Monday, December 21, 2009

Sleep anyone?

One thing I have noticed about being the mother of a special needs child is their sleep pattern. I think I have mentioned Emmie's sleep before, although my brain is sort of "holiday fuzzy" right now, so it's possible I haven't. Sometimes she sleeps a lot. I mean like she goes to be at 8 and doesn't wake up until 9 or 10 the next morning. Sometimes though, she wakes up in the middle of the night. Tonight was no different. She went to bed at 8, as usual. About 10:15, she comes in the living room where I am, complete with a Santa hat on her head. She is obviously still waking up. The glassy look in her eyes gave it away. She said, "Mom". And then continues to tell me that I don't have to worry about her, that I need to worry about her brother when he plugs that thing in the other thing. I, of course, look at her like she's nuts! I assume she is talking about the Wii remote because we had a conversation about it before she went to bed. I asked what she was talking about and she goes on and on, just mumbling. I sort of chuckled and so did she. I said, "Emmie, it's way past your bedtime." I got a simple okay and she marched back down the hall and into her bed. My wonderfully strange child!

The first year of her life she didn't sleep. Now, nearly 9 years later, her sleep patterns are still out of whack. I'm going to chalk it up to her CAPD. Maybe, in her sleep, her brain was able to fully process what was said about the Wii remote? Maybe it woke her up because at that very moment, when it clicked, she knew she could provide an answer or explanation but by the time she came in here, it was gone again. Who knows.

But, as always, she is tucked safely back in her bed until next time.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A word

Yesterday was the last day of school before winter break! It was an extremely long day full of sugar, sugar, and a side of sugar in the classrooms. At lunch, we had the 5th grade singing Jingle Bells as loud as possible. Lucky me, huh? But now, as I sit on my couch in my pj's with the sounds of the dryer in the background, I am thankful that we are officially on winter break and the only off pitch sounds of jingle bells is coming from the TV!

I can not tell you how excited I am to have winter break! It was time! Of course our break will be spent packing and moving to the new 4 bedroom! Emmie has promptly requested that she be allowed to have her own art desk in her room. The one with the light and pencil holder she saw at a local art store. Santa won't be bringing it since his elves have finished making their gifts before we found out about the move. Maybe after the new year.

Emmie and her love of art has had me thinking a lot lately. I am not an artist, big surprise huh? But, I know how important it is to her and how much of a difference it has made in her life. Not only does it nurture her creative side and allow her an outlet, but it also allows her something to be good at. Art isn't pass or fail, it isn't about coloring inside the lines, or making sure something is spelled correctly. Art is about expression. Color where you want, how you want, and with whatever tool you want. It allows her to be perfect in her own way. It doesn't come with a red x over the missed problem or the mark over the work she misspelled. It allows her to be free.

It is very important that we nurture what our children love and what they are good at. I have never been one to push the kids into something. I'm not the crazy parent at soccer games, or the one making the child join three different after school activities. I just want them to be kids and be happy! If my son loves playing with skateboards and could care less about joining the basketball team, so be it. If my oldest wants to play the clarinet instead of creating friendship bracelets, Let her. And if Emmie wants to put paint on paper and call it a duck. Guess what? It will be the best duck I have ever seen. She won't need validation from anyone else. She knows she's good at it and that is all that matters.

So, because of her love of art and because of the doors it has opened up for her education, I have been researching Art therapy. I believe I will apply for an art therapy program in the next few years. I'm excited about it, even if some won't understand.

Remember the sentence structure problem we were having? Well, we have started a journal and we are making progress. I also bought this lovely book called "The Aspiring Writer's Journal" at the Scholastic Warehouse Sale. Seriously, why didn't I know about these sales YEARS ago? Anyway, it's a book for older children. However, it provides some great writing prompts to help me get Emmie started some days. Some prompts are too advanced for her right now, but I am having an interesting time digging out my creative soul that has been buried for some time.

Writing prompt for today for mom. "If you could have one word to be your guiding light, what would it be and why?" One word huh? Is that possible to have one word? I am from the south and we often have 15 words for every one word for a northern. We talk. Okay, honestly, we talk A LOT! But, my one word, if I had to come up with one word is "Serendipity". I love this word. A happy accident is my life. It is my guide. My husband and I met as friends. It was a happy accident that we became more than best friends and married. It is a happy accident that we have three amazing children and one fat, lazy cat. What is your one word?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It was going to happen

Today has been a long day. Wednesdays are the days the kids get out of school at 1:05, however it always seems like this is the longest day of the week!

