I am so far behind.
I missed three birthdays in our family, and several other important events, like ground hog day (hey, it's an important day. The whole meteorology world holds it's breath till they know what a large rodent thinks).
Guy's birthday was at the end of March, but he just went from old to older, according to him, so there is mot much new to report there.
But Ellie, on the other hand, hit a big milestone like a Mack truck. She turned twelve. I remember twelve. I think that was the unfortunate year I began wearing a ribbon headband and knickers. I had a super cool big sister and I wanted to be just like her. The headband looked way cooler on her.
Ellie loves certain things... and when she loves something she really loves it. She adores the color green. She has monkeys everywhere. She loves pickles. Her favorite present was the giant jar of pickles we gave her. When she's older I plan to tell her it was her only gift.
She had a fun birthday party with a monkey theme which she meticulously planned out, including a banana eating contest, swinging from vines, and "grooming", where party goers had to search through the grass, the "big hairy back", for candies (lice, apparently) and eat them. Don't worry, they had wrappers. I wouldn't let them eat little chocolate balls right off the grass. Too risky; dogs, you know.
Coconut Alley... look for the prize!
Some of these girls have been friends since they were babies or toddlers.
Ellie also had her first real-life, paid-in-cash babysitting job. I am told she did an amazing job and even did the dishes. My favorite part of her retelling of her adventure was when she wasn't sure if she could leave the 3 year old alone so she could go pee. She waited till she was dying to go, and in that 30 seconds when she stepped out of the room, the little girl she was watching peed her pants. I think Ellie will never use the bathroom while on the job again!
We have been learning a lot about Ellie lately. She's rather a late bloomer academically, and I have been requesting testing through the charter school for a year, but they only have very basic assessments. I started to pay attention to the nature of the reading mistakes she makes and realized there are a lot of letter and sound reversals (like seeing the word "item" and saying "time"), and I began to suspect dyslexia. Our Educational Supervisor got us some assessment materials (a program called Brain Integration Therapy by Dianne Craft) and I was able to run and interpret a few tests, learning that Ellie has what is called a blocked Auditory Processing Gate. Now all those millions of times I have had to give her instructions over and over are beginning to make sense. Interestingly, this dysfunction occurs often in children who didn't crawl long or at all. Ellie crawled for two weeks at 8 months old, and then stood up off the middle of the floor and started walking. The lack of practice her brain experienced working both sides in tandem left her with an underdeveloped ability to use both sides of her brain for the same activity, something very necessary in reading.
We are beginning the retraining program now, and it will be at least a year of daily exercises. She may begin to show improvement in about 8 weeks, but it will be a challenge to remember to do it everyday. We are going to make it be one of her daily tasks, like brushing her teeth. We'll let you know how it goes.