Happy 4th of July at the Bay!
Wow, it's been a busy summer around here (hence the lack of recent posts!). I feel like school just got out, and yet here we are, almost time to get ready for school. In addition to a couple trips to my parents' house on the Chesapeake Bay (aka my favorite place in the world!), we've had a month-and-a-half of junior tennis, "pre-team" swimming, kindergarten & OT-themed camps for C, our usual OT appointments when C hasn't been in OT camp, and lots of fun with our babysitter for M while I've been shuttling C to and from all of her activities. I feel like I've lived in my car for weeks now, and although I totally balked at last year's purchase of our first - GAG! - Sienna minivan, I have been really glad we went that route (especially since I told my husband the only way I would do it was if we got the nicest one out there) for the simple fact that carpool has been far more pleasant experience with a few necessary luxuries thrown in (Remote starter to keep the engine and AC running while I run into camp for pick-up in this disgusting DC-metro-area heat! A DVD player to keep the girls awake! Sirius satellite radio to keep ME awake!). When I used to think about a luxury car, I thought "BMW convertible." Now I think "power doors." My, how times have changed... But I digress.
Waiting for her first "race" at the mini-meet - kickboard!
Trucking along, all by herself, in the "big" pool - huge step for C!
At the swim banquet, so proud of her first swimming trophy!
Even though I feel like the season is flying by, all the shuttling around and tight schedules have been worth it. Both girls really do best with some structure to their days, so that's been great. C in particular has had some great new experiences through swimming and tennis, got to know her new school at kindergarten camp (yes, we have decided to move forward with our plan - more on that soon!), and is really enjoying OT camp (we have one more week left). It's held at a school that is affiliated with the center where she goes for her regular OT appointments and runs from 12:30-3:30 every afternoon. Each day is planned with each child's goals in mind, and includes activities in their two sensory gyms (an example and explanation of a sensory gym can be found here), fine motor games and projects in the classroom, and lots of work on social skills through play. We get a daily report of progress on the goals that her therapists and we have set for her. C has made some great new friends who are where she is in terms of her development. They're all basically typical kids who happen to have a few quirks or motor challenges that they are working through together, which is wonderful.
All school year, we worked hard to get C ready for kindergarten while also digesting her diagnosis. As I have mentioned before, her teachers were amazing, but the year did have its ups and downs. I know that they loved C and were glad she was part of the classroom mix. They would have done (and did!) anything to help her be successful, but I know that she was one of the more challenging kids in the class from time to time. Some of the day-to-day stuff was harder for her than others, which was to be expected as we continued to shake out the idiosyncrasies of her SPD diagnosis. She fit in, and yet she stood out, which is always hard for a parent to watch. C loved her school and her teachers, but at the end of the day, she came home exhausted from working so hard to do what she was supposed to do and helping herself give her body what she needed in terms of input (and sometimes doing so in inappropriate ways that got her into trouble).
What a difference being part of a group where everyone is a bit more like C has made. When I pick her up from camp, I hear things like, "C adds such a great dynamic to our group!" and "Her enthusiasm is contagious to the other kids!" and "She is doing an amazing job of modeling appropriate social skills/persistance/group participation!" Here, her strengths as well as her quirks are celebrated. She gets what she needs to help regulate her senses, and is happy and balanced when I see her at the end of the camp day.
It makes my husband and me so proud. She is working hard and is fitting in. I don't ever want to change C, but I am sure that any of you readers out there who have been where we are can appreciate how wonderful it is to see your kid as just one of the group, rather than the anomaly. As the title of this post states, I guess it's all a matter of perspective, and this summer is exactly what C - and I - needed.