There aren’t many times I feel like I exceed expectations with anything. If you are a parent, you understand that parenting really gives you a giant dose of humble pie. My daughter is all girl. I have never been a girly girl though I’ve developed a few skills over the years. If given step-by-step instruction, I’ve become pretty adept at stage make-up for these plays and recitals (thank you Mr. Hollan and Stage Face and Hair!) I do okay with the hair though it is a bit of a challenge. While many women dedicate entire rooms to scrapbooking, I can barely get my pictures in a location where I can find them. I resort to the computer and then I never remember what I named the photos so I spend hours looking for a picture that I just know is there. With that said, it is no surprise to learn that I am not a “craft” person. Just ask Rachel and she can tell you. However, sometimes I need to do something crafty. With our move to middle school, we are using a “big binder.” Lots of changes in middle schools. More teachers. More classes. More lunch choices. More people and rooms to navigate. Rachel does well with visual schedules. Every Sunday night I fill out her wall calendar for the week. Doesn’t matter that we just got home from a nine-hour trip to Memphis and it is midnight. “You didn’t do my calendar,” says Rachel. She pays close attention to that calendar. Same is true for school. If she can see the schedule, understand the expectation, and see the end product – she does pretty well. For middle school, we bought a pink notebook. Surprise! I decorated it with her name and put her weekly schedule of classes complete with teachers, rooms and a spot for notes. Above this, I put a weekly Monday – Friday calendar with a reminder that she is to get lunch A Monday through Thursday, she can have a la carte up to $5 on Friday, and on Wednesday for a midweek pick me up she can have a cookie or ice cream. Our conversation this morning enroot to school leads me to believe that she thinks cookie or ice cream translates to cookie and ice cream. We’ll see how that goes. I will change out the weekly calendar every week and maybe someday can even train her to do it. Of course, why would she do that if mommy will do that for her? I have attached a picture of her notebook, as it is “crafty.” If I must say so myself, I think I have exceeded expectations.
This week I have also learned that my daughter has been listening to what I say. Monday they had a half-day of middle school. It was basically a welcome orientation led by 8th graders and they did team building, learned their way around and discussed a varietyof things such as lunch. Middle school lunch is overwhelming for everyone and not just those who have intellectual disabilities. There is the A line which is standard lunch. Cold options. A la carte. Hamburgers and cheeseburgers. Ice cream and cookies. Rachel was asking me about my lunch choices growing up, and I told her there were none. Everyone K-12 ate the same thing at Rose Bud schools. “What did you drink?” she inquired. Milk or chocolate milk were our only choices. During the Monday orientation discussion of lunch, apparently my daughter stood up and said, “My mom said that the a la carte line costs more.” She reported that the teacher agreed. Once again, I have exceeded expectations in communicating with my daughter. Now, lets’ see how that translates into action!
Note: The first picture is of Rachel and her friend Savanna on the first full day of middle school. She chose her back to school outfit herself and it was a historic day: she chose blue and not pink!