Random ramblings of a Rose…

Posts tagged ‘Growing Up’

Jose’s Dream (09/07/2015)

We’ve been talking a lot about dreams recently, because I have a ton of wild and crazy ones and I like to share them. Earlier this month, Jose came to me and said, “Mom, I had a really weird dream I want to tell you about.” So I said, “Sure!” I’ve copied it word for word (there’s lots of ‘um’s and ‘like’s – he’s 9 and big into verbal pauses – we’re working on it, lol), and meant to share it a couple weeks ago but it totally slipped my mind. I’m sure that never happens to anyone else. 😉

At any rate, here’s Jose’s dream:

“Okay. So we were like going on a trip to Texas, on an airplane. Um, so that guy who was going to, like, fly the plane, for some reason, he told you to fly it to our house. For some reason – into the driveway. Um…

And so… And so when we got there, it was like nighttime because it was evening when we started. And then, so, the guy that….

So when you started off flying, you were on the road, and you kind of… Since you didn’t know how to fly, really, it was only a little ways. We were on the road up by school, and on that split part, that’s where you were. You were driving and then you lifted up and you kept going straight and somehow you got to our house? And um…

When he flew, for some reason, there was people on our plane. Like, there wasn’t when you were flying, but there was now. And like it was morning and we were someplace else, now. And like, he flew straight up very fast, and then he went straight, and then he went straight down, and then he finally started flying regular. But he wasn’t exactly up in the clouds like he was.

And then we landed somewhere for some reason, so… When we landed, like the airplane…. I’m not sure if we got out, but we were in the middle of a desert so there was no town so I’m not sure if we were IN the airplane, but there was this really fancy town that looked like it was London or something. And then…um… So…

And then I appeared in this building, but I was friends with the Penguins from like the Madagascar movies and that penguin movie. But for some reason, two of them had three eyes and the other just had two. [It’s just a goat, it’s just a goat. NOT A GOAT, NOT A GOAT! **laughs**]

And then we were planning up something to go do and after, I was just walking around the town. So while we were doing that, there was just someone that like I saw and talked to, but I don’t remember anything else like getting back on the plane, so that was basically the end of my dream.

But then I was like daydreaming because I was awake and daddy came and asked me if that was the biggest football I had ever seen. So I went to pick it up, but then I realized I was like, doing it in real life? [**mimics pushing self up in bed**] So I flopped back down and I was all warm and comfy so I tried to go back to sleep, but it was already the time I was going to get up.”

The end. 😀

P.S. Here’s updated pictures of Jose. When he saw them, he said, “Mom! I look so old!” **sigh** I know the feeling, kid. 😥

© Jess Legaspi // www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // http://www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // http://www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

P.P.S. The goat thing was a Zathura reference, just in case you didn’t catch that.

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Validation

I want to talk about something today, folks. You probably guessed it from my title, because I didn’t make any attempt to camouflage it. Validation. Specifically the definition: to recognize or affirm the worth of a person or their feelings or opinions. Let me start out by saying that I am completely aware of the fact that validation isn’t necessary, and that sometimes seeking it makes one feel worse about him/herself than just being content, regardless of others’ thoughts on the matter. However, as this topic specifically pertains to my boys – Jose, now almost 9, and Squishy, rapidly approaching 6 – I have to say that I am getting REALLY tired of people in their lives only deigning to offer validation (or finding it necessary to pass uninvited judgment) as long as I’m made aware of one *VERY IMPORTANT* (said with supreme sarcasm on my part) thing:

Their likes/dislikes, desires, dreams, activity choices, etc. may indicate that **gasp** (horror of horrors) they might possibly be gay or fall somewhere on the spectrum not strictly in the MANLY MEN camp.

