Tag Archives: pre-k

Rolling Rolling Rolling….

5 Aug

You Got To Roll Me….

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

Keep the dice a rolling

keep the game a moving

don’t ever lose that die!

Rain and wind and weather

hell bent for jenga*

wishing my bro would lose and cry…
*uses a six sided, six color die according to wikipedia.org. Yes. I checked. Would you expect less of me?
We are just getting to the point where playing board games is not eerily reminiscent of my childhood (as an only child, living in the middle of the woods, no cable, and I was the weird kid. I learned to play every game by myself. Even hide and go seek. It’s true. More on that someday. I’m just starting to own that part of me.)…

Alex will sit and play and follow directions (with a great deal of repetition on our part) for a little bit- though his attention is still somewhat short…

All of the games we have happened upon lately seem to have die or dice involved. We have been rockin’ the Monopoly Jr., Clue Jr., and Mouse Trap.

Part of the motor skill challenge has been rolling the die or dice (and actually having it change to a random side). Part of the “I have an almost 6 year old” challenge has been getting him to not pretend to roll it so that he miraculously gets 6 every time, because at almost 6 bigger always seems better even if it gets you sent back to the start of the game board.

We also tend to play around our lovely Noguchi glass coffee table as we can all sit comfortably (and my work is usually overpowering our little kitchen table…Still want my Edison farmhouse table. Someday it will be mind. Someday.) Not only is there glass, there are a few choice knick-knacks near by that are probably not-so-durable and there are two big club chairs and a love seat. My arthritis refuses to get down on the floor to retrieve overzealously thrown dice (actually it’s more of a problem evolving back into an upright position these days).

And I fear glass chips and broken knick-knacks. And face it, my kiddo is wonderful with many things, but his motor skills are a major work in progress.

So here is my solution.

I took a tin with a clear lid (the lid covering is plastic- I do not suggest trying this with a glass-topped tin) that is of the “deep” variety (I got them from SpecialtyBottle.com – the one shown in my image is a 4oz/deep). I popped the die in, closed the lid (the lid isn’t terribly loose but it is not secured outside of friction- so if you feel you need a sturdier hold try some masking or electrical tape around the edges.

And voila! Alex can shake-shake-shake and I no longer have to go fishing for game pieces, the coffee table is intact, and my curios are happy campers and have removed their helmets and safety goggles.

This also helps teach him the rules of “rolling” – he has to give it a few shakes and put it down. This has made a huge difference in his comprehension of rules- those of the game and those little social game play rules. Eventually he’ll roll by himself, but for now this lets us play and show him the joy of playing boardgames as a family. He can focus on playing and not obsessing over this one small part.

The containers are too big to squeeze into most manufacturers game boxes and I like to keep all parts in their respective boxes, so we have one “rolling” container. If he was younger and more apt to try to consume the parts during game play, we would probably secure the lid more permanently.

xo
Bek

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Ode to Boy.

30 May

Alex
Alex

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

Today we went to the Kindergarten graduation ceremony at Alex’s school. Alex and the rest of the pre-primary kids had prepared a song. I slept a little longer than the boys this morning, and Jeff got Alex dressed. Alex was thrilled to wear a buttondown (his favorite type of shirt) and his rockin’ tie from Toybreaker.Etsy.com.  (Alex has been doing mostly kindergarten work this year, but will be starting his official kindergarten year in August as we all agree he needs the extra time, and the nature of the program allows for this flexibility which is important for a kid like Alex who is uneven as far as development goes.)

We got to school and took our seats…Listened to the squawking of the first group of kids playing the recorder. The next group went up, and gave a little history on Beethoven and his impact on the world and on music, then they started to play…

With those first few familiar notes I looked at Alex and he looked at me and put his head on my arm, and my big boy snuggled so close to me. His eyes were sparkling, starry and happy and overwhelmed and so in the moment. Classmates were play fighting in the back of the room, parents were craning their heads to keep track of their wandering pre-schoolers, and Ode to Joy swelled through the room. And for the first time, it was like this was a moment, a song, an experience, that he was truly connected to. His mind wasn’t elsewhere, he wasn’t talking about buttons on radios, or how a siphon in a toilet works…

He sings Ode to Joy non-stop in his head (and many times aloud) from morning to night and probably even in his dreams. It’s his constant. Ode to Joy calms him and provides comfort through the million and one transitions in his day- some of those transitions are so minor to the casual onlooker, that they would never identify them as such. Everything is a transition in some way, Alex is always very aware of this. Ode to Joy is his security blanket. I know the other kids in his school don’t have their personal theme music playing in their mind 24/7/365, but they don’t need to either. Alex needs that. He identified it himself and started using it as a tool. It seems to quiet the rest of his very active mind so he can function at any level.

