Friday, November 6, 2015

Monday, August 3, 2015

Judah Rides a BIKE for the FIRST TIME!!

Judah hopped on Willow's Hello Kitty bike and pedaled a few times - easy peasy!!! He never wants to try, but now we know that he knows how! I couldn't believe my eyes. He was even figuring how to brake with the pedals!! That was Sunday (8/2/15). Today (Mon. 8/3/15), he hopped on her bike again when she wasn't looking. Unfortunately, she turned around and saw him, immediately demanding that he get off of her bike. Judah is a very sweet guy. He got off and hopped on the plasma car instead. Yesterday when he was on her bike, after the short pedaling episode, he wanted to be pushed up the driveway and then released to fly down it. I'm going to make sure we get training wheels for Sebastian's old bike asap!! Judah has told me "no" every time I show him pics of bikes and ask if he wants one. We've tried going to the store to see them as well. He likes them, but doesn't want to get one. He does, however, have HUGE interest in the motorized cars that kids can fit in and drive. He made it clear that he DID want one of those. Sebastian has been asking for one of those for 4 years.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sebastian Phoenix Files Turns Eight!

Sebastian turned EIGHT today! You know a kid is an incredible older brother when he doesn't get upset that baby brother & sister have just blown out his birthday candles with him. He's that kid. He got his first pair of roller skates (something he's been wanting) & a new bike (something he's been needing). Scott and I stayed up until after 2 in the morning creating a balloon avalanche on his bedroom door last night. He loved that. He opened his door on his birthday morning & was greeted with an avalanche of balloons cascading down on him. We had told him stories about the day he was born & our time in the hospital with him before he went to bed that night. He loves hearing stories from the past. He always likes the part when we tell him that he was wailing so loud when he was born that Meemaw & Granddad could hear him down the hall & knew exactly which room to go to.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Discovery Center

Willow, Judah, Judah's aide & myself spent the afternoon at the Discovery Center/Gilbert House today. I was only able to capture pictures of Willow.
 
She loves pretend play - especially pretending to make & serve food. Tonight she was running around with a big couch pillow flopping up and down on her bottom.. telling everyone it was her big tail! ha.
 







Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Super Fun Things Judah & Willow do at Gymnastics!!

They go every Sunday morning. Their instructor, Sula, is also an ABA therapist. It's basically fun therapy that Judah gets to do with his sister. They love it. And she's great at her job.

These photos were taken through the viewing windows. Bad glare, sorry.


Judah on the rings, balancing on a hard cushion (which is moving underneath him). Willow has her feet on the trampoline edge & her hands on the bar, using feet & hands to move down the bar.


Willow is pushing Judah on the swing. The swing looks to have been made out of a pool noodle. Judah pushed Willow on the swing much harder. ;)

She loves to swing.. and swing.. and swing...

Judah was particularly affectionate with Sula today, seen hugging her here.

That "basketball" is actually a big, soft cushion.


The cocoon swing in the back is such comfort for Judah (pressure). I wish we could afford one of those to have at home.. a beautiful calming method.

Willow is playing with hand clappers while keeping her balance to walk down a beam, no problem.

 
 
While I was there at gymnastics, the two women behind me were talking about movies and how it was hard to find a movie with an original plot these days. I asked them if they had seen the Brass Teapot. I didn't mention that my little brother had written it. One looked puzzled, she obviously had never heard of it. The other one said, "Yes. It was so good, but really hard to watch." I told her that there was originality in that film. She agreed.
 
Tim is looking for actors/actresses for his next film by the way. To be filmed in June/July 2015. Link here: http://wearebreakthrough.com/film-casting-tatterdemalion/
 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Claire

We took the kids to Super Bounce this afternoon. It's basically a building full of bounce houses. The rule is that kids must wear socks while playing, no shoes or bare feet allowed. Judah refused to keep his socks on. He kept ripping them off his feet & throwing them. He raced away many times, trying to get through kids and up the gigantic slide.. he made it up once.. then slid down all of the 1000 steps he had just climbed to get up there.. then made it up again and tried to go down the slide with Willow (must be one kid at a time). She raced to the huge slide on the other side and flew down before he even realized she was gone.

Poor kid. He's been there many times and we've never had a problem. They go, they jump, they get worn out.. we leave. Today he was set on being barefoot though. He typically wants to be either barefoot or with shoes & socks on... but not just socks. However, wearing socks with no shoes has never been a problem for him there.. until today.

The owner came out pretty quickly (we'd been there MAYBE 10 minutes) and told us Judah could keep his socks off if that was going to keep him calm. I let go of Judah. I had been holding him on the floor, trying to help him calm down. At one point I couldn't hold him any longer and Scott held him. Thankfully the other 2 kids didn't go far!! Judah was punching me and slamming his arm on top of my head repeatedly as I held him down. People were staring. When Judah would get away from me, parents would grab their kids if Judah was close by.

The owner had asked me if Judah was "special needs" when he was letting me know that Judah could keep his socks off. Would my answer to his question have really mattered? What was he going to say if I said that he wasn't special needs? "Sorry, he isn't allowed to behave this way if he doesn't have a diagnosis.. sorry, only special needs kids can have a meltdown here..." ??

Judah raced off and climbed up their gigantic slide in his bare feet the minute I set him free. That's when the owner told us that we had to leave. Climbing up the slide is not allowed. Climbing up the slide is not possible anyway.. or so we had thought. I've never seen a kid make it up that thing. I've never seen a kid make it HALFWAY up that thing. It took Judah about 10 seconds to make it to the top. Judah continued to run up the slide until Scott could catch him. He ran up it at least 3 times. Scott knew he wasn't going to be able to run up the slide. All he could do was wait at the bottom for Judah to come back down and try to catch him before he headed back up the slide.

Super Bounce had bounced us out.

In the van, Willow was crying. Sebastian was complaining that we were only there for a few minutes and that he didn't get to do anything. Scott and I were pretty much speechless in the front seat.. I was holding back tears. Scott grabbed my hand and then the tears came. The kids didn't see.

From there, of course, we had to do something super special.. we drove through McDonald's for ice cream, went home to pick up Sebastian's bike and Willow's basketball and headed to the park. We all had a nice jog at the park, chasing Sebastian down forest trails as he raced off on his bike. I pushed Willow in the swing for quite some time. That girl could swing for hours (the boys went through this stage as well). We ran into one of Sebastian's best friends from school. His friend was playing tennis with his dad & siblings. I got their number, so we can hopefully have a play date soon. Then we played basketball. Judah & Willow each threw the ball straight up in the air and then chased it as it rolled away... and then fought over it. Judah was doing well taking turns.. Willow, not so much.

