Apps

… this is not another blog about appetizers, but rather the technical term, applications.

In this week’s Emerging Tech class, we were tasked with reviewing apps new to us (which, to me, is basically everything outside of Instagram, Pinterest, MapMyRun, and Weather Underground). Because I do not use a lot of apps on my phone, they never actually dawned on me as having an educational component. (I feel like this is a theme; I just never realized all that’s out there.)

My professor shared links of several apps, including a link to the American Association of School Libraries best 2019 apps for teaching and learning. I looked at several of these (mostly ones that I personally had an interest in or ones that I think my kids would like) and wanted to mention some this week:

Khan Academy Kids — 13&11 used this for assignments in elementary school, so I am familiar with the Khan Academy platform. There are a lot of resources for children on the Kids app and even preK-specific options. Personally, I do not like the idea of my child using a tablet or other technology at home; however, I do see how this would be beneficial in a pre-school/early elementary setting. I think that offering tech-based programming while the librarian circulates to help students find books is a great way to multi-task in the classroom, especially given that class sizes range 20-33 in most districts and there is typically only one librarian. This would be a valuable tool in a station-like setting.

Novel Effect — This app is really neat. I downloaded it yesterday to my phone to use with 3. He LOVED it. I think the concept is super cool; you read a book and there are corresponding sound effects that align with certain words once spoken. Personally, I had to delete this from my phone because I don’t like recording my voice and having it filed away somewhere. (Sounds paranoid, I realize. Oh, well.) I think on a basic school-wide iPad or tablet, this could be a great app to utilize. It is fun to hear the various effects and I think even middle-high schools students would be entertained by it in small doses. This app made me think back to teaching MS in Virginia when my ELA students wrote, directed, and filmed ‘TV shows’ for our figurative language unit — my students had so much fun with the assignment and had voice overs and effects for everything. It was a lovely memory to have while testing out this app and I’d love to use it again when I have a practicum experience with younger students.

PBS Kids — Who doesn’t love PBS? I grew up watching Mr Rogers (filmed in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA); it was one of the few shows I was allowed to watch and at an early age had met all of the stars. So exciting! As I grew older, my love of PBS grew. When I taught in the DC area, I sat on a panel where teachers tested/gave feedback to website additions/materials. The PBS Kids app delivers all I’d expect from such an education-centered organization. I love that there are STEM programs available on this platform, but what I really am excited about are the e-books: I think that e-books give families access to reading that they may otherwise not have. I can’t like this app enough and it goes along with everything I’ve ever known about PBS to do — give access to all.

Do Ink — This site is really cool for any school/program with video programming. Do Ink allows for green screen production and could be used for school TV programs, projects for any content area/class, and even instructional videos from specialists. I love the options of creating green screen videos (and there are really detailed instructions as well). The Do Ink Green Screen reminds me of trips to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh and the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain; both have weather green screens and my kids, husband, and myself have all enjoyed our personal video productions. This could be such a versatile program for students to use and to showcase student projects to parents or even community members (assuming all students can be filmed; all safety measures are followed). Before moving to Boston, I worked in an alternative school for students displaced from their base/public school. Our principal who was equally awesome and ahead of his time, supported project-based initiatives; we regularly took some really unique field trips that allowed students to ‘get their hands dirty’ and they all related to the end of the year culmination project about the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. I would have LOVED for our students to use such technology to report their findings in such a way encouraged by Do Ink. I really appreciate all this app offers and hope to use it some day with my students in the library classroom!

