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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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August 14-23, 2013

Oh, one of these again. This is more because my memory fails me on the specifics of what we do if I don’t post at least every couple of days. Bad me.

Sooooo…..(drawing a blank.)

Avery has been a good little Goddard Child. I am noticing that they are putting him in the next room over and I am getting DARs from that room. It’s not a big deal, but I just wonder if they are planning on telling me what’s up? Is this a ratio issue and a temporary thing or are they getting ready to move him? Reports here and here. He is off today because I am going to put him in more days next week while the kids are in camp.

Highlights of Schoolwork….

  • We finished Ch. 15 in HOP dealing with Calendar and Time.
  • Aaron has finished ALL the work in hooked on phonics. I am so glad. He will be starting HOP Master Reader for 3rd grade.
  • I have Naim’s curriculum for Reading Horizons and he did a bit of the early assessments. He did better than I thought on some sections but got 0% on recognizing and discriminating vowel sounds. He always tells me he can’t hear the difference between like /a/ and /e/. It is frustrating. But he did seem to like the new curriculum interface.
  • We read and did the work for DER “Busy Bea”.
  • They did their usual stuff with handwriting and sylvan
  • They did a kiwi crates box where they made recycled paper and leaf-print bags. That is the last one I had. I really like those things, the materials are such good quality. But, alas, saving money for now.

Fieldtrip-wise, we have gone swimming once, and did our last day at the Outpost, also got haircuts. Naim also had an interview with a reporter from the Hillsboro Tribune at a Starbucks, but she seemed as nonplussed as I was about why they would be doing an article on this ‘non-event.” As of today, there is no story. This all went down from Naim filling out a little rider profile form on the TriMet website. He got a ton of attention for doing it…and then nothing. And he was so excited…that it has just been a fucking headache ever since and I wish it would go away. It has taken up my time to deal with it and I really don’t know what to tell him about why nothing is published like they promised him. (If they are not going to publish, fine. But just TELL ME and so I can tell him and be done with it. Sigh.) TriMet did send him a package of swag, so he liked that. But whatever.

Naim also started soccer practice. The coach seems less than social. Like to the point where I introduced myself and he did not even acknowledge that I was talking to him. Is this something white, hetero, able-bodied males can get away with? Or is he on the spectrum or something. I mean, he is REALLY rude. Anyway, we think he is kind of aloof to everyone, not just us. And Naim seems to like him, which is the important thing. He seems to do better with the kids. So maybe painfully shy? But how do you get through life like that? (hetero-male privilege???? The rest of us blind folks and otherwise have to WORK to put people at ease.)

They did end up putting him on a U9 team, rather than U8 like they promised us, so all of he teammates from last year are not there, which was kind of disappointing for him. But he seems to be bouncing back from that. I am not sure where the U9 team leaves us as far as transportation to games. We lost all of our parent connections for rides as well. So we have to start from scratch. But maybe this will mean that at least SOME of the games we can get to, rather than all of the ones in U8 we were going to need rides for. The game schedule has not come out yet. It will hopefully be soon so we can make arrangements, otherwise Naim will not get to play at games, which he knew would be a possibility.

We spent last weekend cleaning up their room and moving A and N in with Avery as an experiment. We now have a dedicated school room. So far, it is going really well.

Today, Naim has gone canoeing with R. It sounds like a lot of fun and a really neat idea. He was a bit scared, but I think he will do OK once he is there.

June 12, 2012

Started Tuesday Fieldtrips for summer today. We were going to go to the zoo but it was so rainy when we got there that we opted for children’s museum instead. Good day, spent from about 10-3 there. Naim made a Tie Dye shirt and they both made clay projects. Naim opted to bring his home and Aaron is kiln firing his boat that he made. Pictures:

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.

Head Start, More Head Start, and Zoo Lights

Nik took Avery to his second Head Start on-site day on the bus. Nik observed the same thing as I did. It is exactly where Avery needs to be, it is a good level for him and he seems to get the hang of it. They did rice and beans, the dental hygienist came and did fluoride treatments and said Avery’s teeth look really good. Avery supposedly signed “more crackers” according to Danielle. I’ve never seen him put those two words together (put have seen them separately) so that might have been a bit of a reach considering he does them both similarly, but we shall see. He came over and sat in Nik’s lap for circle time. He wanted “more” outside. He likes that whole teeth brushing bit. He signed “more” for peaches to Danielle. (I find it amusing he does way more for her than he does for Jean from EI. Its all about building relationships instead of looking at him as a specimen.) He fell asleep on the way home.

