Monday, May 31, 2010

Thank You

To all of those brave servicemen and women out there,
both past and present,
Thank you for allowing me to have the freedom that I have today!

God Bless America!

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Sunday, May 30, 2010

What I Like About You!

While reading other blog posts, I came across this article about the traits of a special needs parent.

My favorite is #10. That is me...all the way!

Can you see yourself in any of these traits?

I am sure that you can come up with more.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Andrew's Plan for 2010-2011

I know this post is late.
My apologies.
I have been, well, a bit busy with a variety of things like Andrew's doctor appointments, a shocking announcement to be blogged about at a later date, and end of school year stuff.
And meetings.
Yes, we had our IEP Meeting for Andrew on Thursday afternoon.

How did it go?
Well, it didn't go my way, but it went the way that I figured it would go.

Based on both Early Intervention assessments and school evaluations, Andrew appears to be age-appropriate for everything.
Everything except for the whole expressive language thing.
This, I knew.
And I am actually very pleased about this, even though you may be getting a different impression as you read this post.
I am not used to hearing the terms "age appropriate" and "typical for his age" terms being thrown at me.

So, the plan.
Andrew will be attending school four days per week for 2 1/2 hours per day.
Unfortunately, his speech and language services will be provided in an itinerant setting rather than in the actual school setting as I had hoped.
Main Entry: itin·er·ant
Pronunciation: \-rənt\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Late Latin itinerant-, itinerans, present participle of itinerari to journey, from Latin itiner-, iter journey, way; akin to Hittite itar way, Latin ire to go — more at issue
Date: circa 1576
: traveling from place to place; especially : covering a circuit

— itinerant noun

— itin·er·ant·ly adverb
He will be receiving 90 minutes per week from the school SLP, most likely in equally divided sessions.
Two 45 minute sessions per week.
Some of that time will be spent one on one.
Some of that time will be spent in small group.
There are some bugs that will have to be worked out, like time of day, select days, and location of services.
At this point, I think I will expect them to provide services at the school and not in an area that we will have to travel to.

I guess in retrospect, this is a win-win situation.
What are your thoughts?
Anyone else out there have a schedule like this?

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Graduation Day!

Greeting Kaitlyn after school with flowers and balloons (NOTE: They are the school's colors, too!)

A HUGE hug for Ms. Meghan, her teacher.

as well as Ms. Janna

Ms. Jaimie

And Ms. Kay!

My baby girl is moving on to 1st grade!
I am one proud Mama!

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Andrew's Day

Today is Andrew's meeting with the preschool team.
After 13 months of Early Intervention.
After all that speech therapy.
After evals and re-evals and more evals.
After the turtle-slow progress.
Today, we will see where he stands in the program.
I am hoping for speech services to continue through the preschool team.
I refuse to accept anything else.
Seeing that their report indicates a speech concern, that is.
And seeing that I seem to have a reputation of being "one of those Moms" at that school, I am sure that they are prepared.

But don't you worry.
I am prepared, too.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

What I Did On My Summer Vacation.....

The catalogs have been coming in.
So have the emails.
And the flyers from school.

What are your kids doing this summer?

We are inundated with advertisements for day camps, sports camps, ball leagues, sports lessons, swim lessons, and the such.


Why can't kids be kids and actually enjoy summer vacation?
Not having to get up super early to get to a lesson.
Not having to come home for a quick lunch, just to hurry to tennis camp.

What happened to the lazy days of summer?

Why do parents insist on keeping their kids' schedules booked?

When I was a kid, I spent my summer riding my bike, jumping through sprinklers, swimming for fun (and not for competition), playing hop scotch.

Well, instead of all the crazy camps, sports lessons, and so on, special needs kids like mine will have a semi-structured summer filled with both education and fun.
There's Kaitlyn's ESY (Extended School Year) class that runs for 6 weeks from mid-June until the end of July.
That's Monday through Thursday from 8:30am-11:45am.
Throw in her regularly scheduled private speech therapy on Wednesdays and Thursdays for an hour
Then there's Andrew's speech therapy which still runs three times per week as per Early Intervention.
I might do this handwriting class for Kaitlyn, just to help her out with some OT stuff.

But that's it.
We are NOT going to conform with the masses and over-book our children.
We are going to actually enjoy our summer.
We are going to lay in the grass and look at the cloud shapes.
Skip through sprinklers.
Take mini road trips to fun places.
Bury our worries in the sand.
Skip stones on the water.
Catch fire flies in a jar.
And just be kids.
Not special-needs kids.
Not over-booked, over achiever kids.
Just kids.

Now isn't that what summer vacation from school should be all about?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Hearing the Pediatrician say that Andrew has a heart murmur.

