It has been 9 months since I posted something..the longest break ever. Now and then, I thought about writing something but couldnt bring myself to sit down and write something with all my heart. So..
I am trying to think of the events that happened since my last post. Adith was in Kindergarten then..phew..let me just say that Kindergarten got over as it should and then we had the summer holidays. My sister and kids came over for a week and that was quite a good time. Adith got to spend some time with his cousins. I had also enrolled him for a camp for one week – Jump Bunch Sports camp. It was only 2 hours a day but was fun. Each day, he would be introduced to 2 different sports. So this way he had some exposure to basketball, tennis, soccer, baseball, hockey, lacrosse, volleyball etc.
Soon afterwards, school reopened and he was a busy first grader. Now it was full day and he had plenty to learn. It is very very different from how I learned in India. He doesn’t have textbooks of multiple subjects like I had when I was his age. Just one folder and an agenda book. The agenda is used for communication between the teacher and parent. Each day’s behavior is also marked (green, yellow or red). The folder will have worksheets that was completed each day at school and also homework that needs to be done and returned to school. The worksheets are made very interesting – for eg: during Christmas time, addition problems were printed on candy canes or snowmen or poinsettia plants. There is never a case when its just a set of problems on plain white paper. It would always have some pictures related to the season or a particular theme to make it appealing to the children. And then there is a lot of cutting and glueing activities. At the beginning of the school year, we are asked to send in 10 glue sticks! Now I know why!
I really like the curriculum and the way things are done here. There is a lot of importance given for reading and creative writing. When the month begins, he is given a sheet of paper which is like a calendar for that month. There is a pic in each square which can be colored if the child reads for 10 minutes that day. If he reads for five days every week of that month, he will win a coupon for a free personal Pizza! This is an initiative from Pizza Hut to encourage early reading. A similar activity was there in Kindergarten as well. Adith really likes to color the pic each day and earn the coupon at the end of the month.
He took basket ball lessons for 6 Sundays and swim lessons for one schedule. He also demonstrated a “Float or Sink” experiment at the Science and Invention Fair at school. Currently he is not enrolled for any activity other than Scouting.
He sold popcorns in front of Walmart – (Excuse me, would you like to buy some popcorn? ). When they say “no thanks”, which was often the case, he would say, “thats ok, have a good day!” in a sing song voice. The confidence with which he said this really amazed me. He was acting as he had been doing this for the last several years!
He also visited the local Food bank and had a tour of the facility. There were 9 kids and as they walked through the food bank, they were asking if they could have food from there. It was too funny!
For one of the adventures called ‘Tiger theatre’, there was a ‘readers theatre’ and he was saying the lines of the Wolf. He was fantastic at this – he modulated his voice perfectly at all times, especially during ” I will huff, I will puff and I will blow your house down!” and “Aaargh” when the wolf falls into the hot water.
I was really proud of him that day. Part of him being so confident and at home during the den meetings might be because I am the den leader. He is so used to my way of talking that he hears and understands everything clearly and can follow directions without any trouble. Though me volunteering to be the den leader happened rather unexpectedly, I am glad that it is working well for the benefit of both of us. It makes me more informed and involved in the scouting tasks and brings out the best in Adith as well.
Adith participated in 2 events at the Pittsburgh Malayali Association Christmas Program. One was the Nativity of the Lord in which he acted as a sheep and the other was a group dance. He had zero stage fright and did really well. Many of my friends commented about his grace and rhythm which truly meant a lot considering that he has profound hearing loss!
I am quite thankful for how things are working for him. I had once read in a magazine that deaf kids who sign have more self esteem than kids who adopt the Auditory verbal method. I thought it to be true at that time because deaf people are so proud of their culture and a big majority still prefers signing over talking. However, now I feel that Adith has as much self esteem as any other child. He is very confident about everything he says or does. It might be because of the way we are trying to bring him up and also because of the culture here. I feel that an average kid has more chances to become smarter here. Kids are encouraged to do everything and viewed with a non- judgemental attitude at school which helps to develop their personality. I am glad about this in Adith’s case because growing up, I was just the opposite. I never had the courage to ask any doubts or volunteer to say something I knew. I was ever doubtful of myself and perpetually scared that if I tried something new, I would make mistakes. So I always stayed in my comfort zone and never challenged myself to take chances on anything. Not that someone was outright discouraging me, it was just the way I was. Being in a class with 50 plus students doesn’t bring out the best in a naturally shy person.
Whenever I log into Facebook, it was showing me notifications like “AutumnDelight has 2 new views/ 5 new views etc. Not sure if it was true but then it certainly encouraged me to write. I would find solace in thinking – oh, there are people checking out my blog to see if there are new posts, I should really write something..haha..
I would be writing as and when I feel there are things related to his hearing journey that need to be made known but they might not be that frequent. We feel that there aren’t a lot of things to write about as he is pretty much like a normal first grader now. Also I wanted to be able to write about a broader spectrum so I started writing another blog – http://www.ikatandink.com/. I hope you like it!
Finally, let me wish everyone a great year ahead..may you try new things, break free of habits you want to be done with, make new friends and feel happier, healthier and more content with your life. Seize the days!!!