Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rediscovering our rhythms...

Well, we seem to be more than halfway through our jet-lag adjustment, although it still hits at unexpected moments (with sudden exhaustion or ravenous appetite attacks). Brendan, I think, has done the best job of readjusting, with Charlie coming in a close second- but then, he had 2 days to get his act together before going back to work last week, so it was kind of necessary, poor guy. Unfortunately, about the time we all felt like getting out & getting some exercise this past weekend, it started to rain, then the heat kicked-in. I thought that southern Japan would have gotten us acclimated to summer heat, but that wore off pretty quickly. The past 2 days it's been close to 90 degrees (or over) outside, so we've only been venturing out for necessary trips in the car :( A good thing was that Charlie convinced Brendan to go swimming Sunday afternoon, so at least they've gotten some exercise. (Brendan has become somewhat agoraphobic since coming home from Japan, so this was a big deal.) My brand-new bathing suit is on the slow boat from Mizumaki to our town (jettisoned as unnecessary baggage after our trip to the onsen), but I've promised the guys I'll go swimming with them when it arrives. The other fun thing that happened Sunday afternoon was that our college-age friend Ck came over to dinner so that we could plan "Camp Ck" together...

Most summers we have "Camp Mom" interspersed with 2-3 weeks of summer camps for Brendan- computer camp or the programme at the science museum. For various reasons, all of them seeming quite reasonable to us, Brendan didn't want to do any of the summer camps, but this left us with the dilemma of finding mom-time throughout the summer. After we brainstormed ideas, we decided to ask Ck, who has been a favourite sitter of Brendan's since Ck's freshman year of high school (& whom Brendan missed very much this past year, Ck's first at college) to do "Camp Ck" 2 days a week. He had been looking for summer work & decided that this would be a good start :) so this week saw the beginning of both "Camp Mom" & Camp Ck". When we discussed the summer plans with Brendan before leaving for Japan, he became decidedly "moofy" at the thought of yet another summer with a daily schedule of activities. He, of course, would be perfectly happy to play Adventure Quest & Dragon Fable all day, interspersed with movies & lego-ing. We started the daily summer schedule thing 4 or 5 summers ago, at the recommendation of Brendan's psychologist, to help him learn to self-regulate & to give us both a sense of accomplishment over the summer. It's ended-up being summer homeschooling, really, & I have felt very good about doing it. He's always retured to school in the fall with little loss of skills & the transition to a school schedule has never been a problem since we've kept to one over the summer. In fact, Brendan basically learned to read over the summer he was 8, since that's when his visual abilities really kicked-in, & thankfully we were ready to jump in & facilitate. We've done so many fun projects over these past summers, too, which has made the time really memorable. Two summers ago I taught Brendan to weave on the small loom & he wove scarves for his dad & grandparents as Christmas presents. Last summer I taught him to use the big loom & we wove a blanket!

Needless to say, I'm convinced that continuing with this summer scheduling is a good thing, but Brendan... took some convincing. It wasn't hard to get him to agree to reading every day (especially when he realised that he was behind on his manga reading :). And, when we came to actually plugging things into our weekly schedule on Sunday evening, I acknowledged that he's older now & can handle more free time. So we put in more free time, such as half an hour before lunch & from 4:00 to dinnertime, & that seemed to satisfy him very much (I think that the acknowledgement did more than the actual extra time :). While Ck was over to dinner on Sunday we brainstormed a list of things they could do together (including field trips, since Ck drives). In the evening I typed everything to post on the fridge & Brendan & I set our schedule for Monday, Wednesday, & Friday of our first week. It probably helped that we had appointments first thing Monday morning & at the end of the day as well (been away 3 weeks, you know!). Brendan participated in the scheduling with little sign of "moofiness" about it all.

