Monday, October 26, 2009

Ghost Tales


For years I've always wanted to go on a ghost tour. Preferably in Savannah, New Orleans, Charleston or any of the various old cities known for "haunting." The time I visited Savannah it was only for a day and I haven't managed to make it back or to any of the other prime candidates. Last week in our local paper was an article on several local ghost tours in honor of Halloween.
On Friday night Cat & I decided to head out to one after she got off work at her weekend job at a new age bookstore. She neglected to tell me that for work she'd been dressed for Halloween...
The result was I probably brought the scariest thing to the nights event.
We arrive and I drive down the long, dark one lane road through the property. I roll down my window when I reach a man wearing a reflective vest who simply tells me to, "keep going and stay right." Okay. I make a hairpin turn on the dirt road and come to a field. I ask the person at the gate where to park. "Anywhere not to close to the road."
We manage to find our way helped along by a scarecrow with an outstretched arm. We both stared for a minute making sure this thing wasn't a real person. A group of people passed us in the opposite direction- girls clinging to one an other's arms.
After paying our entrance fee we waited on a platform for the next hayride to begin. A young boy pointed at Cat and yelled, "Vampire" and walked quickly in the other direction. I laughed and she punched me in the arm.
I followed two people loading onto the hayride, however before we started they got up and moved down the back of the trailer then the guide came along and made us all move down- so I was stuck next to the butt of the tractor and could barely the hear the guide at the back of the trailer. Off we go through the wooded trails of the property while she told us a bit of the history of the house and gentleman who lived there had been hung by Union Soldiers in the Civil War for the being a spy. During their Civil War reenactments the actors have reported seeing soldiers whose outfits are just a little different than their own- men they don't recognize whom disappear before their eyes. One tale of men yelling for another man to join the festivities in their camp only to be ignored and one man decided to go invite the gentleman personally only to have him evaporate before his eyes.
All tales are supposedly true stories of occurrences that happened to either employees, volunteers or tourists.
Then we arrived at the main house and were greeted by a lady in Victorian era dress who led us to the porch. I loved the color of her skirt- which I didn't notice until lit up by the flash from my camera.



After her story relating that unexplained noises of thumping coming from the cellar underneath that porch and the main entry. she posted a question if it was possibly ghosts of former slaves that worked on the property. A woman behind us said she was already terrified and wondered if she should turn around. Cat & I glanced at each other and she rolled her eyes.


Once inside the foyer of the home built in 1820 it was set up basically the way it would have been when the family was in mourning during that time. The gentleman in period costume on the front staircase told us stories of the sobbing that can be heard from the formal parlor- however the parlor would be empty and quiet whenever staff would investigate.

The formal parlor was setup as it would have been when a body lie in state. I managed to snap off a photo before being informed flash photography inside was not allowed. Then we shuffled room-to-room to listen to stories of "true" encounters. In which lots of them were of hearing footsteps. You'll have to do better than thinking you hear footsteps in a house this age to convince me. There were stories of voices, doors locking, unlocking and being held shut all by themselves. And the woman in the green dress being seen. And an unknown visitor to the grave photographed above. A man dressed in civil war regalia is seen standing in front of it...then he's gone...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Strawweight???

