September 2, 2011

Hamhock has only 17 kids in his second grade class so far.  I suspect that some more kids will be offered a spot, because I am sure there are kids on the wait-list, and the class size is approved to 23.  But for now, 17.  (Nice!)

But here’s one of the best parts for him. . . there are three African American boys in his class!!!!!!!!  Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!  And, at least a half dozen Hispanic kids too!!!!  I’m so excited to have kids with beautiful shades of skin color in his class.  So excited!  (Yes, we *are* the ones who chose to live in Sandy, UT, where it’s pretty white-bread mayonnaisey, pretty much everywhere you go.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I just yearn for a little more color in my life).

Anywhoo. . .I stopped by the other day to take Hamhock to a doctor’s appointment, so I got to peek in and watch his class do their yoga exercises before lunch.  He and a new school buddy were partners. . .doing a rock and lizard.  They were laughing and following the teacher and learning and having a great time.  True to Hamhock form, when we were leaving, his buddy and another kid came up to give him a hug goodbye (can I just express how much I love kids before they get all pre-teen/teenager/angsty?).  Hamhock has always had a big personality, and when he’s in a situation to feel comfortable in expressing himself, other kids gravitate towards that big personality.

Then I peeked in on Superboy as his class was getting ready for lunch and he saw me and immediately gave me a big hug hello (can I just express how much I love kids before they get all pre-teen/teenager/annoyed?)!  His shoes needed tying (no, he doesn’t know how himself, yet) and he showed me the discipline chart.  He already had one warning by 11 am.  My little manchild who got my chatty-cathy genes for being too social in class when the teacher’s talking. . .poor kid (but also good, right?).

So. . . my completely neurotypical, fairly easy-going child has already been warned several times for behavior in the first week of school.  My child diagnosed with autism hasn’t had one problem at all!  In fact, when another kid pushed him at gym this week, instead of pushing back, he immediately just told the teacher.  That’s it.  Told the teacher and didn’t act out. 

Another thing about Superboy. . .this is the first time he’s been in school for seven hours straight!  Preschool and Kindergarten were 2 1/2 hours.  He and his bff have been so funny when they come home afterschool. . . so much pent-up boy energy, so that they start playing, giggling, and eating like they’ve been in a work camp for a week.  It’s pretty cute, ’cause boys are just darn cute.

Oh, and yet another thing about Superboy. . .he was upset that we weren’t going to play at McDonald’s after school on Wednesday this week, so he decided to throw down a big tantrum. He was crying and screaming and I told him to calm down in his room.

A few minutes later, after he calmed down, he came out and said: “Mom! I learned at school how to calm down! Watch!”. He proceeded to show me several different yoga poses and told me how he learned all about calming down with yoga at school.



Whew!  First day of school!  Finally. . .the summer fighting and endless exhausting activities and lack of structure is DONE!  Now it’s momma’s time to shine and have some quiet time to myself!  Wooooeeeeee!   (Dancing a little jig of joy!)

Both boys started at a brand-new public charter school:  Alianza Academy.   There is only one class of each grade, and the first and second graders are in their own section of the building.  The Executive Director and Principal are both former Waterford teachers and administrators, and the Alianza curriculum incorporates self-directed computer programs for each student (hybrid learning).  The school currently offers through eighth grade, so we don’t have to worry about regular Middle/Junior High School for my two little budding nerds.  Yay!  They will probably have the option to stay with Alianza through High School, or we can see whether they want to choose a different High School once we get to ninth grade.

Whew.  Here’s to hoping for a great year!

Both boys did awesome last year at East Sandy Elementary.  Superboy had a blast in Kindergarten with his bestie BFF, and made a bunch of new friends as well.  Hamhock made several friends last year, and *loved* his first grade teacher.  He made incredible progress in reading, spelling & math!

The only bump in the road we had was during the last three months of school with a friend in his class.  This friend’s OCD just kinda happened to clash with Isaac’s ASD.  They started out as friends, but on a play-date here at our house (where Hamhock has a *really* hard time sharing toys/personal space/video games, etc) Hamhock got mad and punched him in the face.  I was right there, had Hamhock apologize and take a time out, and tried as best I could to smooth things over.  (The punch wasn’t strong – more like a close-fist slap, so his buddy just got a red mark with no bruising.  But still, it was scary & hurt, of course.  Hurmpf).

