MJ is in the red shirt!
Just this week MJ’s teacher informed me that they would be having a school dance on Friday during the day for the 5th graders. She was great enough to take a few pictures for me. Knowing how much my son loves music I knew he would have a great time. The night before the dance my husband tried to teach him how to do a simple dance move. MJ said to him “but I can’t dance”. My husband immediately stopped what he was doing and tried to teach him a dance move. It didn’t go well (sigh). He started doing that thing he does whenever we try to teach him something (as I have said before, he actually learns some things better from other people). So, yesterday I was thrilled to receive several text messages from my son’s teacher and she even followed up with a phone call after school ( have I said how much I love her)! He had a blast and was dancing and having fun for the entire 2 hours. She said he was giving “high fives” and all. I am still in denial that next week is the last week of elementary school life for MJ. I have had loads of support, advice, and great care during his elementary school years. I’m so worried that it may all vanish during our middle school journey. However, I will try and stay as positive and proactive as I can. Lord help me!
For many families a trip to IHOP is no big deal. For us, it’s a moment to be treasured! This pic was taken when MJ was six years old. At this age I REFUSED to take MJ to any sit down restaurant other than McDonald’s. It was sensory overload for him and he would disturb everyone around him. My husband however, decided to give it a try one day. I was completely shocked when he sent me this pic as they were getting ready to eat! “Is that MJ sitting down calmly getting ready to eat?!?!” I was amazed and grateful that my husband took him on these types of outings. Thank God things are better now. Having a sit down meal at a restaurant is still a great family moment that we never take for granted.
I was excited to take MJ to therapy today. He was in a great mood which apparently was present all day because his teacher sent me a great message. Last week we were unable to go due to a horrible accident on the interstate. When we got there today, MJ had just woken up. I don’t like it when he falls asleep right before therapy because he sometimes doesn’t concentrate or engage in the session. Well today he was awesome! HE ALMOST TIED HIS SHOELACES!! After therapy he said “I almost got it!” He hasn’t been this close to mastering it in a long time. I’m so thankful for therapy sessions like today. Many times MJ shuts down for one reason or another, gets frustrated, or doesn’t respond. Thank God for great days! I don’t take them for granted!
In dream land right before his session today. 😊
MJ at this year’s swim program beginning to float on his back! Yeah!
MJ’s two week swim program at school is now over. After last year’s program he was able to swim with the “float board”. After this year’s program he is so much more comfortable in the water. He is now jumping in the pool, sliding down slides, floating on his back, and swimming!!!!! Don’t get me wrong, he is not ready for the Olympics, but he has made awesome progress. Yesterday I took the kids to swim in their grandmother’s pool. MJ was playing around and then all of a sudden began to swim from one end of the pool to the other. He would not do it again if asked to (that kid!) He only did it when no one was looking! I don’t have pics of that this time but I hope to have that soon. So grateful for his teacher, swim teachers and his progress. He will hopefully be swimming like a fish in no time!
MJ and his dad after the haircut saga…
So the story goes as follows:
One Saturday morning when MJ was about 7 months old, I went to run errands and left MJ with my husband. I came back home 2 hours later to find that my husband gave MJ his first haircut while I was gone! I was so upset because 1. He didn’t tell me he was going to cut his hair. 2. I wanted to be there. And 3. HE DIDN’T LOOK LIKE MY SON! Meanwhile my husband was beaming with pride as he was so pleased with the cut. I remember being so upset about it that I cried and tried to save some of the hair as a memento lol!! I think it honestly took me about 24 hours to get over it. That is one haircut I’ll never forget!
It’s bedtime in our household…
Me: “MJ it’s time for bed”.
MJ: “MJ is not here right now. Please leave a message. Beeeeep”
Me: laughing hysterically😂. “MJ this is mommy. It’s time to go to bed now.”
MJ: Makes the dial tone noise as though the phone is off of the hook.
I grabbed and hugged him and we laughed together last night. I thought that joke was pretty impressive. I’m still wondering where he got it from or if he came up with that himself. I love this kid. 😊
Me: checking MJ’s bookbag I see what appears to be a paper typed by MJ! “ There’s no way he typed this?! I decide to send his teacher a text message asking her who typed the paper.
Ms H (MJ’s teacher and I quote): ” He typed it!!! Picked out the picture too!”
Me: “What?!?!?! Wow. I’m shocked”
Ms. H: “He Researched. Planned. Wrote. Edited. Typed. Emailed it to me. Selected a picture. Took a lot of work but he did it.”
Me: “Wow I’m impressed. So proud of him.”
Ms. H: “He is a rock star!”
This was MJ’s first official typed paper. After that text message conversation I ran upstairs to MJ and gave him a huge hug and kiss. I told him how proud I was of him. He gave me a wide smile. Once again I have to stress the importance of a great teacher. She was able to get him to really work hard and complete this assignment. We are really going to miss her next year. I can only pray that his future teachers live up to his past teachers. Now I will gladly display his paper on the refrigerator. 😀
I found out recently that the special needs camp MJ has been attending for the past 2 years, does not have any spaces available this summer!!!! Sniff. Sniff. I made sure that I sent in the information as early as I could and even informed them ahead of time that I would be dropping off the paperwork. Still, a few days later I received a phone call where I was told “Um ma’am, your son has 8 other kids ahead of him. I suggest that you look for other placement for him.” I wanted to reach through the phone and scratch her eyes out but instead I chose to say “Wow, 8 kids? Well, thank you. Please let me know if anything changes.” I immediately went online to search other special needs camps in my area. “Oh wait let me call that Jewish organization that I always hear about.” “So sorry ma’am we are all full at this time.” “Hmmm let me go online and try the other Jewish organization”. As I looked up their info I found that it was over “$1,200 per month. This means that it would cost me over $2,400 for the summer. Really!? This was very disheartening. I took a deep breath and continued to search. I tried the Dan Marino Center and they were a little better at $185 per week but this was still a lot considering I have a daughter that wants to attend camp as well. I called the ARC organization, all of the city camps in my surrounding area, private schools, and many more. The aftercare coordinator at MJ’s school wanted to know if I would give MJ a chance to try summer camp with them. I never really thought about doing that because I knew that the special needs camps would have additional supervision and smaller class sizes. I went home and discussed it with my husband. We decided we would give it a try. Though I am still nervous about this I understand that for MJ it is crucial that he attend a summer camp for at least a portion of the summer. He needs the socialization, activities, and the overall experience. If he stays home, he will most likely retreat to his room and it will be very difficult to get him to do anything without a fight. MJ has always tried new things with other people as opposed to trying them with us. There have been many times when MJ would not play basketball with my husband or try an activity with me, but he would do these things with other children or adults. It has been this way for as long as I can remember. On the bright side he will be at the same camp as his sister and with the “typical” kids that already know him from the aftercare. The teachers and director really know him pretty well now and I am just praying that things go well. We have decided to try it out for one month.
To the person that recommended this book. I give you a huge hug and a great big THANK YOU! So inspirational. It literally gave me chills as I read it. I. Needed. This.
This pic was taken when MJ was 3 years old. We were amazed that:
1. They got him to keep the hat and clothes on!
2. They got him to stay in the chest!
3. They managed to get a great picture of him genuinely smiling!
These were the days when he was the “Roadrunner”. I treasure this picture. It reminds me of how long God has been looking out for us. The people at the daycare and the photographers didn’t stop until they were able to get a great pic of him. This is truly one of my favorites!