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. :-)