bear with me as I catch my blogging journal up on my kids for my own sake. I realize hardly any of you will probably read this. Starting with Dominic =)
After a long 8.5 week stay in Alaska visiting his dad, he came home. His hair was really really long but his heart was still soft. I love this guy. I worry, I do...about him being gone for so long....will he be the same as when he left? Will he be different? I know that he will be different, he changes everyday, after all. But how different? He is such a good kid and really does have a good heart and I have to calm my mind that we have taught him well and trust that he can make good choices even when we are not there. I was very proud of him this year, he was a really good kid this summer. We have had many MANY late night talks since he has been home. He's been staying up late in Alaska, I think and can't turn his clock back to going to bed at a decent time. I can't get him to get in bed before 10am, let alone fall asleep. One night, he even read in his bed until 12:15. He had finally gotten to the Animorphs book that he's been so excited to get to (#19) and couldn't put it down. He read the whole thing that night. He likes to chat and goes on and on about random things. I love how chatty he is and sometimes can hear the words that he says, but find myself just staring at him in awe that I created him. This is my handiwork. He has made himself who he is today, but I actually made this kid and he's wonderful.
Another year of school is underway and he is really doing well. We are two weeks in and we have accomplished a-lot. We picked up with the weekly checklist that we left off with last year and that still seems to work just great for us. I write down everything he needs to finish in the week and he checks them off as he completes them. He can do them in any order that he likes as long as they get done by the end of the week (though I try to guide him to space out all the easier topics amidst the hard ones so he doesn't put all the hard stuff for the end). This last week we added swimming lessons to our midst and it has made our lives a bit crazy, but it is good. Dominic hasn't had swimming lessons since he was probably 5 because he's gone in the summer. He can swim fine, but I want to be able to swim laps with him at the pool and he just needs some technique. I tried teaching him, but I really don't know how to teach it and he really wasn't interested in learning from me. He's doing great with his teacher and really making great strides (pun intended!). Its actually funny that many of the things I was trying to get him to do are the same things his teacher has been doing. I love it when that happens cuz I can pat myself on the back and say, "see, you knew what you were doing." It will be fun to hone our swimming skills together.
Another thing he wanted to learn this year is how to bake so I have been letting him take a more active roll in cooking this year. He has made fruit salad (cut up all the fruit) and spaghetti sauce (which he ate just fine unlike when I make it) in the last week. He's on a roll to becoming master chef at this house.
His guitar playing has improved in the few short weeks he's been back at
it (he didn't get to play all summer bc he doesn't have a guitar at his
dads). One of the things I am most proud of is that he is working on having a positive attitude. He is often a negative thinker. When given a task, he sees all the obstacles in his way that will keep him from doing it well. I'm coaching him to think differently and hopefully provide some self confidence. Thinking positive and seeing himself as able to do anything, even if he fails in his efforts, is still a great thing and he's working on that. Just today he told me that he was having a hard time with guitar because he didn't think he was ready for the book he was on. I told him he was being negative because it was hard and that his teacher thought he was good enough and he needed to trust that his teacher knew what he was doing. I reminded him that last year some of his songs were hard the first time he played them too but with practice, he mastered them in a short time. Then we set to practicing his songs that he needed to play. In 10 minutes he had them down mostly and then said, "thanks for believing in me mom, now I just have to believe in myself." So sad to hear kinda, but I'm glad he was able to see how his words sometimes block him from doing things. A different mindset can often be the only difference needed to be able. He's caught himself being negative and then re-said the statement in a positive light.
I got back his STAR testing from last year. If it had come back and said had tested poorly in everything I still wouldn't have changed anything that I did last year. I felt that good about our year. He did really, really well last year in his studies and I felt like we blossomed as a home school family. So, it was great to see that he tested well too. He tested a 480 in math (97%), which was on the high end of advanced; and a 379 (71.5%), which was on the high end of proficient in English-language arts. Dominic's brain gets math. Its easy for him, mostly. He is less naturally gifted with the other subjects but with practice is learning to do well in it because we put a lot of our focus there too. I was very proud of his English-language arts score because we really didn't know what we were doing this year and he tested exactly the same as last year. This year, I feel I have a better idea of what he needs and how he needs to learn it and so I'm thinking we will see that number come up a bit more. Also, in years past they have prepped them for the testing. There really was very little of that this year so those are truly what he knows.......not what he memorized so he could pass the test. Our area of study was actually probably more broad than what they tested!
I noticed when Dominic came back from Alaska that he was still sniffling all the time. I mentioned it to my mom. I mentioned I thought it was a nervous tic or some type of sensory thing. She thought the same thing as she had noticed he did it too. Its interesting, he's been doing it off and on since he was in kindergarten. That is when it started. It was the worst that year as he would wrinkle up his nose along with each sniffle. It was very excessive and annoying and the harder I tried to ignore it, the worse it would get and the more annoying it was. I resorted to making a chart and each time he told me, "I fixed my nose." before I had to tell him to fix his nose he would get a tally mark on the chart. If he got a certain number of them I would let him get something (anything! He loved that part) at the Dollar Store. It went away in a few weeks not to return till sometime in second grade. But, its not going away now. Its been since March that he's been sniffling and sometimes its three or four in a row. However, now that I've labeled it as a tic and not as an actually sniffle, it has stopped bothering me. I've talked to Dominic about it. He tries to notice it and fix it, but he really just has this tic that he can't control (I think). He sniffles and sometimes clears his throat with it. So, we started going to the chiropractor as they can often help with autonomic nervous system stuff and we'll see where it goes. He's only been a few times. Anyways, I've tried to look at other things he does to see if he fits in any autistic umbrella or anything and as far as I can see, he doesn't. Just has this one sensory behavior. I'm hoping its an isolated symptom of nothing really.
He got orthotics for his feet again. His arches are horrible and the last custom orthotics we got were awful and hard to get into his shoes which meant that he just never wore them. So, we got another pair and they seem to be helping his gait. He started running with Sean. 2 miles on Saturdays and then plays his DS in the car while Sean runs another 2 miles. Pretty soon he'll be running the whole thing with him, its pretty hilly so it wears him out pretty good right now, but Dominic is enjoying it. He's excited to bring a few friends along next week.
And, lastly...he got a haircut. He is one handsome bugger! Its still long, but it looks cleaned up and nice now. I really like it. Will have to post a picture soon.
I love my Dominic guy.