Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ups and downs

Kiddo is not what you'd call living up to expectations these days. He's running around in class. Not listening. He got in trouble a couple weeks ago for hitting another boy with the strap of his backpack. (He wanted the boy to move, he explained later.) He's doing his homework, but he'll write one letter the right way and then scrawl the next one all over the page, or write the next three letters too close together and say that they're holding hands, or some other kind of story.

On the plus side, he hasn't missed the bus yet.

We're also back to the "I don't want to go to school!" bit when he wakes up in the mornings. "It's boring!" he says. Fortunately threatening to have breakfast without him -- or just leaving him to go into his sister's room -- tends to get him moving.

I've already requested an evaluation for in-school OT, per his teacher's suggestion. Hoping that helps.

At least I hear good things about his teacher. By which I mean absolutely glowing things. Like "My kids are in college and they still rave about her!" In fact we specifically requested her because she was said to be good with special-needs kids. The one phone conversation we've had so far, prompted by the backpack incident, seemed to go well, in that she was more trying to figure him out than trash him for misbehaving. Although admittedly I was threading through Route 80 traffic in the pouring rain at the time, because she called my cell and I didn't want to blow her off. So I hope I sounded coherent. (Don't bother telling me I'm nuts. DH already did.)

And the school district, not that I'm any kind of an expert in these matters, seems like a nice one, in that people are pretty involved.  Back to school night? Standing room only in the multipurpose room. PTA meeting/ice cream social? Packed. Although that's because it was not so much a "meeting" as an ice cream-fueled free-for-all. Sugared-up kids did their best NASCAR impressions, zooming giddily around the place. And then zoomed outside to play on the playground, in the dark. Kiddo and a few others discovered the almighty game of "lie down and roll down the hill!" and did that a few hundred times. And I got to chase after him in heels. I do not know how the other parents all have time to change clothes before going to these things. Either none of them works, or they all have two-minute commutes.

Also, have I mentioned what a really nice area this is to live in? Here was our day today: I got the kids up and we went to the Unitarian Universalist church we've been attending (fairly good choice for interfaith families). It's a lovely drive to the church, all winding roads and trees, so that always puts me in a good frame of mind. We went to our usual diner afterward and the kids didn't embarrass me overmuch. Then kiddette went down for her nap and kiddo and I hit up a town bicycling event at the park nearby, where we ran into a classmate of his and the other mom and I had a nice chat while they played.

(Kiddo, incidentally, insisted on riding his trike to the park even though he has a bike. So the other kids were all cruising around him while he double-pumped on the trike, which he is just about too big to be using in the first place. It was hilarious.)

Then we hit up one of the gazillion farms in the area (all of which are totally overrun right now on account of the apple picking) for apples and cider and pumpkin butter. Kiddo ran around like a loon and had a fine time climbing the hay bale pyramid and yelling, "I'm king of the mountain!" Then we came back and finished his homework.

It's just ... bucolic out here. There's so much outdoorsy stuff to do, which is great for Mr. Energy. And people rarely seem bothered by kiddo's intensity. Either they know about his condition, since I make no secret of it, or they don't think his behavior is especially un-ordinary. He's so happy when he's running around with other kids.

So things aren't all great but I feel like there's the possibility that they'll get better. Which I think is about all I can ask for.

Monday, September 17, 2012

And then she was 3

And there was much fanfare. Kiddette was thrilled that her family was coming to her birthday cake. She also hoped that they would eat her birthday party.

We booked the usual let-the-kids-amuse-themselves-so-the-parents-can-chat party place and got the usual child-approved menu of pizza and cake. Or as I call it, pizzacake. Everybody serves pizzacake. I fear these children will grow up to be culinarily stunted, and should they find themselves at a fancy cocktail party in a fine dining establishment sometime, will be baffled and sad to see no pizza. Or cake.

(I do buck the trend on this a little bit and also serve fruit, and am secretly delighted that the children actually eat it.)

Kiddette is still in her loves-monkeys phase and I see no reason to snap her out of it, because once she goes full-on princess it's going to be all pink sparkles, all the time and then our eyes will hurt. So her cake had Small Paul on it, to match the napkins and the plates and such. I did buy her a purple tutu to wear at the party, because it was so goshdarn cute I couldn't stop myself, but purple is her favorite color. And one ought to dress up a little bit at one's own party. And besides, she wore it over kiddie jeggings.

All the kids had a fine time and I didn't have to climb up into the jungle gym thingy to rescue anyone this time, which is good, because I seem to have a bit of a back problem and probably shouldn't be climbing into kiddie play places. Stupid back. (The doctor said, "Do you pick your children up a lot?" Why, Doc, are you offering to swing by my house and pick them up for me?) Apparently I understuffed the goodie bags, since there were some mild complaints about them. But I really really didn't want to pad them out with candy. We have Easter candy we still haven't eaten. We have Christmas candy we still haven't eaten. We don't eat a lot of candy. I see no reason to inflict extra candy on other parents, a month away from Halloween, when we'll all have too much candy.