9. Crying as I am pulling out of the parking lot of the doctor's office, only to be dialing the phone to the hospital to schedule an ECHO for my small boy.

8. Having an ECHO scheduled for Monday, but getting in on Friday afternoon by a fluke of good luck!

7. Andrew actually cooperating during the ECHO exam. He laid still for 45 minutes, as long as I fed him YoGo's as he watched a movie.

6. Prepping for Andrew's IEP Meeting this week.

5. Preparing for Kaitlyn's last week of Kindergarten. WOW! Where did the year go?

4. Hearing that the results of Andrew's ECHO showed a PFO.

3. Thankful that the professionals are not worried about it and it should still close on its own.

2. An afternoon of 90 degrees, squirt guns, and a slip-and-slide.

1. I love my kids!

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Monday, May 24, 2010

ECHO Results

Good, bad, and ugly.

The Good: both the Pediatrician and the Cardiologist are not worried.
The Bad: Andrew has a 3mm PFO.
The Ugly: my eyes from all the crying I have done today.

So that is the word: Patent Foramen Ovale.

He was born with it, a flap in the septum between the atria, yet it never really closed on its own.

In fact, we are all born with it. And it typically closes on its own within the first year of life.

Except in about 25% of the population, and Andrew just happens to be in that 25%.

And the "swishing sound" that they are hearing is the force of blood being rapidly squeezed through that flap (PFO).

So instead of Andrew having a "lub-dub" sound when they listen to his heart, he has this periodic "lub-swish-dub" sound.

And that "swishing sound" is the left-to-right shunting of blood through the atria of the heart. I was told that this is the shunting we would want, as the right-to-left version is a bit more tricky.

So I was assured, reassured, and reassured again by so many professionals that this is nothing to worry about.

That so many people have this.

There is nothing different that we need to do.

He has no restrictions, and we can go about our lives as normal.

No medications, no surgery, no interventions.

We actually don't even need to see a Pediatric Cardiologist.

Ahem! Guess who is seeing a Peds Cards anyway because I said so!

I am not sure how I am feeling about this right now.

I think I am still in shock about the whole situation.

Goodnight kisses take on a whole new meaning when you hear your child has an "issue".

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Not My Child Monday!

This blog carnival is sponsored by MckMama. Join her and all of us and tell everyone what is not going on in your house this week!

So this week, my two year old son did not find his "stuff".
You know what I am talking about, right?
His "man stuff"?
His "family jewels".
His. External. Genitalia.
His thingy.
Yep, that.
And he did not proceed to check that it was there during each and every diaper change.
No, my son would not do that 12 times per day.
Nor do he check it a zillion times in the bathtub.
No, he is not OCD like me!
And I did not yell at him to STOP IT ALREADY!
And I did not threaten to cut it off.
And I did not try to teach the two year old boy that it isn't going anywhere any time soon.

And he did not look at me with those big blue eyes and a matching blank stare.
As he checked for it again.
Without taking his eyes off of me the entire time.
And I am not sitting banging my head on the desk, wondering how to deal with boys and their "stuff".
No, not me!

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shock and Awe!

When I sit and listen to my daughter talk, I see an evolution of speech and sounds.

I have watched and listened to the progress.
I have seen the baby sign language fade away as the word was mastered.
I have seen the sadness in her eyes when someone just couldn't understand what she was saying.
I have noted with amazement the creative ways she has learned to converse with someone.

For the last forty-nine months, she has worked harder and with more determination than anyone I have ever known.

Yes, you read that correctly: 49 months.

She started speech therapy at the ripe ole age of 18 months.
This Mama just knew in her heart that something wasn't right.
And I was right.
At that time, I didn't know what apraxia was.
I seemed to have to be the one to educate some of the professionals on it.

But she has really come so far and has made amazing progress.
Just this weekend, we were visiting my family.
Kate just goes on and on, talking with my Mom and sister.
They can follow her pretty well, occasionally looking to me for clarification.
My Dad, however, is a bit slower to learn her language.
He is always looking at me to translate.
But lately, he is improving.
I don't need to repeat what she said as often.
And now I realize why: Kaitlyn speaks differently to him.

As I sat there watching her and listening to her, I saw it first hand.
This little girl knows.
This little girl knows that her Grandfather tries so hard to hear her words and figure them out.
She sees him struggle.
So she is going to make it easier for him.
You aren't going to believe this, but please do!
She actually shortens her sentences and uses simple, easy words for him.
Long gone are those long "and then...and then...and then..." sentences that she uses with me and my Mom and my sister.
She talks basic to my Dad.
She knows.
She really knows.

How amazing is that?

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

IEPs by Dr. Suess


I do not like these IEPs

I do not like them, Jeeze Louise

We test, we check

We plan, we meet

But nothing ever seems complete.

