Journal, Page 10

April 11, 2014
Two rather difficult days.
Yesterday, Robert and I studied together for two hours. It was rather uneventful. Simply the extension of previous materials.
Robert work on pronunciation of “..ill” with the help from Speak It on his IPAD. He repeated the vocabulary worksheets from three days ago. A couple years ago, I noticed that if we repeat the same pages day after day, Robert doesn’t retain any more words that if we repeat them month later. So now, I am trying to go in cycles of three days. Each of three days we work on different set of words, and then we repeat the cycle.
In Saxon Math, Robert is counting the values of expressions. We returned to finding coordinates of the points in the Cartesian system. Two years ago, Robert didn’t make errors, but after such a long break he makes some mistakes.
Robert also completed today the last project – cutting, bending, and assembling angelfish from Kumon Amazing Crafts. He did it all by himself, without even once calling me to help him. Around 12:30, we drove to Stony Brook in Norfolk. Brisk walk along the trail. A few short stops to observe a swan chasing away Canadian geese and ducks from two wide ponds. As we observed, I described in two simple sentences what we were seeing. I wanted Robert to tell me that later.
In a car, we practiced ordering Mighty Kids chicken finger. Robert kept repeating after me but in the restaurant he asked for “Number 15”. To my surprise, he was understood!!! Moreover, the employee kept asking Robert all the questions without even looking at me. When she didn’t understand what sauce Robert wanted, she gave him a choice, “Barbecue or Sweet and Sour?”
“Sweet and sour,” he said and she understood. What a relief! As we sat at the table, I tried to talk about what we had seen at the park. Robert said, “Swan, geese”. Better than nothing, but…

When we returned home, for reason I cannot understand, Robert started asking about his dad and his hat every half a minute. ( He had similar behavior two weeks ago.) Still, he joined me to work on the Mesopotamian Pocket from Ancient History Pockets. He colored the pictures, completed a vocabulary page with the definitions and illustrations of four new words. He cut out the Tigris river on the map and put two boats on the sticks to demonstrate how sailboats traveled to and from Persian Gulf. He made a post card with a picture from Babylon’s Hanging Gardens and a card with a Ziggurat. He read a text about Mesopotamia and made a cover for the pocket. He colored and cut out two Macedonians puppets. It took more than two hours to finish, but Robert was rather engrossed by this activity. But not engrossed enough to forget about his dad and dad’s hat. So every few minutes he asked again, “Dad, dad” or “Hat, hat”.
As long as he kept working I didn’t pay much attention to this obsessive asking. But when the project was completed and I began cooking, Robert’s continuous asking drained me completely. I couldn’t come with a good strategy to stop or even reduce this behavior. Maybe because I was exhausted already, I just didn’t know what to do.
Had Robert been asking only about dad, I would use old strategy:
“Dad, dad, dad.”
“What did you say? ” I would repeat the same question until Robert stops repeating the same word few times.
“What about dad?”
“At work.”
“Yes he is working. He is coming home at six.”
Such dialogue, always calmed Robert’s anxiety… for a while.
But this time Robert asked for a hat, and I couldn’t understand what was the nature of the problem with the hat so I couldn’t come with any calming response.

Today, Robert and I had a difficult day also, but for different reasons. We went to see a new center. Robert was extremely tense, and so was I. He relaxed during horseback riding lesson. For the first time, he lead the horse by himself OUTSIDE the arena. At 1 PM we went to the car mechanic to change tires. Given Robert’s prior experiences involving cars, car keys, dealer, and car mechanics this visit could be considered a sign of progress. Still, waiting is as hard for him as it is for me.

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  1. Against the Grain to North Carolina | krymarh

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