Protected: I Pay for Therapy. Why Should you Have to? March 31, 2012
Protected: Color, Color Everywhere March 28, 2012
Musings on Zumba March 26, 2012
Tonight I took my first Zumba class. Yes, I’m always a few years behind the trends. I didn’t read the Twilight series until after Eclipse came out at the theaters. I was late to blogging and to Facebook. So it’s only natural that I’m way behind on the Zumba craze. On the way there, I was worried that I would love it and immediately want to be a Zumba teacher. That’s how it went with Mary Kay….and water aerobics. If I like something, I jump on board big time! Heck, I decided to go a couple meals without eating meat, gluten, and dairy, and I’ve been doing it for a month now. That’s just how I roll.
But never fear, dear reader. Zumba teaching is not in my future. Not remotely. Although I do plan to return to class and jiggle uncoordinatedly (not a word? well it should be) on the back row. Here are just some of the reasons you won’t find me teaching a Zumba class…..
- I would never be able to master that excited, open-mouthed, cocky look that dancers get. You know the one. Just picture any child dancer from the Star Search years. Cannot do it. Don’t want to.
- I don’t ever want these words to cross my lips: Get your freak on, Miss Alice!!
- My left hand is not capable of doing jazz hands. And although my right hand can successfully get jazzy, my arm fat jiggles and makes me self-conscious.
- When I’m supposed to be jiggling my chest, like a Latin diva, nothing happens up there. For many reasons–I don’t have a lot going on in the first place and secondly, I was wearing a sports bra. But the fact that my rear end was jiggling gratuitously when my chest should have been….well, that was just weird.
- I could not point at the class participants and believably tell them they look hot or sexy. I mean, as a fitness instructor, I try to be encouraging, but I do draw the line somewhere. Frankly when I got told that I was looking sexy, it made me blush and wonder if I should dial it back a little.
- I would be afraid that if I was ever out dancing at a wedding or a club (that’s actually laughable–I will probably never enter another club in my life!) that I would do Zumba moves.
- Can we just get real here for a minute? Are you okay with that? So I’ve birthed a baby. My lower organs are damaged goods. I tee tee a little bit every time I sneeze or God forbid, jump, and this class had a lot of bouncing. Let’s just say, that I’m pretty sure that the English translation of Zumba is: don’t forget your Depends.
- My poor rhythm and coordination are obvious roadblocks for me. I figure that my workout was 30% better than most peoples though, because if I couldn’t get my feet to do the right moves, I would just move them about as quickly as I could, hoping that all the teacher would see was a crazy blur of unshaved legs and capri pants.
Alas, I shall leave Zumba instruction to the professionals. You can find me on the back row getting my freak on with Miss Alice. Well not with her….oh, you know what I mean.
But I would like to get some of those superfly, hip hop Zumba pants……a girl can dream.
I find that when you are raising a child who doesn’t share your biology it is much easier to brag on them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to brag on Isaac too, but I try not to take it too far. If I talk too much about how great Isaac is, it almost seems like I’m trying to brag on myself for making him such an awesome kid. I mean, I think we all know that Isaac got his intelligence and humor from me (and certainly his gigantic head), but it’s rude for me to flaunt that, you know?
But two other peoples’ genetics made Matthew into an awesome kid, therefore, I can brag on him till the cows come home without even a hint of guilt. So here goes…..
Less than 2 years ago, Matthew underwent testing with our local school system as he prepared to age out of the early intervention services. We knew there were deficits, but I remember being completely floored when we met to go over his test results. Looking back at the results here are some observations that jump out at me:
“Matthew uses some words to identify a few objects like “car” and in imitation, but is not able to use them to communicate or for social purposes.”
“He answers all yes/no questions with a “no” response, even when he is asked if he would like to have a highly desired snack item or toy.”
“He cried frequently, but was unable to communicate his wants or needs with words or gestures.”
Two years ago, Matthew showed deficits all but one area that he was tested in. (His Motor score was low average.) He qualified for preschool services and began in the fall of 2010.
Last year was rough, no doubt about that, but he was learning. Towards the end of the year, they canceled his physical therapy services because he was doing so well. He made up a lot of ground on his speech and his cognitive delays last year. But socially, we were still in the weeds. Big time.
