Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Week in Review....

Ten tantrums one little boy had on Thursday...no thanks to a sinus infection.

Nine hours of sleep that I got last night.  Yep, I was tired.

Eight days since we mainstreamed!

Seven full days of school on the books.

Six good hours of inclusion and learning.

Five days of the boy being back in school and he is so happy!

Four day weekend to look forward to.

Three hours a day that I get to see my girl after school since she is so tired and crashes.

Two happy kids.

One content Mom.

post signature

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Idle Threats

Well, they actually work!

And maybe because I was serious about being the "re-po Mom" and took my job seriously when I re-po'd those mini hand sanitizers the other day.

And it crushed her.
Poor kid cried.
But hey! Cut me some slack!
I had to take a stand.

And she got them all back the next day.
And since then, we are 3-for-3 on days with good behavior.

Idle threats.
Sometimes it really works!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today's Top Ten

10.  Mainstreaming that went off without a hitch!  She loves it!

9.  Taking the little guy back to school.  He was so happy!

8.  Mom having ear infections this time and NOT the kids.  *sigh*

7.  Our first sinus infection of the school year....and it is just 3 days old.

6.  Planning for a little family vacation.

5.  New speech therapy schedules.

4.  No more private OT.  I hope I don't live to regret this decision.

3.  Emails, phone calls, and connections:  I cannot wait!!!

2.  Being the mean Mom and taking away her most prized possessions because of bad behavior:  her hand sanitizers.

1.  I LOVE my kids!

post signature

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I am #72!

I am #72!!!

WOW!

To be included in a list like this, #72 is pretty darned awesome.....in my humble opinion!

Here is some background on what I am talking about:
A couple of weeks ago, I was contacted by a lady named Erin from Online Speech Pathology Programs (dot) net who said that my blog was being considered as part of this awesome list of resources entitled the "Best 100 Sites for Speech Pathologists".

I was shocked, honored, humbled, speechless.

Me?
The loud-mouthed, proactive, assertive, advocate for my kids?
Yes, me.

And then last week, the final word came:  I was in.
I was one of their top 100 sites.
I was now #72.

They described me as follows:
This blogger is a mother of a child with apraxia of speech, and she writes about the joys and struggles of parenting a child who needs speech therapy. A self-professed advocate for children’s rights, her writing is always warm and loving and clearly aimed at helping people when possible


OMG!
They make me sound cool!
And when I scrolled through their entire list, I am in some amazing company of bloggers and websites!

You can view the entire list here!

Now I feel like I need to make some sort of acceptance speech here.
(Clears throat)

"First of all, I would like to thank Erin for emailing me about my inclusion in this list.
I would like to thank whomever stumbled upon my blog and for reading it and thinking that I really have something good to offer.
I would like to thank all of you who continue to read and support my blog with your likes, shares, and comments.
I would like to thank all of the SLPs out there who work with kids like mine everyday and for your dedication and inspiration.
And I would especially like to thank my two kids who struggle with apraxia and other speech-language issues.
You two have taught me so much.
More than any college professor could teach me.
More than any book on Amazon.com.
And finally I would like to thank God for my two gifts.
I give all the glory to you.
Without you giving me my two most precious gifts in my life, my world would be dark and silent"

(cue music....ain't gonna let Kanye West ruin MY moment!)

And I take a humble bow.

post signature

Monday, August 27, 2012

Revoking Rewards & Why I Don't Get Mom-fo-the-Year Award

So I won't get the Mom-of-the-Year Award today.
That's OK.
If you asked my daughter her opinion, I was out if the running today.

Remember my post about how we were using Bath and Body Works mini-hand sanitizers as an incentive for good behavior a couple of weeks ago?
Well, it was working really, really well for a while.
A little bit too well.
Maybe I jinxed it by bragging about how well it was working?
Maybe the novelty wore off?

Regardless of what happened, something went awry.  Askew.  Asunder.

