• Attendance

    December 2011
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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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Over the Holidays

School-wise has been pretty quiet over the Holidays. But a couple of things are worth documenting:

First, we did finally finish the Calvert Kindergarten math book, which was actually two books, two thick books. This was quite an accomplishment considering we had a false start last September with Math-U-See, which did not work for any of us. I think I would have done well with Math U See myself, but it moved at a pace that didn’t make sense for the kids. Besides, the guy is a raging Christian, so I don’t mind not supporting him and some of his stances. We do still use the MUS manipulative blocks at times, though. Kids thought it was boring and frustrating, and I think the change to Calvert has been a lot of fun, although we didn’t start it until about January. So I think it is worth the delay. But I already have Calvert First Grade, and we will start that in January.

Second, I took Avery for a SLP evaluation at Legacy Emmanuel. The SLP there agreed with my current thinking, which is no autism, or at least if so, very high end on the spectrum. Possibly Dysnomia of some sort. Not a cognitive problem in and off itself, but a significant delay. Avery got around 64 (out of a normed mean of 100) on his receptive measure and a 45 on his expressive. So two SD below on receptive and over 3 SD on expressive.

He thinks Avery just doesn’t get that his mouth is for talking. That’s why he plays with his tongue so much. He also commented on the amount of drool, which kids this age usually learn to keep in their mouth, but Avery doesn’t get it. He sees nothing wrong with the structure or muscle tone in his mouth. He gave me some tips to hold whatever object Avery is interested in up to my mouth and label it, or even at least the first sound of it. So we are trying that. It is the first new tip I’ve gotten since we started this thing.

He also told me that Avery qualifies for 24 visits a year for SPL under OHP. This directly contradicts what Tuality Health said (who were wishy washy at best and just told me to go to EI which I’d already done.) and what Jean said. Tuality Health, I get their motivation, they don’t want to pay for anything for Avery. But Jean? The whole thing just pissed me off. She is beyond useless. She has been acting like a gatekeeper that I had to persuade into providing documentation to build a case for him to get more therapy. When in actuality, I can circumvent her entirely and do it myself. What a bitch. I totally don’t understand her.

So this guy says he will take Avery for once a week appts. but there is a two month waiting list and it is CLEAR across town. So, we are going to try to see if I can get him into the Arts Center, which is a special ed clinic in Beaverton. Or, I could try Kathy K. again which would be the closest, but I think she is more of a articulation coach and not a language therapist, but I could be wrong about that. So I will check into the Arts Center first, then Kathy, then I will consider going back to Legacy.

Either way, I am building a file of documentation to take to “Zelandonii” so I should not have to start over when I get there. I am looking there at a preschool program called “Small Talk” which is for kids with JUST specifically language delays and not autism or cognitive. The teacher actually is a SPL there. If we are still here, Jean says that he automatically will roll over to ECSPED on his third birthday. (But he would stay in EHS until the following fall…) ECSPED gets more federal funding than EI, however, here their preschool program is just two days a week for 2 hours. In Kansas, I taught in one at Dole which was full day 5 days a week.

Big kids made a list of what they want to learn over the next few months:


  • Geometry
  • Building Houses
  • Yoga
  • Craft Projects
  • Individual Reading (Hooked on Phonics)
  • Pogo Sticks (!?!)
  • Trampoline (This was what came out of my attempt to get him to do SOMETHING exercise related)
  • Learn about Robots/Make a robot
  • History: Dinosaurs and prehistory, especially sea dinosaurs. Also ancient history like Egypt


  • Learn to write numbers and letters better. Exercise fine motor skills.
  • Reading where we can act out the story.
  • Books like Junie B. Jones or Ramona
  • Math, Naim likes Math.
  • Yoga
  • Start Zig Zat (Discoveries in Early Reading) from the beginning again and do the games and other activities and not the workbook.
  • Running
  • Gymnastics
  • Tai Chi
  • Learn about the Human Body

I’m playing around with the idea of signing them up for Hillsboro Park and Recs Homeschool PE, because it takes place at GymNest, which is a gymnastics school and they do a lot with trampolines and gymnastics. So that should cover some of that, except POGO STICKS! HFAC has an adult Tai Chi class, may ask if they would let Naim try it out.

