Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!


Brrrr!
Boy was it cold out trick-or-treating this afternoon!
The Windy City sure lived up to its name, didn't it?
Sure was a far cry from last year's events when it was 75 degrees!
I guess that is what Halloween is like in California or Florida.
So on a brisk, chilly, windy Saturday afternoon with temps hovering in the 40's, we made our way around the neighborhood.

Kaitlyn was a pink princess on a horse.
(Note the dangling legs in front!)

Andrew was a not-so-happy Monkey, equipped with banana and all!
If you look closely, you can see it hidden behind his right wrist.

Andrew's grumpiness about being dressed as a monkey soon faded when the whole Pavlov theory kicked in and he realized that every time he rang someones doorbell he was showered with chocolate galore!

They waited so patiently at what seemed like 100 houses visited!

When what to his surprise.....his hero of all time....ELMO!
The kid was star-struck!
His eyes as big as saucers!
It was almost that that scene in E.T. when E.T. himself sees some child dressed as an alien and he wants to follow him "home, home!"
Well, in this case, Andrew wanted to go with Elmo.
He kept saying over and over "Elmo!" in this voice of pure shock.
If I could read his mind, it would be saying "He does exist!"
Priceless.


And what better way of topping off a chilly afternoon of trick-or-treating but to roll in the wet leaves.

Hope everyone had a safe and fun Halloween!
Now, where did I hide all of those Reese's Peanut Butter Cups????

Inside Edition Segment on "Apraxia"


WOW!
How neat is this?!
Found this as I was looking for apraxia videos to support some of my posts.
Although it is an older video segment from the early 2000's, this video can be replayed today with the same effects.
Click here to see what I am talking about.
We need to get more national coverage on this topic.
Hmmm?
That gives me an idea.
I wonder if Matt Lauer and Diane Sawyer's schedules are booked?

Friday, October 30, 2009

SCRAM!


Everyone has bad days.
Some people can even be called grouches.
I know a few of these people.
You know them, too.
They are the ones that walk around with the perpetual scowl on their faces.
Yep, those people.
On Thursday afternoon, while Andrew and I were waiting in the lobby for Kaitlyn to complete her speech therapy session, I decided to do some speech therapy with Andrew.
He was imitating my sounds, making the same faces, and so on.
Then, just as I heard big sister's voice in the hallway, I asked Andrew "What is your sister's name?"
He looked at me with those gorgeous blue eyes and a great big smile and said:
"OSCAR!"
Cute, Andrew.
Very cute.
Then I got to thinking...does he think she really is a grouch?
Those times when she gets frustrated when I can't make out what she is saying?
Those times when she whimpers or just walks away?
Hmmm?
I don't think she's a grouch one bit!
But then again, she has every right to be if she wants to!
Go ahead, Kate, be grouchy.
You didn't ask for this speech problem.
You have so much to say and just struggle with the basics sometimes.
Go ahead, be grouchy if you want.
And if your brother can't handle it right now, don't worry...he will learn to do so.
Because I see him as your body guard, your protector when the two of you grow up together.
He'll tell all those mean people to "SCRAM!" just like Oscar does.
Hang in there, kiddo.
You are making great strides and you are working so hard.
You are making progress!
You'll catch up.
You'll show them all.
In the meantime, you can be any character you want to be!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Another H1N1 Tug-of-War Moment



Not like I have enough to worry about, do I?
Do we get the shot?
Do we not get the shot?
My employer is really pushing the shot.
My pediatrician is out of the vaccine.
I saw my OB/GYN for my annual and she highly suggests the vaccine for me and the kids.
No pressure there.
Saw one of the surgeons today that I work with and she really advocated for the vaccine.
More pressure.
*gulp*
I don't know what to do.
The media is making this a pandemic!
People are lining up for hours for the vaccine.
Lines that are wrapping around buildings and down sidewalks.
But there are so many "what ifs" out there.
What if the vaccine isn't safe?
What if there are horrible side effects or adverse effects?
What if my kids still get the H1N1 flu after they got the shot?
What if they don't get the vaccine and get very, very sick.
What if my worst fear came true?
Do I beat myself up over not getting the vaccine or beat myself up for giving them the vaccine?
I have Googled this over and over and found a neat site here where you can check your symptoms to see if you headed down the H1N1 flu road.
Another link here offers a more interactive site to help you make your decision.
I am going to study this site once I publish this post.
What do you think?
Have you gotten the H1N1 flu vaccine?
Have your children?
What are your pediatricians saying about it?
This inquiring mind really want to know...........

