Thursday, March 1, 2012

For My Birthday... A Miracle to Share

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SO stinkin' cute!

I want to share another miracle in our lives for my birthday today...

When Aaron started school, I worried that the other kids would think he was older than them because he stands a head taller than even the next tallest kid. I didn't want him to be treated differently, so I kept hoping he would make friends easily and that the other kids would treat Aaron kindly.

This story is going to be detailed so that I can portray what a blessing and a miracle the end of the story truly is. :)

There was one boy named Aeden at the beginning of the year that Aaron would talk a bit about and I could tell that this boy was a very sweet and kind boy. I wanted that friendship to develop, but I didn't know how to help it along. After a few weeks, Aaron came home talking about another kid in his class. I will call him 'George' (name changed). Aaron would talk about playing with 'George' at recess and he kept calling this boy 'my buddy'. I was so glad that he had found a friend on his own and I was grateful. Aaron said that he now played with 'George' and his friends at recess. I was excited for him.

One day when I was volunteering in the computer lab, I was supposed to walk the kids to recess after... so I walked them out and then I was walking across the playground to go to my car. I walked slowly so I could watch who Aaron was playing with. I was saddened to see what I saw. My heart broke. Aaron was following this group of boys around trying to play with them and 'George' kept turning around and pushing Aaron away. It happened several times and as I stood there shocked and horrified at what I was witnessing, Aaron saw me and ran over to give me another hug. When I asked him why 'George' kept pushing him away, he said he didn't know and he said, "he keeps telling me I'm not his buddy". This broke my heart. I'm not gonna lie... my Mama Bear instincts were kicking in at that point and it was everything I could do not to go over and ... give that boy a stern talking to. :)
I wanted so badly to protect my baby.

From that point on, I kept trying to get Aaron to find different friends to play with, I would even suggest he play with Aeden... but for some reason, Aaron was drawn to 'George' and the other boys. I started asking Aaron every day after school how recess was and after a few weeks, Aaron let me know that 'George' was being nicer to him and he was playing with this group of boys at recess every day. In those next few months, 'George' seemed to be either hot or cold to Aaron at any given time and I worried for Aaron. I would try to suggest other kids to try to play with, but for some reason, he wanted to play with this little group. A couple of months later, when I asked how recess was, Aaron began telling me that 'George' was being mean to him again and trying to fight him at recess and he didn't know why. (again... Mama Bear :)... So, I went to the school the next day and just watched recess from afar so that I could see what was going on. Aaron was playing with the other boys in that little group and 'George' was no where near them. Then I saw 'George' come up to Aaron and started trying to wrestle Aaron and then all of a sudden, the wrestle was over and 'George' ran away. (did I mention Mama Bear ;) ... Later when I asked Aaron what happened at recess, he told me exactly what I had seen, except he also told me what was said. I guess the other boys in the group wanted to play with Aaron and 'George' kept trying to get them to come and play with him instead of Aaron, but they said they wanted to play with Aaron. I guess it didn't make 'George' happy.

I wondered several times through those months if I should talk to his teacher about this stuff, but decided I would let the kids try to work through it. I didn't know what to do.

Christmas break came soon after that, then after the break, that is when Aaron stopped wanting to go to school. He would beg and plead every day to be able to stay home... and it made me feel sad for him. No mother wants to hear that her child is struggling to 'fit in' or having issues with any kids. I think it was the very first day back from Christmas break, Aaron got in the car after school and told me that he was playing with other kids at recess and that 'George' had come from somewhere else and started to fight him. Well Aaron fought back this time and he hurt 'George'. (luckily, it must not have been too bad because the teacher never even caught wind of it that I know of). After he hurt him, Aaron said he tried the rest of the day to apologize to 'George' for hurting him and 'George' just kept saying "I don't care"... and would walk away. (MAMA BEAR!!!) ... That is the day that Aaron finally asked me if I would talk to his teacher about it. Aaron is not usually a tattle tale, so when he asked me to do this, I knew that it had to be affecting him a lot. It has been a foreign thing to Aaron to have a kid not be his friend. He just plain didn't understand. I knew I had to make sure he knew that I was on his side and that I would go to bat for him... so I told him that I would talk to her. I emailed her that day and she said she had never seen any issues in the class room, but it made her sad to hear this and she would talk to 'George' and talk to the kids again about bullying. I was grateful and thanked her. She is a great teacher.

