Thursday, August 09, 2007

Ahhh...Lazy Days at Last

The past few days have been what summer was meant to be...lazy, relaxed, unstressed. We are finally slowing down after our Summer of the Suitcase and enjoying every moment of it. The only scheduled activity we have this last two weeks before school starts is swimming lessons. Our afternoons are free to do what we want. Thanks to a friend who signed them up when I was too overwhelmed to think straight, all 3 boys have lessons at the same time rather than spread throughout the day, which is marvelous.

Kenny has been regularly testing me the past couple of days, pushing things to the limit and reminding me that I am so glad that my toddler days are over, or so I thought :-) Nothing at all serious, but just as a 2 year old will do, when I tell him no he has to try it one last time. At moments he also has been extremely helpful and we have discovered that he loves to help in the kitchen and learn new skills. Last night he helped peel potatos and then season the roast we had for dinner...and learned that too much pepper can be very spicy! The day before he helped measure and cook rice and chicken, and it was fun to have him underfoot and answer questions as he pulled many utencils out of the drawer and asked what they do.

All of us went by the school on Monday to show him around without the added distraction of halls full of kids. He met his new Principal and learned where the bathrooms are, which classrooms might be his, the library, and showed him the gym. His eyes widened when he saw the playground and he used his latest new English phrase "Very, very cool!!!". He is filled with excitement and trepidation about attending school, as he doesn't understand how he will be able to learn anything without speaking English. I reassured him that the teachers there knew all about him and that he was not the only child attending who didn't speak English. I took a map and showed him Mexico and explained there were many students who attended his school who spoke Spanish and needed lots of help as well. I also told him I would be there often to help and we would work on everything at home together. He seemed to be a bit pacified by it, but I am betting we have some tears that first day. I am hoping he is placed in one of the classes with the two teachers Matthew worked with last year, but as if this writing I still have no idea what grade they will place him in. Our school is one of the most awesome public schools I have ever seen for a small town, and in fact we have to drive to the next small farming community to take the kids there but it is worth it. I should hear back by the end of this week or early next week about grade placement and teacher, and to begin the IEP process. It's kind of funny because on paper Kenny looks like a lost child in terms of education, being illiterate, speech impaired, language impaired...and yet having spent the entire summer with him I feel no serious concerns over his ability to learn or his intellect. I think our biggest challenges will come from lack of attention due to immaturity and not understanding what si going on around him so he might "tune out" for awhile. Otherwise, this is one very bright little guy who eventually will do very well in school, I think.

Matthew is all set for school, we know who is teacher is going to be, and mentally he is ready to return although we will all miss our laid back schedule. 3rd grade will be the first time he has had a male teacher and I think he is a bit curious about what that will be like, but he had a male teacher for music last year who made a tremendous impact on him and completely opening upm his world where music is concerned, much to mom's delight. I can not believe Matthew, my little Matthew, is already a 3rd grader. Dominick and I were just talking yesterday about how Matt's body has changed this summer, there is no more lankiness to him, it has been replaced by this solid, sturdy framed boy who feels different when we hug him. He has also matured in other ways and his interests have widened with his desire to learn more about history growing by leaps and bounds, and the games he plays on the computer becoming more and more complicated...his favorite right now is Age of Empires which he plays at a friend's house and has begged me to get him.

Then there is my little Joshie Poo, who at 4 1/2 has thus far shown absolutely zero interest in school oriented tasks, doesn't even have the desire to color or hold a pencil or anything!! We are hoping he will start Kindergarden next year, but if he is not yet ready or mature enough for it we will hold off yet one mroe year and make him one of the oldest of his class. I often think back to those torturous first couple of years with him, when his "brain time" was taken up with emotional battles that most kids don't face at that age, and I think that maybe he has really needed this past year to just relax and "be" with us...that the Lost Years to Reactive Attachment Disorder are being made up for right now, and I just see him as having his used his brain for other tasks at that time so he might be behind in terms of interest. There is NO WAY this child is delayed in the traditional sense of the word, and I have no worries about his intellect or abilities. Often I am glad that I am mature enough myself (i.e. An Old Mom) to be able to let go of all those stupid things like pushing my kids to be potty trained before any of their peers, or worrying about how quickly they learn new things. I have 3 bright boys that come from less than traditional backgrounds, and that needs to be recognized when taking stock of where they are at in life and development. They will all do very well in life and school if I just let things progress naturally and throw in lots of parental involvement and a ton of love. Kenny may not completely catch up until high school, so what? Josh may not start Kindergarden until 6 1/2, so what? In order to try and generate a little interest I did take Joshie aside at Wally World and separately bought him some of his own school supplies and made a big deal over a spiderman folder. I told him we would have school at home while the boys were at school, and he actually seemed excited about that so maybe that will lead us somewhere. If not, then we'll just continue with our library times, our Mom times, etc. and try again in a few months.

As for myself, I am working on planning a retreat for our church in a week and a half, and starting to gear up for Cub Scouts. Seems there is always something for Mom to do!! Mostly though, I am enjoying being home, trying to keep the house clean, and spending time with all of my boys, Dominick included. Overall, not a bad life at all, if I say so myself :-)

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