The behavior has changed and she thinks that she is Queen of the Castle lately.
And this sassy behavior has trickled into her school day.
Her NEW school!
Remember?  She just started in gen ed?

Oy!

Lately, she has been using what I will refer to as "inappropriate words".
Poopy.
Poopy diapers.
Cow gas.
And her brother is repeating all of this with his infectious giggle.
And that just encourages more inappropriate words.
But now these words are being used in school.

I truly believe that she is saying them to get a rise out of people.
She gets attention (albeit bad) when she says them so she uses them to her advantage.
But on Friday her school mentioned that she was using them a lot to get attention, so I had to put an end to that....STAT!

This morning, the words started.
I thought to myself:  what can I do to get her attention that I mean business?

My a-ha moment:  I'll take one mini-hand sanitizer away each time she says something inappropriate.
It's totally Pavlov!
I gave her one warning and I told her my plan.
She was totally aware that I was going to do this.

So she started at 6:45am with the first word:  poopy.

Me:  "Kate, bring me one of your sanitizers.  Pick whichever one you want and bring it to me."
Kate:  "No.  I don't want to.  It's mine."
Me:  "I know it's mine, but you know my new rule.  Bring me one."

She had this look on her face which read "oh-my-gosh-you-are-dead-serious-on-this-one-aren't-you"!
And I was.
She slowly walked downstairs and came back with a peach-scented sanitizer.

Me:  "Thank you.  When you stop using those words you can have this back."

She sulked out of the room with her tail between her legs.

As the morning went on, she continued.
I counted.
As we drove the boy to school......
1.  2.  3.
And she continued.
As we drove home after dropping boy off at school.......
4.  5.  6.  7.
And she continued, trying to call my bluff.
As we walked into the house...........
8.  9.  10.  11.  12.............18.

Yes, 18.
She lost 18 of them to me.
And I don't think she thought I was serious.
But I was and I still am.
So I made her sit at the picnic table in our kitchen and had her count out 18 mini-sanitizers.
All.  By.  Herself.

Then I made her pick them up and walk them into my office.
Um, yes I have what I call an "office".
It's my little room off the main entrance of our house with a locked door that I can escape to do my scrapbooking stuff, school stuff, and any stuff that I want to do without being bothered.
I made her set those 18 sanitizers on my cedar chest.
And then I made her lock the door.
And close the door.
And she could peer at them through the door all she wanted....she wasn't getting these back until her behavior improved and the inappropriate words stopped.

This is what she sees:

 
If you look closely, you can see how she lined them up on the chest.
 
And she cried!
And cried.
Trust me, this is NOT the way I intended her to feel a mere 10 minutes before we had to start walking to school.
I may be tough but I'm not cruel.
But she had to learn a lesson.
And she is learning a tough one right now.
So we walked to school and she promised up and down that she would be good and did the whole pinky-swear thing.
I promised that if I got a good report from school and that if she made good decisions and didn't use those silly, inappropriate words that she would get them back.
 
Off to school she went, and I got a hug and a promise.
I also updated her supported ed teacher and SLP, so they were aware of what happened this morning.
It sucks being a Mom sometimes and it sucks when your kids hate you for doing something that they don't like.
 
Oh well, you gotta do what you gotta do, right?
 
So after school she "claimed" that she was good and that she wanted her sanitizers back.
I told her that I didn't get any phone calls or emails from school but I had to check her folder to see if there was a note for me.
 
There was.
And now 12 more mini-sanitizers joined their 18 other friends behind closed, locked, glass doors.
 
She is pissed off at me.
And this, my friends, is why I am not getting the MOTY award from my daughter today!
 
She owns 45 of these little gems.
30 of them are now in my possession.
She has 15 to gamble with at the present time.
 
Remind me NOT to take her to Vegas with me, OK?
 

post signature

Friday, August 24, 2012

Meet-and-Greet: Child #2

Boy oh boy!

This has been the week of meet-n-greets for sure!

While Kate's MNG was a little nerve-wracking, Andrew had his today and it went well!

