When you have a child with a speech and language issue, they have their own way of communicating...their own way of pronouncing sounds...their own way of speaking...and you become very proficient in this new language. This blog is all about "THEIR words, THEIR way"...simple as that.
On her due date, for that matter.
All 6 lbs 8 oz of her.
With the biggest hazel eyes and eyelashes to die for!
My special girl.
With Childhood Apraxia of Speech.
Some cognitive delays.
Throw in some Sensory Issues here and there.
My little buddy.
The hardest worker you will ever meet.
A little lover and hugger.
And the sweetest girl you will EVER know.
My second born.
My little man.
Well, I don't think he was ever that little.
All 7 lbs 12 oz of him.
Born 2 two weeks early because he wanted to arrive early.
So he made me pre-eclamptic.
Oh, so sick.
But all is good now.
He has some special needs of his own.
Guess he didn't want to be "different" than his big sister.
So he chose to get my attention.
He chose to have ear infections.
A total of nine in all, over a six-month period.
Throw in a little hearing loss, which he has since regained.
And is now about 9-12 months delayed in speech.
He is my little man.
A little lover.
With a little temper to match.
He's my boy!
My husband and I are seriously contemplating stopping Kaitlyn's private speech therapy cold turkey next week. Really. It's not that we can't afford it (well, we can't but we would find a way to do it if we really had to!). It's just that we have been doing this since Kaitlyn was 18 months old. Yes, we have seen tremendous progress with her expressive language, and now we are seeing progress in her comprehension and ability to retell stories. And for the last 18 months, Kate has been going non-stop, four days a week AFTER school, too. And, yes, we saw a huge improvement, too.
So why are we stopping?
We all need a break.
Kate needs a break. I need a break. Mark needs a break. Little Andrew needs a break. Our finances need a break. Our marriage needs a break (from her therapy schedule, that is!). Our car's odometer needs a break.
Kate will be starting half-day summer school in mid-June through mid-July. August will be a busy month with a wedding, vacation, Andrew's 2nd birthday, and getting Kate ready in multiple ways for full-day Kindergarten which starts on August 20th. She will be getting therapy in summer school, too. It's just that she would not be getting the one on one therapy that she is currently being supplemented with.
Plus, I want Kaitlyn to be a 5 year old. I want her to be able to enjoy her summer, play, go to the pool or park or zoo, and just be a kid for once. All her life, she has never had the opportunity to do this. We push, push, push and she goes, goes, goes. But now I think we are close to hitting a wall and I don't want her to resent me or Daddy or school or anyone involved with treating her.
I have tossed a few ideas around in my head. These are the options:
1. Continue with therapy 3 days a week until the end of summer school in mid-July. 2. Continue with therapy 1 day a week until school starts. 3. Stop therapy altogether.
I need to take Valium. Seriously. Or maybe just switch to decaf.
Call me overbearing, call me over-protective, I don't care. But when you have an over-protective mother who just so happens to be a nurse, you have a physician's worst nightmare! That's me in a nutshell.
For the past few nights, Andrew has been waking several times a night crying. Now, some would think "so, he's waking up crying. What's the big deal?". But when I hear that little guy starting to whimper in the night, it brings me back to the long nights of ear infections. Yes, this is what I was worried about. He has also been sticking his finger into his right ear, playing with the right ear, and draining clear drainage from the right side of his nose. So, being the ultra-protective Mom that I am, I have my handy dandy otoscope! Yes, you too can own one for the small one-time price of $14.99 and sold at your local WalMart store. In my opinion, it works pretty darn good, allows adequate LED lighting, and provides excellent visualization of the internal portion of the ear that houses those precious tubes.
So, this morning, I took a gander into Andrew's right ear and this is what I saw: A LARGE BLACK SPOT. What the hell can this be? Scar tissue? Nah, too early for that. Old blood? Possible, but not likely. It hasn't been there before. I would have remembered seeing that. A hole? Is my son's ear drum perforated? Oh God no!
Being the over-bearing Mom that I am, I called the answering service this morning as I was driving Kaitlyn to school at 0750. My intention was to drop her off at 0800 and head right to the ENT office. Yep, this is what I did. When the service FINALLY called me back, I informed them that I was pulling into the parking lot and wanted the surgeon to look at my son's ear. Can't turn me away now, buddy. I have already parked and am taking the stroller out of the back of the car.
Once inside, we waited 90 minutes to be seen. I guess that is the punishment I get for just showing up at the office. We are finally called back to a room. A tech asks me all kinds of questions, and I am getting the impression that she is questioning me as a person. Have I mentioned how much I strongly dislike techs? They aren't RNs, but they act like they are. How dare you question me! I refused to answer any more of her *stupid* questions. Next came the resident (AKA: Doogie Howser) with Medical Student in tow. I don't care much for this particular resident, and I think he knows it since I made it clear to the surgeon on the day of surgery that I did not want this resident touching, breathing, whatever to my son. How convenient that Andrew loaded his diaper with the carrots from the night before! What timing! Good job, Andrew. Then, he has the nerve to tell the med student to look at Andrew's ears. Um, did I mention that I think med students are fleas? Then the resident pretty much repeated EVERYTHING that I told him from the moment he came in the room. Did I not already tell you the following: 1. No fever. 2. No drainage from the ear. 3. Draining from the right side of the nose. 4. Pulling the right ear. 5. Putting his finger in the right ear. 6. Not sleeping at night for the past 4 nights. 7. Black area to the left of tube in right ear. 8. Repeat 1-7 at least 3 more times, but in a different order. Idiot.
Then, he has the nerve to tell me that my fears are for nothing and does this eye-roll thing. And I calmly told him to NEVER BELITTLE THE CONCERNS OF A PARENT. (Note: I think he missed this day in med school). That shut him up really quick. He's lucky I didn't pluck those rolling eyes out!
