in june 2010, our lives got turned upside down in the best possible way: the birth of our awesome kiddo, john. in october 2013, brother charlie charged into our life to change the status quo again. and june 2016 brought us brother ben to round out our trio.

i'm proud to have "mom" at the top of the list of titles on my resume, but i'm also still a hard-working professional. how does a working mom juggle work and family? ride along with me and see if i can figure it out!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

what success looks like

he's a handsome little sucker.

a disclaimer right up front: i am SO PROUD of all of my friends whose little kindergartners and other young ones who are sharing their kids' academic and citizenship successes after the first quarter of school. please don't read any bitterness into this blog, because i feel none. i am excited for your straight a's and certificates, and i leap for joy at how well your babies are adjusting.

in fact i always figured i would be that mom - oh, like my friends, i would tone it down and not be TOO ridiculous. but i'd be trumpeting the great grades and awards. my kid's hands full of stickers and signs, grinning ear to ear at how well he's performed. he's smart enough, after all, and a hard worker and a sweet fellow. of COURSE he'd be in the top of everything.

this summer, when we were discovering john's sensory processing disorder and just beginning to understand how it would impact him, a good friend said this to me:

"you will learn that a good day looks different for john than it might for other kids."

and she was right.

john's academic report wasn't great this quarter. he's got the brains, for sure - but his behavioral struggles, not to mention his still-not-fully-recovered dominant hand, mean that even if his kindergarten gave letter grades, i doubt he'd have a lot of a's to show for his efforts.

he's gotten a referral or two. he's spent time in the principal's and assistant principal's offices. he's lost his "wow sticks" for blurting out in class. he's hit friends. he's used inappropriate language. he's struggled to listen when he is supposed to and do as he is asked.

so what can we celebrate? what does success for us look like?

SO MUCH. we can celebrate so much.
- just yesterday, john had an amazing day at kindergarten. that makes two in a row. who knows what today holds, but we've had two AWESOME days.
- his hand is recovering fast. he's writing more and better. his handwriting will improve, so his writing and language grades will go nowhere but up.
- the percentage of good days is getting so much higher. and he wants it to be even higher. he is working hard and knows the things he needs to do so he doesn't get into the "yellow zone" (a descriptor for the body state where he is in fight or flight mode based on his sensory issues)
- on the occasions when his strategies aren't quite enough, the length of time he spends in the yellow zone is getting shorter and shorter. he gets it together faster. that's huge.
- this kid is a READER. he loves to read and reads me hard books in addition to the early readers they're working on for school. i am SO PROUD of his reading.
- he's also a math whiz. he has trouble during that time of day at school and his performance there doesn't always show it - but he comes home with amazing skills every day. he's learning. and he loves to learn.
- and perhaps the biggest one of all: he has a community of love and support around him. his teacher, the counselors at school, the administration, his therapists - he has a team of people who love on him and lift him up and celebrate his successes and help navigate his tough spots.

so no, i don't have awesome grades and certificates to share with you just yet. but for john, success looks a little different: it looks like that happy kid at the top of this blog, wearing the button down and coat that he chose for picture day, excited to engage in another day and dancing down the stairs telling me "i'm going to have another five star day, mommy!"

THAT is a good day.

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