Friday, June 7, 2013


Wednesday was not great, culminating in a standoff for the last two hours of the day in which he basically wouldn't participate or follow instructions.

Thursday was pretty good. Friday was great. So great, in fact, that it represents the high point of the 14 full days and end of the third week. With minimal wrangling, he did the assignments, giving a good effort, and achieving as much or more today as he has in any day during the previous three weeks. Coming on the heels of a similar (but much shorter) day Thursday, it's easily the best two-day stretch as well.

What changed?

I'm not sure. He has a sister who just completed a freshman year in college, and now he is spending after-school in her care as opposed to at after-care, which he expressed dislike for. This week he started that.

There are just too many variables I don't know about to be able to definitively assess what's working or not working for him. All I know is that the last two days this week were encouraging.

I was worried about today seeing as how the previous two days were almost polar opposites. Plus I was out late last night, and really tired.

He started out earlier than any previous day, almost on time at 8:55. The start was not without some challenges... his food intake has been a question from the get-go. In the first half-hour, he was mouthy, disruptive and unfocused. Fortunately that wound down, but about the time the situation normalized, it was almost time for music.

I don't know what it is about music, but he doesn't like it. He's said many times that he "hates" music and "hates" the teacher. I kind of like the teacher, myself. Anyway, he's balked every time. The first week, we stalled in the hall for almost the entire half-hour class time, with me only able to get him in therefor about the last five minutes of class time. Last week was a similar grind, although he wound up going and having a decent experience.

Today I bargained with him: I set my clock timer to make a funny noise at five minutes. The deal was, we'd go in, he'd sit quietly and participate fully for five minutes. When the alarm went off, if he wanted we could do something else.

The poor kid is at risk of being a terrible judge of time, because I rigged the game on him.

Once he sat down, I showed him the start of the timer. But he didn't see me keep pausing it. After about 20 minutes I could see that his interest was dipping. So I let the thing time out and asked him if he wanted to do something else. He did.

I had brought some letter puzzles where you match the letter with a small picture that starts with the letter. He not only did well with it, but he best of all did it quietly at the back of the classroom, not disturbing the others as they continued with music.

Big win.

He had a similar big step Thursday with some classroom math. If we can get him to give it a go, spoon-feed him a bit to feel some success, and know when to call it a day, he can make those baby steps.

On Friday, science was the scary next thing. But he pulled up his chair near the front of the workspace, and dug into it. He drew some barnacles, well, and I helped him with the word-writing part of the project. It was a big step beyond what had happened the last two times.


I am beginning to think he's truly left-brain. He's an artist. Late in the day the kids had some options, and he chose to paint. He drew a nice piece of work and seemed comfortable there. He shared when other kids wanted to use some of his colors, he didn't say anything out of place and he turned out a decent piece of six-year-old work. He named it "Sossya."

And then he said he made it for me.

It was everything I could do not to cry, and the same is true now.

It was a good day. Even the teacher noticed it and lauded his effort. A great way to go into the weekend.


Fridays are my favorite school day, because of the morning dance party. It's just adorable.

Today was rainy, so recess involved indoor activities. The class had also earned a special day, and after a vote chose pajamas day. So the kids wore pajamas to class, and were also allowed to bring a stuffed animal.

I believe that there are signs all around us, but that we often aren't looking for them so we miss them. Coincidences happen, but they're pretty common. I don't count those.

I have seen signs, and many times they were practically screaming at me to listen. I learned to.

A few months back I detailed being in one of these classrooms and working with a student who happens to be related to a man I worked with almost 20 years ago. I thought that was way beyond mere coincidence. It told me that I was absolutely in the right place. The cosmic tumblers that had to fall in place for it to happen were so astronomical that it would be easier to win three lottos in a row by comparison.

So when the little dude brought in his stuffed animal today, it stunned me. It was a little red RAZORBACK.

Hippos, rhinos, zebras are all rare. A Razorback hog is one-of-a-kind. And in Massachusetts? What are the odds? There can't be many of those. And this kid has one?

I'm listening, universe. You have my attention.

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