The other day, we took the kids to the bookstore to pick up a shiny new book. The girls picked books out with no problem (other than maybe having too many options).
Pookie picked up a bunch but did not really seem to be into the whole process. I started encouraging him toward a few certain books figuring that I could use some of them for the nightly reading that we do for homework. I eventually had settled on a book of Greek myths that had some chapters around 8 pages which works well for the amount of reading we do at night and also some good pictures.
He kind of whatevered the suggestion so I whatevered him back and was ready to proceed to the register with our new Greek mythology book.
Then Pookie saw it.
The hardcover Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh. A big fat hardcover with one of those built in tassel bookmarks.
He used to have a copy that he carried around the house off and on (but non-stop when it was “on”) for a couple years. The spine and cover eventually fell apart and we had to throw it away.
He saw it on the shelf and immediately pulled it down and told me he wanted to buy the book. I hemmed and hawed and eventually told him that it was too expensive ($40!!!) and that we would get something else instead.
He thought about complaining as he put the book on the shelf. The he picked the book back up and I knew I was in trouble when he looked at me and said.
“I will pay with my allowance.”
Pookie frequently says things that just catch me off car with the complexity of thought being actually expressed verbally in just a handful of words. Let’s go over a few of them here:
1) He’s negotiating and offering a counter proposal. I work with people, and we frequently elect people, who can’t compromise this well.
2) He knows that money is a thing that he can use to buy another thing.
3) He knows that he gets money as a weekly allowance.
4) He knew that he happened to have some of that magic allowance money sitting in his bank at home.
5) He knew that Dad would be nearly speechless and have no chance of refusing such a well thought out argument.
That last bit is speculation but combined with the facts above and the fact that he happened to have just over $40 in his allowance bank earned Pookie a brand new copy of Winnie the Pooh.
I was talking to BAGM about this moment a little bit tonight and mentioned that this is just another of a rapidly increasing number of magic verbal moments that we are seeing on a regular basis. From the day many years ago now when I asked him what he was playing and he answered “Ball” which was one of the first times he had ever answered an out of the blue non-need based question to him correlating a want with the ability to purchase that want with his allowance money, we still constantly see change in little bits at a time that are taking him into really great new directions.
(Photo by: Bhanu Tadinada)]]>
Geetle is playing basketball again this fall through the rec league which makes it her third season which is the longest she has committed to anything that doesn’t rhyme with Mintendo knee.
She is definitely starting to make some sense of parts of the game. She had a couple steals, a couple rebounds, and even took a couple shots. On one she got clobbered and shot free throws.
There was a play where she got a loose ball and started a fast break and didn’t even flinch when two guys on the other team tried to steal the ball, all three collided and went crashing to the floor. She popped right back up like it was no big deal.
One thing is good sure. They are all a lot quicker but none of them no how to really play defense so there are constant collisions and bodies crashing into the floor. The ref focuses primarily on keeping people out of the hospital.
Oh. And the head coach asked me to be an assistant at the first practice. Then his son broke two fingers before the second practice. Another dad and I are now co-coaching which is very fun and quite a bit like that old Super Bowl commercial with the cowboys herding cats.]]>
Geetle had one of the funniest powerful and genuine emotions the other day.
We had been procrastinating on telling her about the test she is going to need to take next week for potential placement in the gifted program. We were completely expecting her to be pissed for one or more of a few very real reasons:
1) Gifted program is probably in another school and she will have to make some new friends.
2) Bus ride to potential different school would take longer.
We are not sure if she knows about the program being in another school, though. So the main complaint we expected was:
3) OMG. That is going to mean that my 5 minutes of homework a night is going to stretch into 15 totally miserable minutes of thinking. After school even. When I should be playing!
So the other day we finally told her about the test and she nearly blew up. We tried to play dumb and very calmly ask her what her concerns were. After all, if she has a really valid one, we will at least listen to it and try to work with that concern to make it go as well as possible.
Next Saturday, she has swim class in the morning. Then the test. Then she (and Giggles and Pookie) is going out to spend the night with my parents (or my sis and BIL depending on how you classify it when they all live in the same house). How about we say say they are heading west for the night which is one of her favorite things to do.
She ended up nearly in tears when she finally told us what her real concern was.
And I quote: “It will ruin my whole weekend!”
Yep. My daughter doesn’t want to test for the gifted program that could help ensure a top notch college and a top notch career making the kind of money someone with her aspirations is going to need because the length of the test will ruin her whole weekend.
And just like that, I realized how much like me she really is.]]>
The twins turn nine tomorrow. I’ll deal with that later.
