I think... we'll see when I get to the end of the list.
We just finished up school, and also did the annual exams on the kids (at least the three that still get annual exams... nobody told me that after 10, it's every two years!).
So, status report on the crew:
Mr G: Still himself. He's definitely growing into the preadolescent thing, getting comfortable with the body hair and body odor, and not minding that his body is shifting toward muscle mass and physical bulk. He's still a lean slim type, but he doesn't look skinny so much anymore. He also did a good job in school this year - he dropped some balls, but learned a lot of skills.
One of the key skills he learned this year was how to pull out of a school crisis. You may recall that we were voluntarily quarantined because of the whole Flu Incident. He lost a week of school, and picking that back up was somewhat challenging. Even though we did a lot of schoolwork while he was home, some stuff got dropped. Latin, for instance. And when I say dropped, I mean one of the assignments fell on the floor and was under his desk... Though the other incident was rather more interesting, from a parenting perspective.
Mr G had an in-school assignment where he and another student had to write a story employing Latin words. Not all in Latin, but pulling in things like avian, and pro forma, that sort of thing. The other student took charge and told Mr G that he'd write, and Mr G could just look up the terms. Mr G did not complain, just sucked it up and did as he was told. Only, the story wasn't working. They couldn't find the words they needed for the story the other kid wanted to write, and after three weeks, they had three sentences... (one class a week). Everyone else had three paragraphs. They were supposed to come in at recess to work on it, only the time that the other kid could, Mr G had Band. And then there was the whole week he was out (where no work was done by the other kid at all - and I do understand that it would throw off the sense of fair at this age to do it alone).
Now, to me, this would have set off the 'I need to solve a problem here' alarm, and I'd ask someone - say, the teacher - how to get past the roadblock. But no. Mr G dislikes confrontation, so he neither addressed it with the other student or the teacher. Instead, he ignored it. Until the teacher emailed us and pointed out that as things stood, with the missing assignment and the unfinished final project, his grade was 51%. Um, ouch? The final exam could pull that up substantially, and he was getting 100's on his tests and quizzes, so that would help. But he'd probably still get a C, without the other work.
So we proceeded to coach him on how to approach the problem - how to talk to the teacher, explain what the problem was, and ask for help resolving it. How to make it right with her (because a) she didn't want him to fail, and b) she might be a little sad that he wouldn't talk to her about the problem - or not, but humanizing her side of the problem is always a fine idea). We went through the Effective, Prudent, True process - how do you effectively get the grade in, without making it crazy for anyone, while holding to your values and ethics? Mr G learned a lot about how classes work - he had assumed that 'the assignment is the assignment, and the grade is the grade, and there's nothing you can do to work that system'. Which, as we all know, is wrong for many teachers. There's nothing wrong with going to the teacher, explaining the situation, and asking what you can do that would make it better. Sometimes the answer will be 'nothing'. But many times there's something extra you can do to get your grade to reflect your actual knowledge level.
He ended up writing the entire story on his own (the other student got credit for his own work, Mr G got credit for what he did). And we found the missing assignment (which he hadn't mentioned that he couldn't find and had therefore not turned in... ARGH), and got that in. And he aced his final. Ended up with a good grade.
He actually ended up with the grades we want for him - split between B and A, with A+ only in the 'easy' classes for him (Spanish, Music), A's in the classes in which he grooves (Science, ELA), and solid B's in the classes where he has to work for it. I'd rather see more B's in the grooving classes, too - I want him to be working for those, as well (otherwise he coasts), but this is okay. Enough bumps and lumps to learn from, enough rewards to make it seem worthwhile.
He also scored well-enough in the standardized tests in math, and distinguished in reading/language. That's more 'him being still exactly him'. He likes math fine, but doesn't have a passion for it. Reading and language, those he's owned since he was 18 months old. I could always get a few moment's peace by giving him a book, actually from much younger than that. So, yeah, he's still him.