Ever since he started kindergarten, WC, has begun exhibiting unusual behaviors. I rarely had any trouble out of him in daycare. He never even went through the "terrible two's" The thing that has me most concerned is his new fondness for pushing, shoving, spitting and hitting. I'm not saying he's going to school and picking fights with his classmates. He isn't aggressive but he's decided the way to deal with others who do things that he doesn't care for is to act out physically. For example the latest in the line of skirmishes happened Monday in which the girl whom he'd previously called fat hit him and he retaliated. She immediately runs crying to the teacher who asks him if he hit her. His response was, "Nope, I punched her." And when Jay told him that he shouldn't hit a girl he said, "You should see the size of her belly and arms!" Dude, you seriously have to stop. If I were this little girl, I'd want to squash this little twerp into the ground too.
Once in the Principal's office, WC learned another life lesson- people lie. The Principal asked WC what happened and he put it all out there- she hit him & he punched her. Then she turned to the girl and asked. "Did you hit him?" The girl said no. He was dumbfounded. And hopefully not taking mental notes. Cause on the bright side, at least he's honest about what he's done. The principal did role playing scenarios at the proper responses- such as telling the teacher. WC claims that he "forgets" that is what he is supposed to do. I just think he doesn't want to tell and considers that being a tattle-tale. At this point I've spoken to him, Jay, Cat, his teacher & the principal have all spoken to him. I'm beyond frustrated and really want to turn him over my knee and wear him out. But I don't. Not that I have anything against using spanking as a discipline tool. I believe a parent should discipline their own child in the manner they see fit. And discipline is different from abuse in which I have no tolerance for abusing a child. This isn't a forum for what is right & wrong just a side note to my story. For me spanking seems like it should be a last resort and not done in a moment of total frustration. And doesn't really seem appropriate for this situation- ultimately. We are telling him that he should not hit people when they don't behave in the manner in which he wants. And yet what would I be doing if I were to spank him? So I resist the urge to back hand him.
Over this past summer I decided to enroll WC in karate- for many reasons. And some of those reasons was to help teach him self-control, discipline, respect, confidence, as well as an outlet for energy. Right now it seems the only things learned is the proper way to level someone and confidence to actually do it. Perhaps still lacking the emotional maturity to walk away in the heat of the moment. Last night while he was in class with his favorite instructor, Mr. H. I noticed his other instructor, Ms. C in the office. So I went in for a little chat about WC's recent behavior. She said what they teach in class is to tell the other person to stop and then if they don't then to go tell the nearest adult. Which is the same spiel from the school. But she suggested that she slip a note to Mr. H who would address the issue to the whole class- not single out WC. But just incorporate it into the nights lesson. Perhaps coming from an admired male authority figure- such as Mr. H it would carry a bit of clout and he'd remember. If this doesn't work then they could speak with him one-on-one and ultimately he could lose his belt if he doesn't quit hitting. This is something they take very seriously that the students conduct themselves respectfully and with integrity both in the studio and out in the world.
When the class broke up in groups by rank- WC's group sat on the floor w/ Mr. H and he held about a 15-20 minute discussion with the boys before they ran through their drills. I still don't know what was said. I'll be so grateful if it works. So stay tuned...
 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Winter for a Day

The two times that we have planned an outdoor birthday party for WC, the weather gods do not like it. They don't like it one bit. And since the extreme heat of two years ago wasn't a lasting deterrent- they chose the opposite approach for this year. At party time it was a record 48 degrees, cloudy, gray and windy. The only thing that would have made it worse was snow- that would have been the icing on the cake of a crappy day. I'd held out hope until the morning of the party that it wouldn't be too bad out. But realization hit that morning that this just wasn't going to work. My brain devised an alternate plan- we'd meet at the park and let the kids play a bit then would come back to our home for cake & presents. That was still when the the weather man was stating it would be 55 at 3pm. It never made it to 55. No one except my in-laws arrived at the park. Two friends all called and said their kids were sick and another had forgotten her mom was coming to town for a day. Everyone else was late and just went straight to our house. Party was supposed to start at 3 and guest didn't start showing up until 3:30. We only stayed at the park 15 min, just in case, but it was simply too cold. On the way home from the park I was terrified that this would just be the worst party ever. But I attempted to keep my bad mood from showing. His girlfriend was the first guest to arrive and he was thrilled. Then his cousins (all female) filed in over the next half our. My parents were over an hour late. He and his little brother were the only two males at the party. But they all ran and played. CJ had some trouble adjusting to not having WC's attention only then to be showered by attention by his female cousin being transferred from lap to lap like a doll. After being overloaded by sugar and opening his presents they all had a tissue paper fight with ammo out of the gift bags. It was giggles galore. So after a rocky start he ended up with a wonderful party surrounded by loved ones. We had good conversation, loads of laughs and a big pot of hot coffee.
 