So yesterday, after a bit of misunderstanding about what each of us thought the words "come down now & eat breakfast" meant (I could hear obvious sounds of playing upstairs...), we were both on track for my first-thing (& much-needed) appointment with the chiropracter. Brendan does really well when we visit her office & we brought one of our japanese magazines (featuring the Kamen Rider & Geki characters) to read to each other in the waiting room. It was fun to tell her about our trip, too :) Then, since we were out, I planned to do something we've never done before... take Brendan shopping for shoes. (Did I ever mention that we left Brendan's sneakers in Tokyo after our first week in Japan? We didn't even notice until we were packing for Kyoto, & he was outgrowing the sneaks, anyway, but it's left him without anything but sandals to wear...) It didn't hit me until afterwards that Brendan had never been shoe-shopping before. Until recently I could just buy them through Land's End & it was a pretty good chance that they'd fit. But he's now at the very end of the youth shoe sizing & has a wide foot as well, so I didn't think we were going to get away with the long-distance thing any more. The main hazards I envisioned for shoe-shopping were the strong smell shoe stores often have, crowds, & his being triggered by various people in the store. So, we got there just after they opened to avoid crowds, which worked. He didn't seem to notice a smell, which was a bonus. However, I forgot the "desecration" factor, sigh. Anything made of dead animals is "desecration" to Brendan & he was instantly repelled by the first "genuine leather" verbiage he saw on a shoe box. I assured him that many of the shoes would have no leather & we looked specifically for that sort of shoe. It took a while, & some false starts (he has depended on the loop on the back of Land's End's kids' shoes for years to pull his shoes on, & most of these shoes had no loop) we ended up in the men's shoe section (he's official now) & found what he was looking for. Skate shoes with some blue on them (very important :) in size 6.5. Hooray! Our reward for getting through this was a trip to the manga & anime store to get the most recent "Hikaru no Go" manga & dvds. We drove home for lunch in a very good mood. Success on our very first trip to the shoe store!!

After lunch we had our quiet reading time (Brendan started catching up on past issues of Hikaru...) & together reading time (we're still working our way through "Eldest"). Then we tackled his room, partly because the house was being cleaned today & you couldn't find the floor, & partly because he couldn't set up his new nezumi incense burner on his dresser until we could find the top of his dresser. No joke... Charlie had donated the biiiig box he'd brought home from work last week, with all of his vacation mail in it, for us to put cast-offs in. We really needed it, too. In the end (after clearing & wet-sponging), the InuYasha & Gundam action figures, his incense burner & crystals, & the necessaries like light, fan, & alarm clock, are all that remain on his dresser. It's amazing :) Next to tackle (another day...) is his desk. After a quick trip to the orthodontist (changed wires, asked about Japan :) we were home & finished cleaning his floor for vacuuming pretty quickly. Then we finally watched our Pythagoras Switch dvd, purchased in Japan (I have Brendan's computer set to region 5, so we can watch anything from Japan on it). It is absolutely awesome- 20-some minutes of Rube Goldbergs, many of which we'd never seen before on YouTube. There's an accompanying book &, at this moment, Brendan & Ck (having watched the dvd this morning) are working on their own Rube Goldberg contraption in Brendan's room :)

This morning Ck arrived a little early (very kindly) so I could make a regular appointment with my therapist. They've been having fun with the solar energy kit I bought, playing Incredible Machines on the computer, & now, after lunch, they're making their own. I showed Ck the fridge calendar & list & they worked on it over lunch. Brendan is obviously having a great time with Ck & I am actually updating the blog. A recipe for success, so far...!

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4 Comments:

At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog. When do you get your son together with friends to socialize ??

 
At 11:51 PM, Blogger kristina said...

6.5! Charlie just got his first pair of 6's --- glad to know you are settling back in. I've become very grateful for non-tying shoes!

 
At 5:30 PM, Blogger Lisa/Jedi said...

Hi anonymous- we do get Brendan together with carefully selected friends (he doesn't cope well one-on-one with all of his friends from school, etc) when we have the time. He has a best buddy whom he adores, but whom he doesn't go to school with, & we try to get them together as much as possible- in the school year it's maybe once a month & more in the summer. He gets maxxed-out by social contact during the school year anyway, & we are trying to teach him to self-regulate, so we don't push him beyond his limits (see most recent post for more on this).

Kristina- I'm not surprised that Charlie's in a 6, since he's just a year-ish younger than Brendan. It is awfully weird to have my kid's feet bigger than mine now, though. I just gave him a pair of birkenstocks of mine that fit him really well (to bridge the sneaker gap). I am looking for elastic self-ties for Brendan's new sneaks. We found the last ones in another town & I'm hoping to find some similar ones online. There's no way he'll be able to cope with having to always tie & untie the new ones...

 
At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Lisa... it's always a balancing act, the social piece... isn't it?

Kimmie

 

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