Last summer, I remember stressing over who would be in Herbie's kindergarten class and who he would have for a teacher. Of course, I had only heard good things about all of the teachers, but still it is my nature to worry. After all was said and done, kindergarten was a huge success. He made great strides in so many areas and there were over a dozen staff members who knew him personally and so clearly cared for him. It was awesome. So at his spring IEP meeting, when the topic of placement came up, I was uncharacteristically relaxed. After the autism diagnosis way back when, I imagined myself becoming a parent with a plan all figured out. ("He needs to have this teacher, and be sure that these particular kids are in his class, etc.") I felt a lot of trust in the staff to place him in the best spot. A few days ago, we were notified of who his teacher would be for first grade, someone we have heard good things about. The group of kids in his class will be very different from his class last year, but the kids who will be familiar faces are all wonderful, in particular one sweet little boy that he loves to play with.

Today we popped in on his teacher, as she was setting up her classroom. We didn't have much time to talk, as we were coming from another meeting with the preschool teacher, but I was impressed with her in our brief conversation. We'll get a chance to talk more at the open house in a few days, but so far I am feeling great. We also ran into his former kindergarten teacher who was saying how we lucked out last year having such a small kindergarten class (15). She has 23 this year. It just reinforced my feeling that God is watching out for my little angels, making sure they are where they need to be and with the right people. I am holding on to that and feeling secure in my hope that first grade will be a great year.

The Owl's preschool class this year is in the primary school, and we met with the teacher and assistant today also, to go over his snacks and emergency action plan. It was a refresher after the long meeting we'd had in the spring, and mostly to drop off food and medicine. I thought it would be a quick meeting, 10 minutes or so, but we were there for over 30 minutes. (My kids, amazingly, played mostly quietly with the toys in the room and CLEANED UP AFTER THEMSELVES!!) The teachers had several questions for me and we had a wonderful conversation. What a gift that they are willing to spend the extra time on one student to keep him safe.

The month of August has been exciting, although exhausting. Whether it is the addition of the SSRI the Owl has started taking this summer, or the effects of the chiropractic care we have added to his list of treatments, or all the fresh air and playground time, he has been making progress. He talks more, he is more active (in spite of the fact that we quit PT for the summer while we are on the waiting list for a new clinic), he pedaled his bike halfway down the block (he previously could barely make it to the end of the driveway), and today he took a sip of chocolate coconut milk for the first time and ate another new food (an ice cream cone--no ice cream, but hey, it's something new!). Even better, our babysitter took the kids to the playground a few days ago while I got my haircut (yay!) and when I came home, she excitedly reported to me that at the playground when another kid came up and asked the Owl to play, he played with him!!

I wonder all the time what it means to let go of my cares, to allow God to shoulder the burdens. I still need to research therapies and practitioners, right? I need to figure out plans and social stories and new recipes and go to doctor's appointments. But this summer, I have prioritized playing with my kids, I have not spent as much time researching everything and analyzing every little detail. I've taken advice on supplements and medications from trusted practitioners without spending weeks on the internet evaluating every single option, and gone with referrals to new places without reading a million bios and googling all of my options. And I have more relaxed kids to show for it. It's not often that I can detail such results from my work, I usually work so hard and have nothing to show for it but a filthy house. But when I stepped back and worked less, I didn't mess up God's work, and He is much better at all this than I am!

So here's praying that my trust continues into the school year and I stay out of God's way while He does cool stuff. And that I am able to appreciate any progress as a gift. The Moravian Daily Texts that are emailed to me every day were particularly fitting for me today. As I am feeling so thankful, they remind me who these good gifts are from.

O give thanks to the Lord of lords, who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:3,4
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights. James 1:17

I frequently take my kids to a little local grocery store by the clinic they go to for speech & OT. It has a nice produce section and a handful of specialty foods that we can't find anywhere else. So if we've had a good day at therapy (actually, therapy is always good, it's the getting in and out of the car without running away from me part that is a challenge), and if they will both hold my hands the whole way to the store, then the reward is a walk across the street to pick out something to eat. Today, Herbie picked out 6 containers of his favorite hummus (and he will eat that all in about 4 days). The Owl picked up a couple of bags of fries. I got a few other things and we headed to the checkout. There was a big display of s'mores supplies right at the front. As I got into line, both of my boys saw it and simultaneously exploded into cheers of "Yeah! Yeah! Marshmallows! Yeah! Can we get some? Yeah! Yeah!" as they jumped up and down holding a bag of $0.99 marshmallows. Of course I got them, smiling at their enthusiasm. But the best part was the response of the man in line behind us. He was grinning from ear to ear and looked right at me chuckling and said, "that just made my day!"

My kids have these hilarious reactions to simple little things. They get a lot of joy out of the ordinary. Discovering a sprinkler head that they had never noticed at the playground, driving past a tornado siren we'd never seen before, finding a vending machine with Fritos, these are moments more joyful than you can imagine. How fun that someone else enjoyed their reaction today, too, and reminded me of how sweet it is that they find pleasure in unexpected places.
While my kids didn't quite understand what the Olympics were really about, we did have fun watching some of the events with them. Since most of it was on after they were in bed, we just recorded some events and watched bits of it here and there. That worked out fine since they would have never sat through all the stories and commentaries that proceed every big event. Herbie, in particular, was quite impressed with the trampoline event. If he were ever to be in the Olympics, that would definitely be his event! Highlights of swimming, diving, track & field events, and gymnastics were all hits. After it was over, Herbie said he wished that there was an event where people built domino courses and whoever had the one that took the longest to run would win. I thought that was an excellent idea! I've always loved watching dominoes fall, although I've never been good at setting them up. (Perhaps due to the fact that I drink too much coffee.) As Herbie was setting up his dominoes across the entire length of the kitchen, I reflected on the fact that just 6 months ago, when he started to be really interested in them, he couldn't set up more than a dozen without knocking them over. And due to my coffee addiction, I couldn't either... With some perseverance and a little time, he's a master of building domino courses. Hooray for his fine motor skills! And maybe someday we'll see him in the Olympics.