A Big Brother Story:
Monday was a great day here – fall might just be upon us, and that makes me so happy. Daddy stayed home and the family worked on some yard stuff. With the boys’ help we pulled all the weeds (big ol’ things, taller than either boy) out of 2 retaining wall / flower beds, Daddy leveled them, we put paper down and then mulched them. In the photo you can see what we got done. The one wall / bed that is not done is what the 2 looked like also. Note the one undone is the smallest of the three.
While Momma and Daddy worked hard, the boys had a great time. They dug for worms, they “helped” pull weeds. They did a great job standing just exactly where Daddy or Momma needed to swing their arms to toss pulled weeds. Big Brother also re-located frogs. At our home, all frogs found are re-located to the marigold flower bed. We have a lot of small frogs – less than 2 inches and most times we spend time outside we find at least 2 or 3. This policy of re-location just makes life safer for the frogs and gives the boys a purpose. “Just watching” the frogs usually doesn’t turn out well for the frog. So while we worked I moved a few frogs and Big Brother moved some.
At one point I brought the boys in for a break, walking from garage to laundry room Big Brother was in front of me and says “they are gone”. “Gone? What is gone honey?”. “The frogs I put in the laundry basket”
Apparently Big Brother had decided two of the many frogs he caught were hot and needed to rest. He took two of them and put them in a laundry basket in the laundry room to “cool off”. He never did explain why these two needed it and not the others, nor how he knew they needed to come in the house to cool off.
Big brother walked though the house yelling for the frogs and announced “they are hiding, I can’t find them”. He looked under all the beds and in all his Hide-and-Seek hiding places. Momma got to clean out the laundry room and found one very cold frog – 75 degree air conditions and cold tile – pretty fast. The other frog was not found till almost bedtime. Came downstairs after tubbie and found him hopping across the kitchen. Both frogs were able to join their frog families before bedtime.
The photo shows our “average” frog. We have tons of them, like this one all over. It took me less than 2 minutes to find this one for the photo shoot. Yes that is my grubby hand holding him (or her). Interesting point; I learned that toads are actually a sub-group of frogs. These were more accurately toads, being the creature that lives around out house and not in the pond, but they are frogs also – cool huh?
Little Brother speech:
Little Brother is exploding with communication. Big Brother had no words till at least 2 full months after turning three. Little Brother is 2 months short of being three, so this is four months sooner than Big Brother spoke. Big Brother to her had many many more signs however (25 ASL signs at 20 months actually). Little brother now will sign MORE and PLEASE and MOMMA and sign DRINK and DADDY if he can mimic you. He picked up COOKIE in one snack session! He says OUCH and will try to mimic HURT. He has said NO clearly once (when I picked up the hair cutting scissors to cut paint out of his hair) with a very serious look. He generally says NAY NAY NAY for “no”. He can say TIk TIk for “tickle tickle”. He is getting much more interested in communicating; and that is good.
Fall is upon us, I love fall. Fall is the time to me of new starts, not January. I fell in love in the fall; both my boys have fall birthdays. Fall is the best time of the year. Cooler weather, hoodies, jeans; that is perfect for me. As the boys get bigger I find that fall means more and more to us, more “starting”. I can’t believe the boys will be 3 and 5 this fall!!! What happened to my BABIES?? Here is a summary of our Fall Plans:
- Preschool for both. Kinda. 🙂 We are dedicated homeschoolers. I say again 🙂 we are dedicated homeschoolers. We are also blessed that the team we have working with us via the school district is supportive and respectful of that. This is in no way a sign of us walking sway from homeschooling. However both boys have Speech Therapy via the school district (legally a homeschooled child is to be given all services that child would qualify for if enrolled in the public schools). Both also qualify for other “one-on-one” services (tutoring for Big Brother for example). It is getting challenging, for me and the teacher and the Speech and Language pathologist working with us to schedule it all. Also it is harder and harder for the boys to separate for it, one gets upset when the other is getting attention, or they want to help each other and so much emotional energy is spent in the “waiting their turn”. Also due to the time and the location (and my need to stay on site when Little Brother is in an appt) the child waiting ends up sitting in the van, and that makes no one happy. Currently both boys have ST 2x a week, and “tutoring” 2x a month. With the start of the school year and the new IEPs times will increases. Possibility to as much as 4 appt for each boy each week. Vile I am willing to do this, I am the momma, it is my job. It is harder and harder on the boys to sit around and wait. That is effecting, or going to effect, their work. So to make it easier on everyone, we have decided to try having the boys attend the pre-school class one day a week. Both will still officially be “listed” as home schooled and homeschooling will remain on their IEPs. Big Brother will be in the classroom 2 or 3 hours. The class is 3 hours; we are not sure if he will be there all 3 hours or not. Little Brother will be in his classroom 2 hours; they will be in different classrooms. Since Little Brother is only there 2 hours, it is possible Big Brother also will be, it depends on ST times. The same day; both starting at 8:30 am. for the first few weeks I will remain in the building, and even after that I will remain within 5 to 10 minutes of the school, I will not drive all the way home. We are still working on the details with the SLP and the teachers and our case manager; but each boy will likely also have ST one other day of the week; and that day I will simply take them to the school for their session like I have taken Big Brother to the school for his appointments since he turned 3. This is a trial; if we do not like how it is going with the boys in the classrooms we will simple make a change. I will be going in to observe frequently and we have plans in place of how we want issues handled, if we need to we will change the arrangement. I am still not 100% sold on this idea; I am willing to give it a try to make things easier on me and the boys. I am very committed to homeschooling, and to being the main influence in my children’s live, and also to not pushing them to take flight till their wings are strong and ready. I do not like, or agree with, early peer group time and i do not like, nor agree with early academics. I admit it is hard for both of them to get good solid service time; and the juggling and the waiting is hard on them and thus detrimental to their therapies. However I am still not excited about the idea of them, either one of them, being in a classroom, in a peer group setting for 2 to 3 hours a week in this manner. Our team is awesome, there is no doubting that, I love all of them and trust them totally (thus why I am will to try this) but I am not a supporter of early education from a philosophical and faith stand point. This will be only one day a week (not 4 as the pre-school meets) and this is for this year only. Next year when Big Brother is officially Kindy age, he will go back to going to his appt only, he will not be in the kindergarten classroom for any class time.