Willow has a princess basketball. She seems to like basketball and is already learning to dribble at the age of 3. I've also taught her how to fold clothes, wash & put away dishes. Sebastian is learning how to do his own laundry and has recently learned how to clean toilets, clean up dog poop & sweep. :) Judah is now able to put on his own socks and shoes. He's also learned to build train track (and does it well!). He hardly ever screams "Mom-meeee!!" for help with toys anymore. He's learned to wipe down the table, fill Pixie's water & food bowl & put his dishes in the sink after eating (he does this better than anyone). It's tough keeping them motivated to do chores. Willow is the only one who remembers her chore. She never refuses to do it (the boys often refuse). Willow usually asks for more chores in addition to her daily chore. They all have a daily chore, which changes daily.

There was a 6 year old having a birthday party while we were at Super Bounce. Happy Birthday Claire. I hope Judah didn't steal your turn on the slide.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Library Chutes and Earthquake Drills

Sebastian is going to show this picture during his final project at school on Friday. It's a picture my dad sent recently of the roosters on his farm. They are doing presentations on farms - the kids wrote about the animals they would have, the name of the farm, etc. I'm looking forward to seeing it!
 
His group chose to have goats, sheep, piglets and roosters on their farm.
 
Yesterday, Willow & I went to pick Sebastian up at school early & got caught in the middle of an earthquake drill! They wouldn't let us in! Finally one of the front desk people came out & very seriously told Willow & I to pretend there was an earthquake happening. She told us to "take cover", ha. So Willow and I stood under the little roof near the entrance and "took cover". The entire school was emptied in a little over 2 minutes and it was QUIET and organized. It was a sight to see. Afterwards, I told Sebastian that we had tornado drills when I was in school. I asked him if they ever had those at his school. He said, "No, we don't have those kind of drills. Oregon doesn't really get tornadoes." ha. Silly me! That was my first earthquake drill!
 
Sebastian had his first "hot lunch" at school the other day. He's taken his lunch every day since he's been at this school. When he came home he told me, "The lady put carrots on my plate! I told her that I didn't like carrots and that I didn't want any, and she told me that the GOVERNMENT makes her put carrots on my plate!! Can you believe that?? The GOVERNMENT makes her do it!!" hahaha
 
It occurred to me days later that I should have told him that the GOVERNMENT makes you take 2 bites of everything on your plate. ;)
 
Willow told me yesterday that the wind had knocked a tree down. She said, "It was a little tree. And the wind made it fall over! The wind pushed it over! And it didn't even say sorry!!" She was very serious about this. Ha!
 
Judah is suddenly talking up a storm.. sentences, questions.. it's pretty surreal!! Today he was at the library with his favorite Thomas book in hand. He had brought it from home. He watched someone return her book through the chute inside of the library. He thought it looked fun. He walked up and sent his Thomas book down the chute. When he realized that he couldn't get it back, he panicked. haha. We got it back, don't worry. ;)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Pretty Girl

Recently someone very wise reminded me that we are the ones who choose our emotions. We spent a good hour talking about this and I spent the rest of the day happy.. and the aide was looking at me like something was wrong with me.. but that happiness made my day so much better.. it made my confidence strong.. and boosted my kids positivity as well.

Today Willow & I went to meet Judah’s aide that is on maternity leave. Luckily there were some kids where we went so Willow was able to jump right in and have fun. She is very social.
Yesterday I took Sebastian & Willow to Super Bounce. Willow played with a little girl, who she lovingly referred to as “pretty girl”. Pretty girl and her baby brother were the only other kids there. Pretty girl was 5, kind of quiet and a bit on the heavy side.. Willow reassured her every 2 minutes that she was a “pretty girl”. Pretty girl began talking more, smiling and became more composed and confident as they played. It was pretty cool to watch them interacting. Sebastian was sort of the older brother on his own, somewhat acting like he was too “big” to be playing there. He tried to stop Willow from following her friend, telling her that she was cutting him off. I think he assumed this would upset her and that he would finally gain her attention. Poor guy.. she stopped, waited for him to go and when he didn’t she darted around him to play with her friend. Sebastian did begin playing with them about the last 10 minutes we were there.
Willow always wants to see her “girls” when we are headed out somewhere. I took her to story time at the library a few weeks ago and nudged her to join the group of kids. It didn’t take her long to join in. The next time we went, she went immediately to sit with the kids and was holding hands with her “girls”, dancing in a circle for part of the time. And the next time she jumped right in again! She’s a very social little lady who always wants to have fun!
Sebastian apologized to Scott a couple days ago. He said he was sorry for everything he had done. He asked for Scott to forgive him. He asked me if he should do this right before he did it. Scott was standing nearby and Sebastian was completely aware of that, so obviously he was ready. Things have improved a tiny bit since then. It’s been a long road.. I wish the end was in sight.
Judah’s progress has been nothing short of phenomenal lately. Today was amazing. I told him, “I’m sorry, but these 2 trains can’t go in the bathtub. The other three can though.” I turned away for a minute to talk to the aide and turned back to see that Judah had taken off the 2 trains that I had told him couldn’t go in the bathtub and was heading in with the 3 that I had told him were allowed. No meltdown and he had completely understood my somewhat complicated instructions.
Judah wanted to go play outside in the rocks this evening, he said “Outside in rocks, socks and shoes (as he pointed to his bare feet)”. I’ve never heard the “socks & shoes” before! I told him that if we did that he would need another bath. I asked him if he wanted another bath and he said, “no”. He didn’t try to go outside and didn’t have a meltdown. He had understood me! Twenty minutes later he asked again. I said, “If we go outside in the rocks you’ll need to have another bath. Do you want to do this?” and he said, “no.” and that was that!
Willow has been having accidents lately (peeing her pants). Ever since she had a bad constipation problem a couple weeks ago she has been having accidents – I think she fears the toilet now. Today she was sitting in a chair and peed. Judah turned around to see what was happening. When Willow was getting clean clothes from her room Judah says to me, “What’s the matter Willow?” He said so many things today that I’ve never heard him say before. This was one. He’s said “Willow” more times today than I could count. He said, “Night, night Willow.” while he was in bed.. that one was so cute.
“Hey! That’s my ball!” That sentence was clear as day. Judah yelled that at Scott when Scott took his ball. Judah was playing on the train table with Sebastian, Willow and myself. His language was so clear that Sebastian suddenly stopped playing and began responding to Judah, following Judah’s lead. Sebastian was amazed. Judah was singing along to a song in the Legend of Oz movie (current favorite). His words were so clear. He definitely knew the song. Sebastian, Scott & I just stood in the living room and listened.. in awe. Sebastian kept looking up at me with big eyes, smiling. He had so much excitement inside of him, but didn’t move a muscle. He’s been dreaming of the day he could talk with his brother.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Easter, Early.

Gramma's having knee surgery soon, so Easter had to come early. Obviously the kids had no problem with this!

