Sunday, May 20, 2012

Motormouth syndrome

Perhaps I am just having trouble with the adjustment of going from a child who had a limited and late vocabulary to an incessant one, but I find myself at a loss to curb my commenting and questioning child to a polite equilibrium. Don't get me wrong, I am beyond grateful that he can and does talk and is finally up to speed in that area, but I can't say that I'm always grateful for his timing or lack thereof.  For example, we were visiting a new church today and he just could not keep himself from chattering away no matter how many times I shushed him and threatened no play ground time after church if he did not have good listening.  He just could not help himself.  During communion as the pastor said, "Here is Christ's body, broken for you..." Isaac very loudly asked, "Body broken?  What's that mean?"  "Shhh..."  "Mom, tell me! What's body broken mean?"  And later when standing between me and the person sitting beside me, "Pew! Something smells bad. Gross."  I started silently praying that the woman beside me didn't suspect that he meant her.  To his credit, it was her.  God forgive me.  Her clothes had that smell that clothes get when the dryer shuts off before the load is fully dry, slightly mildewed.  In case you were wondering, I am mean and still didn't let him play on the play ground after church.  I was a little too embarrassed to stick around.

While I know that kids are famous for the "from the mouths of babes" stuff, I also know that people on the spectrum sometimes struggle with what is appropriate and what is not appropriate to say.  I can't help but think of the woman that Kim Stagliano mentions in her book for being fired from a store for not being to stop talking about babies and pregnancy to women buying pregnancy tests.  Is Isaac going to be the kid that is constantly saying awkward things?  He already gets some strange looks on the play ground for being a bit exuberant and forward when it comes to playing with other kids.  A little girl asked him what he was doing the other day and he responded with one hand behind his back and a pointer in the air like a cartoon professor, "I am here to make new friends!"  And sometimes he is the kid who is desperately trying to join in and not quite getting that the kids running away from him aren't playing a game of tag, but are actually trying to get away from him.  That makes me sad, but I also know that that is life.  In the meantime, we will keep working on context and a cure for motormouth syndrome.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

School Assignment Update from Desperate Housewife

Well, we did not get into the school we hoped- the one closest to our house.  Instead, we got assigned to a school 6 miles or so away that has a pretty good rating, but some bad reviews about the current principle, etc.  It just seems very inefficient to send a kid to school 6 or so miles up the road when there is a school one mile up the road.  But I can't think about this too much or thoughts like this enter my head: "So, we live one mile from the school and didn't get in.  I bet kids that live closer to Cary got into that school and we didn't."  Because that kind of thinking sends me into a spiral of hate for the way the system works here, and I already have some political beef with North Carolina.

Instead, I neatly filled out a transfer request form with some guilt thrown in about how much gas money it's going to cost me to drive my child to and from the school we got into every day on top of paying a mortgage for a house that hasn't sold and rent on the house we are currently living in which is, by the way, one mile from the school we want to be in.  Did I mention it's only one mile?  I can run that far.  I could even pack my kindergartner up in his industrial sized Amish wagon and walk him to school at that distance.  Ok, rant over.  I did what was in my power to do, but if they deny our transfer request we will just send him to the school he did get into and hope we like it.  Who knows?  Maybe the kindergarten teacher there is better than the one at the school we wanted.  Maybe I will like the parents that attend Turner Creek better than the ones I would have met at Olive Chapel and I will finally make some friends!  Too much?  Yeah, can you tell we're a bit lonely out here?  I just pictured my face to look like this: 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Resources Resources Resources

As some of you may know, I am casually homeschooling Isaac until kindergarten starts in the fall.  I say casually because we do not have a set curriculum.  I am basically just using some workbooks, free print outs, games, the Ipad, and my mean mommy skills to accomplish a basic kindergarten prep.   Not everyone who homeschools does so to prep for public school, so my method (or lack thereof) probably wouldn't work for serious homeschooling families.  But I thought I would pass on my resources nonetheless.

Workbooks:  Some are better than others, but in all honesty, the ones from the dollar store do the trick.

Print outs:  I just discovered for free printouts.  I'm lucky to have a kid the likes boring old worksheets, and that's just what these are.  So if you're looking for practice exercises or trying out work for the next grade level, this is a good place to go.

Games:  Playing board games is a really good way to practice following directions, simple math, etc.  We are still loving the Busytown board games.

Ipad:  Why?  Because visual learning just works... and keeps my kid quiet on long car rides.  We LOVE the Reading Raven app.  It's really well put together and has helped Isaac's reading skills become more automatic.  Also, did you know that there are special education apps?  They have free social stories, and a really in depth app. you can purchase that works specifically on conversational skills for many different scenarios.

Mean Mommy Skills:  I simply make Isaac read at least one new easy reader book to me every night before bed.  I have also started keeping these books in the car in place of toys.  I often find him reading to himself in the backseat while we are out running errands.

Nice Mommy Skills:  I signed him up for a Kindergym class at the community center that works on basic floor tumbling mixed with some academic and social skill work.  I also signed him up for an art class through the community center that will work on drawing and painting (read fine motor) skills.  I hardly ever signed Isaac up for community center classes in Michigan because he was always too tired after his afternoon pre-school class.  Now seems like the perfect time to do it!

Really, we're just living life and throwing in some school work.  It's been pretty fun so far, and really rewarding for both of us to see those little worksheets and paintings up on the fridge.  The park has been our classroom for practicing social skills, and I've loved to see Isaac following kids around and asking them their names.  It's very sweet.  We're still hunting down postcards, but writing to friends to- you guessed it- practice writing will be next on the list.  I hope you all are enjoying spring.  Please share any resources or tips you might have with us!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Less is more/Making friends

Since leaving our 1900 sq. ft. house on half an acre to move into a much smaller ranch house with a modest back yard, life has gotten simpler.  I thought we would be scrambling to fit even our basics in here comfortably, but that has not been the case.  Sure, it's taken some creativity to find the best arrangement of furniture, but we've made it work.  And the space has caused us to evaluate all of our possessions and be honest about what we need and use and what is just plain excess.  We sold and donated quite a bit before moving, and I just took two more boxes to Goodwill yesterday and 2 bags to the dumpster.  Isaac's mini trampoline and slide now live in the backyard as there is not a bonus room or basement in this house.  His toys are neatly stored on one side of our very open living room and in his bedroom.  He even helped me sort out his "baby" books from his "big boy" books with none of the sentimentality that a mother might feel about them.  I thought we would really miss having the play room, but we don't.  Isaac ends up playing with his toys so much more now that he's not over run with excess and now that he doesn't have to go down to the basement to do it.  We get to be spending time together while doing different things, and I've really enjoyed watching his creativity as he plays.

We do miss our friends, though.  Isaac asks about them every day.  Our plan so far is just to keep hitting up the parks in the hope of making new friends and practicing social skills.  Yesterday I nearly hugged a woman because she was wearing the red version of a blue shirt that I own and it was a good conversation starter.  I tried not to blurt out "PLEASE BE MY FRIEND" too directly during our time together. I'm sure the only thing that held me back was that she shared that she blogs about her political affiliation.  If you know me, you know that my eyebrows are somewhere in the region of my upper forehead right now.  She was nice, though, and I hope we get the chance to see her and her kids at the park again.  Wish us luck for round two of Please Be My Friend today.