Would you, could you

Like the form?

I do not like the form I see

Not page 1, not 2, not 3

Another change

A brand new box

I think we all

Have lost our rocks.

Could you all meet here or there?

We could not all meet here or there.

We cannot all fit anywhere.

Not in a room

Not in the hall

There seems to be no space at all.

Would you, could you meet again?

I cannot meet again next week

No lunch no prep

Please hear me speak.

No, not at dusk. No, not at dawn

At 4 pm I should be gone.

Could you hear while all speak out?

Would you write the words they spout?

I could not hear, I would not write

This does not need to be a fight.

Sign here, date there,

Mark this, check that

Beware the students ad-vo-cat(e).

You do not like them

So you say

Try again! Try again!

And you may.

If you will let me be,

I will try again

You will see.


I almost like these IEPs

I think I'll write 6003.

And I will practice day and night

Until they say

"You got it right!"

(I found this while Googling late one night. I can't find the author to give him/her props for this, so if you are the author and are reading this...thank you for this AWESOME poem!)

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Friday, May 21, 2010

A Good Word and A Smile

A gentle woman.
A man who gave me great directions.
A man with a kind word and nice smile.

The test is over.
"Nothing appears to be jumping out at me, but the cardiologist will still have to review it..." she says to me.

Was that my heart that just skipped a beat?

Yes, I am slightly relieved, but still have to wait for the "official report" from the Pediatric Cardiologist.
That may not be until next week.
The tech that did Andrew's test was truly an angel.

So maybe I can get back to normal?
Not be such a ditzy woman, trying to juggle her son into an elevator and stare blankly at the floor numbers wondering "Where did I park?"
Luckily, there were two men in the elevator with us.
One man remembers seeing us walk in a hour or so earlier.
At least he remembered Andrew's Cubs hat!
He told me what floor I might be on.
I think he's a Cubs fan, too!

And the other man?
Well, let's just say he was exactly what the doctor ordered.
A warm smile.
A nice few words.
Not something that you expect from a well-known television anchor, would you?

Thank you, Mr (no, I won't use your name!) for being so kind.
Thank you for dismissing my ditzy behavior.
Thank you for that nice smile.
Thank you for being a teeny tiny bright moment in what has been a very dark 24 hours.

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Today is Test Day

A quick call in the morning can really change your whole day.
I made one of those quick calls.
"Just wondering if you had any cancellations for a ECHO any time?"
"Hold on, let me check....."
(Hospital on-hold music playing........)
"OK, we will do it at 1:00pm. Can you be here at that time?"
"I am there!"

So, at 1:00pm today, Andrew will be having that ECHO w/ Doppler test.
To evaluate this new "murmur" that was detected yesterday.

It's too early for me to drink a glass of wine.
Then there's the whole "drinking and driving thing" that I won't do.
Can't take an anti-anxiety pill.
Falls into the same category of "caution while operating heavy machinery while on this med" deal.
So I am going to wing it.
With my rosary in my pocket.
Saying my prayers the whole way to the hospital and during the test.
And probably throwing up somewhere along the way.

Please pray for my son.
He's just a little boy.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Heart is Broken

I can't figure out how to write this post.
Please bear with me, as I am sure I am going to stumble around and not make much sense.
Here goes:

So Andrew has had this hoarse voice since Sunday evening.
It seemed to get a tad worse on Tuesday, better on Wednesday, but back to bad today.
So I had enough.
I cancelled his speech therapy session (which Andrew was pissed off about, by the way!) and made an appointment for our pediatrician to evaluate him.
Could be sinuses.
Could be allergies.
Could be that he is loud and yells and his voice is hoarse from that.
After speaking with the doctor, she examines him and says that "his throat is red".
But besides the hoarse voice, that is his only symptom.
"Let's do a throat culture, just to rule out strep" she says.
Throat culture is done, some pouting from Andrew, and we sit and wait for the results.


How is he strep positive without symptoms?

Then, the big blow. As she is listening to his lungs and heart:
"...and we know about the murmur..."

"Um, what murmur?" I say, with eyes as big as a deer just caught in the headlights.

"Oh, you don't know about it?"

"Um, NO!"

With all the doctors that have seen my son.
With all of the stethescopes that have been on his little chest.
Not one person has ever detected a murmur.

Until now.

So we go for an ECHO with Doppler Study on Monday at 10:00am.
Our pediatrician doesn't seem concerned about it at all.
After all, she noted it two weeks ago when Andrew was in the office.
She was going to recheck it at his three-year-old well child visit.

But it's back out there now.

And I sit here.

