Category Archives: Learning disabilities

Mom , be objective!

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This year my daughter starts third grade. She is starting to turn into this wonderful little student who can actual explain what she is learning. She is also able to tell me all I ever wanted to know about a subject. She was fascinated with tape worms , she did her research. I was not so fascinated.

However, when her school room assignment came and her Best friend forever like a sister to her was also in her class we knew it had to be changed. It had absolutely nothing to do with the teachers assigned. It had everything to do with those two can not NOT talk to each other if they are in the same room. We gave it a go last year. They found ways around actually talking. They pantomimed… Because that is not the least bit distracting to others. They had their own sign language. While that was ingenious , work was not getting done. It was requested that my daughter be moved, which was approved. Easy peasy lemon squeezey.

The new selection was with a male teacher. My first thought was, no!  The what if’s invaded.

What if he comes off too gruff and she burst into tears?

What if he ……… insert fifty million irrational reasons. 

A friend of mine told me I was lucky. She wished her kids could get in a class with a male teacher.  Say what?

I had to step back and think , am I seeing this objectively or am I acting only on emotions?

When I really thought about it, I was acting solely on emotions. She is nine years old. An adult will say something stern to her she may not like. It may be a man. I can’t keep her emotional state in a bubble. Boy do I want to though!! Then I started thinking back, my favorite elementary school teacher was a male teacher. I had always admired the difference in interactions with the kids, I saw when teaching with another male teacher. I actually had a male teacher as my co-teacher several times.

Once I stepped back and really looked at the situation. I realized I was actually okay with this. In fact, perhaps he will be that MAGIC teacher for her. We all have one who has opened our eyes to something. There are so few male teachers we should be grateful when our children get the opportunity to have a male teacher.

 Was I really going to let a difference in gender be the deciding factor?  Turns out , that no I was not.  We have told her she can be whatever she wants to be. There are no boy jobs or girl jobs, there are just jobs. If I changed her room based solely on gender am I not sending her a mixed message.

This summer her math tutor pushed her and was a bit hard on her. She realized quickly that she was doing that to get the best work out of her. It has only helped her.

Now I can’t wait for what the new year holds!

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LET ME OUT… Aka Week Six of Summer Break

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I really don’t know what to say. It has been a whirlwind. I am ready for a break and I think this week we actually slowed down quite a bit. Its not all bad but the days are super long and tiring.  Its hard to balance what the kid wants to do, needs to do with what I want to do and what I need to do.  Its not entirely different from what happens during the school year. I just seem to have less patience, its probably the heat. It takes it out of you when its ninety something by nine am and still in the nineties at eight pm. Between normal housework stuff, chronic illness stuff, and kid meltdown stuff , it gets a bit overwhelming. Never fear though, I wouldn’t change a thing.  So here is what actually happened this past week:

Sunday July Six.

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Blissful kidless morning. Church… and more kid free time in the afternoon. I would say it was blissful but Saturday night I slept horrible. I mean horrible, like I would have preferred a screaming baby horrible. I came home from church. I looked at the dishes and the cleaning that needed to be done. I laid down on the bed. I barely remember pulling the covers over me. I woke a few hours later and basically went to the bathroom, took a sip of milk and was out again. The vibration from my phone woke me up. The kid was on her way home.  Luckily the hubby was able to make dinner and do most of the parenting. The kid did hang out on the bed with me but I was not NOT up to getting out of bed.  It did not help that there has been a storm cell that brewed, growing and shrinking growing and shrinking in the ocean, it finally let down and rained.  Once it started raining I started feeling more and more normal. I woke up with that all over skin sensitive sensation , nothing can touch it without intense pain, and an anxiety attack.  Oh good just in time for bedtime.

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I am thankful I have friends that understand and help when and where they can. Believe it or not this type of crash is actually a good thing… it means the flare I have been dealing with is finally really truly curving off.

Monday July Seven

Three mile walk to cleaning job about killed me. The kid read her book. Then it was a flurry of activity to get ready for the car. Housework to burn some nervous energy. I am really proud I did not have a panic attack. We got the car and I actually had to pull over and have the panic/anxiety attack from not having one prior to getting the car.

