Thursday, March 15, 2012

On Monsters

Sam frequently uses the excuse that he is afraid of monsters, when he doesn't want to go into his room alone to get something once it's dark out. The other day, I asked Gavin to help him out.

In true Gavin fashion, he didn't, but instead offered up this gem to his little brother:

"Monsters are just a FRAUD, Sam! They are NOT real!"

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Counseling Session

It's sometimes amazing what a little outside perspective can do.

Had a good session with the counselor yesterday. It was just Chad and I to go over history and background. The counselor asked what had changed in the last couple months. At first it wasn't obvious to us, seems like business as usual.

But she was able to draw out a few things that could be simmering and boiling over, causing this behavior.

Sam's birthday - even though grandparents did a great job bringing him gifts too, this is the first time Sam has had a real party and the focus has been on him

Some frustration with math in school (see prior post)

Teenage deaths in Johnston

The cat. Meatball has been peeing on stuff lately, and Gavin loves this cat so much. We've discussed that we may have to give him away if we can't stop him. This really upsets him. He's also been asking how old the cat is (about the same age as Gav) and how long cats live.

So add that to an age where school and social situations start to generally get more difficult, an age where the concepts of permanency and death become apparent - and we have one little boy with some worrisome thoughts on his mind. Of course, when we ask outright what's wrong, he obviously can't string all these together and tell us.

Next step is for her to talk to him in a play therapy session and see if she can pinpoint things that are bothering him. In the meantime, we'll have to make a decision on the cat so the what if isn't hanging over his head. And we'll likely be keeping him (flipping cat! he wins!). I had already been planning on printing out worksheets to help with math. Last night I talked to Gav about his frustration, and that it was ok if things weren't always easy at school, but we just need to talk about it so that we can practice more. That it's fine to not be perfect at it, but I want to practice with him at home so that he doesn't have to feel frustrated at school.

He seemed relieved that I wasn't upset that he was struggling (at first he was all "what?" when I asked if there were some tricky things they were doing in math). He sort of looked at me wide eyed and wary to see what I was going to say about it. We've never been upset about grades, so I'm not sure where this expectation comes from, but I hope he felt better after we talked.

So that's it. All good things, I am  optimistic this can be turned around.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gavin Rocks! 2nd Trimester Conferences

I walked into the school yesterday with a tear in my eye because I knew Gavin was going to get a 4 on at least one category in reading.

4 = exceeding grade level expectations

Sitting next to an isolette, hearing a machine breathe for your tiny baby, hearing words like brain bleeds and kidney damage, you just don't know what the future is going to hold. Always the overachiever, but I knew sitting there that I would be thrilled with average for this child.

And now, that tiny baby has grown into a kid that is exceeding expectations, as one of the youngest kids in his grade level. He is amazing!!

He works hard, the teacher tells me. He is a great kid. He really, really tries. He is good to others. These are the best things a mother could hear.

We've slipped a little in a couple areas - mostly in being a little too chatty. It's rarely something he instigates, but he has a hard time ignoring kids if they are talking around him or trying to engage him when he should be paying attention to the teacher. He is also not quite taking responsibility for his own actions, he likes to blame it on everyone else when he gets in trouble (hmmm.....sounds familiar!).

He's a rock star at reading. We're having a bit of a struggle in math right now, which is a flip flop from where he was at a couple years ago. The two main areas are telling time (on a clock with hands - who needs to do that anymore anyway?) and counting coins (hello, debit cards?). Also, placement value.

She said that these are more abstract concepts, and more developmental in nature. The fact that he is young makes perfect sense to her that these are the areas he struggles in. She said he also needs a little extra help when working on a new concept, that she'll sit with him and go through it a few extra times to help him get it. And while he seems to generally understand the concepts, he's not consistently applying it. She said that he clearly gets frustrated, but continues to work hard. But, not surprising, he says math is his least favorite subject.

I hate stuff that doesn't come easy for me too, but this is something we will just practice more on at home.

I discussed his behavior issues at home, and she was shocked because she doesn't see any indication of that at school. She did say that I'm not the first parent with a Jekyll/Hyde personality kid. I really think he is trying so hard at school, and especially if he is finding math frustrating, he is just done by the end of the day.

I'm going to print out some work sheets and work on these things. I think with a little extra practice it will come naturally. They make such an emphasis of having to read every night - so he's doing great there, but they aren't doing math exercises every night. I just need to work with him on it, on our own. Build his confidence, decrease his frustration level, and hopefully make it easier on him.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Realities of a 3 yr Old

Sam cracks me up. For all the not so desirable behaviors that come with this age, I love his imagination and story telling right now. I don't really remember much of this with Gavin, but Gavin was not as developed in speech at this age, nor has he really engaged much in imaginative play.

The funny thing about Sam's stories is how he believes they really happened - or at least I think he does. Either that, or he's a terrific liar and we are screwed. I'm hoping for the first one.

Recent realities, according to Sam:

A curtain rod cracked and fell down in our room, oh, about a year ago. It's still on the floor and there is a pink towel hanging in the window to keep out the light
Sam and I were sitting in my bedroom and he started telling me how the curtain broke. How he broke it, and pulled it down (he didn't). He went into great detail about this. Then he went on to tell me how he didn't want to have the light shining in Dad's face, so he hung a towel up. A green towel.
We were sitting right in front of the window. With a pink towel hanging in it.
"Sam, don't you mean a pink towel - that towel is pink?"
"No, mommy! A green towel. I hung up a green towel. That towel is green!"

We got home and Chad wasn't home
Sam: "I just dropped him off at Merle Hay. I drove him there"

The kids are going to our old nanny's house Saturday so I can go on a long run with a friend
Sam: "Another KK is going to be there"
"No, Sam, KK doesn't live with Trisha. KK lives with her mommy and daddy"
"Not THAT KK! There are two KK's! One lives with her mommy and daddy, and the other KK lives with Trisha!!!! In her basement."

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


If by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Friday, March 2, 2012

It's Not All Bad

I'm happy to say that the last two nights have been so good in our house! Gavin has behaved so well. I think when things are right, he is aware that his behavior isn't acceptable. He asked me the other night: "Have I been good tonight? I haven't yelled at Sam, have I?".

It's a little heartbreaking - he's such a great kid. A really wonderfully, sensitive, loving kid. When he gets so upset and aggressive, that's not who he wants to be. To me, it's almost like there's times when everything is working well inside him, and other times when he's off.

The key is to figure out what throws him off. Here's what has been working this week:

 - taking sack lunches (no preservative filled, processed school lunches)
 - vitamins every night (Omega 3, multi, vitamin D)
 - drinking lots of water
 - fairly consistent bed time routine
 - eating a lot. Man, has he been eating a lot, but he recognizes when he's hungry before he gets to the melting point and has been making good food choices
 - time spent snuggling in bed sans Sam when doing homework.

Here's where I think the issue lies:

I really looked into this back when he was 4 yrs old, but there seems to be little support or resources for sensory issues around here. We were able to employ some things that I read about and they seemed to work at the time. I know resources exist, I just need to keep digging. His teacher and I discussed fidget toys, etc at his conferences, she suggested he might be a kid that benefits from such a thing, but at this age they can be distracting in the classroom. So I need to find someone that can suggest something that is effective and not distracting.

In other news, it's official. I've thrown in the towel.

I am driving a mini-van.

This is our new ride. The kids love it. I have always been so anti-van, and I just need to get over it. It's a very nice vehicle, and thanks to the hubs for driving to MN to pick it up.