My heart is broken.
Broken because these kids of mine just can't catch a break!
We get two steps forward, only to be pushed three steps backwards.
Now we may be adding "Cardiology" to our list of specialists for my children.

Dear God, please let this be "benign", "innocent" and "functional" as the doctor called it.
Dear God, please let my little man be OK.
You don't give me more than I can handle. This I know.
I don't ever question You.
Please help me understand this latest cross that we have to carry.
Dear God...please.

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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Friends vs Old Friends

While reading another blog, I was struck by her honesty.
I could "read" that she was hurting.
And then I thought to myself: "Wow! I never gave that any thought!"

Until now.

When you are a parent of a special-needs child (or children), you really become isolated.

By. Yourself.

Old friends that you once hung out with either aren't around as much or you are too busy to get together with them.
You don't organize those "play dates" with a lot of parents with typical developing children because of, oh, the hassle of it.
The prepping of your child prior to the play date.
The fear of leaving the child alone without you there to intercede or interpret.
The meltdowns.
So you avoid those play dates like the plague.

And you start networking with other parents of special needs children.
At school, in Church, in the neighborhood.
On Facebook, on Twitter, and online chat rooms.
New friendships are formed, while the old ones are still there, somewhere.

And to be honest with you, I would much rather have conversations and play dates with parents of special needs children than with parents of typical developing children.
You don't need to explain anything.
You don't need to translate.
You can say "CAS" and "PT/OT" and "IEP" without having to define them.

And the children are not judgemental or bullies or brats.

There is an unspoken language in the room filled with understanding and empathy, rather than furrowed brows and sympathy.
It's a special club that you have been placed in, without the invitation.

Now, by no means is this post a pity party.
Because I have said in the past and I will say it again: I don't have those parties, nor do I RSVP to those parties.
My children are my gifts.
I love every inch of them, including their differences.
God placed them in my care for a reason.
Is it because we have the resources?
Could be.
Is it because we live in a great school district.
It's possible.
Is it because we have the education and knowledge base to help them?
Yep, that's another good answer.
Is it because I am loud and outspoken and an advocate?
Sure, why not?!

The Special Child
The Child, yet unborn, spoke with the Father,
"Lord, how will I survive on the world?
I will not be like other children, My
walk may be slower, my speech hard
to understand, I may look different.
What is to become of me?"
The lord replied to the child,
"My precious one, have no fear, I will
give you exceptional Parents, they
will love you because you are special,
not in spite of it. Though your path
through life will be difficult, your
reward will be greater, you have been
blessed with a special ability to love,
and those whose lives you touch will
be blessed because you are special."

Author unknown

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Driving our new car to work on Wednesday and swearing that every police officer and Sate Trooper were headed northbound on I-55 that morning.

9. Wondering to myself "Hmmm? My foot looks funny. I think I might have broken something in there."

8. Those three xrays on Thursday which confirmed that I have, indeed, a stress fracture of the 4th tarsal bone. Yep.

7. Hearing the doc say "You will have to be immobilized in a boot for the next 5 weeks. Wha?????

6. Talking the doc down to three weeks.

5. Being off work for 3 weeks! Although it will be confined to a CAM walking boot, its 3 weeks at home with my kiddos!

4. Kaitlyn assuming the role of nurse in the house for "your broke foot".

3. Prepping for one final field trip for Kaitlyn this school year.

2. Kaitlyn receiving a birthday party be held the last day of one of those bounce-and-jump places!

1. I love my kids!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Not My Child (and Me!) Monday

So this one is a doozy for sure.
I did not take my son to Target (since I totally LOVE to shop there!) to bribe him with YoGo's for allowing me to shop.

I never bribe my children.
And although he held my hand as we crossed the street, I did not allow him to run ahead to step on the sensor which activates the automatic doors to open.
And I did not watch him fall.
And hit his mouth and chin against the metal frame of the automatic door.

And I did not scoop him up and run into a men's bathroom for paper towels to soak up the blood.

And when I asked the lady at the counter for some ice, she did not give me a ONE GALLON ZIPLOCK BAG FILLED WITH THREE INCH ICE CUBES!


I want to stop the blood from his mouth, NOT pack his body in ice!

And I did not huff in frustration and run through the store with bloody child in my arms into the frozen food section.

And I did not rip open a box of popsicles.

And I did not save the day by stopping the gush of blood with this frozen treat.

Then, I was not hunted down by the store manager,

who, at first, wondered if my child was OK,

then asked if I was going to fill out an incident report.

"Do I need to?"

In which I was informed "Only if you are going to seek medical attention".



Mommy-RN to the rescue here!

I'm on 24/7, lady!

Then, I was not charged for that whole frickin' box of popsicles that I opened.

Yes, I was charged for the whole box!

