10 November 2011

What about teaching stillness? At our therapist team meeting on Monday, the one that Andy Paulson came to, he talked about stillness. Teaching stillness. For kids. For their therapists. For their families.

Teaching stillness. Teaching quiet.

The electricity went off in the night time. I woke up about a half hour before the alarm was supposed to go off and I felt the odd silence in the house. There is underlying noise, hums, clatters that are part of our world. Unplugging is unnerving. Teaching quiet to children who have minds deprived of strong executive functioning. The task appears a challenge beyond the possible. After months of practicing, I see how hard it is for me -- a quiet mind, meditation, I have no idea whether I am really doing it. I have gotten good at quieting the body, at least for myself. For Julia, it is still all a challenge.

Quiet the body and the mind. I use those words with her and I am sure she does not really understand. Or understands for less than a breath.

I am still reading “The Mindful Child” for tomorrow night’s lecture/discussion at church. It assumes NT kids and kids old enough to reflect on their experiences. The author assumes that even 4 year olds can respond to questions of how their body feels and how it changes after sitting silently. We sit silently and sometimes together now up to 20 minutes and at least 10 each day before school. I expect silence and we try for stillness.

Quiet in the body and the mind.

I do not ask self-reflective questions.

I am up this morning earlier than I need to be. Julia has the day off for teacher conferences. We are due in at 9:30 to talk first, to her art teacher, and then to her classroom teachers. I am going to ask about art instruction. The art teacher has not seemed to have taken an interest in Julia, has never stopped me in the halls and Julia does not bring much home from art class. I have not valued her very much; however, I’ve heard about her involvement in the school beyond art class and so I want to pick her brain. Maybe find a new ally.

At the classroom conference, I intend to raise the issue of repeating fourth grade. I also want to ask about helping in the classroom. I have not done this at Randall and it is time. I have no idea of Julia’s behavior in class. I have no idea what they absorb as the normal. I need it to inform my decisions about her school, our eventual moving (if that ever happens), and to help therapy along.

“Do you ever have fun?” One of the LEND students who are trailing Julia and I right now as part of the family mentor part of the program, asked on Saturday. “What do you do for fun?” We have fun in sips, not gulps. Fun is making the everyday and the necessities of the day -- school, therapy, meals, and bedtime -- enjoyable. Some coloring, a game of UNO, watching Dinosaur King, folding clothes together and putting them away. That is fun right now.

The Bloomfield house is on the multiple listing report this morning. It went back on the market last week and Lori had an open house last Sunday. 6 couples walked through, 1 was a neighbor, 1 was a bit interested. There are four houses in the immediate neighborhood that are for sale. That is a lot considering that this was once a neighborhood where people waited for the mere whiff that a house would be sold. Not that the house, or the neighborhood, is that special -- older homes, most in nice repair -- but the schools are good and convenient, and the NYC bus is two blocks away. If you run, you can catch a bus in six minutes from the house. And be in NYC in 20 if the traffic is light.

Our price is low but it is in line with what is being offered. Two and a half years ago, when my mother died, and we had a first buyer who eventually backed out, we had an offer for substantially more. When I was at the house, some neighbors talked to me about accepting such a low offer. There is no way I could get that now, even after hundreds of thousands of dollars in remediation and restoration that has been done.

Four houses, 6 couples, a price lower than it would have been anytime in the last 15 years. But also, to be honest, a house that needs updating in every room, an empty house that has not been lived in in two years, and a very hungry seller. Is it more than the market? Is there some soul work to be done around this issue? Is it myself or my family? And I don’t mean that everything requires soul work. Please, no! But . . . well, anything is possible.

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