Thursday, February 16, 2012

Jack's Measurable Social Progress Day

I have been struggling a little bit with what to write here lately. I currently have all kinds of angst over...lots of stuff. I miss Susan. Jack is struggling mightily. There are commitments I am torn about keeping or dropping. Things aren't super awesome.

I keep writing and deleting, writing and deleting, which is an extremely frustrating experience, and one which ultimately results in my writing nothing.

But I'm going to put all that aside for a minute to tell you about Valentine's Day. Yes, I know I'm late, that all of the half price post-Valentine's Day chocolate has already been purchased and consumed, but I have some things to say.

Two years ago at Jack's school Valentine's Day party, I realized that he didn't know the names of any of his classmates. I realized that his not knowing this super basic information about his peers was indicative of his lack of real inclusion in his classroom. It knocked me down hard. Ever since, I've been very watchful during Valentine's Day parties to see how he does. I consider the day to be Jack's Measurable Social Progress Day.

That soldier in the upper left? Jack saluted him for, like, five minutes.

This year during card passing out time, I didn't help Jack at first. He took a valentine and wandered around looking for the desk of the girl to whom it was addressed. Most of the other kids had passed out half of their cards by the time I finally stepped in and helped him find her desk.

At that point, I realized that he needed help. So I handed him the valentines one at a time and let him search for the kid, but only helped him if he was obviously clueless about who the child was. Jack did really well. It helped that once we were two or three cards in, most of the other kids were done and sitting at their desks so they were easier to find.

He didn't know everyone's names, but he knew a lot of them, and the kids were all lovely to Jack. Jack had even written some extra stuff to a couple of the kids on their cards. It's cool to see him starting to be interested in his classmates.

Part of the jumble of angst I am feeling is stress about Jack's educational placement and whether he is in the right place. So it is lovely to see that even if he's having a really tough time (and he is) and even if the social gulf between him and his peers is widening (and it is) that he is able to be part of the class.

Jack also made valentines for all of our pets and set about distributing them after school. I still haven't found the one he gave to our remaining (child hating) cat, but he didn't have bleeding scratches when he came back from giving it to her, so I'm not too concerned.

The two remaining mice (geez, our house is kind of depressing these days) were out and about and no doubt enjoyed their valentines tremendously.

"Oh, Jack! But I didn't get you anything!"

The dog was less excited to get her valentine.

It says "WOOF!"

Then Cassidy reciprocated Jack's love by giving him a big ol' sloppy kiss. I really enjoyed watching that.

Jack enjoyed it less.

Oh, right, and I let the rest of my family know that I love them too. (By the way, don't do your Valentine's Day shopping at Target ON Valentine's Day after your family gives you a lovely heart-shaped locket engraved multiple times with the word "Love." The pink sections of the store were long since picked clean.)

Now all I need is someone to tell me how to get a tiny photograph of all three of my children into a heart-shaped locket. It's harder than it sounds. I hope you all had a happy Jack's Measurable Social Progress Day too!

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