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2 hours ago, Destiny Skywalker said:

We got the results for my son's neuropsych evaluation, and got some new diagnosis. He definitely has dysgraphia, and its not even close to borderline. He scored in the 7th percentile. I am annoyed at how long it took to get this diagnosis. He was also diagnosed with dyspraxia (or as they are calling it now, Developmental Coordination Disorder), which I had also suspected but it wasn't as obvious as dysgraphia. Also a little bit of anxiety but not as severe as my daughter, and he classified it as childhood-onset instead of generalized anxiety. Mostly that when stuff is hard, he will complain or avoid. Super common with ADHD. I'm hoping this gets him access to more directed services at school and with private OT.

The doctor did note some mild indicators of ASD, but it was more something to rule out and said that we needed to work on some of these other areas first before it could be ruled out. Basically he really likes video games and repeats stuff he hears in YouTube videos that he thinks is funny. And if you want to talk about something he isn't interested in, he's bored. All common with ADHD, as well. Overall I think the guy did a really good job. He did say it will be really hard to assess him for giftedness right now because his ability to focus is just so bad, but there's definitely no intellectual disabilities or delays.

Get any good meds?

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It's been good news around here lately. 1. My son's OT informed us that he is actually ready to graduate from his first set of goals that worked on transitions and going along with the group plan

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He's already on methylphenidate (attention) and guanfacine (impulse control). He sees the psychiatrist every 6-8 weeks so we will see what he says in February. I'm actually pretty happy with the latest tweak to the guanfacine, it really helped his mornings at school. He's pretty small so it's hard to go higher doses than he's already on. It works really well while he is at school so I can deal with the hyperactivity in the evenings, and we have some short acting methylphenidate for evenings where he needs to keep his shit together, but I mostly don't worry about it.

He did recommend we do some more social activities for him, and admitted that some of his social communication issues could be attributed to pandemic life. I keep thinking about Cub Scouts but I keep chickening out because pandemic. Swimming and martial arts were also on the suggestion list. I do think I want to put him in private swim lessons as soon as COVID calms down. He really enjoys swimming but I don't think he will sit on the wall and wait his turn. Group swim lessons are a special level of hell. Cub Scouts might get him that more social exposure, though.

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Today Eli tries to get up at 5:15. We've made it abundantly clear to him he's to stay in his room until 6. It rarely if ever happens, but 515 is too early. I tell him to go back to bed (I'm already up for work but it's pitch dark and nothing is happening), he screams at me. I tell him again, he screams again, but goes, and slams the door, waking up Lyra. Ten minutes later he comes back out. I have no desire to fight so I just ignore him. He plays quietly, scattering his Lego boxes all over the floor. At 6, Lyra gets up--she normally doesn't get up til around 7, so obviously she never went back to sleep. I trip over his Lego boxes when I get up to get them a snack, stepping on the kitten's head. Eli then goes to his room and starts screaming about how his Lego sets are falling apart. He starts throwing them at me, slams the door again. Back in the living room, he screams again. By then it was... 605.

Wonderful fucking morning. Kill me.

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I signed Q up for lacrosse this spring because why the hell not. I think she is going to be a terror and I am going to laugh my ass off watching her tear it up. She went ice skating for the 2nd time ever today and was doing spins while all of her friends clutched the wall. She is a gifted athlete like her dad. We just need to find her the right sport. Maybe it is soccer, but much as she says she loves soccer, she doesn't always have a ball on her foot like I did. Maybe she's just too young for that mentality.

I contacted the local Cub Scout pack for E. I'm less confident about that one.

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6 hours ago, Destiny Skywalker said:

I signed Q up for lacrosse this spring because why the hell not. I think she is going to be a terror and I am going to laugh my ass off watching her tear it up. She went ice skating for the 2nd time ever today and was doing spins while all of her friends clutched the wall. She is a gifted athlete like her dad. We just need to find her the right sport. Maybe it is soccer, but much as she says she loves soccer, she doesn't always have a ball on her foot like I did. Maybe she's just too young for that mentality.

I contacted the local Cub Scout pack for E. I'm less confident about that one.

Cub Scouts varies so much by pack and even den that it’s crazy. But it’s mostly parent volunteers. If he was in our pack, and especially my den, he would be welcomed and we would make sure he’s included and capable.
 

