For those of you who haven't read my updates in some time, my son is 12 years old! I can't believe it, but he did indeed have his twelfth birthday on December first. We didn't do anything huge to celebrate. He chose his dinner and activities and invited a friend over and they stayed up way too late!
Life seems to be going pretty good for him, but he still isn't telling me too much on his own. I've been playing 20 Questions with him for some time, trying to learn what goes on at school and inside that blond head of his. Often our conversations go like this:
Me: So, how much trouble did you get in today? Your teacher and I have been discussing how it might be helpful to hang kids by their toes...or...Did you kiss so and so yet?
Hunter: No. That's not going to happen. Mom!
But then he tells me about some of the things he did and tells his dad again over the dinner table. The teasing gets him to loosen up.
His last report card was better than the previous. He brought his grades up in social studies, science and math, but they are still below 80% (he's not failing). Remembering vocabulary words aren't easy for him and I can't always make the definitions silly or gross, which is something he's always enjoyed. I'll mention that in the next paragraph, but I wanted to tell you that we've begun looking for a math tutor for him. His dad and I aren't much help to him with math. It wasn't my best subject to begin with and now we have the school system changing around the way the kids are learning what we already know. I end up taking time to look through his math book to remember, then I have to learn the steps he's doing to be any help. One night Hunter brought his finished homework to me and I looked at the answer sheet provided by his teacher and discovered that almost half of what he had done was wrong. I called him back and we sat down to see what happened. Hunter has always had trouble doing something differently than the first time he was shown. In this instance, he was dealing with exponents, parenthesis and nesting parenthesis. Working with just exponents, he knew what he had to do first, but when you toss in parenthesis, it changes the order. I'll just say he left the table and shut himself up in his room. I gave him a bit to settle down. He doesn't like people to see him when he's upset. Finally I got him to talk to me about it and he said he doesn't understand why he got them wrong, that he did his best on his homework and how math is so hard.
I felt so bad for him. I knew I was doing my best, too, but I also knew that I could be holding him back because I wasn't confident in what I was doing, either. So Tim and I talked and decided to find him a tutor. There are no learning centers in our area like Sylvan, so we inquired at the school and his teacher provided me with the name and phone number of a high school senior who she believes would be a good fit for Hunter. The cons are that this person is a senior this year and that he'll only do it during the summer. I'll probably ask him to help Hunter over the summer, but after I'll have to look elsewhere. A home schooling mama I know also has a son on the spectrum and she suggested a tutoring company that would probably come to our house and since Hunter has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) the school will either pay for the cost or be able to help me with it. So I'm going to look more into that.
Hunter had his Pinewood Derby last Tuesday. His car, edges rounded and painted to resemble a blimp in a game he and his dad play, did OK. He didn't place in the top three, but he wasn't last. He didn't really put much effort into his car and honestly, he doesn't put much effort into scouts. This is his last year as a cub scout and we're not sure if we'll continue with boy scouts in the fall. The older boy group does much more activities and actually meets twice a week compared to the handful of events and one meeting a week the cub scouts do. Depending on the time of year, Tim sometimes has a hard time taking Hunter to the Tuesday night meetings and now Tim has even more responsibility with his job and doesn't think he can participate with Hunter in boy scouts. If Hunter was more into it than he is, I'd be more upset, but he's not. It doesn't look like scouting will be in my son's future, at least not until Devin can join when he starts first grade. I'm OK with it. No matter how much I want him to enjoy something I'd like him to do, I'm not going to force him. I will keep mentioning all the fun and awesome things he could be doing, but if he says no, what more can a parent do but ask they try? And he did.
Hunter is into anything gross, crazy, silly, weird, disgusting or shocking. He has our DVR recording shows like Dude, What Will Happen, Destroy, Build, Destroy, Monsters Inside Me, The Most Extreme, Fatal Attractions and Untamed and Uncut. The last few I mentioned are based on real life stories! One even had Hunter a bit teary eyed. You can't talk to him when he's like that, but we talked about it after. He couldn't believe that someone could make such a bad choice and have such fatal consequences. Besides agreeing it was terribly sad, I remember telling him that sharing this person's story with us educates us on what not to do and avoiding that kind of situation. One show, though, The Lost Tapes...not so real...or they could be, I suppose, if you believe in Big Foot. But I doubt a huge octopus is living in an Oklahoma lake. He was arguing with his friend Steve that it was true. When I read on Facebook that my cousin's hubby was going to be featured in an episode of MonsterQuest that was about the Dogman near Manistee, Michigan,
Hunter has a great sense of humor. His teacher has told me many times of his antics and teasing in the classroom. She says he gets along great with all his classmates and that his humor and interests help in that area. In the past he has scored poorly on oral assignments because of his tone of voice, but this past assignment, a poster board book report in which he advertised a book of his choice to his class, the teacher could hear him all the way at the back of the room where she purposefully put herself. I really like Ms. D and would love it if she were able to go with Hunter into middle school in the fall.
Ohhhh...the four year old! If you ever need a reason to smile you can just think of my son. I have never seen a little kid happy so darn much! When I come into the living room at seven in the morning, he's there, "invisible" on the couch, laughing the entire time. His imagination takes me to the ocean, where's he's catching some waves on his surfboard (the soft side support from a travel bed), performing rolls, head stands and balancing acts in a recliner big top circus, he's a friendly dolphin in the bath tub.... I could go on and on. He is a very active little boy who shows love for his brothers, his dad and I and his dogs.