His buddy was obsessed about it at school and was also very understandably scared of Hamhock.  Hamhock wanted to be his friend and play and joke with him at school again, but his buddy was not interested.  That makes Hamhock obsessed about *why* his buddy isn’t interested and makes him act out even more.  Finally, Hamhock, in trying to get some kind of reaction from him during recess while playing tag, “tagged” his buddy a little too hard on the face, which left a bruise under his eye.

Of course I didn’t hear anything about it from Hamhock, so his teacher told me what happened the next day.  By that time the other mom got the principal involved, which totally freaked me out!!  The principal was really great, though, by having both boys come to his office to talk it out and agree to not play with each other for a while.  I touched base with the mom to smooth things over as well.

Unfortunately, Isaac with his ASD, and this other boy with his OCD, had no clue how to ignore each other.  The only problem during the school day was at lunchtime and lunch recess, when there is no structure or organized activity, which is just the hardest for Hamhock to figure out what to do and how to act.  So I decided to pull him out just for lunch and lunch recess for the remainder of the year.

It worked great!  By pulling him out of that time period during his school day, it helped him “reset” his obsession with the other boy and totally chill out to find other friends.  He finished the rest of the year with no problems at all, and I got some cute pictures of the last day of school.  I also had him take a hip-hop class with another good buddy, which helped a ton.

Hamhock with buddies on the last day of first grade 2010-2011:








Eric and his best buddy on the last day of Kindergarten 2010-2011:

It’s about cool?

June 29, 2010

Hamhock likes to wear a beanie.  It started sometime this past winter. He would most often wear it to bed, or put it on first thing on in the morning.  It looks really cute, I have to admit.

But I just thought it was a sensory thing. . .like, he likes the feeling of the fabric on his hair, or the weight of the beanie on his head, or the enclosed feeling the hat gives while shaping his cute little face.

Not so, my friends, not so.

One day he forgot it while we were getting ready to pull out of the garage.  He asked me to run back in the house to get it.  When I returned and gave it to him to put on, he asks me to pull down the passenger side mirror so he can look to make sure “it looks cool.”

WHAT?!?!?!  My six-year old son, diagnosed with autism at age 2 1/2, is wearing his beanie because “it looks cool?!?!?!”

Wow.  I honestly had no idea.

Why are we Moms always the last to figure these things out?  I’m sure it’s because we brought these precious babes into the world (in my case with the help of Hamhock’s beautiful birthmother) and we just want to hold onto those precious innocent moments.

Well, innocent moment #2 gone.  My kid likes to look cool.

(I think innocent moment #1 was kissing a girl in Kindergarten!)

Here’s a pic when he was probably about three, being silly with this same beanie (it’s actually Foo’s).

I love you, too.

June 28, 2010

My boys are best friends one moment, bitter enemies the next. (Needless to say, it’s exhausting.)

Last night as I was putting them to bed, Hamhock called out from his bed to Superboy tucked into his bed in the next room:  “I love you!”

Superboy returned back:  “I hate you!”

Then Superboy got up and stood in Hamhock’s doorway with a silly grin on his face.  When Hamhock started laughing, Superboy started laughing hysterically.  Then he said:  “Just kidding!  I love you too.”

Har.  My boys.

You’re a good boy!

June 28, 2010

I like to tell my boys often that they are “good boys.”

Most especially because Hamhock struggles often to follow the rules, keep his impulses under control, learn to deal with his anger, etc.  I want them both to know that even though the may make a bad choice, or do something wrong, that the choice was bad, but they are always good.

As I was walking through the hospital to visit my mom after her knee surgery this past Saturday, Hamhock called me from Gramma’s house.

Hamhock:  “Mom, I’m eating an orange!”
Me:  “Good for you!  That’s healthy.”
Hamhock:  “Can I hang up now?”
Me:  “Yep, have fun at Gramma’s.  Bye.”
Hamhock:  “You’re a good mom.  I love you!”
Me:  “I love you, too.”

So super sweet!  That makes up for the rest of the time when he gets mad at me and calls me a liar when something doesn’t go right . . .which happens at least a dozen times every single day (hurmpf).

So, I’ll take it, sweet good boy of mine.

