My son decided that he was too worried about the lions to attend the school excursion to the Zoo today. Strange, but hey, he’s a strange little fellow so we went with it and let him stay home. Actually, it kind of looked like it was going to rain, and he still has a chest infection, so it was kind of a sensible plan either way!
Every afternoon this week, which is the first week of school after the holidays, he has come home with a comment on his communication sheet saying that they are working on writing at school at the moment, and my son struggles with it. He doesn’t so much struggle with the actual act of writing, it’s more to do with the spelling and the getting it wrong when he wants to get it right. So today I devised a cunning plan to get him practicing writing and reading while playing a game.
While I was in the kitchen starting to think about making some lunch for us, my son was driving a truck around me and pretending to be the post man. He delivered various items to me, and then I wrote a quick message on a blank card and said to him,
“Can you please deliver this to my son on the other side of town? It’s very important, and tell him I need an answer straight away.”
He was curious, but thought it was great that I was joining in his game. He took the note over to the lounge and read it. “What do you want for lunch?” He then proceeded to get another blank card, and a pen and started composing his answer. His answer was?
I interpreted this as ‘a sandwhich’ and sent another note back via the post man.
“What do you want on it?”
Another note arrived about 5 minutes later.
“Netela and pea nut”
This I interpreted to be ‘nutella and peanut butter’. I made the sandwhich as instructed and then sent another note via the post man.
“Please come to my house for lunch. Now” He read this over at ‘his house’ (the lounge) and appeared at the kitchen bench shortly afterwards to eat his lunch. This was the start of a lovely afternoon of similar interactions between us all via little notes. It was so rewarding that I was able to figure out what he was trying to write despite the phonetic spellings and sometimes half written words. I could see his confidence growing with each note that I was able to read and understand. I didn’t correct any of his writing. I simply re-wrote, the note he gave me somewhere on his note with the correct spelling and left them lying around in case he picked them up and looked at them.
We really are starting to see so many improvements now that we understand how his little mind works a little better now. It is of course really difficult at times, especially when he has spilled or knocked over the fifth or sixth drink or food of the day. It’s so hard not to say things like, “Arrghhh! You need to be more careful! Why were you flinging your arms around up at the kitchen bench?”
Anyway, we are learning that we are finally giving him what he needs. In some ways he has actually regressed emotionally, but that is good. He seems to be using us more as his emotional sounding board and crutch. He’s regressed to a younger age where you need to learn to trust your parents and the adults around you, and with his verbal skills, intelligence and chronological age and experience, it sometimes feel uncomfortable. Despite this discomfort, we can really see how this is what we missed and this is what he needs.
Thank heaven for small miracles! Enjoy the weekend.