The kids got fancied up mid-afternoon to head over to Gramma & Papa's for a plastic egg hunt & delicious Gramma/Papa dinner. Sebastian ate strawberries by the fistful & Willow fell deeply in love with Gramma's cupcakes. Judah's focus was 99.2% on his new toy that he had just been gifted from Gramma & Papa. Eating wasn't much of an interest for him.

Scott & I assembled Judah's new toy, with Judah's help. If he noticed we were not doing something right or wanted a certain sticker on, he would show us how & where to fix the toy. Before that he had collected the pieces of his new toy into his Easter bucket, so we could put it together inside the house. It was then that he exclaimed, "YES!".. doing the signature move we all do - arm bent, fist clenched, arm moves directly back as if you are elbowing the guy behind you. He was so stoked to get that toy. It will attach to his favorite toy at home.. making his favorite toy even cooler! Last night he saw girls on TV doing the "running man" dance to MC Hammer's only hit - "CAN'T TOUCH THIS". Judah was drawn to this. He practiced it a bit.. 10 minutes later I walk in to find him doing the running man in front of the TV! ha.

Sebastian gathered 79% of the plastic eggs into his bag during the egg search at Gramma & Papa's. Willow went at her own speed, very eager to get to the chocolate inside the eggs. Judah gathered some, very excited in the beginning. Five minutes later he brought his bucket to the porch, set it down and said, "All done." Then he immediately went back to his new toy, ha.

The neighbor lady brought us more chocolate today & apologized that it was "sugar free". ??!?!! As if my kids need sugar, ha. The other day she brought 2 boxes of Fudgesicles and a grocery bag full of cocoa packages to the door and said, "I can't eat chocolate anymore. It gives me gas." ha! (in case you were wondering why she was giving us all of her chocolate)

Sebastian's friend from school came over for a play date this afternoon. His friend's little sister came too, who is four. Willow befriended her easily. Willow let her ride her Hello Kitty bike. Willow put her hand on her new friend's back nearly the entire time as her new pal rode down the sidewalk all the way to the mailbox. Unfortunately this did not encourage Willow to finally begin riding her bike. I was hopeful!

Sebastian had huge tantrums directly following the play date. I don't know where the anger comes from. Rageful screaming and punching the walls. He was upset over Willow being able to watch TV while he took a shower.. ?? The TV was on for 2 minutes, she decided that she wanted it off.. and the tantrums from big brother only got worse. ?? It was almost as if he was searching for any outlet to let the rage escape him. Unfortunately Willow becomes the chosen outlet a lot, Daddy does too. He punched Daddy the other night. The next day he had no screens (TV, I-pad, computer) the entire day & two other consequences on top of that. Tomorrow he has one consequence. We started a system.. 3 marks on the dry erase board and you get a consequence. It's visual. He pays attention to it, but unfortunately it hasn't seemed to make any difference behavior wise so far. We also started a chore system, which they are all doing really well at!!! Sebastian likes to get his chore out of the way early in the day. On Sunday they get a prize for doing all of their chores that week & I read them my notes on extra things I saw them doing or saying throughout the week that were really awesome. Sebastian always seems surprised as I read off the big list of awesome things I saw him do that week. And it's always big!

The other day Scott grabbed lunch with Sebastian & they went to a park nearby (that Sebastian had been wanting to go to) to eat. Later that day Sebastian told me, out of nowhere, "Daddy is very wise. Granddad is too." ha! And he was respectful & appreciative of Daddy for quite a while that day. I asked Sebastian if he had thanked Scott for lunch. He said, "Well, he didn't thank me." Then he stopped and said, "Yeah, I probably should do that."

The other night Sebastian read a chapter of his "Frog & Toad" book to me at bedtime. That's his current favorite reading - the "Frog & Toad" books. And he is READING now! It's really cool! It's not completely smooth, but it's getting close! Anyway, he wanted to do the reading that night. Before he read he told me that he was reading to me because of all the times I had read to him & because of all of the many things I do for him. After he read he asked me what my "favorites" were. I was a bit stunted. He suddenly had this grown-up interest in me. It took me a minute to find the answers. I need to get back to doing my favorites. I deserve that.. & my kids & husband deserve to know that part of me.

That's it for now. Just wanted to check in, I've been meaning to for some time!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Stars Aligning

I spotted a keyboard at a resale shop today. It had been collecting dust on a shelf for some time - it had been marked all the way down to half the price they started at. I looked it over.. piano size keys, tons of instruments & beats, no cord (bummer).. I just skimmed the top of it to make sure it  had some features that I knew my oldest liked. Turned it over.. no battery cover. I didn't see that as much of a problem.. we have lots of duct tape, and it wasn't like he was going to be throwing it around, well possible chance I guess...he does try to throw his bed & the wooden filing cabinet. He really enjoys playing the new keyboard at Gramma & Papa's. I've been wanting to get him his own for some time. Although, with all of his destructive behaviors this year it probably makes much more sense to be removing things FROM his room rather than putting more things INTO his room. Just bringing breakables into the HOUSE is a risk. But this was different.. it was MUSIC, an amazing means of communication & creativity. The chances of it being therapeutic for him, I thought, would probably be worth it. And honestly we'd spend more if we picked up fast food for dinner than I was about to spend on this keyboard.

I texted Scott to get his 2 cents. He thought it sounded alright. I asked him if he was sure and he texted back.. "Buy it."

Upon arriving home I decided to leave the keyboard in the trunk of the car. I knew Sebastian & Daddy were doing grocery shopping very shortly and would be gone for some time.

They left & I raced around like a road runner, re-arranging all of the furniture in Bastian's room. I had re-arranged it yesterday to make more space for him to practice karate on his punching bag. He had walked in as I was finishing yesterday & couldn't believe what I had done. It made him sad, I felt awful. So, when they left today, I put it all back.. without telling him I was planning on doing so. Then I threw batteries into the keyboard and set it safely on top of his wooden crates. I grabbed the fold-up pink stool from the back of the garage door - that became his "piano stool". He loves that stool.. pretty much just because it folds up, haha. They got home right as I was finishing up.

Of course, Sebastian had decided, even after Daddy had just taken him out to dinner, that tonight would be a good night to throw a carnival of his dreadful past behaviors! He seemed impossible to re-direct. Scott didn't know I had already set the keyboard up.. he kept telling Sebastian to go to his room & get his pajamas on, but since Sebastian wasn't doing anything we asked, he didn't go to his room. It was over an hour later that Sebastian decided to open his bedroom door. He found his lights off, the string of blue Christmas lights that cover his wall & frame his closet were on, as were his 2 nightlights. Then we heard a squeeeal. And no more behaviors for the rest of the night.

When I went in to see him after reading to Willow, he had a smile as big as Texas on his face! His mouth appeared to be stuck in that position.. that's not something we see much of. Obviously this gift was just what he needed & wanted.