One thing that I’ve been teaching the more experienced den leaders is that activities need to change every 10 minutes for a decent number of our boys. Anything over that and the ones with struggles get antsy and within 5 minutes you’ve lost everyone. That doesn’t mean you have to change the topic, and sometimes you can keep doing the same activity, but it has to change somehow. Especially because they’re already expected to sit and learn all day at school. So our last meeting we did knife safety, carved soap, planned a skit for a future pack meeting, and then made paper airplanes. And the boys could repeat everything we learned about knife safety because it was short and exciting. Another den did fire safety and it took up most of the meeting time and the boys were confused by all of it because it was mostly just a lecture followed by rolling on the ground to demonstrate stop, drop, and roll.

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I'm really thankful for adult volunteers like you who get it. My own co-leader is super intolerant of what I consider normal kid behavior and not so good with neurodiverse kids especially (and our troop is probably 80% neurodiverse, honestly). But she is a great volunteer so I have her handle a lot of organizational stuff and I do most of the kid-facing stuff. That said, I don't want to take on another leadership role but I do want to be 100% there for E and support him in his activities. I just can't handle splitting my attention between a crew of kids and him. I think the next pack event is Pinewood Derby, though, which I do not think is a good starter event for him. May just take him with some headphones and have him hang out for 30 minutes and call it good. Maybe the Wolf den will do something smaller? Dunno. There is another pack at my daughter's school and I am good friends with the Cubmaster but he will try to sign me up for a leader role because he is really lacking female volunteers to handle their girl dens (and to try to convert my daughter to a Cub Scout). They are unfortunately kind of a dying pack because the school canceled their charter and they re-chartered themselves.

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I’m really glad that our pack, small as it is, has decided to stay all male. The school has Girl Scouts too, and a lot of people do something called American Heritage Girls at another parish, so there’s been zero interest from any girls. A couple of years ago we had some moms involved, but it’s transitioned to being all dads, and losing those particular women was a huge win for the pack.
 

One was very anti-Trump, and so am I, but the kids shouldn’t know my political leanings. Mine do, but not the other scouts. I’m fact, two of the boys got into an argument about whether Biden is evil, and i quickly shut it down and just said that you can have whatever opinion you want, but in Scouts we’re going to honor the president because it’s literally what we’re supposed to be teaching.

I think that young boys especially just need space to be wild. It’s hardwired into them, and that’s if they aren’t neurodivergent. I 100% would rather a boy come and run around and have fun than earn every belt loop and be the perfect Scout and hate it.  If I can add in some good life skills and be a good adult male example, then that’s a bigger win than anything else.

And, yeah, skip the derby. If he doesn’t have a car, there’s no point and it’s just going to make him feel excluded.

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15 hours ago, Fozzie said:

Our Blue and Gold is in May. February seems weird.

Blue & Gold is usually in February as it's a celebration of the anniversary of the founding of the BSA, February 8. If you do  yours in May, it sounds like someone in your pack's past decided to combine it with the crossover/graduation in May. 

Technically, you can start Cub Scouts at any time of year, but in reality, starting anytime in Jan - May isn't advisable. Since dens are divided by grade level, all Cubs do advance to the next rank level at the end of the scouting year, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll earn their rank by then. It's possible for a family to come in late, do work on their own, and still earn rank, but it's unusual, especially for Wolf rank and above. There are several requirements for Wolves that involve activities typically completed on a pack campout, and I'd imagine in your neck of the woods, this would be at the fall campout since spring is likely still snow-covered. You can do these things as a family, but honestly, it takes away from the program, imo. 

If you don't have time to make a PWD car, I'd skip that one definitely.

Blue & Gold is a fine event for new people to attend though. Different packs celebrate B&G in different ways. For some it's just an enhanced pack meeting. For others, it's an overly themed dinner with lots of decorations, props, and pomp and circumstance (like the time this crazy woman in our pack decided to turn a local community center into Hogwarts with Harry Potter Easter eggs sprinkled throughout the building and cater a full feast of hearty food...and tried to keep most of the ideas and planning to herself for maximum surprise and impact but literally just dug herself into a hole and spent an hour crying in the fetal position the day before because of exhaustion and stress...)