You know, yeah – maybe that’s true. Maybe as they get older, they will come to me and let me know that they believe that to be the case about themselves. But guess what? And I’m speaking to BOTH (or should that be all?) sides here: THERE IS NOT ONE DAMN THING WRONG WITH THEM IF THEY ENJOY LIVING THE WAY THEY DO AND THEY ARE STRAIGHT, AS WELL. When did it become a rule that nail painting, wanting to do mommy’s hair & makeup, loving My Little Pony, being disappointed we’re not getting the new Tinker Bell movie RIGHT NOW, playing dress up & dancing in a tutu, participating in gymnastics, choosing pink as a favorite color or Queen Elsa as a favorite character, wearing a headband or hair clips – any of these things (or more) – are exclusive privileges awarded only to boys who may be gay/bi/anything other than cismale?
boysIf you are the well meaning more-liberal-than-I friend/family member who sits me down and gently discusses with me the possibility that my son may turn out to be gay in order to give me time to “prepare for that future” and, “What would you do if that were the case?”: thank you, but I really wouldn’t change a damn thing. If they’re gay (etc.) then they’re gay. It will not change how much I love them, my wants, wishes, and desires for them to have a blessed life, whether or not they are welcome in my home, etc. Pretty much all of you know that I am a moderately conservative Christian, so yes, I hold certain biblical beliefs that I may wrestle with regarding the topic, but none of that will change the fact that Jose and Squishy are MY SONS. They were given to me by our Creator God and I do not for one second doubt that He is in ultimate control of everything. So why would I need to worry and fret (which the Bible specifically labels as sin, by the way) about something that was never mine to be anxious over in the first place?

If you are the concerned more-conservative-than-I friend/family member who sits me down and lovingly states that hubby & I need to take a firmer hand in the choices our sons make, because in letting them make their own decisions more often than not, we are letting them choose a slippery slope: I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. There is not one single passage in the Bible that leads me to believe in any way, shape, or form that ANY of the choices our sons have made that we have allowed/upheld are ungodly or sinful. They are CHILDREN. They are supposed to explore & discover, lead by us and their other guardians, and Jose wearing leg warmers to ballet class or Squishy loving & wanting to keep his long hair is not going to create something in them that wasn’t there to begin with. It just doesn’t happen that way. And you know, I have to say that the Jesus I read about in the Bible isn’t someone who beat up on his disciples, watched porn, and fired assault rifles to prove his manliness to those around him. So when you tell me that I need to “toughen up my boys” and “let them be men,” I have to wonder if you’d have told Mary the same thing? And in case you’re worried about their spiritual relationship with God, don’t. You recall that time when Christ displayed anger in a physical manner – like we expect men to do – turning over the tables in the temple and kicking everyone out in righteous indignation for the mockery made of his Father’s house? I can GUARANTEE you that Jose & Squishy would be more than happy to participate in that sort of “manly” activity on God’s behalf. They love the Lord deeply and fully and the suggestion that they can’t possibly be true Men of God if they enjoy traditionally “female” things is ludicrous.

And if you’re the snooty, judgmental, self-righteous person on either side of this debate who wants to look down your nose at me because I’m CLEARLY screwing my kids up for life: leave. Seriously. We don’t need you in our lives. To the room mother surprised that my Christian-school-attending son would be in gymnastics, last time I checked, the entire male Olympic gymnastics team wasn’t gay (and you know damn well you’d still watch the Olympics and root for them, even if they were, so please keep your hypocrisy to yourself). To the former friend who joked how I was going to be so lucky to have shopping buddies to keep me up to date on current fashions when my boys are older (because **wink, wink, nudge, nudge** they’re obviously going to be open to that sort of thing given their proclivities), how dare you? You grew up feeling like you couldn’t be yourself because of how others might judge you and you were terrified to come out, but you automatically pigeonhole my boys because they make effeminate choices sometimes? Isn’t that JUST as bad?
2015-03-14 14.16.21So please, if you are going to give validation for my boys choices, give it because you love them. Because it makes them happy. Because they enjoy what they’re doing. Etc. Don’t only validate them because you think they’re going to need the support. Don’t only validate them because you think you know what their future holds. And don’t WITHHOLD validation from them because you think the choices we have allowed them to make aren’t “manly” enough, especially for “good Christian boys.” And if you can’t deal with these guidelines, then please just keep it to yourself. We don’t need, or want, false validation or self-righteous judgment. Modifying Thumper’s Rule here a bit: “If you don’t have anything nice and genuine to say, don’t say anything at all.” Because it’s gotten old.

Thank you.

Well, it’s not June!

So, at the close of my last update (around 10 months ago) I hoped that my next blog post wouldn’t happen this June. Well, it’s not June! Oh, dear. I have such good intentions for journals, I really do. And I LOVE buying them, holding them in my hands, looking at them, etc. I’m just terrible at writing in them. I had hoped that doing something on the computer would be more conducive to regular entries, but apparently I was wrong. **sigh** Lol.

