Sunday, April 29, 2018

High School Decision

Kai has been attending a public therapeutic school since the middle of his kindergarten year... that is about eight and a half years.

For the last several months, as the end of his middle school days drew nearer, we have been stressing out about where Kai will attend high school.

There is no doubt that Kai has come a long way at his therapeutic school, but it has also been hard to see other kids come and go, returning to their home school while Kai hasn't made enough progress to be considered for a transition. In the last few years, Kai's attitude about school, and himself, has gotten increasingly negative. He hated school, and thought less of himself. He seemed to give up on thinking that he could be anything more than a problem child.

It made us wonder if a change in scenery and a fresh start at a new school would do him good. With the transition to high school coming in the fall, the timing seemed right for a change to a regular school, albeit by spending the majority of time in a special ed classroom.

But it wasn't a decision that we could make on our own; our community's high school would have to agree to accept Kai.

And so we had a series of meetings and emails to discuss the matter. The high school expressed concern about being able to support Kai. But we were heartened that all parties involved, including the special ed representatives of our local high school as well as the staff from Kai's current school were able to be open-minded and were sincerely interested in determining what would be best for Kai.

There was talk about splitting time between the regular school and therapeutic school, or perhaps waiting to transition to the regular high school for another year, but in the end we were very pleased that the decision was made for Kai to attend our local high school full time beginning in the fall.

After eight and a half years, it is a big milestone for us and we are very pleased. My wife was in tears after the last meeting with the school officials where the decision was officially made.

Of course, we were also happy nine years ago when Kai started kindergarten at our neighborhood school. The following photo is from his first day of kindergarten.

That ended up being an extremely stressful time as we got reports from school every day about the difficulties that Kai had before the decision eventually was made to send him to the therapeutic school he's been at ever since.

This time we're going in fully aware that the transition won't be easy. Our community's high school is very large and the hallways are crowded and bustling. We don't know for sure what will happen when he goes there.

But we also think that he is much further along in being able to cope with the challenges he will face. He doesn't have nearly as many meltdowns as before, and he is much more reflective and self-aware than he used to be. And so we do think that he has a realistic chance to succeed, and that this change is just what he needs.

In four months, when Kai starts high school, our stress will start up again. But that is for another day. Today we mark a big milestone with a sigh of relief and joy in our hearts.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Belated Anniversary Celebration at Izakaya Sankyu

It was our anniversary a little over a week ago, but with everyone not feeling well, we decided to hold off on going out to dinner to celebrate until today.

We went to one of our favorite Japanese restaurants, Izakaya Sankyu, where we first went last year for Mother's Day.

The fun part of going to an izakaya is ordering a variety of food. Kai loves gyoza (pan-fried dumplings) so we had to order that. We also ordered fried oysters, mushrooms, yakitori (skewered chicken), karaage (Japanese fried chicken), chicken wings, kalbi beef, and tako yaki (ball-shape snack made with batter and filled with octopus), among others.

We could tell that Kai was feeling better as his appetite returned. We had to fight him off for the gyoza, mushrooms, oysters, and beef, especially.

We filled up, but had a little room left for dessert: green tea ice cream with kinako mochi.

Everything was yummy!

Hard to believe that we have been a family for 11 years now... my how time flies!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Kai's Latest Creation: Lickilicky

We ended our spring break trip last weekend with Kai starting to get sick again. Since then he got a lot worse as he was coughing a lot and feeling miserable throughout the week. He missed school every day so, including spring break, it has been three weeks since he has been in class.

While sick, he did not go swimming, of course, and did not feel like making his YouTube videos, but did do a lot of sewing and worked on his latest creation.

This character is a Pokémon called Lickilicky.

One distinguishing feature of Lickilicky is a long tongue.

Kai finished up Lickilicky today. I think his creations get better and better.

Kai is coughing less and talking more this weekend so hopefully we will finally be back in school on Monday.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

2018 Spring Vacation - Last Few Hours in D.C.

We started out our trip with Kai just getting over being sick. My wife then was sick throughout most of the vacation. And now, on our last day, we're coming full circle as Kai is back to coughing a lot just as my wife is starting to feel a little better.

We had the morning in D.C. to see something before having to head to the airport in the afternoon. Kai wanted to go back to the Museum of Natural History to take in some of the things we did not have time for yesterday. The Smithsonian museums do not have an entry fee so it is conducive for short visits and taking in a little at a time. If we had had to pay to get in, we may not have gone so late in the day yesterday when we knew we had only a couple of hours, nor this morning when we had even less time.

The section of the museum we went to first was a place where they had drawers of collections that visitors can see and touch. It included everything from fossils to preserved animals; from pressed plants to minerals, and more.

There were over 200 drawers in all.

Kai opened and looked through every single one.

By the time he was done, we had only a little time to see a few other things.

Before we left, Kai wanted to show Mom the Hope Diamond. As yesterday, there was a big crowd gathered around the display case.

And then it was time to go to the airport where we had lunch.

Our return flight was very uneventful and we made it home safely.

The ends of vacations are always a mix of emotions. But this time we're especially tired and happy to be home, and looking forward to sleeping in our own bed.

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