Friday, April 29, 2011

Pre-Preschool Transition

Sweet Pea is starting to be transitioned from the infant/toddler room at her daycare to the actual preschool part of the school.  Kids normally transition to the preschool room on their 2nd birthday.  Due to Sweet Pea's gross motor delays (mainly her unstable walking) the school wanted to keep her in the infant/toddler room for a while.  I was on board with that plan originally, but now that Sweet Pea is better on her feet, I really want her in the 2 year old classroom.  They have tried her in the 2 year old classroom for pieces of the day a couple of times now and so far they have all been pretty successful.  The first time she had someone with her the entire time, but I believe the second time she was just one of the group.  The teacher is nervous because she doesn't know what Sweet Pea can do and really has only seen Sweet Pea in passing.  I don't blame her at all.  I have spoken to her about wanting her to be completely honest with me about her concerns and also issues as they arise.  The director of the preschool stopped me on my way in this morning and requested a meeting with me as well as the infant/toddler room lead teacher and the 2 year old classroom teacher.  We will have this meeting on Wednesday.

I need some help...
  1. Because Sweet Pea isn't talking yet and because the pick up time is long after the main teachers have left, I need to have some way to communicate what happened that day.  I feel like some training I attended or blog I read or heck, maybe it was some crazy dream...but I feel like I saw a document that people used to give the teacher an easy way to share the activities of the day and how their child did during them.  Any idea what I'm thinking of?
  2. I had planned on creating a little PowerPoint or something to introduce Sweet Pea when we start the transition to real preschool at age 3.  Should I maybe create a simple version of that for this new teacher and director? 
I had an idea...I want to take pictures of Sweet Pea doing her signs and match those up to the actual signs.  I want her teacher to be able to understand what Sweet Pea is signing, but also for her to do the signs accurately herself.  I thought this would be the best way to share that information.

Any suggestions that you have for how to make this transition smooth and help the school feel confident and comfortable with it would be much appreciated!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Appointments and Trainings

Yet again I've been neglectful of this blog.  Things have been a little busy around here and yet we haven't really done much.  Seems that having two kids can have that effect on us!  I'll try to catch you up...

ENT appointment on 4/12: Sweet Pea came through with flying colors!  Her tubes are still in even though the doctor thought they wouldn't last three months when he put them in back in November.

Toilet Training and Behavior Class:  I started attending two trainings at our local regional center.  The toilet training class was only two sessions and today was the last day of it.  It was fairly informative and since I haven't read any books on the topic, I found it useful.  We have started working on potty training very informally in this house.  Sweet Pea makes it quite obvious normally when she is going poop and so we have been able to put her on the potty a number of times.  She does her job very quickly and we get all excited and move on with our day.  We will see how we progress, but I'm not in any rush.  The other class is managing behavior and I've attended one class so far.  It was pretty interesting and I think I'll learn a lot.  We aren't having too many behavior issues right now, but I like to be proactive.  The class focuses on not rewarding the behaviors that you are trying to extinguish and I think Daddy will have the hardest time with that piece of the puzzle.  Sweet Pea definitely treats Daddy differently than Mommy and I'm guessing it's because he is the nice one.

Hearing Test on 4/27: Sweet Pea had a hearing test yesterday and the results were not what we were hoping for.  The otoacoustic emissions test for both ears showed that her tubes might be blocked.  They didn't know if it was because of fluid in the ears or some other reason.  Then they moved on to the test where they try to see if she responds to different sounds in the room.  Not the most accurate test, but it's what they do apparently.  Here is what the report says..."Minimal response levels fall within the mild to moderate loss (35-55 dBHL) range; however, these responses provide limited information about hearing sensitivity.  Tympanometry revealed normal ear canal volumes in both ears despite the presence of PE tubes.  DPOAEs (I think that is what it says) were present in the right ear and absent in the left ear."  They want us to follow up with the ENT and then retest once we get whatever issue is causing the tests to fail, resolved.  So, even though we were just at the ENT, it looks like we will be heading back there sometime soon.

