Sunday, February 16, 2014

Charlie's Death Defying Feats and other news

It's that time of life when my kitchen floor is never clean because someone is equally a food eater and a food thrower/smearer.  But who am I kidding, my floor is never clean.  Everyday we sweep up the amount of an entire meal.

Charlie has scared the living daylights out of me lately.  He has started walking and therefore being able to reach things he hasn't before.  He has smashed his fingers in drawers he can now open, pulls things down on himself, and touched the hot stove while chasing after a balloon which led him carefully around the barricade.  He has swallowed something I was silly enough to give him to play with, and keeps us constantly chasing after him so he doesn't eat anything else!  My poor baby.  Luckily nothing serious has happened and he is happy as can be.  One of his favorite things to do is throw all his food off of his tray and watch me react.  I sing the matchmaker song from Fiddler on the Roof, but change it to mess-maker

He has been sleeping with us lately because he got so sick after Christmas he needed antibiotics to clear out his sinuses to be able to breathe, so we had to keep a close eye on him while he got better for 3 weeks.  Then he got another flu right on the heels of the first.  (So glad I got him the flu shot.)  So, once it all cleared up I tried teaching him where his bed is again for nap time (it's just two feet from our bed), but he was not having it.

So one day, I just decided to let him scream until he fell asleep.  I hate that, but when the parents can't get a good night sleep, and babies don't take their naps for weeks, (unless you lay down with them) it affects everything negatively.

But he won. After 45 minutes of hearing it, I couldn't do it anymore.  He had never even laid down! 

So the next day I did it again, and he won again.  Charlie 2- Mom 0.

The third day, I was not going to lose.  But suddenly I heard him crying right at the bedroom door.  I slowly opened the door and there he was- unbelievably out of his crib and across the room.  He must have launched himself head first out of his crib.  That's the best I can figure.  You see this crib below, right?  How did he do it?!  I still don't know!  Now I lay him down on the couch and even though you would think that is less safe, he stays asleep because he feels like he's with us, and so, at peace.   Charlie 3- Mom- 0.  You win Bear.

These two are so cute together.  Charlie is always taking her stuff and ruining her games by smashing through them, and she just exclaims brightly, "Oh my goodness!"

We had a couple warm days this last week so we went and had a picnic at a park in Albuquerque.  It was so nice to be in the sunshine and sitting on grass!  Charlie felt like he'd traveled to another planet.  He took off walking all over the park.  He loved it.  Daisy loved it too!

Sam has been having a difficult year at school.  His teacher left after the first quarter and they combined the two 4th grade classes into one.  He loved his teacher and she loved him so this has been very difficult.  But he's been doing okay, has friends, (mostly his best friend Tyler), and is getting all A's.  We are just about to finish the 3rd quarter with only one left.

Sam, Evan, and Leia in front.
Unfortunately though, he is just a number now to a very overwhelmed teacher.  We have been trying to teach him that he can do hard things, etc.  But every single morning it is a huge struggle to get him to go to school.   It is so draining that some days I'm exhausted for the entire day after getting him off to school.  In the beginning I'd make his lunch for him when he was having a bad day, but then every day was a bad day.  So I told him I was done and if he didn't get ready on time he just wouldn't get to have lunch, or just wouldn't get to eat breakfast, etc.  So some days he went to school  like that, but more often, his older brother Dallas would feel sorry for him and go pack up his bag.  It is a very kind thing to do, but I had to tell Dallas to stop and let Sam feel the consequences of not getting ready.

Then I started to hear him.  He had no reason for not wanting to be at school- at least not that he could put into words.  He said he doesn't like leaving me.  I started wondering...  maybe he has anxiety?

I had emailed his teacher to tell her he'd been having a hard time and to look out for him on a particularly bad day and she never emailed back.  I thought it strange that she never emailed back since I had asked if she was observing anything that might be causing him to cry every morning, and have anxiety. 

Three times she told me it was his turn to recite a poem in front of the school and three times I went to hear him and he got all prepared, but it turns out she was wrong.  Finally the fourth time she rescheduled it, he did it.  She's just busy I thought.  It's hard having two classes!

But I started going to observe his classroom and for most of the day, his teacher has them separated into two different classrooms (class A and class B) and goes back and forth teaching one at a time.  An aid sits in Sam's room while his teacher is gone with the other class.  Every time I came in to observe they were without a teacher just doing busy work (Shrek crossword puzzle), or nothing at all because they'd been given a half an hour just to copy down their homework from the board and Sam can do that in less than 5 minutes.  The kids walk back and forth between the two classrooms constantly because they have stuff here and there and it seemed chaotic.  Kids need their own desk and their own space!  This was not what we signed up for.  I have now made him endure 3 quarters and it seemed silly to take him out of school when there are only 3 1/2 months left, but it also seemed pointless to make him continue doing this.

