Posts Tagged ‘frustration’

ESL Fun and Games…..sorta

November 14, 2011

The sweet Colombian princess and I have been diligently learning the phonograms to sound out the English language for two months.  She almost mastered the frist 26 (single letters) but as she wrote them…. I came to the realization that she is already programmed for printing the letters incorrectly, holding the pencil totally rigid and straight up, as well as copying over the letters two and THREE times each before lifting her pencil.  Drove me nuts. 

Children Handwriting

After many prayers and whining sent heavenward, I remembered that one of my sons had difficulty printing so I started him with cursive first.  It worked brilliantly.  Thanking God for the wisdom from on high, I decided to switch Nora over because she had no bad habits to overcome in cursive… well, almost.  The rigid pencil grasp made all her letters tilt backwards and look like a lefty wrote them.  After saying 4,678 times, “Tilt your pencil back,” I resorted to taping her pencil down to her hand.  One of my insightful friends recommended this… and it worked.  She fought it all that day (technically for about 15 minutes), but from then on she was determined never to be taped again and carefully tilts the pencil back before writing now.

Another lightbulb went on one day when I realized all the phonogram cards are in printing, not cursive.  So I made a set of cursive phonograms and we STARTED ALL OVER AGAIN… with hardly any recognition.  Oh my.  That was two or three weeks ago and she is getting it…. slowly.  A cursive n does look like an m.  And a cursive k does resemble an r.  I get the confusion!

We have finished the spell-to-write-and-read list A from Spaulding.  Twenty little words.  And I mean little… do, go, is, am, my, run, etc.  We talked through them all.  She sounded them out.  We clapped the syllables.  She printed them quickly in left-angled letters and then carefully in right-leaning cursive in her Spelling Book.  She is doing so well.

Alas, today she had her first spelling test of the twenty little words.  The results were not pretty.  Only three were correct.  It was disheartening for me.  I realized today that she is still translating from Spanish to English with the letters and sounds.  I shouldn’t be surprised by this, as she has only been speaking English for seven months.  This is English as a Second Language afterall!  But still, I assumed she was understanding more than she is.  I texted the principal of our homeschool and told him how frustrated I was.  Being ever the compassionate parent, he asked how she took the news.  I replied, “I didn’t tell her.”  Then he added that at least I couldn’t blame him that it came from his side of the family!  hahaha!  After I secretly marked the test, Nora and I played some card and sound matching games and then put it all away for another day. 

That is precisely what we have…. another day.  One baby step at a time.

Good Times with USCIS

June 3, 2009

Up until 6:00 p.m., today was quite frustrating.  Our VERY important paper from the USCIS that extends the approval our international adoption, the I171-H, has not arrived.  I did my part, but I really should have been on this MONTHS ago. I didn’t realize it was tardy as life got busy as per usual.  Our original I171-H expired in Feb., but in Jan. I sent in the request for the extension.  I did get an I171-H back, but it simply stated that our fingerprints were OK’d for another year and didn’t mention our approval date.  (I still can’t figure out how fingerprints expire???) Our case worker from Texas has been on this for more than a month but getting through to the Phoenix Field Office is like cracking the BIG case.  They do not answer the regular phone… you just leave a message.  They do not return phone calls in any mannerly fashion at all.  It is highly frustrating.

So I took the bull by the horns and drove downtown to the CIS office.  The bull was hiding behind a skinny, little door guard that wouldn’t even LET ME IN!  I explained that I needed to talk to someone inside about our adoption case.  He calmly explained (somewhat mockingly) that I had to make an appointment to get through the untouchable door.  I almost calmly explained that the CIS people do not answer their phone, so HOW COULD I GET AN APPOINTMENT?????   He handed me a brochure IN SPANISH that gave the website where I could set up an appointment to drive all the way back downtown and pay $5 to park AGAIN to talk to a human being behind the forbidden door.  I explained to the little man that the CIS office has deplorable customer service.  He calmly explained that I could let them know how I feel by following the directions on the pamphlet that he gave me.  I said, “IT’S IN SPANISH!”  I could have easily picked him up and swung him around over my head, but I didn’t want to make a scene… and it was 109 degrees today and that would’ve made me all sweaty.  So I left with some dignity intact.

When I arrived home, I whipped out my Spanish paper and went to make an appointment so I could go see the little man for a second time.  Well, seems you have to have a case number to make an appointment.  Adoption approvals don’t have case numbers.  I couldn’t even make an appointment.  I called the 1-800 number and talked to three people who could barely speak English all working for USCIS, who informed me that adoptions are only handled at the field offices.  I asked if anyone knew how I could talk to someone in the Phoenix office and all I got was an email address.  Someone would get back to me in 48 hours.  I emailed our dilemma and went to the kitchen to make dinner.

Rick arrived in the kitchen at that point and I explained how LAME our government offices are… in detail while the steam fumed from my ears.  I couldn’t even leave a complaint on the website without a case number.  Fried chicken and sliced potatoes kept my attention diverted for a while.  Then at 6:00 p.m. the phone rang.  Rick answered and started waving his arm at me while saying, “I think you need to talk to my wife.”  Unbelievably, it was an extremely intelligent, English speaking, kind-hearted woman from the Phoenix CIS Field Office.  She apologized profusely about the delay in our I171-H form.  She explained that she was moved to another office, but saw my email and checked on it herself.  She said it must have been put in…. (she hesitated and stammered)…  “Not the circular file?” I asked.  She laughed and thankfully said no.  Apparently I dotted every i and crossed every t to perfection but the form was not sent in reply.  She will mail out my form in the morning.  THEN she gave me her name and direct number in case I needed any help from CIS again.  I’m sure she was an angel.  I think she may be getting her wings for this act of kindness.  Thank you, kind angel.

?#13 from My Sister’s Jar – Resisting Change

May 5, 2008

Tell about a time you resisted change and how it impacted your life.

The year was 1999 and we were looking for a church for our family.  We wanted a family oriented church, not too huge, where we could feel like we belonged.  Friends of ours invited us to a new church that was opening up, so we packed up the family and went.  My husband Rick loved it immediately.  He loved the preaching.  He loved the worship.  He loved all the new people to talk to.

I guess I didn’t resist the change to go to a new church… I just didn’t think THIS was the church and I sat unhappily in the pew for 18 months not feeling like I belonged.  Rick kept saying that I needed to go to set a good example for our three kids.  So I went.  I heard the sermons.  I was awed by the musicians.  I saw lots of new faces.  But I didn’t get involved at all. 

I’m not sure what jumped started my commitment to be a part of the new church family, but after 18 months I finally stepped out of my comfort zone to meet people and make friends.  One guy that Rick befriended told me years later that he thought I was a stiff, not friendly and no fun.  He couldn’t figure out how Rick got stuck with me.  :o)   Eventually he met the REAL me and we’ve laughed about it ever since.

My pew-sitting time impacted not only my life, but my husband’s life and the life of my children.  Admittedly, I was burned out from previous over-work and frustration in a previous church, but until I realized that I was the one who had to decide to smarten up, my attitude was pretty awful.  That ol’ hindsight saying came nipping at my heels yet again.  Why did it take me so long?  I don’t know.  What did I lose?  18 months of spiritual growth and untold friendships that slipped between my fingers while they were firmly folded in my lap.

We’ve now been at our church, Scottsdale First Assembly Dream Center, for over nine years and we love it.

Change is my friend.  Change is my friend.  Change is my friend.  :oP