Opthamologist on 4/15: If you thought the hearing results weren't great, well this appointment was even worse.  We were completely unprepared for what we were told and so we really don't have a lot of details to share.  Basically, he is recommending two different surgeries.
  1. Probe and irrigation of the nasolacrimal ducts (unblock her tear ducts): We have complained about Sweet Pea's lashes being wet constantly and therefore making her glasses wet and hard to see through since she first got her glasses at around six months of age.  Why is it that Sweet Pea never had anyone think that her tear ducts were blocked until we specifically asked during this appointment if her ducts could be clogged?  Shouldn't an ophthalmologist be able to notice this and mention something to the parents?  We've probably had 10 appointments between the two ophthalmologists that we have seen!  Anyway, we are very annoyed and that is probably magnified by being told that the solution was surgery which requires Sweet Pea to be put under anesthesia...again.
  2. For nystagmus compensation syndrome, strabismus surgery: We don't fully understand this one.  Sweet Pea has nystagmus (eyes dancing) and strabismus (lazy eyes).  When she is looking at something farther than 10 feet away she tilts her head back a little.  The doctor says that this tilting is her way of trying to calm the nystagmus.  I believe they want to do a strabismus surgery to fix this head tilting.  We thought we had avoided strabismus surgery because her glasses were keeping her eyes aligned.  Never did we assume that we would have to do this for any reason other than her lazy eyes!  This one also requires her to be put under anesthesia.
We are going to go see another ophthalmologist to get a second opinion as we certainly don't take eye surgery lightly.  We understand that many kids have had to do one of these surgeries, but we also have heard that many kids have to have both types of surgery done a couple of times to get things right.  We don't have enough of an understanding on what they are wanting to do and the reasons behind it.  Our doctor was very nice, but we didn't even know what to be asking at the time.  We will definitely need to setup another appointment with him before we make any decisions at all.

If you have any opinions or information to share on either the hearing/ENT front or the Ophthalmologist front, please share it!

To end on a happier is Sweet Pea's new trike.  It's a hand-me-down from her cousins and is the only trike that fits her right now.  She has another great tricycle that her Grandmother gave her, but we have to wait a while for it to fit.  I see some fun times coming this summer with this little trike!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sweet Pea's Sixth Sense

I have come to believe that Sweet Pea has special powers.  She not only has impeccable comedic timing (she knows exactly when to laugh at jokes), but she also seems to know when I'm getting to a breaking point on something and decides that it is time to show me what she has got.  Maybe she is just cruel and likes to make me suffer, but I highly doubt that my Sweet Pea could be that cruel.  She does like to see Mommy suffer a little, but it's probably only fair since I put her through so much regularly.

The reason I'm sharing this feeling of her having a special power is this...on Friday, April 8th I was having a very hard day and was worrying a lot about Sweet Pea's speech skills or, better said, lack there of.  Wouldn't you know it, for the last week she has been speaking up a storm!  She is saying so many things that sound a lot like what you would expect her to say.  She now has sounds for "thank you", "more", "Lily", "I want", "ball" and I'm sure that there are a lot more that I haven't figured out yet.  The sounds are very hard to decipher out of context, but when coupled with the sign or in a very obvious setting we can understand them.  What excites me is that she is trying to say words ALL THE TIME now!  We say something and she will parrot it back in her own way.  It is wonderful and I'm so excited about what the next few months might bring if she keeps this up.  I need to start listening better and seeing if I can pick up on more "words".

Oh, and another semi-related subject that I am ecstatic about is that Sweet Pea is using her signs to request things more and more without our guidance.  She had been great at just parroting the signs, but she wasn't very good at using them to request something.  Now she will sign help instead of yelling when she wants us to help her with something.  She will sign banana, cracker, cookie (don't worry, we don't normally give her a cookie when she signs it but the girl certainly does try!), milk and just this morning she signed book when she wanted me to get her a book that she couldn't reach.

I'm just so proud of her and I absolutely love these highs where a number of new skills start appearing.  The plateaus are extremely hard, but these developmental growth spurts really do help to make up for those hard times.  When I'm in a down mood like I was on the 8th, I know that it is only a matter of time before she amazes me again, but it's so hard to wait.  In a way I think those low points help to make these highs even higher and more joyous.

