Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Dancing

Tonight was the last day of tap classes until after the holiday season...  The kids have been practicing special routines in class for the past couple of months.  Today they invited all of the parents in to watch!  Kaiya made sure that she was wearing a Christmas color (green).  She was very proud of herself and all of her hard work.  She hasn't taken dance since kindergarten and she's taking intermediate tap.  She's been working hard to catch up! 

Mark has also been working very hard!  Not only has he been practicing his dancing, but he has been working very hard just to attend the class.  To put things in perspective:  Last year Mark wouldn't have been able to go through the door without difficulty.  He wouldn't have been able to be there alone with so many kids.  And following directions along with the group?  No.  I can't tell you how many bad experiences we have had in the past with Mark and group classes.  This year he often says that he isn't going to dance today... because the music is too loud, it hurts his ears.  There are too many other kids and they might touch him.  He hesitates at the door and usually has to make a last minute bathroom trip, therefore being a little late into class.  But once he is in the class he participates fully.  He tries hard to follow along and do everything that his teacher asks him to do.  He's pretty serious compared to most of the other boys, which is funny if you know how he can be at home!  Today he performed to the song "Let it Snow." 

A lot of people will think that Mark is "there."  He overcame something that was difficult for him and now we can check it off of our list and move onto the next thing.  The thing about autism though is that you can't just check a skill off, consider it complete, and move onto something else.  At least not with Mark.  Mark has been dancing for 4 months.  Each week, when dance class ends, I am thankful for that one successful week.  Because I don't know what next week will hold.  It's always in the back of my head that at any time something could happen.  Something that will change the way that the teacher and others think of him.  Something that will make him unwilling or unable to enter the classroom again.  I don't worry about it because I've been through it and I know that it's always stepping forward and then stepping back.  But I also don't sit back and take his success for granted.  No matter what happens next month, he was successful today. :-)

About Us...

I am finally writing my first post for this blog, after creating the blog last month.  I guess that tells you a little (or a lot) about me....

My name is Jennifer and I became a parent eight years ago to a daughter named Kaiya.

She was such an easy child back then!  Kaiya is now in third grade.  I removed Kaiya from school at the end of October.  We began formal homeschooling in November after spending a week without power due a huge October blizzard that is still the talk of the state. 

My second child was born six years ago.  Mark was a different child from the beginning.  He taught me that parenting an infant is NOT always easy! 

I originally planned on homeschooling both children, but right now Mark attends a school for children with autism and this is best for him and our family right now. 

When I'm not at home (or in the car) with the kids, I'm usually at work.  I'm a nurse and I work the night-shift at a local hospital.  Thankfully I only work part-time so I don't have to spend every day sleeping! 

Our family is also on the gluten and casein free diet.  It means no wheat, barley, rye, cow's milk, cheese, etc.  It's much easier than it sounds...

So... that's the background info on us!  Thanks for reading!