So I pulled him out of school.  It has been the best decision.  He is sad about not getting to play with Tyler, but he sees him at scouts and church so that's 2x a week still.  He is so happy and our house is so much more peaceful now.  No yelling and crying to start each day!  He gets up for scriptures before school still with all of us, but now he's excited, helps everyone, does any school work I give him without complaining and we are having a great time.  In case you're wondering how the other boys are taking it, they are fine.  Their classrooms are actually fun and busy and so they are enjoying life, and they understand since Sam's teacher left that he's in a unique situation.

Here's how it went one day when I was at the school to observe Sam:

Sam's classroom- doing a test or something- nothing to see- so I went to Evan's class

Evan's classroom- His teacher is dressed up as nurse Clara Barton, the 'angel of the battlefield', come to the future in a time machine.  She is teaching them about being medical personnel in a civil war field hospital.  She is amazing and never breaks character.  Evan was a soldier who broke his leg and they carried him to be amputated.  He ended up on crutches. Then they made signs asking for more help at the hospital for the wounded soldiers.  They went and placed the posters all over the "town" (school halls).  Then they came back and had a North vs. South facts quiz.  They had a flag in each hand, one for the North and one for the South and Clara would say a fact like, "This side had many natural horsemen and experience using rifles in their upbringing" and the kids would hold up the correct flag whether is was North or South.  If you held up the wrong flag you were out. Evan almost won!

Back to Sam's classroom- They're just sitting there.  I mouth to Sam, 'What are you doing?' and he shrugs his shoulders.  So I go to see Dallas's class.

D's classroom- perfect timing!  Right when I get there his group is going up to recite their 13 stanza poem Casey at the Bat.  They are dressed up as baseball players and Dallas is Casey- acting out the poem as they all recite.  He helps a girl with learning difficulties to remember her lines with encouraging looks and smiles.  They get 100%.  Awesome!

Back to Sam's classroom- they are still without a teacher, copying their homework from the board.  Then they spend forever packing up to go home.

As you can see- a huge difference.  I have no bad feelings for his teacher.  She is handling it better than most would be able to.  But she simply has too much.  My other boys are always doing really neat things, they always have a new poem to memorize (Dallas is now memorizing the Gettysburg address!), report to write or project to do.  Sam never has anything.  His teacher is just getting along with no frills.  It's no ones fault, just the situation, and hey, I can do better than that at home.  I waited for the third quarter parent teacher conference hoping to sense some regard for Sam, but I felt like his teacher didn't know him or have time to know him.  The principal was quite sorry and kind and understanding. *smile*

And I figure Sam has learned to do hard things.  He had never gone to school before and he did wonderfully!  He has overcome many challenges.  In addition to losing his favorite teacher, and getting used to a huge class and craziness, he was the first to be taken from his 4th grade class and put in with the advanced 5th graders (he looks so small compared to them!) and he told me, "The day I started math with the 5th graders I was so scared I was shaking", and yet he gets A's.  Dallas is in 5th grade (though he goes to the advanced 6th grade math), and the kids thought Sam looks so much like Dallas that they called him the quiet Dallas.  There are some things Sam needs to work on (like being more friendly and outgoing to everyone), but he has a lot of school years left to get through and I'm sure he'll learn what he needs to, hopefully under better circumstances.  
There's a funny story about this.

He was well liked in his class- lots of kids were really sad he was leaving, and that made me sad!  Especially his friend Tyler and Owen.  We went after school let out to collect his stuff, but still some kids saw him and were sad and hugged him!   They even sent home a bag of all his Valentines candy.

But now he's home and life is good.  In fact, in addition to the basics, he's been helping me to fill in this genealogy chart, and we are going to research each person and see what we can find out about them and make a book!  I really appreciate his diligence and enjoy doing school with him.

New Subject: Since I spent all night on Valentines at a youth dance, Pat was sad when the next morning I had to get up early to help run the Young Women's Basketball for the Stake.  So he and Leia and Charles came with me!!!!  It made me so happy!  And he helped me run the score board, which I needed since it is an electrical device.

1 comment:

Pat said...

The funny story was just that Sam dressed for school, I dressed for work and when I came out Dallas yelled "You two are dressed the same!" Sam and I both looked down, then back up, and grinned because it was true.