Wednesday, October 17, 2007

It's Been Awhile

Sorry for the delay in posting, we have had a busy and at times very frustrating couple of weeks. Although nothing at all serious, Kenny has gone through another round of testing us, making sure we really mean what we say and has spent many an afternoon sitting on his bed rather than playing. I think most of his behavioral issues stem from boredom in the classroom when language tasks are above his head, and he doesn't have the self-regulation yet to control his behaviors. Things like coloring in school books, erasing things on the board that shouldn't be touched, and the ever-present need to control situations and grab things from people's hands on the pretences of "helping" them are what we are dealing with on a day to day basis. Like I said, nothing at all serious really, but it can be exhausting to constantly correct and be tested on an hourly basis.

Surprisingly, despite his take charge attitude, he has many friends at school now, both boys and girls alike, and they all seem to genuinely like him a lot. As I have said in the past, he has a very dynamic personality and is also a kind little guy, so I think some of the social graces that are not always practiced are often overlooked as the kids seem to be able to see the goodness within. He really is a sweetheart, and rarely makes judgments about others. For example, today I asked him which one of the teachers he worked with was his favorite and he told me "Oh mom, I not pick one, I like them all...all are very, very nice.".

School is motoring right along for him, and he is doing very well considering we are starting at ground zero. We had his first IEP meeting yesterday with the staff who works with him, and while I am disappointed with the amount of time that he is able to get speech therapy at school (1 hour and they are increasing to an hour and a half a week)I am not at all concerned with the quality of work being done with him. While I can understand about 95% of what he says, his speech is very, very poor and there are many sounds he simply can not reproduce at all, mainly those at the front of the mouth. Everyone is compassionate and understanding of his background, firm yet tolerant when necessary, and he is making real strides. So far he knows almost all the names for the letters of the alphabet and he knows the sounds of 4 of them. His math is testing right where it should be for second grade, which is great, and is one area where we can have success.

As Halloween fast approaches we are learning about costumes and pumpkins, and we visited a corn maze where he had a great time. We visit the pumpkin patch this Sunday and then will carve pumpkins, which he seems to understand by showing him pictures. We already have costumes purchased with a Power Ranger, a Superman, and a Pilot...guess which child is which?

Soccer season is behind us with Matthew being on his first winning team. In December he will move on to trying out Tae Kwon Do, which he is very excited about. It is nice to have evenings to settle in as the weather cools and life slows down. I love these cozy fall evenings together, curled up on the couch watching an old episode of The Walton's together or reading a book.

Joshie had a Big Day this week when he FINALLY was able to unbuckle himself from his car seat all by himself, and I felt just a wee bit melancholy at the thought of one more stage now past us. No more babies in our house as day by day Josh becomes more and more independent. I don't really yearn for another baby, but don;t we all have those moments when we wish we could jump back a few years, if only for a little while? But with Josh's new found maturity comes this very special relationship that he and I are developing which grows sweeter by the day. He is a much different little guy when we are alone than when we have big brothers around and this is a very precious time for us together this I am not sure I ever want to give up. He is very nurturing of me when we are out about town and alone together, opening doors for me, wanting to carry things to show how grown up he is, and trying to protect me by stopping me from walking in front of perceived danger from cars, etc. My Little Old Soul and I have some very grown up day to day conversations, often causing me to forget he is only 4.

And then there is, myself and I. I have been kind of up and down lately. Not really depressed or anything, just feeling a little out of sorts I guess. Recently Josh and I went to this pre-school gathering at a pumpkin patch with a group of other moms, and I felt SO out of place it wasn't even funny. We live in a rural area that has grown a lot in the last few years and has gradually become more affluent, and we simply can not keep up with that. Don't get me wrong, I don't envy these other folks at all, I don't have huge desires for more money or material things. But I am a totally classless jeans and T-Shirt kind of mom, I am nothing like the matching designer sweat suit, perfectly coiffed and made up, worrying about getting my kid in the right preschool kind of mom. I don't do Starbuck's, I don't do aerobics, I don't do crafts, and I don't play golf. There are moments when I am feeling insecure and sitting in a room with moms like this that I wish I was more polished, more "together", but the fact is I don't even know how to be like that. It is then that I wonder if my kids are being let down by not having a more ladylike, prim and proper, makeup wearing kind of mom.

