Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Mom can see...!

Today, being Wednesday, Charlie took Brendan to school & I had a few glorious hours to pull some things together that have been languishing since before Thanksgiving. I have been wanting to run an indigo vat since October, & have been preparing on & off by pre-dyeing some t-shirts for Brendan, a dress & skirt for me (for the "supernova" technique Brendan & I discovered a couple of summers ago, where we splash procion tie-dyes on cotton garments, fix it, wash it, then tie it & overdye in indigo for a very cool effect). I've also been working on a japanese-style hippari top (like a karate gi) in white muslin to be shibori dyed in the indigo. Today I finished the hems on the hippari & did some research online about shibori, which yielded the exact thing I was looking for. I also put 17 balls of wool yarn into skeins for over-dyeing (some of it probably 40 years old, with very 60's colours, given to me by a friend whose elderly aunt died). Whew! Now all I have to do is the shibori tying & I will be ready to run the vat. I wish the warm weather were going to last (it got into the 60's today) because it would be a whole lot nicer (& less smelly) to run it outside, but I don't see any way I'm going to actually be ready to dye by tomorrow, & Friday will return us to our regularly scheduled pre-winter weather...

We had our long-awaited team meeting at school with Brendan's psychologist, Dr. M at noon today. Charlie was working in the morning, so he nipped-in just as we got started. Brendan's classroom teacher, Jen, was home with a sick kid today (& his consultant teacher, Cherie, was subbing for her...) but she managed to get there for the meeting, too. Brendan's speech & occupational therapists were there as well, & our friend & school's director, Paula. This was a follow-up to a school visit Dr. M made in early November to talk with Brendan's teachers, see the school, & generally get a feel for how they might apply some behavioural techniques to help Brendan cope better at school. They had already set-up the new daily scheduling system for him, suggested by Dr. M, which has been in place for 3 weeks now & it got very high marks, particularly for helping him stay in the classroom for longer periods of time. The trade-off, however, is that the longer Brendan stays in the classroom, the less work he actually gets done because he's so distracted & ticcy. After looking at it from different perspectives, we all decided to keep going with the attempts to help him get the social time in the classroom, rather than worry too much about the academic time lost (he catches up very quickly with some one-on-one time, so is staying up with the concepts- just isn't putting out quite as much written work as he was before). Jen said that he really seems to be enjoying the social time with the other kids, & his tics have not been disturbing anyone. We talked about the wisdom of giving him "tic breaks" during the day, to get some of the tension out of his system so he can concentrate better in class & Dr. M said that would be a great idea. The best news came from his OT, Anne, who has been working with Brendan on a programme designed to help him learn to identify how he feels & then to react to how he feels by specific activities that they've brainstormed together. So, if he checks in with himself & discovers that he's "running low" he has some strategies for getting his energy up, like doing something active or eating a snack, & if he's "running high" they've been working on relaxation techniques. This is the most amazing part, since Brendan has resisted any attempt to get him to participate in relaxation activities since he was in first grade. His speech therapist, Mary, mentioned that he'd given her the feedback that he didn't like to do these activities or even hear them spoken of because not being able to do them successfully made him feel bad. I was amazed that he told her this, & glad to understand better. Now he's accepting deep pressure from a few of us, & Jen has seen him put his head on his desk & take a minute to breathe deeply in the classroom, so he must be feeling that these techniques are finally working for him. Hooray!!! I asked Ann if she thought a weighted vest might be a good thing to try at school & she said she'd bring it up with Brendan. He & I could make one together, & she has a pattern we could use, so maybe it's be worth a try (he uses a weighted blanket at night, so we know this sort of thing works for him). All in all, it was a very positive meeting &, in spite of the difficulty of Brendan's increasing tics & anxiety, we got the definite sense that he's doing really well in many ways. Again, hooray!! And what a great team he has working with him. I've been thinking about holiday presents for everybody, & I get so muddled because, basically, I can't think of anything that would properly represent how much I appreciate these folks. They are the best!

Charlie & I came home after the meeting & I continued putting wool into skeins, while Charlie made some phone calls & ate lunch, then it was time for him to get Brendan (& stop at the bakery on the way home-yum), while I waited for the plumber to come & replace our dying kitchen faucet (we got sick of it over the Thanksgiving holiday, & decided to replace it before it broke & flooded the kitchen...). Brendan came home with a book from school that completely engrossed him. It was an anthology of the old Tin Tin comics (I loved them when I was an older teenager) & he barely looked up to say hi to me when they got home, nor did he want a snack. It took him about 45 minutes to finish reading, & after a bakery goodie snack he & Charlie went to fly a new kite (it was an absolutely gorgeous day) on the hill behind our house. They'd found a "beginner" kite (called a "hata") in a kite catalogue & it really lived up to it's name. Charlie said it practically jumped into the air out of their hands & was a lot of fun to fly. They came home an hour later, & said that they'd been able to "walk" the kite part of the way home- it just hovered about 3 feet above their heads until they hit the bottom of the hill & lost the wind. Pretty neat...

And... just before closing time at the optometrist's office, I was able to finally pick up my new glasses. I could actually see to drive home. Talk about apparent miracles...

1 Comments:

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Kristina Chew said...

Sounds like you had more than a few miracles, or fine eye-opening moments, today!

 

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