the wit.)
Carver is blazing through his week of camp. Loving swimming, mountain biking, dodge ball, zip lines, canoeing, and all the stuff that goes with camp. He's only in the day camp portion as I explained to him he will be 57 years old before he can go to sleep-away camp, but he does not find that amusing. Next week will be our last week of summer vacation and that's not a bad thing. We've had a very active, very blessed summer, and while I hate to see it come to an end, we are all ready for school to start. (That's code for my kids are starting to really get on one another's nerves.)
And in other news, David and I just signed up for free tickets to see Barack Obama's acceptance speech at Mile High Stadium on August 28. I'm sure we're 2 of 200,000 from Colorado that are trying to go, but we can have our dreams, right? I have no idea how long it will take for us to find out if we're going or not, but for emotional and historic reasons, we want to be there!
A little blurry, because Lily took the photo.
I don't know when Z turned into a self-proclaimed rapper, but isn't Sid the cutest?
Round 2 of testing for "child X" is over, but we need to do a little bit more tomorrow. Our kiddo was brain-fried after an hour and a half today. We will meet the tutor at the public library in a private room (my suggestions since it is 97 degrees and we have no A/C). Our child can finish what's left and then the tutor can get going with her end of the evaluation. If our child had a very discernible disability, I don't think the testing would have to continue, but as she put it... 'X' presents a very interesting profile. 'X' can read at an advanced level, but also makes story mistakes at the kindergarten level. 'X' cannot spell for beans, which is strange given their reading ability. Has some difficulty with math, and lots of issues with phonics. We're supposed to get an Occupational Therapist evaluation (for writing dysgraphia) but I'm not beating down the doors yet. I hate to over-test our kid all at once. At the same time, I want to be very thorough.
Mostly, though, I am so sad for our sweetie. Our child is definitely having some problems, and I feel terrible that they had to endure an entire school year (last year) of confusion before we noticed. Our child has slipped under the radar, though, because of those high reading scores, I suspect. Even David and I didn't really grasp there was a problem until spring.
So one more morning of tests and then we can let the tutor start crunching the results and write a report for us. We shall see...