Then there is a new writing group which has formed at our church, which I thought I would perhaps give a try. It sounded like fun, and I enjoy writing, so why not? I attended my first meeting last week, and was too intimidated to even share anything I have written. I mean, what I do here on the blog or in Yahoo groups is blab...but this...this was Writing. The first story that was shared blew me away, it was so incredibly well written, so intelligently created...and then others that were equally professional level were read and I shrunk lower and lower into my seat and eventually slunk out the door feeling like a complete idiot, despite the urgings of my friends who were there. It's not that I would be uncomfortable with someone critiquing that I have done, it is that my "work" is more of a joke in comparison to this stuff and has a juvenile quality to it when laid side by side. I was encouraged by a couple of them to submit something and give it a try, which I went ahead and did for next month but I really feel very, very uncomfortable and out of my league and am not sure if I will continue or not.

So I guess I am feeling insecure as of late, and some of it I am sure relates to my own feelings of occasional incompetence in parenting Kenny, questioning myself daily about how to create that balance of discipline and encouragement, trying to push past my own stupid and selfish worries about being perceived by others as a bad parent when he misbehaves or gets too pushy or "in your face". This is a time of growth for me, a time when I am beginning to look towards the future and replace the image I have of myself as a mother of little children with the image of a mother of growing boys...and trying to figure out what kind of life I want for myself as Josh entering school barrels down at me. It is also a time when I am learning to have more patience and allow time to work its magic with Kenny and his maturity as he gradually slips into his new life as one would shrug into a new coat that is cut differently than any other style you have worn. Eventually that new coat begins to feel soft and worn, fitting you like a glove while the memory of the old coat recedes into the distant past. And like that old coat, gradually Kenny's old behaviors and habits will vanish as the new, more mature, more settled Kenny emerges.

And for just a moment, I wonder what kind of Cindy will emerge during the coming months?


Ivy Lee said...

Cindy, you don't know me. I joined the Kyrgyzstan group on Yahoo a few months ago because we are adopting from Kyrg. as well. I just wanted to drop you a note to give you a little encouragement, for what it's worth. You have given people like me so much support and strength in our adoption journeys. Your blog is not blab. It may not be literary prose in your opinion but it is so much more. It is life affirming, hope giving, and real! So, while we all go through some insecurities in our lives, such as not being perfectly made up, out-fit matching preschool screening perfect wife and mother, know that you are strong, and lovely and compassionate and real! You constantly demonstrate how much love you give to your family and to others. At least to me, that is worth so much more than superficial beauty, and having the storybook life. There are so many times I have drawn strength from reading about your experiences. So, while this is nothing but my two cents, I hope it helps even if just a tiny bit...

Julie & John Wright said...

Hi Cindy sorry I have not commented for a while , it seams I do well just to follow the blog world these days. But I want you to know that from this end of the planet, it seems to me you have your priorities right.... I have a piece of paper pined up in my van that says HUSBAND AND FATHER FIRST...That does not always leave room for designer clothes or Star bucks Canada Tim Hortons, You are investing in what really matters.......Don't lay up your treasures in things that mothes or rust can destroy.
Keep up the Good Work..and just Remember WIFE AND MOTHER FIRST oh ya....MOTHER AND WIFE FIRST ha ha ha
blessings John

Anonymous said...

You’ve already triumphed in the Writing in my opinion with you blog – your ability to clarify the emotions and conflicting thoughts that go hand in hand with adoption and parenting have also been ‘incredibly well written, so intelligently created’. Believe me when I say that your blog has been a source of inspiration and comfort for me, and I’m sure, many other random strangers!

