Monday, September 22, 2014

Mom Fail: Teaching About Differences

Here are two pretty hilarious stories that prove that I clearly don't have a handle on how to teach my children about people that are different.

Rewind back to the second week of Celia's school when she was riding the bus in the morning.  The middle school special education bus would pick her up.  She was the last person they picked up before she transferred buses at the middle school.  I gave her no prep about riding the special ed bus and noticed when it picked her up there were two students in wheelchairs and another student that was making lots of noise.   When she got home from her first day riding the bus, I asked her how her day was, how riding the bus was, etc.  She said it was great.  And the she said something like "The first bus was... different."  I responded "The first bus you ride in the morning is called the special education bus and it's for kids that need a little more help.  That's why there's another adult on the bus to help out."  I think I kept going.  After a bit, she looked at me kind of confused and said:  "It was different because it had seat belts."

During the second week of school, Sabrina and Caleb and I walked to the bus stop to meet Celia after school.  It was a nice day, so we took a little walk around the neighborhood.  Half a block ahead of us, I noticed a little person (is that even the right term?) with a beard and wearing a suit.  I had no time to prep my children because by the time I noticed him, he was already within earshot.  I trusted Celia to not say anything embarrassing, but I was super nervous about Sabrina. I tried to keep the conversation going so the girls were talking about other things, but sure enough there was a lull in the conversation just as we were walking right past him.  We got about two feet past him (so he was behind us, but only by about two feet), and Sabrina said: "Well that guy was fat!" This is certainly not what I anticipated her saying, but Tom thinks it's because Sabrina was maybe seeing him in a skewed perspective because she's never seen something like that before, so she maybe thought he was far away and quite fat...?  Anyway, it was both embarrassing and hilarious.  I clearly haven't figured this lesson out.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Celia: First Day of School

She insisted on wearing her BYU shirt!

Her new "Well-made, neon" backpack she was so excited about.

This was an interesting year for us for Celia's schooling.  Last year, as you know, she got pretty bored.  Her teacher recommended I get her tested for the highly gifted program.  We weren't really interested in having her go to a special school, but we tested her anyway because they told me it would get her on the "special needs" list and I could then pick her teachers at her neighborhood school.  Her elementary school is really good.  One of the best in the city.  And we really like it there.  She had to go through three rounds of testing and then an IQ test.  And to get into the school she had to test in the 99th percentile on all four tests.  With each round, they called me and would say things like "Celia was in the 99th percentile on this test, but don't get your hopes up... there are still a few more things to do" etc etc.  And I frankly kept hoping she wouldn't be in the 99th percentile on the next one so we wouldn't have to make a choice.  Finally, after the IQ test where she got a 135, they referred me to the highly gifted school.  We said we weren't interested, but made an appointment to go look at it anyway the week before school started.  In the month before that, the more we talked to people about it, the better the program sounded.  Tom and I assumed it would be a very prep-school-type accelerated program.  And we didn't want her accelerated too quickly, just enriched.  Then we went to the elementary school open house where she found out who her teacher would be for next year.  I talked to Celia's kindergarten teacher there and she said "Celia would do fine with her, but you really should look at the other school.  It's made for Celia."  She then told me that her best friend's daughter goes there and I should text this lady.  I put her number in my pocket and promptly forgot about it.  That evening, I started praying about the school and remembered the number in my pocket and felt very strongly that I should text the lady.  So I did.  She texted back and said "My daughter absolutely loves it.  Can I call you in a bit?"  She called me, explained to me her daughter's situation.  She sounded exactly like Celia.  And the mom was the PTA president at our neighborhood elementary school, so she had a lot of hesitation about leaving, just like I did.  But everything she said sounded exactly like Celia and what she needed.  The next day, we took Celia to check out the school.  She wanted to go there immediately because they have "movable art" in the hallways (pictures that move when you turn cranks and stuff) and an ice skating rink for recess outside in the winter.  Tom and I felt great about it, and ended up having her transferred.  She started school on 27 and it has been great for her.  She absolutely loves it, was THRILLED this Monday when she started getting homework (FINALLY! she said) and she doesn't beg to not go to school every morning like she did last year.  So that's a definite plus.  The bus was picking her up at 8 and dropping her off around 4:30, but they recently changed her morning route to 7:20 and she would be the first one on and the only elementary schooler and would have to change busses at the middle school, so I have to drive her everyday now.  So now we're having the second car discussion... (We've made it nearly 9 years with just our little Sentra!)  It's always something with these kiddos...

The other drawback is we're now part of this weird group of scary parents.  I went to a "meet your kid's math teacher" thing last night where the entire class of parents ripped in to this poor math teacher about why all their kids weren't moved up to second grade math in first grade.  Afterwards, a few of them approached me to ask me who I was because there are only 4 new kids in the first grade this year.  All the other kids were tested before Kindergarten.  So now I feel like we're the new kids, and the loser new kids because we didn't test her before Kindergarten.  Hopefully she can emerge without some chip on her shoulder or a sense of entitlement.
On the first day of school,  when all the parents were bringing their kids in to find their classrooms,  Celia gave me a hug and kiss and said "I'll just go by myself.   I'm sure." 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Caleb: 6 and 7 months

Caleb turned 6 months old when we were on vacation, so I didn't write anything.  But he had just started rice cereal in hopes he might sleep better and then he had some green beans and peas.  With the rice cereal, he wasn't super excited and he didn't spit it all out.  He was somewhere in the middle.  He also had very little reaction to the green beans, but did seem to like them as he ate them all.  As for sleeping better... he didn't.  In fact, on vacation, he got to the point where he was eating more often at night than during the day (only for like 2-3 minutes a time, but still!).  He was still super smiley, happy, easy going, and not even close to sitting up.

At seven months, Caleb now sits up like a champ.  It happened in exactly one day.  Celia's first day of school, we took her to school, came home, and Caleb sat up.  It was a big day for them both.  He sometimes gets tired of sitting up, but doesn't really want to fall over, so he'll kinda cry for awhile until you gently set him on his back and then he's back to being all smiley again.  Caleb is still such a flirt.  He loves the mirror more than anything and has been totally laughing a lot lately at random stuff.  When we read the girls bedtime stories at the dinner table when he's in the high chair, he thinks it's the funniest thing ever.  As for sleeping, we had about two weeks this month where he actually slept from 8 to 8 and only ate at 5.  But that's over and he's back to waking up a million times.  The "letting him cry" thing, for even five minutes, has never worked for him.  It makes it so much worse.  He can't calm down.  He won't eat at that point.  And nothing works.  So, I really don't know what to do for him.  But I'm tired!  During the day, however, he is still our happy, adorable little thing and he loves to be held and cuddled and smile and laugh.  So his current schedule is sleeping from 8 to 8 (waking up a million times).  He sometimes eats solids in the morning, but if he does, he really doesn't eat much.  He takes a nap from 10-11ish, nurses and eats solids.  For lunch, he usually eats 3 ice cubes of vegetables (we mix our own baby food and freeze it in ice cube trays).  He likes carrots and broccoli, but isn't a big fan of blended peas or corn because he doesn't like the chunks.  Then he naps again from 2 to 4ish.  He eats dinner with us around 6 or 7 (a bowl of oatmeal with some applesauce mixed in), and I nurse him to bed at 8.

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