I’m a kisser, too

April 24, 2010

I love kissing my boys on the cheeks.  Ever since they were little newborn babes, I just can’t get enough of kissing their sweet, soft, round little cheeks!  They are now 6 1/2 and 4 1/2 and I still kiss them on the cheeks . . . maybe up to a dozen times a day.

I am going to be so sad when that day comes that they pull away and need the space to figure out how to become men; that day when getting kisses from your mom is not only uncool, but developmentally not helpful in the journey towards male independence.

Superboy returns my kisses on a regular basis, and I love it.  Hamhock only occasionally.

Last night I caught Hamhock giving Superboy a good-night kiss on his foreheard.  Hee!  So very sweet.  We have a “slumber party” every Friday night, where we cuddle up in Mommy & Daddy’s bed to read stories, talk, and say prayers to go to bed.  After they fall asleep we move them to their bunk beds (where they get mad every Saturday morning that we didn’t let them sleep all night long in our bed  – um, no thank you!  We like our bed to remain urine-free from our occasional bed-wetters).

Superboy had already fallen asleep, and I happened to catch Hamhock leaning over, giving him a kiss on the forehead and tenderly rubbing his hair out of the way.

This, from the older brother who torments, teases, and uses Superboy as a punching bag on a regular basis!

I can read!

January 16, 2010

Hamhock read his first book this week!  And, Superboy followed right along.

Mrs. Larson started sending home this week these little books for the Kindergartners to read and check off.  Like always, my anxiety hits, and I was nervous how to get starated because we of course have a bit of a struggle to do homework (thanks to Foo, it’s been going better – dads rock!).

Well, Hamhock was excited to read it!  We’re working on only 3 words so far:  I, See & Sam.  He read all 6-8 pages of the story using those three words, and I couldn’t have been prouder!  Then, Superboy read it too, (which is great, to have Superboy follow along as I struggle to do these things with Hamhock).

It made up for my feeling like Lousy Parent #1 this Monday when karate so did not go well.

We left early because Hamhock was about to meltdown for not getting a sticker because he moved during the “focus your body” exercise.  Superboy was his typical silly little goofball,  – not paying attention, making other kids act goofy.

ARRRGGGHHH!  I just hate being in those situations where you feel like every other parent is looking at you (because you’re the loudest thing in the room) and probably feeling grateful they’re not me, and you feel like such a sore thumb.  Of course I went home and cried all night.  Karate instructor was not worried, though.  He said Superboy’s the youngest in the class, and he’s willing to be totally flexible with Hamhock, and for me to  just stay consistent.

Buddy the Elf

December 22, 2009

After getting our Christmas tree, we watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with the boys for the first time and they loved it!  It whet my appetite to watch Elf with Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf again. . .

Hamhock has a buddy too. . . the fourth grade class comes down once a week or so to do various activities with the Kindergartners.  One day while dropping off Hamhock in the morning, I watch him run over to a big kid and drape his arms around his waist.  So cute!  I went over to see what was going on. Hamhock just stared at him with adoring eyes.  He told me this is his buddy, also named Isaac.  He is a really nice boy and was very patient with Hamhock holding on to him in the school yard.

Here are a few things Hamchock answered during their “get to know you” Buddy activity one day:

1.  My favorite color is red
2.  I love to eat donuts & hamburgers.
3.  My favorite tv show is Wolverine, Hulk & Ironman.
4.  If I could be a make-believe character, I would be Hulk.
5.  My favorite thing about school is drawing.
6.  I love to play video games.
7.  If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would go to Candyland (hee!).

I don’t know why. . .

September 14, 2009

. . . but today was the first day that Hamhock went to school just fine without his strawberry Fruit by the Foot reward (ok, fine. . . call it a bribe, whatever. . .).  Two darn stores didn’t have the strawberry flavor, and so I bought the combo flavors, but he does not like them.  He smells them and says “yuk!”  I smelled them, too, and I get it.  The strawberry *does* smell better.

So he simply played with the yucky berry tie-dye all the way to school and was very silly about it, but didn’t fight me or tell me any reasons why he just shouldn’t go to school today.  We were even running late b/c of strep-frickin-throat for my 4th time in 5 years, and Superboy was up all night with a fever and asthma, and I was rushing to get him to the pediatrician after the Kindy drop-off.