iCell — I will be honest: I never got into science. Most everyone on my dad’s side works in medicine and everyone just assumed I would too — that English degree of mine couldn’t be more opposite. That being said, the iCell app is a really neat tool for giving simulated bio lab information. 11 would love such an app and I can guarantee would play on it for hours if we let him. This app allows you to make notations/annotate along the cell’s structure and image; you can lock and hide your notes if necessary. This makes for a great tool in the classroom and yes, in the library. I am constantly thinking about ways to integrate the library classroom into the classrooms of content and it’s really easy for me to figure out ways to incorporate the library into a humanities class and even mathematics; however, I struggle most with science. This would be a great way to support science teachers and/or students who are interested in studying science independently. A colleague at BHCC who teaches science told me that most of their dissection is now done virtually, so I think that students looking to study science post-secondary could really benefit from having access to such an app. I look forward to keeping this app in mind when I am a school librarian.

iCivics — This app caught my attention because 13 is in the eighth grade this year and is currently studying civics. While we are not a very tech-heavy household, I always keep my kiddos in mind when I learn about new educational technologies. 13 and I have been having regular conversations (class assignment) about duties, responsibilities, and rights. The games on this program would allow for additional support in the classroom. Similar to the PBS and Khan applications, I could see this being used in the library classroom while the librarian works with other students to identify appropriate texts. I think that games are a good break for students in the classroom and this could allow them to utilize knowledge without spreading everyone thin and also while giving them a break from the rigorous in-class work and discussion. To me, Supreme Decision seems like the coolest of the games to play within the app — here, you are presented with a case and have to help the US Supreme Court make a decision. Anything that allows a child to be in the company of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a win in my book.

Flickr — We were asked to look at Flickr this week as well. On a personal note, I could see this leading me down a rabbit hole of lost hours looking at pictures of dogs. On a professional level, I see some really neat things you could use Flickr for in the classroom and especially in the library. To me, using the resources available on the site is where the bread & butter is; I think having students post pictures to an open space in the outside world is scary. (Specifically, I think of students in state custody who may not realize the dangers of someone coming across a picture.) This is an app that I need to table until I am in a position to use it. I feel like it would be best to be able to create such a platform on a school/district-wide intranet because there are so many learning opportunities for students to discuss cultures, places, art, humanities, and even science and mathematic components. One area I could see using this would be a collaboration club between maybe an art class and the library; student number would be small and thus could be more easily monitored with content and commenting postings. I see the potential in this app but the parent/foster parent in me sees red flashing lights.

Lastly, it seems there are a lot of virtual/augmented reality apps. I think that these programs are really neat for students to experience and should spend some time looking into them. Sadly, the mere thought takes me back to Body Wars at Disney’s Epcot (circa 1990-something) where the 3D virtual body tour made it so I never see another thing like it since. I get squirmy just thinking about these programs because of that experience… Still, apps like Sites in VR seem really cool. I love the idea of exposing students to other places outside of their comfort zones. Years ago, back at the Alternative School mentioned above, I had mentioned my travels through Europe. Nearly all of my students were jealous of my travels to Amsterdam because they thought it would be a wild party of Red Light District visits and drugs. They were less impressed with my stories of visits to the Anne Frank House, the tulips, the canals, and the food. I think an app like Sites in VR allows students to gain knowledge beyond stereotypes or grandiose stories and could really be utilized in the library classroom to highlight settings of stories, work with ELA/social studies teachers, or just allow students to investigate their own curiosities of the world.

weekend memories

I moved to DC when I was 21 — fresh out of college with a BS in Professional Writing and Information Systems. What a combo! I had a job just across the street from the White House with a boss who believed in me and my writing. Because of him, I was published by 22. I moved on from that position and entered the marketing world, editing online content for financial advisors and eventually settling in as the marketing department of a start-up.

Things at this time were exciting — I was young, full of energy, and was living in the thick of Georgetown’s social scene. I had a serious boyfriend whose friends rubbed elbows with the likes of the Bush sisters; many a night I spent with them at Smithpoint after whispering the code of the night. As a small town girl from western Pennsylvania, this social scene never registered on my radar as a possibility. Every weekend was filled with excitement (and probably too much alcohol) and fun; followed up with brunch dates with my best friend and a trip the Pour House on Capitol Hill to watch the Steelers play on Sundays.

