Calvin, 22q Deletion · Family Life · Henry, Dup15q · School

Spring Five

Happy Summer!!

Oh wait – I totally skipped Spring on the blog!

I admit it… I just don’t prioritize blogging during the school year. The other priorities just don’t leave enough space. But school’s out for summer vacay and now I’ve got a chance to look back and write about our Spring highlights 🙂

Calvin’s 6th Birthday!

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Calvin turned SIX!!! I can’t believe he’s going to be in FIRST GRADE in the fall!

His birthday fell at the end of spring break, so my parents were able to be there to celebrate with us.

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He wanted a Thomas the train AND dinosaur cake so I decorated his birthday breakfast donut and his (store bought) birthday cake with his birthday Thomas train and some dinosaur toys 🙂 This is my tip for birthday breakfast and cake decorating: I use little toys he already has as decorations instead of buying new cake decorations! He always wants dinosaurs anyway, so we’ve been using his little dinosaur toys to decorate his birthday donuts and cakes and cupcakes for the last, like, 3 birthdays! Lol.

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We took him to a train museum where we rode a real steam train and checked out the other big real trains and the cute little model trains. Even Thomas was there 🙂

 

Child Dedication at our UU Fellowship

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We started attending a Unitarian Universalist fellowship after we moved to North Carolina. James and I were both new to UU, but soon felt at home at our new church. He and I “signed the book” to become members in the spring of last year. This year, we decided to have our boys dedicated in the church. Child dedication in a UU church is different from a baptism in terms of beliefs, but has some similarity in ceremony. My parents were there, and stood with us. The boys were each given a rose without thorns, and we held a little cup of water. We dipped the roses into the water and touched their foreheads and lips, as our reverend and other church leaders spoke and the congregation answered. But Henry quickly became obsessed with the little water cup, thinking it was for drinking, and he fussed and wiggled as we tried to hide it from him until finally, when we were finished with the ceremony, we let him drink it!

 

Mama’s Memorial Day Birthday

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My birthday always falls around Memorial Day weekend and this year we were spending the holiday weekend with some of James’ family. Even though we weren’t at home, James made sure my birthday was special and he made sure I didn’t miss my favorite birthday tradition: birthday breakfast!!

It was a fun weekend hanging out with my in-law family and my nieces and nephews. Calvin and Henry LOVE their cousins! Two of my nieces and one of my nephews and I all have our birthdays within a 2-week span, so the family celebrated us all together and it was fun to share my bday with them. Love you Catherine and Lilly and Brady!!!

 

Calvin’s Kindergarten Graduation

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I’m not crying, you’re crying!

Calvin graduated from Kindergarten!!

When he was a baby, and he was first diagnosed with 22q deletion syndrome, they told us that 22q individuals are at risk for learning difficulties, particularly in literacy. So when Calvin started school, I braced myself for the possibility that he might need more time than other kids. I have always tried to do everything I could to support him, and support his learning and development – but I also know that he does things in his own time, and I admit that a part of me is always tense, waiting to be told that he’s not making enough progress. I carry that worry both because it’s my responsibility to know the risks of his syndrome, and because when he was a baby, his development was delayed and I felt that pain every time I was reminded that his peers were crawling, sitting, walking, talking… and he just wasn’t there yet.

At the end of preK, I braced my self that he might not be ready for kindergarten. But he was. And all year in kindergarten, I was tense with worry that he might not be keeping up. I was particularly worried about his reading development, because literacy was a specific area of concern mentioned by his genetics doctors back when we got his diagnosis, and because literacy development has been an area of focus for me as a teacher. I was afraid I wasn’t reading with him enough. I was afraid he wasn’t making enough progress. I was afraid his articulation differences would affect his reading test. So when his EC teacher, who had administered his end of the year reading test, stopped me in the hall to tell me he had hit the end of kindergarten benchmark level, I was so relieved I hugged her!

I fear for him, but he amazes me. And I could not be more proud of him. I’m grateful to his teacher, Mr. B, who was patient with him and supportive of him all year long. I’m grateful to his therapists and his EC teacher for all their work with him. In addition to keeping up with kindergarten academics, his handwriting has improved a lot and his speech has really come a long way.

Once again, I am super nervous about him entering first grade and I am sure I’ll be worried about him all year especially because I am a first grade teacher!! I think I’m equally excited and nervous about having him on my grade level, lol. First grade is no joke, it’s hard work! But he shows me over and over again that despite my fears for him, he can do anything. He’ll be a great little first grader!!

 

Henry’s Pre-K Graduation

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NO YOU STOP CRYING!

**sniffle**

Henry graduated from Pre-K!!

He had an AMAZING year. He was so fortunate to be placed in a small class in a new preschool center in our district, still public pre-k, and with awesome teachers and therapists. He made SO MUCH PROGRESS this year. We especially love his classroom teacher (Hi Ms. A!!) because she did so much for him and more than that, we could tell that she truly loved and appreciated Henry. We are so sad that he can’t stay another year with Ms. A! But he is off to a K-2 class at a different school. **sniff! sniff!**

The graduation ceremony was a great example of why Ms. A was an awesome teacher for Henry. She called me weeks before to talk about ideas for how to make the ceremony accessible and special for him. He was the only kid in his class graduating (his class was for 3 and 4 year olds with special needs, and he was the only one turning 5 in time to start Kindergarten in the fall), so he was the only special needs kid in the graduation ceremony. The theme for the graduation was adorable. They decorated the playground like the beach with beach balls and umbrellas and a big paper beach backdrop. The kids wore tie dyed shirts that they had made at school. The other kids sat in rows of chairs, but Henry had a special seat next to his teacher. When the other kids sang songs, Henry played maracas. At one point, he was even walking around and dancing and sharing his maracas with the parents in the audience! When the other kids acted out a Pete the Cat story, Ms. A had a separate book just for Henry so he could follow along.

 

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Ms. A had vibrating toys and a vibrating seat cushion and crunchy snacks on hand to help with his sensory needs so that he could hang in there for the whole ceremony. And when he got wiggly, she held him. She did all the things I would have done for him. And she absolutely made the ceremony accessible and special for him, and so special for us, his family.

It was such an nice way to end a great school year for Henry. Next he’s off to a summer program called Extended School Year, which is just for kids who have shown that they will regress in their skills during breaks from school. So he’ll be in a classroom at a different school, with a small class of kids, where he’ll work on maintaining his classroom skills and he’ll also get to work with therapists on some of his PT, OT, and speech goals.

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And now it’s SUMMER!!

Can’t wait to fill you in on our summer adventures 🙂

Thanks for reading!

 

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