Here are a couple of videos of Sweet Pea at a basketball program this weekend:

Making a basket:

Walking, Saying "ball" and kicking:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Egg Hunt

Sweet Pea and Mommy went to an Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday that was sponsored by her center based therapy program.  Mommy was really hoping that Sweet Pea would be successful at this egg hunt as she is pretty certain that she will have a harder time at our community one next week.  Mommy's hopes were answered!  She did great even though she didn't like the grass...the uneven grass...with lots of twigs too.  This new walker did not think this was very fair especially in her new shoes!  And she clearly did not want any of her tricks documented as every time I turned on the video she would start crying.  This is the best clip I was able to get and you can see how unsuccessful it was!  (Check out her sound for "more")

Still photos were probably the way to go since she was in a feisty mood...

Here she is before the hunt started:

This is as close to the Easter Bunny that she was willing to get:

And Sweet Pea showing off her loot after we quit:

All in all it was very successful and we will see how she does at our community egg hunt next weekend. It's a very chaotic event with overly involved parents normally so we will see...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Little Baby Feet

I captured Sweet Pea's cute little feet a couple of weeks ago.  Here are her sister's...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sweet Pea's Actual Birthday

I am way behind on Sweet Pea's 2nd birthday posts...we had a party on the Sunday before her birthday, a park day on her actual birthday and then a get together at my family's house on the day after.  Here are photos from her actual birthday...

Grandmother from PA getting to watch Baby Signing Time with Sweet Pea

Birthday cupcake at 9am after PT!  Red velvet none the less!

Daddy, Grandmother and Uncle M from PA at a local park

Birthday serenade lakeside (okay...pondside, but it sounded fancier)

Daddy and his little girl

Uncle M and her favorite park activity...swings

Sweet Pea's in heaven...swings and music!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hard Day for Mommy

I think most Mommy's have hard days and it seems that those of us who have children with special needs have even more of those days.  Today was one of those days for me.  The thing was, nothing really went wrong today.  Did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed?  I don't think so.  Who knows why it happened, but I'm here admitting that it did...

I watched my nephew and his fellow kindergarten classmates at a spring concert today.  It was beautiful!  Children singing always sounds so sweet.  However, it also is really hard to watch that and not wonder how Sweet Pea is going to do in those situations.

This afternoon Sweet Pea was extremely whiny and she either wasn't understanding anything that I was saying or she was willfully ignoring it.  I often think she is just ignoring me, but today I really think that there were many things that she just wasn't understanding.  What seemed like simple instructions, "go get those pillows (pointing to them) and bring them here so you can climb up on the couch" would just bring a lost look and then tears because I wouldn't pick her up because I couldn't as I was feeding Angel.  We taught her on Wednesday how to use those pillows to climb onto the couch, but because they weren't right next to the couch, she couldn't seem to figure out what needed to be done.  I don't know if I just have unrealistic expectations of any child...maybe?  But then after 3 hours of her continuing to do things that I told her not to and not doing the things that I asked her to she finally got a time out.  I put her down and explained to her as simply as I could why she was there and then walked away and set the timer for 2 minutes.  For the next 15 minutes we had a time out battle.  She would sit and cry and then stand up and start walking away.  I would put her back and the cycle would repeat.  Finally she stayed there and I got down and explained to her why she had been put there and we hugged and she signed sorry, but did she really understand any of it?  Was she just mimicking like she so often does?  Was I just torturing her for no reason?

I think a lot of this is hitting me right now because I'm trying to get her moved out of the infant/toddler room at her daycare/preschool and into the class that every other child goes to on their 2nd birthday.  The director seems very hesitant and I'm trying to be as patient and understanding as possible, but I see why she would be concerned when I think about how little Sweet Pea listens or follows directions.  She is good at following her peers, but if she is asked to do something on her own, I think 9 out of 10 times she either doesn't understand it or chooses not to do it.  I tend to think that it is lack of understanding.  She is great at mimicking, but I think we often misinterpret that as her actually understanding instead of what it is...mimicking.  

During Sweet Pea's lunch today I was talking with another special needs mom and I mentioned how yesterday I was sitting listening to Angel babble and coo.  At 10 weeks old she is making a lot of sounds and they are extremely cute and just melt my heart...but at the same time they make me realize how hard of a road Sweet Pea is on.  She never made those sounds.  She has the expressive speech ability of a 10 month old and she is 24 months old!  Her sister is breezing through and seems to enjoy practicing different sounds while Sweet Pea struggles for every sound with her therapists prompting her and trying to help her.  It breaks my heart knowing that my little girl has to work so hard for something that should come so naturally.