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2 hours ago, Cerina said:

Blue & Gold is usually in February as it's a celebration of the anniversary of the founding of the BSA, February 8. If you do  yours in May, it sounds like someone in your pack's past decided to combine it with the crossover/graduation in May. 

Technically, you can start Cub Scouts at any time of year, but in reality, starting anytime in Jan - May isn't advisable. Since dens are divided by grade level, all Cubs do advance to the next rank level at the end of the scouting year, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they'll earn their rank

Interesting re: Blue and Gold, ours was always combined at my old church where I went through Scouts and where I sometimes got roped into helping out when I was the youth minister. I just assumed that was how everyone did it since the two places I’ve been have done it the same way.

You can also check in with your cub master for how they handle advancement and achieving ranks. Our pack is way less formal and as long as the boy has been participating and working towards the rank, we let a lot slide. I’m sure some people would be scandalized by that, but as I said, we have a few neurodivergent boys and we take a much more laid back approach to scouting.

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So rank isn't automatically achieved in Cub Scouts? Girl Scouts is just grade level based, but I think badges are earned similarly to how Boy Scouts does merit badges. 

I might have to see how uptight this pack is. I like the idea of him having achievements as a motivator (Q is VERY badge motivated, her goal is usually to earn every badge at every level). I'm honestly not sure if he would care, though? His fine motor skills are obviously pretty poor so if its actually skill-based versus credit for trying his best or having them meet him where he is, he's never going to achieve ranks. I'm just curious how they handle a boy joining later, like what if he doesn't join Cub Scouts until 3rd grade?

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1 hour ago, Destiny Skywalker said:

So rank isn't automatically achieved in Cub Scouts? Girl Scouts is just grade level based, but I think badges are earned similarly to how Boy Scouts does merit badges. 

I might have to see how uptight this pack is. I like the idea of him having achievements as a motivator (Q is VERY badge motivated, her goal is usually to earn every badge at every level). I'm honestly not sure if he would care, though? His fine motor skills are obviously pretty poor so if its actually skill-based versus credit for trying his best or having them meet him where he is, he's never going to achieve ranks. I'm just curious how they handle a boy joining later, like what if he doesn't join Cub Scouts until 3rd grade?

A boy will join at whatever his grade level is, but he won’t have the previous badges. So we didn’t do Scouts due to me being sick and then COVID, so Louis lost 2 years. But he’s a Bear this year, and will earn his Bear badge but not the wolf and tiger. Most of the stuff is more learning based than perfecting skills, and the pressure is on the den leader more than the boy.

But having the previous badges doesn’t really mean a whole lot. 

 

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I got kicked out of the cub scouts.  Our school had two dens and we were supposed to march in some parade and our den canceled.  Seven-year-old me was all, "oh hell no--I want to march" so I didn't tell my grandpa it was cancelled.  I showed up, the other den let me march with me and I got kicked out. 

Scout master was a total b and  just salty bc I beat her kid in that boat race thing where you have to blow on the sails. 

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3 hours ago, Fozzie said:

A boy will join at whatever his grade level is, but he won’t have the previous badges. So we didn’t do Scouts due to me being sick and then COVID, so Louis lost 2 years. But he’s a Bear this year, and will earn his Bear badge but not the wolf and tiger. Most of the stuff is more learning based than perfecting skills, and the pressure is on the den leader more than the boy.

But having the previous badges doesn’t really mean a whole lot. 

 

Ok that makes sense. I guess we do it similar in Girl Scouts. There's one badge that moves up from Brownies (2nd and 3rd grade) all the way up, but that's mostly out of tradition. Then you get different colored stars for each year but they are automatically earned by paying for a membership. You kind of earn rank at bridging because it's not automatically earned but it only goes on the next level uniform, and the steps are mostly to share with younger Girl Scouts and learn from older ones. That said, I usually have one or two girls who don't earn it because they miss the meeting and then their moms are salty with me because their daughter is missing a badge.

I guess it might be a good year to see if its a good fit and not care about earning rank. There are several packs in the area if this one is not a good fit, but obviously my preference would be for him to be with the neighborhood kids.