Today, he had head start home visit. Nik said he was less willing to sit and do anything, but her notes say he played with some pop beads, manipulated a book, and played “where’s avery?” Said he said “Here go!” and “uh-oh.”

Danielle’s Notes from Head Start

Took all three kids to McDonalds and Zoo Lights, and have absolutely no pictures to show for it as I forgot my camera. Avery drank a juice box for the first time at McDonalds, finally getting how a straw works.

Zoo Lights went so much better than last time (three years ago when I got scarily lost and disoriented and had to dramatically find help.) This year we did it differently, though. First, I went 2 hours early since it was a nice day and I have a zoo membership now from when the kids went to camp last summer. So, we just went around and looked at animals in the almost empty zoo. The animals were actually quite active and a few came down to visit us. It was almost as if they missed their public. I was closer to a polar bear than I have ever been in my life. It was no more than 6 or 8 inches away on the other side of a floor to ceiling glass window, asleep right up next to the wall. Really cute, I wanted to reach down and scratch its ears. They seem so much happier in the winter time, as did the penguins and several other cold climate animals. I never have been to the zoo in the winter, cold but interesting.

The zoo was so empty that I pretty much let Avery out to have relatively free reign. There was some herding involved, but he loved running free. He did not really get too into the animals that were still (such as the polar bear) but he would get excited to see animals when they moved around. It was cold, but we were able to occasionally take breaks in relatively warm places like the Aviary and gift shop.

There were a lot of lights on anyway even though it wasn’t dark yet, so that helped orient me. Another HUGE, MASSIVE help was Aaron, my navigator, who KNOWS that zoo. Since his two weeks at zoo camp, he walks around like he owns the place. He really acted as our guide. Naim was my micro-guide and helper and stayed close with me, and Aaron was our macro guide who helped us orient to where we wanted to go.  They also helped by taking the stroller and pushing Avery and by holding my hand and being sighted guides. I don’t want them to stress too much about having to take care of their blind parents, and in most situations I think they don’t have to, but when they do, they seem to get a kick out of it and feel grown up.

Three years ago we went on the train and waited in a HUGE line about over an hour to get on. (I was with someone else or I wouldn’t have done it.) This time, we were there before the first train took off, so we just lined up about ten minutes before, and got on the first train. VERY SMART. Because when we returned, the line was huge and the park was getting crowded. The train is the way to see zoo lights when you are blind. Avery fell asleep on my lap, but Naim got in a discussion with the person behind us and Aaron also enjoyed. Afterwards, we got hot chocolate and then headed home. Zoo Lights in the first hour is so much better than later in the evening.

Bookworms, HeadStart

A and N had Math Playground, where they did odd/even numbers, something about chinese jump roping and read “Even Steven and Odd Todd.”

Both went to Bookworms (got all that transferred ok) and made lap books about “ME”. Aarons had a picture of our house, family and favorite thing (Bionicle), color (red), food (strawberries) place (Lego store) and some others. Naim forgot to bring his home so hopefully I can see it next week.

Legos was snake building and Science for Naim was food chemistry. He brought home a little tube of Naim made butter, so we had biscuits and Naim butter with dinner.

I took Avery to his first Head Start “socialization” class which take place every two weeks. Socialization is a bit of a misnomer because these kids are too young to socialize and the parents speak at least three different languages. But I still think it is good in that it really is open ended and tailored towards kids in the 1-3 range.

We took the big, yellow school bus that stopped in front of my house. They even provide a carseat. (They also provide snacks, lunch and DIAPERS…I really didn’t know what to pack!) Avery and I, as expected, were the only white people and probably the only native English speakers. The bus ride was LONG on the way (I was first on, but also first off, so back was much better.) They say that  legally they can’t keep kids on the bus more than an hour, but we clocked in at right about an hour. The stupid thing is, every single person we picked up was in Hillsboro, and then we drove all the way down to Tigard for class when there is a Head Start in Hillsboro.

The schedule goes:

Snack, free play with open ended centers (water table, paint, shaving cream, etc.), circle time (short) bathroom break, outside, lunch reading/free play, go home.

Avery did well and seemed to like it once we got there and he had a few minutes to acclimate. Having him in Little Villagers definitely helped because he sort of got what was expected of him as far as coming to circle time, washing his hands, etc. One thing I wasn’t expecting is that they make you brush your teeth after lunch with a toothbrush they provide. You are supposed to model teeth brushing, but it is a little weird to brush your teeth in front of a room full of strangers. Still, Avery was all into it and tried to brush my teeth, too.