Guess who is NOT shopping at Target anymore?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

That Pesky Final /L/ Sound

This sound that Kaitlyn is lacking has really been a thorn in my side.
The /L/ sound made by raising ones tongue and placing it behind the front teeth.
Yea, that sound.

As in " La-La-La-La!"

Yea, that sound.

Except we want the /L/ sound at the end of the word.

But for Kaitlyn, it is coming out as an /o/ sound.

Towel is "tow-wo"
Camel is "cam-mo"
Owl is "ow-wo"

Oooh, that pesky final /L/ sound.

Apparently, both her private and school SLPs have noticed this as well, and both are addressing the issue.
I received a new Bingo game of those final /L/ sounds in her backpack on Thursday with a note that instructed us to somewhat exaggerate the visual prompt of raising the tongue during demo of this sound.

And with the reminder or prompt, she does it just fine.

In fact, I think she is taunting me with her exaggerated final /L/ sound.

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Saturday, May 15, 2010


Quite the strong word to start a blog entry with, isn't it?
But when you have a special needs child coupled with an expressive language issue, trust takes on a whole new meaning.

Who do you trust to translate this unique language?
Are they patient?
Are they kind?
Are they willing to learn and listen?
One soon finds out that the length of the "Trust List" becomes smaller and smaller.

Of course I trust my husband, as he is my husband and their Father.
He knows them as well as I do and has so graciously arranged his work schedule with mine so that one of us are always with the kids and we do not have to use childcare or daycare.

I trust my parents, especially my Mom who has been an emergency babysitter in a pinch.
My Dad has a special relationship with both of my kids and has stepped in on many occasions.

I trust my brother and sister.
I'll just forget the time that my brother left Andrew in a poopy diaper because he was "afraid to change it" and we will also forget that my sister is afraid of my house and the dark so she leaves every light on in the house...not a good sleeping arrangement.

I trust my next-door neighbor with my kids. Kaitlyn loves her, and Andrew is coy with her, but appears to size up her husband every time they are within a 20 foot radius of each other.
Yeah right, Andrew!
What are you going to do to him?
You really aren't much of a threat.
C"mon, guy. He's OK!!!

I totally trust our group of pediatricians as well as that office staff.
Hmmm? I wonder if they are available to babysit next weekend?

I trust the myriad of physicians that we have kept on board.
I phrase it that way since I have been known to terminate relationships with certain doctors based on many reasons, but usually for their lack of professionalism, tact, and empathy for special-needs kids.

Oh, and I trust the group of educators and therapists at her school this year (as opposed to previous years!)

I trust......hmmmm......I think that's it!

Pretty small list, isn't it?

That's what happens when you are a protective parent with a special needs child.
You just can't hand them off to just about anyone.

There are too many variables that come into play.

Can't just call someone to watch the kids for a night out with the girls or the husband, can I?

Not with my trust issues!

Who do you trust with your special needs children?

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Lightening Strikes

They say lightening doesn't strike twice in the same place.
What do they know?
Do they sit at my kitchen table to translate conversations?
Well, then they obviously don't know my two children.
Because the way I am seeing it, lightening HAS indeed struck twice.


There's Kaitlyn, with moderate-to-severe apraxia of speech.
There's Andrew, teetering on an apraxia diagnosis, but leaning more towards a moderate phonological disorder.

Lightening strikes twice, in my opinion, in the same place.
In this case, the "place" is our family.
More specifically, my children.

With Kaitlyn, we set out on this "speech journey" not knowing one iota of what we were in for.
Then came the Googling, the books, the support groups, the evaluations, the IEPs, the battles.
We became experts in her language.
When Andrew came along, we didn't expect to travel down that same jagged road.
But here we are again.
Only this time, the road is a bit more familiar.
Less Googling, still re-reading the books, still hanging out in those online support groups, all while mastering a second language: Andrew's.

Lightening strikes twice in the same place here.

Which brings me to these questions:
(1)Could there be a genetic link for apraxia?
(2)Should there be genetic testing done on all subsequent children once one child in a family is diagnosed?

Then your mind starts to wander:
  • did I eat too much canned tuna during my pregnancy?
  • was I exposed to harmful chemicals at work?
  • was my husband's exposure to chemicals at a previous job over 20 years ago have anything to do with this?
  • was there too much caffeine in that one cup of tea I drank everyday of my pregnancy?

Lightening strikes twice.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Andrew's ECE Evaluation

Tuesday morning was Andrew's Early Childhood Education school evaluation.
And, in my opinion, it went well.

School nurse.
Physical therapist.
Occupational therapist.
Speech therapist.
School psychologist.
School Social Worker.