As for your recent feelings of insecurity and incompetence – can I suggest that they are a fantastic opportunity sent to help you understand what your beautiful son Kenny may be feeling, to an extent, every day? Your feelings of ‘not belonging’ (or indeed, not being ‘good’ enough to belong) in the parent group perhaps mirror your son’s feelings of not yet belonging fully in his school or community. Due to your feeling incompetent or inferior to others in your writing class, you can have even more empathy with Kenny’s situation in school where lack of language skills and academic experience hold him back. I work in an international school where everything is taught in English; and every day I work with children so desperate to communicate, but lacking the basic language skills (especially in academic language) to be able to do so successfully. I see how frustrating and demoralizing it can be for them to be condemned to continuously produce work below their ability level; to feel intimidated and incompetent in the surroundings they have been thrust into. Being put in any situation where I can, for however short a time, feel as out of my depth as my students frequently do, allows me to understand and help them more.

Thanks again for sharing so honestly – I’m treading the path behind you, and I am very grateful to have your footprints to follow!

Kim Adams said...

I suspect if you shared some of what you’ve written on your blog, the other folks would be blown away. It’s not fair to compare genres. (I’m just assuming the other stories were more in the creative writing genre or a different vein than what I’ve seen you write.) You have real stories to share, and writing – at least for me – is a way to let people inside that I can’t quite seem to accomplish during normal conversations. So even if these are friends, I still encourage you to share your “life stories.”
I relate to not being a made up and finished and matching and socialite type of mom. I know you already know this, but what you give your boys simply cannot be boiled down to looks and class.

Anonymous said...

Lets see...hmmmm......

T-shirts and pants and usually no makeup and not much interested in small talk or the superficial stuff. Don’t like shopping and especially don’t like shopping for shoes. Don’t complain about long summer vacations because extra time with the kids is precious. Haven’t been to a dress-up party in a long time. Usually don’t have time for TV shows, although rented videos are OK. Have struggled with a disorganized, messy house for years, but would rather have a happy, busy family than picture perfect rooms. Have absolutely no interest in professional sports. Would rather have dirt under my fingernails from gardening than long, polished nails.

Does this leave me out of kilter with 90% of the people out there?

You bet.

But that’s OK. They are free to be how they are, and I’m free to be how I am.


P.S. Better to be a blessing in this hurting world than have a perfect house. And you, Cindy, have been a blessing to my family and many others.

Loving others is what matters, anyway. I’ve never yet seen an obituary that said “She kept a perfect house.” By the way, my mom kept a perfect house and worked hard to fit into the social mold. I would have preferred she spent more time with me and really knew who I was.

Mom to 2 Angels said...

I get intimidated just leaving comments after your well thought out and meaningful posts!

Michelle said...

Pumpkin patch last wednesday in scrubs and no makeup at all for me! I find it very easy to listen to my insecurities too.....and easy to be hard on myself. It is much harder for me to appreciate my strengths. We have a lot of similarities! It is a good thing you have this huge adoption community to remind you how important, talented and special you are!

Tina said...

You know Cindy, this really struck a cord with me. We don't have extra money either, especially after the adoption. But, one of my little things in my life is creating abundance on a shoestring. I buy everything on sale. I get my hair cut at supercuts, but I dictate the whole time I'm there and I bring a picture. I buy the girl's clothes out of season for the next year. I struggle with all kinds of parenting, am I doing enough for my children, how do I compare with my peers (especially the ones who have a career and who look down at stay at home moms) There are times that I know that others feel that they don't 'measure up' to me ONLY because my close friends have told me that when they first met me, they were intimidated by what looked like someone who was a mini Martha Stewart. Ok, so I DO have a branch in my house that I spray painted gold and hang ornaments from it. But, it was 5 minutes to make and $4 for the spray and I copied it out of a magazine. Cindy, I'll just bet those women are just as jealous of you in ways that you couldn't even imagine. Your writing is beautiful. Your children are incredible and maybe they're jealous that they don't have the 3 most handsome boys EVER. Maybe they are jealous of the beauty in your life that is the hardest to attain - the peace, and true joy that you obviously have. You have a strong, long-lasting marriage. The rich and famous can't buy THAT. So, I just wanted to remind you that if you want to be in a writing it! Your participation will be a gift and maybe you'll find a friend in someone you never thought you'd be friends with. HUGS.