Well, here’s a little bit about Jose and Squishy, since they’re the reason I’m here!
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Jose is 7 and in 2nd grade now. He was SUPER anxious about going back to school this year (for the first time ever), but has really jumped into things now that he’s there. After the first day of school, he told Daddy, “Second grade is THE BEST!!! I still don’t want to be back to school, but 2nd grade is the best!” 2nd grade is also a lot tougher, come to find out, though he’s rising admirably to the challenge. Honestly, I think 2nd grade is going to be harder for us as parents than it will be for him, simply because we’re really having to start being active and proactive about making sure that everything is done and that we are assisting him in all the areas we need to be doing so. It’s not beating him down at all, but for me it’s being rather overwhelming. Huge, HUGE drawback to having two full-time working parents, honestly. Because, yes, that’s what the position I took last year has turned into. And I know it’s a God thing, but I’m questioning and struggling with how having this job is going to affect our family and especially Jose’s schooling. Back to Jose, though. He’s doing AR again, and will have the test soon to determine the correct level for him to be focusing on this year. This is also the first year that AR will be part of his reading grade. His teacher is a wonderful lady whose children I watched during my time at the YMCA and I am so happy he got her. He’s with his best friend again this year – another blessing. He’s also been seeing Dr. Beth off and on again to help with how the pressures of everything that’s happened in the past couple of years is bearing down on him. We’ve made behavioral changes, nutritional changes, attitude changes, etc. All in all, I’m pretty pleased with how those things have helped guide him back to a mental path where he feels more secure and able to take on the world with the correct reactions. My only issue right now is a strange lack of communication from Dr. Beth herself, which has never been a problem in the past. Working to resolve that now, but I’m worried that if this continues, it will be negative for Jose. But it’s in God’s hands and that’s where I’ll try to leave it. Outside of all that jazz, Jose has also taken up piano and gymnastics, both of which he has a great love and good deal of talent for. I don’t know where either one of those will take him, if anywhere, but for now, it’s enough that he enjoys what he’s doing. He’s also going to be taking the after-school art classes again at least twice this year. He’s currently enrolled in one of the fall sessions, and he’s planning to attend one in Jan/Feb with his best friend. The two of them are also participating in the school’s elementary art club which is in charge of several art installations which will be going up around campus.

Squishy is a bundle of energy and sunshine – in his 2nd year of preschool (actually considered a Pre-K class due to the material they’ll be working on) and will be having class half-day for the 1st semester and full-day for the second to help prepare for kindergarten next year. Life events have started to cause definite character formation in him, though he is still really working on discovering who he is. He is kind, sweet, and sensitive, but he is all boy and reacts in mind-boggling fashion sometimes to the world around him, lol. He is funny as can be, just like his brother before him, but sometimes a lack of filter gets him in trouble… One thing that has really developed and become apparent in him is just how deeply he feels. It isn’t so much that he wears his heart on his sleeve, but rather that his heart is an endless well, which honestly threatens to consume him sometimes. But, he’s only 4 and still has to figure out how much of himself to give to various parts of his life – right now he wants to give 200% of himself to everything and everyone, and that leaves him stretched really thin. Preschool is going very well and he’s having a blast! He loves his two teachers this year (Miss Michelle, whom Jose also had, and Miss Jen, who is new) and wants to do everything in his power to never disappoint them. He’s having some trouble with classmates simply because there are a lot of very strong personalities in the class this year, and he is one of the youngest students, but he’s really making strides in standing up for himself, knowing when to walk away, and knowing when to involve a teacher. Also (and this is a big blessing!) he’s been doing an EXCELLENT job of remembering to use his words instead of his hands to get his point across. For so long, when he was frustrated, it was simpler to just shove whoever he was angry with, but he’s maturing quickly in his kinder-prep environment and it’s amazing to see the difference between toddler and young man that’s rapidly occurring in him. Squishy is also a spiritual blessing for me. This isn’t to say that Jose isn’t, because he certainly is in his own way, but Squishy just sees things differently. He is very open and perceptive and comes to me with questions, statements, and dreams that often blow me away. He’ll talk about playing with Grandpa Bud (who passed away before Jose was even born) in the backyard, or come sit and tell me about when he was in heaven before he was born. He also has reoccurring dreams about what he calls his “alone house” where all sorts of events take place that are detailed and vivid and often include people he knows in various stages of their lives. It’s a little scary sometimes, honestly, but mostly, I just wish I could sit and listen to him forever before the weight and sin of the world squash whatever this beautiful and innocent spiritual connection he currently has with God out of him.