He was a little sad when I told him that he would be having a new teacher this year.
He was absolutely in love with last year's teacher, Miss S.
Miss S could do no wrong in his eyes!
And he was right!
Miss S was the bomb!

But this year he has a new teacher, Miss S (another S!) and he seemed OK with it.
Um, more than OK.
We walked into the classroom and Miss S introduced herself and Andrew immediately went to her and hugged her!

All together now.......awwwwwwwww.

And when his new classroom SLP introduced herself to him, he gave her the same Andrew-welcome:  a coy hug.

Awwwwwww.

I was happy to see that he was so confident in that classroom with the new faces!
And then we met our classroom OT:  she was Kate's OT when she was at the preschool.
She knows Andrew.
She knows me.
Could this day get any better????

After he was done flirting with his new teachers, he went on a mission to find his other "love" from last year:  Miss S.

Oh. My. Gosh!

He peered around the door and spotted her and ran to her like a kid running after an icecream truck!
I don't know how she caught him or how he didn't knock her over, but the scene was just too adorable and NO I didn't even think of snapping a photo.
(Banging head on the keyboard)

So we are set for 2012-2013.
Kate is settled in her new school and loving it.
Andrew is happy with his new classroom and even happier that he saw his old friends.

Can the trend continue????

post signature

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inclusion: Day One

Anticipation.

Excitement.

Confidence.

Determination.

Success.

I live for days like this for my kids! What a wonderful day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In 24 hours....

...you will be in your new school.

...you will meet new friends.

...you will meet new teachers.

...you will be helped.

...you won't be alone.

...you will be in heart.

...you will be in my prayers...all day.

...and I will be there...waiting...after school...with open arms and a big hug!

Congratulations, little girl!  You've made it to the big time!
Now show 'em what you've got!

post signature

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Top Ten

10.  Our Meet-n-Greet yesterday.  Humbling.

9.  The end of the summer winding down.

8.  Swimming, picnics, bike riding and all the fun we had this summer!

7.  Emails and business proposals.

6.  Seeing your child as a teeny tiny fish in a big sea.

5.  The UPS man delivering packages.

4.  Of birthday parties and Spiderman!

3.  Cool summer nights and the sun setting later in the day.

2.  Finding the perfect back-to-school outfit.

1.  I LOVE my kids!

post signature

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meet-n-Greet: Meet My Fears

Today was Kate's meet and greet for gen ed.

Gen ed.
I still can't wrap my hyper mind around that!

The line to get into the school was out the door and around the building.
They allotted 30 minutes to meet.
And greet.
Not just us but the WHOLE school.

And then....the moment of truth.
We met.
We greeted.
We shook hands.
I introduced Kate.
The teacher was super pleasant, warm and welcoming.
Kate was obviously nervous, leaning against me and holding my hand with her tiny sweaty hand.
They I began to say "We are transfers from "such-and-such" school.
And the teacher looked at me and said "I know."

And I became quiet.
She knows.
But what does she know?

Does she know how well Kate has been working?
Does she know how hard her Daddy and I work to get her the services that she needs?
Does she know how sweet Kate is and how hard she works and how hard she tries and how she aims to please?
Does she know that I am known as "that kind of Mom" within the district and some of the fights that I have put up?
Does she know that I lie in bed some nights wondering of there is something else we could be doing for her?

I'm sure she has a good idea about all of the above.
I'm sure this teacher has done her homework.
And I am sure this new teacher of ours is well prepared for Kate.
For me.
For this academic year.

I like her.
First impressions are everything and I like the vibe I got from her.

We made our way to Kate's desk.
Her seat is right in front of the teacher's desk.
She sits with 3 other students: two other girls and one boy.
The four desks face each other.
I like the set up.
We proceed to put all of her supplies in her desk.
She nervously thumbs through the books on her desk.
I run my hand over her head and down her back to let her know that it will be OK.

