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 year...one 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 me...me, 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?