Tuesday, January 22, 2002

I fell behind a bit over the weekend, but it was basically just a plain old regular weekend. Mike played, we worked, he did a lot of homework Sunday. Monday he had another day where he did almost none of his work at school, and had to do it all at home. He has a new thing--rather than shouting and screaming that he will not do his work, he just...sits there and quietly doesn't do it. Kind of an improvement but not much. It shows he can creatively adjust to this environment, anyway, which is SOMETHING.

Saturday, January 19, 2002

Mike continues to be disappointed that he cannot play with the little toy airport. But I feel it is important to stick with our deal--I bought it on the condition he would do his work as asked during school time, and that hasn't been happening. But we have talked about it extensively and I do think he understands (he just doesn't LIKE the reality!). What we are going to do is make a chart and give him credit for the good school days he has had, so he can (we both hope!) have it to play with soon.

Friday, January 18, 2002

Tonight when I tucked Mike into bed, I tossed his comforter over him so that his whole body was under it. "Hey," he protested. "Don't cover my head! My dream cloud can't get out!"

Thursday, January 17, 2002

Mike got his second quarter report card today. Although most of his curriculum is adjusted to his level, they still grade him on effort and progress, and I was thrilled to see he got 3 As in the three subjects which get letter grades! He's improved in a few behavioral areas as well. It's all very encouraging!

Tonight we had Humboldt Street Specials (one of my few vegetarian dishes), which require a layer of mashed avocado. While I was making it, Mike came in, got a tortilla chip and scooped some out. I said, "Hey, that's for dinner," and he explained very seriously, "I know. I testing it to be sure it okay."

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

It is a very difficult thing, when you are trying to teach a boy like Mike that yelling and rudeness and such are not the way to get what you want, if using those techniques seems to be the only way to get him to DO what he is supposed to do. It confuses me, and I'm 48 with a high-function mentality. So what do I do to teach a not-quite 10 year old with developmental delays?

I hope it at least helps when I admit I am wrong to lose my temper, and apologize.

Later in the evening, during our playtime, Mike told me a VERY long story (at least 30 minutes!), relating in detail how he and I went to the airport in Denver, and took a plane trip to Myrtle Beach (where we went summer before last) and rented a car and drove to Florida and went to Disney World. Kind of shy on plot, but VERY verbal!

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Mike had a vacation day today, as the teachers in our district had an in-service. Poor Caro didn't get home until 8 pm! Mike had a few Horrid-Mike incidents today, as often happens when he is bored from too much free time. But he also helped me work for a while today, which was pretty nice.

When we went to town, we went to Wal-mart to pick up a few needed items. As we were heading to check-out we passed the aisle of Valentine stuff, and Mike was alarmed to note that there were NO Valentine snakes on the shelves any more!

Yes, someone came up with plush Valentine snakes in red and pink--the pink one had a weirdly mis-spelled tag around its neck. Mike had coveted one the instant he saw it, and I had planned to come back and buy one, but I'd forgotten, and now it looked like we had MISSED OUT!

But we looked around, and discovered they had put a huge pile of Valentine stuffies into one of those big square wire bins--and peeking out at the bottom was a snake tail! Rather than risk losing out for real, I said we could buy it today.

Mike was thrilled, and spent the rest of the evening with a fuzzy snake stole around his shoulders. The best part for me was listening in as Mike gave his new pet the grand tour of our house, speaking dialogue for both sides. It's funny how much more articulate he can be when he is speaking to and for a stuffed animal!

Monday, January 14, 2002

This is Sunday's post. As I noted in my own blog, sleep happens.

Mike got a real treat last night. Lord of the Rings finally arrived in Lamar, but since Monsters Inc was almost too scary for the boy, we KNEW it was not a Michael-friendly film. So rather than have Caro go one night and me the next, we inquired as to whether Kelby, the teenager next door who Mike adores, might be available.

Turned out he was planning to go to the movie himself, but the parents VERY kindly insisted we just bring Mike over. So we let him pack a few videos and some popcorn, and dropped him off. A lovely time was had by all, and the only down side is that now when Mike gets highly ticked off at ME, he will have an idea for a place to run away from home TO!