Yesterday, we were visiting BeAGoodMom’s family. Geetle sat in the chair one row back but on the passenger side instead of directly behind me. She spent most of the drive playing her new LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7 on her Nintendo DS. After a while she got bored and started leaning. I thought she had fallen asleep.
About 15 minutes from home, I stretched out and put my arm behind BeAGoodMom’s chair for a bit. Before I could safely return it to the steering wheel where it always is for perfect safety, Geetle grabbed my hand…and just held it. No silly games. No wrestling. No words. Normally, the only time I can get that kind of calm affection from her is when we read in her bed before bed.
My arm started to tingle from poor circulation but I probably would have accidentally driven the new Ford Flex off of a cliff before letting go of that hand.
Wonder if she’ll still do that stuff when she is a nine year-old tomorrow.]]>
Believe it or not, there is a little school problem brewing and it has nothing to do with Pookie’s education.
Geetle has been invited to take a test in a couple Saturdays that will be used to determine if she will be invited to the district’s gifted program in 4th grade. If she doesn’t take the test (or we decide to not send her for 4th grade), the next opportunity would be during 6th grade for 7th grade placement.
Yes, I understand all of the pros. I was a borderline gifted student despite my greatest attempts to pretend to not be and to avoid any and all expectations the teachers had for me. I hung around the gifted kids and did homework with them once in a while and see what they went on to do with their lives. Some amazing, some sad. To this day, I’m sad about a few opportunities that I turned down or didn’t get a chance to do starting in 1st grade all the way through college.
But there is a real con to consider. No, the con has nothing to do with social stuff. That all balances itself out. Most of the gifted type of people that I knew back in the day have great social lives now. Just like most of the kids that took the regular classes.
The big con is that in our district, the kids get cored into one school (or maybe two) in the district. No more attending our home school. After BeAGoodMom and I had to fight in IEP meetings before Kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and finally winning in 3rd grade before Pookie was allowed to come back to our home school and seeing how much more amazing things at school are for him, it is very difficult to imagine sending Geetle away from the home school so quickly.
It isn’t a deal breaker. We will have her take the test and see if she gets accepted before worrying about what we want to do about it. But it does annoy me how much schools try to group kids at such a young age based on their perceived future learning potential. We have such a strange desire to learn so much so quickly so we can get into a decent college. That’s all everyone really seems to think about is getting into those elite colleges and using the degree from there to get jobs that make more money…but I digress.
I also received an email today talking about the Spanish immersion type program they do in our district starting in Kindergarten where you go through school being primarily taught in Spanish. The twins were a year too old when the program started so we never had to think about it. It is definitely something we will have to think about for Giggles when she goes to Kindergarten in a couple years.
Wouldn’t it be kind of funny if a few years from now, Pookie is the only one of our 3 kids getting a “regular” education in a traditional classroom.]]>
I am definitely not an expert on autism. I’m barely competent at dealing with the flavors of autism that manifest in Pookie. I have tried over the years to talk about things as we are going through them which frequently helps me when I look back through the archives. There is quite a lot of his development buried in those posts. There are quite of lot of examples about ways to push Pookie to advance and a lot of examples on laying off of him to give him the space he needs. So at least all of those posts have been useful to me.
I pretty much took off all of last year to try to make sure I had time to do my job, take my classes, and be a decent parent and husband. I still have a job with a minor promotion, I am closer to getting my degree, my kids still like me, and BeAGoodMom has kept me around so I must have had some kind of success.
As I’ve started writing again this year, I’ve noticed a lot of ideas pop into my head for post ideas. Some are big enough that I will never get around to preparing them, some of them fluff enough that I guarantee they will show up, and one that would make a very…well, some kind of book. Part memoir, part autism parenting, part silly maybe.
I have never really wanted to write a non-fiction book and am hesitant to write a “book about autism” because I don’t want to end up sounding like a crazy Jenny McCarthy pretend know it all. But I do like to write. I have a fair amount of structure of potential chapters (but not all of the details of what will be in those chapters). A surprisingly complete picture of what I could do with it. And a desire to try to publish an e-book on the Amazon Kindle.
Again, with class just starting up and some things that I am working on with my career, I’m not sure if I’ll have much free time to pursue it but it does seem to be nagging around in the back of my head in an interesting way.]]>
In ten days, the twins will be 9 years old. About 9 years and a month ago, we ditched SoonToBeAGoodMom’s Cavalier and bought a 2002 Mazda MPV.
We drove all three of the kids home from the hospital in that sweet ride. We’ve driven the kids to emergency rooms, vacations, our for ice cream, to basketball practice. We’ve stopped in random parking lots to make kids sit on the naughty chair…more like naught concrete in those situations, I guess. We’ve stopped in random parking lots to clean up the kids throw up on the way home. Two of those times were different trips home from the Wisconsin Dells.
