April 21, 2012

A Logical Conclusion

"Push me, Mommy. Pweeese? Just five more minutes?"

I'm tired and hungry and maybe a tad grumpy. Dinner's ready upstairs in the crockpot and I'd really rather be up there eating it than downstairs in the den. But I look at Caleb and I know I need to push him on his swing another five minutes. He was bouncing off the sliding glass door and the couch a little while ago, but as I rythmically push his hammock, he sighs and settles back with a pillow and Bear. He's calm, peaceful. I wonder if he could fall asleep here, suspended in the air, swining back and forth. It's one of his favorite places to be.

He would have done well on a pirate ship, methinks.

Caleb's sensory diet is a big part of our daily routine. We wrestle, tickle, chase, swing, and play "Buffalo", where Caleb runs full tilt into a be-pillowed Mommy who sits in a livingroom chair.

"Buffalo" is not one of Mommy's favorite games.

Among Caleb's favorites, though, is his hammock swing which we installed in the den early last fall. It hangs from a supporting beam in the ceiling and we keep a futon mattress underneath for padding in case of falls. We've spent hours in that swing this winter. Sometimes I sing to Caleb while I push him. Sometimes I put iTunes on and we take turns choosing music.

"The Breakfast song, Mommy? Again? How 'bout Big Bad Voodoo Band? Pweeese??"

I make up hand motions and silly dances to go with the songs. Caleb tries to mimick, and he's just so darn cute, I can't help laughing.

Sometimes we're feeling quiet, though. Perhaps Mommy is tired (or cranky). Perhaps Caleb is wound up and having trouble controling himself. Sometimes I just push and push, as the hands on the clock go round and round. We've spent over an hour on the swing before. Half an hour is more common, more routine. Depends on how much he needs. The need changes from day to day.

I know when he's calmed down, though, because he starts to talk. He tells me about his dream last night, and the scary monsters from Danny Phantom (a tv show), and how he wants to be a bug monster ghost for Halloween, and how he's hungry, and could I push him faster?

I love to hear his chatter. He's talking so well these days. The other morning, he gave me his little notebook and asked me to draw water, a ship, a chain monster, and Caleb in the water with the monster. He then proceeded to tell me an entire story about it. How Caleb was swimming and saw the monster. He was very afraid and he swam back to the ship. He was wet, so he changed his clothes and sailed back to town. And the chain monster was never seen again. The end.

I can hardly believe this boy of mine sometimes. His creativity. His memory. His vivid imagination. His active dream life. I know I'm his mom and all, but I'm impressed. I can't believe how much and how quickly he's growing. Blossoming, even.

I wouldn't change him for the world.

Recently, Jason and I made the decision to homeschool Caleb this fall. The local preschool has been a positive experience for us, but our little boy does not (and probably never will) fit the cookie cutter mold that public schools expect and encourage. Our options for kindergarden were limited, due in part to his autism, and after a lot of prayer and a whole lotta conversations, we've decided to keep him home.

I'm one part nervous and two parts excited by this change of plans. There is an amazing homeschooling community on the island, so we won't be alone. Washington State is actually pretty friendly toward families that homeschool, and we'll receive a stipend this fall to help pay for curriculum. Gotta love that!

*Commencing happy dance*

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some googling to do: educational computer games, flash cards, and large maps of the world. In no particular order. :)


Rebecca Blackburn said...

We're homeschooling this year too! We're starting early though because we have to may things surrounding fall! Good Luck! Love you! miss you!!

Linda said...

We have been homeschooling for 5 years now, and while I cannot say that every day is a good day, I can say that every day is an adventure. My ADHD/gifted daughter is quite a handful, and never stops asking questions. Sometimes I even have to ask her if she is talking to me, or to someone/something else (like toys, pets, video games, etc.) You mentioned that you were going to look for educational games and I thought I could mention Learning Games for Kids. There are lots of short, cute games there that my daughter really enjoyed through elementary school. She is a middle schooler now Yikes! Happy homeschooling, we have never regretted it and hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!

Nicole said...

Miss you, too, Becky! We'll have to chat about curriculum and such over FB. :) I guess we've come full circle now, haven't we?

Linda, thank you for the link and the encouragement. I really appreciate it! There are so many options out there when it comes to teaching material and curriculum! I think the biggest challenge will be wading through it all and picking the handful of things we want to use. My husband and I are getting really excited. I can't wait to try some of the games on the site you shared. :) Thanks again!

Linda said...

You are very welcome! I'm getting excited for you, I wish we had never gone through the year and a half of public school. Honestly though, sometimes you don't know how good something is unless you had something not so good to compare it to. Homeschooling is like that for us, on bad homeschooling days I compare it to a bad public school day for my daughter and realize, wow, we are still doing better now than we were then!! I have a couple of other sites I could share with you if you are interested, I don't want to overwhelm you with links. Just let me know!

Mama Sue said...

So excited for you. Wow! I remember thinking some of the same things way back when your dad and I were exploring curriculum ideas.
It is so fun, though. It is so rewarding, too.
Love you, Mom