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Tuesday July eight

The weight did not come off until we walked out of the DMV with the tag and title now in my name. I needed to just relax. We had so much time to kill as it took way less than expected. We went and checked out the Rookery as we had never gone when it was early morning. We thought maybe the bird behavior would be different. It wasn’t much. We went to Panera and had celebratory bagels and I got a big honking Sweet tea.

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We then headed to the library. When the kid points out a park we have not been to in almost two years. Mom can we check that out? Do we still have time? SURE!  It amazes me the changes we saw.  We even saw deer hoof prints. The kid tried out her tracking skills and declared they were fresh. Works for me, I have no clue.

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So then we go off to the library. GUESS WHAT???? I had the wrong library on my calendar. The one the Rainforest puppet show was at? Twenty minutes away. How much time did we have? Oh, it starts two minutes ago. I debated not going. It was not even an option for the kid. Of course we were going. Man. It was AMAZING. It was wonderful. She talked about conservation, She talked about endangered animals, loss of habitat, what the rainforest provided the Earth as a whole. She was captivating. She used Portuguese and Spanish words for the animals and colors. She talked about the cultural of the people who live in and around the rainforest.

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We decided we were not ready to go home. We wanted to explore the area like we were going to when our old car broke down. We found a new park. Oh man did we find a new park.

We are going back at a better time. Better time being early morning to beat some of the heat as eleven thirty am is NOT the time for a hike in Florida in July. We still saw some cool things, tortoise, eagle nest, iguana(huge lizard, not sure exactly on type)

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We didn’t exactly have hiking shoes on. No worries. I survived plenty of barefoot summers in Florida. The kid was really into it and we had a whole conversation about Earthing.

Wednesday July nine

It dawned on me that all the walking we have done since the car breaking down almost three weeks ago, has been with intent. It was fine as a change up for a week. Walking is my stress relief. Walking in nature more so.  This dawned on me late Tuesday night. I immediately made plans to go to a park for a hike Wednesday morning. I had a hard time falling asleep Tuesday night because I was so excited. It was nothing short of magical.

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It was beyond exactly what I needed.  We saw a total of eleven deer.  A hawk  landed in the tree right next to us. We saw two wild pigs.  Magical.

We came home ate lunch and rested. There was a snake and reptile show at the library. I felt good enough I thought. Its just an hour.

So wrong.  Bedtime started at four pm.  Of course it was hubby’s game night so dinner and all that crap was on me.  Somehow I made it.

Thursday July ten

Math tutoring day.  We were off and running. While recording her math tutor lesson, I wrote out her writing prompt instructions for the day. I am really happy to say she is really starting to enjoy her math lessons and is gaining better understanding each week!

We were off and running hubby to the ortho doctor…. checking on his thumb. While he did that, we went to the natural food store. We have been out of Natural Calm and DHA/Omega3 supplement. It was obvious we needed it STAT this morning.  They had samples. Most of the samples made me happy. One I wanted to try had corn oil in it. True it was Non-GMO but I don’t think my corn intolerance really cares about that part of the corn.  The kid worked on her writing while we were sitting in the car waiting for hubby to be done.  We decided on Burger King for a special treat for lunch.

THEN we had family naptime.

It was mostly rest time the rest of the day.  The kid finished her writing. She also had to get her hour reading session in.

Friday July eleven

Someone really must have given me crack or something. I agreed to take hubby to work and then thought since I will be up, we should go on another early morning hike. I have to say…. it paid out.

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Towards the end of the hike she was getting irritable and tired and cranky. I thought about tossing her in the bay….. instead I just tickled her and said ALLIGATOR. To which she ran ahead in a fit. Ahhhh Silence…. Oh I mean… yeah…that probably wasn’t nice.

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The insanity started at Target. I know I know. It was not their fault though. Insurance was being super weird and stupid and thus, waiting another week for medication. Paid a Doctor Bill, always a big occasion.  Home for lunch and rest time. The kid had Math to do. I had a church meeting to go to. She sat in the other room and read her book, mostly.  A quick very sucessful trip for a birthday present for the party we go to Friday.  The rest of the day, rest. I am trying to remember just because I am feeling better doesn’t mean that a Flare can’t happen.  I am trying to remember it is better to pace myself, and her. That resting is productive for the chronically ill.

