04 March 2014

Catching Up in Body and Mind

Isaac has been reading voraciously.  I know that sounds hyperbolic, but it's true!  He has passed up opportunities to play video games or watch TV to READ!  Saturday night, with about 45  minutes to kill between finishing his project and meeting a friend for dinner, he sat and read until we had to leave.  Sunday afternoon after coming home from a friend's house, rather than choose to chill out with the TV on, he sat and read.  Yesterday, when I asked him what he wanted to do when we got home, since we were leaving school  3 hours early, he said he wanted to come home and read.  And he did -- for about two hours!

I have been dumbfounded.  I sent Matt a text Sunday night with this picture, and the question "How do I fuss at him for not getting his lunch ready when this is what he is doing?"

Normally, I have to pull him away from Netflix to finish chores, not from a book.  And it is not just with reading that we have noticed a change.  Last night he practiced his drums without a fight.  And actually played and practiced his rhythms for sustained periods rather than 30 seconds at a time.

So to what do we owe this miraculous shift?  One thing, I think, is the return to a routine.  The weeks since Winter Break have been a roller coaster.  We have only had one full week of school on a regular schedule due to delays, early dismissals and cancellations.  Those interruptions have wreaked havoc -our sleep schedules are off, we have not been eating as well as we should, chores have been left undone, and the feeling of lethargy that took over has been hard to shake.  I need a routine to function well.  Not one that is inflexible, but one that gives me structure so I know what needs to get done and what the time frame is for doing it.  If I, an almost 40 year old adult, have been completely knocked off kilter by the past few weeks, then I can only imagine how Isaac has felt.  

I also think the weather over the weekend helped.  Isaac spent most of Saturday and Sunday outside.  Exercise and sun are good for our bodies and are brains, and I know the lack of both has made me more tired and cranky and unmotivated.  So, why wouldn't it be the same, or worse, for an 8 year old?

But I also think Isaac is maturing.  Not that at 8 1/2 he has all of a sudden reached an age when the hard times will come again no more.  But I forget that he is one of the youngest in his class.  He probably is the youngest boy, actually.  Some of the kids are almost a year older than him, and when you are 8 and 9 that can make a huge difference.  Third grade is a hard adjustment and he is only now reaching the age that most of his classmates were when school started.  His brain and his body finally seem to be catching up to the demands that school is placing on them.

There have also been some external motivators and confidence builders that have given him a new way to see himself.  We found out two weeks ago that he qualified for the AG program.  This was important to him because his friends are also in AG - not because to him it meant that he really is smart.  But getting that affirmation in the form of acceptance into a special group did, I think, slightly alter how Isaac views his abilities.

Whatever the reasons for the recent love of reading and increase in attention, I am thankful for them.  Of course, we are out of school again for a snow day so there goes our routine.  Isaac slept late and decreed when he got up that he would be spending the day in his pajamas.  It sounded good to me and I was even looking forward to sitting down and watching a movie this morning.  Instead, Isaac wanted to download the next Wimpy Kid book so he could try to finish the series.  So, as I finish this post, he is in the other chair reading.  Sounds like a pretty good way to spend a snow day.  I think I will join him.

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