Friday, October 26, 2007

Getting ready . . . and some Adam issues.

Last week-end while Phil was in Baltimore my friend, Sue, and I tackled the bunk beds that we are going to put in the boys' room. Another friend gave us the beds a couple of years ago after their five kids used and abused them and then moved on to families of their own. They have been sitting in our garage ever since just waiting for me to decide what to do with them. As you can imagine, they were pretty beaten up and in need of some tender loving care.

Since we (mostly me, but Phil is willing to try it out) have decided to put Adam and Noah in the same bedroom, I thought we better get the bed situation finally figured out. After a trip to Lowe's for a sander and some sand paper, we were ready to go. We spent last Friday in the garage sanding away. In spite of the mask and the old Oakley sunglasses that I found, my allergies went into overdrive and I spent much of the day sneezing and blowing my nose. I think I used almost an entire box of Kleenex. Sue sanded and sanded, and I stepped in as much as I could and by the end of the day the sanding was done. Wooo-hoooooooo!!! Phil is going to explore a haunted house with one of his buddies tonight, and since that's really not my thing, Sue is coming back over and we are going to try our hands at staining the beds. I've never refinished anything before, so I'm counting on her to show me the ropes. We'll put the stain on tonight and then maybe Monday night we can put the finishing coat on and get them set up before Phil goes to Haiti next Thursday. He leaves in less than one week and I'm still freaking out a little bit, but I'm also starting to get really excited.

I've been a little concerned about how Adam is going to adjust to having a new little brother in the house - one who isn't just a newborn laying there and sleeping a lot while the rest of us slowly get used to having him around. He says that he's excited and I think in the long run it will be such a great thing for him to have Noah, but it's the short term adjustment that I'm a little worried about. On Tuesday night when I got home from a meeting there was a message on our phone from Adam's teacher asking if there is a time that we could meet with him to talk about some behavior issues that Adam is having. I called him back and set up an appointment for yesterday morning. As soon as I put the phone down I had one thought - I spent 17+ years in school and I don't think my parents were ever called in to talk to the teacher, yet Adam is in his second month of first grade and here we go. I've been nervous about the teenage years, but suddenly I'm thinking that I need to spend more time concentrating on first grade hurdles rather than worrying about something that won't happen for another 7 years.

Adam's teacher has two primary concerns: he has a hard time keeping his hands to himself and he isn't getting much work done because he would rather walk around and talk to the other kids. Nice. He told us that Adam is never aggressive and that he's not at all malicious - he just gets ultra-excited with the other kids to the point that his touching and talking is becoming disruptive. Nice again. Adam joined us in the discussion and after it was all laid out, we came up with a contract. Adam agreed (in his words) to "keep my hands off of everybody" and to "get right to work when my teacher asks me to". His teacher is going to track his progress on a chart with smiley faces (good) or check marks (not so good) and we are going to set up a token economy with rewards and consequences to reinforce the behavior that we want to see. I'm happy to report that Adam's first day on his contract was yesterday and he came home with ALL smiley faces and a happy note from his teacher. It couldn't have gone better. For his efforts, he got to watch some Scooby Doo and he got to sleep in one of his dads shirts that he loves. It's funny how little things like that are rewards for him. I get that we are only one day in and the issues aren't solved at all, but we all went to bed last night feeling a little better than we did the night before. His teacher thinks there might be an ADHD issue, but we agreed that we are going to try all kinds of other things before we resort to that label and the medication that tends to come with it. Adam's sugar intake is going to be severely restricted from what it has been and with the rewards and consequences system we are hoping that we can help him learn what is appropriate and what isn't. Academically he is functioning above grade level, but we just need to calm him down enough that the class can function. His teacher (who we think is really, really great by the way) actually said, and I quote "Adam just gets so excited and he has a hard time controlling the touching. He's kind of scaring some of the other kids." So basically what I take from that is that my kid is so out of bounds that even other 6 year olds are thinking "Dude, calm down. You're making me nervous." Triple nice.