As I begin this post, I realize how many others I have started and never finished in the last few months.
This one will be different...
I really can't believe it's already here. Summer Vacation.
School is out, again, for another summer break. Another grade is completed and this time, it was a year full of good things. Both the boys had amazing years, made friends and met goals. I was thoroughly impressed with progress reports and IEP meetings but never found the time to shout from the hilltops, like I would have not-so-long ago.
I'll start with Phoenix.
At the beginning of the year, we were still about a year behind in some areas, with many of our goals from the previous year still "In Progress". When I met with his teacher for his IEP meeting, a wave of change had rolled through.
We had met goals and were making new ones.
Speech had improved, greatly.
Concepts were sinking in and being understood.
He was finding traction and gaining speed.
It felt good to hear that after such a long struggle, we were finally in a good place. We were finally getting him to where he needs to be for his age. Last week when I got his final progress report, I cried.
Goal after goal read "Met Standards" and while we may still be a year behind in a few places, quite a few of the standards met this year were second grade standards. SECOND GRADE STANDARDS.
It blows my mind how unphased he is, how persistent and determined he is. He gets discouraged, yes. His confidence is still less than I would like. He still struggles a lot in everyday life but we are getting somewhere. For that, I am beyond thankful & grateful.
I am in awe of this little being I have helped to create and mold. He has had so many challenges; even though they seem small, they have had a big impact on him and they still would be if nothing had been done to help him find his way. Karate has helped him blossom more and come out of his shell, almost as if he's becoming more comfortable in his own skin; almost as if he's beginning to learn to love himself.
It's incredible and wonderful and awesome.
Paxton, on the other hand, has never stopped blowing my mind.
I was so worried about him, convinced he was going to have the same problems Phoenix did. I got him evaluated and did speech therapy at Sac State for a semester, went to the school district and got him an IEP, got him into preschool with his IEP. He had pull-out speech services on campus twice a week and I thought about another semester at Sac State, then the baby cried and I was thrusted back to reality with the conclusion that maybe I wasn't capable of doing another semester at Sac State.
At this point, he's already doing better than Phoenix was at the same age and is flying through things that tripped Phoenix up like basic concepts, letter recognition and sounds, so I really don't feel all that guilty. Paxton also doesn't have the inner ear problem Phoenix does, so that has to help too (with my Mom-guilt and his progress in speech).
In just this first year of preschool he's made phenomenal progress and when I say my mind is blown, I'm not exaggerating. At the beginning of this year, he knew a few letters; like the letters to his name. When I went to his parent/teacher meeting in May, his teacher confided that he can identify all 26 letters, upper and lower case, and the sounds they make, that he can spell and, this blew her mind too, that he can read.
Oh yes. He can read.
He still has speech issues, to be clear. He jumbles words together when he's trying to speak in sentences (cluster reduction) or leaves the last sound of words off (final consonant deletion) but these are normal, common processing errors for kids learning to speak and he's not that far behind. Most speech processing errors correct themselves by age 4 and Paxton's fifth birthday is just a few months away so I'm fairly confident these processes will resolve themselves if we just keep doing speech therapy at school and working on speech at home.
It gives me hope that Korben might, possibly, not have any speech issues at all but that's a bridge I'll cross when I come to it. For now, I'm going to take the progress that's been made, the goals that have been met, the leaps and bounds that have been taken and enjoy them for what the are: signs that Jay & I are doing what we need to do for our boys, signs that our boys are healthy and happy and learning and growing and thriving. I'm going to sit back and look at my boys and be proud. Of them, for getting to where they are, and of myself, for helping to get them there.
Seeing them succeed is the greatest proof that I am not a complete and utter failure and that's something I'm clinging to desperately right now.