I eventually moved on from marketing and my boyfriend. I went to graduate school and started teaching in DC; I also moved to northern VA. At this point, I was in another serious relationship. This time, with someone who had a brother in-law in the music industry and a sister who was a creative genius. I had the world at my finger tips and a newly purchased home. I spent my weekend nights with my friends and boyfriend; scream-singing Journey and A-ha with a cocktail or two and a slice of jumbo slice to follow.

Fast forward to nine years ago: I sold my share of the house, moved to Boston with my dog, and eventually met my husband. Friday and Saturday nights were quickly changed from cocktails after work to ordering pizza with the kids; my weekend boozy brunches with friends became at-home brunches with the ‘egg-man’ and Beatles’ songs.

Last night, I’d say I hit the pinnacle of excitement that could take place in my adult life. No longer am I out until 4AM, partying in Georgetown; instead, I was asleep BY 8PM and wide-awake by 2:51AM… Oh, yes. The good life of exhaustion and homemade brunches and in-town festivals and walks for ice cream. This is the Saturday dream (less the exhaustion).

september goals, updated

I have thrown out all of my September goals and have started over.

I have been working up the nerve to try to a box jump for the last two years. On Friday, at the gym, I did it. I did ONE box jump and it was not graceful and it was kind of scary BUT… I DID IT. I think I’m still on a high from this! I’ve been visiting the gym on campus because 1. I pay the fees in my tuition and 2. I still haven’t found a yoga studio of interest. So, in addition to testing the waters of box jumping, I have also started to do tire flips.

I’m not going to lie, tire flips really make feel some kind of way — strong, fierce. Today, I did three. I am not doing a lot of them and am being cautious about form. I want to make sure I’m in a deep squat and use my trunk to move the weight of the tire instead of my back. I really look forward to seeing how much I can progress with this once I start back with yoga.

For the rest of the month, I’m going to set a goal of continuing what I’m doing and find myself a yoga studio (or at least test out a yoga studio a few times). Now that 3 has started preK, I have a few hours a few days a week to find a studio that fits with the schedule. I also ran into our babysitter at the gym on Friday and she offered to come on weekend mornings for yoga or running. I am trying to figure out how we can best utilize her with our crazy schedules and hers and this seems like the most ideal situation for us. It doesn’t give us time together, necessarily (unless we are running a race) but it does allow us some alone time doing a physical activity that keeps us sane.

In addition to the deliberate working out, I’ve been trying to log 3.1 miles a day on foot — this is from a combination of dog walks, playing with my son, errands, walking to get ice cream, and parking further than usual from a building. I’ve done pretty well with this and while it’s a goal, it’s not something that I try to focus on, so I don’t typically carry my phone around the house with me. (Fortunately, 13 keeps tabs on it and always knows where it is, which makes one of us.)

I figured if I put the update into the universe, I’d be more vigilant about continuing to try box jumps and tire flips and will find myself a new yoga studio…

 

Learning Tech

This week in my Emerging Tech course, I was tasked with writing about new technologies I’m learning about. This is really neat — I am gaining exposure to so many things and have even more opportunities to ‘nerd out’ if you can believe it. On Monday, I started to look into a series of tech suggestions, whereby I latched on to a few different learning technology tools.