On some days it seems like walking, chewing gum, and trying to juggle flaming ginsu knives while translating Lewis Carroll using only a Berlitz guide, into an unfamiliar language (with a different alphabet), while someone barks random numbers and throws sand at you, all at the same time.

To decompress after school and on weekends and holidays, Alex stands in front of his radio and watches the numbers and listens to the 10 different versions of Ode to Joy we loaded onto the ipod for him. Occasionally he pops out of his room to declare something Ode to Joy or plumbing related, but mostly he needs this decompression, the radio supplies the song so the part of his brain that has it on mental repeat during regular daily functioning can rest.

But today, once they started to play the song, he was in the moment.

His brilliant and busy brain and the outside world converged in the space of that room, perched upon a folding plastic chair.

He was at peace for a moment, so connected. So was I. My brain is usually working on how to help him and the things I have to do, there is no down time.

But in that short yet gigantic moment today, both of us were present, for the first time in forever.

And his face and eyes, when they met mine, told me that he was overwhelmed that the world had finally connected with him.

Hugs and Kisses

1 Feb

XO

Originally uploaded by CleverIndie

Update: Kiddo seems to be doing a little better…. He seems out of his shell, but operating at a more immature level than we are used to (selective hearing… pretending it’s opposite day ’round the clock…Not answering questions…somewhat hyperactive compared to baseline)… I guess time will tell… Starting a new schedule for him tomorrow that will hopefully help him. Feeling the pressure to bring in info for school but at the same time don’t want to overwhelm his teachers… That and all of a sudden he’s rejecting the idea of bringing his weighted vest(he calls it his huggyvest) to school, so I need to dig deeper on that one and I need to write out a comprehensive (but not overwhelming) sheet on it so it isn’t used inappropriately… Ideally I would like the teachers to suggest that he use it and leave it up to him… It’s not weird looking with his clothes- it actually matches his uniform and doesn’t look weirdly therapeutic… When he got it last summer he didn’t want to wear it to school because he didn’t want the other kids to feel bad that they don’t have one… Hopefully this is still the case… I’ll update the blog this week with a breakdown of his “toolkit”…

Anyway, Happy Superbowl Sunday!

I’m making my famous chili…Some ingredients are so secret that I forget them, so it’s a long process…. I don’t use a recipe. I wing it, build the flavors, tweak the ingredients… It’s an epic meditative cooking experience.. But I recruited kiddo and hubby to remember to stir it every few minutes so I can still rest… Feeling pretty crummy as I’m sweeter than I should be… Nothing is working the same way twice with my diabetes these days, so I’m learning on my feet…Dreading my visit to the endocrinologist this week as I am still mad about the dexcom (he prescribed it even though it’s contraindicated in regards to my other prescriptions, and I want those other prescriptions back!) and last time he told me “Diabetes isn’t hard to control”….Ahhh spoken like a non-d person…. We shall see..

Back to the pretty picture….

The image shows shrinky dink hearts that has/is an occupationally therapeutic project. We are making Valentine cards for school (he loves hearts…hearts and starts are his favorites, but he sees a heart and says “a heart means love” and smile this sweet little smile…)…

So, he used his muscles and hand eye coordination to punch the shrinky dink hearts out using the giant hole puncher. When his arms and hands got tired he worked on his balance and stepped on the hole punch… Thankfully, those silicone baking mats are awesome for projects such as these- a little cushioning and a little non-slip grip…

Then he wrote xo on them which involved planning ahead for spacing…

Then we baked ’em up and he sat in front of the oven giggling like a madman as the hearts curled up and popped like jumping beans before shrinking completely and flattening out….

Next step? I think we have had a request for glitter… I’ll post an update when they are fully sparkly…

Until then….

xo

Bek

Rubik’s Confusion

27 Sep

Rubik’s Confusion

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

Finished the language and speech part of kiddo’s evaluation with the county folks…

Turns out he’s on the upper end of the average range or above it on all things.

Except one.

In receptive language he is severely impaired.

