01 October 2012

the last of spicy dragons & dinosaurs

It has taken me awhile to claim who and what I am.  And I am still claiming and discovering what I want to take on and what should be left behind -- umm, nothing is left behind but some things need to be put on the back burner of spirit.  Sure, I need to shed some unnecessary, useless and hurtful experiences, but I don’t have that many of those.  The cliché of saying that I am moving on has purpose.  Finally, moving on is what I am feeling.  I would so much rather stay where I am -- mentally, physically, spiritually -- but I cannot.  What I mean is that I cannot stay where I was/am and survive.  And my aim has always been more than survival.  I want to thrive.  

And so, this is my last entry on Spicy Dragons & Dinosaurs and my first entry on smoothed stones.  It is not easy to make this change.  I have been pushing for so many changes.  All the cleaning and sorting and junking is both liberating and sad.  This change of writing venue is the same.

Autumn has always felt like a new year’s time.  Happy Autumn.  Come and read on smoothed stones.

One last Julia report:  A most faithful reader and friend asked me to give a status report on Julia, specifically whether last year's battle of the bug bites resolved itself, if Julia still prefer dresses over pants, how whether there was any changes after last spring’s Bus Stop adventure.  And so, to satisfy my curious “admirers” . . . 

First, in case I have not said it before, Julia is really enjoying her reprise of fourth grade.  I feel that the decision to have her repeat the grade was completely on target.  Julia is ready for some of the work and is doing more with her class.  I’d say she is working on about a second grade level although her reading may be closer to third.  All this is such progress!  She still needs support to keep her on task and to encourage her to interact in appropriate ways.  She does her homework with me or her therapists and works hard at it.  She is very good in spelling (her Dad would be so proud.  Finally, another speller in the family.) and her penmanship is excellent.  Her writing is very simple but she is writing the paragraphs that she is assigned and writing page-long stories (that don’t always make straight line narrative sense) for me in her free time.  She is getting quicker with her addition and subtraction math facts and beginning to be able to use those facts in simple word problems.  I took out her current IEP for her speech therapist, and realized that she may make most of her goals for the year -- we do a new IEP in January.  If she does, this will be the first time that she has made the predicted progress.  I am very excited to see her next steps will be.

Julia still has a few bug bites on her body.  But very few, maybe 6 or 7.  She has a few on one wrist which were the toughest to keep from scratching and picking, and another few on her leg which have just hung on.  We still put on moisturizing lotion and the herbal itch cream that we have.  She also wears socks and gloves to bed.  This has been a long siege but Julia and I have learned a good deal.  I don’t think I will ever be glad that we found this sensitivity, but we used it learn about healing, will power, resilience, and our relationship.  No lesson is wasted.  Certainly, not this one.

Julia is wearing pants most of the time.  She has a favorite long skirt and still enjoys skirts and tights.  On the weekends when I let her put on whatever she wants to wear, she will pick a skirt or dress more than half the time.  But for school, she is in jeans.  Julia is tall and skinny with long legs.  The jeans look great and she knows it.  I think that she sees herself more like the rest of the kids when she dresses in jeans -- I don’t think this is just mama projecting, but take that with a grain of salt.  She tried wearing a skirt to horse back riding once this summer and it really hurt.  Julia also like to dig in the dirt for bugs whenever she can and jeans go a long way in being comfortable and not looking incredibly dirty after playing the in the dirt.  She appreciates that.  Other than her preference for dresses or pants, Julia wears whatever I lay out for her on school days.  Rarely does she voice any objection -- when she does, she can pick out what she wants.  I am aware of buying clothes that help her fit in and also that look her age.  It is not that she doesn’t like to pick out clothes but she does not have any interest in “style.”  In that way, she is still a very much younger kid.

And the upshot from the bus stop adventure -- my first experience watching Julia be bullied -- was pretty minimal.  I spoke to the girl’s parents.  The father accepted what I said, the mother denied that her daughter could do such a thing.  I watch bus stop interactions like a hawk, but I know that there is a big playground out there and even Julia’s loving aides turn their heads for a moment.  We have worked on responses to bullying together and using an iPad app.  She has not been aware of anything this year and neither have I. 

Julia still needs friends.  There are candidates who are lovely girls with big hearts.  It is Julia who needs to figure out what to do with friends.  The give and take of conversation is still hard, as is the ability really be concerned about another person.  But Julia grows and changes, and I hope that friendship will be a learned lesson.