In other, less polarizing news*, you want to know who's doing great?
Over the past couple weeks, we've had both all our parent-teacher conferences AND Noah's IEP meeting, re-evaluation/pre-middle-school year edition. Let's recap.
Noah's self-confidence has EXPLODED this year (possibly thanks to the social skills program he attended over the summer, plus a med switch that's been like night and day), and it's showing in just about every aspect possible at school. After almost failing math last year (but turning things around in the last semester), his latest report card was all A's and B's, he enjoys tests and studying and writing, keeps himself organized and on schedule, and is starting to open up to new topics and interests and friends. He continues to be amazingly self-aware and self-advocating, and just overall seems much happier and bubbly and just...yeah. Confident. It's a really good look for him.
At his conference, his teacher mentioned his (obvious) love and passion for history and social studies, but said it was a struggle to redirect him from the non-fiction section and into more literary texts and writings. So I bought him a copy of good ol' Johnny Tremain, hoping that maybe historical fiction might appeal to him. No surprise, he loves it, and is breezing through it.
At his IEP meeting, I mentioned this to his teacher. She raised an eyebrow and casssssssually mentioned that's exactly the book the Gifted & Talented class is reading right now, how innnnnnnteresting, and suggested a couple extra educational/cognitive assessments be added to the re-evaluation line-up.
(I also bought him a choose your own adventure-type book set in the Revolutionary War, in hopes that it might help with some of his rigidity, as it includes choices to fight for both sides. It completely infuriated him at first, but then his insatiable curiosity for All Things History got the better of him and he read every possible path through the book, and he chose to participate in his school's mock debate after all, as a Neutralist. YAY NOAH BUT ALSO YAY ME RIGHT? I DID A THING! THAT WORKED!)
Ezra's parent-teacher conference lasted all of 10 minutes, because the teacher ran out of ways to say "Yeah, he's doing really great." Ezra also struggled with math last year (maybe there was just a county-to-county transition issue for everybody?), and now THIS YEAR, he's doing an entire weeks' worth of math packet homework in under 15 minutes on Monday nights. On whatever latest formal math assessment he was given (there are seemingly 486 different formal testing/assessment things going on every week, I swear), he got exactly one (1!) question wrong on the whole damn thing. So there's re-placement talks going on for him as well, to make sure he's being challenged.
Whatever was going on with his hearing last year seems to have resolved on its own -- we had several visits with several specialists and got several conflicting possibilities, but everybody agreed on a wait-and-see approach. Best guess is that he had several un-diagnosed/stealth ear infections that were causing fluid/inflammation without the typical MY EAR HURTS I'M GOING TO DIE-type symptoms. Whatever it was, he's hearing just fine now. And the ADD diagnosis has also been tabled, as we now think his attention issues were more due to his ear problems, with perhaps a side of boredom-related daydreaming. The cirrrrrrrrrrcle of WTF WHO KNOWS I GIVE UP.
(Pics are all from his recent birthday party at SkyZone. Which is a super fun place for all of us, especially in crap weather. I get exercise and plenty of opportunities to safely fall on my ass, Jason gets to play dodgeball with small children and accidentally beam them in the face until they cry.)
And then there's Ike. Oh, Ike. Here he is at Ezra's party, nursing a broken leg.
(He was miraculously healed after another kid's mom gave him a foot massage. Mmkayyy.)
Out of all three report cards, Ike's was the one I opened with the most apprehension, only to be the most surprised by how universally positive and glowing it was. He loves going to school, gets along with all the kids, follows the rules, comes home every day happy and proud to show off his latest artwork or library book.
But then, at his conference, his teacher admitted that he's been wildly inconsistent about what he knows and doesn't. One day he knows all his letters and numbers, the next day he can only identify about half. If asked what sound a letter makes, he'll almost always say he doesn't know, but then enthusiastically (and pretty accurately) phonetically sound-spells a ton of words to label a special drawing. He says he's not a good reader but I've "caught" him reading things enough times to know he at least knows his sight words and then some.
I spent 45 agonizing minutes trying to coax a word that rhymes with "cow" out of him for homework one night, only to overhear him THE VERY NEXT DAY randomly come up with "doctor" as a rhyming word for "proctor."
"Ike," I asked him after the conference. "Do you ever say that you don't know things even when you do?"
He looked immediately stricken. He crawled on my lap and buried his head. The jig is up. They're onto me.
"Do you let your teacher know how smart you are or do you hide the things you know from her?"
"Sometimes," he admitted.
With a bit more prompting, he told me that sometimes when it's time to work, he like to "play pretend" instead. He says "I don't know" because it means whatever grown-up he's talking to will either 1) spend more time talking to him about it, so ATTENTION, and 2) let him get back to what he really wants to do, which is dress up in costumes from the Dramatic Play corner and be a humongous human ham in front of his friends, so EVEN MORE ATTENTION.
Enrolling this one in a drama club, stat.
Heaven. Help us. Every one.
And this concludes today's update on the wolf pack. Keep Yellow House weird, you goofballs.
*EYEROLL, SORRY. But not really, at all. Proud bleeding-heart feminist environmentalist pro-choice pro-LGBTQ BLM pro-refugee pro-gun-control democratic socialist heathen liberal AF up in this bitch. And have been, this whole time! Dun dun dunnnnnn.