I know, I know. I'm really behind with all the craziness that has been going on. And it takes a lot longer to catch up now that I have two kids and a full schedule! I don't really remember November happening. One day it was Halloween and the next I was asking someone why they were getting their turkey already...on November 16th!! And then it was December and the tree was up and decorated. I missed every birthday and anniversary...we were that busy. Oh, and the fact that we've been passing around a bronchial infection doesn't help! There was one week I slept on the couch because every few minutes I'd cough. Eli got it, then Dave and Amelia.
In the beginning of November I contacted Amelia's teacher and she suggested a before meeting sit down with the ELL teacher. My concern was that she still had such a short attention span and is so easily distracted. It wouldn't be concerning as much if it wasn't happening at home, too, where so little is new and I would have expected things to calm down a bit. My concern was whether or not she has ADD.
I went in to the school with both kids (before school began). The ELL teacher has an aid that's married to a Russian speaking man, so she arranged for them to join us (how cool is that?!). I told the teacher that I was concerned she may have an attention issue, but I refuse to have her tested for anything until we've hit the one year mark. The teacher agreed. She said that she has a lot of experience with refugee children and all the behaviors she's seen so far are normal and that everything is still so new to Amelia. She also agreed that I should monitor her for food allergies (which she definitely has and we're still figuring out) and perhaps that malnutrition could be a factor. She put my mind at ease, while also stating that at the end of the year we would all have a better grasp of what behaviors are immaturity and what is really an issue.
So the fact that she's written on the bathroom wall (the ELL teacher made her clean it while explaining it's not OK, which was AWESOME!), cut up her teddy grahams with scissors (which got her behavior frog moved down a notch), puts crayons in her mouth, sings at the top of her lungs while in the bathroom at school, and can't sit through a 20 minute cartoon or a 5 minute book without getting bored...well, that's all our normal. Oh, and we found gum on the inside of her shoe...as in where her feet go...more on that in a minute.
Things have gotten better, though. We've been giving the kids Omega 3 fish oil supplements we bought from my chiropractor. They're great! They have no fish taste and don't upset any tummys. I've also heard flax seed and something starting with B are also good for attention. The teachers have noticed a significant difference. We keep her away from milk and Red#40, which affects her like crazy. I thought about doing gluten free, but after playing with her diet I really don't think she's allergic to gluten.
We had both parent teacher conferences and both kids are doing great. Eli is counting over 100, starting to add and subtract, knows most of his letters (upper and lower), but is having a hard time with rhyming. He can spell something like CAT, but if you show him the word and say "C....AT. What is that Eli?" He can't put it together to read the word cat. He's starting to get it. The teacher was very impressed with how far along he was considering he hadn't been in Montessori before. She mentioned that he can be a little rough with the girls, not in an aggressive or angry way, but in a playful way. So we've been talking to him about how Superheroes protect the girls, girls don't like rough play, and we've been keeping him from tackling Amelia or roughhousing with her at all. I think it's really helped, especially considering his "best buddies" are always girls!
Amelia's conference was more of a formality since we had just seen the teacher, but she's doing well. The teachers LOVE her and thing she is just the cutest thing ever. She said every day after recess Amelia's face squished on the glass door is the first thing she sees and it makes her laugh. She also told us she thinks Amelia is a great girl that just needs time to grow, but she'll get there. She didn't see any signs of a mental impairment in her at all, but it's really too soon to tell. She needs some help with social skills, but that's because of her orphanage life. She's doing great and in the perfect place. Thank you God!
And another mystery is solved. Some time in early November I noticed there was gum on the inside of her shoe. I asked the teacher if she knew anything about it. Do they give gum at school? The teacher said she thought I was giving Amelia gum so she didn't think much of it. I told her we don't give her gum. We asked the Russian speaker to ask her. He found out that she was taking gum from wherever she found it and sticking it in her mouth....EEEEEEWWWWW!!! I just laughed and told the teacher I was going to let her handle that one because it was happening in class! The Russian speaker explained to her that it wasn't safe for her to do that. Can you imagine! LOL