So Close to the End of Math Book

Avery is a bit feverish and sick today. It is exactly ten days from his MMR vaccine, so that is what I’m guessing. He just wants to sit around a lot. He did play with Naim’s pretend computer for a bit.

Naim has hung out with the painter quit a bit the last few days. He even got to paint and painted our garage key pad, which I don’t know if was supposed to be painted, but oh well. I had to take a knife and pry it open, but it is fine now. Painter dude got a whole earful of our life story according to Naim. Nik eats all day and is out of cups. I organize things on the computer. His hair is golden because of Sergei’s sperm, but his dad has brown hair, no not Nik. D. He lives down the street. He uses a wheelchair. No, he is not blind. Nik is blind, he can’t walk and my mom can’t hear. Heh.

My printer cartridges were the wrong ones. Ugh. All that is to say, my printer is totally out of ink so could not print Aaron’s reading today. Aaron instead read 5 of Avery’s board books to me. He did pretty good.


  • Math Lessons 152 and 153. Probability and sequencing.
  • Naim did Hh in Sylvan
  • Aaron did -ig and -in in Sylvan, which was the rest of Lesson 8.

School, Sleep

Head Start:

Avery had head start and I don’t know what happened, lets see the notes here. Looks like clothespin a bottle and a book called The Very Quiet Cricket (Eric Carle, perhaps?) that made cricket noises every time she turned the page. I did hear Nik tell me that he sat through that book. He liked the noises. The motor skills activities she is having him do (clothespins) are OK, but he is beyond them. I think this is a case of his language delay giving people the impression that he is less able or younger than he is. Although he is really at the fundamental level in language, his motor skills, problem solving skills, etc. are fine. People get all impressed when he does some little thing, but I think if he talked like a normal 2 year old, they wouldn’t be so surprised. I might get out my Montessori language stuff for infants to show her. He really is at the infant level there , perhaps 10-12 months, but for everything else, he is  24 months or beyond. She could compile those activities and take them on more than I sometimes have time to, or in addition to what I do. If she is going to keep doing the motor skills stuff, maybe I can teach her how to add a language component to them.

Head Start Notes

Also, she sort of got me to reluctantly agree to put Avery’s name on their mitten tree thing. It is funny, I have been on the giving side of these things at church. But since Avery has been born, we have been on the receiving end. (Avery being the catalyst that financially changed us. I was supporting three people and a little bit of D. We couldn’t live extravagantly, but it wasn’t too much of a hardship. Now on the same income (less actually, with budget cuts) I’m supporting 7 people and a bit of D and a dog. Hence Avery qualifies for Head Start and they all qualify for OHP, and I suppose, mitten trees. So today, she brought over the stuff that an anonymous donor had given, I have not opened it yet, but I know it is a new winter coat (for next year, like I asked, he is growing out of his current one, but it will do for now.) and mittens/hat, etc. There was just something about it, how it was wrapped, with a small teddy bear tied to the ribbon, that made me cry. Like, people actually care and want to make things nice for us, for my kid. Someone sat there and wrapped a present and put a tag with his name and a bow and a bear and wanted us to have a nice gift. So much of what you hear about people like us, people who use OHP or Head Start, etc. is so negative. We are lazy losers, or disabled and worthless. To have strangers just want to give you nice things and not think shit about you, it was very much appreciated. People don’t probably even get how much appreciated. It is the coat itself, probably saves us $50-$75, which is a big deal. But it is just that people want to share what they have and be kind while doing so. Wow…

