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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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November 26, 2012

So, trying to get back into the swing of things…

We had a quiet Thanksgiving Holiday. They did do some kiwi crate activities with kaleidoscopes and shadow puppets. We had Dwight over for Thanksgiving. I don’t think he has been here for forever. Kids went to We Village so Nik and I could have our monthly date. And most exciting, Naim saved up his $40 to get Nik’s old iPod Touch that we sold to him with a family discount. He still have $10 to go but that is on the layaway plan. It has taken him about six or eight months to save the money. He was very excited, and seems to so far be using it responsibly. Oh, Naim also went over to R’s house and they made sugar skulls and caramel apples for her “Autumn Party.”

Avery started potty training. So far, no success but not a lot of failures either. He holds it until he sleeps. He gets the whole potty thing mentally, I think. He just doesn’t know how to release his muscles voluntarily I don’t think. But the kid can hold his pee. (ETA: As I was writing this, we had our first successful #2 in the toilet!) Woo Hoo!

He returned to Goddard today, he did not have any accidents there, either. Here is his report. We are doing naked from waist down at home, and underpants (and extra packed for accidents) for Goddard. So far, naked or underpants doesn’t seem to make a difference.

I have Avery’s IEP meeting on Wednesday and I am going to check out the ECSE preschool. I got a little more logistical info from Jean today. I am kind of shocked at how little services he gets compared to the kids I had in ECSE in Nebraska and Kansas. Is it like this on a federal level now or does HPS/NWRESD just suck? I’ve been out of the loop. But I think I want him to go there and that is going to cause a big schedule shake up for all of us. Here is what I am tentatively thinking now:

  1. He stays at Goddard Mondays and Fridays. This will lower his tuition somewhat, and then whenever they think he is ready to move to preschool (has to be potty trained) it will lower it a bit more.
  2. He goes to ECSE preschool on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He can go up to 4 days a week, but right now, it sounds like they are only going to give him 2 days. He will be bussed there.
  3. On Wednesday, we all go to Village Home. This means I am recking up the kids schedule big time. I will have to drop all of their Tuesday classes, and I will add a couple on Wednesday for one long day. Avery and I will either stick around or go home and come back (or in my dreams I can get them a ride one way or another…)
  4. For VH for Naim, I am looking at Discoverers, Film Making, Measure for Treasure, and maybe procession of the species, which is a parade prep class.
  5. For Aaron, it would be Discoverers, Science Olympiad, Messy Garage, and maybe mystery solvers club.
  6. I will be pulling Naim out of all drama that way. So, to replace it (because he needs to be kept busy) I will put him in a NWCT drama class, probably on Monday late afternoons. There is a concurrent art class in the same building that I may look into for Aaron. Not sure yet.
  7. I am also thinking about finding some kind of park and rec afternoon activity a couple of days a week (swimming, gymnastics, etc.) so that we have places to go and aren’t all stuck inside 4 days a week. Tues./Thurs. afternoons most likely.
  8. This whole plan (if it all works as planned) will meet a number of goals. I wanted to eliminate Goddard because of the expense, but at least I am reducing it. Avery will get the most services this way (if he stayed exclusively at Goddard, they would only come in like once a month.) The big kids will have more time without Avery around for their school projects. (It will go from 12 hours to 14. Not a huge increase, but enough to divide to 4 days, which has its advantages.) And I will not have to go to VH two days in a row, which was kind of killing me in a wimpy, annoying way last quarter.

It will all go down Wednesday. Let’s hope I can get all the parts to the puzzle together.

Big kids today:

  • Naim did DER 34 DVD and discussion questions and workbook.
  • They did the textbook part of Ch. 9 in Calvert Math, grouping factors into tens to assist in adding.
  • They did 2 pp. of Sylvan. Aaron did Vocab today. (He does reading, spelling, vocabulary in a rotation.)
  • Aaron worked on capitals in his HWT book.
  • Naim worked on some of the OT exersises from Zaner Bloser, and did a couple more mazes.
  • In the afternoon we did Ch. 2 in MGG geography books.
  • Aaron did Lesson 12 DVD and book. I realized today that he only has Lesson 12, 13 and then the review lesson in the 1st grade HOP left. I hustled and ordered second grade today.
  • Naim did Lesson 5 DVD and book in his HOP.

I have also assigned “projects” to them. I don’t know exactly how these are going to go yet, but we will figure it out as we go along. My hope is that in a few years when reading and writing are solidified, everything they do will be in project form. Naim’s is to research and make a presentation as to how we could be more environmentally sustainable at home. Aaron’s is to research a wind turbine and build a model of one, and then give a presentation about it. I am sure that these will have to be a trial and error thing and won’t amount to much this first time around, but it was a start and they are very excited about them.

Victory!

Well, for step one of our plan to get everyone outside more. We made it out of town for a few hours and had our field trip to Stubb Stewart State Park.

But first, Head Start and EI

EI person is useless. That is all there is to say about that. She is nice, she means well, but as far as a SPL, she is kind of a dud. I need to keep that avenue open, though, because the jury is still out on how to best serve Avery and I want my options to be open. She is completely harmless, so it isn’t like it will kill us, it just doesn’t do anything for us. Thank GOD I have a lot of behaviorism and a lot of augmentative communication and a bit of speech/language pathology under my belt. I’m basically doing my own therapy.

Also simultaneously had Head Start teacher. She and Avery did some pretend play in the kitchen. He is warming up to her and she interests him. (He completely doesn’t give a shit about EI person.) That was fine, but both of us were tired after nearly two hours of that. I think it is all the intense scrutiny. I think he feels it. When they go, he just wants to go play by himself in his room.