  1. Padlet — This was really neat; you can take a picture and then give a little caption about it. A classmate mentioned using this for book recommendations, which I think is a great idea. I also could see using it as a character highlight when discussing ELA readings or to highlight a specific country, language, or culture for a social studies class. Further, it would be a great visual supporter for word problems in math or even a way to introduce lab items for science. Uploading these to a SMART/Mimio board or to the library/teacher sites would allow students access. I just had so many ideas about how to be able to utilize such a tool in the library classroom, be it through collaboration with teaching staff or to enhance the library experience.
  2. RSS Feeds — I’ll be honest: it never dawned on me to use this tool for educational purposes. I’ve used RSS feeds many times in my personal life and have received many notifications for step-parenting, infertility, IVF, and adoption. I think because I was so entrenched in my personal stories that the thought never occurred to me to use this for anything more. I could see having tabs available on a library site (or just bookmarked on the librarian’s computer) that relate to topics being researched, current events, famous authors, inventors, technology, college applications (because librarians can absolutely lend a helping hand to the school guidance staff) and so much more.
  3. Tumblr — I used to follow a food blog on Tumblr (years ago) but got frustrated by the lack of words. I think that this is a great site to use for blogging for students though. I appreciate lengthy reads; I’m a lover of words, what can I say?! I know many students, however, may prefer to tell a story through images or music or any other artistic means. I love that this is a site that would more easily encourage students to use it in that capacity and I think that integrating this in a classroom or library setting could be a lot of fun. Clearly, in a library setting, students could all post to the library’s page where they highlight current events or review recent books or give tips on how-to use different technologies. There really are endless possibilities and unlike some of the other technologies, Tumblr could easily be used by specials/electives or even outside clubs/organizations with ease.
  4. LiveBinder — HOLY MOLY! The organizational nut in me has died and gone to heaven! I spent hours clicking around this site and thought, “why has nobody told me about this before?!” Honestly, on a personal/professional level, I could catalog all of the consulting I do for grant writing and charter school development. In terms of education or library cataloging — there’s just so much! I could see having students use this to organize and present senior projects or any other type of portfolio (Hello, art teachers!). I can’t wait to start using this tool, myself. If you’ve not heard of it, I advise you check it out immediately (but only if you have a few hours to spare).
  5. Pinterest — This was another suggestion per my professor. There’s both so much and so little to say about Pinterest. I use it for basically everything. When we learned I’m allergic to yeast and had to reframe our entire family diet, Pinterest was my go-to; when we wanted to give 13 a perfect tween escape, I pinned and bought (and was basically banned from ever shopping at Pottery Barn Kids ever again) and had my husband set up every detail of the tween dream; when I wanted to take a cute Halloween treat to 3’s daycare last year, I pinned, failed, and sent a half-empty bag of Oreos with an open bag of pretzels and was reminded why I hate all things crafty and cute… You get it — Pinterest is basically my right hand man. I’ve used it for teaching ideas in the past and for classroom setup. It’s an easy go-to that I can always rely on. (Link to my personal Pinterest (education) site above)
  6. Diigo — I was really psyched to find this tool; online annotation, count me in! Instantly, I my brain was filled with ways to make annotation lessons engaging and fun for students who appreciate the use of technology over the traditional book. I constantly hammer the benefits of annotation and think that an online tool can help students who prefer reading this way. My big thought here, though, centers on how compatible this might be with assistive tech, like Dragon Speak, for students who may not easily be able to find what they’d want to highlight or comment on. This is something I need to dig deeper on. I tried to Google it but only found articles about Diigo with advertisements for Dragon Speak, so I tabled this search for the time being.
  7. Google Classroom — Last night, I had 13 walk me through her Google Classroom. I know the kids talk about using it and in my head, I had pictured a UI similar to Blackboard or Moodle. Her teachers use it to post readings, assignments, and test reminders — don’t get me wrong, this is all great. It allows us to see everything that goes on in the class and allows access to students who miss a day. I was just hoping for more engagement (sure, you can comment to class or teacher, but I don’t really think of a comment box to be engaging). One benefit though, as is Google’s way — it’s super user-friendly and most likely intuitive for students/parents. I just was expecting… more…

These are some of the education tools that I’ve spent time looking at this week. I appreciate the time and space to investigate and learn about these tools. I am starting to realize that it’s not that I’m bad at technology or even that I have a lack of interest; it’s that I haven’t had exposure to various classroom technologies. I think that largely this is because I’ve been out of the traditional classroom for the last seven years, focusing on curriculum development, grant writing, charter applications, and teaching at the college level on the side. I’m excited to continue to gain exposure to these types of tools and eventually implement them in the library classroom!

meals, sept 13-19

This weekend is starting off with a surprise little trip for the kids! My husband and the kids are going camping — so fun! I am going to head over during the day but return home each day. I know what you’re thinking: It’s a bummer someone has to stay back to keep the dog company 😉

Honestly, though, I am really looking forward to the weekend. We are going to make s’mores and it’s just going to be a blast. A nice little break in the back-to-school routine. My husband and I packed the kids each a book to read with some downtime, a horse-shoe game, a frisbee, and a football.

