Friday, May 28, 2010

Ainsleigh finishes second grade

Dear Ainsleigh,

On Tuesday you completed second grade. As I stood outside the school with the other parents, watching as giggling children filed past the tinted windows to buses, and more lined up to come outside, I choked back the tears. This has been a huge year for me. I have always loved your personality for its strengths, but not necessarily its weaknesses. This year I think I had a good hard lesson on how those weaknesses are part of your strengths. This year I've had to reassess what kind of mom I am and how I might not be mothering you the best way. This year I've sought the continual counsel of teachers, administrators and especially friends who know more than I. This year, I finally feel like a mom. No, not a mom, YOUR mom. This year, I think I've taken full active ownership of "this is my child and these are some problems and this is what we're going to do about it." Which sounds totally lame since, what, it's taken me eight years to figure out?

As you emerged from the school, your teacher (who I have dubbed Mrs. Fabuloushair here) hugging each one of you on the way out, I didn't choke back tears any longer. This woman has been my crutch this year. She has been absolutely wonderful at teaching and loving you and helping and encouraging me. She has gently introduced me to the world of ADHD and consistently provided support and empathy. I will never forget the influence she has had on us this year, and I pray that Donovan gets to have her some day.

We arrived home after 10 minutes of you and our neighbor squealing, "We're THIRD GRADERS," the whole way home. After you ran outside, I unpacked her overflowing backpack and took a moment to look at her report card. I am so proud of you. So proud.

first day of non-piercing earrings - dangly!

I was looking back over some of my earlier posts in the fall when Mrs. Fabuloushair first confirmed that you were having the same troubles with focus and completing tasks. From those days, to your report on Katharine Graham, to getting your ears pierced, all peppered with your love of art and peace symbols, you've done a lot of growing up.

"I'm drawing minicher Sacagwea!"

Back in January, we decided that with the challenges of Inattentive ADHD, we would focus mostly on math. You were having difficulty completing a page of 30 problems in 3 minutes - you were easily overwhelmed. Day after day we did timed tests. You had moments of real frustration filled with tears and, "I'm terrible at math!" and "Math is too hard!" and "I hate this!" But you know what? You did it. You accomplished your goal. And you're at grade level, dang it.

a lot of math sheets

Unfortunately, your reading has taken a hit. Oh, the comprehension is all there. So is your ability to swap out words for their synonyms (including things like saying "outside" instead of "around the yard" which totally made sense, but I found baffling). But your accuracy... The editor in me is totally ok with this - omitting non-essential words is my favorite thing! But, you have to know rules before you can break them. *sigh*

The other interesting (well, to Mrs. Fabuloushair, your dad and me) thing is that you are an excellent speller and your writing is fantastic. You're actually above grade level. I was pleased to see that the specials teachers (art, music, PE) seem to not just be giving "usually" or "satisfactory" marks across the board (I don't blame them - they've got a LOT of students!). In art and music they marked you above grade level (but just average for PE, which I do not find surprising - heh).

Have I said how proud I am of you? Have I said what an extreme honor it is to be your mom? Have I mentioned that this mothering thing is reallyreally hard because I grew up playing with dolls and they always did I wanted and never had problems unless I wanted them to have problems? And that's not how life actually is. But it's also way better than playing with dolls, because my dolls didn't surprise me with pictures and hugs and whispering they love me. I am proud of you and how hard you try. I am proud of the progress you have made and for your determination going forward.

Daddy recently too a picture of you and when I saw it, I gasped. And then I cried. You are so beautiful. You are so loving and kind and determined to do what is right. I look at you while you sleep and want you to have every happiness and joy in life. Lately you've taken to saying, "I love you more than you love me," and I just shake my head and say, "Not possible." You giggle and then hug me and then run off. But I'm not kidding. I love you something fierce. Good work this year, little lady. I'm looking forward to a lot of happiness and joy this summer. And the occasional math sheet.




GWACK said...

Awww....Good job, Ainsleigh!

Sarah Burgoyne said...

How do you get these beautiful pictures with your kids all back lit by the sun? I love the last picture of Ainsleigh :)

wanda said...

Aw, Ainsleigh, you are so beautiful. I see glimpses of the woman you will become.

Marylynn said...

Do you know of any good books on ADHD. Jonas has it too, and I'm on my last string. I also feel like he has a mood disorder and I'm not sure if that has part to do with his ADHD.

laura said...

Awwww, Seesee! That picture is seriously gorgeous. She's getting so old!

loewymartin said...

Aww - way to make me cry - again!!

Congrats Miss A! You are gorgeous inside and out.