One aspect of “socialization that we get a chance to work on there is Avery’s penchant for hitting other kids when they get in his way. We are trying to teach him your turn/my turn, but it doesn’t always go down well. Once I walked about 20 feet away from him, which was TOO FAR and he actually whined “MaaaMaaa” for the first time.

I told them that I couldn’t hear them when they told me and a few other new mothers the policies. So…and this has never happened to me before…everytime they would say something to the whole group, they said it in English, then in Spanish, then they walked right over to me and said it again to me loudly in English. I was amazed. No one has ever been willing to do that for me before. It was always, tough shit, you figure it out.

So, I think it is good and will be good for him and is not too big of a commitment. The Head Start teacher is coming tomorrow and so is the EI teacher, for a half hour or so, which I’m kind of dreading. She is so useless and the head start teacher is pretty good, so it feels like she is wasting my head start time. God I hope I was never that utterly useless when I was teaching special ed.

Oh, and they only had cups so Avery drank out of a cup about three times and did very well and got better each time. We are soon to see the last of the zippy cups.

Note: yesterday Naim went to Sky High with Ruoda and Aaron went to Outdoors in with Nik, so a little PE time there, then they went to D’s to visit his mother and visiting aunt.

Another Note: NO PICTURES in head start (tell Nik) because of women from domestic abuse shelters need to protect their identity, sad.

Early Head Start and Junie B. Jones

Educational Guides

I talked to people from 9 am to 11 pm today. Exhausting.

First, Avery’s new headstart teacher came and we filled out paper work. She seems cool. But the curriculum she uses is parents as teachers which made me groan. It is the same one as healthy start that I already did with Aaron and Naim. There is nothing wrong with it per se, it is just so focused on parenting skills and basic child development. It is another example of people in poverty being assumed to be stupid and in need of “skills and education.” I have no issue with someone who really feels like they could benefit from child development and parenting skills education getting that stuff. Nothing wrong with that. But what I need, and what I think a lot of poorer parents need is QUALITY child care. Meaning, they need someone to come in and actually spend time with their child and have activities and things already planned. I want him to have quality interactions even when I don’t have time to do it myself. I want another set of eyes on him, someone elses ideas. I may be able to get some of that, but I am so bummed about just sitting there talking to these teachers while they give me handouts on how to play with your child and guess what? NO ONE IS PLAYING WITH MY CHILD! It is a waste of my time and Avery’s time. I think, you are telling me all this stuff I already know, and I could be actually interacting with my kid. Or at least YOU could be interacting with my kid. It is like WIC or anything else. In order to get my formula, food, etc. I have to prove worth by taking nutrition classes. Again, nothing wrong with nutrition classes, but this assumption that poorer parents are too dumb to feed their kids so that is why we have to teach them what to feed them and dictate what they eat is not what most parents need. Most parents need MONEY FOR FOOD and TIME so they can go look for work, etc. Not take nutrition classes. (The SNAP/TANF ones are unbelievable. They basically teach you how to shop and spread out the foodstamps as far as possible when the foodstamp money is paultry at best and does take some real skill to try to utilize them without starving your kid. Instead of spending money and resources to teach parents how to get by with so very little food, why don’t you just use the money to give them MORE FOOD?)

But anyway, this was her first visit and it was all paperwork, so we’ll see what we can make of this. I did a much more toned down, much nicer version of the rant above, hopefully she wasn;t totally intimidated by me, but her demeanor and voice changed afterwards. It was less condescending nicey nice and more realistic and matter of fact. I liked her, I hope she can be of use.

Melanie and Ruoda came and took care of Avery and that seemed to go well. Kids and I went to NWCT to see Junie B. Jones. I had trouble hearing, which has never happened before. Kids enjoyed it. We want to read the books now. Naim found a girl from VH from his Chinese class so he went to sit with her. Had pizza at Hot Lips after and I realized I left my backpack in the theatre. Went back and got it and they were working on the sound and sound checks, so maybe it was a sound system problem and no just me. Nik said he had trouble hearing it as well.

Dropped A off at D’s and Naim came home to play with Ruoda. I talked to Melanie about homeschooling schedules and stuff. The kids were so LOUD though. Driving me nuts. Rouda and Melanie walked Naim over to D’s house and later my dad came from Kansas. By the time the kids and D came back at almost ten o’clock, I was about ready to die of over communication.