So, anyway, that was morning. Afternoon was Stub Stewart. We had a choice of either going at 7:30 am to 4:30 pm or going from 1:30. I thought the whole day would kill us and was even worried about having enough to fill 3 hours. But now I wish we would have gone the whole day. The time really wasn’t long enough and I was so paranoid about not going too far so we wouldn’t miss the bus. If we missed it, we would have been stuck there all night. (Or we would have had to call a very expensive cab.) I did have 3G out there and I can call a cab through the Magicab app, so it isn’t that dangerous for us to go out there, but still. Also, I think we need more time to just chill and relax.

So, the goal was sort of a recon mission. Can we get there ok? (Yes. No problem at all.) Do we like it there? (Yes. kids finally did relax and had fun. And we didn’t even explore 1/10th of the park.) Could we camp there? (Probably yes, with some high level of strategizing. We would have to carry our stuff about a mile up hill on a paved road to get to the cabins. It is POSSIBLE, but would we die doing it? We will have to see how little we can pack. ┬áThe cabins have beds with no sheets, electricity and heat, but that is it.) Is this something we want to do again and spend more time? (Unanimous yes on that one, even proxy-ing for Sully and Avery’s vote. Everyone wants to go again.)

Probably next time we will go for a day trip and find Rock Creek, which was too far for us today. This might be something we can carry over to spring, I’m not doing winter camping. However, the cool thing about CC Rider going there is that you can just get up one sunny day and decide to go. You don’t have to arrange ahead for rides.

I need to do more (as Jill would say) Heartwarming Nature Crap with them because they were so whiney and wimpy at first. Drove me bananas with how tired they were and we were going to get lost and whatever. Ye of little faith in their blind parents’ ability to not get them lost in the woods! I finally stopped at a playground at a campgrounds, thinking, we came all this way for them to play on a playground? But I think it was a familiar thing for them and helped transition them to just chilling out and being in the moment. After the playground, they were a lot better. They started noticing birds and trees and sunsets and scenic views and caterpillars. Its like if you can just get them through the first hour and get them to loosen up, they are perfectly happy walking and hiking and stuff. Weather was really good today so that certainly helped. I think if we go back and it is somewhat familiar to them now, they will not be so anxiety ridden about it. But for a first-time try out, it went well and I think we can move forward now to more adventurous things.

Pictures!

Waiting at Willow Creek Transit Center for the CCR bus.

 

Making everyone calm the hell down at the playground. Well, Avery was fine. He didn't complain.

Tot lot was a train engine. Big kids liked this one better and Avery liked the big one better because it had a steering wheel.

Aaron was SO HOT and mad because I made him bring his jacket, until he was cold and needed it.

Steering Wheel!

Naim told me to take a picture of the beautiful trees.

Snack time! They wanted it right when they got there but I made them wait till 3:00.

Naim over explaining navigation to me.

Trying a shortcut to the cabins, we went up a very steep hill. I think we will take the road to haul our stuff up.

Avery was very happy there. He liked to touch the grass and ferns.

Aaron wants to come back and watch the sunset.

Crazeee Dog! Off-leash area.

Fetch!

Avery's favorite toy is his stroller, which is very convenient when we are waiting for the bus.

Aaron called this rock "Mt. Everest for Ants."

On the bus on the way home. They said this bus was like the airplane but without wings and on the ground.

On the bus on the way home. They said this bus was like the airplane but without wings and on the ground.

Naim is reading the literature he picked up from the park ranger kiosk.

Avery, asleep on my arm. It doesn't seem weird to hold him on the city buses without a car seat, I do it all the time. And even though transit and cabs are exempt from carseat rules, it always freaks my out a little to have him there with no carseat. He has a lap belt here. He was probably fairly safe, but still...

I forgot a thingy from the other day. Nik heard a loud crash and asked me to check outside, but I didn’t see or hear anything (deaf blind for ya). But Naim came out and he saw the car. So we went back inside and told Nik to call 911, and then I was going to go check, but I didn’t want to take Naim in case it was bad. By that time, someone had already called and the police were driving up. It was a good opportunity to talk about 911 and emergency procedures and stuff. And helping if there is no other help there, but staying out of the way when the police or ambulance are there. Another little emergency we had was D walked the kids home late one night and drove off the sidewalk and got stuck in mud. He sent Naim to our house to get help while Aaron stayed there. Naim was very proud that he ran all the way down the dark alley by himself (he does NOT like the alley at night.) He couldn’t get into the garage so he came around the front, and then Nik and I went down there and pulled D out of the mud. He’s pretty good in a “crisis.”

Car Crash. Injuries were minor, I heard.

Trip to Wetlands

Today, Aaron and Naim went to Jackson Bottom Wetland Preserve for a two hour “Bucket Biology” class and short hike through the wetlands. Misty rain and didn’t get any pictures on the hike. They classified and identified insects, and saw an Eagle’s nest and did a few hands-on activities in the encounter lab.

At home they completed Lesson 119 in Calvert Math. It was a bit of drudgery but we were all tired. Later, they put together a flip book (the kind where you can see animation when you flip it fast) that was in a Click Magazine insert. They had to cut and order the pictures to 40.

I did not see much of Avery today as he went with Nik to work at Dwight’s and then he went to the doctor to get his Head Start paperwork in and start catch-up on vaccines. He is now four behind, but should be good by his two-year if we make a vaccine appointment in November and December. He was sick and crabby from vaccines, so he went to bed early with a low fever.