Last week’s rogue supermarket trip was really nice. I like the calmness of not having to plan everything. I did have to run to the store a few times this week to pick up a thing or two, but overall, I think I’m going to try to shop like this more often. I typically do my shopping on Thursdays, so that gives me Friday morning to look at my haul and figure out what we are going to eat for the week. It’s been nice cooking off the top of my head without following tons of recipes (though, we did get back to True Roots and Cravings last week).

We are going to keep things super simple for the weekend, since everything will be cooked either over a campfire or at the site (they have charcoal grills).

Friday: Hot dogs, carrots, and fruit. I figured that we’d want something simple while we set up the tent and we want to make sure we have time for a campfire and the s’mores that go along with it.

Saturday: For breakfast, we are going to do sausage, egg & cheese English muffins. We are testing out the dutch oven cooker we bought for camping this weekend and will use it for dinner when we make a batch of vegetable chili with s’mores to follow, of course.

Sunday: Same breakfast as the day before. We will be home by lunch and will do a fun little lineup for Sunday football of chips and salsa, homemade pizza, buffalo chicken dip and spinach-artichoke dip. I can’t wait!

Monday: We are back in the grind of life and work and school. I wanted to keep things easy so we are going to do pasta & zucchini with sauce and chicken sausage and salads.

Tuesday: Taco night with crunchy tacos, ground beef, refried beans, and beets. This is probably our favorite dinner of the week, honestly.

Wednesday: My husband is going to make his family favorite and ever so famous buffalo chicken salads (Pittsburgh style, with fries, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs). These are amazing.

Thursday: Black bean tacos with salad.

Having the kids make their own lunches and breakfasts has turned into, to put it ever so lightly, a nightmare. They ‘forget’ to eat breakfast most days and 11 literally packed himself a container of lettuce and nothing else one day; the next day, followed it up with a meat stick and popcorn… only. In an effort to make things super easy on everyone; lunches are going to be largely pre-made or sandwiches until 11 & 13 are better able to get themselves set up — this week, I grabbed meatballs, breakfast sausage (so they can finish the french toast bites), and things to make sunbutter sandwiches. I also grabbed two boxes of cereal bars and a box of applesauce, so there is something for my husband to keep in the car in case they forget breakfast.

My husband is going to try a new breakfast idea for the week with getting bell peppers, slicing them in half, and using the pepper to hold an egg, some quinoa, and ham. Hopefully, he likes this; we are always trying to find things that will work as a post-run breakfast after school drop-off. Lunches will be cauliflower and rice or quinoa bowls with chicken sausage, peppers.

My meals aren’t really planned during the week. I typically eat eggs for breakfast and salads for lunch but sometimes I grab something while out and about with 3, so we don’t really plan anything. This is something that’s nice about being home and not having to think about what we will have because we can always go to the store if we want something specific.

EduTech

This week for my Emerging Tech course, I’ve been tasked with writing a blog post that shows some of the new things I’ve learned and what I’ve been thinking about based on the readings and discussion.

Wow. What a loaded prompt!

First, I would like to point out that in terms of educational technology, I’m most familiar with things piloted or mastered in the mid-2000s when I finished my first graduate degree. My, how things have changed! I read an article today, titled: Saving School Libraries: How Technology and Innovation Help Them Stay Relevant” and it has me thinking all of the things. I have always been intrigued by the work of the school librarian, but thinking in terms of working “as a catalyst for social change” is something that never dawned on me (Lynch 3). As an English teacher, I always thought that engaging students in reading and discussion could drive such change and as I worked at the college level, I saw just how thoughtful students were when it came to social events and news. I did not really put a lot of thought into how the librarian can shape students similarly, but I love the idea of encouraging students to research, engage, and utilize their critical thinking skills to make waves around them.

