The blog is renamed “the therapist’s couch”

The blog isn’t really renamed the therapist’s couch.  Maybe it should be though.  These personal web spaces are not so much about library/school-related issues and successes as they are about my feeling insecure or unsettled about this or that.  I guess it’s all connected at the end of the day.

The spring semester started January 8th, and I kind-of-sort-of invited myself to sit in on the Physics 2: Electronics class.  In all fairness, I was talking to the physics teacher back in the fall about soldering or something, and he said I should sit in on the class–that it’s a work-at-your-own pace/independent project class.  I said, “OK!”

And here I am.  Spending my very small amount of free time trying to learn physics.  I’m still trying to solve complex circuits from last week.

It shouldn't be this hard.

It shouldn’t be this hard.

This would probably all make a little more sense if I had taken physics at some point–any point–in my life.

I’m frustrated, and I’m very much reminded of my math/science experiences in high school/college.

I’d like to give up, and I would if this idea of making–more specifically making IN THE LIBRARY, A COMMUNAL SPACE–wasn’t so unbelievably spot on.  I don’t want to be an armchair maker.  I don’t want to be just a cheerleader for making.  I don’t want to research the whole DIY/Maker movement and just write about how it needs to happen in schools.  I want to know how to do.  And yeah, making is more than just soldering and programming and cool tech projects.  It’s filmmaking and writing and photography and all of that stuff too.  The differences are: (1) I can at least fumble my way through the latter and (2) I know the campus experts who can help out with a film project or a photography question.

I at least know something about filmmaking, and literature, and photography to be a legitimate part of those communities.

A pile of resistors, capacitors, and wires…. well, that’s slightly paralyzing.

bits and bobs

CC licensed Flickr photo shared by Nick Ames

Why has learning the tech end of Making become a personal crusade?

Because if these videos doesn’t move you, you have lost your soul:

But just plugging things in based on a set of instructions isn’t enough.  I want to know how it works.

What does this have to do with the library?

There’s a sixth grade girl who visits the library several times a week to say hi, to find a book, to, on occasion, show off the latest invention she made with a lamp from Family Dollar, electrical tape, and other odds and ends.  Last week she came in and said she was suffering from “inventor’s block.”  She didn’t know what to make.  She had reached the limits of what she knew about electronics.

I had nothing to offer except, “I know how you feel” and my Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab.

Librarians know things, and we’re pretty good about shepherding people to the right books, databases, web sites, or human beings.  I’m going to talk with the student’s advisor about finding her an electronics mentor.  Maybe even one of the students in Physics 2 would be willing to help.

Exploration of interests need to happen in the open.  I can’t think of a more open space than the library.  If you put a 3D printer in the science department it becomes a science thing.  If you put a large format printer in the art department it becomes an art thing.  If you put these tools in a community space, they belong to the community.  The community see what’s being made.  They become inspired.  They start to make too.

<hippiespeak> And that’s effing beautiful. </hippiespeak>



Opening up

Here’s a story about my kid and me.  Maybe you’re interested, maybe you’re not.  I also posted it first at my other WordPress blog.  One day I’ll stop posting things to both sites, but until I work out my virtual identity crisis….  Bear with me….

I’m about two steps from coming completely out of my skin.  The boy starts preschool tomorrow.  More specifically he starts a developmentally delayed program tomorrow.  I haven’t been this anxious about the boy and parenting since he came home from the hospital.  What’s circling like buzzards in my head space right now:

  • What if he hates it, and everyday is a fight to get out the door and to school?
  • What if he doesn’t eat lunch?
  • What if he doesn’t take a nap during nap time (the day is long–from 9 to 3)?
  • What if the teacher or assistant is mean?
  • What if he learns to say f*** or s*** from the other kids?
  • What if he climbs up the ladder on the playground and falls off, breaking a limb or splitting something open?!
thanks John Watson (Flickr)

JESUS CHRIST!  How do we let our kids OUT of the house EVER?

Ok.  Breathe.  Breathe.

Ok.  I’m ok.

I’m trying my best to accept the fact that this little boy is growing up, but it’s not easy.  How did we get to the first day of school ALREADY?

And what on earth is this developmentally delayed stuff all about?

The boy wasn’t really talking much, so the husband and I had him evaluated by Early Intervention/Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia.  He qualified for speech therapy, and that started up in January.  A speech therapist came every other week.  We also received visits from an “educator.”  It was pitched something like this, “We’ll have a speech therapist come in, and we’ll also have an educator come once a week.  She’ll do some speech and play activities.  It’ll be like preschool.”

The boy has made some big strides this summer.  But he’s still not putting words together.  No “Blue cup.”  No “Me tired.”  None of that stuff.  It’s still really just the ends of words.  Cat is “at.”  Flag is “ag.”  So on an so forth.  Because he’s pushing three (that’s when toddlers age out of the early intervention program and into the local school system here in VA), it was time for another evaluation.

This evaluation took place this summer.  This evaluation did not go well.  The boy cooperated for about 15 minutes, and then flipped his… you know.  It has been told that the boy crawled under a table and yelled clear as day, “GO AWAY!” to the evaluators.  The results of this evaluation:  “Significant developmental and cognitive delays.  He qualifies for preschool under autism.”

Wait.  What?

What does that mean?  How do you get all of that from an evaluation that went south after 15 minutes?  The boy is supposed to go to best private schools and become a master of the universe.  “Significant developmental and cognitive delays” will not look good on the résumé.

That was about six weeks ago, and here we are.  The Lightning McQueen backpack is packed.  The boy has his glue sticks and jumbo crayons.  I haven’t met his teacher.  I haven’t observed any of the classes at the school (they operate during a regular school year, so there were no classes this summer).  I’m sending my kid off into the unknown, and I’m not comfortable with that seeing as how most of the world is run by incompetents.

Are you asking, “Why are you sending your kid off to this place?”  Good lord, are you still reading?

There are a couple of things that put my mom gut (the instinctual one, not the paunchy belly) at ease.  In November 2008, I waited in a very long line in this school to vote in the presidential election.  I looked at all of the art work in the hallways,  I peeked in the empty classroom windows, and I thought, “Yes. I would consider this as an option for my son.”  This summer, after the evaluation that went bad, my husband and I went into the school for the boy’s IEP meeting.  As we were leaving, a little boy around my son’s age walked down the hallway to his individual speech therapy session with a plastic dinosaur under each arm.  He didn’t walk with apprehension.  He walked with his therapist like he was walking with a friend.

I have a feeling that my boy is going to be just fine at school.  I’m the one who will have the hardest time adjusting.