Monday, September 14, 2009

Kindergarten, two weeks in (Maya update)

We were so worried about how Maya would adjust to a mainstream classroom this year, but as usual our Miss Mouse has knocked everyone's expectations square on their ass. She has a way of doing that.

School - she's doing beautifully, despite being in a loud, chaotic class of 35. She's having fun, participating appropriately, behaving well (no meltdowns so far! *knocking on everything wooden in the room*), and interacting incredibly well with the staff. Almost too well, her teacher told me the other day that she's quite the little tattletale (is that spelled right? it looks funny), running to her all day long to rat out her classmates. This from the child who didn't say an understandable word to her teacher for nearly a month last year and spent half that month flinging herself to the floor and screaming, and when she finally did begin speaking to them it was only in a whisper. We'll be discussing when it is and isn't appropriate to tattle, but her teacher actually thinks it's hysterical since this way she's got a little informant keeping her apprised of everything in class. She's opened up less to the other children, preferring to be by herself more often, but that's typical Maya and very understandable. It will take her a while longer yet before she's really comfortable with all those new kids, for now she's staying mainly with the few she already knew and a couple of other non-intimidating children. Frankly, I'm surprised she's even doing that much, we really thought the adjustment would put a lot more stress on her, which she normally reacts to by keeping to herself and trying to process it all.

Speech - her speech therapist will be doing a comprehensive evaluation over the next few weeks. Early indications have shown that Maya has actually closed the gap with her peers, both in terms of vocabulary and aural comprehension and memory (she was coming from way behind since she was a non-native speaker with communication issues) and in some categories she's actually advanced for her age. Wow! If the full evaluation backs this up, she will be discharged from speech therapy at that point. This therapist has been amazing and Maya has absolutely blossomed in her care. So much so in fact that she'll be disappointed to stop I think. (I'll be happy to get the time and the extra cash back though.)

Extracurriculars - I've enrolled Maya in a gymastics-type class once a week. She really loved the trial session and immediately asked to come back "a million times" so we went for it. It's some traditional gymnastics combined with basic body skills and awareness stuff, with a healthy dose of music and games thrown in for good measure. The teacher was good, despite having one of the most disruptive children I've ever seen in the class (hopefully he won't stay or will at least settle down a bit). As for Maya, she dove right in - answered the teacher's questions loudly and clearly and then proceeded to express her opinions whenever she felt necessary (i.e. she kept suggesting to the teacher that this or that (non-musical) activity would really be better with music LOL).

I'm in awe. Her conversational skills have exploded, and with them all these typical nearly six year old behaviors that we hadn't seen until now. She's developed a ravenous curiosity about the world around her, she jumps into conversations with suggestions or comments, she tells me all about her day (this is huge), or else tells me that she doesn't want to tell me if she feels like blowing me off, she actively negotiates when she wants something. All these incredible, amazing, utterly typical behaviors. And she's doing them.

If I hadn't seen her progress with my very own eyes I'd never ever believe that this is the same child who used to rage and scream like a wounded animal for an hour (literally) when asked to do something like get dressed.

I keep remembering how I sat in the psychologist's office 18 months ago and she asked me what my goal for Maya was - what did I want most of all. My answer? That I could ask her if she was hungry for dinner and get an answer, not a scream or 20 minutes of quoting an episode of Dora, and that I could do it without having to walk over to her, squat down in front of her, force her to make eye contact, and ask her directly, right in her face, and even then to not get an answer most of the time.

Now?

I can call to her from the other room and get an answer like "I'm not ready for dinner yet Mom, I'm in the middle of watching something. When it's over then I'll be ready."

I don't know if you can really understand the magnitude of how very far she's come, we've all come, without having lived through it, but to stop and actually think about it makes me literally gasp out loud. There were times, many many dark times, when I never thought we'd make it half this far.

God I love that girl.