And on a side note- Saturday was the coldest day. Today, Wednesday a whopping 4 days later it is 75, sunny with a beautiful blue sky.
 
Oh, and I still have half a cake left if anyone wants it...

Friday, October 16, 2009

Things That Go Bump in the Night

My nose hurts. All day yesterday my nose felt like someone punched me square on. Then last night I was complaining to Cat that I couldn't figure out why my nose hurt so badly- and there's a lump on the bridge of my nose. The lump is where my eyeglass nose piece sits and now it's quite tender. She burst into laughter and asked if I seriously didn't remember. At that moment it call came screaming back.
The night before when Jay and I turned in for the night she was still watching TV in the family room. We shut our bedroom door.
Now at this point in my life when a child cries out at night I pretty much respond in a auto pilot sort of sleep walk state. Most of the time I don't even open my eyes until I get to their room- across the hall. And only have a vague recollection of it the next morning. Usually for CJ at this point, it's just covering him back up and returning to bed.
Now, it seems at some point it the wee hours of Thursday morning, CJ cried out and I responded as usual. Only this time I slammed face first into the closed bedroom door. I recall becoming aware that I was standing at the door wondering what the hell just happened. And it took me a minute or so to figure it out. It woke up Jay and it seems Cat as well. And to hear her tell it she went from a sound sleep to standing straight up it scared her so badly. She at first couldn't figure out what the loud thud was either. It seems I went in and explained to her that I'd run into the back of the door- but I don't remember doing this.
CJ settled back down and I never did have to go in and tend to him...or so I think.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away

This morning, I drove to work in the rain, again. Usually by this point in the year it has barely rained for two-three months and everything outside is brown, dead and crunchy. Some of the leaves have fallen without changing colors and rain is considered a luxurious relief for the low streams, ponds & rivers. Our average rain for September falls about 3 inches. This September we had 12 inches. I haven't heard stats for October yet but I'm guessing we're breaking records again. I am so sick of the rain and the gloomy sky and soggy ground. My mood is really bad. And the worst of it is that it's 50 degrees outside and WC has an outdoor birthday party for his 6th birthday this Saturday! Our average temps for Oct is somewhere around a nice 70 degrees. I'm beginning to take it personally. Two years ago when we planned his party at the same park & it became the second hottest day in recorded weather history for that date topping 95 degrees. Right now Saturday is forecasted to be about 54 degrees and 20% chance of rain. But even if it doesn't rain the day of - it will have rained three straight days prior to the party. Mud, the playground will be a pit of mud. The second worst thing of all is no one out of the 19 class members invited have RSVP'd. Luckily, we have lots of family coming, but still. People, no RSVP either way...not one. Why? Do they not understand what that means anymore? Does no one give a rats ass about manners and the poor people attempting to plan? Any consideration whatsoever? This shouldn't surprise me when I had relatives that refused to mail the post paid RSVP postcard back to me for my wedding and simply phoned my mother & said "I'm coming."
At least his "girlfriend" is coming. They used to go to preschool together and the daycare before that and had been joined at the hip for two and a half years before being separated by school zones.
I suppose at some point we all have to learn that everything doesn't go our way and life has disappointments. I'm just hoping and praying his birthday party isn't a disappointment.

Friday, October 9, 2009

One Thing at a Time, Please!

One day after turning 6...WC lost his first tooth! It had been loose for a while. When I picked him up Thursday evening, he ran towards me brandishing an ear to ear smile. Immediately I noticed the empty slot where the bottom tooth had been.
Being...well...typical WC, he didn't want the "Tooth Fairy" anywhere near his room. Money or not he didn't want her coming into his room while he was asleep. So, we struck a compromise and left the tooth on the kitchen table, a much easier location for the Tooth Fairy to locate it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Six Years Ago Today

