Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Vacation; Day Three. A Better Understanding.

Day three of break already. I don't know how long I can keep this up, the blogging. I'm trying to blog because I've realized that unlike generations before us, this is really the first time that we can easily create an interactive "journal" of our days. Hopefully, someday, Noah's grandchildren can visit How Bourgeois and see through photos and video and words, what their Grandfather was like, or even what  their Great-Great-Grandparents were like! Kind of neat huh? That's supposing that How Bourgeois is still up and running then. I hope it will be. What a time capsule!

(Oh wait, you know....we've talked about Bubby, on here before. Several times. Bubby would be Noah's Grand children's Great-Great-Great-Grandmother! Now how cool is that!?)

Today started with a bunch of household work. Since we're supposed to be having roughly 90 degree weather for the next six or seven days, I knew that the lawn and plants needed lots of water. It'll all evaporate once the sun really begins to rise, so in this heat, the watering needs to be a morning or an evening kind of thing.  It took about two hours total of watering, which is a lot! First, slowly moving the sprinkler across the tiny front yard ever 20 minutes or so, and them making sure that the Boxwood hedges received plenty of water too. There are also some flowers out front and plants on the side of the house. And then, the watering moved to the patchy backyard, where we're trying to grow new grass. I have a bunch of plants and planters back there too. Even some hanging strawberry baskets from my Mother and Father in law. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

Between the in and out of the house for the watering, and making breakfast and cleaning that up, and straightening the house, AND getting Noah ready, it wasn't until 11:30 that I had the chance to actually get MYSELF ready for the day. By the time I was done, it was.......LUNCH TIME. And it all started over again.....make lunch, clean up lunch.....

Sometimes I wonder how I will ever get to everything. I think I won't. This is a bit like running on a hamster wheel. Do you ever feel that way? 

Noah wanted to wear one of my necklaces today. He chose a jade necklace that my step-mother brought me back from China. It has a carved Buddha on it and is quite centering.

During lunch, I started reading to Noah and I about the summer solstice. I love the idea of learning more about our planet and ways to acknowledge the seasons and changes. I also love talking about celebrations that go beyond the standard Western religions. 
We started today with the way people in ancient times celebrated the summer solstice or Midsummer.
 I let Noah choose his favorite ancient celebration for us to replicate next week. This is what he chose:
Ancient Lithuanian villagers would construct a large wooden wheel, coated in tar and straw and would light the wheel on fire. They'd send the burning wheel down a hill and into the river below. If the wheel would stay lit and burned for a while, the villagers saw that as a sign, an omen of a good crop for the year to come.

We won't be setting any wheels on fire, but we are trying to come up with a way to make a pretend, simulated "wheel of fire".  Then, we're going to roll it down the deck stairs and into the pool. Jon's going to love that!  Hehehehahahaha. Sorry Jon!
(Next time, the second half of the book, modern solstice traditions.)

Here's the part that I wasn't going to write about. It sort of has to do with reading and the summer reading kick-off party that we went to at our local library. This thing I wasn't going to write about, is something that I haven't talked about too much around here. I realized though, that it's part of who we are , who Noah is, and it shapes our world in so many ways. It's difficult to write deeply without this difference sometimes coming into play.

I am a firm firm believer in the saying that "every child is special". I can't think of a single child that I know who does not have AT LEAST one special talent or wonderful interest that they excel in. Kids are amazing.
Noah's specialness just happens to be his brain. 
I've refrained from really writing about this because I don't want to sound like some ridiculous stage parent or a flash-card crazy Mom who pushes her child to be the best. The truth is, I HATE, hate hate hate competitiveness.  I've steered clean of it all my life. It's not my thing.

I've decided to write a little about this now, on the blog, because as I mentioned earlier, Noah's differences color so many things in the daily lives of our family. From day one, until now, day #2,768. (Really!)

I'm hoping to share some of our experiences because I know there are other families like ours out there, it's just not always easy to find each other. I think knowing that you're not the only one navigating the ups and downs of parenting an intense, unique mind is comforting thing.