(And my boy, who, even though he continues to get less air (screen) time because life flows so much more easily for him, continues to amaze and astound us even more with each passing day.)
.

24 comments:

Yaelian said...

That is great Robin how well Maya has adjusted to everything:-)

Flea said...

WOW. Fantastic. Oh, Robin, I'm so happy for you both. Congratulations. :)

poppy fields said...

Go Maya! That's a great news update.

Jientje said...

I'm so happy for you Robin. This must be a load off your shoulders, I can imagine!

Maribeth said...

I'm so glad you wrote this update. I was wondering how Maya was doing with the new school year. I am *THRILLED* that she is doing so well! Yay Maya!!!!
And Yay to her parents!!!

Daryl said...

How wonderful ... I am sure you wont mind if I sing YOUR praises .. since it takes a lot of strength to go through what you did, to have the patience and love to help her get here!

kaye said...

I'm glad she's doing so well :)

Mojo said...

Amazing what perspective does for you isn't it? Reminds us to never take anything for granted. I'm so happy for you and Miss Mouse.

Genny said...

That is SO great, Robin! What an incredible feeling that must be to see her doing so well!

Janet said...

I'd glad to read she's doing so well :-)

Sophie said...

Wow! How delighted I am to read this post and learn how well Maya is doing. Isn't it amazing what love and perseverence can accomplish! I know your mother's heart beams with pride, and well it should. Keep going little Maya, shine like the bright star you were meant to be!

Fairly Odd Mother said...

Such great news! Yay Maya! Yay for you!

Kate Coveny Hood said...

This was wonderful to read. You always make me feel so hopeful.

day by day said...

Wow, Robin...what a wonderful Maya update!!! She has come so far! I am so happy she had you to help her blossom into the beautiful flower she is!!! Thanks for sharing this...you know it
gives me hope. : )

Leora said...

she's staying mainly with the few she already knew and a couple of other non-intimidating children
This sounds good! I've been told that the kids who get a grasp of the social often do well in other areas, too. Glad she is connecting with others.

You are a great mom. Give yourself twelve pats on the back, too.

imom said...

Yay Maya! I'm glad she's adjusting well and that she has a teacher who doesn't take the tattling too seriously, many kids go through a phase like that! Such great news about the speech therapy too! She's really doing well.

Fourier Analyst said...

May you continue to be be amazed and astounded by your kiddos. Growing up is very hard. One of the child-rearing books pointed out to me that it takes a lot of energy to put kinks into the grey matter of those smooth little brains. Indeed.

And don't doubt for a moment that this is a credit to all your patience and efforts. While of course it is Maya herself who has made the leap, you too deserve a pat on the back! *pat-pat*

Baila said...

I totally understand the magnitude of how far she's come, bec. as a speech therapist, I've worked with children that sound similar to Maya. Children have an amazing capacity to learn. I've had successes like you describe, and I am so happy for you because I know it isn't easy, nor guaranteed. You and Maya are blessed to have each other....

anymommy said...

I am thrilled to read this. yay for happy, (relatively) easy school years!

Domestic Spaz said...

This is the best news I've heard all day. :) What an amazing journey Maya has made so far!

angie said...

I am amazed........and so happy for Maya. And you. I remember reading out struggles in the past, and this seriously brought tears to my non sentimental eyes. HOORAY for a wonderful start of Kindergarten!

Gilit Frank said...

This is great news, especially for the new year!!!!

Shanah tovah!

Tricia said...

Again, I could have written this post! So glad to hear it. My new problem...Victoria seems to be talking too much to her FRIENDS in class. I need to get stern with her about this soon but the fact that she has all of these FRIENDS after the rough start she had I'm beyond thrilled!

Rivster said...

I continue to be amazed by our kids! We have Beernut in a karate class that sounds like the gymnastics program that Miss Mouse is taking. I know that for us, it provide Beernut with a group of peers who share the same struggles and then celebrate common triumphs.

Kol HaKavod!!!!!