You may remember the ill-fated Ice Cream Party of 2014, wherein many tears were shed over un-earned toppings and sprinkles. We had set up our end-of-the-school-year-ice-cream-party as one that was conditional upon the kids earning each part of their sundae by memorizing times-tables. Ellie had particularly struggled with both the math memorization and the sad consequences of slow progress. It was flat-out no-fun for anyone.
We have since learned that Ellie has several learning disabilities a blocked sensory gate that includes dyslexia, memorization problems and struggles with math concepts. She also has an auditory processing component, and does not do well at all with instructions that are spoken. Picture a bunch of items in a certain order on a conveyor belt being sent through a door, only to go to the other side to you where you find all of the items jumbled together in a big, indecipherable mess. That is what it is like for her to follow verbal instructions. Her testing has shed so much light on her questioning "What?" in response to every direction. What appeared to be lack of attention and laziness all this time had actually been a real learning problem. I feel so badly that we hadn't learned this all sooner in her life, and particularly bad when I reread last year's post. I can see so easily how a child with a learning disorder can be so misunderstood. All she needed was for someone to recognize her struggles. I am glad, at least, that I asked for more help from our Educational Supervisor through our charter. She brought me testing materials and an at-home therapy program, and we haven't looked back. Better late than never, right?
So last year's ice cream party was pretty much a set up for failure for Ellie.
This year we held the party again, but this time it was not conditional on a one-size-fits-all requirement. This time it was based solely on effort. And I am pleased to announce that Ellie's efforts have been true. She does her reading therapy diligently. She reads endlessly, though she grows tired easily. She has worked to memorize the Articles of Faith of our religion, and though she has made very slow progress, it is progress, and I am proud of her efforts. She was able to relax knowing that she didn't have to attain a seemingly impossible goal, which also seemed to help a lot.
And she got an awesome sundae with ALL the fixin's.
(And I pray I never make a mistake like that one again, but I know I probably will! Parenting is so challenging!)
A while later we dove into summer!
Our sweet neighbor Betty and her family let my kids pee in their pool.
I mean swim!
But who are we kidding? No matter how many times I remind him, do you really think Jonah tells me every time he has to go? That means getting out into the nippley air and walking all the way to our house to peel off last summer's hand-me-down orange shark trunks to piddle, and then somehow squeegie them back on again. I question the boy's urinary integrity.
Then there is Natalie.
I mean, just look at that face.
I think she's doin' her bizness right there!
Thank the heavens above for chlorine!
(Swim diapers are made by, and bought by, adults in denial, choosing to ignore the reality that a wet swim diaper CANNOT and DOES NOT catch or hold a single drop of of pee. It is more like a strainer. I'm pretty confident it would hold little brown floaters and sinkers, but that's about it).
(I think I just successfully got us uninvited to Betty's pool in the future. If you're reading, Betty, I'm just kidding! My kids would NEVER do such a thing! (I hope!) We love you!!!!)
My friend Ellen once told me that each member of a family plays a roll, and one of the rolls is "mascot". Yup. That's Nanobot. She was never not in someone's arms while at the pool. She was passed from Ellie, to the boys, to daddy, all evening long.
to be so adored.
All in all we had a splashingly great summer kickoff! And there's more to come! Once I get you passed all of the back-logged birthday and graduation posts, you will get to hear about our Now-In-Progress family vacation to a fabulous location, which includes sand, water and lots of sunblock.
To be continued!