I couldn't resist leading him to inspect his new keyboard. The fact that it was nearly 2 hours past his bedtime & the other 2 were snoozing away really didn't seem to be that significant. I was excited to show Sebastian how many different instruments & beats he could choose from (100 of each) on his new keyboard. I wanted to play a few different instruments & beats for him to hear. Obviously I'd never played this keyboard before, so I didn't know how to start things up. Then suddenly I had a strong flashback & performing the 3 steps you take before the beat will start came to me instantly. Somehow, in that resale shop, I had stumbled upon the same keyboard I had as a child.

I had gone to Wal-mart on my 13th (??) birthday with my Dad.. it was quite a drive from Noel. We got to the keyboard aisle & he told me to pick out the one I wanted. When I noticed the massive amount of instruments & rhythms on the Casio, and the piano size keys, it was an easy choice.. I remember feeling & knowing that it was EXACTLY the keyboard I wanted. We went home, and instead of running inside to show off my super awesome brand new keyboard, i was stopped quickly at the front door & blind-folded by my mom! Then she spun me around in circles! When she took off the blind-fold I opened my eyes to see my younger brother throwing home-made confetti at me. ???! I walked into the living room & all of my friends popped out from behind furniture screaming, "Surprise!!!"

Another nostalgic moment in Sebastian's bedroom at bedtime.. both moments (tonight & the other night) were really fun memories from Noel. Although I remember being a bit irritated that I had on a really dumb t-shirt & headband when I had been suddenly implanted into my own birthday party, ha. I even remember the t-shirt & headband I wore!!

The keyboard works great. I shared with Sebastian that his new keyboard was the same one I had as a kid. Then he asked me if it was the same one. He wanted to know if it was physically the same keyboard. I thought about his question for a minute and then answered completely honestly "I don't know..." 

Friday, March 6, 2015

20 years

Twenty years goes by quick.. my dad tells me this over the phone today. This instantly reminds me of the conversation I had with a couple of ladies last weekend, where I learned that women need to get a mammogram at 40. That's less than 2 years away for me. ?!?! How did THAT happen? These ladies garnished me with huge medical knowledge in a matter of only 15 minutes. Apparently I need a colonoscopy as well, as colon issues & colon cancer have shown up in my family in the past.

Ironically I did a lot of little kid things today, which was nice because I was able to temporarily shed 30 years of age for a while. I played dolls with my little girl. She has a very small, random selection of dolls. It's pretty clear now that she loves dolls, so we should really work on her collection. I had no intention of pushing dolls, pink or tutu's on her, I wanted HER to decide. She plays with her brothers. We have lots of trains & cars.. they seem to give birth here.. and we have many births. She was slowly introduced to the "other" kinds of toys and once I led her down the pink toy aisles at Target it was painfully clear that she was much more into pink than cars. But not just "into" pink, she wants to be a princess EVERY DAY. She's completely opposite of childhood Molly.

So today I played dolls with her. She has an enormous doll house, thanks to a coffee shop my friends owned that recently had to shut it's doors. We got the doll house and the 2 big McQueen & Dinoco cars that Judah was always magnetized to when we went to their coffee shop. The dollhouse came with the assortment of leftover dolls they had acquired over the years.. an African American doll with a Mohawk & tattoos that someone had "inked" on her with a pen. Willow calls her "Mom". Then we have the doll that reminds me so much of a doll my mom kept in her sewing room when we were wee little ones. It's about 6 inches tall with a yellowish plastic body, no hair & weird eyes. I think of my mom's old sewing basket when I see that doll. The doll house also came with a Ken head. Yes, that's right, Ken's head with no body. That's Willow's favorite of the "dolls". But it's a beautiful Ken head! A make-up artist in Barbie world had to have done his make-up, it's astounding. We got some random dollhouse furniture as well, a big sink with a lid (which may be a toilet, I'm not sure), a very good size pink bunk bed with peculiarly long beds.. I can't remember what else came with the doll house, but the point is, Willow needs Barbies, Monster High, Bratz.. she really isn't picky. Today we had to use Dora (the one that sings the Spanish & English potty song). Dora was the GIANT.. she couldn't fit in the house unless her legs were bent. But she was still a child of the African American Barbie sized doll that Willow affectionately calls "Mom". Mom is the only one with clothes.. she has a jacket, that is wide open, so pretty much pointless as far as being clothed is concerned.

It was so fun! We were supposed to be headed outside to play with Sebastian, but I really didn't want to stop playing dolls! So we didn't stop, until Sebastian came in for like the 3rd time to ask what was taking us so long. Childhood Molly definitely missed out on the doll thing!! What fun!

I'm teaching Willow to dribble a basketball. She really wants to do karate though.. over everything, even gymnastics. Judah wants to do gymnastics and play piano. Willow wants to play drums. Sebastian hasn't decided, he'll probably take a swing at everything.

Tonight Sebastian was telling me that he was little & that he couldn't do anything. So I listed off the PLETHERA of things he can do, which led to my childhood recess because jumping rope (the long one with a kid on each end), was on that list. He can DO that! I ended up teaching him 4 square by the end of the conversation and selfishly swimming through nostalgia for a while. We talked so much that he went right to sleep after I left his room! Usually he's up for at least an hour begging us to come talk to him more or getting out of bed to find us.

And Judah, well we re-enacted parts of the movie Cars with his stuffed McQueen car. He thought that was fantastic! I kept him up a bit longer than usual as well... because it was reeelly fun! :)

And then back to reality.. less than 2 years before the doctors are squishing my boobs with a big machine.. (that's how I'm picturing it anyway). Life goes by entirely too fast. I miss growing up. I want to find pictures of my childhood school to show Sebastian.


 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Children

I just fell asleep nose-to-nose with my Willowbean in her toddler bed.

I so love having a little baby girl.

Sebastian is planning an invention that I'm going to help him with.

I so love having the inventor son.

Judah was in the midst of pooping when he heard Willow crying..

He ran out of his room, his eyes open wide and said, "Wih-oh, ahh you okay?"

I so love having the most loving child.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Diaper Progress & Brush College Park Biking

We tried out a new park today - Brush College Park. It's directly across the street from J's school & very well hidden behind the trees & down a small dirt road.

I'll post what I wrote to Dave about it (much easier).

Yes, we tried Brush College Park. It's an adventure for sure! It is very well hidden. You drive into what appears to be a very small 1/2 parking lot on the side of the road.. but once you drive in you begin to see a small road.. and follow it around and suddenly there's a big park! It would be a great place for birthday parties & nature walks. There was hardly anyone there. They have a bunch of covered picnic tables, a playground without any areas on the play structure that made me nervous and a tremendous amount of grassy field to play in. We did cross a couple pieces of a trail that had a very small walkway with a sharp, muddy drop-off.. and river at the bottom. Willow was scared to cross those without my help- but I wasn't about to let her do it on her own, even if she wasn't scared. Other than that it seemed like a good park for the kids. 
 
