Today is day three of spring break (if we don't count the weekend as part of it). The weather yesterday and the day before was pretty rotten. It was unseasonably cold, wet, and it even snowed a little. As a result, the boys and I were indoors all day. I'll be honest, I prayed to the gods for better weather today. I didn't trust the weather report that it was going to be seasonable today. It had happened too many times over the last few months that they said it was going to be seasonable and then it turned out to be brutally cold.
We got outside today. I have started work on transforming this place of building debris into a circular flowerbed. I manhandled the four pots of tired soil over to the spot. Dumped the soil out and let the kids have at it. They got a good percentage of it broken up before they found a board and decided to build a bridge across two of the larger lumps of soil. I still have another pot of soil to move. This one is up on the back deck, so it will be a bit problematic. I hope, however, that I won't drop it. I did that with my sunny yellow plastic pot and split the thing in half. I was not pleased.
I am still at a loss for what to do about the boys behavior. Cuddle Bear has been defiant and acting out over the last few months. It is more of a problem at home than at school. This relieves me, at the same time, however, they are seeing an uptick in his defiance there as well. The hope is that this is just due to cabin fever. I am still dreading the remainder of the break because he is still somewhat prone to throwing tantrums/having a meltdown over being disciplined. And, because Cuddle Bear is acting out, Snuggle Bug is acting out. It made things difficult, to say the least.
In the midst of all this, Beloved and I have decided to alter how we have been disciplining the boys. We had been using corporal punishment (spanking) and time outs. Spanking being reserved for more severe offenses. Things have reached a point, however, that we are realizing that spanking just isn't helping the situation and if anything it is making it worse. And, honestly, it breaks our hearts when Cuddle Bear asks what will happen after he does something really bad (like break our new television, which thankfully he has not) and then fills in what he thinks is consequence will be: grabbing him and giving him a big spanking. When he started saying this over the last few weeks, Beloved and I both decided that we had to stop this.
So, now they are getting time out for bad behavior. And when the behavior gets especially bad, we take their favorite toys away until either when they are behaving better or bed time (which ever comes first). And we make them sit with us on the couch. As they sit, we talk to them about why they are in trouble and if they know why. We also talk about what they could do better and how not to get in trouble. It hasn't had any dramatic successes yet, but this is still fairly new.
The hard part is stopping myself from telling them that the consequence of their actions is going to be a spanking and stopping myself from handing them out. I have to check myself on a regular basis over the last few weeks. My therapist says that Beloved and I are doing something really huge and something that is to be commended. With the two of us having grown up in homes where corporal discipline was a big thing, stopping that pattern of behavior is very hard. I'm trying to stop yelling when I'm angry. I am having very little success with this.
Parent teacher conferences happened two weeks ago. The boys are making good progress academically and in their therapies. Cuddle Bear is at the point where they are going to recommend he no longer have a 1:1 aide. His strength is improving significantly and so are his social skills. The perseveration over garbage trucks is still present but he is beginning to make progress breaking out of that as well. So, it may be that we can get him the skill set to attend better to lessons and his academics, which will lead to him catching right up with his peers.
Snuggle Bug is, academically, right where the other kids are in his grade. He is doing really well with his therapies as well. The fact that he has gone from random scribbles to writing letters is fantastic. The added fact that he can read most of his sight words and spell a bunch of them is just icing on the cake. They are talking about taking him out of the special ed classroom and putting him into the main classroom. His difficulty attending to tasks and his tendency to wander off has them talking about giving him a 1:1 aide. It is my hope that we can make the same progress with him that we have made with his brother.
I had something of a breakthrough last week when I was out washing laundry. I was watching some children running around the laundromat and how they were interacting with their adult. And as I was watching it, I realized that I was looking at Snuggle Bug's daily behavior patterns. Everything down to the way they spoke reminded me of him. It really brought home the developmental delay that Snuggle Bug has and made me feel bad for expecting him to operate at a higher level. It's only served to frustrate the two of us and leave me feeling like a failure. So, I am trying to approach things on that lower level but it has been very difficult.
I was on the fence about doing something for Ostara with the boys. I have been struggling with a good deal of anxiety that I am going to talk about on my other witchy blog. Then an answer to what I was struggling with fell into my lap. Now I'm trying to figure out what I am going to do for them. I don't have time or the finances to do anything extravagant. Only Snuggle Bug likes eggs, so dying a dozen of them wouldn't really work out that well. Also, we have a yard that is devoid of any greenery (lots of mud though) so we have no where to hide eggs either. I think, however, I am going to make them some kind of little basket and put treats into the plastic eggs that I have from last year. Then I'll put them at their spots at the kitchen table or something.
One thing that I wish I had the funds for was to get the boys a t-ball set and a baseball glove for each. I don't know if I can find that at the dollar store or not. If I can, then I'm going to grab it. I'll pull out of my savings jar to do it. Because the therapists have told me that it would be really great for their strengthening and coordination. Ah well, at least we got the bikes out for a while today. But, that is where everything stands right now.