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02 July 2008 @ 09:33 am
This is Keith's first time going to a county fair. We went to the one held in Pleasanton every year, Alameda County Fair. As expected, he was thrilled for the rides and can't get enough of them.

Last week, after summer camp on Friday, we met with the Allens at Almaden Lake Park and had so much fun playing by the lake and on the playground. We'll met them again tomorrow.

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23 June 2008 @ 06:59 pm

It was the first day of Summer Camp today. Keith was holding Ms. Laurie (thank God one of the teachers was an Aide in his previous class in Gingerbread PreK) crying when I entered the classroom to pick him up.

KEITH: My flower was ruined, ruined, RUINED. It's all ruined now. I snatched the flower and the flower was broken, I want my flower. It's ruined.. (he kept repeating the same tone and phrases, sometimes adding false story into his episode of melt down) My friend broke it ...
ME: ... no, no, nobody broke it. It's okay, calm down, it happens sometimes (trying to calm him down when I was holding him walking out of the classroom) ...

We were walking out of the classroom and on the school's playground, towards the car. We stopped once in a while so I could make eye contact with him to calm him down.

KEITH: I made a flower for you mommy but it's broken now, there is no petals.. that's not a flower... I made a flower for you mommy but you're sad now I don't have a flower for you.
ME: Oh thank you Keith, I'm not sad, I'm happy you were making a flower for me. It's okay ... next time you can give me another flower. It was an accident. It  was nobody's fault.

22 June 2008 @ 03:18 am
We're getting more game boards as many as we can in order to give fun therapy to Keith. These kind of games may fun for other kids but for Keith they're more just fun. We hope they will be helpful for Keith in getting better control of his temper and good tools to improve Keith's flexibility in handling different expectations.

Since about two months, in the same week, Keith shown difficult behaviors at school. His teacher said that he talked back to her. After she told me about it she ended the conversation by saying "I just don't want his *future kinder* teacher thinks that he is intentionally disobedient" which I think she indirectly expressed her personal opinion in that sentence. He also refused to sit down for a time out at Tae Kwon Do class and watering our mattress just because he was doing dramatic play of planting some seeds. Wan had a feeling that he might be having some type of disobedient disorder.

I googled for that type of disorder and I found a lot of resources about difficult behavior including disobedient disorder that is known as defiant child but the one that fits Keith best is actually explosive child disorder. Some sites explained that these disorders were caused by delay in maturity/growth and can transform into habits/characteristic if not handled right away in a scientific manner. I suddenly recalled all the frustration that Keith had during his first year of life. He always got frustrated if things not going his way or as he expected it to be. Just because his shoes and socks came off in the car and nobody was in the back seat to help, he would cry for the rest of the trip. He would just believe that he could get people's attention by crying. His allergy just reinforced his crying habit. His allergy to dust mites triggered asthma. When he was having asthma episodes, crying will make him cough and throw up easily, so getting attention was very easy at that time and this will reinforced the crying habit one more time. He also could never play puzzle without getting frustrated. He couldn't even put two pieces together without pulling a tantrum. The worst thing was that he knew that by crying he most of the time will get attention from people. He also didn't get to the "Why?" phase because all he did was just crying and he was sure he can negotiate with crying.

When he was 2 or 3 years old, those symptoms were common and age appropriate but he's now 4 yrs old and should be able to communicate his feelings and handle his temper better. From gathering those facts, we felt that Keith had reoccurring terrible phase of explosive child symptoms. Children with these symptoms tend to show some of these actions: extremely inflexible, easily frustrated, has no patience, will not calm down easily when exploded, can not learn from experience easily.

Fortunately there was online and library resources I can quickly get a hold of during that week of crisis. I instantly implement what I learned from all the sources I read, we enforced rules and consequences and formal reward & punishment. Since that day all of his toys (including all of the planes he loved), hours of watching TV and playing online computer games were no longer his privilege. He usually played the DS on weekends but it also had to be extracted from his routine. On the bright side, he'll get all of the positive attention from me. I hope he'll follow my example and can better communicate as well as expressing his own feelings (instead of crying - he doesn't show aggressiveness but he can cry and whine for days if he wants to lol). I never thought that days without TV was possible in Wan's house, well at least he got his game and tv after Keith went to bed.

Keith can get his toys one by one by playing puzzles or do instructions correctly. After he got used to the system then he can choose whether he wanted one of his toy, an hour of TV or an hour of computer games. After a week Keith even asked to play puzzle, not the toys anymore, because he knew the process. Seemed like he realized that his crying didn't have a magic touch after all (sometimes he couldn't help it, but sometimes we could tell that he was trying).

Since then I started to use English more when communicating to Keith, especially when in comes to the subject of school, Tae Kwon Do class, swimming class and socializing with other English speaking moms and friends. When he looked like he wanted to get frustrated, I guided him to express his feeling and he repeated after me. Other than that he's still trying (when reminded) to respond in bahasa Ind to me. Keith even called us Ayah dan Ibu after watching Doraemon on Youtube.com. Keith LOVES Doraemon. He even got embarrassed when I told him that he cried a lot like Nobita. I let him watching Ind dubbed shows and Ni Hao Kailan during his therapy weeks, since those program didn't make him over stimulated. My fav of his bhs Ind is this:"Mami jangan kenceng-kenceng nanti disetopin polisi" LOL a few days before I was actually pulled over by a police officer and got a warning.

He now can express his feelings better. He can ask why questions voluntarily and do verbal whine more lol. I can't believe I actually hoped my son to verbally abuse me with his whine more than ever just to get rid his crying habit. He also can be very flexible during his time playing game and meal time. He also has got two awards (self-discipline award and another one) at Tae Kwon Do class since the regression incident.