My two boys are so opposite from one another and yet so alike in sometimes terrifying ways. I wish I could protect them from all loss and hurt, especially since they seem to have experienced both in extraordinary quantities for ones so young. Yes, I realize they have lead charmed lives compared to the great majority of the world’s child population, but in that charmed life, there can still be pain. Friends coming in and out of their lives. Loved ones who are no longer part of their world due to the changing needs and relationships of those who first introduced them. The realization that girls and boys grow up and may not always be able to remain best friends, because of what life dictates (I can’t even listen to “Best of Friends” from The Fox and The Hound without tearing up.) Being teased by friends or family – such a simple silly thing to the ones doing the teasing, but such a blow to the heart of one who sees the world differently. Their aunt, whom they knew for such a short amount of time, yet fell so head over heels for, passing away from cancer this past February. Even simple things like their fish, hamster, or the mama bird at school dying. And there is so much more. It just seems to compound to the point of night terrors, lashing out in anger, and breaking down sobbing for no apparent reason until they realize what the root cause of their heartache is. They love the people in their lives with every fiber of their being and are intense and serious in that love to the point that rejection (even something as small as a roll of the eyes and a, “Really?” regarding a t-shirt worn with such pride prior to said reaction) is a devastating experience.

And my problem and dilemma is one my mother faced with me: Do I sit them down and explain the hard and hurtful truth that not everyone is going to love them or even like them and that they need to toughen up? Or do I allow them to continue pouring themselves out to those they care for, all the while knowing how much hurt that can bring them? Do I rip off their rose-colored glasses or do I let them find out the harsh reality as it happens in time? Do I strip away their childish innocence for the sake of attempting to protect them from further pain, adding onto the glimpses they’ve already caught until they are cynical and flippant, making jokes out of any and every situation? Do I allow them to continue as they are, knowing they’ll be called wimps, pussies, mama’s boys, and worse if I let them cry when they need to cry and allow them to fully experience ALL human emotions? Is there some sort of happy medium between these two extremes???? At least, when it was me, I was a girl so most of those thing were considered more “acceptable” and less likely to make me a target (though I still managed to paint a pretty large bullseye on myself without really being aware of it.) But I’m raising two ultra-sensitive, crazy, loving, neurotic, artistic, athletic, intelligent, inquisitive, passionate, silly, somber (and more!) boys in a world that STILL after ALL this time seems to have a very definite picture of what a “real man” is and what he is not. And I don’t know if I’m prepared to handle the heartache that comes from that.

Now that I’ve rambled quite far down a rabbit trail I didn’t even see I was on, in closing a quote comes to mind (out of context, yes, but the sentiment is the same, entirely):

“‘I can bear pain myself,’ he said softly, ‘but I couldna bear yours. That would take more strength than I have.'” ~ Jamie Fraser, Outlander

Dying From 10,000 Papercuts

“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.  Or take ships as an example.  Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants it to go.  Likewise, the tongues is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.  Consider what a great forest is set on a fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.  It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing.  My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” ~James 3:3-10

I have been embarrassed, humiliated, and saddened by things that have come out of my mouth – and this all under normal life circumstances.  When I pair my lack of self-control over my mouth with a stressful day, a cranky or unwieldy child, lack of sleep, fatigued husband, or any number of other situations that can be burdensome, the results are…  well…  extraordinarily shameful, to say the least.  As a parent, adult, teacher, leader, and caregiver I know right from wrong, how I should act/what I should say, and the consequences that can come when I fail to live according to the will and plan of God.  I am held to a higher standard and come under greater scrutiny before the Lord because of the influence I hold in my various roles and the fact that, simply put, I know better.  As someone who has been a Christian for two decades, my level of maturity (i.e. my ability to control my tongue) really ought to be higher than it is.

My tongue can direct, destroy, or bless.  Through the grace of God, I can claim to be someone who has a pretty good handle on using my tongue for appropriate direction of those under my influence and for blessing pretty much everyone in my life, in one way or another.  However, the destruction my tongue brings – especially to Jose and Squishy – all but outweighs the benefits it brings.  And this is terribly distressing to me because it is out of the overflow of the heart that the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34, Luke 6:45.)  Knowing that, if angry, hurtful, inconsiderate, cutting, bitter, biting, rude, careless, condescending, cold, insincere, unfair, and selfish garbage is what comes out of my mouth more than anything else, what does that mean about the content of my heart??  What is pouring into my heart and mind – the wisdom of the world, which comes from Satan himself, or the wisdom of God?

