One of the things that I enjoy the most about the first day of school, other than the huge savings of not having to pay for summer camp anymore, is a tradition that Kaitlyn and I started back when she was in 1st grade. It is our annual “Ice Cream Night.”
I don’t know how many more years Kaitlyn will want to have ice cream with me on the first day of school, but I plan on enjoying each and every one until she tells me that she has had enough. Of course, if I get my way, this cool tradition (see what I did there?) will continue through high school and while she is in college, too. A dad can dream, I guess.
There are very few things that make Kaitlyn get overly emotional. I guess that is a byproduct of Asperger’s; her emotional needle is generally glued in a neutral position.
Of course, that is thrown out the window when it comes to animals. I’ve noted her affinity for dolphins quite regularly, so anything involving dolphins will peg that needle. She loves cats and dogs, and loves penguins, too. But if there were an animal that was on par with dolphins with her, it would be a kangaroo (who am I kidding? Kangaroos and dolphins are tied for first in her book.).
Yesterday, Kaitlyn saw a picture of an orphaned kangaroo hugging a teddy bear, and it moved her to tears. She was heartbroken because it did not have a mom and a dad, and I know that if there had been an option for the kangaroo to be adopted, we would have a kangaroo in our backyard soon (if Kaitlyn had her way). Anyway, the picture is below.
The first day of school is right around the corner. Next Monday to be exact. Of course, that means that there is no summer camp for Kaitlyn; which means she gets to spend the every day this week at Amber’s work. Hopefully she is put to work and made to be productive some, but I have my doubts.
One thing that Kaitlyn accomplished this week is to organize our iPad. Because if there is anything that is a must, it is an organized iPad. She had talked about organizing it while we were on vacation in Panama City Beach last week, but she never got around to it.
That was rectified Monday.
In typical Kaitlyn fashion, she organized the apps and icons in a way that makes the most sense and is pretty efficient. She created categories, and then within each category, there are individual apps and icons. Pretty cool. There are 11 categories on our newly organized iPad: Contacts, Stimulation, Angry Birds (it gets its own category because we have 3 or 4 versions of it), Music, Photography, Information, Read and Play, Utilities, Imagine, Cool Creative, and Fun and Games.
It will probably take Amber and I quite some time to find everything we need on there, but it makes sense to Kaitlyn, and that is all that matters.
Before school gets out for the summer each year, Kaitlyn has brought home a packet of work to help keep her sharp during the summer months. Amber and I think it is a great idea and a way to keep the students engaged in the learning process, though Kaitlyn’s thirst for knowledge is never really quenched.
This summer has been no different. Kaitlyn had to read a Judy Blume book and answer some questions about that, and also had additional problems to work on; the packets are really designed for casual learning, not to take up the entirety of the summer for the kids.
As expected, Kaitlyn flew right through the reading assignment, and then sort of poked her way through the other stuff in the packet. No big deal. Amber and I didn’t really have to ask her or prompt her to work on her summer packet at all, which saved us a ton of stress.
With summer winding down quickly, time is running out for her to get her packet done. The other day, Amber reminded her that she had a little bit left to finish in her packet, and by Kaitlyn’s reaction, you would have thought that she was being asked to broker a nuclear treaty. “Why, school, why?,” Kaitlyn moaned almost before Amber could remind her that she had very little left. The best way I could describe her reaction would be to say that it was a little less dramatic than Nancy Kerrigan’s after she was clubbed on the knee back in 1994.
The good news is that Kaitlyn is pretty much, if not completely, finished with her summer school work. And that means just a little less drama.
At the summer camp that Kaitlyn has been going to all summer, each Thursday was basically a “free choice” kind of day. The campers were given two choices of afternoon activities, with one being a more physical activity, the other less intense. Sometimes it would be ziplining or bowling, other times arts and crafts or a sports academy visit.
For the most part, Kaitlyn has done good about varying up her choices in order to get a chance to do more activities. Of course, if the choice was doing something other than going to one of our local sports academies, she would choose to not go to the sports academy. And she had a good reason for the decision, or it at least seemed that way.
Last year, she got sick the evening after going to the sports academy. Amber and I knew then and know now that it was her usual sickness that happens when she overdoes things and gets exhausted (it tends to be the only way she slows down). Kaitlyn was and remains convinced it had something to do with the visit to the sports academy that day. Ok, sure.
This morning as we were heading to camp, she shared with me why she was going to choose to do arts and crafts, and she cited her illness last year as the main reason. That got me to thinking, and led me to ask her to really think about her reasoning. I used the fact that she had gotten sick at LEGOLAND the time we visited as my argument as to why she shouldn’t be quick to eliminate a place off of one (perceived) bad thing happening. I reminded her that she got sick to the point where I had to carry her for quite some time (I also needed a new shirt), but she still rides rollercoasters and water rides at theme parks. Of course, she had an answer for that.
She claims that her experience at LEGOLAND helped make her into the daredevil that she is today, and made her want to ride rollercoasters even more; I used that same logic, or at least tried to, about visiting the sports academy again. She wasn’t buying it. I guess she likes to pick and choose which bad experiences are growing times or learning experiences, and which are the ones that make it to where she won’t try something a second time.