Tante Ira helped us to find information about finding a therapy for fall semester. She told us about Special Education Dept of Pleasanton School District. We've registered for a test and hopefully they'll contact us before school starts. If they thought Keith's qualified for a service, a psychologist with be assigned for Keith and will work with Keith during the school year at the kindergarten that Keith will attend (long story short we're still waiting for district's decision on our open enrollment application because Donlon elementary is overflown. Previously before we moved, Keith was already accepted at Fairlands Elementary. Fingers crossed, we're still hoping that Keith will get admitted at Mohr).

Anyways, here are some pics of some of the puzzles Keith played and some of the new board games we've just received (only one has been opened and played so far).

22 June 2008 @ 02:04 am
We took advantage of the time between the last day of school and summer camp to get together with family and friends. We wanted Keith had fun before he gets busy in the Summer. He'll take Gingerbread summer camp and swimming lessons (everyday for 4 weeks, each) both are organized by recreational dept of the City of Pleasanton.

Since we've moved to a new apartment in mid of May, we decided to have a "housewarming" just an excuse to have more festive get together. We got a pretty Japanese tea set from mbak Ita & Tim and Keith had a blast spending time with his cousins and Nando. Ari & Rudy let Nando also shared his birthday (by Jakarta time it was his bday already) with us. All of the kids went to bed WAAAYY over their bedtime that night! lol what a day!! :)

Before summer camp starts, Keith also got a chance to go to Six Flags twice, the first time was on Father's Day, the second time we went with our cousins. Every time Keith had to say goodbye with his cousins, he'll miss them for days. The last one was even harder for him, he said it right away after their car drive away. Poor Keith ... lol

The summer camp will start on Monday, he'll get busy for two weeks and hopefully after that he'll get to see his cousins again on the 4th holiday.

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10 June 2008 @ 10:01 pm
Keith will not enroll to summer session at American Swim Academy, instead I've registered him for everyday 30-minutes for a month learning to swim class with city of Pleasanton. The progress of his swimming skill hasn't changed from the last entry, he's still has to be able to control his kicks so he can avoid doing bicycle kicks. So hope he'll get more opportunity to practice this summer.

Here are some pictures from the last classes ant American Swim Academy:
29 May 2008 @ 10:40 pm
On the last day of school, Keith handed over presents for Ms. Maureen and her two aides, Ms. Laurie and Ms. Vickie-Dawn. Keith wrote "Thank you!" inside the card and their names on the cover of the envelopes. Everybody gets a personalized card, pen and magnet but Ms. Maureen got a tumbler as a thank you present.

They didn't have a graduation ceremony since Gingerbread Preschool was a non academic preschool. Instead they hold their own end of school year event each year called mini Indy, a fun bicycle race for all of the students.

27 April 2008 @ 10:44 pm
Since Keith has always been a fan of a train ride, we spent the day on Sunday to ride on the historic Niles Canyon Railway. We took the last train at 3:00 PM from Sunol to Niles and back. There were two locomotives pulling and pulling the cars full of kids, parents and railway enthusiasts. Other than passenger cars they also have open top cars and cars with shades. We boarded the last one on our way to Niles and tried one of the passenger cars on our way back to Sunol. We loved the ride, the canyon was so beautiful.

13 April 2008 @ 11:26 am
Keith is due for a belt promotion. We attended the MAA regional belt ceremony yesterday to witness his promotion and get his new belt: white belt with yellow stripe as well as the certificate that come with the belt. The event lasted 2 hours and Keith (and other Tiger level/Black Belt Club Tiger students, asides from their very young age) surprisingly could follow the agenda (including the black belt testing) until the closing of the event which was the Belt Ceremony.

In general, Keith was having a good time and did a good job in demonstrating all the skills that he was asked to follow. With all the attractions and higher level students wearing gears , and not to forget that he easily obsessed with things that is not going his way, he sometimes got distracted. Interestingly, he's not obsessed with sense of direction, actually he's so loose with the concept, so we often times found him facing to different direction with the rest of the students, yesterday was no different... ;)

09 April 2008 @ 07:30 pm
I couldn't help but notice that Gingerbread school has been displaying 3 big fish tank crafts on the hall way.  Keith setiap kali dianter masuk kelas maunya lari terus mampir itu "fish tanks". Pulangnya juga begitu. Keith is crazy about sea creatures. Fish tanknya terbuat dari karton yg diisi  dengan small toy fish yg digantung2 and dasar tanknya dikasih pasir, kerang, rumput laut dsb.

Fortunately we had the supplies to create our own fish tank at home, so we started creating one as soon as we got home.

We will send Keith to kindergarten this year so we try more to maintain some exposures to academic subjects (by using workbooks) that Keith already has got from his previous preschool daycare in Chicago (his current preschool is a non academic preschool). It's a perfect timing for me since it means less prep time ;)

Some of the TV shows that he currently likes to watch over and over are: The Magic School Bus, The adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Ni Hao Kai-Lan and Max & Ruby.

He doesn't usually asked to buy toys, but he always wants to buy $1 tinny tiny airplane every time we go to Le Asia and recently when we went to Target, he asked for Air Hogs Radio-Congrolled Nano Hawk airplane to replace his controller chopper (the same brand).

Last week Keith got 3 shoots of immunization (his new peds disagreed with the suggested 6 shoots requested by one of the school district staffs). He doesn't usually cry but the TB/Mantoux test was extra painful for him, he said that shot was itchy so he cried. Poor thing...