Andrew was his typical charming self, flirting and schmoozing the several ladies in the classroom.
I sat in the back of the room, watching from a distance but close enough that he could turn around and see me for reassurance.
The testing was lead by an amazing school psychologist who seriously needs to be cloned!
She rocked!
If I could bottle her energy and enthusiasm, I could be a millionaire!
Andrew responded well to her, but also reminded them that he was the boss at times.

They got a bird's eye view of his abilities and, unfortunately, his disabilities.
He was antsy.
He wanted to do things his way.
He was determined.
Short attention span.
He gave them a glimpse of his verbal abilities as well as weaknesses.
He showed them how intense he was with his fine motor skills when stringing teeny tiny beads, yet failed miserably with the scissors.
He scored big points with his physical skills, yet wouldn't throw a ball at a Velcro target if his life depended on it.
He was really weak on his communication skills, both expressive and receptive.

There were some mousy "yes" answers to questions.
There were some funny moments, too.
And he was so darned focused on that juice box that I gave him that they had to take it away at one point and hide it.
"Apple juice!" he would demand on occasion.

All in all, it was a good evaluation.
We meet again on May 27th for our official IEP Meeting.

Regardless of the outcome of today's testing, he will be attending that same preschool in the fall.
With or without an IEP.
But, as my gut instinct seems to always take over in the driver's seat, something tells me that an IEP is in his future.

That's not all so bad, folks.
Not bad at all.
That just means he will be getting the help he needs to be successful.

And that is all a parent wants for their child, right?


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Who Do YOU Know?

Who do you know that deserves an award like this?
Your Mom?
Your neighbor?
Someone in the neighborhood?

If you know someone who deserves this award, beit a Mom or a professional who words with kids with apraxia, NOMINATE them!
Click here for complete rules and nomination forms.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Watching Kaitlyn excel in gymnastics and almost be able to do a cart wheel.

9. Listening to the progress that Andrew is making with Jill during his therapy sessions.

8. A Friday evening away with friends to catch up on scrapbooking. Well, I did complete 2007!

7. Taking a nap on Saturday with the kids. A nap that lasted 2 1/2 hours!

6. Prepping for Andrew's ECE school evaluation on Tuesday.

5. Selling my car on Saturday. *sniff sniff*. Then again, it was my "single car": a sporty, blackberry-colored Saturn SC2! Not appropriate or convenient when one has kids.

4. Buying a NEW car on Thursday night! A Honda CRV! I got to choose the color, and it was between bright Tango Red and true-blue Chicago Cubs blue. I was torn! And seeing that my husband does NOT like the Cubs and he would be driving it a majority of the time, I went with RED, but it was such a hard decision. Anyone who knows me knows I bleed CUBBIE BLUE!

3. Being pampered on Mother's Day!

2. Listening to Andrew sing "The Wheels on the Bus". In a whisper so I wouldn't hear him in the back seat. But I heard it!

1. Andrew wiping out at Target (read face plant into the metal door frame!) and getting his first fat lip! I am sure that there are more of those to come in our future!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Not Me Monday

Once again, we gather here for our weekly blog carnival "Not Me Monday" sponsored by MckMama and her new website!
So this week, we will not talk about Mother's day.
I did not sleep until 8:00 am on Sunday morning.
And I was not greeted in bed with the perfect cup of hot Dunkin Donuts coffee.
And my son did not give me a huge box of Whoppers chocolate-covered malted milk balls.
Then proceed to ask for some.
And my daughter did not make the most beautiful plate with hearts and her hand print.
And it did not make my eyes water as I looked at that tiny hand on that little plate and then glance over to see what a beautiful little lady she is blossoming into.
And I didn't proceed to get a sticky, syrupy kiss from Andrew as we ate pancakes for breakfast.
And I didn't look at these two little faces during Sunday Mass and think of how blessed I am.
And I didn't thank God for giving me these two precious gifts to teach me how to be a Mom.
And I didn't shower them with kisses and hugs all day, reminding them how much I loved them.
And not once did I wonder what I did in my life that was so right that I would deserve them.
And I was not spoiled with my favorite Clinique products from my husband.

Or the awesome gifts from my Mom, Dad, sister and brother.
Thank you both for such a beautiful day.
But without sounding too cliche', these two little babies of mine make me feel like everyday is Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

A Toast To All Moms

On this day,
I would like to extend the warmest "Happy Mother's Day" to all Moms out there.
Those who are on duty 24/7, 365.
Those who love their children more than life itself.
Those who keep bedside vigils,
cheer from the sidelines,
quietly watch,
and loudly protest.
You are all heroes in some set of little eyes.
And you are all heroes to me.

Happy Mother's Day!

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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Auditory Processing Disorder

With all of the information this week on Auditory Processing Disorder, Rosie O'Donnell's recent appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America", and so on, I thought it would be appropriate to throw in a bit more information on this subject.