My experiences with reluctant and struggling readers, something I’ll likely discuss often, allows me to work with students through a critical scope regardless of where their skill sets are. Another thought in the Lynch article states that, “Libraries need to provide an unbiased, and unlimited, access to information” (3). This is a statement that I think will stick with me as I think of ways to integrate community and technology within the confines of school walls. Further, I think that utilizing new technologies to advance learning will assist with this.

Through my readings, I’ve been introduced to a few new sites and concepts:

  1. Librarians without Borders: This may become my new obsession, as I see that in 2019, trips to Guatemala and Ghana were organized to set up libraries and learning resources. As I type this, I am mentally thinking of ways to help my husband understand why I should participate in something like this next year.
  2. EdShelf: Perhaps this is more applicable to other educators browsing this blog. I bookmarked this page for later (and even created a Library Resources folder in my bookmark bar!). EdShelf has a number of educational tools listed for whatever task you may have at hand. I’d read an article by Joyce Valenza that touched on Augmented Reality and there’s a whole section of applications available for perusal on the EdShelf site. I also clicked on the Read/Write/Literacy tab and was pleased to see ReadWriteThink has an application (this is a website that I used 10+ years ago for resources for my students). I am really looking forward to delving into this site more!
  3. FlipGrid: We used FlipGrid this week to create a 90 second video about our comfort levels with technology. I really enjoyed this task and learning about this platform. I can see this being used easily in collaborative approaches between content-area teachers and librarians as well as professional learning communities (both in-person and online). I love the idea of students creating FlipGrid videos to keep responses concise (it makes me think of Twitter limiting characters with typing). I think there are a lot of applicable ways to use such a platform: word problems in mathematics; breaking down a science experiment and its outcomes; giving a quick book review; reciting a timeline from history. This is something I really want to keep in mind when I’m working in a school library.
  4. Glogster: This was a site recommended in another Joyce Valenza article. It is animation software and on the site, there are examples of how content area teachers are able to have students utilize this within the confines of an in-class project. This is software that seems valuable to use from mid-elementary school through high school. It is more graphic/animated than Prezi but should offer a similar engagement.
  5. Bubbl: In the same Valenza article mentioned above, there’s a piece that focuses on mind mapping via Google Docs. This jogged my memory: When I used to teach in a special education, independent school, I had my students use a site called Bubbl. This site allowed students who needed to visually map out their thoughts the space and capacity to do so. I have also recommended this to college writing students who need the same processing accessibility.
  6. The last is a concept that I need to wrap my mind around. In both the Lynch and Valenza articles, it is stated that libraries need to advocate for improved digital access to include social media, blocked sites, and cell-phone usage. This is something that I am going to continue to wrap my mind around and think about how these tools can be responsibly used to further the educational growth of our youth. I think a lot of this as to do with the fact that I work hard to preserve a tech-free space within my home and get anxious at times that I’m very far behind in cutting-edge technologies. For example, my three year old thinks cell phones are only for FaceTime with his grandparents (also, for taking pictures) but has never used one otherwise.

While I battle mentally with the cell phone piece, one thing that is starting to give me a little relief is that I’m realizing maybe I’m not as overall technology resistant as I can sometimes feel.  Reading this week’s assigned articles have given me the ability to take a deep breath and rethink my technology uses within the classroom. Sure, I always have preferred to lecture without PowerPoint slides, but I’ve always printed out my lectures for students who need to read and re-read information and may not be adept at note-taking.

As a classroom teacher, I have always tried to touch on the various learning styles my students may have. Now, I am thinking about how I can support teachers with similar tasks through technology-infused assignments and various resources. Now that I’m reading and gaining access to sites, I am feeling less intimidated about the prospect of such a task.