I wish someone could've done that for me.
I look around the room at the other parents and children talking and putting their supplies away.
She is now one student in a sea of 28.
She is no longer in a special ed classroom setting of 6 children.
This is it.
This is the whole kit and caboodle.
This is the big leagues.
She is running with the big dogs now.
And the antianxiety med wasn't cutting it at that moment for me.

I refused to let that lump in my throat turn into epic water works.
Lamaze breathing.
It worked for labor...please don't fail me now.
My husband stood back about 3 feet and gave us some space.
But he gave me that knowing look and understood what was racing through my mind.

I am not sure when we stood up and left the room but the coolness of the hallway felt like paradise.
I turned Kate around to face the entry to her classroom.
I pointed to the left and showed her the drinking fountain which was 10 feet away if she needed to refill her water bottle during the day.
I turned her back to her classroom and reminded her that this is where she will be having so much fun!

That little sweaty hand would not let go of mine.

We walked down the hall and met our school SLP.
We know her from a previous school setting so her familiar face was truly welcomed.
Kate was still nervous but happy to see her.
And just then her Supported Ed teacher appeared.

Just like that.
Out of the blue.
I was soooooo happy to receive an email from her earlier that morning stating that she would be Kate's SpEd teacher.
We met her in the Spring at various IEP Meetings and I was immediately drawn to her enthusiasm, her spirit and her gentle demeanor.

She is perfect for my baby girl.

As we talked with her, the SLP took Kate to her speech classroom.
It was nice to be able to talk in the hall without those little ears listening to my concerns.
And once again, just like she had done in the past, she reassured me about her plans for Kate and the year they will have!
After all, they have been preparing for this as much as we have.
We walked downstairs and met up with Kate again.

And once again, hand in hand, we walked out of the school and towards the safety and comfort of our home.

And that's it.
Our journey in general education with Supportive Ed now begins.
It will be a learning curve, that is for sure.
And I just might need a refill on that antianxiety medication.
But this is now in God's hands and with Him, anything is possible!

Anything.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Happy 5th Birthday!


...to the boy that stole my heart the moment our eyes met...

...to the boy who has a smile and a giggle that would melt the hardest of hearts...
...to the boy who is a ball of energy and has a deviant look in his eye...
...to the boy who walks around with my heart each and every day...

The day you were born,
you touched my soul.
You were the missing link,
that made my life whole.

Those beautiful blue eyes,
stare at me in awe.
Gazing at the woman
Who just became your mom.

As days turned to months,
and months turned to years.
I watched you grow,
Facing life's challenges and fighting your fears.

Now that your grown,
you take that next step.
Those years gone by,
in my heart they're kept.

If you get lost along your way,
not sure what to do or what to say.
Know that I'm present in spirit and soul
with open arms and a hand for you always to hold.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MONKEY BOY!
Love, Mommy
post signature

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday Top Ten


10.  As of today....only 9 more days until school starts for the 2012-2013 school year!

9.  Baking birthday cakes!

8.  Planning awesome birthday parties!

7.  New schedules, new calendars, and lots of changes!

6.  Please tell me what your favorite iPhone app is....I want the best Mom apps out there!  Thanks!

5.  When one door closes, a window opens.  I firmly believe that.

4.  Speech progression!  OMG I am lovin' these new words and sounds!

3.  My girl is sad that the Olympics are over.  She loved watching the swim and gymnastics events.

2.  I let my daughter bake a cake.  It was hard, but I let her do it.  And she did awesome!

1.  I LOVE my kids!

post signature

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday, Monday

It's a dreary, rainy Monday in Chicago today.
While we need the rain and my lawn welcomes it, the weather today is somewhat reflective of my feelings of the end of summer and start of a new school year.

I'm a little bit sad.

I love having my kids home with me.
We have had quite the summer!
I am going to miss them when they return to school next week.

But in the meantime, we have a lot on our plates this week.
The boy had a birthday in a couple of days.
We will be hosting a family shindig to celebrate.
Cakes need to be baked.
Decorations need to be purchased.
Gifts need to be wrapped.

