The first week in May is when it started to seem like the light was finding its way through the cracks of darkness. The light at the end of the tunnel was faint. The Rona is still acting like a mean old bitch holding onto a grudge. Florida regulations had started to ease up and although I had (and still have) no plans of going out and frolicking or taking Caleb out, that gave us a little relief. For one thing, our community amenities had opened up, I could take Caleb to the playground and pool. We were both so very tired of science activities on the patio and the weather was getting into those steamy 90+ degree days. The pool was something for us to look forward to in the evenings and weekends although there were still restrictions there as well.
Another bright side was ABA had started to allow more therapist in the building, still heavily restricted on the interaction amongst kids, Caleb was able to grab 2 days with 4 hours a day. This is great! I was, and continue to be a little nervous, but we needed these services. Caleb needed these services. He needed his people and instantly the sense of routine helped everyone and home life.
At this point, work also started to relax. People were settled into the new normal. There were fewer unexpected urgent meetings to attend. I could plan my day and get Caleb into a routine. With school and those dreadful zoom meetings, coming to an end it was time for me to focus on homeschooling plans for next year. I submitted our application for the state grant, I started looking up speech and occupational therapy options, mama had a little time now and it was time to dig out of the darkness. Setting up speech and OT now ensured Caleb a spot in the fall AND allowed for him to be out of the house getting more services now. We knew for sure summer school was not an option and we needed to keep him moving forward.
Within 3 sessions of being back in ABA his caseworker advised that Caleb had not truly regressed but he had jumped 20 points in his latest evaluation. (So basically he was faking it for attention during our Rona shut in?! Got it! Sneaky little rascal) I wasn’t completely surprised though because despite the behavior issues Caleb was speaking more, he was participating in imaginative play, he’s reading, his personality was on 1000 telling jokes and playing pranks on his grandmother and myself.
Oh and then there was Mother’s Day weekend when he taught himself the Russian alphabet in less than 24 hours and the planets of the solar system.
Keeping up with this child had become an emotional rollercoaster. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I found myself occasionally second-guessing my decision to homeschool. I knew his public school wasn’t a good fit for sure but I also worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with his mind. I’m always amazed at what he already knows and what he wants to learn. He gets so annoyed with my lack of understanding as it pertains to the Russian language. I’m subpar at best helping him form sentences in Spanish. I also worry about what he won’t be interested in but will still need to know. History for example, even though he will be taught real history (black folks NOT sold separately) what if he doesn’t like it? How do I make it fun? I am not a teacher! I suspect some tutoring will most probably be involved but I don’t have all the answers yet and it’s almost time to get this plan in place.
Fast forward to June and I continue to struggle with the homeschooling idea, I know it’s what best for him but I also worry about failing miserably at it. This pandemic threw us into the deep end and we still haven’t quite recovered. The world hasn’t recovered! Florida is moving forward with school opening as normal in the fall (aka second week of August) despite CovId cases on the rise. I believe virtual schooling is an option but that has proven to not be Caleb’s cup of tea. I can’t imagine doing it with a teacher he’s never even met and built a relationship with. The good news is we are in speech therapy which he loves and will probably move forward with the occupational evaluation as well. I’ve started printing worksheets and incorporating school work throughout the day. I’m realizing now that we should start now. Caleb is all about routines and the faster we get him on one the better it is for everyone.
The transitions continue to be hard, the meltdowns are still very much a part of our life. We are trying to love him through it and give him a safe space, but it’s so emotionally (and sometimes physically) draining. My 5-year-old has a really hard time being out of control. Examples of what that looks like for Caleb are things as simple as a tv show ending and not knowing what’s coming on next. He’s gotta know what’s next. Obviously, the removal of screen time is always a hard transition. What I “think” I’ve learned is that the iPad serves many functions for Caleb. It’s his blanket, his comfort item, even if he’s not actively on it he wants it close or he’s like “where’s iPad? What’s iPad doing?”. It’s also something he can control. He has his apps, his games, his educational material and if he’s in the process of mastering something new and that process is interrupted…HOLY SMOKES!!!
The iPad continues to be the thing Gemma and I both love to hate. On a daily basis, we threaten to throw it in the garbage and yet we too have come to rely on it. I have to cook dinner Caleb, go get your iPad. Mama has a meeting baby, go grab your iPad. How confusing that must be for him?!
I guess the good news is I’ve identified this as an issue and I’m actively working on it but this is our life. The Rona tales continue…and so does the random outbreaks of the Russian alphabet.