We were lucky on Saturday to be able to take the M&Ms to a birthday party for one of Monster’s best friends. This was my first chance to observe him in a social situation since he began taking medication, and he did really well. He’s not normally terrible in social situations, but in the past he’s often had trouble keeping his hands to himself. He would get an idea in his head and act on it, without pausing to consider the implications. I could see him thinking about pushing, crashing into, or otherwise behaving “inappropriately”, then deciding not to. This is a big change for Monster, the idea that he doesn’t need to act on every idea he gets. Hopefully, now that the medicine has given him this ability, it takes hold and he nurtures and grows this skill. For my part, I’ll offer encouragement whenever I see it in action (see also: Thursday).
Monday morning, I was in court so I could take the M&Ms to Florida. I’ve already written about this here
, so I won’t add anything more now.
In the evening, we took the M&Ms swimming at one of their favourite pools. I played a bunch with both Monster and Monkey, helping Monkey get pushed around by the jets in the kids pool, and driving Monster around the deeper pool (and later getting him to help kick so we could move faster).
I spoke with Monster’s teacher when I picked him up from school on Tuesday, and asked how he was doing in class. She said that he’s basically been getting steadily better since the middle of last week, and that she hadn’t had to ask him to sit down and get to work at all so far this week. I told her that he’s on medication now (I hadn’t told her earlier so that I could get her unbiased opinion on how his behaviour changed).
After homework, I took the M&Ms to my office Christmas party, where Monkey in particular had quite a bit of fun showing off his Lego to everyone who would listen. All four of us (me, Bunny, and the M&Ms) won a door prize, the kids each got a little stuffed animal.
Wednesday was an interesting day. I was volunteering for an “in school field trip” for Monster’s class. I had to rush first thing to drop off Monster, then rush to drop off Monkey and rush back. When I was halfway to dropping Monster off, I realized that I hadn’t given him his medication that morning. Ok, so now I needed to drop Monkey off, then hurry home to get it, and hurry back to Monster’s school in order to be in time for the field trip. This meant leaving Monkey earlier than I normally do (normally when I drop him off, I hang around until he starts to get engaged in whatever they’re doing, so he doesn’t feel abandoned). He seemed fine with it, so I guess I was worried about nothing.
Made it back to Monster’s school just in time, and gave him his medicine. This meant that I got to watch him, in a classroom setting, as the medicine took effect. The field trip was to make a painting, and when Monster sat down, he was squirming and fiddling with his brushes, and having difficulty focusing. Over the next half hour he gradually calmed down and was able to focus. Until first recess. When his school does an in school field trip, the students don’t get to go out for recess. Which meant that Monster didn’t get to have his morning snack. Shortly before the recess bell rang, he said he was hungry. About 15 minutes after the recess bell rang he started to get frustrated and cranky. But there were no snacks nearby, and I was busy helping the class with their art projects, so there wasn’t much I could do at this point. I will try to talk to his teacher about this, and find a way to ensure that he can have a morning snack, even on days like this.
Later in the afternoon, Monster had a math unit test. When I picked him up, I asked how it went, and he was really excited and told me that he “beat the test” and did really well. It turns out that he actually failed it. Unfortunately, he misunderstood one of the sections that was worth 30% of the test. He had written the correct answers first, then after rereading the question, erased them and wrote incorrect answers. He got zero on that section, and was crushed when he realized what he had done wrong. I was frustrated (and still am, to some extent) that his teacher could clearly see that he knew how to do it correctly (the erased answers were still visible), but gave him zero on the section when he’s already struggling with his confidence at school. It was supposed to be a math test, testing his math abilities, not a reading comprehension test. He didn’t get it wrong because he couldn’t do the math, he got it wrong because the question wasn’t clear to him. She could have offered partial marks, or given him some way to retake that section, but instead decided to give zero. I can understand why she did that, but it’s still frustrating to me, painful to Monster, and not helpful to anyone. Some review material was sent home over the weekend for him to prepare for the test, I’m going to try to talk to his teacher about what exactly was sent home. I’m not sure if the problem was a failure to learn it on his part (it might have been done before he was taking his medication, and he wasn’t able to pay attention), a lack of review over the weekend, or if the review material didn’t cover that topic in the same way.
Thursday evening, we went out for a public Christmas tree lighting, with hot chocolate and cookies. At one point, Monster and a younger girl were playing near each other. The little girl was asking her parents to bring her some snowballs, and Monster decided to get in on the game by picking up the biggest snowball he could carry. I bet you can guess where this is heading. I was really torn at this point: On the one hand, I don’t want him to hurt this little girl, but on the other hand, I want to let him make choices on his own. I tried to stay close enough that I’d be able to intervene if he made the wrong choice. At first he walked around behind her and held the snowball above her head. He was thinking about dropping it on her head, then thought better of it and placed in front of her instead. He then started bringing her all the large snowballs he could find, she was so excited it was adorable. Another smaller child started playing nearby as well, and Monster started showing him snowballs that were small enough for him to pick up and play with. More good choices by Monster! After the smaller children had left, Monster got to have some rougher fun as him and I threw snowballs at each other, with Monkey handing me lots of snowballs to throw at Monster.