Emmie had a rough day. Today in school one of her friends made fun of her reading level. This little boy and Emmie have been good friends since school started this year, but lately he has been having a rough time. A small roller coaster of emotions and Emmie has tried to be patient. Apparently, he was making fun of her because she is still in the one's (her reading level is 1.9-2.9). She was upset about it but I spoke with her about mistakes and how all people make them. She seemed okay with the fact her friend made a mistake, but she isn't likely to have a warm, fuzzy feeling about him anytime soon. I knew, one day, someone would make fun of her for being "behind". Kids will be kids after all. I am thankful for how the teacher handled the situation and how Emmie handled it. I am very proud of her for not getting too upset and for understanding.

She rushed through an assignment during class today. Which is no real surprise. Getting her to slow down and take her time has been a constant struggle. One day I will find a balance for her, but right now, we'll just go over the work the second time. She did, however, do an awesome job on her homework! Today was a worksheet of subtraction-not her fave! It was subtracting three digit numbers. I heard zero complaints, no tears, and right answers! That my friends is progress at it's best!

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get some holiday shopping completed. Emmie's speech teacher is Jewish, so I'm hoping to put together little gifts for her, but I'm afraid I'm just not going to have time :( Fingers crossed though!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

St. Nicholas

Can you believe the weather? Well, if you are in California, then you know they are calling for snow tomorrow! Snow in California? There seems to be something wrong with that! I'm excited nonetheless. I'm not expecting our Midwest winter like we had at Scott AFB, IL but I'm hoping it will be enough snow for the kids to actually get to see it!

Our family celebrates St. Nicholas Day. It's an European tradition and one we have carried on since my husband celebrated it when he was little. Legend goes if the children were good throughout the year then St. Nicholas would come and leave fruit and nuts in their shoes. If they were bad, then they would receive potatoes and nuts from Black Pete. So, before bed, the kids tucked their shoes next to the front door in the hopes they had been good. They woke up to candy and treats in their shoes. St. Nicholas is a bit optimistic I guess.

Nothing new going on in the Porter house. School is getting more difficult for Emmie as the year progresses. I have noticed certain behavior changes in her when the work gets too difficult or when a new concept is introduced. We are working through it, but it's interesting to note. She often tries to talk her way out of the work. Most of the time, with encouragement, she can complete it or sometimes it takes hours and hours with many breaks in between. She did come home on Friday wanting to learn Sign language. It seems to be a passion, so I may use this to my advantage as a reward for her.

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday preparations. We are preparing not only for the holiday, but also the move. UGH, can we say stress??

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Poor Fairy

I can't believe it's December already. Is it just me or does it feel like the older you get, the faster time goes by? It doesn't seem like Christmas should be right around the corner just yet.

A lot is new in the Porter house. We were offered a larger house yesterday and will be moving a few days after Christmas. We have been in a 3 bedroom for over 5 years now and we have quickly grown out of this house. We call it our Dollhouse because it's so tiny. So yesterday we got the call that the new housing will be opening and to come pick our house. We did and the kids are very excited to be moving, but I'm freaking out that we are moving SO soon.

Emmie is sort of excited to have her own room. Even when she did have her room, we would often find her sleeping at the end of Jensen's bed. She needs her safety net and I'm interested to see how it goes. We have had some good days lately and for that I am grateful! I have been working on sentence structure more than anything lately. She needs help building sentences so we have been using a journal back and forth. I need to incorporate it more into her homework routine, but it's been difficult to do that lately. I use to be able to slip the extra work in and she didn't know the difference. Now, however, she can read the homework sheet her teacher sends home. So, on Wednesdays, she knows that her homework is only a math worksheet, reading, and multiplication fact practice! "It doesn't say journal on here"...OOPS!

I had to laugh at her tonight though. Emmie is the sort of person that gets very concerned about things. She worries. She has had this lose tooth for awhile now and tonight it finally came out. We wrapped it up, put it in her little pillow, and I tucked her into bed. A little while later she came in the living room, very worried. She was very concerned about the Tooth Fairy and if the cat would attack her because he doesn't know her! I assured her the Fairy would be safe and the cat would be calm. No worries, Tooth Fairy has already visited and safely landed and left for more teeth hunting :)

She is getting too big for her britches, as we say in the South!! Just like the months fly by, so does the times when the kids are little!