Tuesday, September 28, 2010

One step forward, one step back, and now we're cha-cha-ing

Last week, I started writing about how great R has been doing. And, for the most part, he is. He started first grade and occupational therapy and an after-school science class and started up again with soccer and swimming. He has a lot of homework - exponentially more than in kindergarten - and he does it willingly and does a good job with it. And, nearly all of it involves writing. He still doesn't love writing, but he does it without the dramatics and arguments and whining and complaining he used in kindergarten (and over the summer). We hadn't even felt the need to have a special meeting with his new teacher (which we fully expected to do when school started) because, from what R had told us, we thought he was participating fully. He talks a lot more this year about projects he's working on, things he's written, etc.

But then his teacher sent home a packet of what he had worked on in school the first two weeks. For all of R's writing assignments, he wrote the shortest possible answers - sometimes one word when he was supposed to be writing 2 or 3 sentences. Argh! So, I emailed his teacher today to set up some time to talk.

I'm frustrated, but trying to stay focused on the improvements I've seen in R. At home, he doesn't get frustrated as easily, and he can even step away sometimes from a frustrating situation. He's told me, "I'm not freaking out, Mommy, I just need to stretch my muscles." He realizes that he needs some physical input, and he makes sure he gets it. He asks us for big bear hugs often.

Even his occupational therapist has been kind of blown away by him. It's like night and day between when he was evaluated and now (four months later). He loves going to therapy because it's a giant playspace - he gets to use a zipline, climb rock walls, jump onto huge inflatable cushions and mattresses, spin around until he's dizzy, make caves out of pillows. Last week, his therapist started working with him on writing, so I'm optimistic about that. She told us that one problem for him is that he holds his pencil much too tightly, in a clenched fist. No one could write for very long like that, so it may explain part of why he doesn't write more than a few words at a time.

I admit I'm having a hard time with all of this. I find it infuriating because I know how smart R is and I'm sure that a big part of his problem is that he just doesn't want to do the work. [Edited to add: OK, that sounds harsh, but I've seen it in action at home. He is fully capable of writing several sentences and drawing a detailed picture when he wants to. Or, building with the tiniest of Legos for hours on end. So, it's hard for me to blame it on fine motor skill issues.] And, I wasn't expecting him to have that attitude this early on in life!

But, he reminds me all the time what an amazing little guy he is - sweet, loving, funny, smart, zany, thoughtful, insightful, and silly. I know I'm blessed to be his mom. Like any parent, I have lots of fears for his future. I just need to set those aside (as many times as it takes) and enjoy him for who he is, the crazy monkey. :-)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wish I was here

Waves at Halibut Point State Park, the day after Hurricane Earl blew through

Thursday, September 23, 2010

So much good stuff, part 1: Vacation

It's been so long since I've posted that it's hard to know where to begin, but I'll start with...

My vacations were AMAZING. (Pictures to come!) We went to New Hampshire for a weekend and went hiking at Flume Gorge, climbed through caves (R's absolute favorite part), played mini-golf, shopped for antiques, waded in a river, and had incredible food. We saw a black bear on the side of the road, which was thrilling and a little scary. (It was staring at us, and it was BIG.) Then, I had a week off at home with R and my mom. We went to the Museum of Science, the local pool, met up with A and my co-workers for a nice Restaurant Week lunch in Boston, and puttered around at home. We took my mom out for Chinese hot pot.

But, then, oh then (my heart flutters), we took a heavenly one-week vacation in Gloucester, MA. We rented a carriage house (which was absolutely beautiful, new, and comfortable) that was a short woodsy path away from a little cove, where we swam and explored and collected hermit crabs and green crabs and found tons of sea glass. We found an incredible state park (Halibut Point) in Rockport that borders the ocean and an old quarry, and A and R spent hours building a fort out of small chunks of granite while I watched the waves. We went there the day after Hurricane Earl came through, and the waves were absolutely breathtaking. We found the artists' colony section of Gloucester and ate dinner on the water, watching people walk up to the restaurant from their boats. We ate much ice cream. We found the local coffee shop and bought breakfast there every morning after we first tasted their scones. We walked to the nearest beach, and R learned to skip rocks on the water. We had friends come to visit many times, and we visited friends who live in Gloucester. We toured our friend's woodworking studio and went back to his house for an impromptu fish fry. His wife sent us home with the biggest cucumbers I have ever seen (they were the size - length and girth - of A's forearm).

It was a magical week, the perfect way to end the summer, and we're already planning to go again next year.