Mr B, likewise. Mr B started the year very stressed about reading and talking. The whole 'mom failed as speech-language coach' thing had sunk him on that. He resisted, avoided, and generally was miserable around anything to do with language arts. BUT, we'd discussed this with the school, and they'd placed him with a reading specialist as his teacher. End of year? He scored outstanding on his reading. Years above grade level. YAY! The teacher had said she does not hand out O's easily. If you're doing really well, you'll get a P. Only the rockets get O's. Mr B's report card was nearly half O's. WOO! I'd pretty much forgotten (in all the stressing around language arts) that his first love (maybe second, after Art) is math. But he showed that he hasn't changed, there, either. He loves math and logic and figuring. He was the puzzle master, always - could put together puzzles that his four-years-older brother struggled with. It's a nice reminder that he is who he is, and even when I pay attention to just one aspect of him, he's paying attention to the whole thing (at least his teacher is!). This is why I like school.
And then there was the physical. He's returned to his curve, thankfully. Last year, he'd dropped to 10-12th percentile for height. Anything below 50th is Not Good (given our genetics), and he's been tracking at 25%ile since 3 1/2 or so (with periodic plunges below and the very rare creeping above). This is presumed to be related to the multiple carbohydrate intolerances (both lactose intolerance and fructose malabsorption). The combo in particular can stop upward growth. Short stature and higher weight is one of the signs of fructose overload (kids who just drink too much juice will end up the same). For him, it's pretty catastrophic. He was holding a 90th%ile curve until he was 15 months old, and fructose was introduced... sigh. But I'm glad he's at least back to the 25th%ile, now. 10th was troubling. 25th%ile is good enough, even though he'll be a lot shorter than the rest of the family, that way. (ep and I are both in the 97th%ile.) Still stocky, but not as much as before, which also means his diet is more effectively balanced - but not quite enough. More to work on, there.
Miss R's physical was also fine, and she's up around 90th%ile for height. She's got no trouble with the growing thing. And she also never stopped (she is also not apparently lactose intolerant - just fructose malabsorbing). Good, good.
Miss M also rebounded on her curve again. She's been weaving back and forth between 25th and 50th%ile. 50th is probably her normal curve, but when she stopped growing (same age as Mr B), that plunged her down the percentiles. She's all the way back up to 50th now, so while she's petite and notably smaller than her twin sister, she's also just fine for her.
I'm still waiting for the followup from the endometrial biopsy - they didn't expect results back until next week at the earliest, so I'm still hanging fire on that. Ah, well. Waiting is all I can do.
Ep has now got his license, and is a Registered Architect. WOO! :) :) :)
And my work is still crazy, but it's still working, too. There are some major shifts in how things are being done, but in good ways. And I'm still regarded as valuable. My 'report card' is coming back in the form of feedback surveys from the training sessions I'm doing the materials for - the materials are getting high marks, and there's a lot of positive commentary that direction. They'd asked for something really simple, I gave them more than they asked for, and they actually liked what they got (just 'simple' was not going to meet all the needs they had - they really needed complete and depth). And I'm still being asked to help out on my old project, both for the social/cultural stuff, and for the actual thinking and work. I like being asked to help 'because of my brains'. It's nice.
Today we're off to go help with an archeological dig (kids included). Should be a good day. (Last time, Mr G discovered a silver fork from 1897.)
I know the good stuff is often boring, but this is the payoff zone. We struggle with how to coach, how to allow them to be themselves without just letting them range entirely without structure, how to find our way to our own successes without sinking the rest of the family. The balance points tip back and forth all the time - crisis, or problem, or issue, and then problem-solving out of it. Finding ways to be effective, prudent, and true, over and over and over and over and over. It doesn't stop, but the effort gets to be comfortable - most of the time. And then we get the status points that work, get a chance to glimpse the system from a different perspective. They don't all look so pretty. This time, good. Next time could be another problem instead of a success.
But then we'll carry on and try some more, and hope that the time after that will look like this one. Good.