March 19, 2014

Taking that next step

For Jewish people Tuesday is a lucky day. It is supposed to be doubly-good (I really have no better way to translate it). I wish my Tuesdays would get the memo. I had a horrible day, where things continued to overwhelm me and I was looking at all the tables in our house trying to find one I could crawl under. In an attempt to relax and take my mind off things I did laundry. How pathetic is that? Obviously it didn't help but at least everyone has clean sheets and I had the perfect hiding place - under the laundry. 
But you know what they say about finding the silver lining and all that so this is not another dark hopeless post but one about the pots of gold I found today.

The first one was all those comments I got which, together with massive amounts of chocolate (I ran out of cake) got me through the morning. 
When I wrote on Monday about my anxiety attack and how bad I was feeling these past few weeks, for the first time since I started my blog I hesitated before pressing the "Publish" button. I know it's weird coming from someone whose blog is all about the most intimate things that happens in all our lives, but somehow that post felt so much more personal and private and publishing it felt like bearing my soul. I was worried people would laugh at me or belittle my feelings or just look at my post and say "oh, grow up already. Life is tough and it's past time you learnt it". To be honest, I am not really used to having people aside from Hidai and my parents who worry about me, and I was totally unprepared for the amount of positive feedback I got, and all the people who commented and wrote and worried about me. It helped so much, so I just wanted to say a gigantic thank you to everyone.
The second was Ron. Last week was a rough week for him in school with his one-on-one talk with his teacher going from bad to worse and our understanding that it is time to take him for a formal gifted-kids-assessment (also known as an IQ test) if we want to stop being "those parents". We had a talk with his head-teacher on Thursday about letting him go even more forward, and letting him prove what his limits are and fixing the fact that he got the impression the school doesn't care about him. I know it is going to sound silly, but we worry constantly about Ron's education. To be honest the school system isn't very helpful in that and gifted kids rarely get treated like SEN kids, though they are, and they don't get ELPs or professional advisors and meetings to discuss their progress. It is so hard to find teachers who understand gifted kids, who thinks of them as needing extra help and attention, because it is so hard and so important to keep them challenged and interested and prevent them from becoming underachievers. We are very lucky that our head-teacher sees things eye-to-eye with us and she set to fix what needed to fixing. As a result Ron had what he considers the funnest day of school - he got to do some level 6 maths tests from 9:30am till 2pm and in between tests he talked to the head-teacher about his goals for the next half-term. Add to that he got to participate in a special maths course that is being given in a local secondary school, and they had some questions from the Junior Maths Challenge and he got them all correct. You have never seen such a happy boy.
The third was Yon. When Yon got diagnosed I didn't have time to think or to feel or to do anything but try to accumulate enough material to make sure we are giving him the best help we can. When your child is diagnosed with a disability you go through the process of grief, complete with all the trimmings and stages. I have no idea what stage we are at now, most days it's acceptance with a dash of denial I would guess. But the thing I found is that no matter what stage you are on, you always have that one thing that bother you most, some tiny fear or anger or sadness about something he will never be able to do. It could be that he'll never play sports, or that he could never drive, or that he might need a cane. For me, it is that he won't be able to read. I love books, always have. Books, and love of reading, were the one most important thing I wanted to give both my kids. Ron learned to read when he was two years old, not because he enjoyed reading but because he enjoyed the learning process and the patterns he discovered within. I wasn't the one who managed to convince him books that are not about football are interesting, that honour is reserved to his last year teacher to whom I will always be grateful. Since he discovered reading is fun, he has become a regular bookworm and is now stealing my Kindle every chance he gets.
But with Yon it is much more complicated. How do you teach a child with 40% vision to read? How do you teach him to enjoy a whole book when you are not sure he can read a sentence? How do you teach someone to read when the letters keep moving in front of their eyes and they need to read each letter individually? Yon didn't want to learn. He is so different from Ron, and learning through visual aids is not his thing at all. But reading requires visual learning. Add to that the fact that he doesn't like to be taught at all, or being told what to do, and you get a problem. Yon taught himself the letters and sounds from listening repeatedly to songs on YouTube, and then over the summer I convinced him "to be like Ron" and do some workbooks which were mostly doodling and made sure he was prepared for reception.
What I wasn't prepared for, was how good his reception teacher is with him, and how much he came to enjoy learning to read. Today he came home from school and was so extremely proud of himself because he got his new reading book. It was an Oxford Reading Tree level 4 book (a year 1 book) and a note saying he is the most advance reader in his class.
Sometimes there are days when you look around and you ask yourself how am I supposed to go on? How am I supposed to climb this new mountain? Then you open your eyes and see a nine years old conquer every new challenge you put in front of him and a tiny not even five years old overcome blindness without ever loosing his smile, and you see a world full of people who care, and suddenly it becomes a bit easier to take that next step.

I am linking this post with the wonderful Small Steps Amazing Achievements linky over at Ethan's Escapades because I've missed it, and the Siblings linky because of this photo of my two dudes :)

I hope you enjoyed reading the post :) I would really appreciate two minutes of your time and a vote in the writer or family categories in the BiB blog awards - Just press the photo and copy in my URL -
Thank you very much!

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