This weekend is an important one for most of the kids. Volleyball season ends, and the Big Tournament is tomorrow! Watching practice this week, I can see how all the kids have really learned a lot. Last night at a scrimmage that I missed, Dominick shared that Kenny, Matthew and Olesya all served very well and even maxed out at the league limit of 5 serves each! For Matt and Olesya, this was a new sport and they both learned the basics and are catching on. Will they ever be top players? Oh, I doubt it, but you never know. Another year of practice and they'll hang in there with the other kids, I suspect.
Kenny, however, has started to shine a little the past couple of weeks. He IS getting a little better, even if he still lags quite a bit behind the other kids in terms of coordination. He is quite logical and assesses his skill level well. Today, when we were in the car alone for a bit, he told me he is worried about playing next year because it really gets more competitive and he is accurate when he says he will never be very good at the sport. I love that kid's ability to just accept the truth, and to allow space to talk openly and honestly about things. I have never believed in lying to the kids just to make them feel better, and Kenny would look at me like I had lost all my marbles anyway if I tried to argue with him about it, so instead I simply agreed that next year would be tough. However, I asked him why he was playing.
He thought a minute, then replied, "Well Mom, I like being with the other kids, and I accomplished my goal of not being afraid of the ball anymore. Also, I think volleyball is fun! I wasn't sure I'd like it, but I really do."
I turned to him and said, "Kenny, let's face it, the older you get, it is likely you'll get less playing time. But, that is not a bad thing if you still want to play and keep a good attitude about it. After all, you know you'll get to play the whole time in practices, you'll still get to be around other kids and make new friends, you enjoy cheering for a team and encouraging them. I think that if you remind yourself of your personal goals with volleyball, and don't allow jealousy to creep in when you don't play as much but realize that you are getting out of volleyball what you wanted to get out of it, then you will have a blast all the way through! Attitude is everything, and if you can accept it for what it will be, then I see no reason why you can't play all the way through high school and enjoy yourself. Just keep your expectations reasonable and look for all the things you do enjoy about it. And who knows? As you keep playing and growing, you might find that your skill level increases just like it did this year!"
He thought about it for a minute or two, then he said, "That's what I like about you, Mom. You always help me see the bright side! I don't really care about winning, or being a jock, so I guess I can still have fun since that isn't my goal anyway! Thanks for showing me that!" Then he even added, "And you know what? I think I want to do track this season. It doesn't have a ball, and all I have to do is run, so everyone isn't so far ahead of me on that."
I told him I was proud of him for wanting to try track again, and for his super perspective on everything. He is such a bright light sometimes.
This entire week has been a little rough. Teenage brain meltdown is happening times four. If I don't laugh over the circular conversations we have day in and day out, I'd cry. Actually,sometimes it really IS funny...other times it is just plain old hard. It's not at all anything bad, it is just typical early teen disconnect. Anyone with teens knows what I am talking about, it's just multiplied here by the number of kids all the same age, and the bonus added of special ed needs. Regardless of all of that though, I am incredibly lucky to have such respectful kids to be with all day long. I also am grateful for their honesty. When I "call them" on something, they look me in the eye and tell me the truth, especially Angela and Matthew, both of whom have done so this week over minor things that they could have sneaked out of. Instead they "owned" their mistake, showed remorse over it, and promised not to do it again. It's silly stuff like goofing around too long and not getting work done, or not getting a small chore done that I had asked about.
Matthew and I had a long talk about his schoolwork today, and I promised him I would do whatever I could to find help for him. Thanks to a blog comment yesterday, I did more research on something called "Dysgraphia", which I had looked at once before but didn't dig deep enough into. What I had seen was signs of dysgraphia in lower elementary students, when most of it is about pencil grip, poor penmanship, awkward physical writing, etc. When I Googled dysgraphia in adults, I found what I think is very applicable to Matthew, and so does he. Signs that we see in Matthew are:
In Young Students
- Illegible handwriting
- Mixture of cursive and print writing
- Concentrating so hard on writing that comprehension of what's written is missed
- Omitting or not finishing words in sentences
In Teenagers and Adults
- Trouble organizing thoughts on paper
- Trouble keeping track of thoughts already written down
- Difficulty with syntax structure, grammar, and punctuation
- Large gap between written ideas and understanding demonstrated through speech
- Odd or very unusual spelling
This describes Matt to a "T". Actually, he was a little excited to learn that maybe we can get some help for him, now that we might know for sure what is going on. So, I guess my evenings will be devoted to online research for the next several evenings. I also have a couple of things I want to integrate for Kenny, now that volleyball season is over. I recently learned of something called the Integrated Metronome. It was suggested by someone, and I need to check that out as well.
This coming week will be busy, but I am betting it will feel much less so with volleyball over with, and a little more down time. I'll be gearing up for my two weeks in California with my mom, and trying to get everything done here before leaving for that long, so it won't necessarily be slower for me! Haha! But once in California I will be able to relax a bit while helping mom out after surgery.
It is almost 2:00 AM, and I need to stop my research and get to sleep. After all, we have a lot of cheering to do tomorrow!