A single spark can set an entire forest on fire.  In the same way, little remarks, insults, words of disapproval, etc. are like tiny little papercuts to my children.  And I am killing them with 10,000 papercuts – the words from my mouth.  Do I make Jose and Squishy safe, worthwhile, and valuable through my words?  Or am I reckless?  Piercing them with words like swords?  What kind of effect are my words having on my children?  Yes!  I make sure there is no doubt in their minds that I love them.  I tell them daily, I show them through my actions, I praise and thank them, I build them up, I teach them the Word, I guide, direct, instruct, help, comfort, edify, and soothe them.  But when they lay down at night, is it the, “I love you”s and “You are so special!”s they remember?  Or is it the, “Don’t act so stupid!”s, the “Why are you so naughty??”s, and the “Would you just shut up!!”s????  I know for myself that I hold onto the negatives in life far longer than the positives – why would my children be any different?  I can’t dismiss the backlash my words have on others just because I am a woman and women are known for being harpies, bitches, gossipers, shrews, etc.  It’s not an excuse and it is not in line with God’s will.

So, what can I do?  I can pray, be in the Word, study alone and in groups, pray, seek the council of fellow Christians, upright leaders, and the Spirit, align myself with God, pray, and above all, pray!  Pray for heavenly wisdom – wisdom that is pure, clean, wholesome, selfless, peace-loving, considerate of others, deliberate and careful to take other’s thoughts and feelings into account, submissive (having a readiness and willingness to yield to others where I can when it is not against God), compassionate and merciful, empathetic, sympathetic, fair, sincere, and which reaps a harvest of righteousness.

“Is anyone among you in trouble?  Let them pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let them sing songs of praise.  Is anyone among you sick?  Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with the oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up.  If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.  Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”  ~James 5:13-16

A prayer life is the mark of a mature Christian, just as is control over the tongue.  And if I pray earnestly for the will of God (not just trying to get him to do what I want, when I want), he will work on my behalf.  The passage says that it is prayers of the righteous that are powerful and effective.  The problem is that the Bible also tells us that there is none righteous – no, not one! (Romans 3:10)  So how can my prayers change anything?  What is all that praying about my tongue situation really going to accomplish?  Where can I get the righteousness I need?  From Christ himself.  At the moment of my salvation, His righteousness was transferred to me – I need to pray on the basis of HIS righteousness.  God is not required or forced to do anything as a result of my prayer, but the earnest prayer of a righteous woman immediately causes God to act on her (my!) behalf.

So does this mean that if I pray through Christ for self-control regarding my tongue, I will immediately be given the ability to never again speak in anger, frustration, bitterness, etc?  Probably not.  Yes, God could do that for me, if it was His will.  But it is more likely that this will be a process.  I may not get exactly what I want, but God will move in new and fresh ways to bring about His will in my life – a will that includes heavenly wisdom in speaking to others, especially Jose and Squishy.  If I want to mature in my faith and gain control over my tongue, I must pray on the basis of Christ’s righteousness and patiently wait on the compassionate and sovereign God to move on my behalf.  I can’t run ahead of God’s time-table, despite my suffering for the things I’ve said and the pain I’ve caused (and will likely still cause) in the lives of my children, and others.  I must not give up on prayer – or use prayer to beat up on God – when I feel He doesn’t respond “quickly enough.”  God knows what He’s doing, He is pursuing the best for me, and I have to trust the work He’s doing behind the scenes.

Okay, You Can Stop Anytime!

Growing up, that is. Jose lost his first tooth today (well, yesterday, as it’s after 1am…) He only just noticed it was loose yesterday, and now it’s out! 😯 I know this is the right age, but it just really hit me hard that he is truly getting older. I’m not sure what I expected, particularly after my most recent post, but I’m just not ready for this!!! 😦 And yet, there’s no stopping it…

But it is a time of congratulations for him! He put his tooth under his pillow and wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy, asking her if she could please give his tooth to me instead of keeping it. He wants to have them when he’s grown up, lol. 😀 He’ll wake up to a Littlest Pet Shop puzzle and a reply from her. 😉 Here’s a picture of his new smile!

One Month+ (Now with Johnny Appleseed Pic!)