Saturday, January 12, 2002

This morning Zach called up to talk to Mike, and the boys were discussing fun times past, present and future. Mike remembered the site we had found the other day, and was trying to explain to Zach how to find a web site. "You have to search," he informed him, "on HawHoo or Googoo."

Once upon a time Mike liked all stories told to him. But these days he is much pickier, and insists on jumping in with his own storyline whenever he gets an idea. So storytelling is a constant struggle over who has creative control....

This would be okay, except he likes to stick with the good old tried and true formula stuff--Kelby and Mike run a railroad, and variations on that theme. I prefer innovation. So tonight we ended up compromising, as we often do, and playing out ideas instead. Mike was a turtle to start, using his comforter as his shell. Then he was a baby snake and I was his mom, calling him my ssssweet ssssnake sssson. Then we became owls, and *I* was the baby in the nest. I woke up in the middle of the day asking for a drink of mice. "All right, all right," he said in a perfect tired, half-asleep tone, and he flapped very slowly out the door. A few minutes later he came back with a piece of a string cheese stick, just the size of a baby mouse! It's nice to be nurtured sometimes....

Friday, January 11, 2002

Mike did all his work in school today, so he earned some time with us surfing the net together, which is theoretically educational. After we looked to see if anything was new at DIA (Denver International Airport) and Stapleton's sites, he asked about Elitches.Six Flags. And we found this charming home movie:


Really, go see it! It's fun! Mike watched it three times in a row!

Thursday, January 10, 2002

He won't be 10 for a month, but Mike is showing signs of male maturation. He is starting to enjoy carrying heavy things for me. Yesterday at the Post Office I asked him to carry the big rainbow striped bag of small parcels, but he asked to carry the big boxes instead. I explained they were HEAVY and I wasn't sure he could handle it--maybe that set off something in his young male soul, because then he insisted. So I let him, and he managed it. They were about 20 pounds combined, which is good for a skinny kid who weighs about 85 pounds! Today when we brought in the groceries, he chose the flat of 24 tomato sauce cans, another hefty load.

So he's off to a good start towards his dream of owning a cow. I have said he can have a large animal like a cow or horse when he is old enough to handle the hay bales himself. That day may come sooner than I think!

Wednesday, January 09, 2002

Today Mike's school got a visit by The Little Shop of Physics out of Colorado State University. They fill the cafeteria or other large useful space with many cool little hands on items, often crafted from discarded household goods, which show various scientific effects in unusual ways. Mike, with his speech difficulties, often has trouble expressing even mildly complex topics. This was not only beyond him, but had made him almost too excited to talk at all!

He did make it clear, though, that he wanted to go to the Open House that evening so I could share in these glories. That really wasn't in my plans for the evening, and I tried to explain. "But...but...they ANNOUNCE it--parents can come!" he told me. I demurred again, and he burst into tears.

Now it isn't our policy to teach kids to be whiners by giving them things they cry and fuss for. But a good parent can read the inner emotions, and distinguish tantrum tears from real disappointment. Also, I had had news that day about a friend in the hospital who may not make it, whose most recent crisis was possibly set off by her worries about how her internet business is doing in her absense....

What is more important, I asked myself. The few things you can get done at home in that hour, or enjoying something like this with Mike?

He was right, the displays were cool beyond words. And so is my little guy.

Tuesday, January 08, 2002

Today I had to make a quick trip in to Mike's school because I had mis-figured the days, and he needed more meds (Adderall) in his stash at school. While I was doing the form thing with the secretary, Mike's aide brought him down to the office to get his pill.

I don't think many 9 year old boys are that thrilled to see their mom unexpectedly, and they certainly don't give in to the urge to give a exuberant hug even if they are. That's one of the cool things about Mike I wouldn't change for anything.

