Tuesday, May 27, 2014

T-ball follies

So T-ball is going ... just about as well as I expected.

Kiddo crouches down and plays in the dirt instead of covering second base (or third base. Or the pitcher's mound. Or the outfield). It's probably a minor (league) miracle that he hasn't gotten clonked in the head by the ball. At bat, he swings approximately an hour after the ball has whizzed past him. When the tee is set up, as opposed to a human pitcher, he does actually hit it and run to first, so there's that. But when he isn't running the bases, he isn't paying attention.

He did tag one kid out at third, to be fair, a momentous event. I was too shocked to cheer.

We'd hoped getting the glasses -- in which he looks quite dapper, incidentally -- would help focus him, in that he could, literally, focus. But seeing the field more clearly doesn't seem to make him any more interested in looking at it. And he's just as likely as before to have a meltdown if he gets tagged out, or doesn't get to be catcher, or sees a teammate getting tagged out, or basically there are lots of meltdowns.

I know there are Major League Baseball players who have ADHD (for instance, Shane Victorino), but I'm feeling fairly confident in predicting that kiddo will not be one of them.

Our friend M. points out that we should let him play for as long as he wants to, then be done when he decides he's done, which is fair advice. But I have to admit that every time he has a meltdown or starts digging in the dirt instead of covering second, I am secretly thinking growl, because I called it.

He does more or less seem to be enjoying himself, and he'll definitely enjoy the end-of-season ice cream trip, so there's that.

Anyway we'll keep helping him figure out the thing he's actually good at, and once he's got that, I expect he'll finally find that focus.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fuzzy caterpillars and caffeinated ants

First kiddo flunked his eye exam.

He couldn't read the bottom line of the chart. Or the line above that. Or the line above that. Or the next line. The doctor's assistant giving him the exam asked if this had been going on for a while, and I said, no, this is news to me, wondering how soon I could get him to an eye doctor.

"What do you see?" I asked him later, in the car, and he said that things far away are blurry. "When I'm sitting at my desk, I can't read the whiteboard. The words look like fuzzy caterpillars."

I do admire kiddo's accidental poetry.

Why is it kids will tell you all about the Lego truck they're building or the complete plot of an episode of "Paw Patrol," but fail to mention that they can't read the whiteboard at school? Doesn't that seem like the important thing?

But aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

I can't say I'm surprised really, though I'm kicking myself a bit for letting him go too long between eye exams. My parents figured out I needed glasses when I couldn't read the blackboard at school (I was a few years older than kiddo). DH wears glasses. All of our parents and most of our siblings wear glasses. We are a nearsighted lot. Inevitably one or both of our kids were going to need glasses.

Kiddo seems more or less excited by the whole thing. He's very focused on the box the glasses are going to come in, and whether he'll get a box, and when will he get the box? And he insisted on blue frames. He so rarely expresses a fashion preference of any sort -- if the clothes cover his body, he's happy -- that I went along with it.

Next of course we'll have to drill into him proper glasses care, and not misplacing or tossing the glasses anywhere, and how to clean them with the proper cloth and not your shirt. (I know everyone secretly uses their shirt at some point or another. Still better to discourage it.) I'm sure this will go well. I'm also sure we'll be taking advantage of the one-free-replacement clause, after kiddo attempts to find out whether glasses fly.

When I brought him back to school after the eye exam, we were met with suspicious giggles from the office staff. And a couple of ant jokes. Already I was worried. And then they explained: The previous day, kiddo had been sitting in a front room, not sure why -- maybe to talk to the 504 coordinator -- and he happened to notice a bunch of ants. And he happened to be sitting near the office coffee pot. Which was full of coffee. He decided to kill the ants, and by the time anyone caught on, he had created ant-flavored coffee.

Let me repeat. He put ants. In the office staff's coffee.

"He didn't understand what he was doing," one staffer assured me. "It's a boy thing."

"We do have an ant problem in that room," said another. "It was an organic solution."

Don't you feel like they should've been mad, all things considered? At least mildly miffed? Because if someone spiked my tea with ants, I'd be pretty annoyed. Nothing gets between me and my caffeine.

But no. A third staffer waited for kiddo to walk back to his classroom before, chuckling, sharing the kicker: Kiddo watched her pour out the coffee and said, "Wow, they're all dead. Except that one. He must be a ninja ant."

I bet you had no idea ninjas came in ant form. Oh, the things kiddo can teach you.

The glasses should be ready in about a week, and then we'll have the new, improved, four-eyed kiddo. No word on whether the remaining ants have already skipped town.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

On being the LCD

Meaning, lowest common denominator. See, I remember some stuff from math class. I just justified my education. Now if I could figure out how to calculate the tip on a restaurant bill, I'd be absolute genius level.

DH and I are the LCD. And so are you, if you're a special-needs parent. You're the one who knows everything there is to know about your child and your child's diagnosis, and what's worked in the past and what hasn't, and which medication your child is or isn't on and whether that's the second or third medication you've tried. You know the names of all his doctors and his OT and his teacher. You know her favorite book and her favorite color and what she's thinking about when she melts down. You know how he does in karate class or how she does in ballet. Everyone else knows a piece, a part, one thing. You know everything. You are the lowest common denominator in this equation.

I was reminded of that fact when kiddo had a bad time last week and got himself suspended from the bus for a day. He likes to be first off the bus. Several times he's pushed other kids to get in front of them. The driver was worried a kid would fall down the steps. I get it -- it's dangerous. Kiddo shouldn't be doing that. At the same time, I get kiddo -- he's not trying to hurt anyone. He genuinely didn't realize he could hurt anyone. He just wanted to be first. When his mind is locked on a thing, it's difficult to get him unlocked.

Fortunately the 504 coordinator gets that too, but it didn't prevent the suspension. Kiddo was also more defiant all week, talking back to us, more sullen, refusing to do things when asked, and more hyperactive than usual. Which is why I yanked him right off medication #3 and he's back on #1, which seems to have calmed things somewhat. It's not a perfect fix -- he's still hiding under his desk instead of doing his classwork -- but his usual sweet personality seems to have more or less emerged.

DH and I were displeased about the suspension. Sure kiddo should be punished if he does something wrong. But kicking a kid off the bus for a day is a bit more like punishing the parents, who then have to rearrange their work schedules to account for it. Also we would've been less aggravated if it hadn't taken 10 days to find out about the first infraction. What are we supposed to do at that point?

US: "Hey, kiddo, remember 10 days ago when you pushed a kid on the bus?"
KIDDO: "Huh?"

I mean he's lucky if he remembers what he had for lunch that day.

Anyway. DH and I requested a meeting with the school, to complain about the lack of communication and the lack of info we were getting about how he was doing. It's a good thing we did. One of the assembled officials had no idea we'd been trying a new medication. Another one was unaware that kiddo's social skills group had ended for the year. A third had revised his behavior chart but never sent along a finished version, so he was working without one. (Apparently kiddo has been doing fine without a chart, so we're leaving that one alone.) The assumption had been that we didn't want daily updates on kiddo's behavior, when actually we very much do. It seemed like everyone had a piece of information about kiddo, or about his accommodations, but DH and I were the ones who knew the most. And if we hadn't requested the meeting, possibly the officials would never have shared their information with each other (or us). 

We are the LCD. We make sure everyone is aware of everything. Because teachers and doctors, despite the best of intentions, are not going to be able to help kiddo unless they know everything they need to know. Ultimately, always, it's up to us to make things happen.

Kiddo really does seem improved this week, so here's hoping he keeps at it.