Saturday, August 20, 2011

I Have a Little Shadow

Now that Little A loves school and I no longer need to hang around on-site in case he comes crying and looking for me or just wants to exit the classroom, (all of which he used to do frequently) I hardly know what goes on when he's there. Since he won't tell me about his days, all I can do is drop him off and pick him every day up like a good mother.

Thank goodness for the Shadow Teacher's journal. Again, I only get two mornings a week to read five days' worth of school activities, but it's better than wondering or having to grill an already tired teacher at the end of every school day.

Her very detailed journal chronicles their activities together both in and out of the classroom. I give verbal reports on the latest developments with his various therapists and she tries to incorporate all the efforts into her work with him.

Sometimes he still surprises us. Lately he's typed "hed" for head, "otr" (otter) and "egele" (eagle) into the keyboard. Those were easy enough to interpret, and once I corrected his spelling he didn't get those words wrong again. Harder was "hipots", which turned out to be his version of hippopotamus.

One day I saw that he had spelled "time" with letter tiles, and concluded this was part of what they were learning at school about the calendar. He's been arranging his letter tiles into fours or threes, but never upon command. So he may be getting the concept of quantities, even if I didn't think he listened when I tried to explain them to him.

His Shadow Teacher reports that last week at school, the teachers were trying to determine if he could identify beginning letters by pointing them out when presented with an object. Clearly bored with that simple lesson, he quickly spelled out "corn" (a word no one had ever taught him to spell) when presented with a plastic corncob, then took it and went off to play farmer.

When he wants to get her attention in the classroom he stands in front of her and looks at her face until she makes eye contact with him, and then smiles. He's gone from being annoyed with her to having a classroom buddy to interpret his gestures and babbling.

Non-verbal communication is extremely difficult for human beings. Most difficult for the person who knows what he wants to say, but cannot express it verbally. We've had a recent run of checkups, and I've gotten a pediatric neurologist's number to see if there's anything that can be done to address what may be apraxia or dyspraxia or some other thing I need to read more about. Whatever it is, I pray that one day we discover the key and unlock Little A's mind-mouth connection so he can finally tell us everything he's been wanting to say.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Darkest Hour

There are all sorts of sayings about having to go through trials before getting a just reward. All sorts of advice, too. From fortune telling to prayer to the alignment of the stars, every belief set has its own sage wisdom.

Still, when you're at that low point, sometimes it seems like it's never going to end. Plans pan out, hopes are dashed; before even drawing breath, you're back at square one.

Big A and I were beginning to wonder if the light was ever going to come. All his professional life, he'd been in the most volatile sector of the finance industry. Well and good if you're young, single, and feeling invincible. Not so when you've got bills to pay and a family to support and one part-time paycheck just won't cut it.

After two major economic recessions, some boom years but just as many, if not more, bust ones, we'd had enough. One must learn from one's mistakes, and our little boy's needs weren't getting any fewer, no matter how thin we managed to stretch what was left in our bank accounts.

Just as we were about to scrape bottom, our prayers were answered. A business opportunity Big A had been studying assiduously for weeks took shape. The loan we needed to take on to make this all happen was approved. Lawyer drew up papers. In a couple of weeks, we will turn a corner and start a new phase of our life together.

It will be hard. It will require keeping those belts tightly notched for half a dozen or so years more until the debt is paid back. But it will keep food on the table and Little A in school and a roof over our heads. And that's all that really matters. All else is just gravy, and we know that if we cook our meat just so, when the time is right, the juices will flow and so we will enjoy that benefit too.