Friday, March 18, 2011

#97 - All Things Christopher

Today, Teresa and I met with teachers and support staff to discuss Christopher's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for next year and his transition from junior high to high school. I think we were both a bit apprehensive going in because we were afraid there would be an attempt to lock him into a path that would eliminate any possibility of pursuing a career in something he might be interested in.

For the first few minutes of the meeting, I felt my fears were going to be realized. There was a good deal of talk about socialization skills and the like, things the junior high program has worked with Christopher on for several years with little success. There has been little attempt, from our perspective, to see what he is capable of academically, and we were both afraid his entire life was going to be mapped out for him in this meeting. The roadmap we were envisioning eliminated any possibility of college and career.

Thankfully, the meeting went better than I initially though it would. I felt we were listened to and heard and that we were all in agreement that getting Christopher where he needs to go - socially and academically - will require some thinking outside the box. I thought some of the same things last year only to be a bit disappointed in the way things worked out, so the jury is still out.

However, I was encouraged to hear that Christopher has made some academic strides this year. The news on that front sounded much more positive this year. And when I mentioned that I still had hopes Christopher might one day be able to go to college, the idea was not dismissed or even downplayed. it was left out there as one of many possibilities for him.

What that tells me is that there is growing recognition and awareness on the part of all parties that no one yet knows what Christopher is or will be truly capable of. Personally, I still think deep down that the sky's the limit for him - as long as we don't place so many limits on him now that he can't even see the sky let alone reach for it. I came away from today's meeting with a sliver of hope that won't happen, and I'm going to hang onto it for all it's worth.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

#96 - The Darnedest Things

This morning, Teresa was in her office, working away to solve some crisis developing out of the latest systems conversion at work. Christopher and I were left to have breakfast on our own.

While we were enjoying a bowl of oatmeal, we happened to look out through our sliding glass door into the back yard, where we saw a cat in the neighbor's tree. While we watched, the cat gingerly made its way down through the branches to the top of the tree trunk. As it was looking around for a way out of the tree or perhaps looking for a place to jump, Christopher says to me, "Cats are such drama queens." Darnedest thing #1.

A few minutes later, I hear the following question: "Dad, do you know about sperm?" I suddenly got a little nervous thinking the time has come for "The Talk," the one I never got growing up, the one my single year as a Boy Scout left me unprepared to give. Darnedest thing #2.

I answered, "Yes," and was about to try to formulate an explanation, when he told me what he knew. "There's the sperm whale." "Yes." I said. He quickly added, "Then, there's the other sperm. They're like little balls with tails." Oddly enough, the fact that he already knew that much made it a little easier to try and explain their function to him.

Then he asked me if Oliver, our beagle, had sperm. I told him no, and he asked me why. I told Christopher that Oliver had been neutered so that he would not father lots of puppies because there were already so many dogs in the world that no one wanted.

At this point, I might have expected to have to explain to Christopher what it means to be neutered. However, he astounded me by asking if Oliver's reproductive organs had been removed so he wouldn't get even crazier around other dogs. (Our beagle does not play well with other dogs, the ad on Craigslist not withstanding.) Darnedest thing #3.

After that, there was no more talk of sperm or cats or drama queens. We finished our breakfast, Christopher cleared the table, and then he went off to do some drawing or reading.

Christopher never saw the television show because it was on the air long before he was born, but Art Linkletter had it right when he stated that kids say the darnedest things. At least Christopher sure does.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

#95 - Just a Lazy Day

 I sit here at my desk looking out at overcast skies that threaten rain but have yet to deliver much, and I think of how unmotivated I am today. Some who know me might ask how today is any different, but that is something for a future post, perhaps. If I can make myself write it.

Today, the weather is uninspiring, which fits in with how I feel - uninspired. I started out to clean up my office, a job which remains undone, as it has since we put in closet organizers several weeks ago and even before that.

I've succeeded in charging up a pair of wireless headphones only to find they don't work. I got an old inkjet printer working on my Linux-powered laptop, only to find it needs ink. And I moved a few piles of stuff around only to realize I still don't know what to with them. Not exactly legendary in the annuls of productivity.

The highlight of the day so far has been delivery of our Girl Scout cookie order by our neighbor's daughter. After I took delivery and closed the door, I immediately started to feel old. I remembered her as a five or six-year old when her family moved in across the street probably six years ago. The time suddenly felt as if it had flown by in a flash.

I blame such thoughts on the weather. It's been gloomy enough lately to remind Teresa of her time living in Syracuse, an experience, to hear her tell it, akin to having teeth pulled without anesthetic. I think she internally translates the phrase "when Hell freezes over" as "when I go to Syracuse." Apparently, it was gray there nearly half the year. The weather here is almost never like that, but winter grabbed on hard this year and is still fighting not to let go.

Oliver came in to cheer me up. His arrival reminds me that winter will soon let go of its hold and give way to spring. I just wish it would hurry up already!