Bright & Shiny & Full of Win

Pomp & Circumstance


So that...figured.

Despite all my big talk and confidence on Friday, Ezra completely freaked out and melted down at his first belt test. It was held in a different room, with a different instructor, and Ezra decided to show his displeasure with these changes by being as obstinate as humanly possible. 

"Okay, boys and girls, everybody please sit criss-cross applesauce facing me."

Ezra sits criss-cross applesauce facing the opposite side of the room.

"Everybody line up in a straight line right here."

Ezra plops himself down in a random corner, seven feet away.

"Everybody stand up."

Ezra sits down.

"Everybody sit down."

Ezra stands up.

Aaaaaaaaand ecetera. 

I pulled him aside on at least two different occasions and told him we'd need to go home if he didn't start...uh, where to begin? Cooperating? Listening? Participating? Doing everything that is the exact opposite of what you are doing right now? 

He did not want to leave. He cried and begged to stay when I offered him his shoes, which made me feel just great, super great, I'm so glad we're spending a ton of money every month for this enriching experience, but then he would re-join his class and remain completely paralyzed by stage fright or shyness or general being-four-ness. 

Luckily, the program has pretty low standards when it comes to the preschoolers, and they let Ezra stomp on his board and get a new belt, mostly to boost his confidence for next time. Hooray, everyone's a winner! 


He was clearly thrilled.


So was Ike.

On Saturday we got to experience that thrill ALL OVER AGAIN, when it was Noah's turn. And of course, since he was the one I was worried about (he's been really struggling with attention and impulse control in class lately, to the point that I wasn't sure he was going to be allowed to take the belt test), he completely rocked it the fuck out. 


Noah's test took me by surprise in another way, too: I didn't realize it would officially mark his graduation to the next level of the program, the one for eight-to-12 year olds. He's still only seven, so I mistakenly assumed that he'd kick around in the same class until his birthday. 

Nope. Starting today he'll attend the big kid class, with a new instructor, officially on his way to a real honest-to-God black belt. 

We also have an IEP meeting this afternoon.

No suspense or surprises this time, though, since I already know the team's recommendations and agree with them. Today we will come up with a transition plan to move Noah 100% back into the general education classroom by the end of this school year. 

Uh-uh. That sentence. I just typed that sentence. 

He'll still have an IEP next year and goals and specialized support in the classroom, but he will no longer be pulled out of general education.

Yes. That sentence just happened too. 

And it's the right call, as much as I kind of not-so-secretly love that Noah has essentially been getting one-on-one tutoring this year as the highest-functioning kid in a very, VERY small classroom. He does just as well in the regular classroom and he actually gets his best grades in the gen-ed subjects. Overall is progress has been (as his teachers all put it) "AMAZING." It's time to step up the game now.

Sometimes I thought this day would never come. 


And yet I always knew this day would come. 




Hurray to both Ezra and Noah for their many achievements!

Hurray to you also for being such an amazing mom to all 3 of your boys!


Awwww. I am so proud of Noah!
And Ezra will come around. like you said, he's only 4!


The last sentence made me cry. Good on ya, Noah, Jason and Amy.


My nephew, age 6, got to break a board on Saturday. It was a festival-type thing, and he wasn't with his "class", but with a lot of other people. He was shy and didn't want to go warm up with the other kids until my Dad got his teacher to get him to move from his seat-- one "Come on, let's hit the mat!' and he was gone. He broke his board, then turned one half and broke it again. So, now he's out of the "Little Tigers" group and into the "Big Kids" group. And he got two trophies, so he was quite thrilled.


Okay, I don't mean this as rude and if you read it like that, please feel free to delete. I read your blog (and have for years) because I have a kid who's the same age as Noah with similar special ed needs. I think it's awesome that you and his educators think he's ready for gen ed. However last week when you posted his work, it seemed like his writing was very significantly below the level that I see in my son's first grade class (although I'd say his illustrations were at least on level if not more advanced).

If you disagree with this, I wouldn't disagree with you because you're his mother so you're correct. Obviously there are varying levels of ability in any class. But I would love it if you'd post more details about how you and his educators plan to transition him out of the extra help he receives and still get him up to the level of writing expected of a 7+ year old.

It's very hard to find specifics about the experiences of our kind of kids so I really do read with the their best interests in mind. I apologize if this is too nosy or comes off as rude.

Tanis Miller

YAAAAY for all the things!!


Yay Noah!!


Ah, progress. It's a beautiful thing, but it can give you that feeling of having stepped off a cliff. Best of luck to all those moving up and on!


Yeah and hurrah on the tallest of your kiddos being a rock star and growing and all, but WHAT ARE YOU WEARING IN THE LAST PICTURE?! I love your denim-ish dress and was just Googling around for one.


Congrats to both your simply adorable, simply wonderful little men!




Oh God, Amy, I'm crying, I am so happy for Noah.


Oh, wow. Congratulations all around!


Woooooooooooooo! I knew this day would come for Noah. So thrilled!


Eyes welling up and wild applause!

Yea, Noah, yea!


@Mary Thanks for asking a good question and phrasing that so very not-rudely. Noah will still have at least 10+ pages of IEP goals, most of them reading/writing and OT related. We'll be discussing OT services today (currently he gets only 30 minutes a month for handwriting, I would not be surprised if that gets upped as his time in the spec ed room is reduced). One of the goals actually relates to drawing and getting him to move beyond stick figures.