I suppose also I am grateful for my dad’s $150 worth of Target cards, which is probably going to end up being my kids christmas gifts. Great Wolf Lodge was supposed to be that, but you know they would have been sad to not have anything to open. They would get stuff from Lori, and D and his family are always a toss up. (They gave Avery B-day gifts this year but not big kids. eye roll.) So we were going to try to do a present each. But maybe more now. This is the first time in 7 years that my dad has given them anything for their birthday or Christmas. He got that Caroline Kennedy book for them their first Christmas, and he has bought them a few things impromptu here and there, but never a B-day or Christmas gift. Anyway, I am grateful, but taking stuff from him is always difficult since he does nothing but gripe and complain about me and our financial straights while telling me about how Mark is applying for disability and can’t work because he has too much pain (I don’t know how much pain he has, but I do know that I get up and work and/or teach EVERY SINGLE DAY with pain. I cannot remember the last time I had a pain free day. And it never even occurs to me to talk to anyone except Nik about it because no one can do anything about it.)  So Mark’s pain means he can’t work so he gets everything paid for while telling me that they bought this, this and that new thing for their house and are going to go on an Alaskan Cruise from Vancouver.

Being a completely different class and minority group as your parents and have them always rubbing it in your face is weird. It will never get better.

Anyway, enough of that tangent. HOMESCHOOL.

  • Word Time: (TOGETHER APART)
  • Math Lesson 151, estimation. A did fine, Naim had number writing memory issues again.
  • Reading: Aaron did Sylvan -et words and his first lesson in HOP Green book level one, which was sh- and ch- words. It was a tad bit challenging for him, but he did ok.
  • Naim did Sylvan Gg.
  • I had to cut school short and not do HWT because I was in SO much pain today I was bent over, table gripping, teeth gritting, tears spewing. I could not even keep track of what they were doing. I was just trying to breath through it, but that became a distraction for the kids, so they told me I should quit and they were probably right. I’m glad I got that much done. I had lifted Avery over the table to Nik and my insides just would not settle down and were spasming nonstop.

Took some ibuprofen, went to sleep, woke up later and kids and I watched 1971 version of Willy Wonka on the computer, and then I went back to sleep some more. Hopefully better tomorrow because of Avery’s dental and his HS christmas party.

Oh, I was on the bathroom floor on all fours waiting for my drugs to kick in, and Avery came in and sat with me and kept bringing me stuffed bears and animals for me to kiss. I sat on the floor with him for a long time. He has empathy. Nik said he did the same thing to him when he was upset after he found out he didn’t get the OCB job. He can be a socially smart kid. Just doesn’t have the words. Sometimes I think, “Aphasia? Like my dad? Dysnomia? My dad most definitely is aphasic and from the sounds of things, was born with it. He has obviously worked around it for the most part, and we can surely do better for Avery than what he had growing up. So, we’ll see….

Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka And the Chocolate Factory

Aaron and Naim and I went to see Willy Wonka at NWCT with the VH crew. Since I was the trip leader, they HAD to check in with me and I found every single one of them. Funny, that. But it was a good turn-out and we got the front two rows. We let all the kids sit in the first row and we sat behind them.

John Ellingson played WW of course, and at the talk back time, he chose Aaron (who was wearing Naim’s pink dress, polka dotted leggings, black and red shoes and his dinosaur backpack he wouldn’t take off. When called on, he held up some kind of bakugon dude he had and told J.E. that the bakugon came to the show, too. To which J.E. replied, “Well, I hope he enjoyed the show, now do you have a question?” Aaron then looked at the actor playing Augustus Gloop and said, “How did he get so fat?!” Thank god it was all done for comedy and was over-the-top fatness. The kid explained the process of creating a fat suit, and Aaron was satisfied. Then the actor that played Grampa Joe came down and high-fived each of the VH front row kids, so it was all good.

Willy Wonka Educator’s Guide

Also, Naim did finish his reading in the morning before we left. He did the Sylvan review lesson, Letters from Aa to Ff.

Showers, School, Miley Cyrus, Chaz Bono

Avery and I worked on communication around food this morning. I get some yeah’s. He got in the shower with me with his clothes on, I was going to give him a bath anyway, but I just took off his clothes and washed him right there. He thought it was great except for the hair washing part. In Sweden, at least where Nik grew up, all they had was showers, so he says he never remembers taking a bath. Avery is such a Swede-head.

