Thursday, August 27, 2009

y'all are gifted in different ways

I have another blog, specifically to record our daily adventures in homeschooling located at Mimzywood Academy . I have recorded our first week and a half of homeschooling, and have already come to a point where I need to step back and get some comments and feedback from others.

I am currently homeschooling my 6 yr old and my 3 yr old. I've never homeschooled a 3 yr old before. In May, Annelise busted out with a newly discovered skill: reading! I read to her a lot, and continued doing so, but added in doing some Kindergarten level summer bridge type workbooks with basic skills over the summer when I felt like working with her or she mentioned wanting to do school.

About 2 weeks ago, I started doing formal lessons with both of them. Maddie is beginning to read, but is not motivated at all. She is not nearly as difficult to work with as Ella was, but because she has ADHD, teaching her is its own brand of challenging. She is probably doing what one would expect to be average for a 6 yr old beginning first grade. She would rather design fashions, do tie dying, drawing, painting, sketching, dancing.. than anything else in the world. I love this about Maddie. She is fabulous. She is very very creatively gifted. It's not so good for trying to do schoolwork though.

Annelise LOVES doing school every day. She has made great strides, I think, just in the two weeks we've been doing school. I quickly discovered that she is able to do 1st grade reading/spelling, so I got the book Explode the Code 1 to work with her. There are 3 books in the series prior to Explode the Code 1, and I did a few pages with her in each of them, and she blew right through them. When I did the first 3 pages of Explode the Code 1 with her, she was well able to do what it asked, but it seemed like a little bit of a challenge.

I decided to get a different first grade level program for her, concentrating on letters and small words and reading and handwriting and phonics... rather than moving her up into doing My Father's World first grade with Maddie. Maddie hasn't said anything about how she feels concerning Annelise's reading ability. I can't say that it has motivated her to work harder, but it also doesn't seem to make her angry or jealous or anything. Yet. I wanted to avoid any comparing of the two of them regarding ability to do the same material with the 3 year age difference.

All of this to say...

How do I encourage Annelise in her reading and exploring of the world of words, and similarly encourage Maddie, who is at about the same reading level as her 3 year old sister? Is there anything I can say to Maddie when she does inevitably comment that Annelise can read words that she can't? I know ways that Maddie is talented, but will gushing about her ballet dancing and her painting ability make any difference to her when her 3 yr old sister can read a whole book and she is still struggling to sound out words?

I am a social media girl and a social butterfly in real life. I talk to a LOT of people every day via twitter, facebook, the phone, etc. When people ask what's new, what are we doing, how are the girls, how is homeschool going...should I avoid talking about Annelise's accomplishments in reading? I don't want to come off as a braggart.. I'm not doing anything~ it's all her. When I go on about Maddie's dancing getting complimented by a pre-professional ballerina from our local Ballet Conservatory, or about the tie dye business she wants to start, about her awesome watercolor painting, I feel like people can sorta blow that off, it's just a child being artistic. And Ella and Annelise don't seem to get ruffled. They hear me talk about their accomplishments too. But academics is a different thing than art, and giftedness in academics seems to take on much more of a competitive edge.

Where is it safe for me to talk about Annelise's new words, etc and to get advice about how to cope with siblings who may get jealous feel overlooked, etc? I have found a support network for moms who have girls with Aspergers.. Ive gotten wonderful feedback and advice from them. I hope I can find a community of people who are encouraging and helpful as I navigate this new territory. I am blessed to know one mom personally in real life who has two very gifted children, especially in the area of reading early. Also, I know Doublelattemama from twitter, who blogged about this subject today: Musing from the Mom of an Early Reader .

I want to love my kids well, I want to build them up and not compare them or tear them down. They are indeed all gifted in different ways, and while I've been vocal about Ella's writing and sketching and Maddie's dancing, painting, business sense and sense of style... Ella has not been jealous of Maddie being talented in different ways than her. Now Annelise has something she is good at, and I am hoping I can continue to encourage them to see that they are all gifted in their own way without really screwing things up.

I'd love to hear from you!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

A few thoughts on the lack of qualification for services

Regardless of Ella's professional diagnosis of Aspergers, the school does not recognize her need for services because when they have observed and tested her six ways to Sunday, she does not in any way seem to have need of services. She is flourishing at her school, with no services.

She acts out at home. There is not much doubt that she is on the spectrum if you'd observe her for a day or two at home or out in public. But she keeps all that to herself at school. I can't ask them to make our life at home easier by giving her services that they can't see that she needs. As a matter of fact, the school psychologist told me over and over during her IEP that Ella couldn't possibly have Aspergers because she was social, she used toys appropriately, she didn't have an obsession that overtook normal conversation and focus, and she didn't correct the teacher! Besides, she didnt test on the spectrum when they did an autism spectrum test at school. :-P

I am currently researching what it takes to get a 504 plan in place, to give her just a few modifications that would decrease her anxiety level.

