Friday, October 11, 2013

Spock Lives in my House

We finally got around to watching the latest Star Trek movie this past week and really enjoyed it.  The computer graphics and plot were great, but the parts I really enjoyed had Spock in them.  (In case you're not a Star Trek fan, Spock is part Vulcan, a species that uses logic and reasoning to solve problems.  They are pretty much devoid of emotion and do not let feelings get in the way of their problem solving.)

The parts I found most amusing were the ones in which Spock comes across some sort of issue and his reasoning on how to solve said issue makes sense (because it is logical), but the other characters think he's crazy because he doesn't take personal relationships and feelings into account.  A quick example that won't spoil the movie for you would be when Spock says they should let another character die because it will save the rest of the crew from annihilation.

I am most definitely not Spock.  My emotions run pretty near to the surface and I almost always will make a decision based on emotion unless I make myself step back from an issue to think about it for a while.

Liam, however, is a Spock.  He has an emotional side to him, but you can see the little wheels turning in his head when a problem arises.  And I came to the realization that this sense of logic is what's causing some of his problems at school.

For a while, I was fairly certain that he was dyslexic.  At nearly seven, he continues to write some letters and numbers backward and will reverse letters when he's reading.  He also reverses numbers when he writes them.

For example, his math worksheet asked him to solve 5+9.  His wrote the number 41.  And, of course, it got marked incorrect.  When I sat down with him to go over missed problems, he saw that he'd written 41 instead of 14, but when I gave him a similar problem to work (7+8), he wrote 51 instead of 15.

However, when I asked him to write the numbers 46, 83, 75 and 32, he wrote them all correctly.

Do you see the pattern?

He only reverses the numbers if they are in the teens.

And I figured out why.

In his logical way of thinking, the number spoken first should also be written first.  When I say, "Twenty seven", he knows to write the 2 and then the 7 to get 27.  When I say, "Seventy six", he knows to write the 7 and then the 6 to get 76.

When I say "fourteen", his mind tells him to write the 4 and then the 1 to get 41.  Not 14.

My boy's problem is that English is a difficult language!

I'm calling this my Sherlock Holmes moment.

This is also why he's having a hard time reading.  Syd and Evan just accept that certain words sound a certain way; they are more of "whole word" readers rather than phonics readers.

I've been focusing on phonics with Liam and because English is a language not just of a million rules ("i before e") but with a million exceptions as well ("i before e except after c and words like weigh and neighbor"), his little logical mind cannot handle it all.

It's not the rules of English that are confusing him, it's the millions of exceptions.  And the exceptions to the exceptions.

I remember learning Spanish in school and thinking that it was hard, but it was only hard to me because it was new.  Spanish is actually pretty easy to learn because there are so few exceptions to the rules.

No wonder people say English is one of the hardest languages to learn.  My kid's been hearing it his entire life and he still can't keep up with all the rules.

However, I am glad that a little bit of the mystery has been solved.  Of course, if I knew the solution to the problem, I'd be a lot happier.

But, it's the baby steps.  Little by little we'll get there.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ice Cream for Dinner

I'm not usually the kind of person who turns to food for comfort.  But last night, I had a huge ice cream sundae for dinner.  I'm talking a gigantic bowl full of vanilla ice cream.  Chocolate syrup.  Caramel sauce.  Two maraschino cherries.  And I even threw in a couple of Oreos for good measure.

It was that kind of day.

What caused me to turn my nose up at a healthy dinner and turn to ice cream instead?

Was it forking over a small fortune to the allergist for Liam's next round of allergy shots?  Nope.

Was it putting down a huge deposit for the extensive dental work Syd has to have done over Thanksgiving break?  Nope.

Was it finding out that the next Bridget Jones book (that I was so looking forward to) kills off one of the main characters?  Nope.  (Although, I do feel odd mourning for a fictional character.)

Was it the fact that I've come to the realization that I am bored out of my mind now that all three kids are in school full-time?  Nope.

It was coming home from a Girl Scout meeting and finding Ryan in the midst of a partial seizure.  I found him leaning on the computer desk chair as though he was trying to connect the computer to something.  He was covered in sweat, incoherent and very confused about where he was and what he was doing.  His slurred speech and inability to find the words he wanted to use would make someone else think he was either drunk or having a stroke.  But I knew better.

It was only a fraction as bad as the last one and after a couple of hours of sleep, he felt much better, but it was still a seizure.

Just when I thought we'd turned a corner.


So now we're looking at readjusting his meds.  And I'm back to being the driver for the family since the seizure occurred at the time that he's usually driving home from work.  (Thankfully, he'd come home early so that I could take Syd to her meeting.)

The boys, who were playing in their rooms at the time, were oblivious to what was happening.  Both of them have been super sweet since then, too.  They didn't complain when I cut their bedtime reading time short.  They instinctively kept their voices down this morning when eating breakfast and getting ready for school.  And Liam, who is in a wipe-off-mom's-kisses phase, gave me a huge hug as I sat crying in the living room chair last night.

Epilepsy stinks. just plain stinks.