Avery went to WIC today. Iron levels are up to normal. Weight was 31.5, Height was 36.5, same as ped. They are giving us vouchers for lactose-free milk now.

Big kids and I walked Avery down to the Max to meet Nik, and then went to Starbucks to use my last Scripps cards before they expired.

Also got a reply from BrainPop, based on an email Aaron sent totally without my knowledge:

Hi there!

If you have a question for Tim and Moby, go to
http://www.brainpop.com/qanda to ask them!


Rachael Siegel * Subscriber Relations Associate * BrainPOP
rachaels@brainpop.com * @brainpop * www.brainpop.com
t. 866.542.7246 x6044 * f. 866.867.6629
71 West 23-rd Street, 17th Floor * New York, NY 10010

—–Original Message—–
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 12:15 PM
To: info

Der tim ad mob.
Wut iz mile ciris.
Fum aaron

Translation: Dear Tim and Moby (characters from BrainPop) What is Miley Cyrus? From Aaron.

His first real email and it is about Miley Cyrus…heh.


  • Word Time (PUSH PULL) They are reading more and more of these themselves.
  • HWT: M
  • Calvert Math: 149-150 Ordinals
  • Aaron finished Lesson 7, I think it was, on animal words in Sylvan
  • Naim watched lesson 30 of zigzag again, tried to do workbook (did first page) but was too nuts to work. Switched to Sylvan because I thought that would be better, no go. He was having hyper spasms about it. I made him stop because it was pointless. He needs to finish tomorrow before Willy Wonka.

At some point today, they saw a story on the computer about Chaz Bono which included pics of him when he was a little girl and on the Sonny/Cher show and an interview where he answered questions that people wrote in about. They also showed him on Dancing with the Stars, which is what originally made them watch the story. So we had a big discussion about transgender issues. I told them I did not understand everything about transgender issues, but that people have all different ways of expressing gender and it is not a binary (and explained that). Talked a bit about how someone becomes transgendered, either by identity and dress, hormone therapy, surgery, etc. They got really fascinated with it. Then they decided they both want to become girls. I said fine, but they can’t get surgery or take hormones until they turn 18, but they can dress or wear their hair however they want. (As long as they are clean and they take care of themselves.) Then Naim wanted a ponytail. But 5 minutes later it was gone and that was that for their transgendered experiment today.


Big Kids:

  • Word Time (TRUCK HIGHWAY) they read both of these words on their own.
  • HWT, Letter N practice
  • Math: Lesson 148. This was a beginning sort of statistics lesson in a way, or organizing information. They had to take 4 colors and combine them into pairs as many ways as possible, then color the same picture of a house and a wagon using four colors, but in different combinations. Naim worked and worked to figure this out, but then when I showed him a systematic way to line up his crayons and trade off the one on the left, then put it in the “back of the line.” He got it immediately and had no trouble. Aaron struggled and did the whole thing wrong. Partly because he didn’t listen, and partly because he wanted to do stuff like color flames on the side of the wagon, and partly because he didn’t get it. I made him do the whole thing over again, and let Naim teach him the way I showed him. Then he did them all right with no problems.
  • Reading: Naim did Lesson 30 DVD in Discoveries in Early Reading.
  • Aaron got reading off today since he finished the purple HOP book yesterday.

3 Days of Miscellany

Wednesday was A and N’s 7th Birthday, Wow! They are like, kids now. Not little kids anymore. Just like Avery is not a baby anymore.

Avery had head start on Wednesday. He put lids in a canister and according to notes looks like they tried finger plays and that was a no go. For some reason, he hates that stuff. We originally thought we were going to have a scheduling problem with Head Start if N got that job, but now we are thinking about looking into the two days a week on-site head start instead of this home based one where there are only two days a month on-sites. But it will work either way, it is just that he does seem to enjoy and get a lot out of the onsite ones and the home visits are hit or miss. If we did that, we would basically have to trade off with one of us taking kids to VH and the other going to HS.

Notes from head start.