On October 7, 2003 at 8:04 am, I became a mom. I had my first baby- A boy. A 7lb 8 oz, 19 inch long baby boy. They held him up a second before they took him away and in the face- he looked exactly like Jay. If I had not seen him I still would have been able to pick him out of a newborn line up- yep that's mine right there. A mini-Jay.
The nurse brought him to me some time later (c-section birth) and handed me this baby wrapped up like a burrito under maximum security. And I didn't have a clue what to do with him. I stared at him and thought, 'now what?' My life has never been the same. Funny thing is that I don't remember life before him and yet at the same time it doesn't feel that six years have past. It doesn't seem possible to feel both at the same time.
It took me about a year to grow into Motherhood. We intentionally had WC but at first the reality of being a mom coupled with postpartum depression (I later learned) stole what should have been a better time for me. He was probably about nine months old when the fog began to lift and it wasn't until around his first birthday that I realized how bad I had actually felt. Then I began to truly enjoy him and I haven't looked back.
Yesterday when I picked him up he ran up to me and did a little dance and yelled, "My birthday is tomorrow!"
The parents standing next me laughed. "Boy, birthdays get less and less exciting as time goes on, don't they," I said. And they agreed.
This morning he immediately wanted to open the box that had arrived from Michele & Peter and we had to make him get dressed first. He opens the first package, Transformers sheet set. He holds it up over his head and dances around. Then with eager anticipation he waited on Jay to cut open the box with his knife. He pulls it out of the box and yells, "Transformers....it's a Transformers....What is it?" We explain it's a comforter, it goes on the bed. You can use it instead of your quilt for the winter. His entire bed can be Transformers. "Cool," he responded. I had to make him put it down and eat breakfast.
I have a feeling I'll be running a load of sheets when I get home.
He has his whole evening planned out this afternoon, I've discovered. Yesterday, I gave him the option of attending his usual karate class tonight or going to Friday's class instead. I'm surprised that he chose to wait until Friday because tonight's instructor is Mr. H. his absolute favorite. And we don't know who teaches on Friday. But he wants me to make him tacos for dinner & he knows I don't have time if we go to karate. This afternoon I am supposed to pick him up first and we go to the store for things to make tacos and he can pick out a small cake or other sweet treat (his party isn't until the 17th) before we pick up CJ. I'm going to make every effort to get out of work early today in order to do this. What he doesn't know is that he also has a birthday present from Jay & myself that he will get tonight. A GI Joe, Snake Eyes action figure and because a good guy needs a bad guy to fight a "bad guy" action figure.
I still can't believe it. Today's the 6 year anniversary of the day that changed my life, forever. Right after I looked at him and thought, 'now what?' I said to him, "Hi, I'm mom." And there's nothing else that I'd rather be called.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Urgent Prayers Needed for a 13 month old

This is posted from a Stay at home Dad blogger on ModernMom.com:
Shaken Baby Syndrome Hits Close to Home
Posted by steelydad on October 05, 2009

I have a favor to ask of you. Yes, I'm aware that it's rather presumptuous of me to make any requests in light of my prolonged absence, but a favor I ask of you nonetheless.

You might be saying to yourself, "You schmuck! You abandon us, your faithful and loyal readers, for weeks on end and now you want to ask a favor? You're a stay-at-home dad for cying out loud! You should have time to write a stupid blog at least once a week!" and you're right. All I can say is mea culpa. For whatever reason, the inspiration hasn't been there as of late and I don't want to offend your fertile minds by simply writing drivel that's worse than the usual drivel you've come to expect from Steely Dad. Yea, doing so might help with SEO and page ranks but I think it's safe to say those elements hardly provide me motivation.

The favor I'd like to ask of you is to stop reading this post right now. WAIT! Before you do, because I know just how happy you are to oblige, please follow these very important instructions: GO HUG YOUR KID(S). I mean REALLY hug them.  Tell them how much you love them, how special they are to you. No, don't lie. I want you to hug them and kiss them and hold them tight and let all that love in your heart spill forth. Don't be afraid; you can't spoil a kid with love. For those of us parents with younger kids, we don't appreciate the brevity of these early years. Parents with older children are often cursed with the wisdom that kids just grow up way too quickly. Never again squander another opportunity to let your kids know how much you love and adore them.