Saturday July Twelve

I had hoped to go to the beach first thing in the morning. Morning came and neither the husband nor I were really feeling it. We were not feeling like doing much of anything. After all isn’t that what Saturday mornings are about. So we have just been loafing around the house.

Later we will go to a friends house to celebrate their son’s eighth birthday. The kid and him are eleven months and two weeks apart. Yes we figured that out! It’s hard to believe our sweet little babies are getting so big.  They really need to stop growing so fast.

The precarious state of my sanity, aka week five summer break

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One month down, I am over it. Already. I just want to sleep. I am over the running here and there. I am over the heat. So so so over the heat. I enjoy spending time with my daughter. Really I do. I also enjoy just having Mommy time. Summertime does not equal enough Mommy time. I am again finding myself in need of remembering to keep it balanced. She does not have to be entertained every second.

I have dealt with more flares than I expected. We had more roadblocks than I expected. I always feel like I did something to cause the flare. I let my guard down somehow. I spend so much time reviewing what I have and have not been doing to keep myself at the same level. Have I been resting enough? What about my diet? Have I been active enough? On one hand I know its more of a balance thing and its not possible to keep it in balance always.  Flares are gonna happen no matter what.  I also know I have a tendency to push when I know I am starting a flare. It works for me sometimes, when the kid is in school. It is not working for me with her here. I even added back in almost nightly baths in Epsom salt with menthol and lavender.

I am trying to remember I need to be patient with myself as much as I do with the kid. I knew I would flare. I guess I just forgot how badly I could flare. If that makes any sense at all.So here is what we did accomplish:

Sunday June 29th

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A very mentally stimulating sermon on Sunday. We are lucky to have the talented Barbara G Walker in our congregation. I love when I am intellectually stimulated to learn more on the subject! All in all a very relaxing and enjoyable day.

Monday June 30th

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Monday we walked to my cleaning job. Well I walked she rode her bike. She is getting really good at it. She lost TV and computer privileges so she had to read the whole hour and half of my cleaning. As you can see it was tough.  Neeka loves it though.

We also found this chair for the kid. No we did not buy it. It was some ridiculous price and space is at a premium here. We did however take a picture. It lasts longer that way.

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Spritzers were my thing when I was pregnant with her. She thinks she has a soda.  Little bit tricky mom right there.

Tuesday July 1st

We spent the morning doing Math and reading and we skipped writing in favor of sewing her purse. A light lunch and we were off to a library class.  We car pooled with Princess P and family as the one we went to is ….a bit creepy. There is a large homeless population that congregates around the library. We used to go to this one a lot. It is kinda far away though and there are several nicer ones closer. The wonderful world of invertebrates, so interesting! Starfish are now called Sea stars because they are not really fish. Whatever, Patrick will always be a starfish to me.  There was even a hermit crab……race.  The marine biologist was great and stressed the importance of conservation. He gathers all his specimens from the sea and returns them after the class.  So even he didn’t know how the races would go.

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Princess P was more interested in exploring so I took her out to read and explore. It was a real hardship to spend some quality quiet time with her, let me tell you. The lap sitting, the little hands, the kisses, and yes even the sassy.

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Wednesday July 2nd

The same marine biologist had a class at a different library. He said it would be the same content but that each class is customized to what the kids were interested in. The kid was a bit more willing to touch things at this class , there were a few new preserved animals and live animals. This one we also heard a story about tides and there was a discussion about tides, how they work, how far apart they are, why they are good.

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Another hermit crab race with new hermit crabs. This time they raced across the US….however the oceans were a big draw! lol.

Thursday July 3rd

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Math tutor lesson .. Daddy sat in on this one for the beginning while Mommy snuck out for breakfast with a friend. We did our hour of reading , an a writing prompt. Then we just took the rest of the day off. The  storm passing through is really messing with me. I know I am on the outskirts of this flare and I really want to rest but I also suspect the amount I have been resting is also messing with my sleep at night as I have not slept well the past two nights.  This is a chronic illness rock and a hard place.

Friday July 4th

This year we were really popular and got three invitations to fourth BBQ’s. We were going to go to Princess P’s house however without a car, transportation is an issue. Instead we went to a friend’s house who is much closer.Much more exciting though was that we found our new car! That will probably have it’s own blog post though because I am that excited about it. Here is a sneak peak though

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We had a great dinner…..

