Friday, September 28, 2012

Saying Goodbye

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

    This week we said goodbye to Emma.  She was with our family for a very short time over the summer but we immediately loved her.  The boys both adored her.  Rex loved that she loves sports.  He could talk football and basketball with her and she plays rugby so that makes her a hero in his eyes.    Riley loved that she got down and played,  really played, with him.  They read stories and wrestled and had a ton of fun sang songs and just had fun.    Originally we thought she would be with our family just through the summer but as things turned out she was able to go kindergarten with Riley.  It was perfect because we knew she had a expiration date so to speak.  She was headed off to Japan to teach in mid October so it would force a conversation with the school before we brought someone else on board and so we thought we'd be able to reduce the amount of help that Riley needed at school.    We were all shocked with how well Riley transitioned to school and how quickly we were told that he didn't need to have someone with him at school.  Yea for Riley! bad for Emma.  Unfortunately that meant that we had to say goodbye to Emma a bit sooner than we had planned.       

Emma hasn't been to school with Riley for over a week but he still asks for her everyday.  He says to me "you go car mom Emma come stay me"  and we go through the entire thing again.  No Riley you are a big boy now and you get to go to kindergarten all by your self.  He seems OK with that explanation and gets excited about school again.  Often he asks for Emma and tells me that I'm staying home and he is going to the park with Emma.  On Wednesday we had talked about Emma coming over for dinner and he must have asked about it 100 times between the time I picked him up from school and the time she arrived.  Total joy when he finally spotted her out the window and ran to open the door.  He greeted her at the door and drug her to his room to play.  He was filled with joy because his EMMA was there to play. 

As Riley stood on the steps and waved to Emma at the end of the night it was very clear that he didn't understand that she wouldn't be returning.  There won't be any trips to the park since Emma is headed to Japan for the next year.  There is a unique dynamic when a child says good bye.  There isn't really the sadness that we carry as adults because we understand what goodbye means.  There may be moments of sadness when Riley doesn't understand why Emma doesn't come to our house any more but when she returns to visit she will be met with complete joy.  There will be no hesitation or holding back because another goodbye will be in the future, simply joy that his friend is there to play. 

While shuttling around from activity to activity this summer Emma and the boys enjoyed the Muppet's CD.  Apparently both boys know most of the songs by heart but Riley made Rex laugh so hard he had to take a video with Emma's phone.  I hope you get as big of a laugh from this little video as we did. 

October is close that brings 31 for 21.  I'll be attempting to blog everyday for the month of October in honor of Riley and Down syndrome awareness month.  He has been giving me good content from his escapades at Kindergarten so come back for a good laugh and to help cheer me on. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hurricane Riley Down Graded to Tropical Storm?

Hurricane Riley and His Big Brother Rex
1st Day of School
 Fall 2012
All Saints Catholic School

Anxiety, fear, nausea, excitement, pride, thankfulness and more pride!  Just a few of the emotions that have swirled through our house over the  last few week.  Riley starting Kindergarten has been an anxiously awaited event for the entire family. 

It feels like all the therapy, preschool and hard work has been leading up to this one event, Riley successfully starting school.  I know that we will change the definition of success for Riley as he grows and I am sure we will always question if we are using the correction measurement of success but for today the measurement is his ability to independently navigate Kindergarten at All Saints.  I know that the bar is set high, but most days I am confident that he will leap to meet any bar set in front of him. 

In order for Riley to attend All Saints, where his older brother Rex is in the 4th grade, we had to agree to provide and Aid or someone to be with him the entire day.  We were very lucky to have found a great sitter for the boys this summer and she agreed to go to Kindergarten with Riley.  Emma, a recent graduate, is a certified teacher that had a short window of time she needed to fill before heading off to Japan to teach.  The timing couldn't have worked out better.  We started with the assumption that Emma would be with Riley for around 6 weeks and then we will negotiate to reduce the amount of time that we needed to have someone with him at school.  I was hopeful that we could fill the shortened hours with volunteers.  What can I say, sometimes my rose colored glasses work better than others. 

Riley has had an two amazing days at school.  Poor Emma is bored out of her mind and we are daily adjusting our plans as to how long she may stay at school.  I'm guessing that Riley will test things a bit more as he hits the wall of exhaustion and gets more comfortable.  The more comfortable he becomes the more he works the system.  It will be an interesting year I'm sure but it is sure off to an amazing start. 

Emma spent the majority of today in the library so Riley could be on this own and the teacher could really see how he would behave.  They had a little issue with Riley not wanting to come in from recess.  Apparently he didn't want to stop swinging.  Problem solved when the teacher simply picked him up and removed him from the swing.  Obviously he needs to be able to listen to all directions but at least he complied after she picked him up.  The issue that seems to be repeating itself is him playing in the bathroom.  The classroom has a 1 person bathroom with a sink and it appears to be too appealing for Riley to pass it by. He loves to play in the water and an unsupervised sink is a temptation he is going to have to learn to resist. 

These two example are how silly and "typical" his behaviour can be.  Unfortunatley because of the choice we've made for Riley's school it doesn't feel like he can be typical. He is being scruitinzed and evaluated constantly.  Any other child it is assumed they will start Kindergarten and finish the year in the same classroom at the same school.  Riley doesn't have the luxury of that assuption.  He has to prove that he is able to be there.  The logical part of my brain knows that the little quirks in his behavior are common in other 5 year olds but other part of me wants perfection.  I want him to be the role model child in class so I can scream, "I TOLD YOU HE DESERVED TO BE HERE" followed with a very mature "nanny nanny boo boo" to those that doubted Riley's amazingness. 

So there you've been on a short trip along the emotional rollarcoaster we travel on around here.  I'm sure that this year will continue to be a rollar coaster of emotions but for today a feeling of pride and calmness surrounds our decision for Riley's school. 

Is it possible that Hurricane Riley is about to be down graded to a Tropical Storm?  Gale force winds might pick up at any time. 

Stay tuned this could be an interesting weather pattern to track!

Settling in at his desk

I choose BROWN

Riley and Mrs Theilman

My handsome boy!