Thursday, September 10, 2009

Senior Kindergarten ... Here we come!

Yesterday Matt went to school.
He's no longer the little jk kid who was excited and frightened about a new adventure. Nope. he's an sk.
he knew he was visiting his classroom for half an hour. He was thrilled he got half an hour with his teacher, his beloved teacher, to tell her about his summer and to show her he could read.
When we left jk in June he could read a couple of site words ("the" was his favourite). He knew his letter sounds. He had no interest in reading or writing.
And his teacher suggested that we try to encourage reading.
We took her advice, but we let him go at his own pace. A word here, a word there. Lots of excitement (genuine) when he sounded out the word Mom (spelled mam) and wrote it everywhere.
And over the summer he started reading more. One day sounds started to make sense. his world exploded. In place of playing lego in his bedroom he started looking through books, shrieking for us to help him with a word.
And we let him go at his own pace. Lots of encouragement. no pushing. Even though it killed me that he didn't love to read like I did, I let it go. And we let him learn the love of language on his own.
And yesterday we went to see his teacher.
And she pulled out her pile of site words.
22 words.
And he read them. Each and every word. By himself. Because he wanted to.
I was sitting in the hall chatting with the special ed teacher.
What I told the special ed teacher, the woman who I wish I didn't know because of her job function, was that over the summer I learned that instead of making Matt fit my mold I learned I have to fit his. I have to meet him where he is at.
And, it's working.
When his teacher came to bring me into the classroom she had tears in her eyes. Because she spent all of jk struggling with me, knowing that my amazing child could be amazing - if we could just figure out how.
"He blew me away."
Me too.
Because my child. The kid who has ADHD. The child who tells me that sometimes his brain just won't work right. My child decided he can.
Being a mom is amazing. Not always. We all know that. The temper tantrums, the anger. That's all part of what goes on in his brain. It's something we are working with and conquering and maybe even embracing. But seeing my child accomplish something that is really really hard amazes me.
it puts me in my place.
And it reminds me that as much as I need to accept that he struggles I can't accept mediocrity for my child.

I didn't post this last year. But, if you want to see how far we've come, here's an e-mail I sent to a few people about the exact same visit last year. We've come a long way, baby!

"Seriously ... worst visit ever!!!!
We were supposed to go for a half hour visit. We got forms to fill out while the teacher showed Matt the classroom.
So, the classroom visit went really well. He had no problem with us staying in the hall and did everything she asked. He drew pictures and even did letters (something he will not do for us). He was happy and laughing, etc.
So then she brought us in. We were talking about behavioural issues and so she let him have a "quick play" with one bucket of toys. So, we talked for quite awhile and he was happily playing away. And then she said it was tidy up time.
He refused.
So she said she would help him tidy and play. (at which point we were baffled as to whether we should let her do her thing or intervene, but we let her do her thing). So he shouted at her. And then started throwing toys. It was awful. By the end of the impromptu tidy up session he was screaming "I hate you Ms. Teacher. I am very angry right now". I was trying not to cry while at the same time relieved he was just shouting not hitting.
And then he turns to her and screams "I am very angry at you Ms.Teacher. Very angry and your tidy up time must change." Then he turned on his heel, grabbed the backpack and very dramatically said "this stupid visit is now over and I'm outta here."
Mike went with him and to my relief his teacher cracked up and told me that kids tend to be a little over-excited and have extreme reactions, and that I don't need to worry too much. And, I hit the point of laughing almost hysterically because otherwise I would have started to cry.
At least she didn't think I was the crazy parent who was trying to diagnose my kid with an issue that was non-existent.
It was horrible and funny all at the same time. Mike was quite glad to be going back to work.

The funny thing is that when we were eating lunch we were talking about it a bit. Matt turned to me and said "that Ms. Teacher seems very nice. Only 2 more sleeps till I go back!" I'm sure Ms.Teacher is counting down the days also."


SciFi Dad said...

Yay for Matt, and yay for you too. That is such an awesome story. I'm proud of both of you for figuring this out together.

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

I have tears in my eyes reading this post. So well written and such excellent news.

Matt's teacher is right, it's all about "figuring kids out" and once you do, you're golden!

That word explosion when a child learns how to read and when something just clicks is one of the most magical experiences to watch! THAT brings tears to my eyes alone, let along everything else!

You go Matt, show the world who's boss!

Kerry J. said...

Awwww.. I'm tearing up!! So happy for you all!

AmyH said...

Fantastic news Laural! Give Matty a hug from me!