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Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Crowning Moment

The day finally arrived. All Jared's training was meant for this day. We have run the distance of a marathon in the last 2 1/2 months. Marathon day was yesterday.

Over the last three weeks, Jared has been running without me and doing well. I am still running, just far enough back that I am not breathing down his neck. He followed the rules for the most part and when he didn't and got overly tired, he didn't collapse in frustration. These are successes.

We discussed the possibility of letting Jared run on his own, but that option was put to rest once we got there. There were about 500 kids running and a lot of excitement in the air. Jared's focus and calm soon evaporated like water on Las Vegas concrete in the summer.

I managed to coax him to the back of the group of runners in his age group. I knew the kids in front would go blasting off the starting line and I didn't want Jared falling for that. We needed to stick to the rules.

Indeed the kids did blast out of the gate and the first casualty with cramps writhed in our dust in the first 100 meters. Jared was near the back and we just discussed pacing and that soon we would pass all the kids who would be walking because they started out too fast. Jared maintained his pace for the whole 2km and he passed many kids who were walking or slowed down. He finished the race in a sprint in about 12 minutes, which was 4 minutes faster than his first few mile runs.

He got his t-shirt and his medal. That's what he wanted when we started this whole thing. Now he knows the race route and we will train for next year so he can run on his own. We are also talking triathlon next year. We want the other boys to get off their collective video gaming butts to join in on that goal. Hopefully we can entice them.

The End of Times and Transition

As we begin the wind up of another school year, June always feels like a gong show at school. Kids, parents, and teachers are tired and cranky. Curriculum finishes up and school time is spent on endeavors other than the usual fare of the year.

For your average kid, this whole change in normal is at times overwhelming. For a Jared, it's a downright battle.

Jared's focus and attention span has really been off lately. He's fallen asleep at school twice in 8 days which resulted in almost 2 hour naps each time. He's spending more time in activities to regroup his senses.

It's been difficult having these things occur when you are working and can't be the mom you want to be. Jared's teacher has been great, going the extra mile to keep him in school when the days are especially trying. I really owe her a lot.

Two weeks ago I was in a meeting with a school board rep, the school admin, and Jared's teacher and assistant. It's difficult to sit through a meeting and hear about all the struggles your child has in school. In my head I think, "but he doesn't have that problem at home." It's then I have to remind myself that school and the outside world are not the same as the cocoon that home is.

In my communications with our principal, I have made clear what I want for Jared next school year. Jared's teacher has as well. I am very confident that Jared's needs are a priority and he will get what he needs next year to make things successful.

I have learned some valuable lessons about the world of school and children.

- Sometimes as a parent you need to set the emotions aside to take care of the business of educating your child. You need to be articulate. You need to see the whole picture and not just your side.

- You need to appreciate the fact that while your child is the number one priority for you, there are 20+ other classmates that also deserve an education. That doesn't mean a child with disabilities should be excluded from a classroom. It means that as a parent you need to communicate and collaborate with the teacher to create the best balance possible.

- Educate school staff about the needs of your child. Don't assume they know. I have asked for specific staff for Jared next September. I explained why I felt the way I did and what I felt the benefits would be. I explained why certain other staff wouldn't be good choices and what the potential results would be from such a combination.

- Be available for parent/teacher communication. You need to establish a relationship with the teacher. I know a parent who is so skeptical of the system, but she is also a parent who makes it difficult for teachers to meet with. She is not participating. So her child is difficult to raise and the school is the enemy. I know the school wants to do more for the child, but in a sense their hands are tied without the cooperation of the parents.

- I have to remember that when I hear about Jared's struggles, it's not a reflection of my failures as a parent. It is hard not to take it personally. I have also learned that two good days in a row is just that. It doesn't mean we have turned a corner and things will be cheery from now on. On the flip side, a bad day is a bad day. It doesn't mean all is lost.

This has been a huge year for us. What a roller coaster it has been. Emotionally it has been exhausting. I have felt like James, Jordan, and Jackson have been neglected in many ways for much of the school year. Between Jared and work, I managed to miss both of James' band concerts and all his award recognitions. I could only participate in a couple of school events for Jordan and Jackson. I know that isn't much for some, but for me that is disappointing. I hope I can be more available for the other boys as we move forward.

Jared is really unsure of what life will be like without his teacher. She is essentially another mother to him and they truly have a bond that is rare. She assured him that she would always be there for him if he needed her even though he will have a new teacher in September. The best thing is, I know she means it.

