Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dear Noah...

You have been doing very well in school thus far. I am thrilled and you also seem to be very happy!

Each morning when I drop you off I drive around and park so I can watch you on the playground and then wait until you get inside the school safely. I know there are a few monitors on the playground but my being there to watch the backside of the playground is not a hindrance....if anything I am just another helper and set of watchful eyes.

During these mornings I watch you rush to the swings to wait your turn to swing. You have been waiting very patiently and have been very polite about waiting on swings or taking turns. I saw you today wait a long time......and you finally got on a swing.....and some other boy came up and I am not sure what was said....but you got off after putting your hands to your eyes (maybe almost crying or upset....I don't know).....and you allowed him to swing.

This meant you were again without a swing. You stood waiting for what seemed like forever.....and my anxiety built I knew you were not liking this and I was afraid you might eventually explode! Three little girls all got off their swings.....but only to turn around and face the other direction to swing....and as each one ran up thinking they were going to get off the swing and you could hop on. I have to admit my stomach started churning with anxiety about you getting too worked up and frustrated and how you would handle it...or if you would soon lose it as you used to do in the past. I continue to try to put all those thoughts out of my mind now......and keep them out......but they do creep in and make appearances regardless. Constant reminders of what used to be....intertwined with how things are now....which is NOT like they used to be. I live in an almost "too good to be true" world and it feels like I am walking on eggshells. I can almost hear myself asking "will this be the day I get a phone call?" and I scream at myself to shut up and cancel that out! THINGS WILL BE FINE......ALL WILL BE WELL..........YOU WILL CONTINUE HAVING GREAT DAYS!

You patiently stood there.....and I was praying that the one girl who was not really swinging anyway would just get off the swing so you could have a only had 1 minute till the bell rang. She had just gotten on the swing....and only started to pump your legs.......when the bell rang. I was hoping you would not have a fit......and I was amazed you DID hopped off the swing and ran with the other kids looking back towards me waving and yelling "Bye mommy.....see you after school!"

I sighed with relief........but the churning in my stomach continued. I remember drills like this a couple of years ago. It would not have gone down like it did today. You are making such tremendous progress....but also over the last couple of days I have once again been reminded of how "EMOTIONALLY IMMATURE" you are......and socially NAIVE about things in general. Especially inappropriateness of some things.

This only adds to my worries though I know I should not worry. BUT I do. As I wait in the parking lot every morning I pray for your safety as well as all the other children's safety and the teacher's safety. ALSO for safety within the building itself. Across the street from the playground is not a great area and there is an apartment complex that houses a not-so-great clientele. Yesterday when I went to pick you up there was a policeman at one of the apartments. Oh great........more crap to worry about.

BUT back to your emotional immaturity. EVEN physical maturity.....with your muscles and such. Today in the morning when you were sitting in bed you told me you could not swing as high as the other kids could. I had asked you about another little boy pushing you on the swings yesterday before the bell rang and why he was. You told me because you wanted to swing as high as all the other boys and girls but you could not.....and you got teary eyed. I explained to you that your muscle strength was not yet as strong as some of the other kids because first of all you only just learned how to swing about a year or two ago.......and really only by yourself within the past year. I told you to keep swinging every day and your arms and legs would become stronger and you would be able to go higher as your body became strong enough to handle it. You wiped your tears......and accepted that. You asked if stretching every day would help your muscles become stronger. I said it would help.....but so would lots of exercise.....where you actually USED your muscles to do things.

This is something we will work on at home. You no longer receive occupational therapy but they are going to try to incorporate that and physical therapy into your school time which is really needed. I think part of your therapy really needs to be time swinging. I will suggest that. I know it will sound dumb to some.....but it was very helpful for you in OT before. It maintains your sense of peace and calm.

BUT back to the emotional part again. I realized again today when we were working on homework.......that you will have some struggles. You do not like to write and it is very difficult for you to explain things let alone write them down sometimes. The homework was taxing but we got through it. You take everything literally.....which will be a continual problem for you to overcome. I must explain to the teachers and staff that you do this so they can remember that.
One of the highlights of your day is going to the bathroom where you can "play with the urinal." I have told you to not spend too much time playing in the go in and take care of business and get back to the classroom. I know you did get caught playing in the bathroom at least you will have to overcome urges to be obsessed with the water and playing with the sink in the bathroom. You are also obsessed with urinals. These are the things that stand out noticeably at times showing me you are yes not the typical 8-1/2-year-old boy. I am fine with that......really I am. I do not care about the things you are obsessed with. BUT for you to succeed in life in the public will have to learn there is a time and place for your obsessions. That you cannot just act on them any time you wish.......much like you had to learn about your sounds you make or your stimming.