Click here to read the article.

Personally, I think we ALL have a little APD in us, don' you?
Unfortunately, I believe that our little ones have it a bit harder.

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Friday, May 7, 2010

ENT Appointment

Don't you just hate that feeling of your heart pounding in your throat?
I do.
Really, really do.

Thursday was Kaitlyn's appointment with our ENT after receiving the "your-child-failed-her-hearing-test-in-school" letter a couple of weeks ago.
I knew, deep in my heart, that her hearing was just fine.
But it always helps to let the pros do the testing and right now, that certified school nurse for our district wasn't exactly fitting the bill.

Sitting in the exam room, Kaitlyn was all about being there.
She had a plan and an agenda.
"Look in my ears with the light". Yes, Kate.
"Get the wax out". Yep, that too!
"Listen to birds". Referring to the beeping noise of the testing to be done.
"Hug him". She planned on hugging her doctor all day.
She was totally in control.

The man is a gentle giant in my eyes, but to Kaitlyn, all she sees is the giant.
And that hug?
Well, it turned into more of one of those Hollywood lean-in-there's-your-hug type of hug.
In fact, her arms never left her side.
Didn't even resemble a hug.

A little chit-chat with me as to why we were there, a history refresher, and he was all about getting to the bottom of this "issue" that has been weighing on my mind for the last 16 days.

Checked the ears. Loaded with wax.
Checked the nose. Good.
Checked the tonsils. Still big, but baseline big for her and they are a non-issue still, so we will leave them as is and pray that she just grows into them. They aren't causing any apnea, snoring, sweating at night, feeding/swallowing difficulties, or any other problem.
If it ain't broke, don't fix it!

"Mom, I'd like to clean some of the wax out of her ears. Do you think we can do this or should we wrap her up?"

Knowing my daughter, she is tough.
And strong.
She will take you down.
It took four of us to give her that enema in the ER back in January.
Have you seen the thigh muscles on this little girl?

"No, I think we can do it without having to wrap her. I'll hold her hands and arms".

(Note to self: papoosing a special-needs child is not a good idea in my book!)

But it went well.
Some tears.
A lot of yelling (from Kaitlyn).
And a ton of wax.
Me holding her hands and arms as I laid on her legs.
The office nurse immobilizing her head.
And the doc cleaning away.

Off we go to the other part of the office for an OAE.
Which, she passed.
And it really makes me question how the heck that certified school nurse for our district actually tested her!
OK, don't go there!

Then, it was time for the booth test.
A sound-proof room where she is accompanied by an Audiologist while a second audiologist is administering the test.
Um, what about Mom?
Mom had to sit OUTSIDE of the sound proof room with Andrew.
Can't take the linebacker into that room with big sister.
I suddenly realized that my six year old baby really isn't a baby anymore and she could handle this on her own without me.

I sat down, a tad deflated and sad.

But then I hear the giggling from one of the audiologists and a quick reference as to how Kaitlyn corrected the accompanying audiologist in the sound proofed room.
She (audiologist) didn't know what a certain shape was.
"It's an octagon!" stated my daughter.
Such a charmer, and a smart cookie.

Passed the booth test!

Big sigh of relief from me.

We head back to the exam room to speak with the physician who explained the testing and where Kaitlyn's scores fell: normal hearing.
Thank you, dear Lord.
This little cookie of mine can't have any more on her plate right now.

So since her actual hearing is fine, I guess I am dealing with typically "selective listening" from a spunky six year old?
That's fine.
I'll take it!

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

An Award Winning Moment

Oh My Gosh!
Thank you! Thank you, everyone!
I would like to thank everyone that voted for me.
Oh, my heart is beating so fast right now!
I want to thank my kids, Kaitlyn and Andrew.
Without you both, this award would NOT be possible.
You are my world!
I want to thank my husband for all of his support, and for not yelling at me when I took out my frustrations with your credit card at Archivers, Michael's, Hobby Lobby, and JoAnn Fabrics!
Thank you!

Now, pause the music on the lower right of my blog to listen to the media coverage here!

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flexing AND Listening

This school year has rocked!
Great teacher!
Great therapists!
Great program!

No need to flex from this Mama.

Until Tuesday.

After spending some quality time with my computer and researching The Listening Program, I sent a friendly email to the teacher.
Asking for the program to be added to Kaitlyn's IEP.
Since school ends in just under four weeks (EEK!), she could begin over the summer in the ESY Program and carry through into the fall semester.

Based on the program's history and research, she could benefit in many ways:
• Attention and concentration
• Listening
• Speech and language
• Memory
• Communication
• Social skills
• Reading
• Sensory integration
• Self regulation
• Physical balance and coordination
• Vocal performance and musical ability

Even if it doesn't help, it can't hurt!