I let him ride through the stream - he was on his old red bike. The chain on his new one is off (just discovered this today). So I wasn't really concerned about the bike and the water was shallow. He doesn't have any "play shoes" right now, that would have been a lot better, but shoes are washable. He was very excited about getting to ride through the stream. He couldn't believe I allowed him to do it, haha.
 
There are also muddy areas on the field that aren't viewable from far away - just fyi in case you all ever go there. Of course they found the mud. Willow thought she was stuck in it, ha. She was standing there screaming. Then we went back to the stream to get clean, ha.
 
I'll try to remember to post the video of Sebastian riding his bike across the stream on here. Feel free to remind me if you are interested in seeing it!! Scott doesn't know about this event yet. ;)
 
Judah is now putting on his diaper/underwear/pants when he has to poop completely on his own! He requests a diaper and does it himself. The other morning I refused to do it for him.. I just handed him the diaper and told him I would go charge the I-pad so he could use it (he does this when he poops). He threw tantrums, laid on the floor crying, followed me around ... "Mom-meeee!!", etc. This went on for quite a while. He finally gave in. He's done it every day since then!! Tomorrow will be day 4! Yesterday he requested a diaper and did it himself at least THREE TIMES! He's responding really well verbally lately. The other day I was in his room and asked him if he was ready to get cleaned up.. "Nope." I let him know I was going to take Sebastian to school. He said, "Okay, bye Mommy." I didn't even say bye!! Pretty friggin' incredible.

Note from Dave

Hi Molly,
I wanted to write and tell you how well Sebastian did at karate tonight. He was extremely well focused, executed his moves to perfection. Carson, who was not instructing, but observing, gave him--and no one else-- two big, loud shout outs on his technique.

I was very proud of him.

I was also regaled to and from karate with his story of riding through a river (also in his rendering, a swamp) at the park you went to today ( a secret park). He is a great, engaging story teller!
Dave

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Scavenger Hunt

We are trying diligently to have "family time" every night. Since we aren't a family who is able to eat meals at the table together (due to schedules), family time is even more important. Unfortunately it is currently keeping the kids up past their bedtimes - we haven't worked out all the kinks yet. We've been having a lot of "Super Mario" family nights.. taking turns playing Mario Kart or Super Mario Bros on the wii. Willow is pretty much the only one who still can't quite maneuver Mario yet, but that doesn't mean she doesn't love it!

Tonight I got out a board game called, "Scavenger Hunt". I quickly put the game pieces and board away. I kept out only the cards. I put down 6 cards - each had an item on it. We started the timer (3 1/2 mins works well). The person to come back with all 6 items first or the person to come back with the most items before the time was up, was the winner of that round. We played 3 rounds. Sebastian won them all. Super thing was though - after this was over Sebastian and Willow were cleaning up ALL of it, even things that weren't part of the game! And they were doing it TOGETHER & having fun! Sebastian said running around like that (during & after the game) really felt good. Judah was in the bath - family time scheduling obviously needs work. I gave him the option of game or bath, since I knew he really wanted a bath. He opted for the relaxing bath, smart guy.

Speaking of smart Judah..
He had been looking for a toy in the couch for a long time. When I finally cleaned out the entire inside of the couch and found nothing, I started pulling up pictures on the computer of the toy I thought he was asking for. After he pointed out his much desired toy on the computer, I bought it on eBay. That was  a week ago. Today he takes me to the couch, points at the hole in the back saying something repeatedly that I couldn't make out. Then he takes my hand and pulls me to the computer chair, pushing me down into it & then pointing at the computer, again saying the same thing that I couldn't make out. Ha! Smart guy.

Here's the game we played...


 


While searching for the above pic online I came across soooo much Scavenger Hunt stuff! I'm printing some of it up to use. The one below I printed 3 times. I'll laminate those & put them in the car - then we can use dry erase markers to play.


Sebastian will start Spanish tutoring on Tuesday next week. We met the tutor this afternoon, high school student who is very qualified for the job!

Sebastian wrote me the sweetest note tonight. He told me that I was the only one who he had shown the stationary that he used & that he only used it for "special occasions". See below for a pic of the note. Translation here: I wanted to say that you are the best mom ever. Sincerely, love, SebastiƔn.











Thursday, January 29, 2015

Changing Schools

I tried to "anonomize" these emails as much as possible. These are details of the school situation we had been dealing with & the principal's response. He is still doing good at his new school. He told me yesterday (2/11) that he talks with a girl at recess who is also in karate (in the class after his) and ALSO that he jumps rope at recess while 2 kids are turning the rope.. I had no idea he could do that! I asked, "Do you turn the rope too?" He said, "No, I mainly like to jump." ha.
 