Every morning as I sit watching you.....I see other boys running around playing football and kicking balls......while you stand at the swings all morning if need be just for a chance to swing. You do not always understand all the other kids let alone participate in their conversations. You are just obsessed with getting on the swing and swinging where you remain in your own little happy world for hours if they let you. I also do not wish for you to ever be taken advantage of.....which yes, I also worry about. It would be easy for other children to zero in on the fact that you are naive about certain things and could be coerced into doing things for them which would get you into trouble. OR you could be made fun of and not really understand why anyone was making fun of you or what they meant.....etc. This has happened before in kindergarten in Colorado.

One of the assignments last week was to make a "ME BAG"...which you took back to school the next day to share with the class and teachers. You and your classmates were to fill your bags with five objects about they could get to know you better. One of your objects was one of your rulers. You now own about five love them......never go anywhere without one if you can. You use them to stim with......running them back and forth close to your eyes and making sounds. You say they are sounds of RR tracks and cars.......trucks.....things like that. The sound those vehicles make on the roads.......tracks. I asked you what you would say when you stood up and told about the ruler. You said you would tell them you use it to make sounds of roads. I am not sure how that went or if anyone understood it.......and to other kids I doubt they could grasp the importance of a ruler to you. But it is one thing you must have just to make it through the day securely.

Yesterday you apparently skipped lunch to instead run out to the playground and be FIRST on the they combine a recess after your lunch time. I guess you were on the swings that entire time. THEN when the bell rang and it was time to go in you told me you cried a little bit because you missed lunch. SO at 1:00 p.m. which was much later for you and lunch time, you got to go to the teacher's lounge and have a late lunch.....and they told you that you would need to always eat first before going out to play. I have to wonder who was watching you or making sure you do what you are supposed to if you slipped out and were on the playground first.

You are learning about the Tasmanian devil in your class. Not sure why but you are. You KNOW all the stuff the story said.......but getting it back out of you in written form was extremely difficult. I know you prefer typing over writing but you will have to learn to write. I know they have machines out there to aid children with difficulties writing......where you could basically just type in things. I have mixed emotions about that. It is good but really will not ever teach you to become better at writing.


SO many times I look at you.....and see such a sweet little precious boy. Your naivety and emotional maturity is 2-3 years younger on average than most other kids. I think that is one reason you get along better with children younger than you......and you never like to play too rough so you always seem to prefer girls over some boys because you say they don't play that rough. The doctor had recommended you NOT play contact sports....not sure how long that will be for.....and I am not exactly clear on the reasoning. I can see where now it would make sense. Yesterday in PE you played what sounds like soccer but you said soccer/dodge ball. THAT you had to each take a number and then take turns kicking a ball to make a goal but you said you did not do well because other kids took the ball away from you....etc........yes......I worry about silly crap like that too. I don't know if this was considered contact sports or not. I don't know if some kids were allowed to TOUCH you physically and I know in the past (YES IN THE PAST) would LOSE it if someone continued to hit on your or grab/kick a ball away from you. I think you could handle it long as you got a turn and were given a chance. Sometimes I know I worry about things that do not concern you at all. For this I am thrilled. I don't want you to be concerned about these things. Holy crap there would be no room in your world for much of anything else.

I am happy that the one para who works with you told me she thinks you are an incredible little boy and that she has grown very attached to you already. THIS makes me happy...because if someone else other than me has to work with you and watch you.......I would want it to be someone who cared about you like I do.