Jose and Mrs. Teacher


Well, here I am, taking forever to update again. Surprised? 😉 Didn’t think so. At any rate, I’m taking a little time tonight to reflect on the past month (plus.) Jose started Kindergarten on August 24 (see picture above of him with his teacher the day before school started), and he has changed so much just in this short amount of time. It’s as though this vast source of knowledge has been opened in his brain and it all comes tumbling forth in wondrous proportions. I am amazed daily by my child and the incredible amount of information he has seemed to suddenly assimilate in such a minute portion of his life. Here’s an example of what I mean:

  • Counts to 200 with little hesitation and few (if any) mistakes
  • Repeats/explains Biblical stories, such as Creation or the fall in the Garden of Eden, with precise detail and knowledgeable application of the principles presented therein
  • Creates patterns incorporating up to four different shapes and colors
  • Writes sentences and creates (not just draws, but uses scissors, paints, glue, whatever it takes) illustrations, such as: “the hELuctR And the pilit” = “The helicopter and the pilot.”
  • Solves fairly difficult mazes with apparent effortlessness
  • Comes home and copies concepts done at school, explaining why they were done that way, to show us what he’s been learning

    Jose was learning about x-rays in class

  • Memorizes one or two sentence Bible verses every week
  • Displays an awareness of a variety of sight words, including (but certainly not limited to): and, the, a, an, he, she, go, we, me, it
  • Rhymes words with ease, sometimes even coming up with complex rhymes
  • Identifies beginning and end sounds in many words

And again, these are just some of the multitude of things he blows me away with on a daily basis.  I am honestly not trying to brag or somehow toot my own horn for my son’s accomplishments.  I am just in utter shock at how much he has absorbed, how quickly it’s happened, and how well he’s retaining concepts that I distinctly remember not learning until 1st or 2nd grade.  I don’t know how today’s early childhood teachers manage to cram in everything that state standards require them to pass on to the kids at such young ages, but it is apparent that Jose’s teacher is doing something right.

The best part?  Jose loves school.  LOVES IT.  Even when he was having a small issue with one of the other students last month, he never once indicated in any way that he didn’t want to go.  He loves learning, loves being with the other kids, loves sharing what he was taught that day.  Sometimes he loves doing one thing or another a little too much, goes overboard, and ends up on yellow, but hey – I TOTALLY understand how that . . .  squirrel!!! :mrgreen: And in just this month+ that he’s been there, so much has happened in class!  He’s already been star student, meaning he got to bring home the class “pet”, Stella (a plush Mario star, lol), and had special activities every day centered around the class finding out more about him – from an “about me” poster, to having momma (me) come in and read to the class, it was a fun week all around.

He made a best friend before school even started – the day before to be exact.  At “get acquainted day”, we met the other students in his class, and I knew before he even told me, which student would be his best friend – a pretty girl who has just turned 6 and is taller and slightly better at everything than the other kids.  Want to know how I knew she’d be his best friend?  The first thing she did was boss him around, and tell him what he needed to be doing on his treasure hunt.  He has a serious pattern when it comes to his best friends – bossy girls who love to spend time with him, playing pretty much any game he dreams up.  With their own rules added, of course. 😀

The class has had a Johnny Appleseed week, ending in a dress up like Johnny day (I don’t have a picture on this computer, but I’ll try to remember to come back and post one later.)

Here's the picture! And yeah, I know that's the wrong kind of pot, but his ginormous head was too massive for our single handled pots, lol. Besides, they made paper ones in school that they actually wore.


They’ve made it almost through the entire alphabet and will be having an alphabet party at the end of this week.  They go to computers, library, P.E., art, music, and Spanish at least once a week.  They try new foods in class, practice things on the SMART board, and learn little class “cheers” (which Jose LOVES to repeat, as long as he’s not being too shy.) 😛  They have chapel twice a month, and the Lord really speaks to Jose’s heart during those times.  There is so much more that I know I’m forgetting, but I am just a little overwhelmed (in a really good way!) at all the changes being wrought in my little boy.

I was so worried that I was somehow sending him off into the great unknown, unprepared for what he would face, when it turns out I was the one woefully unprepared for just how well he’d blossom and how incredible he’d turn out to be in his new environment. 😳

Update on Jose and the ADD/ADHD/Autism Question!!!!!

Well, I just went back and looked at my very first post and I realized that I never ever updated you guys on anything regarding the possibility of Jose having ADD/ADHD or something on the Autism spectrum!!! 😳 So, I thought that while it was on my mind, I’d address that.