 
Dear Principal M,
We are writing you this letter to share with you some of the reasons we took S.. out of his 1st grade classroom at H.... He loved learning Spanish and was starting to show great progress, but the class was being taught in many ways that were very unorthodox. We saw this taking a toll on him from the beginning & it only got worse. As we learned more & more of what was happening in the classroom, we realized that the potential for damage to him was very strong. We spoke with his teacher & quickly decided that we needed to get him into a different classroom immediately.
We were told that the English classrooms at H.. were being taught by subs. We were told that one English class had no teacher & the other had a teacher who wouldn’t be back for another month. We observed the classroom with the teacher on leave before we made the final decision to move him to a new school.
One issue in S...’s old classroom (H...) was the checkmark chart system. After realizing how upsetting & stressful this chart was for S...., we set up a time to meet with Senora H... in hopes of learning more about the checkmark chart. Although she wasn’t able to give us an explanation of how it worked that made any sense, she repeatedly told us that the students were treated fairly as far as earning and losing checkmarks, and that it was used to encourage good behavior in the classroom. It wasn’t long before we learned that this chart was not being used solely for encouraging good behavior in the classroom. Kids lost checkmarks for not bringing back papers that had been sent home for parents to sign. They lost checkmarks when they didn’t bring back money from home when asked by the school to donate (if possible). Students were told that they weren’t being “responsible” if they weren’t bringing these things back to school. One day S... brought home a paper from school. It was a request for parents to donate art supply money to the classroom, if possible. We lost the paper & later found it. We walked S... into the classroom after school to return it to Senora H.... We apologized for returning it late & explained that we had lost the paper, not S..... Once given the money (she didn’t ask for the paper), Senora H... patted S.... on the back & told him that he would now get his checkmarks.
The only thing that was really clear about the checkmark chart was that the more checkmarks a student got, the closer they were to getting a prize. S... said it made him feel like everyone was in a race.
S.... sat quietly at his table & consistently lost checkmarks because others at his table were talking.  Apparently they were told not to talk at their tables, so he didn’t talk. He said he felt that he couldn’t let his voice out until he got home. Behaviors at home started around the same time he began attending this class. There’s no doubt in our minds that these were largely a result of the stress & anxiety he was enduring in the classroom. He felt that he had to hold everything in until he got home, where he would then let out his frustrations and emotions all at once.
S.... was visibly nervous in the classroom even when his teacher & mother were the only 2 people there. This is not his natural demeanor.
The hardest thing to hear was him telling us that his work was being displayed in front of his entire class & that the students were told to judge it. The teacher participated as well. He had mentioned to us a number of times before that he was sad because the kids had given him a “thumbs down” that day. It was only recently that we understood what that really meant. The students do a “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”, depending on what they think of the student’s work that is displayed on the projector. When we confronted Senora H... about this, her justification was that she covered up the names when the work was displayed. Can you imagine how it would feel at 6 or 7 years old to have your work in front of the entire class and all your peers give you a “thumbs down”? Covering a student’s name doesn’t stop this practice from being hurtful & damaging to these children.  Can you imagine how it must feel to know that you were going to continue to go through this?
As if that wasn’t hard enough, S.... shared with us that there were many times when he got a “thumbs down” from the entire class. The teacher wasn’t even giving him a “thumbs up”! This had apparently been going on all year. We, as parents, do not understand the reason for doing this & can easily see how damaging & traumatic this could be for children (and adults!). We mentioned this teaching method to a behavioral specialist recently. She didn’t hesitate to label it as emotional abuse. The parents need to be aware this is going on.
After S.... was finally able to tell us about the “thumbs up, thumbs down” routine, we emailed Senora H..., letting her know we needed to meet with her right away. We met with her the following day. Senora O.... (the 1st grade Spanish teacher) showed up to give us a book & quickly took over the meeting – staying even longer than H...! We had not asked to meet with Senora O...... When we mentioned the practice of displaying student’s work for the entire class to judge, O..... persuaded H... to agree not to do this to S..... anymore. O.... attempted to justify this teaching method, telling us that the students (6 & 7 year olds) were “critiquing” one another. 
There were other times when our son was put in the limelight in a very irresponsible & unhealthy manner:
We emailed Senora H..... when S..... came home & shared with us the offensive hand gesture he had learned in class. The next day she put the 2 girls responsible for teaching this gesture in seats away from the class. In that same email, I let her know that S..... had explained to us that these girls were always a huge distraction to him & that it was affecting his ability to concentrate on his work. When we learned that S..... & the girls were not being separated at school, we again wrote Senora H..., this time being very specific. We let her know that we felt S... needed to be seated at a different table. The next day she announced to the class that S....  was going to be at a new table and that everyone at that table was going to be nice to him & not distract him. Her announcement was obviously completely unnecessary & humiliating.
We feel it very necessary to add that within a week at his new school, S..... is happy once again. He talks to his teachers the minute he walks in the door & is bringing home fun things that he has done in class and fun homework. We are getting positive reports from his teacher & principal. He’s telling us about playing with kids at recess, funny things that happened that day and most importantly expressing that he is enjoying the first grade, as all children should.
As responsible adults, we felt that it was very important to share the issues in this email with you. Kids in that class may be enduring practices that will affect them the rest of their lives. We urge you to have Senora H.... share her teaching methods with all of her student’s parents right away.  They need to be informed.  Thank you so much for your time.

Hope you are well.
M/S
 
 
 
Her response:
 
Dear....,
Thank you for your email from January 29th. I am sorry it took so long for me to reply. My second round of treatment (on 1/29) presented different challenges, so I am just now getting caught up with my tasks.
 
I appreciate you sharing your concerns and S....’s experiences with me. Creating a safe and positive learning environment for each and every student is a high priority and I want to assure you that your feedback will assist me in supporting staff.  I understand you took quite some time writing out all the details of yours and S....’s  experiences. I assure you that I will address each of your concerns with his former classroom teacher.
 
Again, thank you for your time and support.  I wish S...... the very best at (his new school). 
 
M. M. (principal)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SUV

Judah stayed home from school today as his cough was hard not to be concerned about every time I heard it and his nose was gushing from time to time. He seemed fine as the day went on. The cough is still there, but he is very obviously feeling better as he is playing & even went outside to play today! Unfortunately, while we were outside, he wouldn't stop putting his cars in the mud & rocks - expensive, large cars.. it was hard to just turn my head & pretend not to think anything of it. After many, many times of asking him to stop & removing him and/or the cars from the rocks, I finally just had to take him inside. That was the only thing he wanted to do - play with his cars in the rocks & mud. At the same time, miss Willow is dashing down the sidewalk, sitting on the ground against the neighbor's garage door and hitting Judah's toys with a bat as he played with them. Sufficed to say, she went inside at the same time. Judah put up a fight though. I could hardly lift him - that took a while. He took many attempts at scratching my face. He got in a few good scratches at the top of my nose. Scott also has a scratch from Judah on his face - his is much more noticeable though. Judah was pulling my hair as well. This physical aggression has been seen before but has never stuck around for long. This is a pretty new cycle & definitely the most aggressive he's been. He hits his aide on a daily basis - this has been going on for at least a week. Sometimes he even butts heads with her.. yes, completely on purpose!

Throughout the outside time, Sebastian was helping keep an eye on Willow. He was being good. He wanted the other 2 to ride in the wagon while I pulled. He was planning on attaching his plasma car to the back of the wagon & riding it. He had to wait as I was putting batteries in a couple of toys for Judah & Willow. I could have easily stopped what I was doing & gotten everyone in the wagon.. Willow & Judah certainly weren't paying any attention. But I decided to take some baby steps off the egg shells (his good behavior is very new - 2 days so far). He had to wait.. not more than 10 minutes.. and began getting agitated, finally saying, "I'm getting angry! My counselor says I have SUV!!" When I explained to him that an SUV was a sports utility vehicle he thought that was pretty funny. I told him the correct terminology. Much later, while I was on the phone with Pa Rock, Sebastian was screaming in the background, "I have ADHD!!!" Maybe I shouldn't have reminded him what the correct letters were.

Anyway, when I was struggling to get Judah inside, Sebastian put all of the toys in the garage without being told (this NEVER happens) & told me he would go inside & turn on Mario so Judah would calm down. I had already given him permission to stay outside a bit longer since he wasn't really doing anything wrong, but he chose to help instead. That was pretty incredible.

Sebastian had a few blow-outs with Willow today - short ones, but more so than yesterday, when he only had one towards her & one towards me. While doing his homework  he had a very difficult time remaining focused. He was able to figure out his math problems with ease though! He would focus for a minute (sometimes less), become distracted, focus for a minute, becoming distracted even more, focus, etc. It took a while to get through his 12 questions. And he was becoming more jumpy and active - flying around the room. This started quickly after the homework began. Dinner came not long after - as did his old behaviors, unfortunately. It went back to pretty much as bad as it had been before. Very unfortunate, but I am reassuring him that he can do it and that it will take time.

The homework from his new teacher was very organized & inventive, thank goodness. It was short & simple as well. Sebastian said the questions were similar to problems they had done in class that day, which is excellent for remembering how to do them & building self confidence!!

