January 2013

Jack made a drawing last Friday that’s had me all in a tizzy! Tj’s pretty calm about it, but assures me that he’s really excited on the inside :-)

His therapist was filling out his paperwork and gave him a paper to doodle on meanwhile. After she was done she asked him what it was and he said ‘airplane’! She said ‘airplane?’ and he said ‘Daddy’! That morning I’d had Tj’s helmet on the kitchen table to remind me to take it to church for a skit, so during his breakfast Jack said ‘helmet’ and I told him that it was Daddy’s helmet, and he wore it when he flew planes. I was thrilled when I saw his drawing and it really looked like an airplane! About 1/2 an hour after he drew it and after his therapist left I asked him what that was; he didn’t answer. I asked him if he drew a horse and he said ‘no’. ‘A dog?’ ‘No.’ ‘A bus?’ ‘No, airplane.’ Then when Tj got home we went through the same thing and he answered airplane again.

I’m so over-the-top excited because though Jack does talk now, you can’t have a conversation with him at all. You can ask him his name (which he answers somewhat reliably), his age (which he answers with his name more often than with any number, much less his actual age), or yes/no questions (which he usually says ‘yes’ to more than ‘no’ no matter what he really wants the outcome to be). So the fact that this basically nonverbal boy actually drew something recognizable, and labeled it correctly, and then reaffirmed the label 1/2 an hour later, then 6 hours after that is a great big deal to me!

I might have to get a piece of jewelry with that airplane on it!

And all the randomness I’ve been meaning to post for the last 6 (!) months.

Jack is still on the learning side of talking. The way I keep saying he’s beginning to talk makes me wonder when I’m going to consider him as actually talking. In the last couple of months he’s started bossing us around (Jack drive Mama’s truck. Mama, go bafroom. Daddy, go night night.), and it’s so funny/sweet. It’s so good (like I’m sure I’ve blogged about many times before) to see him coming out of his babyhood where he thought he was the only one in the world, to him ‘seeing’ us here, and really interacting with us.

He really wants to do what Max is doing, and really what Tj and I are doing, too. Max is the designated battery changer around here now, and last fall anytime anything didn’t work like Jack thought it should he would run to the kitchen drawer, get out the screwdriver and start poking his toy saying “Need bapries”. Just a few weeks after that he would come to us and verrryy sloooowly say “Neeeeeeed baaaapriiiiiiis” like he thought if he could say it slowly enough we would get it through our thick heads what wasn’t working to his satisfaction! Man, that made us laugh so hard! It’s still funny to find him sprawled out on the kitchen floor with a semi-deflated balloon and him trying to change the batteries, just poking at it with the screwdriver. This week he said ‘batteries’ fairly clearly, though.

His speech is coming along, but his articulation is not great at all. He’s been in Awana for a year and a half now, and right before Christmas I decided to start working with him on his memory verses. Of course the first one was pretty long, so I cut it down to 6 words. It really surprised me how well he remembered that verse after only a few repetitions! He does have a pretty good memory, it just seems sporadic to me. So he’s working on his 4th verse now, I think. And he does memorize them (I don’t work at all on their meaning yet, that will come later), but I don’t think anyone in the world would be able to understand what he was saying w/o seeing the verse as he says it. I’m not worried about this; I do expect him to be a little hard to understand even when he’s an adult. But I’m going to do everything I can to help his speech be as clear as possible. One of the things he does say that anyone can understand is “Oh, Jack!” said in a sad/worried tone when something’s gone wrong and he knows he’s in trouble. It’s the cutest thing in the world, and I’m sad to say he’s really tapered off saying it this last month or so.

So, that’s most of Jack’s good stuff…and now for the bad. HE’S SOOOOO OBSTINATE! I can’t believe how hard headed he is! Everyone warned me, and they were right. So often he just doesn’t want to do what you want him to do, even though he really wants to do it! So many times (and I realize now that I’m typing this that I haven’t seen this particular habit for a couple of weeks) he will balk at just crossing the threshold into his Wee Care classroom, but as soon as he’s in he runs to play with toys. He just wants to fight that last step. And many times after school he’ll walk fairly compliantly out to the truck, but will cry all the way home, and then be fine again at home. I don’t know if I can do anything about this, or just keep assuring him that I am the boss. :-) Lately several of his teachers have told me he’s been running away from them (both ST and DT, Wee Care teacher and Awana teacher). Tj and I don’t put up with that sort of thing, but I don’t think anyone else wants to talk so sternly to him. I just told Tj last night that we should stop playing chase with him around the island in the hopes that that curbs some of that chase mentality when he’s away from home. We’ll see.

