Oct 26, 2014: Something Fishy

We’ve got a new member of the household! No, it’s not a puppy. No, it’s not a cute kitten, either. And no, I’m definitely not in a family way. Instead, we have a goldfish! Well, Theo has a goldfish, that is. I can’t say Chris or I particularly wanted a goldfish. I love pets, but scrubbing fish poop out of a murky bowl isn’t my idea of a good time. However, we went to the Fall Festival at Theo’s school on Friday, and among other attractions they had a bunch of games. Theo wasn’t terribly interested in most of the games—until he saw the ping-pong-ball toss where you could win a goldfish if you tossed the ball into an open cup.

Now, before you think we’re nuts for letting him even play this game, given that we didn’t want the prize, let me explain why we felt safe in doing so: Theo has many, many excellent talents…but athletics are typically not among them. He couldn’t even throw a ball forward until after a fair bit of work in occupational therapy over the past two years. (I think the biggest problem is that to throw a ball at a target, you have to look at the target—and his eyes are flying all over the place in general, not really looking at one particular thing! You can only imagine what this means when it comes to toilet aim. But I digress…) And honestly, Sam, with his two-year-old lack of coordination and gross-motor delays, is generally better at throwing a ball toward a target than Theo is. So when Theo got all excited about the chance to win a goldfish, Chris leaned over and whispered to me, “It’ll be fine. He’s got my arm—he won’t win anything!” And we stood in line and watched every person ahead of us miss the little cup. And then Theo steps up, grabs his three ping-pong balls…and does a perfect toss into a cup with the very first one. It doesn’t even hit the rim or bounce in—it flies perfectly into the cup. And Theo, who was supremely confident that he would be winning a fish, despite our attempts to temper his expectations, walked calmly over to the table and selected a small silver goldfish, which he promptly named “Fishy Fish.” He then announced it was the best day of his life.

And now, we just have to hope Fishy Fish survives. His water is rather murky, and I can’t figure out why. I put in the little treatment drops for the tap water, but evidently I either put in too much or too little. Fishy Fish is still swimming around happily, but I’m not sure he’s long for this world….

We had a fun weekend around here. My new medicine (for migraines) seems to have taken effect, and I’m feeling much more myself. It was rainy on Saturday, but we decided to go ahead with our plan to visit Grandma Diane. As it turns out, most of the rain was in the morning, so we had an unremarkable (albeit whiny…ahem, SAM!) drive up to Sacramento and spent most of the day hanging out with Grandma.

And Sunday was a gorgeous, warm, clear day, so we decided to check out another pumpkin patch in the area. The highlight for Theo was panning for “gems”—he spent quite a while panning for “crystals” in the muddy water. Meanwhile, Sam was marauding in the toddler play area, repeatedly going on the kiddie roller coaster (which is really just a small push-car on a little plastic ramp—see the video below, and be sure to listen to him go “VROOM!” as he comes down the ramp!).

He would’ve stayed on it all day if I would’ve let him—he’s a coaster junkie! He even had a nice little tantrum when I made him give some other kid a turn—sat right down on his stubborn little bottom on the dirt and screeched at me. It kind of cracks me up when he has these two-year-old tantrums, because he’s so indignant, yet he has this tiny little angelic face. It’s ridiculously cute, and he’s so easily snapped out of it that it’s really no big deal. (All you have to do is make a face at him, and he usually starts laughing in spite of all his righteous indignance.)

Funny—people think Sam’s always happy, probably because he is happy a lot of the time. But he has a little stubborn streak that comes out with me and Chris, and it’s both admirable and amusing. The other night, he snatched up Theo’s iPod after Theo went to bed, and he brought it to me and signed for me to put on “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” He had been fighting me about brushing his teeth, so I said, “I’ll put on your song after we brush your teeth.” He took one look at the toothbrush, screeched at me, signed “All done,” and threw the iPod on the floor. He knows he’s not supposed to throw things, so I picked it up and said firmily, “No, Sam. No throwing the iPod. Now you’re going to bed!” I picked him up and marched him upstairs to my room, where I normally sing him “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” before I take him to his room and put him down. He held still for a minute while I started to sing, then wriggled out of my grasp and ran around the bed to where my iPod was charging, and tried to grab it to put on his music. Stinker!! He threw a little fit when I wouldn’t let him have it and instead took him to bed. 🙂

Speaking of Sam, I visited a possible preschool for him this past Monday. I don’t know that we’ll be able to afford anything other than what the district offers us for free, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to check it out, just in case. This preschool is actually considered a preschool/daycare—I believe it is technically certified as a daycare, but the woman who runs it (out of her home) runs it as a preschool. The kids do preschool in the morning, then they eat lunch together, take a nap, and then play outside all afternoon (weather permitting).