I know this would be the message of Sophie and Tyler Crew, dear friends of the Steely Family, if they could speak to you right now.  I know they would love nothing more than to be able to hug their beautiful baby girl, 13-month old Emma, right this very moment. I know they would do anything to be able to hold her, to touch her, to smell her sweet and familiar scent that only they recognize. I know they would do anything to be able to hear Emma's silly giggle and to tickle her to hear it over and over again. Even big sister Ava would love to share her toys with Emma. But they cannot, at least not right now, for their precious little Emma is in a crucial fight for her fragile life after being victimized in what doctors have described as a Shaken Baby Syndrome incident.

Sophie and Tyler are living a parent's worst nightmare.  Sometime after dropping off Emma at daycare, they received a call from the facility that something happened to Emma. At that seminal moment, at that singular second in time, their comfortable world was eternally shattered. And even if all prayers are answered, even if the miracle of all miracles happens, nothing for the Crew Family will ever be the same again, not EVER.

After hearing this tragic story, I wondered how anyone could do something like this to a little baby, an innocent child who is not able to defend itself . How could someone turn into such a monster? It seems unfathomable, unimaginable and demonic. And you know what, it is all of these things but apparently it doesn't take much to turn into such a monster. A brief yet uncontrollable fit of anger coupled with several violent shakes in a few seconds is all it takes to steal the life of a child. According to the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, an estimated 1,200 to 1,400 children in the United States are injured or killed by being shaken each year.

No gun, no blunt instrument, no poison was used. In fact, the person probably started off with good intentions of trying to comfort a crying child. But when nothing they tried worked, the person transformed from caregiver to monster. Hands and an inability to control impulses and the law of physics that would leave adults unscathed but literally shakes the breath out of those much smaller than us were the only weapons used in this case. We've all been frustrated with our kids, when they don't listen, when they cry incessantly and inconsolably for unending hours, and we've wished it to go away, quickly, so we can get back to sleep, get back to work or get back to whatever it was we were doing. The only thing the Crew Family wants to get back to is a normal life.

Sophie and Tyler sit vigil by Emma's side, where they have remained since this nightmare took on a momentum that far exceeds their tolerance.  Three hundred and sixty hours have passed since the last time they saw their happy, healthy Emma. Think of all the hugs they would've shared had it not been for a person's, a stranger's, rage.

Mom and Dad, sitting on either side of Emma, read her favorite books, sing her favorite songs, looking, waiting, wishing, hoping for anything that resembles life. A sign, a twitch, a movement, a response, a sound, anything. How do you hold on to hope when doctors say to let go of it? How do you manage expectations when doctors tell you not to have any? I don't know how but I do know that Sophie and Tyler and Ava have not given up on Emma, have not lost hope and have not abandoned expectations. Emma knows this too, and she can feel the love and support and she hears our prayers and she has responded by moving one of her arms and one of her legs. She has opened her eyes. These are small but meaningful signs that nuture the seed of hope. Remember, all mighty oaks start out as tiny acorns. Let me tell you, this little girl has more fight in her than any, save her family, knew she had in her heart. She's not giving up and she wants to let us know not to give up on her, that she's going to keep on fighting.

Emma doesn't understand what losing this fight would mean to her parents, to her sister, to her grandparents. She doesn't know the grief that would descend upon an entire community of people who love and adore her. Yet out of nothing more than sheer life instinct, the genetic code that resolves us to take another breath when doing so presents greater challenge than not taking one, this little girl fights on.

It's easy to think something like this will never happen to us and when we don't personally know the people struggling with a tragedy such as this, it's even easier to take comfort in the emotional distance that frees us from any reminder of the grief being experienced by those hit hardest. But don't forget; instead, think of little Emma struggling for the very existence we take for granted.