As for writing, some of that may be differing curriculums -- Noah can already read/write/spell all 100 first grade sight words. Those are the words they seem to really care about. As for everything else, Noah was specifically "scaffolded" this year to help him take more risks when he writes and not be so rigid about spelling errors and such. It was a huge barrier for his reading and writing that he refused to make a mistake and sound things out himself.

He does that now, so now we're entering the realm of spelling tests and memorizing words rather than phonetics. I think his guided writing projects are much closer to grade level than the stuff that's like, "here, go write a story." (The "If I Were President" booklet was not a guided project.)

He's also a leftie and comes from a family that has some truly horrific handwriting on both sides. (Mine is fine; my dad's and my siblings = chicken scratch.) (Jason's is also awful.) So genetics might not be one his side there, alas.


Way to go Noah! So proud of him and you and the whole family! Tearful happy dance over here.

And I must say, it's nice seeing you IN the pictures and not just the one taking them.


People keep making me cry in their blog posts today.

You're no exception, missy.


And now I'm having all the feels....

Congrats to Noah and Ezra (and you, Awesome Mommy)!


Thank you for the answer, very interesting. Notice I didn't mention spelling because at this age I know they're encouraged to sound it out rather than only use a word if it's spelled right. It's a shame to beat that out of them too since the sounded-out spelling is so cute! It is very impressive that Noah's learned to move beyond needing to be perfect before he'll try something. That's a skill that's extremely hard to master (for all of us!) and I'm sure has allowed him to make so much progress. Best of luck!!


YAY! Oh I'm so happy for you guys, and for Noah. I'm grinning from ear to ear here in my office.


I am glad you and Mary chatted back and forth about his penmanship because as I have mentioned before, our kids are SO similar and my guy draws/writes very much like the examples you have posted from Noah. I do not get as much support at our school and they are trying to exit us from EC! Can't wait for our IEP meeting on Thursday. They say since D is in a very high reading level (nearly one year ahead - like end of the year 2nd grade) they want to exit him. His reading is fantastic but his writing and drawing are holding him back.


Nice goin' Amy. Lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Go Noah - we all knew you could do it!!


Made me cry too. Blaming pregnancy hormones! So amazing xxx


LOVE LOVE LOVE! Congrats to Noah! I was a special ed teacher and my greatest joy was "graduating" my students out of my class. (which was always bittersweet because they were MY students! MINE!)
Thank you for sharing Noah's story- he is an amazing boy who has amazing parents!


That is just incredible news. Warmed the cockles of my little black heart! Thrilled for you!


I am so, SO very happy for you all.


Such wonderful news! I love seeing photos of you in your posts. I'm sure that someday, when the boys find your blog and start reading adventures about themselves they will love seeing pictures of you too.

Keep up the great writing Amy.

kari weber

I think it is important for readers to remember that may not have a child, or a child with an IEP, that being in general education does NOT mean you still aren't receiving special services, or that you don't still have modified goals and standards. It simply means that you aren't PULLED OUT of a class to go work somewhere else on those things. Noah can still work towards meeting his standards and goals, but now he can do so in the main classroom with the teacher, and perhaps some additional specialists elsewhere. Way to go! This will be great for him to feel like every other kid, while still supporting his success, independence, and self confidence!


Such great news! My son is in 7th grade and we had his IEP meeting last week. His special ed teacher announced that he is officially at grade level in every subject. For the first time in his school career he is actually where he is supposed to be. It was an exciting moment for me. :) He is still being pulled for math because we want him to have solid math skills before trying to mainstream him for pre-algebra.


I'm going to blame my hormones for those weird wet marks on my face. So happy for EVERYONE (and my four-year-old would have done the same thing and probably insisted on wearing a tiara).


SO proud of what you, Jason and Noah have accomplished! And what?! Noah's old enough to be on his way to a for real karate belt?


I am so so happy for Noah.


Long time reader, I wanted to say congrats to Noah. My son is 7 and in 1st grade, he has Asperger's and ADHD, he has always been in mainstream class but he does have an IEP. I keep pushing for OT for his handwriting issues (common for aspies) but it just isn't gonna happen where we live. He gets 120 minutes per week of Speech Therapy which is about as good as it gets here. Congrats and the internet is proud of you both!!!

Liz Tea Bee

I've worked extensively with Gen Ed 1st graders and I'd say Noah's penmanship is pretty middle of the road and if he's already got his 100 words down then he's where the county wants him to be in June.

Even his invented spelling is good. If you read ledice as led-ice it's a very good rendering of how we say lettuce.

As you said the biggest struggle for a kid like Noah is letting go of the rigidity and using invented spellings. (It can also be a big struggle for main stream kids. My nephew was brought to tears by the idea that he should spell something wrong.)


Hooray! Go Noah! Yay Ezra! And may Ike never graduate from your lap.


@Kate I got the dress at the Gap. Last summer-ish, though. I feel like I've seen similar styles there since, though!

(Personally I wish the waist was a tad lower. Damn freakish long torso.)


Yay & congrats and you're a great mom and I like seeing you in photos w/ the kids.
Happy day.

Jen L.

Crying at work. I am a big Noah cheerleader. This is awesome.


Hoo boy, I miss one day of reading this blog, and? MAJOR PLOT POINTS. Noah is ablsolutely amazing, as is the Storch family.


What a wonderful couple of days your family has had! Congrats to all!

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