(I have to mention that I don't know this other kid very well... so it is possible that he is a sweet boy most of the time... I just don't know what his issue is with Aaron. The other boys in his group are kind to Aaron... it has only ever been him. I am sure he is not a bad kid.)

Switching gears now to the other part of my story where the miracle all comes together.

A couple of years ago, I mentioned in a POSTING that I was worried about Aaron's stuttering. He stuttered a lot and seemed to be getting worse back then. I 'ignored' the problem in his presence so that he didn't feel different, but tried to do all I could to make sure I was looking at him and letting him know I was listening. He eventually began to slowly grow out of it, thank heavens. Miracle! But not the end of it...

All the while, he has also said the wrong sounds for certain sounds when he speaks. He has always used the F sound instead of the TH sound... for example, he would say 'toof' instead of 'tooth', etc. And also, when he says his S's or variations of S like SH or whatever, he has a little lisp and his tongue twists a strange way and his mouth distorts a bit because I can tell it is a difficult sound for him to form and to get out of his mouth. Again, these were things that I hoped he would grow out of, but still hasn't yet.

So, in December, I asked that he be evaluated by the speech therapist in the school. She did evaluate him and then when she found out he had just turned 6, she said that his issues and his age made him eligible for speech therapy. She didn't seem too worried and said that a lot of kids grow out of those types of issues, but that if I wanted him to have speech therapy, she would get him signed up. I figured it was better to try to get help as early as possible, so I told her yes.

When we met with Aaron's teacher, the school counselor, and the speech therapist one morning to go over the details, they informed us that Aaron would be going to speech therapy each time with a boy in his class... they would be going together. This was good news because I knew Aaron would enjoy it more if there was another kid there.

Well, the miracle in all of this is two-fold... 1- he is doing so great after only a few weeks of going to speech therapy so far, he is catching himself when he says words and repeating them the correct way. It has been fun doing the speech homework with him and watching him improving so greatly. ~ And 2- this boy that is going with Aaron to speech therapy is the boy in his class named Aeden. Aeden is the boy who has been kind to Aaron ever since the first day of school, so I am thrilled. Ever since day ONE of their speech therapy, Aaron has called Aeden his best friend. They have had play dates and they play at recess together. Aeden watches out for Aaron and Aaron has told me about times when he has had to watch out for Aeden on the playground.

In this situation, the speech thing is secondary for me at this point... to me it is a tender mercy that Aaron had to go to speech therapy so that he was finally able to connect with Aeden and see what they have in common and become great friends. I am so grateful that Aaron has a friend now who WANTS to be his friend... a friend who treats Aaron kindly and is an all around sweet boy.

Speech Therapy = Gain a Best Friend?...

...THAT is a miracle to me as his mom...

...a miracle straight from a loving Father in Heaven.

I am grateful.

This miracle story and this boy are the greatest gifts I could ask for today...
for my birthday.

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Momza said...

First of all, Happy Birthday Leslie!
I hope your week is one long celebration--you so deserve it!
Second, I know those Mama Bear instincts so well! Being the mom of 7 kids, I have gone thru that scenario several times over. It is hard. Kids learn to navigate thru all of that social stuff--some kids are immature and don't know how to share, or be kind, or speak properly. Some just haven't been taught otherwise. Anyway, you handled that situation so well, and so did Aaron, Jr. Once you find a good friend, it's easier to recognize who is NOT a good friend. And that's an essential lesson right there.

Tracie said...

Happy Birthday! Kids can be so cruel sometimes. It is so sad. I am glad Aaron has found a friend. My daughter also in kindergarten has had some of the same problems, not wanting to go to school or coming home crying because a certain girl is mean to her. It just breaks my heart. They are actually building a charter school in our town and we are moving her their next year to see if that will help.

Kristi said...

Happy birthday!
I didn't know that you had contacted a speech therapist.
How awful to see your child suffer with friend problems. I'm so glad he now has a good buddy. Everyone needs a friend.
Hope you have a great day. Love you two.

Scott / Lori said...

So happy for him and you. :) Yes, everyone needs a friend. Cute pictures of Aaron too. Love you.