This year has been better. I hate to admit that we still have a long way to go socially. If we see a classmate of his out in public, he will flat out deny that he knows them and say NO over and over again when they try to speak to him. That’s not so good. But in all other aspects this year has been much better.
About a month ago, Matthew’s teacher suggested that he be re-evaluated. It was time to write his new IEP and she couldn’t come up with any good goals because he was doing so well. When I went to pick him up after the evaluation, his teacher walked out, apologizing that it went late. “He kept getting everything right, which meant that we had to keep going until we got to the 7-year old levels on everything!!!”. Translation: my 4-year old is as smart as an average 7-year old.
At the subsequent meeting with the preschool staff, we got down to brass tacks. Scores. Then and now. Behold (and bear in mind that the scores of 85-115 are considered to be the average range):
Adaptive, 2 years ago: 80
Adaptive, today: 116
Personal/Social, 2 years ago: 61 (yes, that hurt. It hurt real bad.)
Personal/Social, today: 114 (yes, that would mean that he improved over 50 points!!!!)
Communication, 2 years ago: 61 (again, ouch)
Communication, today: 108
Motor, 2 years ago: 89
Motor, today: 125
Cognitive, 2 years ago: 62 (this one hurt the most back then, because I knew how smart he really was)
Cognitive, today: 116 (and yes, that would be ABOVE average. Ahem)
And yes, I realize and agree that test scores aren’t everything, so now I will share with you 2 things that mean more to me than any number. First, Matthew’s teacher has told me that he has been requesting to lead the class in the good-bye song at the end of the day. He sits in the large white rocking chair and leads the song and does the hand motions. It has become his unofficial duty and she says he just glows with pride while doing it. And secondly, he was telling me about a “camping adventure” he had at school. In telling me the story, he referred to “my friend, Sam”. That was the first time in 2.5 years that he ever referred to someone as his friend.
Now THAT is progress.
So you might say that I am incredibly impressed with this child who waited 2 years for a family because everyone thought he might be beyond help. Beyond hope. Too many special needs. Too scary.
A part of me wants to send this information to his agency in Korea, to say, “see? Look at this beautiful display of courage and perfection. He just needed a chance to show us all what he could do.”
There are so many other kids in Korea–and all over the world–waiting. Because of too many unknowns or what ifs. It IS scary to take that leap of faith. But there are no guarantees, ever. The truth is that not every waiting child will reach these amazing milestones. Sometimes the needs are great and sometimes they will always be great.
But every waiting child deserves the opportunity to try.
From here on out, I will be using a new password for my protected posts. It became apparent that this was necessary when I received a comment from a reader that I do not know on one of my protected posts.
Just to be clear, there are a few reasons that I protect some of my posts. I protect every post that contains pictures of my children. I don’t want creeps out there looking at my kids.
But I also protect posts that deal with certain frustrations that might be specific to adoptive families, certain difficulties we have faced during our transition to a family of 4. Things that certain readers who do not know us and our history a) do not need to know about or b) would not fully understand. A lot of the times when I share certain issues we have it is because I know there are other people out there going through the same thing and they need to know they are not alone. I need them to comment so I know that I am not alone!! Many times, because they are families formed through adoption, they have valuable advice for me. But I also know that a lot of my blog readers pray for my family. And we do covet your prayers. So I want these people to know exactly how to pray for us.
Here’s the deal. I am not stingy with my password, but if you email me for it, I will want to know who you are. Like–do you have a blog I can follow? Are you a fellow adoptive family? How do you even know about me (do we have mutual friends)? If you don’t have a blog, friend me on Facebook. In other words, if you are reading these personal thoughts of mine, I want to KNOW who you are.
If I give you the password, please understand that I am just giving it to YOU. Not to your friend who is adopting. Not to your cousin who has 2 kids with food allergies. Not to your mother who needs to understand the struggles of adoptive families so that she won’t be so hard on you. If your friend, or your cousin, or your mama want to read my blog, have them email me and tell me that they are a friend of yours. I want to know them.
I love blogging. I love the friends and community and support I have found here. I want to continue being honest and transparent about the good and the bad in our day to day lives.
So help a sister out. Email me for the password (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let’s keep it on the downlow, y’all.
PS–for now, I think the old password will still work on all posts up until this point. The new password will begin with the next protected post. Eventually when I have time (ha!), I will transition all posts to the new password. Confused yet? Good. Me too.