So Noah rode his bike and I walked, over to the library after lunch. Reading was one of the early, tangible signs that really jumped out at us, that Noah might be a tad....different? When he was a tiny guy, even before 18 months, Noah became obsessed with letters and numbers. He wasn't as interested in toys as he was his letter puzzles for a while. He loved to learn the names and sounds and play made up games with them. One day, I was sitting in a chair reading a news magazine. Noah wandered over to me, pointed to some words on the cover, sounded out the letters and said: "Buh -eeeh-duuuu". "Bed"!
WHAAAAAAAAAAT!? You can READ kid!? I haven't taught you how to read!?
He was still only two years old. 
So yeah, the dude was a self-taught reader before he turned three. Which I thought was kind of, I don't know, fun? I had no idea.
Then during his year in three-year-old preschool, as they were learning the names of letters and their sounds, Noah's teacher (who really was sweet and wonderful), thought it would be neat to show all his classmates that Noah could read, and how it's done. So Noah was sent to the front of class to read, and that was the end of his willingness to read for a long time. He was embarrassed about being different. It was kind of sad.

By the next year all these quirky differences came to a perplexing and difficult head. The reading, the SUPER serious personality, the emotional INTENSITY, the verbality, (is that a word?),  the only vague interest in same-age peers and strong, adamant dislike of school. They all lead us on a path to figure out just what was going on. By the end of his stint in his first preschool, Noah would spend a lot of time "helping out" in the school office, rather than in class. It was the only thing that made him happy. 

Over a few month's time, independently, Noah's teacher, his pediatrician and a therapist, all dropped the name of a special school in our area. It was for g-g-g-.....I hate this cliche' word, "gifted" kids. After hearing the suggestion the third time, we took the leap and applied. Noah was accepted into their preschool program and it changed his life and our lives forever.

From day ONE at school there, the tears STOPPED. He was happy for once and was able to learn at his pace. It was (and still is) great!  I've also met life-long friends, some of them with quirky kids of their own. It was going so well, but the intensities still persisted. Most people think having a smart kid makes things easier, but in reality, it can make day to day things quite hard. I always say that  an accurate was to describe Noah is: "the opposite of easy-going". He thinks everything out before hand, to an extreme, professionally resists change, is the most head-strong, stuck-in-his-ways dude I have ever met. I can't talk him into anything. There are many things I wish he would JUST TRY, and try to be ok with.  Like an organized sport team, family vacations and summer camp.

After preschool, Noah needed a more thorough evaluation before being accepted into the elementary program at his school. This included IQ testing and evaluation from a psychologist familiar with this area. When the report came back, it explained everything. We knew the kid was smart, but this was different. We were told that he NEEDED to be in a special school. That he wouldn't be a fit for a public school education. This was both interesting, but also stressful and sad. The results explained why none, NONE of the million parenting books that I so desperately read to glean some understanding, were able to help. 

On the upside, through all the uncharted territory for us and the ways we've had to alter many of the things we do, and how we do them,  it's been such a fascinating journey. I've met so many supportive teachers and specialists and parents who "get it", and I think we're coming into a better understanding and a more manageable existence as the years go by. 

I used to cry  and would ask myself: "Why can't he just go with the flow? Why can't he enjoy things like the others kids? Why can't we just have a normal vacation? Why does everything have to be so complicated and hard"?

Now it's getting a little easier. Noah is learning how to better adapt as he grows, and I've stopped comparing him to most kids.

Which leads us back to reading and the summer reading program in a round about way. (I'm so so sorry, that tangent was WAY TOO LONG!)

This past fall, Noah finally decided that reading was "cool" again. He connected with some classmates who were also little readers, and didn't feel singled out. At the age of six, these little guys were reading the Harry Potter series. That's some serious business! 
Feeling like you're not alone is one of the greatest things in this world. Hooray for human connection! It makes such a difference .

At the library we received our summer reading packet and proceeded to read  I mean, play a game of Memory because DUH! It's awesome.

Then Noah wanted to accomplish one of the prescribed summer reading "goals" so he could earn a stamp. Read an illustrated short story out loud. I enjoyed "Mr. Wolf's Pancakes". Thanks Noah.