So I am prepared for the list of comebacks:
*Don't have an OT trained to provide the program. Then train one!
*Don't have the program. Then buy it!
*We need to schedule an IEP to add this. Fine, name the day and I'll be there!

Like I said...flexing.

Never had to do it this year, so I decided to wait until the last four weeks of the school year to do it.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Andrew's last day of our Parent-Child class last night. *sniff sniff*

9. Losing track of how many times I was "informed" of Kaitlyn's habit of running in the halls at school.

8. Having an amazing school team come up with a reward program to help deter the "hallway runner". Stickers can have amazing effects!

7. Andrew telling the ladies behind us in Church to "Shhh!" (verbally and visually) after he made them laugh with his flirting antics.

6. Counting down to the end of the 2009-2010 school year for Kaitlyn.

5. One more field trip for Kaitlyn in the coming weeks.

4. Kaitlyn walking in on me in the bathroom early one morning. I was half asleep, as it was 6:00am. She proceed to pull some toilet paper and say "Here, Mom, let me help you". Um, no! I may be tired, but I can handle the toilet paper myself.

3. Coming up with another "plan" for Kaitlyn's therapy.

2. Receiving that sealed envelope in Kaitlyn's backpack with that "Your-child-failed-her-hearing-test" letter in it. Off to the ENT we go!

1. I Love My Kids!

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Not My Child Monday

Embarrassed at how matted down your carpet looks because you kept putting the vacuuming off "until tomorrow"? Unphased that you are down to the bottom of the drawer for clothes options because you haven't done last week's laundry yet?
Well don't be!
Join MckMama's bog carnival and let all of your dirty laundry hang out!
Go to her site here, grab a button, and tell us what you have been not up to lately!

So my son did not flirt with the ladies in the pew behind us in Church on Saturday.
Nope! Not my son!
And he did not look sheepishly out of the corner of hos eye at these ladies at every given chance.
And he did not keep checking to see that they were still watching him.
No, not my son.
And he did not proceed to put his tiny finger up to his mouth and tell them "Shhhh!" as they giggled and smirked back at him.
No, not my son.
He never flirts with older women.

And my daughter was not obsessed with the wedgie that was caused by her gymnastics outfit.
No, not my daughter!
She would not continuously pick her suit out of her butt.
Like she was digging for gold!
And the suit was not that tight, either!
No, not my daughter.
She has more manners than that.
And she would not proceed to ignore me as I made every hand signal to her to cut it out already!
She made eye contact with me, but still kept digging after every somersault, backward roll, uneven bar and what was supposed to be a cart-wheel.
Looks like this Mom is not going shopping this week for gymnastics suits that look like biker shorts, is she?
You darn right I am!

What has not been going on in your house this week?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Come On! Really?

So I get this letter in a sealed envelope from Kaitlyn's school.
Never a good thing, by the way.
Inside the envelope is a letter stating that "your child failed his/her hearing screen".

No Way! Come on! Really?!

Do I believe it?
Did I call the school nurse about it?
You betcha!
Did I grill her?
Of course!

So here is the plan.
After finding out that a whole slew of kids were tested that day, a little voice spoke up in my head that told me "Um, hey Mom? Don't you think the testing environment might have been sub-optimal here?"

Thank goodness for those little voices in my head that I hear every now and then.

But of course, little voice!

So here is how I drilled her:
1. Was the room quiet?
2. She has tiny ear canals. Were smaller probes used?
3. She has a sinus infection and is on an antibiotic right now.
4. Was she distracted?
5. Was she sitting still?
6. She does have an ear wax issue, you know.
7. Who tested her?
8. What time of day was she tested?

Get the picture of how that phone call went?

So we are getting her retested.
Yep, retested.
Not at school, but at her ENT's office next week.
It was the first appointment that I could get, but seeing how awesome and busy this guy is, it's a mere miracle that we did get in so soon!
Seeing that she passed her last hearing exam eleven months ago with flying colors, I am really not too concerned about it.

Really. I am not too concerned.
Well, maybe a tad.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

Children's Medication Recall

Like we really need something else to worry about, right?

Click here to read about the recalls.

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May 1st

The end of the school year is upon us.
Oh my, what are we going to do?

Kaitlyn will be in school Monday through Thursdays for ESY.
Gymnastics on Tuesdays.
Looking for a swim class which we typically enroll in every summer.
Speech therapy on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

And Andrew?
Speech therapy via EI on our current schedule.
That's it.
School is finished this coming Monday.

What to do with this active little boy is beyond me right now.
I am predicting a lot of miles on my car for mini-road trips will be in order.

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