* Summertime challenges

Finally! I know, it's been a while, but here I am. Life's been busy as ever!

Rio is in summer school* now, and he's faring pretty well. I've received 3 calls from the principal in the 2 weeks since he started at this location. But that's not as bad as it sounds! First of all, this principal (Dr. S) is a very cool guy, both Rio and I like him a lot. He's very willing to work with Rio and to accommodate his needs so he can stay in the summer program. That's been an immense relief! The other good news is that most of Rio's problems are occurring on the playground, not in the classroom. Unfortunately, his first 2 incidents involved him kicking another child. Apparently, Rio likes to climb up the slide, which is strictly against the rules, so inevitably some kid will tell him "Hey! You're not supposed to do that!" At which point Rio kicks the kid, and unfortunately his feet are usually level with their head. Sheeesh Hercules! No serious injuries, but clearly this is not cool. So Rio got sent home the first time, but the second time the principal decided to keep him there. I guess that time Rio had been much more cooperative when he was caught and sent to the office. I think that had a lot to do with the fact that he had learned that this principal wasn't going to demonize him.

So Dr. S and I agreed that Rio should simply be banned from the slide, since he can't seem to use it without getting himself into trouble. That seems to be working so far. The most recent phone call from Dr. S was when Rio had to leave class because he wouldn't stay in the Safe Spot, which I guess is where kids go when they're being disruptive and need to calm down, kind of like Time Out. This time, Dr. S asked me more about Rio and what sort of strategies work for him in the classroom. I gave him some of Rio's history in Kindergarten, suggested that having a helper in the class makes a big difference. Fortunately, they seem to have a lot of extra help available during the summer, so he agreed to place someone in Rio's classroom specifically to keep an eye on him. We also agreed that it's just not realistic to expect Rio to remain seated for any period of time. It's more important for him to be safe and not to disturb others in the class. Therefore, Rio will be allowed to get up and move around, and even leave the classroom periodically if necessary, so long as he complies with those two conditions. Of course, those conditions are going to be a sufficient challenge, so I'm eager to see how this works for him. Being safe does not come naturally to our little Hercules.

Dr. S explained to me that he has a son, now grown, very much like Rio, and it's apparent that he really likes Rio a lot. He's very soft-spoken and calm, and my conversations with him regarding Rio have been very pleasant. In fact, Rio informed me that Dr. S is going to let him spend recess with him in his office, where they will build rockets together. Mind you, I received this information from Rio, not Dr. S, not I'm not sure yet just how much of this is really going to happen. I'm thinking maybe Dr. S invited Rio to visit him in his office sometime, and maybe they could work on some projects together. To Rio, this translates to: I can spend all my free time in your office, and I can build rockets because that is my new favorite thing!

I'll find out this afternoon how that worked out. I'm hoping he's more right than I am, for his sake.

Ever since we rented The Sandlot 2, Rio has been interested in rockets. He built one out of a paper towel tube and some construction paper, but that's not going to be enough. You can bet he's looking forward to the Fourth of July. For months now he's been saving up all the half-chewed lego guys and action figures that Bongo has mangled, for the sole purpose of tying them to rockets and blowing them up on the 4th. God bless America?

For my part, I'm trying to put the emphasis on rocket science.



*Summer school is a voluntary program here, it doesn't mean he's required to go because he's behind academically. The programs are held at only some of the schools in town, so he is not attending the same school that he goes to during the school year.