- This fall Big Brother will be starting the kindergarten group of Bible Explores at church. This is also a trial. The group meets every other Wednesday night at the church from 6 to 7 pm. Well generally the boys go to bed at 6:30 or 7 pm, and afternoon and evening are not the best time of day for us mood wise. But we are going to try it; we feel it is important for Big Brother’s faith to start some more formal Bible based activities and for him to feel a place and ownership at church. We want him to grow with Bible Study as a “norm” of his life. Technically Big Brother is NOT kindy aged till next fall, fall 2011. However the leader of the group is a lady he worked with at VBS so she is willing to let him try joining the group. They will learn the Our Father. They will work on memory verses and start to learn to “find things and get around in the Bible”. They will study some of the main Bible Heroes and start to learn a time line of events. He will be the youngest in the group, so this is a trial.
- Big Brother will continue with Sunday School each Sunday morning this fall. We are weighing the option of moving him to the kindergarten class (again he is not technically kindy age till fall 2011) thus allowing Little Brother to move into the preschool class. Especially if this would put him in Sunday School with some of the same kids he sees Wednesday night; I feel that could facilitate him building friendships. Both boys have the fall birthdays that makes them the oldest in their year in school – Big brother will, for example, turn 6 in Nov right after “starting kindergarten” officially; and the same is true of Little Brother. We are not sure about this, but it would be nice for Little Brother to get to go to Sunday School too and for Big Brother to make some friendship at Church.
- Big Brother is also going to start some therapy at Childserve; we do not know what that is going to look like, or how frequent it will be. But, we did finally get insurance to agree to cover it, so I want to at least give it a shot and see what they can do for us. Big Brother will be 5 in Nov and I really feel we need to step up the therapy a notch now that we realistically are looking at school and academics in the next year or 2. Personally I know he is maturing and catching up, but any push or advantage we can give him to get him ‘there” sooner is at least worth giving a try.
Fall under consideration
Home school group – I wanted to join a home school group this fall; most of the ones here have a park day and I was hoping we could start going to an event like that 2x a month or so. However, the one-day-a-week in the classroom may ruin that; the one group I know has park day every week, has it on Thursday afternoon. Thursday is the day the boys will be in the classroom; and there is just no way – emotionally, mentally, physically – for us to do 2 or 3 classroom hours in morning, then do park in the afternoon. Afternoon is not our strongest time as it is, and that is too much for one day. There are a couple of other groups I am looking at, so we will see.
I continue to be amazed in a wonderful way by how much the boys learn just by soaking in life. This afternoon we playing outside; I drew a circle with side-walk chalk and asked Big Brother for 4 rocks, I used them to make a face. He took the chalk and said “my turn” then he said “I need 7 rocks momma” I told him “I have 4” he INSTANTLY said “I need 3 more” not counting, no thinking, just BOOM. I was startled. But math seems to be his strong point, this is not the first time the boy, who can not actually identify all the written numerals, has popped a math fact off the top of his head. One day last week watching Super why they needed 12 super letters, they found 3 and, again, instantly, with no time to count, and honestly no manipulative to count, Big Brother shouts out “9 more to go”. This was a new episode too, so this is not just memory. He does not get this skill from me, and it is amazing to me. He frequently pops up in the car with statements like “4 + 5 is 9” and so on. Today, after the “I need 3 more rocks” I shoved him how to write the “math sentence” [3+4=7] but he was not impressed. It just reinforces my peace with waiting on formal academics. We do art, we do mazes, I am going to introduce dot-to-dots to him. He writes notes and practices his letters and we read and read and read and read. He has recently started asked what practically every word he sees says. I have “work sheets” for him when he asks, but I do not push them and we do not have formal school time each day. I think it is so important for all children to be allowed to play and grow their mind at their own pace. Fall of 2011 he will be almost 6 and officially kindy age, at that point we will assess how much we want to push formally. Boys especially need to be given the time to mature and be ready for seat work. Nonetheless the amount he is “learning” amazes me.