Friday, November 07, 2008

4th Grader, 10 Years Old, Fall Update

November 5th, 2008 - Day One of Obama as President Elect

It's been a mellow beginning of the year for Leo. He seems to like school much better. I think he "gets" his teacher now. He tells me that he learns a lot from him and is very funny, but that he can be very boring. And that 4th grade is boring. I can't blame him. I am thankful his seat is in the front row next to the window. He gets ventilation and the ideal seat for a visual learner. He actually likes violin, an option he can do that requires a pull-out. He and his BFF signed up as a way to get out of being in class, but now he actually enjoys it.

We too "enjoy" the enthusiasm at home in our modestly sized home where there just isn't any escape. He's also gotten back into his acoustic guitar thanks to the people over at Guitar Hero. I say "thanks" to that, but a real thanks to introducing my kid to music I actually love from the 80s.

More about school - he seems to work a little harder this year at homework, taking I'd say 5 to 10 minutes longer. New for Leo, more thinking required rather than execution. Although 4th is more of a repeat year, I can see it's more challenging for him. I continue to monitor, and take note of the geometry assignments that come home that are very frustrating for him. As I've posted before, our strategy is reminding him about the big picture - most things come easily to him, many people take lots of time and struggle on most things, but for him this isn't the case.

We celebrated small this year for Leo's 10th birthday. Yes, I have a child that has a two digit age. I can't believe it! We let him choose one friend to go to a local hockey game with, along with Sydney, his dad, and his cousin and Uncle. The game was great, and he said how he actually liked it better that just one friend was there rather than lots of kids. I think he found it more meaningful and a calmer time. Of course he chose his BFF to go to the game.

These boys are inseparable. They call each other right off the bus, they talk on weekends, email each other. They have a secret code in class for various boy explusions. I can't recall exactly, but it goes something like this: You quietly "cough" to alert the other boy, then slyly hold up a finger indicating what bodily function just occurred. One finger is a burp, two fingers a fart, and so on. I think there's a signal for when you are bored, and when to call the other one an "ass". I treasure all of this, and appreciate the boyhood humor. The finger signals have expanded to two other boys, so let the fun continue! They discovered how to look up bad words in the class dictionary, so they have fun with the exact definitions. Ass is their favorite, and recite the specifics of what a rump is. They giggle and chat about it every day.

Fall Ball was fun and has finally ended, so our days are fairly simple until basketball starts (my idea). Leo just has to carpool with me for Sydney's ballet and hip-hop classes. He still loves coming home and unwinding by going outside to play "imaginary football" where he makes up games in his mind and runs around doing plays. I still consider this a stim, a way for him to transition out of school and let his mind have a break. Yale doesn't since it's appropriate play that's not obsessive, but I see it differently.

On the health front, Leo hasn't been sick all year, and his facial tic (mainly his eyes) are minimal. One kid noticed early on in the year, naturally this was his former arch nemesis-turned good friend-now just "okay" friend that rides the bus with Leo. He had a flare-up this week but it subsided after giving him the strep nosode, a homeopathic remedy. I hope to get him tested for Lyme as well as look at regular blood work to see how he is functioning. I am sure I'll need to tinker a bit.

Emotionally, life has been a little challenging for Leo because Sydney has chronic Lyme. We couldn't stay to watch all the games or do lots of extra activities because they were limited to how his sister was feeling. I haven't spend a lot of quality time with him, at least he's had it with his dad. As the caregiver-pill-pusher-lead-researcher, I am mostly with Sydney as we go along. She is stable now, so we've "kind of" adjusted to a new life that hopefully is temporary. She has about 6 months to go on treatment (I am estimating), and is back to school regularly. For more about Sydney, go to my blog.

Halloween was fun, of course he ran around with his BFF and his sister, hitting EVERY house this year in a certain easy neighborhood we go to. It was really cute. The conversations about what to be were challenging - he wasn't sure and wasn't into it, but in the end went as a punk rocker. His hair is pretty long now, so we put lots of gel and spray in it, he wore black bracelets and a metal belt with an ACDC t-shirt. He looked like Billy Idol, snarl and all. I figure I got a couple more years and he'll be staying home, until he's an older teen hitting parties (insert look of dread and fear here).

That's about it. Round two with chronic illness for me, so I'm not very happy right now, but I'm grateful my sweet boy is happy and doing well.


Jenn said...

That young man is amazing, Ashley! You inspire me. I couldn't help but laugh at the hand signals and body functions part!

I will keep Sydney in my prayers. Thank heavens you are already so experienced in homeopathic medicine.

Tawnya States said...

Ashley I left you a message at on my blog

Don't ask why I couldn't just email or why I couldn't attach it in an email to you!!!??

Laura said...

That is too funny about the boy code. I'm sorry to hear about Sydney's Lyme! Do you think it's possible Leo or you had/have it, too? I keep reading about Lyme and wondering if I should have myself and/or Hutton tested, but that may be opening a can of worms I'm not ready to tackle yet! I don't really like tackling worms, literally or figuratively!

Ashley loves Leo said...

Thanks guys for your positive comments. Much needed these days!

So yeah, I plan on getting Leo tested soon. I've pretended long enough that Lyme didn't exist, on purpose not reading about it, etc. It could very much be the reason why his tics have been so bad this year. Of course, I'll feel horrible if it's true.

Seattle? Major Lyme there. But, there's a GREAT doctor there if you are interested in the info. She used to live here but moved because of politics and threats. She also knows about Autism/ADHD, etc. I was even thinking about seeing her if we are in a bad spot when we are in CA over Christmas, just fly up there. Cha-ching, it's all I do is spend money.