Finally, in the midst of thinking and reflecting on technology in terms of what I’ve had access to and what is available to students and teachers, I want to think of ways that students can publish writing. When I was an undergrad, I received The Writer’s Market as a gift — this was a book with thousands of pages of publishers and contests for writers. I think it would be so fun to eventually run an after-school or advisory program where students write in accordance to contests to submit for a chance at publication. I am not sure if most teens would find this cool, but I’m really jazzed at the thought. (I also find it encouraging that in my nine years teaching at a local community college, I’ve had four students major in English — I know there are other writers out there who are eager to find these opportunities.)

“threenager”

Three has been quite the age for us. We are in a season of life where all 3 does is argue — literally, about everything. Because I am with him all day, each day, I am really worn down by the incessant arguments. Sure, we’ve moved past the spite peeing but now that school is on the horizon, I think that his anxiety is kicking in and EVERYTHING is a battle: Getting dressed, using the bathroom before we go on a long car ride, eating, brushing his teeth.

I know that his anxiety is revving, and I try to talk about what school will look like. He is going three days a week for three hours each day. He starts on Monday and I’m hoping some of these behaviors fall by the wayside when he starts school and adjusts to his new routine.

It can be very challenging to remain patient through the minute-by-minute arguments, followed up by throwing-himself-on-the-ground tantrums. I have been giving myself tons of breaks throughout the day so that I can have some semblance of patience when dealing with these behaviors.

In addition to the anxiety, he has been fighting naps most days. Some days, he’s out so cold that he goes to the bathroom and doesn’t wake; most days, he just fights naps. I recognize that I can’t make him sleep, obviously, so my typical rule is that he do a quiet activity. Most days, he follows this rule and will relax in his bed with a few books. These are the days he tends to have better days; but then there are days when he scales his brother’s furniture (it’s all bolted) and plays with his things — he knows he’s not supposed to; he’s engaging in these behaviors out of spite and sometimes anger.

I can honestly say that there are days where I’ve felt like 3’s behaviors were going to break me. A few weeks ago, I texted my husband and told him needed to come back and work from home; he’s just left. We were in the throws of the third tantrum by 8AM and 11 & 13 were so tired they were just spinning around. (Keep in mind, we maintain pretty strict bedtime schedules, so we recognized everyone was run down — probably because we spent a lot of time at parks and the beach and just running around in the sun.)

So, here we are, the weekend before school starts and 3 is acting helpless — “can’t” put on his clothes or go to the bathroom or drink his water. He is a trooper, though: We’ve traveled a lot this summer and he’s a great flier and a great backseat driver in the car (“Oh, mommy, watch — that car isn’t paying attention … Mommy, there’s a red light”) — his backseat driving skills have only improved since switching him to forward facing — alas, once we return home, his behaviors kick back in.

Part of it, I think, is him exhausting himself trying to keep it all together while we are out and about and traveling to and fro; so, when we are home, he just can’t keep it together. He’s also had more appointments than usual with his care team; he weaned from thick liquids to thin and had several follow-ups as a result. This was a big deal for him and his health but also a big transition.

Regardless, it’s rough and it’s been weighing on me. I like our normal routines and I’m hoping that once school starts, he will feel safe in the environment and some of these behaviors will fall by the wayside. Until then, we will keep doing what we are doing — we give him a lot of choices (he chooses what snacks he wants; toothpaste; clothing). We try to give him as many choices as we can, which we’d hoped would make things easier for him but it sometimes feels that’s not the case. Last week, I took him shopping to pick out a backpack, which was very exciting for him (but again, I think it made his anxiety brew).

So, here we are in 3’s last week of summer break. We are hopeful that we can reel things back in and alleviate a lot of these behaviors sooner than later. Until then, you can find me sitting in silence in my room after copious hugs are given… happy to receive any positivity…