When 2015 started, Kaitlyn was having difficulty mastering riding her bike. In a few short days, however, she was riding like a pro, and has gotten better since.
January saw us heading to Disney for a long weekend, and we spent three days taking our time in the Magic Kingdom. Kaitlyn fell in love with riding Space Mountain and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train. She is quite the thrill-seeker for sure, and can’t wait to ride the Aerosmith coaster at Hollywood Studios and Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom this year.
Kaitlyn and I danced the night away at the annual Father-Daughter dance at the school. I look forward to it every year, and Kaitlyn does, too.
In March, Kaitlyn split time hanging out with Amber’s mom and also with Amber’s dad. To say she came back spoiled would be an understatement!
As the school year wound down in May, Kaitlyn shared what third grade meant to her, and the memories she made. It was a year of growth for her for sure.
Amber and I learned that we can embarrass Kaitlyn quite easily early in June, and we were caught off guard for sure.
We celebrated Kaitlyn’s 9th birthday over the summer with close friends and family, and a tasty homemade cake. It’s hard to believe that 2016 will bring double digits in age for her. Where has the time gone?
The summer flew by it seemed, and we capped it off by spending a week in Panama City Beach with close friends of ours, and Kaitlyn spent one day at Dolphin Day Camp at Gulf World, where her and her friend Wyatt had a chance to interact with some of the dolphins there. Pretty cool.
School started back in August, and Kaitlyn took a few steps outside of her comfort zone and took on extra responsibility at school by becoming part of the Pony Express team. She did a great job and took it very seriously.
October was a busy month for Kaitlyn. She transitioned from the Pony Express to being a Safety Patrol at school, and she seemed to really enjoy that job (part of me wonders if the enjoyment came from being in charge!).
We finally got Kaitlyn’s FSA results, and we weren’t really surprised that she tested in the top tier of students in the state. We were happy, of course, that she performed so well since standardized tests present the occasional issue for her.
Kaitlyn was also selected to participate in Mini Mu in October, and had her first competition in early December. She was nervous and excited, and for Amber and I, it was nice to see her really and truly be in her comfort zone, surrounded by kids who are at least somewhat like her.
Throughout the fall, we continued to support the Seminoles, and enjoyed going to games at Doak Campbell Stadium. Kaitlyn also expressed interest in going to FSU basketball games, which we will do in 2016.
Kaitlyn capped off the year with another wonderful Christmas, and Amber and I were happy that she believed for another year.
Between Christmas and today, Kaitlyn took a trip to Atlanta and Stone Mountain. While she was disappointed she didn’t get to hit Uncle Jason with a snowball (rock included!), she still had a great time being with my parents and her cousin and uncle.
2016 should be another fun and exciting year. Amber and I look forward to watching Kaitlyn grow, and look forward to being with her every step of the way. Of course, I look forward to sharing our experiences, and will continue to do so as long as people keep reading. Having a child with Asperger’s is an experience that Amber and I could never have expected when we got married and then had Kaitlyn, but we have learned so much from her and think that we have done a good job in helping her navigate situations that don’t always come easy for her. It has not always been easy, but we have leaned on each other and come to rely on some really great people in our lives who fully understand and appreciate the challenges we are sometimes faced with.
Since late October, Kaitlyn has been getting ready for her first Mini Mu competition. At least once per week, she would spend about an hour after school working on practice tests and honing her math skills. All of that practice will finally pay off this weekend. Kaitlyn has her first math competition this weekend.
We had our last parent meeting this afternoon, where we went over the itinerary for this Saturday. Basically, there are two distinct competition themes, then several “lightning” rounds, where 5 students from each school will compete in specific areas: Prime Off-students have 5 minutes to write down as many prime numbers as they know in order, from smallest to largest; 24-students have to make 24 out of a set of numbers, using only the basic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division); Speed Math-students, and any parent or sponsor, are given 15 minutes to work 25 problems; Mental Math-students and and parent or sponsor are given 8 minutes to work 40 problems, and are not allowed to make any marks on the paper.
Kaitlyn said she is nervous about the competition. She is holding herself to a very high standard, and is worried that she will let us down. There is no way she will let us down, as long as she does her absolute best. Of the extra events, Prime Off, 24, Speed Math, and Mental Math, Kaitlyn has her heart set on participating in the Prime Off.
No matter how well she does this weekend, Amber and I are going to be proud of her. She is stepping outside of her comfort zone, while applying herself in an area she clearly excels.
As expected, her report card was filled with an A in every subject, and she made the honor roll again. It’s probably a good thing we don’t pay her for grades, because I imagine that we would have gone into the poorhouse a long time ago.
My favorite section, as always, is the comments section. This is from her teacher:
“Kaitlyn has been a delight. We enjoy her playful personality and spirit. Kaitlyn is making great progress academically and will continue to do so due to the effort she puts forth in class. She is always up for a challenge and we love her competitive side. She is on her way to a wonderful year in 4th grade. Great job!”
The only thing that I think is wrong in that entire series of comments is that her teacher loves Kaitlyn’s competitive side. Clearly, she has never seen Kaitlyn lose; it is not pretty at all.
We also finally got Kaitlyn’s Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) test results today. Anybody who knows me knows that I am not a huge fan of standardized tests for a lot of reasons, one of which is that they make teachers teach to the test. Also, Kaitlyn tends to struggle on them because she puts a ton of pressure on herself and tends to stress out about them.
Kaitlyn’s scored in the 96th percentile in math. She earned 24 of 26 points in “Operations, Algebraic Thinking, and Numbers in Base Ten,” 8 of 8 points in “Numbers and Operations-Fractions,” and 19 of 19 points in “Measurement, Data, and Geometry.”
In English Language Arts, Kaitlyn scored in the 97th percentile. She earned 10 of 10 points in “Key Ideas and Details,” 15 of 16 in “Craft and Structure,” 10 of 13 in “Integration of Knowledge and Ideas,” and 11 of 13 in “Language and Editing.”
Amber and I are very proud of her results, of course.
It has been a great start to the second nine weeks for Kaitlyn. She was selected to be a safety patrol, and she is going to take that role very seriously. Even better, at least in my opinion, is that she was invited to participate on the school’s Mini Mu team.
The Mini Mu team is comprised of students who have been identified as excelling in math. Kaitlyn certainly fits the bill there. They will practice a few times per week, right after school, and will have at least two competitions.
Kaitlyn is really excited to have been invited to be on the Mini Mu team, and I think it speaks to her love of learning and how much she really enjoys math.
Practice starts this week, and the first competition is in December. Amber and I excited for the challenge this will present to Kaitlyn, and look forward to seeing her grow; being part of a team such as this will also help her open up even more and gain a ton of self-confidence. We look forward to (quietly, probably) cheering her and the team on at their competitions.