Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fly, Mason, FLY!

We've had LOTS of reasons to celebrate this week . . . the last day of school, an early birthday, an outstanding end-of-the-year report card, standardized test scores, a graduation.

Monday was Mason's last day of school.  I decided to surprise him and his class on Monday afternoon with cake and ice cream for his birthday.  Since he has a July birthday, he never gets to have a birthday party at school.  Well, he did this year.  He was so surprised when I walked into his class with his favorite cookie cake.  I think he was actually a bit overwhelmed.  His face turned red, and his little eyes filled with tears.  I really thought he was going to lose it when his class sang Happy Birthday to him, but he held it together.
We loaded up to go to therapy, and I realized that I now have a 1st grader, a 4th grader and an almost 2-year-old.
On Tuesday morning the kids had dentist appointments.  Mason and Hannah Kate both love going to the dentist and always look forward to it.  When we were there six months ago, Dr. H told me that braces were definitely in Mason's future, which I already knew.  She said there was no hurry at that time and that we should wait until he loses a few more of his baby teeth and the permanent teeth come in.  Well, this visit landed us a referral with an orthodontist.  Mason's teeth are very crowded right now, and three of his permanent teeth can't come in.  He has two baby teeth that need to be pulled so the permanent teeth can make their way through.  Dr. H sent us home with a copy of the x-rays and suggested we take care of it this summer since we don't have to worry with school.  She didn't want to pull the teeth yet until getting confirmation from the orthodontist.  So.  Fun times ahead.  Mason is very uncertain about all of this, and we did not even tell him about having the teeth pulled yet.  So let's just keep that between us.  But I did tell him that I had a mouth full of metal when I was in 3rd grade and that he would be just fine.

And speaking of teeth, Hannah Kate bit down on a taco tonight and ended up with a slightly loose bottom tooth.  DRAMA.  I mean, I just want her to let me go ahead and pull it out of there because DRAMA until it does finally come out!

Last night I went to see the Mom's Night Out movie with a friend.  I won't say it's the best ever, but I did enjoy it.  And I can so relate!

This morning began with a visit to the tire place to have my tires aligned.  I left with not only an alignment but four new tires, too.  That was not in the plan.  While I was waiting on my truck, final grades and state test scores were posted.

I was very concerned at the midterm because Mason was really struggling in reading, and his grade had dropped over 20 points.  So we spent the last three weeks of school studying and studying a lot.  He made an A and two B's on the last three reading tests of the school year.  He also made a 100 on the final book report project he turned in.  He brought his grade back up over 20 points to a B on his report card for this grading period. His final grades of the year are three A's and three B's.  To say I am proud is just inadequate.  Because there are no words.

And if that isn't enough, he also did an outstanding job on the iLEAP (Louisiana's standardized test).  I had no idea what to expect.  I was honestly not expecting him to do very well on the ELA portion of the iLEAP.  But I kept telling myself that it wouldn't matter because this test "doesn't count."  It will "count" next year, and we could use these test results to help us prepare for the real deal next year.  Mason did very well on the math, science and social studies portions of the test.  He even scored "basic" on the ELA portion, which is defined as "demonstrating the functional knowledge and skills needed for the next level of schooling."  There are two other categories above basic, but the goal is for the student to score at last basic, and Mason DID IT!  His teacher even called me to be sure I knew about the scores and to tell me how proud she was of Mason.

And if that's not enough, I had a meeting this afternoon with our social worker and all three of Mason's therapists.  They just recently re-evaluated Mason to determine his progress during the past year and where we need to go from here.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect from that either.  I felt like we just can't continue such a rigorous private therapy schedule because we are all so worn down.  At the same time, it's a bit scary thinking about stepping away from the private therapy because he has responded so well and made such huge strides, and I do not want to do anything to jeopardize where he's come to or do anything that would cause him to regress.  So it's a really big decision.

I knew going in that we will continue with Speech Therapy no matter what.  There are still some areas that we need to address, some things that he needs continued support and direction with, particularly in expressive language and vocabulary.  There has been a little bit of improvement over the last year, and his Speech Therapist is very pleased with his progress, his attitude and his work ethic.  And she confirmed what I already knew.  We will continue with Speech Therapy for I don't know how long.  

The therapy that is the most time consuming and costly is Educational Therapy (basically reading remediation).  There have been many days lately when I was ready to call it quits just so we could get a break.  But I didn't know what to do, didn't know what the best decision would be.  And I really had no idea what his Educational Therapist was going to say.  I was, again, so surprised and so proud when she presented and explained the results of his recent assessment as compared to the one 18 months ago.  She said she considered dismissing him from therapy (again, not at all what I expected her to say at this point), but it's her recommendation that he continue with ET fall semester because 4th grade is probably going to be the most challenging yet (his teacher had already given me a heads up about this on Monday), and it would be a good idea to give him the initial support to help with the transition; however, she feels that it's a strong possibility that he will no longer need ET after Christmas.  So that was probably the best news out of all of this.

And Occupational Therapy . . . well, he graduated today.  Yep.  He's done with OT.  Done.  Finished.  Forever.  Just this past November, I sat in the lobby during therapy one afternoon and had a "moment" because I just didn't know how all of this was going to turn out.  Kristin was in the lobby with me and made a comment about helping Mason "spread his wings."  I'll never forget that conversation.  And apparently, neither will Kristin.  She had a special gift for Mason today.  She presented him with a pair of wings that she pinned to his shirt this afternoon during his final OT session.
She also wrote him a super sweet poem.  Mason has been quite emotional this past week (as in he did the ugly cry when he initially found out that he wasn't going to see Miss Kristin anymore).  I asked him if he wanted to read it, but he said he wanted me to read it.  It wasn't that he didn't have the ability to read it.  I think he was afraid he wouldn't make it through without getting upset.  And as if I could!

So I read it and made it all the way to "good-bye."  And then Mason had to finish it because I could not.
What an HONOR to be this kid's Momma!  HE DID IT!  HE DID IT!  My Silver Scholar winning, iLEAP passing, OT graduating boy DID IT!  

I can hardly believe it.  

But yes I can.  



So.  Hello summertime.  How are you?  It's been awhile, and I sure am glad you're here.  We're going to have lots of fun, and I can hardly wait!

And this last picture . . . well, I just couldn't help myself.  Abbie gave Hannah Kate a tutu for her recital gift.  And Ellie loves it! 


Kori Page said...

Your post brought tears to my eyes and chills to my arms, Julie! I love reading about your children's growth and accomplishments! Tell Mason I said congrats on his reading test! In Oklahoma the 3rd grade test was the one that mattered this year and Karli passed as well! As for Mason and the braces, my son's teeth were also very crowded and he had a bad underbite so he got front top brackets and spacers at a very young age. They did the job but now at 15 he has to get a full set because the teeth are crowded again & when he bites down his top teeth are aligned directly with the lower teeth. Anyway, enough about me, lol. I can only imagine all you've been through, raising a special needs child along with two more children, so I know you must be so relieved to see the hard work finally paying off. God will see you guys through and your rewards will be great! God bless you! I'm looking forward to your next blog!

Mimi and Pop said...

I am speechless!! But my eyes are dripping, no flooding, with pride and thanksgiving for Mason's accomplishments this past year.