I'd like to make one last request. I am asking for everyone reading this story to pray for little Emma Crew. Organize prayer services at your church, synagogue or other place of worship. If you're not comfortable with prayer, then please send your positive thoughts Emma's way. If praying is fine and dandy but you feel moved to do something more "tangible" the family would be most grateful for any financial contributions. Obviously, both Sophie and Tyler have taken an indefinite leave of absence from their respective jobs (Sophie is a school teacher and Tyler works in construction) since Emma's hospitalization. I know we'd all like to lessen the burden that was thrust upon this family by minimizing financial stresses in order that they may focus their energies on little baby Emma. Donations, in any amount, can be made at the Crew Family blog by clicking on the "Donate" button. I hope you will contribute out of a desire, rather than an obligation, to help.

If you're a blogger, have a Facebook, Twitter or any other social media account, please feel free to post this wherever compassionate eyes may read it.

Thanking you in advance,
Todd (AKA Steely Dad)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Can I Come to Terms?

My animal companion of 13 years 5 months is dying. I have to decide when to euthanize and it sucks to be faced with that decision. Her diabetes has gotten too bad to be controlled on diet alone. The vet explained to me that she would need insulin shots. She went through all of what that would entail. I had to be totally honest with myself and the doctor- I can't do that. The vet asked me if it was needles that bothered. I shook my head. No. I don't have the time or the money to devote to doing that properly. I'm very familiar with how diabetes works and consistency is the key. Unless I can do it right I'm just putting her through more suffering by sticking her with needles and running her back and forth to the vet for blood work. It's very difficult to home test a cat's blood sugar lever. You have to prick the ear. It's possible, but hard. I explained to the vet my life right now and she understood. I felt that she empathized with me and she agree that tending a diabetic cat is both time consuming and expensive. Our only other humane option is to euthanize her before her condition leaves her constantly suffering. Rhi had lost 2 pounds since her visit 6 months ago. The vet feels that this is the beginning of the end. However, she still has some quality of life- her vitals are good, she' still eating and not vomiting and she still has some interaction with the family. She said that if I told her I was ready to euthanize that day she would be okay with that but she isn't constantly suffering right now. I chose not to euthanize her days before WC's birthday. If the vet had said she's in pain then I would have. But the events of the past few months have left me with sort of a negative relationship with her and I didn't want it to end like that. I wanted to take her home and some good final weeks- however many that may be.
They did a couple things to hopefully help us these next few weeks. They said her anal glands were very full & they expelled them. I have no earthly idea what that means but they said it should stop the butt dragging (yay). And the constant overflow of sugar in her urine is a magnet for bacteria and she has a UTI- of course. They gave me 14 antibiotic pills to cram down her throat. In hopes of stopping the urinating everywhere.So, I don't have to continually clean up after her. I also picked up some puppy training pads, so she doesn't have to make it all the way back to the box if she sleeping in the living room with everyone else. She will still be put in the bathroom while we are away.
The vet explained to me what will happen to her body as the diabetes worsens. I will spare my kind readers the details. And she told me a couple of things that if I see then it's time to bring her back. Otherwise, I will "just know" when it's time. I'm having difficulty believing that I should play God and decide when the end of her life will be. I'm praying for peace and if God concerns himself with domestic animals then grant me the knowledge of being able to get this decision right.
She went on to explain to me how the euthanasia would work and what they would do. I can choose to be in the room and hold her until the end or not. And she told me to be thinking about what I want afterwards- I can have her cremated or if I want to take her for burial or them to dispose. I'm sure she didn't use the word dispose but I think my brain checked out  at some point there.
Back home I cried, guilty because I at least couldn't try the insulin. Jay said to me, there isn't any guarentee even if you do the insulin and get it right that it would make her all better again. And he was right, that morning she'd started bleeding out of her rear end. It didnt happen at the vet and they immediately couldnt determine why but with her condition there wasn't any point of exploring it any further. I love him because in talking about it, he didn't even mention the money aspect of it. It was all about the constant running back and forth to the vet and the needles. And the time that I don't have to devote to being consistent with it.
Over the past few weeks I've mentioned to WC that Rhi is sick and she's old. And he knew she was going to the vet on Saturday. Sunday, after church, I told him that she would not be getting any better. He asked if that meant she'd just be peeing all over the place. I explained that hopefully the medicine would help that but her sickness was something her old body wouldn't recover from.  He nodded and went on. I didn't go into any more detail than that. I just wanted him to be aware and will bring it up again as time passes or discuss it if he brings it up on his own. We have a book that I'd gotten at the suggestion of Michele, called Dragonfly Door, which discusses death. I may bring that out and read it again to him. I don't even know about CJ at this point. He will ask about her- I just dont know how to explain death to a 2 year old.
At this point, the vet can't say how long she has left. My hope is that we at least get through Christmas up to maybe early Jan. But honestly, it all depends on her condition.