Devin is also loving his Pre K program. I'm thinking of paying for another day a week because he asks me every morning if he's going to Pre K and how much he likes to be at Pre K. He goes on Wednesday and Friday's. On Wednesday a woman who plays many different musical instruments comes to the center and now that it's warming up, he can play in the huge fenced in playground in the back. When we ask him the names of his friends he says he doesn't remember, but he is telling us what he does and gives us the whole lunch menu. He says he eats it all, so it appears he's eating better for them than he is for us!
Devin is the most helpful child I have ever met (but I've heard all about my niece K'ryn's recent do gooding!). On the weekends I get let out to do some grocery shopping on my own, Devin is almost always the first one to greet me and he carries the bags to the kitchen without having to be asked. When he's not causing havoc with his brothers, he's helping them by telling me what they need. For example, if Bryce needs a new diaper he tells me and also gets me the supplies I'll need. Devin also acts as the go between for Hunter and I, mostly at Hunter's request!
Devin's favorite form of communication is using Skype on the computer. He talks about calling people all the time on it, but once you get him sitting and facing that person on the screen, my little chatterbox clams up and acts all shy! I don't even listen to the radio while we're driving in my van anymore. Devin talks and asks questions constantly. One day I listened and answered, listened some more and then he said, That's all the questions right now. Of course I have to mention the day he and I were waiting with a couple other parents, watching Bryce from a one way mirror play with a little girl at playgroup. Devin turns to me and asks, Does Brycee's friend have a penis or not? So I explained very briefly that Bryce's friend did not have a penis and thankfully that answer was acceptable.
Devin is very excited about spending the weekend at his Aunt Amanda's house. On the way back to our house just this morning I said to him, We need to start getting our clothes and toys ready because we're leaving for Michigan Friday morning. He asked, What we will be doing there?, to which I replied, We'll be staying at Aunt Amanda's house with Rayne, Randi, Emma, Landon and Aunt Tiffany. Dev threw his arms and legs up in the air as much as he could while being strapped into a car seat and explained, Yeah! I like them!
As I type this, my almost three year old angel is doing what he loves to do best, drawing. My husband mentioned something about painting the walls while the boys and I are gone. I think it might be too early for that, but maybe not as I, in a frustrating day, threw away all the crayons, markers, colored pencils and banished all the pens and pencils to a secret place little hands don't know about. Hunter has his own supply and I warned him that if any of his writing and drawing stuff comes out of his room, they will be thrown away! Bryce has left his artwork on the walls, windows, TV's, counters, table tops, doors, furniture and even bed sheets! Where Devin prefers to continue his pretend play until his coloring or painting resembles chaos in color, Bryce prefers to cover his paper in circles, squares, rain clouds and now letters. Thanks to an episode of Blue's Clue's where Joe (Steve's friend who replaced him) goes on an alphabet hunt, Bryce wrote the word JOE! He also can say J, O and E and he can count to ten!
Two days a week Bryce attends a playgroup at a clinic built for special needs kids. Although Bryce hasn't been evaluated for anything, I do have him working with a speech therapist because he isn't talking as much as I think he should for an almost three year old. For those of you who remember Hunter's earlier years and the concern then, Bryce is his opposite. Where Hunter didn't want to let go of me in a social environment, Bryce can't get away from me quick enough. Where Hunter had tantrums and would hit in frustration because he couldn't communicate his needs, Bryce just tries to do it all himself.
Bryce does have some of the same stimulating behavior that Hunter had at this age. Bryce does flap his hands when he's excited. I don't know if he learned this from Hunter or if it's his way of showing excitement, but he is doing it. I probably will have Bryce evaluated for autism when he gets a bit older. It's in the family and he's not talking. I don't think I'd be doing right by him if I didn't.
Life in NE Ohio is going pretty good. I finished my new flower beds and now just need to go get some flowers to put back in there. This year we may actually pave our driveway so we can put up a basketball hoop. My plants survived the winter, hooray!, and I'm going to get more for the indoors. Our small pond though isn't doing so well. The neighbor's ducks have been living there. It wouldn't be such a big concern if it wasn't pretty much just a big mud puddle. There is no natural flow or spring so the duck poo is making for a pretty ugly scene. Tim called the neighbor and they talked about it, but it's been three days now and the ducks are still at the pond.
My addiction to geocaching is growing! I have found 16 caches since the snow has melted, bringing my count to 114 found. Dev and Bryce are usually with me, Kit almost always. I took out the hide I did back in October and changed out the container. I was inspired by Hunter to create a more surprising find, one I hope to read comments about as other geocachers find it. With this hobby I've met three other ladies who also geocache. I've been out quite a few times with one and plan on finally meeting up with the other two and possibly my first cacher friend as well on April 10th for a geocaching marathon!
Tim has a busy month in April. It looks like we'll be seeing him on some Fridays and just on the weekends. He has to go to Sandusky, Colorado (without me this year. Sigh.), Florida and Michigan. We're looking forward to watching him play in the first slow pitch softball tournament on the 17th and 18th. If any of you would like to come and visit while he's gone, maybe change a few diapers, definitely share in the laughter, then come on out! :)
My email, firstname.lastname@example.org does not work. My website doesn't exist anymore. Feel free to send me an email at email@example.com or text me at 440-781-5151. I can also be found on Facebook. Search for Yolanda McPherson Gallagher.
Have a great Easter!