It's not like I don't know that Sweet Pea has to work extremely hard for all of her accomplishments, but today it's just harder to face.  Knowing that her sister is going to pass her in skills in too short of a time is tough.  I may have passed my older sister in height, but I don't think I did in anything else ever!  :-)  I know that Sweet Pea is going to learn a ton from her sister and the two of them are going to be great for each other, but still...

So when I read the blog posting tonight by Kelly at "My Little Son-Shine" I realized that I needed to write a post to get it off my chest.  The Miley song "The Climb" hit me hard in the heart the very first time I heard it and continues to every time since then.  Kelly said it so well...

"To this day, every time I hear this song, I can't help but think of Landon and his future.  Before Landon turned a year old, I did a post with a video of Landon during the first 6 months of his therapy sessions.  If you missed it, you can see it HERE!!  This is the song that I chose to play during that video.....the words fit perfectly.  Watching Landon during his therapy sessions those first 6 months, was extremely HARD for me (AND LANDON).  After having 2 "typical" children, I struggled watching Landon work SO HARD, to do the smallest of things.  I remember thinking how unfair it was, that my newborn baby had to push his tiny little body to the point of total fatigue and frustration, just to reach and grasp for a toy.  My heart felt so heavy for him (and still does at times).  You see, it doesn't end here.....Landon is going to face challenges (MOUNTAINS) his whole life.  He is going to do all the things that his friends do, but it is going to take him a little more time with a lot more effort.

Landon tackles each hour long therapy session with such WILL and DETERMINATION!  He smiles, he laughs......and he cries a lot too!!  Yes, he WILL reach his milestone's....and we will be right by his side celebrating each and every one of them!  Each and every achievement is that much sweeter when you know just how much work and effort was put into it.  You see, it's not about "what's waiting on the other side"........"it's the CLIMB"!!!"

This blog has been such an amazing way for me to sort things out that are scattered in my brain.  It's allowed me to grow so much and when people ask me when I'm going to stop, I honestly can't tell them when.  I hope to never stop if it continues to be such a therapy tool as well as a great way to chronicle the lives of my children.

Thanks for letting me vent and I think tomorrow will be a better day...these pictures will help...

Look at how her fine motor skills are coming!  Yes, I helped place the crayon, but she will use it that way!

Sweet Pea loves her little sister

She loves to put her head down next to Angel

And giving her a hug

Entertaining her little sister

I love that Angel is smiling at Sweet Pea

Even hugs in her car seat!

And finally...Sweet Pea trying to sit in Angel's car seat.  She was climbing out when I finally got the camera out, but it was very cute.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Angel's 2 Month Birthday Checkup

Angel had her two month well baby visit at the pediatrician on Monday and here were her stats:

Weight: 12 lbs 5 oz (90th percentile)
Height: 22 in (75th - 90th percentile)
Head Circumference: 39 cm (50th - 75th percentile)

She is doing great in every aspect! 

Angel had been having major gas problems and not only was she physically in pain and crying a lot, but her farts were smelly as can be.  The poor girl would cry for hours in the evening and then would wake herself up with farts too!  At her 2 week appointment the doctor said she was bloated, but the symptoms didn't start showing up until after that appointment.  We emailed the doctor 2 weeks ago and her recommendation was to take out all dairy from my diet since I'm breastfeeding. That is what I had to do with Sweet Pea and it drove me crazy!  I am a lover of all things dairy and Daddy says that I use food as a delivery mechanism for cheese. :-)  Needless to say I was desperate to find another solution to the problem.

I was hopeful that I had found a solution because Angel was no longer crying for hours in pain, but she was still farting some and I was afraid that she would still be bloated (I couldn't tell myself...I'm really oblivious and unobservant).  So when we went into the doctor and she said that she wasn't bloated at all I was elated!!!!  My tricks had worked!  I told the doctor that I had started pumping prior to feeds to get out the first 1/2 ounce of foremilk and threw it away.  (The foremilk is gassier and if you have too much milk supply then your baby gets too much foremilk and doesn't get enough hindmilk.)  I also use a little gripe water when I haven't been able to pump and she is starting to exhibit signs of gas pain.  Thank you internet for giving me something to try besides removing all dairy!!!!

That was our only concern going in and it turned out to be a non-issue so we couldn't be happier!  We love you Angel!