Friday, October 2, 2009

My First Parent-Teacher Conference

I never knew I'd be so scared to attend a conference with my child's teacher. Sure, I really wanted to know how he was doing, academically. But we've also had behavioral issues from him adjusting to his new surrounding. At least that's what I'm chalking it up to. However, I'm actually terrified this woman is judging me for his behavior. Like, I somehow have not been raising him appropriately. And ultimately you can do so much in instructing your children in the proper way to act. Whether or not they choose to do what you've attempted to teach is another matter entirely. I am also afraid she's already labeled him as a "bad kid" or "troublemaker." And it concerns me that something like that could follow him around in our town.
Every evening I ask him what he's done in school that day and every evening I generally get squat. I'm told of what he's done in after school care, what was on the lunch menu or what he did on the playground. "Please, tell me what you actually did in the classroom." has been uttered more than once.
So I put aside my fears of being judged as a parent and went in to make sure he wasn't already so far behind that he was considered a human doorstop.
I was more than a little relieved to discover that he's actually in the top of his class right now for the first 6 weeks! On the skills pre-test, he scored an 86%- one of the top scores. And with the kids in this group she gives them extra work of more challenging problems. And he's doing well in those. Not perfect, but well. Which is exactly what we want to do work that is challenging but not ridiculously hard. We looked through his notebook of drawing and writing practice. She was very pleased with him academically.
Behaviorally, he is improving. And most of his issue is when his personal space is invaded. Which is understandable to me. And I dont see the problem, except that he needs to learn not to respond with physical aggression. Okay I will concede that. For example: she told me of an incident that she didn't write him up for but she did speak with him about it. One of the girls in the class is a really touchy-feely-huggy type. And she will bear hug and hold on and squeeze. Well, she got a hold of WC one day and wouldn't let go. He punched her in the stomach. I'm guessing I can mark her off from attending his birthday party in a couple weeks.
And then there's his bluntness. He needs to work on not saying every thought he has the exact moment he has it without any consideration for how it makes someone else feel. Unfortunately he comes from a long history of relatives that think nothing of nothing of embarrassing the holy hell out of someone else. It seems he called an overweight little girl "fat" and this upset her. Mrs. V took WC off to the side to attempt to explain to him that he shouldn't say things like that. His defense was, "Well, she is." I had to cover my face while she told me this.
And she attempted to explain to him that even though something might be true it could hurt someones feelings to have it pointed out. I've been attempting for sometime to teach the whole, "do unto others" type philosophy. Not sure that the concept of empathy is getting across. And there's another no on the birthday party. I'm fairly a call it as I see it type of person. However, I do try and be considerate of other's feelings.
One thing she pointed out to me was, a project they did at the start of the school year was they made life-size cut outs of each child. Then the children colored themselves. WC was the only one to make himself with three yellow hairs sticking up on top of his head. The parent helper who cut them out got quite a kick out of having to cut around each of those "hairs." In the photo he is the one in the green shirt. But you can't really see the hair because they didnt tape each one to the wall so they fell forward.
He comes from a long-line of eccentric folks on both sides of his family, I'm afraid he may not be able to help some of it.