Big kids spent the day with D. I actually missed them on their b-day. Grampa Bob gave Avery a gift, which was nice, but then the big kids sort of expected one too over there and it was a no-go. Not sure the deal, but it would have been better if Bob just would have not gotten Avery anything because no one would have noticed. I’m pretty sick of all these relatives making my kids feel bad.

Thursday, Naim and I took Avery to the doctor for his two-year. He is 36.5 inches long (<97th %ile) and 30lbs. (75th %ile.) He got MMR and his last HepA. He has 2 vaccines left in February and we are caught up for Head Start. Dr. is pissy about CDRC and EI basically blowing him off in regards to an evaluation. (CDRC said he was too young and EI would not fill out the CDRC paperwork to get him in.) So she called Legacy Emmanuel right while I was there and got him in their Pediatric Development and Rehabilitation Center. All I need to do is make an appointment. She had to fill out paperwork and that is in now.

Jean from EI came Friday and continued to impress me with her lack of anything constructive to say. I had to remind her that he is up for a IFSP review right now, so we have that tentatively scheduled for Jan. 11. I’m going to have to sit down with it and rewrite the goals and objectives, because I know she won’t bother. I’m going to talk to Head Start Danielle and get input from her and Nik, then I will basically write the thing myself. I’m going to try to advocate for 1x wk. SPL from Kathy (Naim’s speech path who I can make a case for OHP to cover.) Also, I might be able to get input from Legacy, but not counting on that being done in time.

While she was here, she used the same wind-up toys she used last time. He gets a bit interested and will do “more” but he is not all that engaged in Jean. Aaron came in (Naim was with R. making gingerbread houses) and started interrupting everything, and I let him stay because I wanted to see how she would handle it. I did tell him that it was Avery’s school time and he had to cooperate and watch, but I didn’t make him leave. I did that because this is our lives, we do not have Avery in a bubble where it is just us and him communicating with no other interruption and noise. Having just Aaron is not even half of the distractions that that kid puts up with. What happened was, Avery checked out, Aaron and her got into a whole conversation that Aaron kept initiating and pushing, and that was that. She made no effort to incorporate Aaron into therapy, which I do all the time. I totally use them as models. If they all want crackers, and Avery is just screaming for one, I wait and make A and N say and sign more cracker and then I give them one. Then Avery will catch on and do it, too. She’s irritating. I told her about Legacy, and she acted like she doesn’t really understand why I want to pursue any kind of medical evaluation for him. Why wouldn’t I? At least initially you want to get some kind of differential diagnosis and rule crap out. I have already, no thanks to EI, ruled out vision/hearing issues. Anyway, she then complained about budget constraints a lot. I get that. But that doesn’t mean that while you are here in the 45 minutes you have with my kid, you can basically check out and do nothing. And she NEVER emails me the notes that she says she will. She is also rather polite-y politely condescending about Nik and his abilities to work with Avery. I’m a special ed teacher so its ok, but he can’t do this or that. I’m like, the vast majority of people you work with are not special ed teachers, that is your job to work with them.

Naim made a gingerbread house at R’s house. That seemed to all go ok, and it was good, especially the chocolate rocks.

Gingerbread house with accompanying Bakugon's Zenthon and ???

Right Side

Left side.

Aaron told my sister on the phone that he doesn’t like R because she is Chinese and has funny eyes. (…cringe…) So we had a talk about that. I told him that R’s color and eye shape are what millions and millions of people have and maybe our eyes look funny to people who have that shape of eye or are that color. And I said I think she is very pretty. Also how silly it is (and rude) to not like someone because of what they look like or where they come from.  I told him that it is not ok to say things like that about someone else. He seemed to get it, but then said that he doesn’t like R. because she doesn’t like him. I don’t know if she doesn’t like him, I think it is a case of two very dominant people trying to dominate each other. I also think it is in his head that R. is Naim’s friend so he can’t like her, too. Not our first race discussion, but one of the most blatant. You can just hope that you handle this stuff ok.

Aaron also finished his HOP purple level 2, and thus the whole purple books. Now we are off to GREEN books!