Friday, November 16, 2007


I realized a while ago that I've left a few loose threads hanging out around here. So, I guess it's a good time to wrap them up.

-I'll start with the most recent: Mashuga and the carseat debacle. I don't have a permanent solution, yet. But we're working on it. My sweet friend, Kristin's, comment woke me up to a very important truth. I've been spending so much time talking, cajoling, begging, pleading and yelling at Mashuga about the issue that I've completely forgotten to listen. I haven't been listening to him and to what he needs and wants. I haven't been listening to my own mother-heart and the still small voice that never leads me in the wrong direction.

So, here's what we're doing. For now, Mashuga's carseat is buckled in the passenger seat next to me. This serves many purposes. First of all, it puts him in arms reach so that I can prevent him from unbuckling at inopportune times. It also puts him more firmly into my realm of consciousness, so that I know when he's getting restless or unhappy and I can meet those immediate needs before they progress to the ultimate, desperate attempt at freedom. It also gives us the opportunity to talk, to enjoy one another. He's already given me plenty of ideas on how to help him. He'd love a more comfortable carseat. Actually, he'd like to have a booster seat, but he is still only 33 pounds dripping wet and only barely tall enough for a booster. I feel much safer with him in a carseat right for a bit longer. He'd love to have a little bag with books and toys to play with in the car. He is a wise little teacher and a wonderful boy.

Sometimes I forget what I have learned over and over as a parent. Usually my children's "bad" behaviors are just an expression of an inner need. If I take the time to listen carefully and look more closely, we can usually find the best solutions together.

-Scud's school situation has improved drastically. It's been like night and day and he is LOVING school now. What changed? His former teacher resigned because of family needs. I imagine this may have been part of the problem -- that she was simply stretched too thin. So, though I am compassionate enough to wish her well and hope she has success in her future, I admit that I did a little jig in my kitchen when I learned that Scud would be getting a new teacher.

And she has been EVERYTHING I had hoped for. First of all, she adores Scud and makes him feel so good about himself. And she is one of those teachers who is in it because she loves the children. It is more than just a job for her. Her classroom management skills are fantastic. She is challenging Scud, teaching the curriculum and working with the other 1st grade teachers to divide the children into skill-set groups for math, reading and spelling. To say I am pleased would be putting it mildly. I just want to kiss this woman every time I see her.

Now I am curious about the rest of the first grade classes at our school. Are they improving? Rynell, I'm especially curious about what you're seeing with your son's class. If there's still a problem with the rest of first grade I still want to help.

-Another Scud update, though I'm not sure I've mentioned this here before. When Scud was 2 1/2 he was diagnosed with an articulation disorder. They suspected he might have developmental apraxia of speech, which meant that he knew the words he was trying to say but his brain and mouth were not coordinating well enough for him to make the sounds he needed to make. He was basically unintelligible until he was about 3 1/2 to 4 years old and even then other people had a hard time understanding him. It was an interesting journey. He acquired language rapidly and talked A LOT. We just couldn't understand him most of the time. It was very frustrating for him. People were always asking him to repeat himself and I always had to translate for him (when I actually understood him).

But, after 2 years of speech therapy he tested at an age-appropriate level and we were told he didn't need speech therapy anymore. I walked away with a bit of trepidation, but reminded myself that even my precocious Kaitybean still pronounced her r and sh and th wrong at 4 1/2.

Well, it's been nearly 3 years and he hasn't made much, if any, progress in his speech. He still can't pronounce r, th, sh, ch and mutates a few vowel sounds. Over the last couple of years I've listened to him and his speech just sounded a little off, still. A few weeks ago I finally decided that this wasn't going to resolve on its own and called the special ed director at our school. The speech therapist evaluated him and sure enough, he has moderate articulation delays. He will be attending speech therapy once a week again and I am so, so glad. After a few years of being on the borderline of normal, people have begun asking him to repeat himself again and his speech abilities are again recognizable as delayed. I have always felt strongly that I wanted to do everything possible for him while he is young and other children are more forgiving of differences so that this does not negatively impact his self-image. So, I'm very happy about this. And sometimes it is nice to have my intuition validated by something as official-sounding as the Arizona Articulation Proficiency Scale.

One funny story that illustrates my point about Scud's speech beginning to get in his way again. In class a few weeks ago Scud's teacher asked the class what they would take with them on a long car trip. Scud told her he would take a book about sharks, to which she responded "Scud, that is not appropriate for this class." Now it is impossible to fully explain this in type (or in person really) but try to imagine the way Scud says sharks. Because it contains both an sh and an r sound it gets really mixed up and sounds just like the word "sharks" and the word "sex" perfectly morphed together so that it is VERY difficult to tell, out of context, which word he is trying to say. Scud, being the cool kid that he is, simply said "What's so inappropriate about a book about sea animals?" And his teacher said "Oh! Sharks! A book about sharks! Yes, that's a great idea." Scud later deduced that she had thought he'd said "A book about sex." and related the story to me with great glee later that afternoon. He found it very humorous, as did I. But it also clued me in to the fact that I was probably right and it was time to revisit the speech therapy idea.

-One last update -- JDub's work. I have mentioned here several times that JDub is in an interesting work situation. The last few years have been veeeeerrrry interesting. As of two months ago, we were certain that he would need to change careers by the end of this year. He was getting paid far too little for too much work, he was being kept from doing his job properly and was not allowed to hire enough help to keep his end of the business prospering. We were ready to go elsewhere, across the country if necessary. One day he felt prompted to mention this to his employer, that he was looking for work elsewhere. Oh boy! It has been like night and day since then. They bumped his income up considerably, changed him from hourly wages to salary, renegotiated his commission ratios for both websites and gave him the go-ahead to hire two more employees. Yippee! We feel so very blessed. Best of all, he is now being given the respect he deserves at his work. He is consulted on purchasing decisions and now has the authority to make all of the important decisions he needs to make to keep their profits high and their productivity at a decent level. He mentioned to me the other day that he is getting a bit "wigged out" by the lack of complaints he's had to deal with lately. They're getting everything shipped out on time. Orders are being handled in a timely manner and are done correctly. So, he is no longer running around crazy trying to put out fires and has the time to actually improve the websites, add more products, tweak systems to make things run better and sharpen the saw. Very nice. I'd say that's a good kind of "wigged out."

So, all in all, things are going well around here. Hope you don't mind reading through the long list of updates. I did go on, didn't I? Ah, well. It's a curse I have. Just let me know if there's anything else I've forgotten to update you on and I'll be happy to write another novel.

1 comment:

Rynell said...

I enjoyed your updates. And I am glad for Scud's teacher improvement. I have met his new teacher and she seems nice.

As for our first grade experience, some things have improved for my son. I still find some things lacking in the way the math is taught. All in all, his teacher is trying very hard and seems to struggle with organization. Though it is not optimal, I am happy that my son loves his teacher and she tells me she loves him.