3 hours ago, Hobbes said:

I got kicked out of the cub scouts.  Our school had two dens and we were supposed to march in some parade and our den canceled.  Seven-year-old me was all, "oh hell no--I want to march" so I didn't tell my grandpa it was cancelled.  I showed up, the other den let me march with me and I got kicked out. 

Scout master was a total b and  just salty bc I beat her kid in that boat race thing where you have to blow on the sails. 

This is hilarious and sad at the same time.

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Well I did finally hear back. They said they would get him a car and everything if we wanted. They have 2 or 3 boys in the Wolf den. Benefits of having a small den? I guess we would need to check it out and get a feel, but usually I worry with small groups it means more pressure to step up for leadership roles. I always feel so stressed about that, but apparently lots of people have no problem saying no.

The pack at my daughter's school is planning a very cool day at the Museum of Flight and now I'm having 2nd thoughts... ugh. They do some fabulous outings but I really don't want to drive 20-30 minutes to pack and den meetings.

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Well we finally had a victory today. Q tried out for the older team and it turned out to be a really good fit. The coach is very experienced AND good with kids. He has coached at very high levels and chose to work with this age group because he wanted to work on fundamentals. He loved Q's energy and her skill level. I also noticed her fitness took a dip after she got COVID and in recent weeks it has finally returned. She happily accepted the spot on the team and really liked the other girls, who were also very friendly. At this point they are done at the end of March so the coach said he would try to find us a loaner uniform for the rest of the season, which was really nice of him. I think she will practice some with the other team because her Girl Scout schedule interferes with the older team schedule every 2 weeks.

Also, in a moment of being my daughter, she scored the winning goal in one of the drills they were doing and ran right over to the biggest girl on the other team to talk smack.  So help me.

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I didn't want to be one of those people who complains about "new math" but OMG. I have to Google all of these methods to even have any clue what they are talking about. What is the Algebraic Notation Method? Is it multiplication or division? And most of all, why is it so freaking MESSY?!

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It is, but the issue is that the homework asks you to solve by this method and that method and you gotta go look them up to figure out which damn method they are talking about. I admittedly think they should let the kids solve by any damn method that works for them. Teach them all the methods and let them pick the one that they understand the best. I mean, my kid is good at math, but this homework is tedious. When she has 15-20 problems like this every night, it's taking way too long to do homework instead of being a 4th grader who likes to go to soccer practice or play Roblox with her friends after school. She's also super irritable about doing more math after spending 6 hours at school.

Also long division this way is super messy.

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As a lot of you guys already know, Trevor and I have made some pretty big sacrifices (financially) in the past 10ish years in order to be physically present with our kids. We've survived mostly on one income and have made significantly less money than we could have to ensure that our schedules remained open for them. We've had some hardships along the way because of it, but overall, we feel like we've succeeded in providing a stable, loving environment for the boys where both parents were physically present the majority of the time. 

Luke turned 6 on Sunday and is officially "school age" and out of the major baby/toddler/preschool years where parental presence is so important. So now that we're all moved and settled, we're both looking for full-time employment which will be HUGE for us. We're also both looking for employment that will offer us salaries that closer match our skills and experience. This means that within the next few months (fingers crossed) our income will be roughly 4-5x what we've made work in the past. 

With that in mind, we're considering putting Luke into school. Homeschooling the K-6th grade years is VERY parent intensive, and Luke really needs more structure than we're likely to provide. Our relaxed schooling and way of life works great for Noah, and he's old enough now to be self-sufficient in school work and around the house. But Luke and his autistic/ADHD traits really need more, so we're looking at school.

So the good news is that we'll likely be able to afford a private school. It'll be a big chunk of our new income, but will still leave us with more than we've ever had before. That said, there are 2 schools very close to us that I'm considering - one is an early childhood through high school "Montessori" school (they're not strict Montessori and the last 2 years of high school actually offer IB classes for an IB diploma), and the other is an early childhood through high school Waldorf school. 

Montessori and Waldorf educations have a lot in common that really fit into our parenting and educational philosophies, but their differences are causing me some pre-emptive anxiety and FOMO. In the broadest and most basic senses - Montessori is more academic and Waldorf is more creative. If I'm being completely honest, the biggest pull for the Waldorf school, for me, is the actual campus. It's just sooo beautiful and intimate and homey. 

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