Off to see the Audiologist for another Booth test and OAE. And wouldn't you know that Andrew passed those with flying colors! You go, Andrew!
Finally, we see the man of the hour (or, in this case, 2 hours!): our surgeon. He examines Andrew and says that all looks good. Tubes are patent, membranes look good. Oh, and that black area is old blood that has since drained from the tube. See! I knew that something was up! No treatment necessary. He is happy with his progress.
On our way out of the exam room, he pats me on the shoulder and tells me "a little bit of knowledge is dangerous". So, I am a nurse and a darn good one! Then he tells me "retire your otoscope".
I am a good Mom. And I am a good nurse. And my otoscope will be nearby in the event that I need it again.
for Andrew was Wednesday. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that I am two days behind in posting this, but I am a bit busy lately.
Unfortunately, I had to work on Wednesday, so that meant that Daddy would take Andrew for his first session. Armed with a snack, a sippy cup, and the ever-handy pacifier, Andrew went in to start working. Fortunately for us, his therapist is the same one that treats Kaitlyn. This means that we will not be wasting time warming up to a therapist or crying for any amount of time.
Apparently, he did well. In fact, I was told that he was focused for about 45 minutes! WOW! Good job, Andrew! At this age, most of his therapy will be play-based. But I know our therapist pretty well, and I am sure that there are many tricks up her sleeve!
So my daughter and I go to see "Elmo Grows Up" over the weekend. I had been hyping it up all week to get her excited: going out to dinner, staying in a hotel, going to the show, going swimming, etc... It was supposed to be a real girl bonding time, something that Kate and I haven't really enjoyed since the birth of her baby brother 20+ months ago.
Well, did I ever think that my daughter would NOT love that furry obnoxious creature? She watches him on TV on a daily basis and tries to sing along with him and Dorothy. And, I cannot forget to mention, she LOVES Mr. Noodle. Once the show began, it was all downhill. She used every excuse her little voice could convey to me. Let's see...we visited the bathroom a handful of times (and that was just during the first act). Every time that a song was done and the audience clapped, she thought the show was over and stood up to leave. "Sit down, Kaitlyn, it is not over yet." I must have said that at least 13 times, seeing that there were 13 songs. Intermission was a huge tease for her. Poor thing really thought the show was over, only to be brought back to reality when Mom told her that Elmo was taking his own potty break. But the worst part of the night was the end of the show. Not only was it extremely loud, but the stage launched these huge streamers with a big BANG at the end, sending my little girl out of her seat and into my lap, shaking like a leaf. Yes, Kate, the show is now over.
Once back at the hotel, we were able to relax in the pool. Luckily, we had it to ourselves, so that was nice. After an hour of splashing and swimming, we went back to the room and called it a night.
So what did I learn from this experience? 1. I will treat my daughter no differently than a "typical" child. I prepared her for the show and I will not allow her to miss out on things.
2. My daughter has a sensory processing disorder. Very true. Although I have never had her formally diagnosed by a physician, I diagnosed her many years ago. This was the icing on the cake.
3. There will be more incidents like this.
4. I love my daughter the way she is, and have no intention of changing that.
I am sure that with repeated exposure she will adapt better to loud and strange environments. Thank God we haven't had any nightmares of the event (yet......)
Maybe this is premature, but I think my son knows his ABC's! No kidding! A few weeks ago, I observed him standing at the art easel playing with the magnetic alphabet. He was moving each one of them around, making sounds like "Ay, eee, zeee, ay, ay, zeee" and so on. I kind of scratched my head, wondering if he was trying to recite the alphabet as we have big sister Kaitlyn do on occassion. This has happened a few times now, so I am convinced that he is indeed saying his ABC's (or at least part of them).
However, over the weekend, something amazing happened. I placed Andrew on the changing pad in the bathroom as I was cleaning up yet another mess. He is getting more and more difficult to entertain while changing diapers, so I usually hand him some Balmex or A&D tube to manipulate instead of worrying about his hands venturing into the dirty zone. We sing songs to occupy him, and he has really become fond of the "Wheels on the Bus" song. On this day, I started to say the ABC's to him. This is what transpired:
Me: "A--B---" Andrew: "C" *Insert strange look from Me here, OK? Me: "D--E--F--" Andrew: "Gee" *Insert very perplexed look now! Mom might be onto something! Me: "H" Andrew: "I" *OK, let's run with this one now. I think he knows what he is doing! Me: "J" Andrew: "K" Me: "L---M---N---" Andrew "O" Me: "P---Q---" Andrew; "R" Me: "S---" Andrew: "T" Me: "U---V---W---X---Y---" Andrew: blank stare. Big smile! Me: "Z"!
Yep, I did my own scientific experiment a few more times that day and he repeated the same stunt. My son knows his ABC's? Wow. Again, I am speechless.
My, oh my! If someone told me three weeks ago that Andrew's language would be taking off as quickly as it is now, I would have thought they were crazy. But it is! We spent a majority of this beautiful day outside, enjoying the 70 degree weather, playing with chalk on the driveway and blowing bubbles. After hearing me tell him over and over and over "Look Andrew, bubbles", he spontaneously blurted out "BUBBLES!" as I blew what had to have been the 100th wand-full of soapy entertainment. And everytime I brought the wand up to blow more, Andrew would yell "Bubbles!" Wow. I am speechless. Can you imagine that???
Other new words include (but are not limited to...since I have already lost count as to how many words he has now!): dog, down, get down, toes, Tiger, go, apple, move. Yes, that last word "move" is used appropriately, too! Watch it little guy! You are getting too confident for your own good!
What a sweet voice. It is amazing what can trigger spontaneous language. Keep up the good work, little man.