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Open Enrollment! Please pass the Rolaids!


Tis the season for open enrollment for our insurance again.
Tis the season for election coverage choices.
Hmmm?
Let's take a look here......
I see nothing has changed, has it?
Still the same company.
Still the same logo.
Still no addendum for coverage for speech therapy.
Ugh!
I hate this time of year!
Well, lets see what happens come January 1, 2010.
Let's see if you (Aetna) are going to be true to your word.
Let's see if you are going to pay for her continued therapy "no questions asked" as was told to me by one specific Vice President that called me on my home phone line on August 20, 2009 at approximately 10:00am Chicago time.
Do you need a refresher course on that phone call?
Let's see if you are going to start denying coverage again for my daughter's speech therapy.
Do me a favor, no, do us ALL a favor and just cover the damn therapy!
I'm really not in the mood to start jumping through hoops again.
If I wanted to jump through hoops, I would join the circus.
No denials on EOBs.
No appeal letters.
No certified mailings from me to you.
No discrimination.
Are you reading this?
Did I make my point?
Do you understand?
If you have any questions, you know how to find me.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do I REALLY Want To Start Over Again?


No, not really.
But, if I have to, I will.
As of late, our private therapist for Kaitlyn has been "cancelling" on Wednesdays.
First, she's sick.
Then, she's on vacation.
Now, it's jury duty.
Those are all great excuses and I can't fight her on them.
However, when you are cancelling more than you are seeing my daughter for this very important sixty-minute therapy session, my inner Donald Trump boils to come out.
Strange, because last week I even mentioned it to the other therapist (that sees her on Thursdays) that I would really like to pick up Wednesdays with them as well.
Kaitlyn really enjoys working with the Thursday therapist.
I would really like for her to see the Thursday therapist twice if not three times per week.
But right now, I would settle for two days per week with anyone capable and licensed to provide the therapy.
Anyway, the boss of the clinic that Kate goes to has mentioned this "trend" lately.
Hmmm?
Maybe I won't have to find a new therapist?
Maybe a teeny tiny window is opening?
Oh, I would rather have a Wednesday spot open with the other therapist instead.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mom of the Year Award!


I had no idea this was going on!
I had no idea that I was nominated!
Well, I guess I wasn't.
This award was just handed to me in a rainy Target parking lot this morning.
After Andrew's speech therapy session, I decided that we needed to make a mad dash to Target for some winter boots.
Now, before you start to snicker, let me explain.
We live in the suburbs of Chicago.
The windy city.
The place where you typically see your first snow flakes around Thanksgiving.
Well, we saw flakes on Saturday, mixed with the rain.
Yes, it was cold enough Saturday morning to snow.

But in the Sunday paper ads, there was a Target paper with a sale on winter boots.
If you don't snatch a pair in October, good luck finding a pair when you really need them in December.
Because around here, the spring line of clothes hit the racks around mid-February.
Anyway, after a quick dash into Target for the boots, we were walking back to the car and as I was putting him into his seat a woman came up to me and said:
"You get the Mother of the Year Award!".
Why?
Because I bought boots in time?
Well, she proceeded to tell me that she watched me and Andrew walk through the parking lot.
(Yep, the "you-are-freaking-me-out" radar kicked in at that moment!)
Andrew held my hand.
Andrew was watching for cars.
Andrew was listening.
*Disclaimer: this is a first for Andrew. Maybe he should be getting an award and not me!
Then she thanked me for not letting my child dart into the parking lot and run amok like most mothers in this neighborhood do.
Trust me, they do!
They are so dog-gone busy on their cell phones or putting on their lipstick that they have no clue that their precious little child almost became my speed-bump!
Ooops! I got off the subject again!
Little did that woman see what an "angel" Andrew was in the store.
Trying to jump out of the cart.
Throwing the priceless boots out of the cart.
Playing with the automated conveyor belt when we checked out.
Pushing buttons on the credit card swipey thing.
And then, for the next five minutes, play with the automated entrance doors of the store.
Yep, my son is destined to be a door man.
As long as the only work involved is for him to place his foot on the sensor that opens the doors, he's got the job!
I am sure she would have thought twice about giving me that award had she witnessed all of that!
But what she doesn't know won't hurt her.
Oh yes, I have a speech to give!
(Some portions of this speech are being taken from another speech that I read, just because I thought it was hilarious and well-spoken!)