Now Max. We have had such a great school year this year! It’s been more fun and less ‘battle of the wills’ than last year, but it’s also been longer hours…that’s my excuse for not blogging in so long. The first two years of homeschool I just flew by the seat of my pants. Every day I’d try to incorporate some reading/writing/math, but it was literally like “Hmmm….Max isn’t doing anything now and other kids his age have been in school for 3 hours…let’s print out some math pages to do.” I did end up finding a free math program on the web I printed out, and by the end of the school year he was consistently doing math as I grocery shopped. He sat in the cart with 3-5 pages of math to do and I piled groceries around him. Heh. Homeschoolers. Then sometime last year another homeschooler had Saxon Math 3 for sale. I looked through the book and it really looked like Max could do it no problem, so I got it.  During the summer I figured out a schedule where we did 1 lesson a day. I printed up a calendar and marked school and vacation days, and it all felt so official! I found other subjects he should study, went through all Aunt Wendy’s books and found what we needed and we were off! It was great! Jack’s therapy was soooo mixed up this year, it made me realize how good I had it those last two years even though his therapy was right through his lunch/nap time. This year it was on all different days and at different times. Sometimes, though, therapists did come to the house, so I made sure we did school during those times. It was great. I knew that we were doing ‘enough’ for Max. After a few weeks I realized that if I had a solid 2 hours we could do writing/grammar and math, and Max reads enough on his own, so the basics were covered. Literally the week I told Tj that all I asked was that he give me 2 straight hours to do school with Max his work hours changed so that I now practically never have that full amount of time before 3:30pm, which is when the other 5 boys on our street get home from school and I really want Max to go outside when they’re out there to play. UGH!

Tj and I had a few rough weeks? Months? I dont’ know. It was bad, though. We’re finally through that time, but what that means is that I really am learning (hopefully) to be flexible. I’m so thankful for his job which allows me to homeschool, but that very job schedule (combined with Jack’s therapy schedule) is causing me a lot of stress. I made this lovely school schedule, and even used it for a while, and it worked great! But now it doesn’t work with our family. I came to a realization that the problem is that I was trying to be in control of a situation in which I had no control. One of Jack’s therapists was changing her time/location on me almost every meeting, and that caused me to have to call another therapist every time and ask her to change her time/location. And on top of that Tj’s schedule was almost always nights, and the time he had to spend with us was right when we were really getting our groove on with school. And yet I felt that because we were homeschooling we should take the time off to spend with Tj. So this pushed Tj and Jack’s schedules to the top and Max/my schedule to the bottom. I tried doing school in the evening after Tj went to work and Max got to play with his friends, but by then Max was worn out and totally moody, so that didn’t work. So now, every day I remember that I’m not in control of our schedule but God is is a good day. And the days when I try to get my stuff done so I can have the evening off, those don’t go so well. I’ve gotten a lot better about it, but Tj and I still need to mesh better. We still run into the problem that he has time off and wants to relax (maybe from 11-2:30pm), but I want to finish up school and then have off time. It’s hard for me to change gears so quickly. I get up and work with Jack and Max till 11, then should totally shut down, then restart at 2:30. Guess I just need more practice at that. :-(

So since I brought up Jack’s schedule, here’s our schedule for the week: Mon Homeschool Co-op 8:45-12pm, Jack meets with DT during that time, Max and I do math and grammar when we get home. Tue drop Jack off at Wee Care at 8:30, grocery shop, pick up J at 11:30, PT is at our house around noon for 45 minutes, then we eat lunch and Max and I do math and grammar. Wed we have no appointments! Whopee! We do all subjects (Bible, math, grammar, Spanish, typing, history, geography) and this is laundry day. Thur drop Jack off at Wee Care, go home and Max works on all subjects, I vacuum kit/living room (that’s a new rule since Christmas). Pick J up from Wee Care and he has his PT again at home. Friday we only have DT at the church from 9:45 for 1/2 hour, then back home to fold clothes and do all subjects. We have some science/art/music throughout the week; we get our Bible reading/memorization done before we leave every morning. This is our schedule since we started back after Christmas, we just cut out OT over the break. I finally had enough of that woman changing all the time and one day Tj said “Why don’t you just drop all therapies?”. I couldn’t see dropping them all, but I thought my life would be so much easier w/o that one. So that’s what I did! :-)

I’d better just post this now and get back to Max later. Tj’s on his way home from work and we’re gonna have fondue for supper.