Honestly I can't figure out this goodie bag thing. How much stuff are you supposed to put in them? Aren't three or four things enough? Are the kids measuring by quality or quantity? (Quantity, duh.) Is the monetary value of the goodie bag supposed to equal the monetary value of the gifts? Because that seems like wedding-gift logic.

I feel like I need to consult Emily Post on this before the next round of birthday parties. Or whoever handles etiquette for the under-10 set. Li'l Emmy Post?

At any rate kiddette enjoyed herself immensely and used the ruffle of her tutu to wipe pizza sauce off her face, which should annoy me, but she's gotten food on so much of her clothing that at this point I just shrug. At least she eats. And she very much likes the talking Woody and Jessie dolls she got, and so does kiddo -- even though Grandma got her a Woody so she would leave his Woody alone. But hers talks, you see. So we've got a bit of a scuffle going on at Woody's Roundup. Meanwhile I am disappointed that talking Woody doesn't say "There's a snake in my boot!" like in the movies, because I always thought that line was hilarious.

And now that all birthdays for the year have been accounted for, on to Halloween.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

So far, so good

At least as far as we can tell. The first day was more or less a blur of photos and a parental mob scene in front of the school. But kiddo seems to like kindergarten. He likes riding the bus and occasionally mentions kids by name that he played with (not a thing he frequently does. Usually I start guessing names, based purely on which kids I've met at birthday parties and play dates). He's even done homework without too much fuss. Note: The homework comes in a folder with a sign-off sheet that we are supposed to mark, to show that he got it, or that he did it, I guess. Maybe the teacher doesn't want to mess around with lost homework.

We've even managed to not miss the bus yet. This is pretty good, considering kiddo -- like lots of other ADHD kids, per my studies -- can be legendarily impossible to get out of the house. He'll stop getting dressed to inspect one of his Thomas tracks. He'll quit eating breakfast to yell through the glass door at the rabbit in our back yard. He'll throw a fit instead of eating breakfast because I put his cereal in the wrong color bowl. He'll run around the house, or burrow into the couch, instead of going upstairs to brush his teeth.

I use the timer on my phone to get him dressed, and if he's not done by the time it chimes, I leave the room. (He hates that.) We tell him if he's done eating, we'll throw the food out, or we tell him he can go to school without breakfast. And for the toothbrush refusal, we'll generally count him down to time out. Or else DH just carries him upstairs.

Basically it's a constant game of calling his bluff. Eventually he's going to take it too far and we really will miss the bus. But I've decided there are worse things in life and we'll just have to drive him those days.

Packing an a.m. snack for him has been an interesting challenge, because of the no-nut rule, and my desire to get protein into him whenever possible. I tried making granola bars from scratch, which is actually not hard -- unless of course you use the wrong size pan and you end up with granola crumble. But it tastes good, anyway, so I have bags of it in the freezer as needed. (Unless DH eats it all.) I also stocked up on whole-grain Goldfish, for whatever that's worth, and sometimes I just give him fruit, because he loves it. 

We even got the 504 issue resolved -- the coordinator added the missing item, sent a new plan home in our "welcome to kindergarten!" packet, we had it back to her the next day. Oddly easy. I'm hoping it stays that way.

I know the real test isn't how he does the first week, but how he does two months later, when he may or may not have gotten bored. But it's a hopeful start at least.

Monday, September 3, 2012


School starts this week and I'm really, really hoping he's up to it.

We did get an updated report from his OT and it was pretty positive -- she saw a lot of improvements in behaviors, self-care, physical development, etc. So that's good. She did recommend he continue with the group sessions, which is fine, because he loves them. We've gotten a little ritual going, in which he and I drive to the session, he does his thing while I read/check Twitter/chat with other moms, then we have lunch together and he gets his inevitable grilled cheese sandwich. Sometimes we go to Trader Joe's after. Sometimes we go some place interesting, just because. (This weekend we got the oil changed in my car. He thought that was the coolest thing ever and was watching through the big windows as the mechanics did their thing.) He's good about ordering his own lunch and carrying his tray, and then helping to clean up when we're done. And then he falls asleep in the car on the drive home.

He and I went to the farmers market yesterday and he was great -- helped pick out veggies, stayed with me, didn't run off.  The rest of the day, though, he was a whiny mess  and I blew up when I discovered he'd dumped the liquid soap out of the dispenser and refilled it with water -- again. Especially irritating when you're trying to get the kids to wash hands for lunch.

 (I have no idea how to channel that habit positively. Give him a fish tank? Get him a water-filled toy? Make him wash dishes?)

On Saturday, we all went to a barbecue given by friends from preschool -- it was a lovely time. He was fine, except when he came careening down the backyard kiddie coaster before checking that the coast was clear, and slammed into one of the younger boys (who was fine, thankfully). And except when he drove the ride-on electric kiddie car a little too enthusiastically, and slammed into the table some of us were eating at. Luckily, as they say on Sodor, no one was hurt. There were absolutely no eyes poked out during the s'more making, and even though he threw a fit about having to go home, at least it meant he'd been having fun.
 So there are good moments and bad moments with him. I think there are more good than bad moments, these days. But the question is, will he have bad moments at school? How often will he be having these moments, and will these moments, in fact, be epic?

I'll feel better after this week. Theoretically. Maybe.