"On behalf of my children, I would like to thank the nice lady in the Target parking lot for this award.
Thank you for acknowledging that SOME people actually watch their children.
Thank you for brightening my day since Chicago has since turned into Seattle for the month of October.
(Cue music here)
Thank you for allowing me to buckle my child into his seat quickly so I could make a quick exit.
(Uh-oh! Gotta really wrap this up....here comes Kanye West!)
Thank you very much!"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thank You!


Well, yesterday we celebrated Kaitlyn's 6th birthday.
With both sides of the family.
This, typically, inspires me to start out the day with a few Tums.
Luckily, everyone (including the in-laws!) behaved themselves!
So only four Tums were consumed on Saturday.

After a round of chips, dips, and fresh veggies, we started on an appetizer of amazing french bread pizza bread.
Yum!
And no, I did not cook.
Everything was catered.
How could I possible cook as well as entertain in-laws?
Not a possible feat!

On to the main course of chicken, beef, pasta, salad and bread.
Did I already say "yum"?
Nothing like a huge carb crash to put everyone on their best behavior, right?
When it was time to open her gifts, Kaitlyn was all over it!
This is the first time she really showed an interest in opening presents.
My sensory child ripped through every gift, holding them up and moving on to the next.
Yes, we were blessed with very generous gifts for our six year old princess.
But at the end, I asked her to stand up and thank everyone.
With one quick bound to her feet, she stood there with all the confidence in the world, added a big smile, and waved this cute little royal wave, and said "Thank You!"

Might not sound like a big deal to you all, but this is HUGE for her.
Another year, another milestone!
Happy Birthday, Kaitlyn!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Listen To This!


Kaitlyn's "success" at speech therapy is making me speechless!
Really?
Mom is speechless?
Didn't think that was possible, did you?
But at therapy this week, our private SLP showed us a graph that has been kept about her attempts and successes and all I see are her numbers going higher and higher.
WOW!
She appears to be gaining more confidence in herself and her speaking abilities and achievements.
Yes, she still has a moderate-to-severe case of CAS.
But she is really making great progress.
Maybe part of it is related to her maturation.
That is the hard thing about speech therapy though.
Are kids improving with the therapy?
Are kids improving with age?
Or are kids improving because of the combination of both?
Regardless what is making her improve, she is improving.
And I see brighter days ahead for all.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Early Intervention Paper Trail


Yep, that just about sums it up.
A paper trail.
Today we had Andrew's six-month EI evaluation so every can sit down face to face, touch base, review goals, make new goals, and so on.
Lasted ten minutes.
Yes, ten minutes.
What a waste of tax-payers money!
All for a stupid paper trail!
Seriously folks! Come on!
This could have been down via conference call.
Or fax.
Or snail mail.
If I had issues with Andrew's therapy, I would be on the horn so fast it would make your head spin.
We love our SLP!
Andrew loves his SLP!
There are no issues.
All for a stupid paper trail.
And to think that we have to do this again in February.
And April.
And June.
And July.
Thank God he ages out in August.
Just to start another paper trail of schools.
At least I know where Andrew is with his therapist and that she is happy with his progress.
We are sticking with two days per week of speech therapy for the next ten months.
Did I mention how much I really hate paper trails?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pumpkins, Sun, Cake, and Babies (oh, and imaginative play, too!)

Kaitlyn is on the mend.
Her tonsils are decreasing in size, and she is no longer snoring like a man.
Seriously, that is how loud she is when those tonsils get inflamed!
She slept in until 8:30am, highly unusual for my little girl who typically is up at the crack of dawn.
That is another nonverbal way of saying "Ma, I am sick!"
But her appetite is back, inspiring me to entice her with her favorite breakfast for her birthday: scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, and a bagel.
Gobbled that up really fast!
The weather was beautiful.
The sun was out and shining brightly.
It was flirting with 65 degrees.
We took advantage of her improved health and this gorgeous day to drive to the pumpkin farm that her classmates were currently visiting.
Remember?
She was supposed to be on a school field trip?
But she got sick and was home from school?
Yep, that pumpkin farm.
When I mentioned that we were going to take a ride, she was extremely happy to be getting the chance to see her teachers and friends.
Once we got there and found her friends, Kaitlyn was overjoyed and speechless.
Wait a minute...that's an oxymoron.
She is always speechless since she has CAS.
That's why she is in special education.
That's why I blog.
All kidding aside now.
She truly was speechless at the amount of attention she received when she joined her classmates and teachers.
In fact, they all sang "Happy Birthday" to her.

That is Kaitlyn in the purple jacket.
And this Mom got misty-eyed.
OK, OK, I had mega-crocodile tears rolling down my cheeks!

What a great group! This is her second family!
Later at the pumpkin patch, we walked around the farm and petting zoo.
She actually held a baby chick!
My sensory child held a chick!
***Note: in my head, I was pleading "Please, don't squeeze this little chick too hard and kill it!"


But my gentle-as-a-lamb daughter was just that: gentle.
She cautiously caressed the little creature and kissed it, in typical Kaitlyn fashion.
She is such a lover!
Later that night, she feasted on birthday pizza (her choice!) and a chocolate tiramisu cake!

YUM!
Then we went to Target (oh, how I should really purchase stock options in this store!)
Kaitlyn wanted to tour the toy section, more specifically the baby doll aisle.
Fine, it's your birthday, honey.
She was immediately drawn to two babies: one newborn which just laid there and another that coos and moves.
I told her that she can choose one for her birthday.
And you know which one she chose?
Yep, you guessed it...the cooing and moving one!
But to listen to this little girl interact with this life-like babe was amazing and thrilling to one Mama.
"Hi, baby."
"It's OK, baby."
"Don't cry."
"Mama's here."
How sweet, I thought, walking through Target as tears welled in my eyes for the second time publicly today.
You see, my daughter does not do imaginative play.
Never have I seen nor heard my daughter do this.
I mean, she plays, but she plays quietly.
Today, she imagined that she was the Mommy to her new baby.
What a great day!

And here is my pride and joy with her pride and joy.
I just love this little girl.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday to Kaitlyn!


No, I will not torture you with my singing incapabilities.
But today, this post will be different than the others.
For six years ago today, my life changed.
And changed for the better.
For six years ago today, I learned what it meant to love someone more than yourself or your spouse.
For six years ago today, I learned that my heart can walk outside of my body.
For six years ago today, I realized that I would never sleep through the night again.

My water broke (in bed at 1155pm, no less!) on Monday, October 20, 2003.
Your Dad and I stood in the bathroom, confused and scared.
By the way, I was standing in the puddle.
Our bags were already packed (um, for the last 4 months!)
We fed the cat, and left an arsenal of food for the next 3 days.
We took one last look back at our house.
It was the last time that we would be leaving there as a couple because we would be coming home as a family.
By 12:30am, we were on the road to the hospital.
Until this day I do not understand why your father drove 85mph on the Eisenhower Expressway when we weren't in much of a hurry, there weren't any contractions, and there was no traffic to fight.
We didn't know if you were a boy or a girl.
We didn't care, either.
We didn't have a preference.
We just wanted you.
From 1:30am until 6:30am, I laid there in an uncomfortable hospital bed thinking "this was soooo easy".

At 6:31am, the Pitocin started.
At 6:36am, I was in tears.
Did I mention pain?
Is it too late to take back that "this is soooo easy" comment?
I guess not.
By 8:00am, I declared an epidural as my savior, and I truly loved that talented anesthesiologist more than chocolate and coffee at that moment!
At 4:40pm, I wanted to meet you so badly, and thus began the next 41 minutes of the hardest work of my life.
At 5:21pm, you arrived, but were whisked away by the NICU team to the nearby isolette where they used a fiber optic scope to make sure you didn't aspirate meconium.
By the way, they said "It's a girl!"
A girl.
Wow!
I have a daughter.
A world filled with more pink than you can imagine!
I cried.
Your Daddy cried.
And speaking of crying, also at 5:21pm, I heard your first cry.
I never heard anything more beautiful than that sound.
You were pink, you were perfect, your Apgar score was a 5 (because the doctors and nurses wanted your first score to be low...they didn't want you to breathe yet and risk aspiration), and you were mad!
That was the first of many hurdles which you would have to face.
At 5:26pm, you second Apgar score was 9, and you were in my arms.
Oh, and you were born ON your due date!

Two days later, I took you home.

I promised you that I would always care for you.
That you would be number one.
That I would do whatever I could to help you.
To keep you safe.
To be the best Mom ever.
I hope that I have done my job so far.
I hope you know what I have done for you and what I continue to do for you everyday.
I will never give up on you.
I will never let you down.
You are my first born.
My baby girl.
My dream.
I see so much when I look into those big hazel eyes.
I hope you feel like every day is your birthday.
All my love,
Mommy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Doctor Mom Knows Best

Yep, I was right!
Ear infection and tonsillitis...just as I diagnosed it!
However, the antibiotic of choice turned out to be a Z-Pak, instead of Omnicef or Augmetin.
The rest of the "orders" were also as I expected: rest, fluids, Mucinex.
And, by the way, the new doc rocks!
Very receptive, open to my suggestions, and really interested in what I had to say.
I seriously think that someone cued her in before she knocked on our door.
But that makes a good doctor, no, a GREAT doctor!

So baby girl is home today, resting and recovering.
She was traumatized by the throat culture that was done (negative, by the way).
Here is hoping that she is better tomorrow for her first field trip......

Monday, October 19, 2009

Are You Sick?



When you have a child with an expressive language problem, meeting his/her daily needs can be a challenge.
That challenge increases tenfold when your child is sick.
Tis the season for stuffy noses, colds, enlarged tonsils and so on.
How do you know if your child is truly sick if they can't tell you "Mom, my throat hurts" or "Mom, I feel achy all over"?
As in any case, you have to trust your gut and look for the nonverbal signs.

This weekend is no different.
We had our Apraxia Walk (which was a HUGE success, by the way!) and she was fine.
Saturday night, I heard her snoring a bit.
Uh-oh! That only means one thing: enlarging tonsils.
Sunday night...more snoring.
Oh, and let's add some rancid breath to the mix, too!
Sunday night...Kaitlyn, open your mouth for me.
"ahhhhhh"
Yep, tonsils almost kissing now.
(And for your info, that is a technical medical term when describing tonsils so big that they are touching!)
Monday morning...what the hell happened to my gentle-as-a-lamb little girl?
Who is these beastly being that dragged herself out of bed and proceeded to yell at me, throw her waffle on the floor, and cry non-stop?
That, my friends, is my daughter who is now sick.
"Ear beeping".
Yep, I am sure it is kiddo.
But of course I looked in her ears with my otoscope last night.
You just knew I would have one of those, didn't you????

So here are her symptoms:
1. Low grade temp Saturday afternoon, but afebrile since.
2. Irritability
3. Enlarging tonsils
4. Vile breath
5. Increased nasal congestion
6. Complaints of "ear beeping"
7. Demon-possessed child
8. Snoring at night

That, my friends, is how you figure out your expressive language delayed child is sick.

My diagnosis: acute tonsilitis, otitis media
My treatment: Augmentin or Omnicef BID for 10 days.
Saline nasal sprays PRN.
Humidifier.
Push fluids.
Mucinex PRN for nasal and ear congestion.

Oh yeah, I forgot, I am just the nurse.
I am just the Mom.
I guess I have to go through the proper chain of command, don't I?

However, we need to see the pediatrician first. So off we go at 3:45pm today. Unfortunately, I was informed that we will be seeing the "new" doctor in the office.
Great.
She had her own practice for 20+ years, but left there to go part time and now she has arrived at our office.
Great.
I hate having to break in a new doc.
She doesn't know my kids.
She doesn't know me.
She doesn't know what she is in for.
Maybe someone in the office will clue her in before she knocks on our exam room door...........
Updates to come...................

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cheering For Acceptance



I saw this on ABC World News on Friday evening (hosted by Charlie Gibson).
What a great group of girls!
Both groups!

Click the link below to view. Remember, you will have to disable my blog music (left side of page in black music box? to hear the segment.

Cheering for Acceptance

Saturday, October 17, 2009

And Walk, We Did!

Today was the Chicagoland Childhood Apraxia of Speech walk.
What a gorgeous day it turned out to be!
With all the dreary rain and cold weather we had all week, it was setting up to be another one of those days!
But, this morning, the sun was shining and the weather was gorgeous!
Perfect walking weather!
Yes, Mom overdressed the kids a bit with long underwear and all, but they were warm and did not complain!
Thank you, again, for all of those who donated, both financially and with your heart!


My little hero!


Andrew didn't walk. He was smart and called a cab!

Kaitlyn, Miss Meghan and Miss Kay (her teachers from school!). How cool is that!

The gorgeous park we walked through.

Yes, a fellow walker on our team took one of these on her way out for my scrapbook! Thanks, Lana!

Part of our team, Kaitlyn's Krew.

The guest on honor herself!

"Kaitlyn's Krew!"

Friday, October 16, 2009

Tomorrow is the CASANA Apraxia Walk!


(*NOTE: scroll down to the left side of my page to 'disable' my blog music so you can hear the above video. Thanks.)

Well, tomorrow is the 2009 Childhood Apraxia Walk!
We are so excited!
The weather is supposed to be cold, dreary and drizzly, a bit atypical for Chicago weather this time of year when we should be having sun and 60 degrees.
But look at the outpouring of support we have gotten!
Click here to see more!
Our little Chicago group of Moms and Dads with apraxic children have reached out for your support and, thanks to you all, we have raised over $31,000.00 for research.
God Bless you all for your support!

Here is to hoping that one day we will not have to walk for this cause.
That one day all of our children's voices will be heard loud and clear.
That one day we will be able to look back on these dark, silent days and say "that wasn't so bad, was it?"
But until then, we will keep walking.
We will keep researching.
We will keep fighting for our children to be heard.
Thank you, again, for your support!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Glee, Begging, and Bragging


So I was put on call yesterday for work.
YIPPEE!
I didn't think that I would be needed at all that day since our census was low.
I was able to go back to sleep for a while and then work on some scrapbook stuff that has been collecting dust lately due to my crazy special-needs schedule.
Dear Kaitlyn had a half-day of school, so she was sooooooo surprised when she was upstairs getting washed up for lunch and then heard my voice.

"Mommy's home!" she shouted with glee.
(Hmmm? Never thought I would use that world in a sentence in my life.)
Yes, Mommy was home, but I did warn her that I would most likely have to go into work later that afternoon.

Of course, I get the phone call at 1:15pm (the cut-off time is 1:30pm, go figure!) asking me to come in.
Drats.
(What is with all the comic book terms coming out of me today? I don't get it!)

"Mommy stay home?" Kaitlyn begged.
That warmed my heart about as much as it broke my heart.
The fact that she was able to put together that sentence with the correct intonation and inserted the appropriate feeling was really a neat thing to hear.
Unfortunately, I had to begin the 38 mile trek into the city.

Kaitlyn has private speech therapy on Wednesday and Thursday.
Since I work on Sundays and Wednesdays, my husband typically calls me at work during the kids' dinner time and Kaitlyn tells me all about her day at school and speech.
Today was no different.
However, this is what I heard:

"Kaitlyn work hard".
Silence.
Did I just hear her correctly?
Then I said "Kaitlyn, did you work hard at speech today?" with Kaitlyn bragging
"Kaitlyn worked very hard."

Yes, honey, you do work hard.
And keep up the hard work because you are making great strides and overcoming such huge hurdles.
Love that little hard worker!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

H1N1 (AKA: "The Swine Flu")



***Before I dive into this subject, I just want to make it perfectly clear that I am NOT giving out medical advice. That would be outside of my scope of practice and I am sure in violation of some code in the Illinois Nurse Practice Act. However, I just want to "relay" some information that was shared with me by physicians and other medical personnel where I work as well as the office that cares for my children when they get sick.***

Here we go.............
So we are getting into flu season.
In fact, it is here and it has been here for a while.
And it has no intentions of leaving anytime soon.
So from now until April 2010, you are going to have to deal with it.
People are already starting to fret about this H1N1 flu virus.
I will admit that this strain does indeed scare me.
But so do dark basements, scary movies, spiders or any moving object with more than two legs, and my in laws.
So let's use some common sense during this flu season. Here are a few reminders:

1. Wash your hands.
I don't think I need to repeat it, but I will.
WASH YOUR HANDS!
And we are talking with soap and water.
Sing the "Alphabet Song" as you do it.
I don't like the "Happy Birthday" song because it is too short, unless you are going to sing all three stanzas.

2. Use a Hand Sanitizer
If you don't have access to soap and water, this is the next best thing.
However, it should only be used on hands WITHOUT visible dirt.
For example, if you sneeze and are no where near a sink with soap and water, a hand sanitizer will work for the time being. Again, sing the same "Alphabet Song" and don't be afraid to use plenty of the gel-like goop. Since it is alcohol based, it will evaporate quite quickly. Alcohol is bactericidal, therefore it kills bacteria.

3. Use Kleenex
I am not promoting one product, I just use the name. Kleenex, tissue, whatever you call it, just use it!
I am SO SO SO disgusted by all those parents out there who use the sleeves of their sweatshirts to wipes their runny snot-nosed kids. There is such a thing as trial-sized tissues. In fact, they are smaller than your darn cell phones.

4. Get a flu shot.
Although it will not protect against H1N1, it will protect you from the seasonal flu, therefore keeping you a tad healthier this season and one step ahead of the nasty flu virus.

5. DON'T BEG YOUR PEDIATRICIANS FOR ANTIBIOTICS!
Antibiotics treat bacteria, not viruses. The flu is a virus. If antibiotics treated viruses, we wouldn't have people dying of HIV or AIDS, would we? All of those crazy people who stalk their doctors for antibiotics for the first sniffle of their children are to blame for MRSA and VRE infections that are resistant to antibiotics because you are trying to treat a virus with an antibiotic or you don't finish the full course of antibiotics because you are feeling better! Go figure! A virus has to run its course! What's going to happen when there are no more antibiotics to treat ear infections and strep throat and endocarditis? Now you're in trouble! There is something called Tamiflu out there. Ask your physicians for more information about it.

6. Keep Your Sick Kids Home From School.
And you do the same. If you are sick, stay home. If the kids are sick, keep them home. Once your fever drops below 100 degrees without the assistance of any fever-reducing medications, they you can go on your merry way.

7. Wear A Mask.
If you have to go out (and I can't see why on earth you would have to do this if you are so sick), just wear a mask. Limit your time exposing your germs to others.

Did I get vaccinated against H1N1?
No.
Did my kids get vaccinated against H1N1?
No.
Why?
Well, first of all, our pediatrician refuses to vaccinate any child who is not at risk. She defined "at risk" as a child with a diagnosis such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, etc...
Fine with me.
Secondly, I did not get vaccinated since I personally question the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
***It was mass produced in four or five months time.
***There aren't sufficient studies on it.
***It is the same form of the vaccine that was used in the 1976 flu outbreak when more people died of the vaccine than of the flu itself.
***It is preserved in thimerosal.
Now, I don't think there is a direct link to autism with the preservative, but I don't want to inject mercury into myself or my children.
***There is a link between the 1976 swine flu vaccine and Guillian-Barre Syndrome.
Sorry, but I have a ton on my to-do list and contracting GB Syndrome is not one of them.
Even makers of the H1N1 Vaccine refuse to take it! See the story here.

Do what you want.
Protect yourself and your family as you see fit.
Just stay healthy out there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Excuses vs Explanations


I read this on another blog site and it really hit home.
I have MY ideas of what I am doing, but I wonder if others understand?
Whenever I am out in public with my daughter, it never fails: someone wants to talk to her.
She has such a friendly little face, happy eyes and big smile.
Who wouldn't want to talk with her?
However, they have no idea what they are in for when they start their conversations.
I give them about two sentence or five seconds before they look at me as if to say "What is she saying?".
Then I have to take over.
"She said____________"

Now, by this time, they realize that they don't know how to get away from the situation.
And me, sensing their discomfort, I jump in as usual.
"She has a speech problem which is difficult for others to understand. But if you are patient, you'll figure out what she is saying."
Then I get the whole "awwww, is she is therapy?"
At this point, I would love to slap the person across the side of the head and say "No, we are choosing to let her go through life like this. Do you think we are making the right decision?"
Basically, adults are stupid and stupid people suck!
(Thanks, Leah, for reminding me about that one!)

So do I make excuses for her speech? No.
So do I make explanations for her speech? Yes!
However, people don't want to listen.
And that's their fault.
Remember, stupid people suck!

I knew of one woman who actually made business cards that she would always carry in her purse. Whenever her child began to "act out" in public and people would stare (as all stupid people do) she would hand them a business card. The card contained a brief statement to the effect of:

"...my son has a diagnosis of ________"
Please see the following website for more info
Thank you for your understanding"

She said that when they meet up again in another aisle, the stranger would not even make eye contact.
Now that approach is awesome!
Puts stupid people in their places really quickly!
I haven't contacted Kinko's for my business card order, nor do I plan on doing so.
You see, I will say it like it is.
I will tell you to your face.
Do you have questions about my daughter's speech issues?
Come to me.
Do you need a translator during your conversations with my daughter?
Ask me.
But if you are going to be one of those stupid people who just stares or rolls their eyes or mumbles under their breath, you'd better walk away really fast.
You don't know who MaMa Bear is, do you?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day Crafts



So much for having a day off of school, right?
Nope!
Not when you are a special needs household.
Since Kaitlyn didn't have school today and Andrew's speech therapy was cancelled due to one sick MaMa, I had to improvise and find some creative crafts that will keep the kids busy as I sat like a slug sipping tea.
And believe it or not, it worked for about one hour.
One hour.
My kids shared markers, PipSqueaks, crayons, Dots, more markers, and more markers.
I was on the ball enough to make TWO copies of each page that were to be colored, so that was a plus.
No arguing.
No screaming.
No blood.
Pumpkins.
Leaves.
Halloween Bingo.
You name it, we colored it!
If it had anything to do with Halloween, it was not off limits.
All of the items we used could be found at the Crayola website.

Below, Kaitlyn is experimenting with the Rainbow version of Halloween. She refuses to comply with the masses and stick with the whole black-and-orange theme:


And here, Andrew is the hoarder of anything marker-related. If you look closely, you can see that he tried the new shade of "Crayola Lipstick for Boys" in a lovely shade of autumn orange.

Thank goodness Crayola is washable.
And non-toxic.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October is Here!

Cool, crisp air.
Bright sunshine.
Pumpkins.
Kids and pumpkins.
I really love this time of year.

On Saturday, we made a trip to a pumpkin farm in New Buffalo, Michigan.
Although windy, is was a pretty nice day.
Instead of the hustle and bustle of our crazy special needs lives,
the kids were able to:



ride a pony,



play on a tractor,



race through corn stalk trails,



pick the perfect pumpkin,


and stop to smell the flowers.

I just love these guys.
They truly have a way of reminding me to stop and smell the flowers, too!