Tuesday, March 31, 2009
I was invited to my former middle school to judge their talent show tonight. On my way from dropping Blondie off from OT, and rushing over there to be on time I drove through the window of a fast food restaurant (doesn't really help the 17 lbs I've lost, but one night won't kill me). As I reach over to grab my food I hear, "HEY MS. D." Of course I recognize one of my former students who is now a senior in high school. This child was VERY quiet, and shy, and in 8th grade barely did her homework. I constantly talked to the kids about how powerful math was to their future choices, but quite honestly it is a very rural community and some of my students didn't see college in their future. This student was one that I thought had potential, but you never know what sort of decisions they will make, so you just trust they will find their way.
So I cautiously asked this young woman her plans for the future. "Ms. Dawson, I just got accepted to Clemson, I'm going to study genetics." My mouth FELL OPEN. She smiled at me and said what every teacher wants to hear, "I wish I had listened to you more about taking the right classes. I decided last year to take the harder math classes because I really want to study why some people get cancer and other diseases. You were right - math is taking me out of here, but I had to do a lot of catching up." I asked her to keep in touch, so she asked for my "digits" and I gave them up easily. She made my night.
I'm just thrilled to know that I made a difference in this girl's life, and I can't thank her enough for actually telling me. So, if you get a chance - let a teacher know in a note, or a call, just how much they have meant for your child. It may not be the person you have this year, but it really is a pick me up for a teacher from the past.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
The top picture is the view from the back deck. We do live on a giant pond - although a few in the neighborhood call it the smaller lake - it is still a pond. It has turtles and fish, and I'm sure things that slither, but in 7 years of living here I've only heard about 1 snake, I didn't actually see it. We live in the middle of an older subdivision, and we have a shopping center nearby, with all of the amenities.
As, in Mt. Vernon- just a much smaller scale -our backyard is divided into areas. The upper part of the yard right under the deck is a small grassy yard that kids play ball in, or dogs run around on, the right hand side of the yard will hopefully one day just be a beautiful garden of flowers and green, the left middle section is the girls playground, and right behind that is the butterfly garden and the vegetable garden. At the bottom is the soft area of grass by the pond where children can play, just not ball games as the pond is apparently magnetic when it comes to balls. Every ball they play with down there dips in for a swim AT LEAST once, which is why the canoe is housed there too. We do canoe on the pond, but two years ago we noticed that when the little girls got out of the pond they had a rash on them - so I think the chemicals the neighborhood association uses on the pond are definitely NOT natural, which is why we choose not to use that as a source of water to sprinkle on our yard.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
And sometimes it looks like this for awhile....
Until I have to get involved and use tough love to get her "rear in gear." Blondie is learning a new motto - IF ITS HARD - WORK HARDER (my students hear that too). Once the tears subside and she KNOWS I'm not going to back down, then we can get to do this:
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The picture above is of our self-pollinating peach tree. It gave us 6 whole peaches last year, and is already blooming. We'll have to fight the squirrels for the 6 it hopefully gives us this year, but we are prepared. Food just tastes better when you grow it yourself. The pear trees on the other side of the house are blooming too, but those will only produce more when we get rid of the tall pine trees stealing their sunlight. All in all, a very productive day. Next weekend - the play area.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Now, Brian had spent the whole week in Florida, and had pulled a muscle in his back. Add to this that the entire 22 years I've known him he has HATED to dance, and it proves how much he was going above and beyond for his girls. I dropped Big Al off at her party, and then had the WHOLE HOUSE to myself in the peace and quiet. Now, if I had been a fabulous teacher I would have gone to help out, but I was pooped from being the only parent to juggle everything all week, so I chose the silent house.
When the girls got back they were all very happy, and glad that their dad stepped up to dance with them. A wildly successful night by all accounts.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Thursday night found us at the first grade PTO presentation. Kindergarten through 4th grades present a chorus type stage performance every few months for their parents. Of course that packs in the adults for a PTO meeting too (we have a very active PTO). Blondie was very excited about the performance. It was about a little boy with a long Chinese name that fell in a well, and how the village had to get him out. It was incredibly adorable, and I have to give all credit to the music teacher at our school because she works some serious magic with these kids.
They had costumes, and narrators, and actors, and scenery, etc. At one point Blondie, and the little boy next to her, shared a set of tiny finger cymbals - Blondie had one and the boy had the other.... I don't think it had anything to do with the disability because Blondie could have held them both and clinked them together, but I think they were trying to involve as many in the "chorus" as possible. Blondie was thrilled to be able to perform (she loves being in front of people) and had been practicing the songs and their movements the whole previous week (instead of her spelling list).
Brian was able to JUST make it (he was pulling in as we were pulling out - literally) - he had been in Florida on business since Sunday. He also had pulled a muscle in his back, so he was quite the perfect Dad to stand through this presentation with a bad back after driving for 7 hours. I'll post more about him being a perfect Dad tomorrow after he gets home from dancing with 3 chicks at a Father Daughter Dance - still with a bad back.
Monday, March 9, 2009
After Blondie's surgery she named her left hand "sleepy hand" and constantly referred to it that way until the therapists looked at her and said, "that hand is NOT sleeping, look at it move." So she named it "lefty." Lefty continues to receive therapy 2 days a week and we're four years from surgery. I don't know if it sounds like I just can't accept her differences, but I truly do. Every time I start to think that she isn't getting any stronger she surprises us. Tonight, I posted on our yahoo group about how she is actually able to open and close her hand. She can, and I tried to get video tonight, but it isn't very pretty. I didn't clean her up and make her all shiny and cute - that's a milk mustache on her face, and she (and her clothes) REALLY enjoyed recess today, but at least you get the idea that hemi hands CAN move - sort of. Notice when she opens and closes it she sort of extends and pulls back her arm? She actually uses that as a strategy to retrain her brain to get that arm moving but she also KNOWS that when she needs to pick up something she moves her arm one way, and when she needs to let go she moves it the other. If SHE knows it then she is more likely to use it.
Another reflex sort of move that we accidently found was last week. Her OT was trying to get her to rotate that darn wrist. It wouldn't do it until Blondie happened to reach up and rub her nose (pollen allergies right now) - then that little wrist flipped right over like it was supposed to. Blondie started giggling because she thought it was funny. Now I hear, "hey mom, watch this..." and then she'll rub her nose. The same reflexive type movement happens when she rides her bike too. If we bandage her hand to the bars so it can help steer, then her ankle/knee rotates and her foot falls off the pedal - if we let her ride with one hand the foot isn't an issue. It has to do with rewiring the brain and it is ABSOLUTELY fascinating. I guess that's why we still go to therapy after all of these years. I certainly am realistic about what she may or may not be able to do, but if her brain wants to surprise me then I'm all for it!!! Thankfully I'm constantly surprised.