Monday, January 07, 2002

January 7-11, 2012

JANUARY 7, 2002

We had a fairly piddly showing of snow here last night, which faded off to rain much too quickly to suggest the possibility of a snow day off from school. The kids had been rather hoping for one -- the teachers, too, since they appear to have played up the likelihood on Friday in a monumental case of wishful thinking. My son was looking forward to playing in the snow, but there's barely enough form a single snowball, much less a snowman. And my daughter was looking forward, cheerfully, desperately, to not having to go to class and do the dreaded work.

It does my heart good to hear her whine about going to school, because it is such a normal kid response. There was a time, for years really after she came to us from a Russian orphanage, when school was her favorite place to be. Much more comfortable and familiar than home, for goodness sake. Probably a lot of it was the coziness of her self-contained special-ed classroom, and maybe leaving that for the draftier confines of a mainstream class has been part of her change in attitude. Maturity has certainly played a part, too. And I'd like to think that it's a sign of good bonding with our family. Whatever the reason, I'm sure glad she'd rather stay home. But tough luck, babe -- it's off to school for you.

+ + +

JANUARY 8, 2002

Do they make Cliff's Notes for children's literature? Because if I'm going to help my daughter be a good reader, ask good questions, draw conclusions from text, and figure out content, I should sure as heck make sure I'm telling her the right things, shouldn't I? It's been easy so far, with nice straightforward stories, but her 4th grade reading book threw me a curve ball this week, a mystery story in which I confidently led her down a path that turned out to be the wrong one. And now I have to teach her that good readers sometimes have to say "What the heck?" and go back to the beginning.

The story was "The Stranger" by Chris Van Allsburg, with whom I was familiar from "The Polar Express," one of hundreds of books my daughter doesn't remember ever having had read to her. In this one, a farmer takes a stranger into his home and... well... strange things happen. Not "Friday the 13th" strange, but maybe "Twilight Zone" strange. Or, if you're a preteen addicted to the Disney channel like my daughter, "So Weird" strange. One strategy of good readers that my daughter is starting to do well is bringing in knowledge from other material and applying it to a new story. In this case, the other material was the TV show "It's a Miracle," in which, like the stranger in this story, somebody got hit by a car. But it's a start. Now if I could only figure out definitively who this stranger is supposed to be (is it Jack Frost? A more generic personification of winter? George Clooney, king of cool?), we'll have an end.

+ + +

JANUARY 9, 2002

At the Wendy's our family sometimes goes to -- probably at any Wendy's -- there's a giant photo of the restaurant's founder and pitchman, Dave Thomas, on the wall by the door. As we leave, I tell the kids to say goodbye to Dave, and they respond with a cheerful, overloud "Goodbye, Dave!" It's a bittersweet memory now that we have to say goodbye to Dave for good, as the news comes that the jovial hamburger cook and adoption advocate has died of liver cancer at age 69.

Other pictures we look at when we're chowing down on our chili are the posters of waiting children that deck Wendy's walls and sometimes its placemats. I've taken my kids to look at all those little faces and tried to explain that, just as they waited for a Mama and Papa in the orphanage, these children were waiting for Mamas and Papas now. I don't know how much my kids get it -- their developmental delays still preclude, at this point, a working understanding of adoption -- but looking at all those smiles and statistics usually gets me teary. When my husband and I first started down the road to adoption, we did it by calling the National Adoption Center number on a Wendy's placemat. Our efforts to adopt a child from foster care were unsuccessful, and we wound up adopting from Russia instead. But I don't think Dave would have minded.

+ + +

JANUARY 10, 2002

My son thinks the second funniest sound he's heard in his life is the sound he makes when he blows a raspberry against his arm. Man, what a hoot! He giggles uncontrollably and does it again and again and again. The funniest sound he's ever heard is when his one particular classmate does it. All behavioral rules are off when his friend makes that sound. He got into trouble at the library today because his friend made that sound, then he made that sound, then the librarian took their books away. To me, it's among the most annoying sounds in the world. But I'm not an 8-year-old boy.

My son has had a real increase in camaraderie with the boys in his special-ed class this year, and that's good. His emotional development is so very delayed, and this seems a step up to a new plateau. At the same time, though, there's been an increase in poorly thought out copying of other's misbehavior, and that's bad. I've read about that so many times in literature on fetal alcohol impairment, and I know that the lack of awareness of consequences that has him blowing raspberries now may having him commiting much more serious mayhem in the future. It's not uncommon, to be sure, for "normal" boys to misbehave together; but most don't start after they can see their friend is already in trouble. My son says he just didn't want his buddy to be lonely in time-out.

+ + +

JANUARY 11, 2002

Well, this is just great. Eleven days into 2002, and I've already blown the Mother of the Year Award. When I went to pick up my son from school yesterday, his teacher suggested I take a look at the shoes he had put on that morning. Not only was he wearing one each from two different pairs, but one of them was on the wrong foot. The teacher said they figured I had been working hard with him on self care and dressing himself, and didn't want to discourage him by making him change his footwear. Or maybe she just said that to help me save face. The sad truth is: I just flat-out didn't notice. What kind of mom am I?

Not a morning mom, that's for sure. It seems, whatever I do, we're always racing. My son and I both have trouble getting out of bed, which means that as I'm hastily jumping into the shower I'm screaming for him to get dressed. He races through breakfast, and apparently through shoe-donning as well. My daughter's much more organized; it's not unusual for her to be the one to wake me up. So is it any surprise that I can't be trusted to ensure that all garments are appropriately matched and placed? Heck, I'm feeling pretty lucky that he had shoes on at all.

No comments: