Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Wild & Crazy Guy!

Got this email from Jack's teacher this morning:

I talked with Jack for about 5 minutes this morning about the disruptive comments and noises that are becoming more and more frequent.  I had him observe the class (they were working quietly). Then I had him describe some things that would distract him from learning in this particular situation. He was pretty specific: tapping of pencils, people talking to him, and vibrating the desks. I tried to turn it around: what are some things that you have done that may have been distracting to others? He said making sounds effects and talking out loud. I tried to help him see how his actions are affecting other people. So, we’re working on this. Like I said in our conference, it seems to have become a more apparent behavior within the last couple months. He also seems a little more distractible. I’d love to get your insight and, perhaps, Dr. M’ s insight as well.  

This is the kind of behavior we’ve been seeing at home recently, too. He’s wild. He can’t seem to control himself physically or verbally. Rather than walking through the house, he leaps and dashes and sometimes flings his arms and legs into objects. He makes goofy noises and sound effects. In the mornings when I’m trying to get him ready for school, he makes noises and is uncontrollable, even when I repeatedly remind him that other people in the house (Daddy and Gramma) are still sleeping. He seems incapable of stopping himself, until his dad speaks sternly to him. Then he’ll stop for a few minutes, but start up again before too long. Last night after warning him several times about interrupting me during our reading time (he couldn’t seem to stop wiggling, jerking and making crazy noises), I finally had to stop in the middle of a chapter and tell him to go brush his teeth and get in bed.

We've noticed this behavior more and more in the past couple of months. I don't know if he just has too much energy or if the way he's growing has any affect on his behavior. He takes medication for his ADHD, and according to his doctor, the dosage is right on target for his weight (5'2" and 94 pounds). I talked to a friend of mine about this today, and she thinks this is typical behavior for a boy with ADHD. Anyone else have experiences or suggestions to share?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Good to be Home Again!

For those of you wondering, Jack survived the Age of Sail. Just barely (kidding). After a restless night (for me!), listening to the pouring rain and wondering how wet and cold they all were, I finally got the email from the school yesterday morning that the bus carrying our sailors was half an hour away. Got there a few minutes before it pulled in, so I was waiting in the courtyard of the school when he stumbled off the bus, damp and exhausted.

I think he had a good time, but it definitely had its ups and downs. He didn't like the food (expected that). The vegetable stew (beef stew?) was "gross and disgusting." He ate cornbread for dinner.

He said they were kept busy late into the night and when they finally went to bed, he had a tough time going to sleep (I'll bet). Then his crew was awakened at 4:00 am (yuck!!!) to stand watch on deck, in the rain. They were to "watch for pirates" for an hour and forty minutes. Doesn't sound like fun times to me, either. When finally allowed to go back to bed, he was unable to go back to sleep, probably from being so cold and wet. Then the Captain came in at 6:00 yelling, "Get up, you scurvy dogs!" Time for breakfast.

Unfortunately for Jack, he misplaced his galley gear somewhere between dinner and breakfast, so he wasn't allowed to have hot chocolate and coffee cake like everyone else. He said he cried. Luckily, we packed him some food from home (cold cheese pizza, a chewy granola bar, some Ritz crackers), so that's what he had for breakfast. Seems harsh.

I had planned to take him for lunch somewhere when he got back at noon, cause I knew he would be starving. But all he wanted to do was to come home, so he took a hot shower while I made him a grilled cheese sandwich. It's good to be home again!

His dad and I had written him two "letters from home," which were delivered by the Captain at the ship's mail call. He only had time to read the one from his dad before they had to go back to "work," so he brought home my letter unopened. We read it together last night as we snuggled on the bed for reading time before bed. As expected, my letter made him teary, even though I'd tried to make it very nonchalant. It's a good thing he didn't read it till he got home. It might have only been a reminder to him how much he missed us all.

I know he'll remember this experience for the rest of his life. I wouldn't have wanted him to miss it, even though I don't think he'd do it again. He and his buddies can always talk about how cold and wet they were, but it will always be a shared experience. He did well.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Separation Anxiety

The Science Fair was Friday night. I thought "our" project turned out beautifully, but only received a "Participant" ribbon. No "Superior" or "Judges Award" for us. I was more disappointed than he was. He was more interested in playing on the jungle gym outside the auditorium with his friends at nighttime in the dark! Oh, the adventure!

On our way home I took him to In-n-Out Burger for a treat. He had a plain cheeseburger: just a bun, meat and cheese. He liked it at first, but then said it made him "feel weird." Not a big meat-eater, my sensitive boy. I ended up eating the last third of the burger, even though I certainly didn't need the calories. Can't let food go to waste!

Now that the Science Fair is in the rear-view mirror, the next big event coming at us is the Age of Sail field trip. His entire 5th grade class is going to San Francisco, to spend the night on the Balclutha sailing ship. It's anchored at the Hyde Street Pier across the street from Ghirardelli Square. He's never been away from home overnight without Mom and Dad, so this is a very big deal. We've known about this since the beginning of the school year and at first the very idea of him being away from us overnight terrified me (What would he eat? What if he has a meltdown? What if he totally freaks out when we're two hours away and can't immediately come and get him?). My husband always just says, "He'll just have to deal." What if he can't deal? How will I deal?

We never got around to having that sleepover with a friend to practice being away overnight (I'm such a bad mommy!), but I'm a lot more comfortable with the whole thing now. His teacher has done a very good job of preparing them to live on a boat for 24 hours, and he's actually excited about it. His class has been divided into crews: Galley Crew, Deckhand Crew, Boat Crew, Rigger Crew, Bo'sun Crew. He's part of the Bo'suns, which has to do with tying knots or something. They have to eat "authentic" food and stand watches during the night. They will sleep on the inside deck of the ship and listen to the night sounds of San Francisco Bay. They will have adult chaperones, but the adults are only there to observe and keep people from getting injured.

They're supposed to be "going back in time," experiencing what it was like to live on a sailing ship a hundred years ago. All the parents were asked to write letters, which will be delivered by the Captain at Mail Call. I got teary writing mine, imagining him reading his letter far from home, without me for the first time. I got teary imagining him getting teary and homesick reading my letter. Tried to be offhand and casual, but is this letter thing really a good idea for a sensitive child who tends to over-react to things? Hopefully my letter won't be the thing that precipitates a panic attack and reminds him that he's far from Mom and Dad and won't be able to sneak into our room in the middle of the night.

I know I'm being silly, especially when you think of all the mothers whose boys and girls are far from home for much longer periods of time. I can't even think about mothers and fathers of soldiers in Iraq and Afganistan without getting teary. But I'm sure those of you with children with special issues understand the worry of not knowing what's going to be a problem for a child whose brain is wired differently. Sometimes the unexpected is the problem. Children on the autism spectrum don't do surprises all that well.

At the moment, he's very excited about riding on a bus for the very first time (except, as he reminded me, that one time at Disneyland from the hotel to the park and back again). He's excited about being in the same crew with his very best friend, William (thank you, Mrs. Dresser!). I'm trying to keep a brave face on and talk about how much fun he's going to have and how he'll remember this experience with his friends for the rest of his life! (Please, God, don't let me cry when I say goodbye to him on Tuesday morning!)

We get to pack his bag this afternoon with the things he'll need on his trip, mostly a change of dry clothes in case he gets wet from the ocean or the weather. They're all taking their bags to school tomorrow to make sure they didn't forget to pack anything (what a great idea!).

I'm sure it'll be fine. I'm sure he'll have a wonderful time. Our house is going to be awfully quiet Tuesday night, though. And I'll have my cell phone by my side the entire time. I'll let you know how it goes.