Monday, September 20, 2010


One thing that our AV therapist always drilled into us was the importance of pre-teaching material to deaf children. If Noah is spending all of his day trying to figure out what was said, he's not going to have much time left for learning. If we introduce important vocabulary or concepts in advance it puts him on a more level playing field with the rest of the class.
As Noah gets older I imagine that pre-teaching will be boring and tedious, but in kindergarten it's lots of fun. It's apple week at Noah's school so we decided to take a pre-teaching field trip to a local orchard. We came home with a half-bushel of fresh picked apples and a boy tired enough to go right to bed. Noah came home with lots of new vocabulary (and a few new bruises, but at least he didn't fall down the mountain!). All in all it was a great trip.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I'm getting ready to head out the door for my first observation of Noah in his new classroom. Our new district is pretty strict about parent observation: I had to get permission from the principal and I'm supposed to keep my time in the classroom to just 30-45 minutes. It seems a little ridiculous to me since I won't even get to see the entire math lesson, but I'm trying to play nice. I find it very interesting that although I was 99% sure that Noah was not yet using an FM system at school, it was not mentioned to me until yesterday afternoon. So much for Noah not listening or paying attention. He has to be able to hear to do that!
I almost cancelled on them today since this will be Noah's first day with his FM and he's not liable to be acting like himself. I decided that at the very least I'll get to check out his FM system if I come in today. Plus I didn't know if I'd get another chance to observe since there are so many hoops to jump through!
Even without the FM system he's coming home with a lot of new language. I think it's great to hear all the little kindergarten slang words, although I'm not sure I'll be thrilled the first time he brings home a naughty word. I really hope he acclimates well to being in this inclusion setting, because he's benefitting so much from being around the other kids. Only time will tell! Nine more days 'til the IEP.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

I have lots of "useful" things do this week. Noah's reflux is a bit out of control leading to no sleep and Noah being a bit out of control at school. I am observing in Noah's classroom on Tuesday (taking the maximum 45 minutes allowed by the school district) in preparation for an IEP meeting next week that I am really dreading. We got a "bad note" from school on Friday along with a progress report with 5 check marks. Noah went from "needs improvement" to "satisfactory" for staying on task on his progress report but the note seems to state the opposite - I need to get that sorted out. My friend is watching Noah Tuesday night so that Brian and I can go to Back to School night and I am watching her kids on Thursday for the same reason. My Wednesday morning Bible study starts this week. I need to finish unpacking my guestroom since grandma's coming for a visit soon. Yikes!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Why I Feel Useless

I'm a stay at home mom whose kid is gone 9 hours a day.

We made the decision for me to stay home before we knew that Noah would be born early, have a long hospital stay, and have long term consequences of his premature birth. When he was born I knew it was the right decision for him. I was able to take the time to really focus on Noah and what he needed, and I know he has benefitted from it. Early on it was very isolating. When I decided to stay home I thought about how fun it would be for me to drop my little guy off at the church nursery so that I could attend the Wednesday morning Bible study. I pictured playdates at the park and buying french fries at chick fil a so the kids could play when it was too hot outside. Almost all of my friends had kids the same year so I knew it would be a wonderful bonding experience for all of us. But then I had a preemie...

Church nursery is full of germs and to be avoided at all costs when you're trying to grow healthy lungs in your baby or toddler. I didn't end up joining the Wednesday morning Bible study until Noah started school.

We've had a few playdates through the years, but rarely at the park since pollin makes Noah puke, and they're few and far between since many parents seem to think that disabilities are contageous.

Chick fil a is wonderful but the play area is full of static and germs. At 5 Noah still doesn't have the physical ability to climb up into the tunnels without a hand to hold and is too tall to pass as young enough for the baby/toddler area so unless we're there with friends with older kids it doesn't happen. And although Noah has become pretty insistant that we buy him a kids meal when we go to chick fil a, he still doesn't eat french fries or chicken nuggets or drink lemonade.

Through the years I've found other ways to keep from going crazy. I have a few friends who are wonderful and don't mind my kid acting a little weird or different when he plays with their kids. Noah is an avid shopper and is always up for a trip to Target or the fabric store. He loves to play dress up, act silly, do craft projets and read books.

I really truly believe that I've done what I can to prepare Noah for school. He's not potty trained. He can't write his name small enough to fit on a line. He needs help blowing his nose and buttoning his pants. But he can do more than he could last week, which is more than the week before and so on. He might not be making quick progress but he's always learning and growing and he although he gets frustrated at what he can't do that he wants to do, he has a generally good attitude about his abilities and is always willing to try.

Somehow I didn't realize that sending Noah off meant an end to all of that. For years I've been Noah's primary teacher, now I'm just his advocate. It's an important job, but its hard learning to change. I feed Noah breakfast and dinner. I put him to bed and wash his clothes.

I miss him.

Soon I'll find other things to occupy my time. That Wednesday morning Bible study is about to start. Volunteer orientation is in a few weeks at Noah's school and then they'll be sick of me. Once I get my wrist surgery out of the way I hope to start substitute teaching. But it won't ever be the same again. As much as staying at home with Noah was frustrating and crazy and overwhelming, staying home without him is sad and lonely and empty.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Progress Report, continued...

We briefly discussed Noah's progress report with him on Friday. We told him that he had done a good job at school, and that his teacher liked how he did his best work, obeyed the rules and was kind to his friends and polite to adults. We told him that she wanted him to work harder at listening, following directions, and paying attention. We gave it a generally celebratory bent even though it wasn't exactly a stellar report, because I know he did work hard to do his best at school. After letting him watch a little TV as a treat we didn't bring it up again.
This morning when Noah woke up he told me "I'm going to be a good listener and follow directions and get lots of check marks." All morning he wanted to pretend he was at school and have me give directions for him to follow. He practiced sitting still with his hands folded and putting one finger over his mouth while the other pointed to his ear (his "I'm a good listener" pose). Noah may not get all check marks this week, but it certainly won't be from lack of effort.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Noah's first progress report

As an only-ever-got-check-plus type of student, my initial reaction to this progress report was disappointment, but then I got over it. Noah did his best work, followed the rules, and respected others. What a great kid! The needs improvement areas are not at all a surprise to me, although it does make me wonder whether the FM system is in place yet. I haven't yet decided what to write as a parent comment. My husband suggested "I know. Isn't it frustrating?" and my first thought was, "That's why he has a one on one paraprofessional." but I think I'm leaning toward something like "This is pretty typical of Noah's past school experiences. We were hoping the FM system would help with those areas." I must say that I give a general ed. teacher major kudos for being that gracious about how difficult it is for Noah to fit in with a class of 20 kindergarteners. I know it can't be easy for her, but she really seems to have embraced having him in her classroom.