To start out with, he has not been officially diagnosed with anything at all, so we haven’t had to get into any type of education plans with his school.  That may change at a later date, but I’ll explain that further in.  So, we had been seeing Dr. Beth Onufrak (excellent licensed child psychologist – I want to get her name out there for people seeking help as she deals SPECIFICALLY with children ages 3-8!) on a fairly regular basis.  Of course, the very first thing we had done was address all of our concerns about Jose with her and she led us through a very detailed inventory/questionnaire that is used to pinpoint specific areas to focus on with a child.

The results made it clear that while he does have control issues and obsessive qualities, he falls outside of the autism spectrum, so that was a relief!  Not that we would have loved him any less or felt as though there was something inherently wrong with him if he had been given an official diagnosis, but that would have been such a huge burden and it made breathing just a little easier knowing we wouldn’t have to bear that cross.  In regards to the question of ADD/ADHD, whether or not he does have one of those disorders, it hasn’t affected him as of yet to the point that it is interfering with his life.  Therefore, we set that concern aside for now, and will return to it in the future (if needed) once we see how he does in the full-time school setting.  If we feel that things are becoming too difficult for him to handle, we will talk to Dr. Beth about revisiting possible treatment/therapy.

So, what did we talk about in our visits?  Well, as I mentioned above, he has issues with control and obsessiveness.  Basically, because he is quite intelligent, he wants to be able to do everything that adults can, and it frustrates the LIFE out of him when he can’t!  He wants to do things his way, and he’s convinced that is way is the ONLY right way; when things don’t turn out how he expects them to, it’s very difficult for him to cope. 😦 Dr. Beth worked with Jose on flexibility and talking about things instead of keeping them bottled up inside.

For example: They would play a game where two of the puppets went to McDonald’s and knew EXACTLY what they wanted to order.  (Jose always wanted to be the server/cashier.)  One of the puppet’s orders would always have something wrong (no ranch dressing, only chicken nuggets when they wanted a cheeseburger, etc.) and that puppet would start to have a huge fit.  The other puppet would talk to the first one about how to be flexible in a situation like that, and Jose would be drawn into the conversation to try and work out the best way for the upset puppet to react and handle the fact that things didn’t go as planned.  <<<<This was an EXCELLENT tool and Jose still employs what he learned. 🙂

Another tool Dr. Beth gave us to use was an un-chart.  As opposed to something like a chore chart where completing specific duties is required, this is way to earn stickers and rewards for exhibiting excellent behavior that we want to see repeated.  Jose chose a picture of Caillou (two actually – one where he’s mad and one where he’s glad) and puts Littlest Pet Shop stickers on it whenever he earns one.  Still not sure what I mean?  Let me explain: Say Jose is met with an upsetting situation, and rather than having a fit about it, he says, “It’s okay, etc…”, he earns a sticker.  Or perhaps he displays wonderful character qualities without being prodded to – he gets a sticker!  I realize this may seem silly and as though we are rewarding behavior that we should EXPECT in the first place; I know I went into it feeling kind of like that.  But let me tell you, it works!  By acknowledging and specifically detailing the type of actions and mannerisms we want to see from Jose on a regular basis, he now better understands and can exhibit those types of behaviors.  The change has been amazing!  Not saying things are perfect – he IS a five-year-old boy after all – but thinking about where we were 6 months ago and where we are now?  Totally worth the time, effort, AND money. 😀

After seeing Dr. Beth on a weekly and then bi-weekly basis through the end of June, Jose improved so drastically that we are only going in on a need-to basis at this point.  If things start getting more out of hand again (ex: fits lasting longer than 5 minutes and/or happening more frequently than 2 times a month) we may begin regularly scheduled visits for a time, but as of now, neither we nor Dr. Beth feel it is necessary.  Do you know what an amazing feeling that is????  We are so proud of Jose and all the progress he’s made.  We see him put into practice what he’s learned on a daily basis – even just tonight, when Squishy broke his mini Etch-a-Sketch.  In the past, this would have put him into an inconsolable rage that lasted quite awhile before he could be calmed down.  Tonight, his face crumpled, and he started crying, but got it under control easily within the 5 minute time-limit.  It helped that we had a movie playing, which distracted him, but in the past, that wouldn’t have made a bit of difference.  WOO HOO!!! :mrgreen:

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