If you have other suggestions, I am open to hearing them... but I did sign the IEP because it seemed very clear to all of us that despite her professional diagnoses of Aspergers, Sensory Processing Disorder, Sensory Modulation Dysfunction, Dyspraxia, and Auditory Processing Disorder that she did not need special ed services that an IEP would cover. Having signed it, my goal is to move forward with preparing a 504 plan and talk more with her teacher.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ella's IEP meeting

She didn't qualify for services. I have some thoughts on this, since she has diagnoses of:

Developmental Dyspraxia
Auditory Processing Disorder
Sensory Processing Disorder
Sensory Modulation Dysfunction

But.. they don't see it. I can't make them see what she doesn't show them.

I would agree that she masks her anxiety and her lack of understanding about many things at school very well.

I also think she has some processing issues that they don't see, I was truly expecting at least one learning disability diagnosis.

I need some sleep and maybe some more thinking about this before I write more. But I wanted to update and hear any thoughts you might have.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What Encourages Me and the debut of in(courage)!

What encourages you?

I would have to say that what encourages me is community. Intimate community. Knowing and being known. Because I seek to be genuine, lacking pretense, in my life and in my relationships, I value the intimate community of kindred spirits.

A guest pastor at our church this past weekend preached about community. He had some wonderful insights that I will try to paraphrase.

He said:
“Intimacy is a language of commitment, where we move toward each other willing to risk our own hearts. There is no guarantee of acceptance or of being loved well in return.
The security and ability we have to move toward others is founded on the gospel truth found in Christ. God does not relent in his pursuit, he is slow to anger and abounding in love.”

Very many people, very many women that I know, are unwilling to move toward other people and be vulnerable because they have been deeply hurt before, harbor deep shame, have low self worth, and have a huge fear of rejection. I have to admit that I felt that way for a very, very long time. I kept searching for intimacy with men, and had few women I could share deeply with. Through a long and winding journey, I discovered the power and strength and comfort found in having an intimate communion with God. I also discovered that the community I could have with women who would be reciprocal in their sharing was so much sweeter and more encouraging that I ever could have imagined.

C. S. Lewis wrote:
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless--it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

In my everyday life, I am blessed to have friends with whom I can be transparent. They accept me in any mood: I can rant, I can be snarky, I can cry, I can scream, I can laugh at and laugh with. The ones with whom I can be the most transparent, who will also build me up, share wisdom, help me discern God’s will in a situation..they are the core of my support system, and the source of my encouragement.

I am enjoying Twitter as well as my first foray into the blogosphere for the variety of women I find, and am developing a support network there as well. Women are willing to be real, to share their struggles honestly and are searching for that same deep connection with other women that I am. I am thrilled to be finding kindred spirits that without the assistance of technology, I might never have found.

What encourages you? Who are your encouragers?

I want to share with you a place where you might just find some new encouragers!

A brand new website, (in)courage, just went live on August 10th. I have been eagerly anticipating its debut, because some of my favorite bloggers and hosts are a part the writing team! They debuted themselves as contributors one by one in a series of blog posts, and it was so fun to follow the journey! Its primary purpose seems to provide a place for Christian women to come together and encourage and be encouraged in a myriad of ways. I am thrilled to become a part of it from the beginning, and I hope you’ll come and join us!

Friday, August 7, 2009

World Breastfeeding Week and a great article by Katie Allison Granju

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I wanted to mention it's objectives and rationale on my blog:

Breastfeeding: A Vital Emergency Response
Are you ready?


* To draw attention to the vital role that breastfeeding plays in emergencies worldwide.
* To stress the need for active protection and support of breastfeeding before and during emergencies.
* To inform mothers, breastfeeding advocates, communities, health professionals, governments, aid agencies, donors, and the media on how they can actively support breastfeeding before and during an emergency.
* To mobilise action and nurture networking and collaboration between those with breastfeeding skills and those involved in emergency response.


* Children are the most vulnerable in emergencies – child mortality can soar from 2 to 70 times higher than average due to diarrhoea, respiratory illness and malnutrition.
* Breastfeeding is a life saving intervention and protection is greatest for the youngest infants. Even in non-emergency settings, non-breastfed babies under 2 months of age are six times more likely to die.
* Emergencies can happen anywhere in the world. Emergencies destroy what is ‘normal,’ leaving caregivers struggling to cope and infants vulnerable to disease and death.
* During emergencies, mothers need active support to continue or re-establish breastfeeding.
* Emergency preparedness is vital. Supporting breastfeeding in non-emergency settings will strengthen mothers’ capacity to cope in an emergency.