Growing with Gracie

It's been almost 3 weeks since Gracie first came to our home. There is less floor peeing and more play biting, though I would say the biting doesn't always feel like play.
We are working on the biting thing. We have spray that tastes awful and smells like rubbing alcohol. We are putting her in time out if she gets out of hand. I don't know if it's all working yet, but she is a puppy and it takes time.
I'm sure she's doubled in size since we got her. Nothing small and cute stay small long enough.
The novelty of a dog is wearing off for the boys, but they are still doing well enough taking care of her. We have decided to keep her and she is officially a part of the family for better or worse.
Jackson now tells people we have 5 boys and 2 girls in our family. Of course I am lumped together with the dog. Well, considering the options I am probably in good company.

Catching Up

Life has been busy around here. I find that I am exhausted much of the time and before I can record some of our comings and goings I am asleep. Today I am attempting to make up for the time missed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Doggy Doo Doo and Stuff

Three years ago the boys started asking for a pet. A dog. We said not yet since we were not feeling settled yet. We compromised with hamsters - three of them I think. We buried them all.
We moved. The boys said dog time. We said not until we buy another home and are settled. We listed the house. We decided to wait a year to sell. At that point I felt like making them wait longer was unfair. I also thought a dog would give the boys some responsibilities over the summer break and lead to less video game playing. They needed another outlet. Enter dog.

Two weeks ago Sean and I started looking for a puppy. I think we were both half serious about it at the time, but as we kept looking we became more excited about it.

Since Sean has proven that he cannot sire a female offspring, we decided we wanted a girl puppy. This way he can have the girl he always wanted and perhaps that tender daddy side will emerge as is usually the case of fathers of daughters.

I am a cat person. Sean is allergic to cats. This whole dog thing is quite foreign to me, and I think Gracie knows. She is a Sean fan. I really quite like her, but she is a daddy's girl.

Gracie came paper trained, but at this point you wouldn't know it. She'll do her business on paper if she is in the vicinity of the paper, but if she is on the lower floors she'll relieve herself on the nice soft carpety paper. Potty training all over again. I hope she doesn't take as long as the boys did.

My house smells like poo.

We have our handy dandy dog obedience book. We have a lovely little bed for her. We have baby gates to secure a perimeter for tomorrow when we are all out for a few hours and she is alone. We even have food she will eat. I think this is a start.

We have a baby all over again......just a fuzzier kind.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Introducing Gracie

We took the house off the market. We got a dog instead. The boys have been waiting for one for three years now.

Sean and I didn't tell the boys about it until last night. It's been fun looking for a puppy without them knowing.

Gracie is a Beagle/Jack Russell and about 2 months old.

I will write more later. She's peeing on the carpet.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In The Zone

The past few runs with Jared have been.....um......tactfully.....um.......like gouging my own eyes out.

All of a sudden it was too hard, and too long, and my legs are hurting and I haven't even run a quarter mile yet, and it's too cold, and groan, and pant, and etc., etc. I was worried that his focus from running was gone and we were going to have to put this project on the shelf. It was unpleasant and I was having difficulty not looking like an abusive parent to get him to the end.

You can imagine my fears for the running club's two mile run. Terrified. I was going to do it this weekend instead. I didn't think there was any way we could get two miles out of Jared and still get into class by 8:30 am.

They scheduled the run for 7:45......15 minutes earlier than usual. Great. No excuses.

So I spent a week prepping Jared mentally for this run. The running club teacher prepped the group mentally for a week.

Here's the end result:

Jared completed the two miles. Jared ran the whole thing without stopping (nearly killing me in the process). Jared maintained a positive attitude throughout and we discussed the finer points of all things Wii Fit. Jared was so pleased he did it that I think his biggest problem today will be shutting up about the fact that he completed it.

In other great running news.....I learned today that I will be allowed to run with Jared in the upcoming kids mini marathon at the end of the month.

So we continue to run.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Repeat Performance

Today I was called to be the music specialist in our ward. For anyone unaware of Mormon congregational terminology, a ward is our congregation.

Anyway, when we left Duncan I was the choir director and was truly sad to lose that job when we moved. I started out that call not knowing what I was doing. By the time we left I felt like I sort of knew what I was doing. Now I am going to have the chance to do it again and I am rather excited about the whole thing.

I love music. I love all kinds. I especially love to sing. I love to find music and make it come alive. I love getting a nice sound out of a group of people.

We start in two weeks and I don't know who will show up, but I am hopeful.

James was asked to speak in church on Sunday. Mother's Day. He's been asked to speak on the subject of honoring women. Can you possibly imagine how difficult it is for me to keep my nose out of this one? Anyone who knows me knows how many opinions I have on that. Aghhhh!!!!!!