I think discussing Sebastian's diagnosis with him was really helpful in sparking the good behavior. He has a better understanding of what is happening, thus giving him some control where before he felt as if he had none. When Scott & I told him about his diagnosis, Sebastian ended our talk with giving me a big hug and apologizing for all of the times he had said that he hated me - telling me that he didn't mean it. He didn't do the same for Scott, but he had spent the time before & after our conversation openly connecting with him & enjoying his company.. which was huge.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Willow's 1st Trip to the Dentist!

Willow went to the dentist for her first time today. The dental assistant was able to check her bottom teeth & the dentist was able to check her top teeth. Apparently it was really difficult to get her to cooperate. In order for them to get her to open her mouth, the dentist had to make a balloon animal for her. Apparently he has a hidden talent! And it worked!
Sebastian was at the dentist as well. He had some teeth sealed and cavities filled (3 or 4??). He came home and was completely fine! Scott had taken them both to the dentist. Sebastian's mouth wasn't even numb when he came home and I couldn't visually see any cavities that had been filled. Dentistry is so much incredibly unbelievably different than when I was a child!!
Sebastian has been back home since Sunday. He has done unbelievably well and has had two straight nights of no meltdowns. He had a few short spats today but quickly apologized over and over, "Im sorry! I just got out of control for a minute!" He was getting frustrated with Willow and screamed harshly, "You stupid baby!!!" He followed that with, "Im sorry! I just got out of control for a minute!" He hit me on the forehead with a wooden block. I immediately left the room. He followed me and sincerely apologized.
I had emailed a mom from Sebastian's old class about what we had learned had been going on in class. She invited me over. I talked with her and her boyfriend, both have girls in Sebastian's old class. They basically wanted me to give them details about what I had mentioned in the email. The daughters had given them the same info when they had asked them after reading my email. One daughter is outgoing and the other is more emotional and caring. The emotional daughter is now asking daddy to walk her to class every morning and sometimes crying before class in the morning. She will talk about most of her day when asked, but when asked about the "thumbs up, thumbs down", she clams up. I shared with them that Sebastian had only been at his new school for 4 days and he was happy. He walks into the classroom at drop-off and talks to his teacher. He isn't afraid of her, and she seems very much like a caring human being. Sebastian played with the daughters while I talked to the parents. He didnt seem relaxed and was sort of following the girls around, trying to figure out what to do. Of course he still didn't want to go when it was time to leave. And he tattled on the girls right before we left! They weren't anywhere nearby thank goodness, but obviously tattling is still an issue with him. He also seemed to think they were making fun of his picture (one girl there had a pic in her room from his playdate) and doing/saying negative things towards him that I'm pretty sure weren't happening. He tells me these kinds of things a lot, that kids are making fun of him or being mean to him.
Judah has been sick the past two days and Sebastian wasn't feeling well tonight. Poor Judah was just slammed with some kind of illness - chapped lips and nose, coughing, constant runny nose, fever & lethargic. He sat on the toilet for a long time today, playing the iPad and trying to poop (we think). He didn't bother me to ask for a diaper. I was napping. Funny thing is that he began peeing on his own in the potty when I was napping one day.  I woke up and saw what he had done and then left his diaper off from then out. And for the most part things went pretty well! We've tried so long to get him to poop on the potty - maybe I just need to nap more!?!
Last night I made Judah a remedy to drink for his sore throat.He took one sip and refused any more. Now his sheets smell like honey. Tonight Willow asked me what I was doing and I told her that I was just doing something to help Judah. Judah was sitting at the table. He heard me and said, "Oh dear." But he did let me put the melted coconut oil in his nose, well sort of let me. His nose has really been bothering him a lot while he's been sick. Vaseline hasn't helped.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Giving Our Kids a Better Future

Just a small update on the school issue..
I only contacted one parent of a kid in Bastian's old classroom. It was the only parent email that I could find. She's talked with other parents - who are all very concerned. It sounds like they want to confront the teacher. She asked her daughter about it & her daughter told her the same thing I did. I'm glad she was able to spread that info that all of those parents absolutely need to know. We'll be talking with the principal about it soon - whenever we can get an appointment scheduled with her! Suddenly that is a difficult task for her to follow through with... ???

Sebastian's psychologist spoke with some of his colleagues after getting tests back from Sebastian's teachers with the exact same answers. It was testing that would give some insight as to what they see at school w/Sebastian. It obviously needed to be done separately. I had sent in two separate tests, one for each teacher, & had told his main teacher that they each needed to fill one out .The psych's colleagues agreed that he needed to contact the principal about this, because this could happen to another kid. Obviously they needed to understand the huge importance of these tests. He said the principal didn't seem to understand what he was telling her &  supported the teachers' decision to copy answers. Their decision to do this could have had a HUGE effect on my son's life! When the psychologist saw the answers he shook the tests and said, "This is Sebastian's life!!" The psych isn't taking the teacher tests into deep consideration, given their decision to send in exact same answers (there were over 100 questions!!) and what we've spoken about with him involving those teachers. So irresponsible & offensive. Teachers are people who care & want to help others.. that's like the entire basis of their job, right? To give our children a better future??

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My First Day by Sebastian


My First Day at Chapman Hill

January 13, 2015

By Sebastian F.

 

After Molly and Gramma left, I worked on math and letters. Same as my old class. Then we went to the carpet and had to talk about what our least favorite part of school is. I said reading. Then we said what our most favorite part was. We could pass if we wanted. I didn’t say anything but I think it is PE.

Then we did the calendar. After that we did math. Take away. Like 1-2=3. 

I made friends with the kids in my class. Cameron is my new friend. The first word she said to me was “hello.”

They have a tire swing at this school. It looked scary. Maybe I will do it another day.

Eating lunch was good. We get our lunch out of our bags and we watch movies. We can talk quietly. Today we saw The Magic School Bus.

There is a folder at our table where you put all your art work. You dump it into your back pack every Friday.

I went to PE today. The PE teacher is a girl. There is another PE teacher who’s a girl, too. We played with balls. Mrs. Hanin said, “I’ve known this guy for a long time. Maybe 30 minutes!” Then she gave me a big hug.

After PE, the teacher read a book to us about spring.

Later, one of the girls picked me to be student of the day tomorrow!

Then it was the end of the day. I put my chair up and got my back pack.

The day seemed shorter than at Harritt. I like my teacher, Mrs. Rosendahl a lot.

PS A good thing is that lunch seemed longer! Also, there’s a drawing test in PE. The best one wins a prize!

Bastian's Got Lots of New Women In His Life!

I did blog recently. I just wanted to acknowledge that it really hasn't been THAT long. The last blog was a private blog that I shared with some family. It wasn't really public blog material.

Some things Willow said recently.. she is seriously so funny, and QUICK!

