June 25, 2010 by Marj Hatzell
I know I spend at least 75% of my time on this blog chronicling Bugaboo’s adventures in DG Land. I DO have two kids, people. Really! It’s just that, let’s be honest here, Bugaboo takes up 75% of my time and attention, too. No, it isn’t fair to Bug Boy. No, I don’t like it that way. Yes, I’m trying to change that. So, without further ado: Bug Boy.
Bug Boy had an amazing year at school this year. He went from writing two or three sentences at writers workshop to writing whole paragraphs. The teachers at his school did their best to improve his writing skills and bring them to grade level. Wanna know what we discovered? Bug Boy has dysgraphia (which is ironic, since he also has hyperlexia). He isn’t the most severe case but writing by hand hinders him. Once we figured that out and handed him an alphasmart (classroom word processor) he caught up quickly. His ideas and creativity are amazing. He still has some processing issues getting it from brain to paper but he does a marvelous job. AND! He isn’t perseverating on certain topics as much. He isn’t all, “Pokemon! Star Wars! Video games!” in his writing now. This year he wrote about pirates, animals (though always the cheetah) and how his parents argue and he doesn’t like it. Ahem.
Bug Boy loves math and science. Hello! His father excels at math and science! No big surprises there! And Mommy was a math tutor in a former life. S0 I guess you could say he had a 99.9% chance at being good at math. For those of you not good at math or statistics it means he will no doubt be in advanced math classes because he already is. He’s all (eyeroll), “This is soooooo easy. Whatevs.” And basically gets straight As in it. Except word problems! GO FIGURE. Maybe because he has to write them? Hmmm…I feel an IEP accommodation coming on.
Bug Boy also loves geography and history. Dude loves maps and gets it from his Momma. When we drove across the country two summers ago, Bug Boy kept busy with maps and facts about the various states. He had a blast. He has Mommy’s sense of direction, obviously, because Daddy can’t find his way out of a mall. But he can get out of Home Depot and Lowes every time. How about them apples.
Basically, Bug Boy loves every single subject. He LOVES school. He’s good at it. He took violin lessons this year (free at our school! FREE!) and loved every minute of it. He can sight-read very well, memorizes all of the notes and loves an audience. In fact, when he practices he MUST have Mommy, dogs, neighbor’s kid, anyone sitting and watching/listening. His spring concert this year? Let’s just say Mommy is a bit proud. And he’s taking lessons this summer through our district’s arts program. He is having a blast so far.
Sounds like Bug Boy has come a long way! And he has. We do have struggles, however. Bug Boy is still very rigid. He is unyielding. He has rules about the way things are supposed to be done (and sometimes he is the only one that knows or understands the rules). He needs everything to be organized and in its place. He gets overwhelmed when there are messes and cannot sort them out, needing someone to stand there and say, “Ok. First pick up all legos. Good. Now pick up the comic books and put them here.” Otherwise, he does a decent job cleaning his room.
Bug Boy’s OCD has been a struggle this year. We thought he was ready to be weaned off the meds but when we began weaning him he started regressing. He washed his hands until they were raw and licked his lips and the back of his hands incessantly. He compulsively sharpened pencils. He started counting his steps (BAD.). So, back on the meds he went. The good news? They work for him. He can function without being so dang anxious about everything around him. He still can be a bit nosy in the classroom, policing every one else. But he’s functioning well. Except for the occasional argument about the time (I say it’s eight o’clock, he gets bent out of shape because it is SEVEN FIFTY-SEVEN, MOM!) we’re conquering OCD and kicking it in the butt.
Bugaboo also conquered his fear of public restrooms this year. He uses the bathroom at school! HOORAY! He buys lunch in the cafeteria and tries NEW FOOD! HOORAY! He gets the same book out of the library over and over and over…um…well, we’re still working on that. For three years he got nothing but train books out of the public library and the same origami book from the school library every week. Even though he reads at a sixth-to-seventh grade level (and he just finished third grade) he gets a bit hung up on certain books. And reads them over and over. And over. And over. So we’re working on that.
The biggest change this year is in his social skills. Bug Boy often needs prompting to go knock on other kids’ doors to play. In fact, they usually come here and bug him. One of his best buddies moved right across the street. As in, his door is one hundred feet from our door, directly in line with our front steps. And Bug Boy needs prompting to go play with him. To be fair, though, Twin Friend Across the street is also autistic (though also high-functioning) and his mother has the same issue. We laugh about it sometimes. We’ll both tell them at precisely the same time to knock up for one another and they both pace back and forth discussing this disruption in their routines for a while and then they finally will run over to each other’s houses and exclaim, “HEY! I was gonna go get YOU!” and all is well. Since his Best Buddy of All time, Polite Boy, moved away (2 whole miles) he has been a bit sad. We recently had two more young boys move in a few doors down and they are also becoming part of the routine around here. So! Social Skills! Big Improvement!
Oh, and he likes books. Loves books. Falls asleep on a pile of books every night. Has books in his hands when he dozes off. Books, books, books. I feel a kindle coming on.
That’s Bug Boy in a nutshell. He’s an amazing, sensitive kid. And he’s mine!