While we had a bunch of work to do before this, now we can focus a little, but I feel like we are snowed in and a little panicked…

Even though this isn’t really news to us. I mean, the term “receptive language” and all of the other language stuff is, well, like a foreign language to me. We knew something was going on, we still don’t know what, but at least we have some validation to our observations which is little comfort, but at the same time, I am forever second guessing myself in a way that I’m going backwards from acceptance and I’m trying to reach for denial with all of my might so maybe I can just curl up with kiddo there and pretend everything is 80’s sitcom normal. But I never get there. And I’m really tired. We could all use the break. But there are no breaks in sight…

So the eval (we haven’t had our formal review yet) was on Thursday and on Friday I came home from a pharmacy run and boy told me a story. Then he told me another one. My little boy stood there and very slowly and meticulously told me something that happened in his day. There was a beginning, a middle, and an end.

He is five.

He told me that he came home and there was a box from amazon.com on the chair. He told me that he looked inside and it was empty. He told me the box didn’t belong on the chair. He told me that he brought the box to the recycling bin. He told me that with Daddy’s help they smashed up the box and put it in the recycling bin.

It was the most gripping account of anything I have ever heard in my entire life.

My little guy doesn’t tell stories. He doesn’t have conversations where he is an active participant in the dance that is a conversation. He blurts stuff. He collects facts. He runs into the room and announces that “The big radio at Target looks like a face” and runs out… He is random yet structured in every part of his life. He does not tell stories. He does not answer questions.

Later that evening I was snuggling with him in the big bed before story time. I asked him about school and the other kids. He has been having a hard time. I asked him why he couldn’t finish his lessons in class today (according to his teacher via my husband).

I expected nothing, except perhaps a change of subject. Lately, his obsession is smoke alarms and fire sprinkler systems, so I was expecting the step by step run down of the sprinkler trigger mechanism.

Instead, he told me- slowly and step by step – that one of the younger kids came over and took his blue colored pencil and broke it so he could not do his lesson.

I was floored.

I asked him if he told the teacher and he said no.

We talked about what to do next time something like that happens.

Of course, from what I know of the way his brain works, the solution we discussed can and will only apply to the very same situation, with the very same child, and the very same lesson, and the very same blue pencil. He is very literal and rigid about these things.

But he told me, and we talked about it.

Today everything was back to the usual. The three of us are just so shell shocked with everything in our lives that we were all pinging off the walls and irritating each other.

But that one glimpse of his problem solving with the box, and what happened at school, are gifts I will not squander, for their rarity is unparalled.

Hopefully, when the rhythm of school begins again in the new week, we’ll be able to have more of these talks.

I don’t think he is understanding it yet, but I think he is working on memorizing conversational and story patterns…If that is the case, I can get that little glimpse into his school day, that may help him more than anything else…

And, faithful reader, if you have read this far, you are probably wondering about the picture…

Hubby was taking a picture of kiddo with his new Rubik’s Cube (he can’t mix up the colors, it will put him over the edge and if he finds out the stickers come off none of us will ever sleep again….) and told him to hold the cube in his hand…

So he is holding the cube in his hand….

Me.

10 Sep

Me.

Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek

This is me.

Today, and most days, my burst of energy is around 11am for around 45 minutes. Boyo is usually in school and misses it, he tends to see me at my lowest level of energy (he says “Mama’s energy is blinking red”…Lately everything relates to RockBand it seems…) and he’ll hang out with me in a temporary fort under the blankets and we have this funny little dialog back and forth before the bald guy comes and retrieves him and I hang out, sometimes plugged into the wall so my newest ‘betes gadget can recharge, usually with an earplug in my hand and sometimes crying because I just don’t have the energy these days to get much done and I’m so frustrated and it has moved beyond accepting that I need to adjust my expectations for the day into the endless frustration that getting out of bed in the morning exhausts me so much that I almost don’t make it out the bedroom door.

But I do what I can. I have learned to bring some work to bed with me. I am the queen of containers with little compartments. And I work on working smarter and putting systems into place so I have less to worry about and more time with my little guy.

Kiddo tells me “and then you’ll rest and your energy will be back in the green and you’ll be so happy to play again”…

If only a nap would move my energy I’d be soooooo grateful.

Anyway.
While I was resting today he went to his “office” (his room is set up Montessori style, in little compartments/rooms with 3 foot high walls) and made this for me. I think this is the first thing he has drawn specifically for me. I know this is some sort of a breakthrough, but I can’t get past the tears.

And then I have to explain to him why mama cries when she’s happy…
All of this is so confusing, but he just grabs me a wet wipe and orders me to blow my nose. Which makes me cry harder.

All I know for certain is that I am loved. Really, truly, purely loved.

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