Then we went on the library scavenger hunt! After finding just one item, Noah came down with a very sudden, VERY serious stomach ache. (According to him.) And he insisted that we leave IMMEDIATELY. Now, I am not one to fall for all of the tricks, but the urgency took me by surprise. So we quickly checked out his "National Geographic Kids Magazine" on 20 CUTE ANIMALS. Lol.  And headed home.
Thankfully, within ten seconds of unlocking his bike,  the fresh air caused a miraculous and complete recovery!

(Which is ok THIS time Noah because Shhhh....I'm not one for those loud, over-crowded, kid- events either.) ;)

Then we were home, and rested. Noah sat and chatted with me while I worked on the computer.

And then it was so nice out, so I said, lets go outside!

Aaaaaaaaah.. It's good to be the prince, isn't it!?
Noah started reading one of his Diary of A Wimpy Kid books, which is funny, considering that he's obsessively read through the whole six book series twice in the past month or two. He can't get enough.

I made homemade lemonade this week. It was super easy and affordable! Oh, and delicious. HERE is the recipe that I used.

Now I know that the 24" depth of the "mini-pool" is truly stupid, and I know in about a year he'll be so over it. But, for now, it's been great.

And eventually.....Jon surprised us and came flying out of the house in his swim trunks. He was home! Woo Hoo, it's the weekend!

Ok, so  you know how the Dad in "The Christmas Story" is always battling the furnace? How it's kind of an all-consuming mission of his to keep the furnace working, and working right? That's how Jon is with the pool pump, only without the profanities. He came home and tried to fix the pump, which sprung a slow leak last night. The good news is, inexplicably, the leak slowed down to a trickle. The bad news is, there's still a trickle. I fear this will drive Jon mad. The pump has yet to work perfectly for more than a day or two.

After this we walked. WALKED! To dinner. Indian food, our favorite! :)
It was such a nice evening and town was FULL of people. So much to see.

There were a couple of orthodox Jewish boys standing on one block. They must have been Chabad.
Sometimes men from Chabad stand on the corners looking for other Jewish people, asking them if they light shabbat candles and handing out candles if they don't.  It's all about getting less religious Jews to become more observant.  The last thing I felt like doing on the way to dinner was to talk about religion and to explain to the religious Jews that we don't light candles.
So I was like: "Quick! Jon, hide your ethnicity!" Which is dumb, I get it, but I knew for sure they'd stop us, but miraculously, (Hahaha. Get it?), they didn't! And then Noah was riding up too far ahead on his bike and I yelled: "NOAH, stop!". Which I'm sorry, is like a dead give-away. So I quickly corrected myself and was all: "I mean BRANDON, stop!"
It worked. :)

Dinner was great. Then I came home and pet the cat on the old-tyme-y rug.
And now I am so exhausted that I can't even bear to type another word.

Well, maybe two more.
Good. Night!


elizagramer said...

Lauren....really I just adore your blog. I have found myself many times missing favorite shows because I get started reading your blog and don't want to put it down.Heck, I even forgot to kiss my kids that can't keep happening. You need to have your own little section you write for in the local'd be great.

elizagramer said...

Lauren....really I just adore your blog. I have found myself many times missing favorite shows because I get started reading your blog and don't want to put it down.Heck, I even forgot to kiss my kids that can't keep happening. You need to have your own little section you write for in the local'd be great.

elizagramer said...

Lauren....really I just adore your blog. I have found myself many times missing favorite shows because I get started reading your blog and don't want to put it down.Heck, I even forgot to kiss my kids that can't keep happening. You need to have your own little section you write for in the local'd be great.

Lauren said...

Oh Elizabeth, you are just too too TOO kind. Thank you SO much! I always worry that my rambling on this blog is just that! Rambling! Thank you for reading my self-indulgent writing.
My gosh though, you're missing your shows!? Girl, I'd better send you a thank you DVR for reading.
Thanks again! xoxoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

As usual, I love reading about your life. :) You make me smile, my sweet friend. Thanks.


Lauren said...

Oh my gosh! THANK YOU.

Wait, who are you "Anonymous"!?

Lol, thank you do much!!!! :)