What I liked about it:

  • It’s small. She’s licensed for 14 kids but normally only has 8–10 on any given day. It’s her and an aide, so the ratio is about 5:1, which is quite good for around here.
  • The director/owner/teacher seemed really nice. She warmed right up to Sam, and he did to her, too. (In fact, she announced at the end that she would like to keep him. Ha!)
  • I liked the classroom/playroom. She’s converted her garage, but you’d never know it was a garage. Just feels like a regular preschool classroom.
  • She does a regular preschool curriculum. Nothing too intense or academic: numbers, a letter of the week, an animal of the week, art projects, colors, circle time, songs, puzzles, etc. Same stuff you’d see in any typical preschool.
  • It would be 100% inclusive. Sam would be the only kid in there with a disability at this point, so he’d be around all typically developing peers. Lots and lots of chances for him to work on his speech with them! However, because it’s a daycare, some of the kids are younger, so it wouldn’t be tiny Sam and a bunch of hulking four-year-olds. Size-wise, he wouldn’t be out of place.
  • The kids I met on the day I went seemed really nice. They were playing well together and seemed respectful of each other and their teachers. They were very interested in Sam and came over to talk to him, and didn’t act as if he were “different” because he looks like a baby compared to them. (One did comment, “Hey look, a baby!” which didn’t surprise me because a lot of kids think he’s still a baby. But the kid didn’t treat him any differently because of it.)
  • It’s close! It’s about a mile and a half from our house, so on nice days I could walk him over there after we walk Theo to school.
  • Perhaps most important, it comes highly recommended by both Sam’s PT and his ST. His PT is the one who gave me the woman’s card—she said she worked with a few kids who had come out of there, and they all seemed very well-prepared and to be doing well. However, I later discovered that Sam’s speech therapist also works with a kid there, and she, too, spoke highly of what she had seen of the program. (She goes every week to do an hour of speech therapy with one of the students.)
  • The teacher/owner/director’s brother had “multiple special needs” his whole life, so even though none of her current students have them, she’s certainly had experience in other ways.

So there was a lot I liked. My reservations are:

  • It’s expensive. ’Nuff said.
  • It’s technically a daycare. Even though she says she runs it as a preschool and that does appear to be the case, I’m slightly hesitant about whether it’s enough like a preschool to adequately prepare him for kindergarten. It feels like it is, but it’s hard to know unless we try it.

So we’ll see. I’ve decided I’ll check out the few other preschools I’m interested in that are around this area, just in case what the district offers us is truly not acceptable. I need to have something in mind as a backup—particularly if the district’s offering isn’t acceptable and we plan to ask them to pay for an alternative.

On the subject of money and preschool, I know I said last week that my loss of a major client meant we likely couldn’t afford preschool for Sam, other than whatever free option the district offers. That may indeed be true; however, I had an interview on Friday that seemed to go pretty well, so there may be some hope. It’s just a part-time freelance position, but if I do well enough on the editing test to be offered the work, it would in theory be enough for us to have some preschool options. I plan to take the test Monday and would appreciate any crossed fingers. 🙂 Chris and I have done budget-slashing and will make life work however we have to, but adding this new potential client would certainly make things easier.

So that’s the news from here! Hope you all have a wonderful Halloween! I still need to put together Theo’s costume. He wants to be a wheatback penny, which sounds easy and cheap but has actually turned out to be somewhat costly. (Printing a large color picture of a wheatback penny doesn’t come cheap!) Meanwhile, Sam foiled my attempt to make him a piggy bank by refusing to wear the pig hat that came with his costume. Without it, he just looks like a baby dressed in pink, which is not an interesting costume. So, I think he’ll probably just wear his cape (from his DS walk) and go as Mighty Marauder! Because he is, indeed, a mighty marauder. That kid has an incredible ability to destroy a room….

By the way, at the end of this week’s gallery, you’ll see a bunch of pictures of the boys and our family. Those are the pictures we had taken about a month ago. I’m so pleased with how they turned out! She got some fantastic pictures of the boys!

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