She was standing next to me, staring down at her feet. "My feet are getting bigger (sigh). I guess I'm just getting old."

I had to run to Target the other night to return a couple of things & didn't want to go alone. So Scott, Willow & Judah joined. (Sebastian has been staying with Gramma & Papa for a while - due to some behaviors that have been consistently happening with him here, but not happening there.) Target is doing their toy clearance right now, which usually involves some really awesome prices. Christmas shopping used to begin at this point for us, but we haven't done their toy clearance in years. We told the kids we were going to Target to look at toys. It was dark out, an hour or so before their bedtime. They were even in their pajamas. Willow asked me to repeat what I had said about what we were doing. I said, "We're going to Target to look at toys." and her response, 1/2 a second later, "That's more like it!!" haahha


I responded to an email I got from my younger brother today. I didn't realize how much I had written until I began scrolling to the top. I'll post some of that in here since it's got a lot of details about some things going on here.

Ha, I will tell Sebastian about Uncle Tim having bad handwriting. He really perks up when he knows other people have the same problem.. he's very much a kid that wants to be doing the "right" thing - having an Uncle with bad handwriting (you said it not me!) will very likely add some positivity to that issue. And you're very successful too! Can you imagine a class full of kids all giving you a thumbs down (this happened MANY times - it kills me that we didn't know until the year was half over!!!) and not even the teacher can manage a thumbs up. She rushed them thru work - rewarded them for finishing quickly.. he wants so badly to do well (obviously desperately doesn't want more thumbs down bullshit) and so he takes his time writing and doesn't get done in time (gets no points and points may be taken away), or he rushes and his handwriting suffers.
 
So many things have already happened in my life as a parent that I didn't see coming.. big things! I often think, "Did Mom & Dad go through anything like this??"  I feel like things have just gone to hell in a hand basket with our generation in the family, for many of us anyway (you are shiny gold). I feel like Dad is just going to say at some point, "What the hell is going on with everyone??!" ha. But I really do think that.
 
I've reassured Sebastian before that his handwriting will not affect anything about his future. He'll always work on it, but he won't be treated like he is not good enough for the way his writing looks, which I'm sure we will be reassuring him about for quite a while. Tonight he told me that he and ONE other kid got a thumbs down from the class EVERY TIME. I think he said the first time they ever did this he may have gotten a thumbs up.. but then he got a thumbs down the next time & every time since. Same thing with the other boy. I explained that the class was probably thinking that they were supposed to do that for him & the other boy since they were the only ones it had happened to. Now it is much more clear why other kids haven't been pulled from that class by their parents. They are all getting thumbs up!!
 
The attendance office didn't call us today, so I'm pretty sure they realize we've pulled him out. The counselor at his new school told me that she had spoken with his old counselor & that his old counselor (who had gotten comfortable with and was seeing on a pretty regular basis) could come to his new school & talk to him if necessary.
 
I think every staff at his new school is female (staff list on website). He came home and told me, "My new P.E. teacher.. it's a girl!! And the other P.E. teacher is a girl too!!!" ha.
 
I did send the teacher an email before he started there, letting her know that he had very legitimate fears of being in school now. The principal asked me to share the email with her. She then sent it to the counselor, who also needed to be clued in on this obviously. So today the principal walked with us (my mom was there - Scott was home sick) to his class.. the teacher had a buddy for Sebastian as soon as he walked to the door.. the teacher quickly introduced him to the class and helped him zip up his backpack when he was struggling, as if it was just second nature to her (it felt like she would take care of him). The principal checked on him twice throughout the day. The counselor showed him her office during the day. A kid "picked him" (I'm guessing this is P.E.) and he was so happy & surprised.. "I didn't think anyone was going to pick me!" When I picked him up the counselor found me & we chatted, the principal talked w/me twice after school & his teacher also took the time to tell me about his day. It just felt like them having some knowledge of how the first half of his year was really gave him a shield of adults who were going to make damn sure he felt safe & was happy.
 
I talked with some friends about our biggest issue with his last teacher after the other Spanish teacher at his old school informed us that thumbs up/thumbs down was a teaching method practiced district-wide. Not a single one of my friends was anything but shocked & appalled. They all found it to be so awful. 
 
I didn't speak at the Parent Club about these things. I wanted to, but Scott & Mom both talked me out of it. Our autism support group meets once a month and lands on the same/time as Parent Club. We went there instead & I'm really glad we did. I heard some struggles that those parents were going through that just killed me. And Scott & I were able to share some contact info with the group (medical, therapy, etc.) and laugh about hard shit that isn't the norm, but for us never ends!
 
We'll either email or meet with the principal at the old school. I can't walk away from there knowing that the parents of 29 other children are going to have to meet with the teacher in order for these things to stop. Sebastian's teacher had agreed to stop doing it to him after we talked, but she saw nothing wrong with it and was surprised when I told her that Sebastian didn't like it.. ?!??! He had his last day of school there the following day. After talking with him about school issues for just a brief time the evening of his last day of school, he asked me if he had to go back. I told him, with no hesitation, "No, you won't be going back."
 
His old school had the kids sit boy/girl/boy/girl at lunch telling them that this would make lunch quieter. Their social time was being stolen away. After all, they couldn't talk in class! Sebastian said he felt that he had to hold his voice in until he got home, where he could finally let his voice out. He did this for half a year. I don't know how. The class was split into a girls line & a boys line when they entered music & P.E. class. His old school was obviously VERY "old school". Sebastian's new teacher told the kids they could talk quietly at their tables at some point in the day (he came home & told me this, very excited about it).
 
Sebastian said that he wants to go with me to pick up his notebooks from his old school. He said he wants to tell his old teacher hi and bye and tell her that he isn't going there anymore because it's a bad environment. :) Apparently she's not so scary anymore!!

 
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, January 5, 2015

Willow rode her bike!!!

Willow rode her bike for the first time today. Sebastian, Willow and i went to the park after school. It was starting to get dark. We stayed for about half an hour. Willow rode up and down the sidewalk as I walked beside her, using my hand to help her pedal. Bastian ventured off into the forest and through the puddles.. across the small bridges.. he did pretty much everything I told him not to do. I couldn't see him when he went on these journeys. Eventually we left, due to this. Willow pedaled once on her own after I pushed her feet down and around. She had done the same last week. However today she kept going, pedaling one, two, even three times in a row!  Without stopping!! Unfortunately her ability to steer disappeared when this would happen. She was truly truly proud and sooo happy on the four or five time she was confident enough to pedal like this. I will attach a video soon.
Sebastian was aggressive with Daddy tonight. Fiercely so. Sebastian told me what had happened minutes later, almost as if he was reporting a crime, not able to take responsibility for his actions.. Not seemingly upset over them.
i wasn't able to share with Scott that Willow rode her bike for the first time today. My heart is just breaking for Sebastian.


Willow rides!: http://youtu.be/fa8I-vss5ew