Thursday, October 30, 2008

Making strides

While conferences were a nightmare ( moreso due to Braeden than Iain; that kid just can't stay in his seat ), I cannot help but sit back and smile when I see Iain.

That kid has come so far since school started in September. He knows over half of his letters on sight now ( versus two in August ), a handful of numbers ( none in August ) and he's soaking up the learning process like mad.

He's still way behind, and we have a long way to go before he'll be even close to caught up, but he's a bright kid, and eager to learn. Once the data gets in there, it sticks and he runs with it.

Walking club wrapped up yesterday, until Spring. Bubba came in with a third foot on his bracelet ( every time they walk a mile / fill their punch card, they get a little plastic foot ), fourth card punched twice and grinning like a toothy jack-o-lantern.

Pretty impressive considering that they only walk one day a week for half an hour.

Being the sourpuss snot that she can be, Jennah had to point out that Harrison ( a classmate of hers ) had four feet and a fifth card.. to which I reminded her that Harrison is a full three years older and three grades higher than Iain, so he should be doing better, and that by third grade, if Iain continues to do so well, he'll have a better record than the one currently held by said althetic and entusiastic young man ( no offense to the boy intended. I rather like the kid, and his mom ).

Steal Iain's thunder be damned.

I generally let that stuff go because Iain doesn't mind, but it felt like a situation that needed some minor defending. A grateful smile confirmed that Mom's interfering was the right thing to do.

There is homework everyday now, and once Bub grasps what he needs to do, he's finished in minutes and on to the next task.
Watching that happen... seeing him recognize words and attempt to read from memory from his weekly books... it's just so cool. Three years ago we started bracing ourselves for the expense of tutors and the rigors of special education, working with him as much as he could handle without causing a sensory overload, hoping and praying that even a fraction of what we were doing would take hold, and that at some evental point, that kid would be able to function on a semi-normal level.

The other day, we were going through his sight word list, and out of the blue he pointed at a word and said "That's 'like', Momma." closed his eyed and spelled "L-I-K-E" and I almost bawled. He'd never done that before. It took a combined effort from his teachers, Chris and myself, over a school year, for him to spell and recognize his first name. Other words have never been an option before now.

I'm pretty sure that the rest of the night would've sucked on average... dinner came out wrong, and I think that kids were put in time out. But it didn't matter. Not to me.
I was too busy being on a success high. Iain was so proud of himself, but nearly as proud as I was of him.

Now that I am older and wiser ( and have spent countless hours beating my head into the wall, sobbing in frustration and pouring over books and websites looking for anwsers ), I realize that some of the things that Iain's disability has fostered within him are some of the things that make him wonderful.

Even on his worst day, that child is so full of compassion. He'll stop whatever he's doing to help someone else. Cheerfully, without complaint, and always sympathetic to the other person's situation. Being helpful makes him happy, even if it is frustrating ( for others, as well as himself ) when he has a melt down because he wants so badly to help, but the aid just isn't needed right at that moment.

His strength - both physically and mentally - is amazing. I don't think that any of us would've done as well as we have without his unyielding resilience. Some days it drives me up a wall, but others days, it's the only drive that I have.

It's doubtful that school will ever come as easily for Iain as it does for his sister. Studious and serious, Jennah is exceptional. She'll go as far as she allows herself to, and accomplish great things.
Nor will he have the charisma or the ease that comes so naturally for Braedy. Whatever is not attained through ready absorption ( Braeden has always been far above average and a very quick learner ), he'll coast through based on his charm and witty demeanor - something is already causing some issues for us, both at school and in everyday activities.

Iain is awesome in his own way. Eager and in his own time, affectionate, his smile lights up the room. It isn't easily earned, though he is always friendly, and when Iain learns to like you, it feels like a gift from God himself.
Someday he will build great things with those busy little hands, and I hope that he continues to be as kind when he's forty as he is at age six.

No mother has a favorite ( or at least they shouldn't ), but no matter how angry I get, no matter how frustrated I become, even if it's with him, I'm a sucker for that kid.

Thankfully he doesn't know it... or rather, he doesn't use it. He's too humble for that.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I can't wait to see what sort of goofball face Iain will pull when I ask him to hold still for the camera and smile. He'll be the most cockeyed pirate in the parade, and I'll love him that much more for it.