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We went downtown and parked the car , we then walked to get Gelatto and then down to the beach.

It was nothing short of gorgeous.

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It took three weeks or better but I finally got to the beach again! Hopefully now that we have a car we can go more often as originally planned.

Saturday July 5th

Today is all about recovering. I have not even gotten out of my pj’s. I have not had coffee. I don’t want to wake up. I have not had the tv on.  I am paying the price for not only being so active yesterday but also my diet choices yesterday. The bathroom and I have spent  a lot of quality time together. I doubt I will even get dressed today let alone get out of bed for more than a few minutes. Medication , possibly a bath and lots of water are on the menu today.  My stress level and even my conscientiousness level will go down dramatically as the kid will be off to a sleep over.

I get her brain

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grasping to keep sane because I am seeing my daughter struggle the same way I struggled when it comes to learning. If I am curious…. I got this. I absorb it like a sponge… When it comes to math. I have no interest… It does not create any curiosity in me. I really don’t care what two plus two equals. I don’t even care that its always the same. It doesn’t fascinate me in anyway. Before she even understood what math was… she was oh…numbers…booorrrriiinnggg….My exact thoughts. It was such a hard thing for me to learn that I learned to hate it. It is not just that though. Our brain’s struggle to retain the information. This actually even applies to the stuff we absorb and seem to master. Two days later. That is like eternity and I seriously can not recall that conversation where you showed me how to do this. Its like I have had Mommy brain my entire life.

When trying to explain it to a friend, I explained it like this. If it takes a normal person thirty days to establish a habit, it will take someone with a learning disability at least ninety days. At this point I know realistically it will probably take me a hundred and twenty days to make something a habit. Even then I can loose it and have to start all over again.  Its like sometimes you have to teach me the beginning  and the end before I will be able to comprehend the middle. It is not entirely about the big picture either. You can try to keep teaching me in the correct order and its like banging your head on the brick wall. Teach me what happens in the end, it falls into place most of the time. The problem is I know this now, thirty years later. She is just starting.

It looks like she has a similar form of Attention Deficit Disorder as I do. It has tendrils of OCD but it doesn’t fit nicely into either category. Right now she is hitting a lot of the criteria for dyscalculia. There is enough wiggle room though. Its not quite just that.

We already monitor her diet. We restrict sugar as much as possible. I stay away from artificial dyes and preservatives as much as possible.  We use alternative medicine for treatment. She has seen only one psychologist and even then she was not the focus of the appointment. I had such a bad experience with being diagnosed I can still remember how teachers changed how they were around me. I can still remember the change in the way the other kids saw me. While I don’t see that being as big of an issue at a Montessori school. I still worry about it. I know how devastating it was to my self esteem. How hard I had to rebuild.

I know if I go through our insurance , which would be a deductible thing, they will miss it. She won’t fall into anyone “treatable” diagnosis. She will kinda fit multiple diagnosis and not really meet the criteria for one of them. I remember years of I.E.P meetings and hearing people talk about me and about how I learn or don’t learn. Remembering that they never once asked me to explain any of my thoughts. ever. They knew all the answers. When I did grasp something they said I didn’t and changed the way they were teaching me, again. I know because I remember struggling with the same things she struggles with. I get her line of thought before anyone else, because its mine. Not just because I am her mother. We have a very similar brain chemistry.

As much as this shatters me, I need to pick up my shattered pieces and figure out how to help her. How to help her without hurting her self esteem. How to help her without being a detriment to her as well. It may take me to the beginning of the school year. I have a friend who will help me with tutoring her. I have to keep myself together when I see her struggle the same way I did and take a deep breath and help her. Help her quietly and firmly and most importantly calmly. I have to set aside the anger at teachers who for the past school year did not listen. Did not see her struggling. It is done, I have to go forward.

I have to go forward with my mom intuition and be extremely picky on who tutors her , how and when. When we do get to a professional, I need to have all my senses engaged. I need someone who does not just intellectually understands learning disabilities. I need someone who gets it. Who follows her line of thought and understands how she got there. For now, we repeat math lessons over and over and over and over. For now, we work with what we have. For now.