Once again, I started this last night and lost momentum.
Saturday morning, we decided to forego swimming lessons – first time we've blown this off – and head for our local greasy spoon for breakfast. I had a swiss cheese omlet and I think it was Velveta Swiss – Is there such a thing? I ordered the kid's pancake for Julia and she was given the biggest single pancake I've ever seen. She polished it off in short order and proceeded to have some of my omlet and David's sausage. She has been eating this weekend! Interesting, because she has been pretty picky lately.
We visited the zoo but the river otters – our family fav – were not in their deep water swimming place. Too much disappointment! The brown bears were looking good, the big polar bear was pensive. We ate popcicles and admired the peacocks.
Sound slow and sweet. It was and we needed it. Tomorrow is the first day of day camp for Julia, and I suspect that much of her trying behavior is due to this transition. She has been grumpy, quicker to anger than usual (Although Julia is usually quick to say she is angry at us), and every time we entered a store, which we did far too much of, Julia started asking for things – toys, candy, gloves! Well, I hope that this behavior is related to starting camp!
To ease this transition, I've made Julia a little book with her camp schedule, representive pictures and a few real pictures that I took at camp last week in it. I read it after I made it and again last night before bed. It didn't seem to make an impression but this morning was relatively smoothly. We did some of our alphabet work (about a third of what we have been doing, but I am very satisfied for our first day). I applied her sun screen and bug stuff, got her dressed, she ate, and at 8 we were off walking to Franklin School. We had 20 minutes to get there and needed 10. I anticipated some problems but they never materalized. She because pretty excited about going to camp, especially about the outdoor pool which she had seemed to ignor when we visited the place. There were a little group of moms and dads seeing kids off for the first day. A few familiar faces and at least one girl for Julia to say hi to. She got on line as soon as the bus came, had to be reminded to kiss me, and boarded quite merrily.
I will have the phone with me all day, just in case.
Other developments this weekend:
Cheshire lived through her first week of class – a bit dazed, a bit bored as one can be in a new and confusing place, a bit overwhelmed. She has her first interview this morning and it conflicts with her own classes. This situation was not covered and she could not get anyone to okay it, but I can't imagine that she will get demerit for job hunting.
We found a three whelled scooter for Julia when we were at Farm and Fleet (hardware for the serious farmer and truck driver???). It is what we should have had from the beginning. There are a number of things that if I had my druthers I would do differently with Julia – preschool at the JCC instead of kindergarten in Indy. She has to work on steering and moving and staying upright but there is no balance issue and that seems good. We walked and scooted around two blocks last evening while we were looking for dead fish.
The full report from the Waisman Center finally got to us. It is long and extensive and I expect to really read it some time this week. Short version – Julia is operating on a 3-4 year old level as of March. It made me gulp and panic for a moment but I agree with the assessment. When I think of her as a 3 or 4 year old, her behavior seems much more appropriate. And she is gaining ground all the time. The two things I don't see in my scan of the report are (1) that she is limited by her diagnosis, and (2) that her behaviors and symptoms are called autistic-like.
Sometimes when we are are the pool these days and Julia tells me she wants to swim alone, I sit and watch her (and others). I can't help but follow parents with young kids – 6 month olds having their toes put in the water for the first time, yearlings with their funny duck walks being encouraged to walk in water, two year old showing mommies and daddies how well they can splash, stop jets of water, and “swim.” Parents ooh and ah and give high fives and scoop up and hug. Those things that are ALL so simple. Nothing remarkable at all. And it breaks my heart that no one did these things for my Julia. Sometimes I have no words for how awful I feel. I want to stuff her heart and soul full of what she did not get when she was younger.
Julia has a scenerio that we go through often. She announces that she is the baby dinosaur and asks if I am the mommy. And I answer that if she is the baby dino then I will be the mommy dino just to be her mommy. We do this with all kinds of animal and movie characters. It seems like a good little playlet.
We have done 11 letters so far. I don't think we have gone any further than what she knows from school, but we do the putnik cheer, we hand spell, she work on my direction page and two or three Starfall pages. We put the letter on the wall in two ways, we name all the letters we have. As last activity, we make the letter on the window (with special window marker). My goal is not to lose ground this summer and to gain some. With this in mind, we are doing it.