2 years is an awfully long hiatus. Hopefully most of you have been following along on Facebook. If you haven’t it’s probably because you didn’t need to. So where did I leave off?
A lot of the reasons I stopped blogging were because most of what was happening with J and Little J had to do with what was happening in my personal life. For the first time in cyber space I am publicly stating that I am divorced. Ex-hubby returned from Korea in 2011 and filed for divorce. It was quick and emotional for me but I had already started to build my single mom life while he was gone for 2.5 years. Little J took it very hard but we got him some counseling and he has come out of it a pretty resilient kid. I have made it a point for 5 years not to publicly talk about all of it on social media or in real life. I have a couple of best friends that I discuss things with but never in front of the kids. They have two loving parents who behave as friends in their presence and share major milestones and holidays with them as a family. I am lucky to have friends and family be part of my community who are willing to accept him as still a major part of the kids’ lives. And that is all I am going to say.
J promoted from elementary school in May. He will be starting Middle School in mid-July. I am really excited about the plan his team and I have created. Our district has a school that blends computer based learning with in class instruction. Due to the nature of the facility (3 rooms, all doors open to a major strip mall parking lot, major street just beyond) we decided that it was not the safest environment for the fight or flight instinct he has. So the inclusion specialist at that school suggested that we create our own blended model at an enclosed campus for his safety. His current inclusion specialist was on board right away and got everything moving. The district already has a digital learning home based program that students can use. We requested that he be allowed to take 2 subjects using that curriculum and 2 subjects in a traditional classroom all with parapro support at what would be his assigned middle school. The district approved it readily. So He will be doing his math and science using the digital based program and attending language arts and social studies with a highly recommended (by a friend who used to teach at the school and also teaches J at church) teacher. His inclusion specialist will be in charge of his “specials” also known as electives. In the past J has struggled with the group settings created in music, art and PE. This struggle can completely disrupt his day and lose valuable instruction time. While most kids love these times of day and work hard to get to them, he hates them and works hard to get out of them. I like that we are no longer forcing “fun” on him. He will still complete some elective courses but they will be at the direction of his inclusion specialist and will probably be geared towards technical skills.
Little J finished the 3rd grade this year. He struggled with attention in the beginning but some slight changes in diet and redirection have kept him off of medication. He is currently spending the entire summer with my cousin and her kids in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. While I miss him, I am very excited for the outdoorsy country based life he is getting to experience. He is getting to know his Great Aunt and Uncle, who also live there, better and having a great time spending his days with his cousins. These are the cousins that live in Phoenix during the school year so we see them almost monthly. He will be flying back home with my cousin’s husband the day before school starts for us. That is going to be a stressful weekend but the summer will have been worth it.
For the last year the boys have both been involved in Special Olympics. We started last summer with swimming. We originally got involved for Little J to be a unified partner but quickly realized the value in expecting J to participate as well. They continued with bowling and formed a unified team with S’s kids. Then came basketball and Little J loved his role as a unified partner and enjoyed having a sport to play with T. J rebelled and refused to play a team sport which I supported. We were unable to participate in track due to conflicting school events but they can’t wait til next spring to give it a try. We will begin swimming again in a week.
One of the best things about Special Olympics is that the stress level is non-existent. There is one practice a week and one local meet/tournament at the end of the 8-12 week program. The kids also have the option to participate in state meets/tournaments a month after the local one for everything but bowling. A major highlight for Little J was his team winning the gold medal at the state Basketball tournament. We had a great weekend there and the kids showed true sportsmanship.
Alright, I think that catches us up to present day. I hope to be more present here now.