AND I am not posting all this dribble to downplay any of your progression and huge successes already. You are extremely smart........and I know you have tons of information stored up in your brain! Especially on subjects you really enjoy! You are like a sponge soaking material and information up. You LOVE sharing it with other people when you can. You at times almost seem bored with all the "trivial" stuff you are required to learn in school. I say trivial only because that is how it appears to me sometimes.....almost as if you are thinking 'okay I will learn all this but only because I have to.....but I really would rather think about highways or trains or roads or houses, etc.' SO you listen and absorb......but almost always also remain focused on whatever your interests are that you keep ongoing in your mind even while you are learning something else. Many times in the past teachers did not think you were listening because of this.....but you not only showed them you were listening......but you heard all they were saying. Chalk all this up to simply mommy worries and concerns......nothing more.......and I vow to make it nothing more and never any issues for you to worry about.

Anyway my most precious little man.........I need to get back to work.

I love you very much!



Drama Mama said...

He sounds pretty mature to me. I mean, who else could manage a full day of school with noise and change and DEMANDS - with sensory challenges - and do it so gracefully? Willingly? Enthusiastically?

Yeah, our kids have some ways to go. But aren't they doing so well?
Don't they shine?


Melinda said... always make me feel better! YES...THEY SHINE!!!! :)

kristi said...

Awesome post....I have the same worries for TC. He can have a meltdown at home very quickly but so far, so good at school! Good for Noah! We are struggling with the lunch thing..I went ahead and sent TC's lunch today because he ate nothing but 1 bite of roll yesterday. Then he came home and ate and ate and ate. Poor guy.

Melinda said...

I have been sending Noah's lunch too......but he has to eat cold Burger King nuggets or pizza as that is about all he will eat. I can send bananas in a container (he only eats Gerber Stage 3 baby food bananas) and I can send chips......I can also add in milk and cookies.....but that is basically his lunches and will probably continue to be. Needless to say he did not really eat his nuggets today for lunch......and by the time he got out of school he was starving and very thirsty as he has also been running out of water. SO I will need to send in a larger bottle of water for him during the day and I am not sure what to do about his food. I mean I can make him meals here at home....but they all require cooking and the food being warm. Not something he can do at school. He is not into lunch meat sandwiches or PBJ.....things like that. He is pretty limited in what he can eat at school.

Drama Mama said...

Melinda, my 8 year old is a great eater, but my NT 4 year old is NOT! Crackers and cheese or salami? Crackers and lunchmeats are a good bet. I also purchased a thermos container to hold warm pasta or soup, and she no longer complains of hunger by the end of the day. Also, we use power bars to stave off low blood sugar meltdowns.
Good luck!

Melinda said...

you know what I did not even think about a large round thermos thing for hot stuff like spaghetti sauce which Noah will eat or mac and cheese......he will not eat soups. MAYBE there is a way after all I can send HOT stuff for him to enjoy and get full......and not have to eat cold foods every day!

THANKS for the reminder of things to send hot foods in! :)

mcewen said...

They all seem to be maturing in unexpected way just lately. So heart warming.
Best wishes

KC's Blog said...

Does Noah's school have the thing where the kiddos wait in line for the swing, they get on the swing, count to 40 and then get off and let another child on? Big Brother told me the other day, "Mom the swings suck at school, we only get 40 seconds!" I was thinking of K.C., if those rules applied to him he would never get to swing because he doesn't know how to pumps his legs and hold on just yet, even with a push.
It sounds like Noah is doing great but I can certainly understand why you would worry. I always say a prayer for you and Noah and hope the beautiful fella has an awesome school year!

Melinda said...

aw thanks so much for the prayers! ALWAYS appreciated!

Noah's school does not have any counting or timed swinging policy. The kids get on and can swing the entire time if they want. Noah takes a long time to even start to swing......though he improves every day. The last two days Noah has not wanted to go early to school to play but instead stay home and be on his computer longer. I think he is experiencing computer withdrawal a bit.

I would say K.C.'s time should not begin until he is once actually swinging! I have found that swinging and spinning seem to be a couple of things Noah and others like him seem to not only really enjoy.....but actually seem to require to do very well in their day. He always seems to have a better day when swinging is a part of his day.

Have a great weekend! Thanks for always visiting and your comments. They are much appreciated! :)

Mom said...

He's coming right along. And Mommy, there will always be days of your stomach churning and worries. It happens with all Mom's but more so when they are concerned that their child might be taken advantage of. Hopefully it will all work out ok, and his helper will become his best friend. Love you both.