BeAGoodMom have used that car for anniversary trips, date nights, and for one of us to sneak out for ice cream after the kids go to bed.
So today, when we left the MPV in the parking lot at Carmax and drove home in our new to us 2009 Ford Flex, you could probably imagine me being sad. You would be wrong.
The Ford Flex is way more comfortable, way quieter (assuming kids weren’t in it), smells way less like the faint aroma of up to 8 year old milk, and just looks way cooler. Plus, the Ford Flex is making BeAGoodMom happy.]]>
On Monday, I take the big kids to their drum lesson from 6:30 to 7:30 while BeAGoodMom goes to the gym. Afterward, she brings them home to put them to bed while I go to the gym. On Wednesday, Geetle frequently goes to church with her best friend and normally isn’t home until slightly after bedtime and ends up needing to go right to bed. On Friday, the kids have a play date at our house that breaks up at 8:30pm and our kids go straight to bed afterward.
Then it seems like we frequently have weird stuff pop up where we need to go look at new cars to decide which one we might maybe think of possibly buying sometime soon…or soonish for BeAGoodMom who is still driving the car we bought back in December 2002 before the twins were born.
But I digress.
It seems like there is never enough time for the bedtime routine and now that the kids are getting older I have noticed myself getting lazier about doing anything but pushing them through the bedtime tasks so they can get to bed and I can get back to homework or trying to stay awake on the couch before I actually go to bed.
Which means that I have been doing a poor job of reading bedtime stories to the kids and an even worse job of reading with Geetle. Some of my favorite time with the kids is reading to them at bedtime. They are always so calm and quiet and not complaining about vegetables or homework other atrocities we have forced upon them.
I’ve been working on it the last couple weeks and doing a fine job with Pookie and Giggles. They are like clockwork with their routines. Geetle is normally last in the tub, last in the bed, most likely to stop making progress because she needs to tell us about that one thing that one kid in class did to that one teacher before getting sent to the principals office and then that other girl threw that….she gets sidetracked easily and ends up using all our free reading time.
It is easy to force myself to read with Pookie at bedtime. It is part of his homework. We alternate pages and are reading lots of different books out loud. It is easy with Giggles because she is first in bed so I’m not feeling the call of my own homework or chores quite yet.
I am working on forcing myself to put in the extra ten minutes or so with Geetle. We are reading Peter and the Starcatchers which has the benefit of being funny, has plenty of action, and has a ton of short chapters. No matter how little time we have, it is easy for us to read 5 pages, sometime less, and get through another chapter.
The problem comes when we have no reading on Monday, none on Wednesday, none on Friday and frequently none on another day of the week. We lose the momentum and it can sometimes be a couple weeks until we get it back. I guess it is a good little snapshot of what life will be like as they get older and have even more interests outside the house and even more friends dragging them places.
When I happen to make it through a few days in a row and then miss a day, I always wonder how people get a streak going like in The Reading Promise. Guess I might have to add it to my library list for a little research.]]>
So Pookie and I were sitting around after his drum lesson waiting for Geetle to finish her lesson. I took a break from my Geometry homework and decided to log my dinner in the most excellent LoseIt! app but ran into a problem.
I couldn’t remember everything we had.
So I asked Pookie, “What did we have for dinner?”
He ignored me at first so I asked, “What did we have for dinner? Pork chops. Sweet potatoes. And what else?”
He didn’t look up from the notebook and I was just getting ready to figure he didn’t understand or that he was ignoring me when he said, “Bread rolls.”
Which was correct. We had crescent rolls with our dinner.
There was a day a few years back where I couldn’t imagine getting that kind of an answer. Now we are at a stage where I’m slightly annoyed that he didn’t answer more quickly or that he didn’t call them crescent rolls.
I remember a post a wrote ages ago where he was playing with a ball and I asked him what he was doing and he answered “ball” and I was blown away.
Tonight was a question about something that happened earlier in the day. I asked it while he was busy doing something else completely unrelated to what the question was about. Constantly little glacial improvements that are adding up faster than we notice sometimes.]]>
Giggles was sick the other day and had to stay home from school on the day of the week BeAGoodMom has to work at the office. So I use a sick day and stayed home.
I kept her juiced up and fed her boring foods and read books to her and let her watch tV to encourage her to stay resting on the couch. All of that while also getting a couple chores done and doing a little bit of job work.
So not too bad.
I did almost everything right.
Except I forgot to call the preschool to let her know she was staying home sick. How did that one slip my mind?]]>