Having a Twitter ribbon with the breastfeeding logo, or wearing buttons or advocacy t-shirts during WBW is not meant to give lactivists a carte blanche for tooting their "I breastfeed, every woman should breastfeed, and you are LESS THAN if you didn't/wouldn't/couldn't!" horn. I have certainly met those people. I was one of those people back when I had my first child, as a matter of fact. But WBW is in existence to raise awareness of the necessity for it in emergency. I think it also serves to raise awareness in general, which is a nice benefit. There are many myths about breastfeeding, especially why you CAN"T do it or won't be successful at it. With the awareness of facts being highlighted during WBW, I think more people learn the truth about why it is so important.

I want to link you to a post from Katie Allison Granju, an author I have been a fan of since I started having children nearly 10 years ago. She has some true words on breastfeeding these days, and a look back at our not so distant past.

Confessions of a Proud Breastfeeding Zealot

I think she is right on. I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

What sets you apart from the crowd?

Really.. how are you different from other people?

There are several ways in which I differ from most of the moms I know. I would like to create a separate blog for some of those issues, and I wanted to introduce a little bit more about myself here.

I am one of "those" mothers.

* I do not vaccinate my children.
(disclaimer, since my blog tends to focus on my daughter with Aspergers. The decision was not based on fear concerning MMR and autism)
* I breastfeed my children until they choose to wean.
* I believe the best and safest place for my baby to sleep is next to me in my bed.
* I believe the best and safest place for me to give birth is at home.
* I did not and would not circumcise my son(s).
* I believe the best place to educate my children is at home.
(another disclaimer: Ella is in public school. I do not think it is the best place to educate her, but it works for us right now)

I used to be a Mary Kay lady. I drive a minivan with cute little stick people stickers on the back. You will mostly find me dressed in flats, capri pants, dressy t-shirts from Target, wearing jewelry and makeup.

But you'd never know looking at me that I was a hippiechick on the inside. I blend in well. I don't seek to blend in, it has just happened that way.

I socialize in person primarily with parents in the mainstream. I've never been on the receiving end of any spoken judgment about my choices, and I've not verbally dished out any judgment onto mothers who parent differently than I do. It may be that I just live in a very tolerant pocket of the universe, but I am "free to be me" and do not have to fear the moms at the park or at church making comments about how weird I am for nursing until past age 2, or having homebirths, or homeschooling my children. I have sought to make friends with other local moms who share my parenting ideals, but have very often found that they have a much more "us vs. them" idea about things, and do not have any friends who parent differently than they do. I was never very adept at making my own style, so I never have dressed the part of the hippy. I don't know how. So I definitely appear to be a mainstream suburban mom in that aspect.

In the next several posts, I will take each of those starred statements and blog about them and why I came to those decisions.

They are, of course, my opinion, and my decision, and do not really affect other people. So while you are welcome to comment about how you believe differently, I can assure you that I have been reading and researching about these topics for the last 10 years and have come to my own educated decision about them. Like I said, I am free to be me.

Other people are other people. Also a great topic to expound upon.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

and the hits just keep coming....

So, the difficult week continues. I feel like there must be a black cloud following me around!

Friday morning I opened the refrigerator and two of my corningware dishes fell out and broke on the floor.. they had contained my really yummy seafood pasta that I was excited to have for lunch. I accidentally left my phone at the craft store because I didn't realize it had fallen out of my purse into the cart, then I got pulled over for not stopping completely enough at a stopsign and ticketed!!

This morning, I was leaving with Ella for an errand, and I pulled halfway up our driveway before realizing I didn't have the new Mastercard that came in the mail. I put the van in park, and left Ella inside. I came out, and the van wasn't in the driveway!


Ella came around the corner of the house, white as a sheet, and said that the van had come out of park and rolled down the driveway and into the fence!

I ran to check, and it had hit our fence.. between two posts, and not affecting the neighbors' fence. Whew!

The van had some superficial scratches above the headlights, but no denting or broken lights. Whew!

I apologized to Ella for the scare, and told her I was glad she was okay. I promised to use the parking brake every time thereafter.

We ran some errands, and our last stop was a garage sale. I found a lazy susan for inside the spice cabinet, an old Tupperware 2 quart container (like my parents made kool-aid in), and a pair of like new white sandals. As Ella and I got in the car, I tried to drive off while her door was still open.

I came home, and decided to lay down for a while. I also decided I shouldn't leave the house while driving again. I thought I might lose a child or get into an accident.

I'm not sure what my problem is. A full week of stressful stuff? Needing a vacation/mental health day? Need to look at increasing my anxiety meds?

What do you think?


Party 2nite! Come to @TrueFemme 's #TrickorTweet Party & don't forget to visit her stop on the scavenger hunt!

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