Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Day! and Mr. Sam

Today was Family Day in Alberta so Mr. Sam and D had the Day off. The Bean always has the day off! I'm at work till midnight but we still got to have a bit of a day together.

I actually got to sleep in this morning till after 9 am, which was Frigging Fantabulous!

We (Read; I,) decided to go for lunch as our family day event so we went for sushi. Now, you may be shocked to hear it but even though Mr. Sam is only 11 he does actually like Sushi. He eats the more common kinds like Ebi (shrimp), Salmon Rolls, Cucumber, Crab and the like. I think this is awesome. For a young boy like Mr. Sam to be willing to try new things like sushi is a great. Hopefully it carries over into adulthood where being flexible and trying new things is a necessary skill.

Another thing we have been noticing is that Sam is getting a lot better with emotional issues.

For those of you who don't know Mr. Sam, he is a great kid but he has some emotional difficulties with certain things. He struggles with anxiety and behavioral issues, a complete lack of social skills, attention issues, defiant behavioral issues, and a serious lack self esteem and what I think may be childhood depression. He has a hard time accepting direction and responds by shutting down emotionally when any kind of pressure is put on him, for example, when Sam has homework. Homework is not something that Sam ever wants to do but he can turn a 5 minute homework job into a crying, hysterical, sobbing catastrophe.
He is very smart and very capable but for some reason, when he feels any kind of pressure, Sam simply loses his confidence and his ability to problem solve and just shuts off. He says "I can't." more often then he inhales and simply wont listen to logic or reason.

D - "Says here you didn't want to write a poem in class today about winter, so sit at the table and write a poem about winter please."

S - "What kind of poem can it be?"

D - "Any kind of poem. It doesn't say specifically what kind of poem so you can write a freestyle poem."

S - "What does freestyle mean?"

D - "Means any style you want."

Now to most people that makes sense, but Sam spent 2 hours at the table saying "I can't write a poem about winter if I don't know what KIND of poem I can write. I don't UNDERSTAND what freestyle means. I can't do it. I don't understand."

Now for all the trying and explaining, he still will not listen or cooperate or simply get it into his head that he can write any kind of poem he wants. We try and try and try to explain it to him. I even got him to take out the dictionary and look up the word freestyle. And honestly, we told him that dad just used the word freestyle meaning "any kind" of poem. So it wasn't about the word FREESTYLE. For some reason Sam just can't handle pressure, he hates to give in or give up, he refuses to be wrong and I swear he is a glutton for punishment. Some days I just KNOW he knows what is being asked of him and he just doesn't want to cooperate. Then again, maybe there are times when the answer just isn't there for Sam. Maybe he struggles and gets so upset when he can't figure something out, like where to put put the towels and sheets, because he knows "I should know this, I thought I knew this, why can't I get the answer? Why don't I know this?"

Currently Mr. Sam attends The Bridges Program here in Calgary. I can't seem to find a web page for the program but this is the basic idea of what the Bridges Program is about. I found this on the CBE (Calgary Board of Education) website.


The Bridges program is for elementary and junior high students identified with severe emotional/behavioral difficulties. The goal of the Bridges Program is to assist each student to achieve academic success and behavioral competence through effective programming, parental involvement, and supported transitions to regular classrooms. The emphasis of instruction is on the core academic subjects, problem-solving, emotional control and social skills development. Curriculum modifications and instructional accommodations are implemented based on the individual needs of each student. The ratio of students to staff is 8:2. Program staff include one full time teacher and one Bridges support worker. Students and their families are also receive support from a YWCA of Calgary family support worker. Consulting psychology may also be available to the program.

This is an absolutely fabulous program for Sam right now. He is getting a lot more personalized teaching and instruction and D gets daily reports of Sam's behavior which makes it much easier to keep on top of things and I think that David probably feels like he is more involved. Quite often when your child misbehaves or acts out at school, teachers and principals and the like can be very vague or confusing. With the daily behaviour reports Dave can see exactly how Samuel did throughout the day and can communicate daily with the teacher via the reports. It's also a great way to see where Sam is improving and where he is still struggling.

Which leads me to Sam's Fabulous Improvements!!!

Last Monday Mr. Sam's YWCA Liaison Justyna called to ask if it was OK to take Sam swimming. Mondays are always a half day so he gets home at noon. I had an eye doctor's appointment for Mr. Bean at 1:15 so I wasn't going to be home when Sam got home. When Justyna called she said she had mentioned on Friday the week before to Sam that she would like to take him swimming on Monday, so she was going to stop by and pick him up at 3:30 if it was alright with us. I told her it would be best to call him to confirm as we live about as far north in Calgary as you can go and it would be an awfully long drive to come all the way and find out he was in no mood to go. I took out Sam's swim trunks and a towel and wrote him a note to tell him that Justyna wanted to take him swimming and off he went! D wasn't home from picking up the Bean at the eye doctor's before Sam left with Justyna.
I'm so super proud of him for being so outgoing and confident enough to go off to the Y with Justyna!


Then on Tuesday his school had a Rollerskating event in the gym and Dave took Mr. Sam and Mr. Bean and my cameras. I'm at work now so I will post some pics and video of the Rollerskating derby when I'm online at home next. It looked like a great time and Sam even ran into a friend there and D got his mom's number so that they could maybe have a get together one day on a weekend. It's not a PLAY DATE!!! HE IS 11!!! GAWD! Maybe something cool like a movie. This is FRIGGING FANTABULOUS too because Mr. Sam doesn't have any friends in Calgary yet as he can be pretty shy and he is always a home body. I think also, as with all only children and Sam was pretty much an only child till he was about 8 or so
(Sam has another Little brother named Casey who is 3), they learn to entertain themselves and enjoy being alone, especially when playing with other children means sharing or being tolerant. LOL Now, don't get me wrong, I have two younger brothers and I am extremely impatient and intolerant!

It's a great thing that Sam has two lil brothers. He is so good with the Bean, helping him get dressed, playing with him on the floor, or putting his buhbuh back in his hands, and just doing all kinds of general big brother things. I think siblings are essential for the social growth and development of children. I know a few people who grew up as only children and they aren't the most giving or selfless people. Socially they are rather snotty and tend to have the me, me, me, take, take, take, mentality. It you are an only child I apologise now. It's just the rule for the people that I have known.

This is also one of the major reasons I think Bean needs a lil brother or sister. I think it is extremely important that he have someone to grow up with, who he can share his life, love, toys and joys with. Can someone convince D that now is as good a time as any please!? KTHXBAI!
Rant Rant Rant!

I'm So thrilled how well Mr. Sam is coming along. Not only is he becoming more outgoing and independent but he is maturing and you can just see it in his face. He's always been such a giving, loving, selfless little boy but now he is becoming a young man! OMG How long till he is shaving?

OH!! And the other day! He's using these HUGE words lately. Like Accusations, and formidable. How many 11 year olds do you know who can use the word FORMIDABLE correctly in a sentence. Well Sam did the other day. He described a kid in a movie who was fighting off an attack by a grown man, the kid was awesome, he fought the man off, stabbed him in the knee, kicked the old guy and ran away. Sam looks at D and I and says "He was sure formidable!"


LOL Love you Samzors!

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