Ahhh. I have missed this. Putting down words. Though truthfully, I really have nothing to say. I just like the feeling of settling that putting a life into ordered sentences gives me. I am a stay-at-home Mum. I don’t get a commission based on how well I perform. There’s very little order around here, and very few things I can “produce” in the short-term. My productivity levels will only be measurable 15 or so years from now. Which is why it’s nice to make pixels obey me in cyber-space. I can look at it and feel like I achieved something. However insignificant. It makes my world seem neat and manageable.
Pixels don’t fight back like a 5 year old.
I must say to Tim at least once a week “India and Jesse will bend a little if we get our disciplining wrong with them. But, Lord help us, we better get it right the first time with Molly.” I know Jesse and India will pick out the millions of bits of grated zucchini in their chicken bake. But they will sigh deeply and start eating the whole thing if I press. Even Liz, our love-guest, will eat the salmon she hates if I ask her. Molly, however, will require a whole lot of analysis before I make her do anything.
So she doesn’t like the dinner. Tell me something new. But what kind of mood is she in?
Argumentative and feisty = cajoling. “I know it’s not your favourite, but can you try it for Mumma? I love you so much and I put lots of cheese in it because I know you love cheese.”
Tired and semi-sulky = Firm-handed. “Try it. You need to eat 5 spoonfuls of it because you are 5.”
Happy and funny = go with it. Whatever it takes. “Go and sit on Daddy’s lap and eat it. You can have a picnic together!” or “First one to finish their chicken wins a prize!”
The idea behind Molly is that if you misread her, she will stand up to you and not budge. Not even a little. Until you go so far and promise so many consequences that you BOTH know you are totally incapable of following through, or if you DO follow through, you feel like a heel and a fool because a 5 year old has made you look stupid. And mean.
Molly will always be heard. You always know what she thinks and how she feels and she loves like a hurricane. She will be first in school and as successful as she wants to be. Which is something we struggle with for Jesse.
Do I post these things each Fall? The-Woe-Is-Me-We-Can’t-Work-Out-How-To-Help-Jesse-In-School post?
We got him an iPad last week. No small investment for a 9 year old. He takes so much longer to reproduce information because of his cognitive processing delays; it takes such intense concentration for him to complete simple tasks and not be distracted, we thought it would help him to be able to dictate information or answers to tests on the iPad and then wirelessly send them to his teacher.
As with all great ideas, it’s not quite that simple.
The teachers need to work out how to use it productively for starters. Left to his own device (ha!), all Jesse produces are these photos of himself and his classmates. Gorgeous.
Then a teacher or two has to be able to turn aside from the 830 other kids in the school and focus their attention on our one. It’s such a tremendous ask. He’s not violent, he has no behavioural issues; he doesn’t disrupt other kids (much!) … in short there is not much impetus for them to focus on Jesse except out of the kindness of their hearts. And when that does’t work, Tim calls up. Bear and Velvet Glove, we are.
But I hate it. I wish it were easier. I wish we could make it all go away with an iPad. Or all these pills he takes. Or anything other than home-schooling. Did I just say that? It’s on my radar. It feels like a last resort. A wise friend once said she felt the goal of education was survival and that she could not guarantee her children would be alive at the end of it if she home-schooled. Amen say I!
Jesse has the information in his brain. On a basic intelligence test he measures average. Getting what he knows out in a timely, legible, appropriate fashion is the conundrum. And it doesn’t feel like we are getting anywhere with school. But do I feel like this because it’s hard? And the results are not instant? And our success at teaching Jesse will only be measurable in 10 years time? Ahhh now that’s sounding like motherhood!
I have to keep reminding myself the difference between facets and faults. When people hear Jesse’s story, they hear a story of an accident, of weakness, sickness, death and disease. And then they hear of the great power and mercy of the God who heard and rescued and redeemed. Weakness and strength, hand in hand. What I see as a fault, God intended as a facet, to let the most light in. It’s a fine line Tim and I walk – trying to advocate for our boy, but celebrate his uniqueness and beauty. I cross too far over both sides of that line daily. There’s no manual except the command to love. And as a family, while I fail and fail and fail, we get back up and do the love thing as constantly as we know how.
How I love these kids. They’re beautiful, loud, imperfect, messy human beings. And they love me. Big fat waterfall of blessings, right there.
Maybe even worth the 15 year wait for my productivity results.