Monday, January 07, 2002

Michael being the generally easy-going kid he is, and our house being the confused second-hand Wonderland IT is, we keep stumbling across Christmas loot that hasn't been played with yet! Today Mike got out his Hot Wheels Shark Park, and cheerfully picked up all his train set gear out of the kitchen floor so he and I could attempt to assemble the thing,

Actually, I was rather amazed at how much he was able to assemble on his own, just by studying the pictures on the instructions (the text being beyond his reading level) and intuiting how it ought to look from the outside of the box. I stuck on most of the small decals and a few minor parts, but really, he had it mostly together. This Shark Park has a talking shark head which says witty things like, "Yum-yum, chrome!" to the tiny cars shooting through its mouth. That seems to be Mike's favorite part! LIke I said, easy-going.

Sunday, January 06, 2002

It's (almost) always funny to hear Mike re-creating tones of voice he has heard from us. Today he was playing in the kitchen with his trains, and his own personal cat Nicky Jr came to watch him. Using a very calm and serious Voice of Sweet Reason he began to explain, "Nicky, I am building a downtown, and you need to keep your tail off the tracks, because it not safe."

I think Mike will be glad to go back to school on Monday, because even with his new Christmas loot to play with, he's getting a little bored. Today he even helped me do my book inventory for a while, handing me the books where I was switching shelves. Naturally I was charmed to pieces. I'm easy that way.

We watched a DVD together before bedtime, and it was possibly one of the most ghastly travesties I've had inflicted on me in a while. It was called Whispers, about a baby elephant, and the Disney Corp should be hanging its head in shame. Basically someone took a whole lot of footage of elephants, cranked out a plot-by-number, wrote some stupid cutesy dialog and then cut and pasted the film clips into a story-like form. Michael loved it. He has watched it 4 or 5 times since we got it Friday. *sigh*

Friday, January 04, 2002

I feel safe in saying Mike is one of the few 9 year olds in America who got a very used highway sign (a yellow diamond with an arrow signaling a left curve) for Christmas, and one of the even fewer who was absolutely delighted. One of his favorite play activities is making paper highway signs and posting them throughout the house, so I knew what I was doing when I bought it on (where else?) eBay.

He has been impatiently asking me to put it up all week since we came back from Denver. Today was the big day. Happily he gave up his ideas and went along with mine, which was to place it on a large and sturdy hitching post/ex-phone pole in our back yard near the barn. The pole still had a couple of L-bolts sticking out which were well situated to let me put wire through the sign's former bolt holes and around them. Later in the day we went to the hardware store and came home bearing some VERY LARGE screw in bolts to further secure it, as one must in the high wind area known as SE Colorado.

Mike is a happy boy, so I am a happy mom. Life is simple and good.

As often happens after a day with uproar, Mike was in a cheerful and obliging mood all day today. He played happily while I worked, partly with his wooden train set, although he also rendered another dozen or so vehicles in his 4x4 computer adventure game inoperable. "I 'stroy another one," he keeps saying, resignedly. The SUVs and pickups in the game respond poorly to being driven into trees and other traditionally firm objects, and we also learned they sink if you drive them into a lake. It's not Mike's fault--this is a hard game. I have been driving real cars for 30 some years and I totalled the one he let me try too....

Mike beat me twice tonight at virtual mini-golf, too. Who is teaching who here??

Thursday, January 03, 2002

Last year I started keeping a daily journal of something interesting that had happened in Mike's day. I stuck with it pretty well until we went on vacation in August, and then I didn't get back to it. I'm taking advantage of the New Year and new technology to start again.

This was kind of a 'best and worst' of Mike day. When I woke up this morning I found he had tucked a purple stuffed ferret in beside me to keep me company, and later in the evening when I'd been working very hard he came over to the computer and rubbed my neck. But he also got very angry with me because I insisted he eat more than just the cheese off his (breadless) hot dogs for lunch. When I said he could not go play until he ate them, he tried to hide the bits and claimed they were eaten. Since he's not too experienced at lying yet, I found them pretty fast, and he had to take a nap instead. So he yelled at me, but he came out of the nap a much less cantankerous boy.

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