Upon my return for pick-up, Hamhock runs straight to me and gives me a big hug and a smile.  So cute!  Then. . .

  1. On the way home, I ask him:  “What fun things did you do at school?”  He has, every day until today, ignored the question.  Today he totally expressed something about looking around the school for a special place and was obviously very excited.  !!!!  I learned later from Mrs. Larson’s weekly newsletter that they have written a letter to the Moon, and are waiting and searching special places in the school to discover a response back (patterned after a book they read).
  2. Then while he was coloring after his snack, he started telling me all about his old preschool teacher Mrs. Riley visiting the class, but more importantly that she brought “Mrs. Larson’s daughter Lora!  Mrs. Larson has a daughter named Lora!” Lora is actually in Superboy’s preschool class with Mrs. Riley this year.
  3. Finally, when Fooboy was asking Hamhock how school was on the phone, he answers:  “School was great!  It was fun!”

He was then a very pleasant, happy little boy all day.  He hasn’t broken one rule today and hasn’t taken one time-out.  (Until literally 30 minutes ago when bedtime started).  We went out searching for bugs in the rain and got 2 potato bugs, 1 weird ant-fly thing, a daddy long legs (minus one leg, sorry, spider), and a grasshopper!!!!!  The grasshopper was trying to hide behind our new sunflowers and kept moving 180 degrees behind the stalk, each time I would reach around.  But I got him, minus one leg, too.  Not sure if that happened already or in the capturing.  Sorry, grasshopper.

We also had our first speech therapy last Thursday with Helen at the Scottish Rite Learning Center (Freemasons in Salt Lake City offering children free speech therapy with a grant from Shriner’s Hospital  – go Masons!  Woot!)  It went great.  Helen has over 30 years experience, and a great, tough, kind of boisterous approach which just fed right into Hamhock’s personality.  The whole thing was a game and he loved it.  My favorite thing about the session was every time he would answer a question he would point at Helen and shout:  “In your face!” and then laugh hysterically.


Helen said about 40% of the children she sees have speech delays due to autism spectrum disorders.  She gave me the best compliment by saying that whatever we’ve done has given him some incredible skills!  YEE-HAW!!!  She said she can see why our school district tested him as too high-functioning and they wouldn’t touch him without alot of pushing from me, but she definitely had some areas that we can work on to help him improve in processing delays (took about 5 seconds to remember the word yellow, for example) and a string of adjectives (couldn’t point to the right cat:  “point to the little, black kitten in the corner of the box.”)

And, did I mention it’s free!?!?!

Now, if I can only get rid of the pain in my swollen throat gland. . .I must have a virus cold on top of the strep. . .ugh.  Hopefully Superboy will sleep through most of the night tonight. . .

So I know. . .

August 15, 2009

. . .I live in one of the most non-diverse homogenous states in the nation.

All the kids in the neighborhood are white.  All the kids in his preschool were white.  All the kids at church are white.  Hamhock has no black friends.  None.  (Sorry Roxanne, we’re trying).

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I know once he’s a teenager he’s going to want and need to relate to other black kids.  Enter:  Genesis.  It’s an LDS ward for all African-American members and friends to attend!  We’ve been to two firesides and one Primary activity so far, and I’m sold.  They meet in a chapel in Fort Union, which is literally in our stomping grounds – probably a 5 minute drive from our home!  Like I said:  SOLD.

It’s hard for me to know that Hamhock is thinking about anything deeper than Spongebob and buying treats with his credits earned.  So. . . I hold onto anything I can get that comes from his cute little mouth.

We were driving to Discovery Gateway one day when Superboy was talking about Fisher-Price Little People.  Hamhock pipes up and asks:  “Is Michael’s face just like me?”  (Yes, it is!  And it’s just as beautiful, too.).

And then when we went to the Primary activity at the Gateway fountain, Hamhock said:  “Mom, how many Hamhock’s are there in the world?”  (Alot!  Isn’t that cool?!)

It’s also really cute whenever he sees a brown baby when we’re out and about at the swimming pool, or shopping, and he’ll say:  “Mom!  That baby looks like me when I was a baby!”  (I know!  You were the cutest little baby ever.)

Little golden nuggets into Hamhock’s thoughts.