And for a few more days I get to relish in the joys of my kids and the waning lazy days of summer!
.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tuesday Top Ten

10.  Two bored kids since ESY is done for the summer.  I guess my "plans" aren't as fun!

9.  Excelling in swim lessons.

8.  A New Student Orientation today for the girl.  It went well!

7.  An 8 year old is NEVER too old to be sent to her room for a nap!  Period.

6.  Spending every last day of the summer swimming when we can.

5.  We stopped OT.  I am sad, but it was a decision that we had to make.

4.  New Speech schedules for the fall.

3.  Waiting for classroom assignments.......I hate waiting.

2.  Decisions and changes.

1.  I love my kids!

post signature

Monday, August 6, 2012

Thank You, Bath and Body Works: Part 2

Last week I blogged about how we have been using Bath and Body Works products for our daughter as a personalized incentive program for good behavior.

I put it out there.
I shared our story.
I divulged my recent ploy to get good behavior out of my daughter.
I put it on my Facebook page.
I put it on Twitter.
I sent it to Bath and Body Works, too!

Well, our story was heard by Bath and Body Works and they were so supportive of what we are doing for our daughter and how we incorporated their product!
They shared my story.
They "retweeted" my tweet.
I was so happy that a major company would see the joy in my success with my little girl with special needs.
Face it, many companies turn and look the other way or shudder in fear when the words "special needs" is linked with their name.
Not Bath and Body Works.
They actually took it up a notch.
They sent my daughter this totally awesome gift basket:


I wish I could have captured the look on her face when she opened the packing box.

Priceless and heartwarming...all wrapped into one.

After she was done doing her little morning happy-dance, she ripped into the cute gift basket like a kid at Christmas time!
It warmed my heart to see her open the card which was personally signed by members of the Social Media Team for Bath and Body Works and realized that her name was on that card!
One by one, each mini hand sanitizer was gently removed from the basket.
Each one was examined, questioned, and categorized.
Yes, she categorizes them somehow in her own little way.
I still can't figure out her categories exactly, but my best guess is that she separates them by scent, color, or image.
Not sure on this one yet, but I'll get back to you when I figure it out.
Methodically, she lined them up on our kitchen island counter.
She stood back to admire her work.
And she smiled.
Then, in one fell swoop, she placed them all back in the basket.
"Mom, these are so awesome!  Where did this get this from?"
(Translation:  where did this come from vs. where did I get this.)

After telling her a story about a little girl who had good behavior and all of the great hand sanitizers that she would get for that good behavior, she nodded her head like she understood.
Maybe she did.
Maybe she was playing me again.
Nonetheless, she was one happy camper at 8:00am!
And like any typical child, she was distracted by something else for a brief moment and I jumped at the chance to see what exactly was in her goodie basket:

Mini sanitizer holders for her backpack or lunch bag....and cute little animals, too!


The Eiffel Tower, Peace and Love!


A spooky-cute set of Halloween treats!
(I hope this is a prelude of what we can see in stores in October!)

She is so excited!
She loves the fact that she now has 12 new "friends" to add to her current brood of 33.
Yep, if you lost count since my last post, that is now 45 different hand sanitizers!

Oh. My. Gosh.

Whatever it takes to get good behavior out of her.
And clean hands, too!
What more can a Mom ask for, right?

Thanks again, Bath and Body Works, for your generosity and for making my little girl feel like a celebrity!




post signature

Thursday, August 2, 2012

School Accommodations 101

With my daughter entering a general ed setting in the fall this year, I am refreshing my mind and sharpening my skills on what is/is not an appropriate accommodations for her for school.

Now, by no means do I want her "carried" through her entire elementary education!
However, if there is an accommodation out there that is appropriate for her, then by all means we will ask for and use that accommodation.

Although this article is from 2006, I am confident that many of these options are still indeed viable options that can be used and substituted in a typical school day.

What do you think?
Do you have any other ideas that you could use?
What have you used for your child in the past that was successful?
What brought you back to the drawing board?

Special needs, special education and IEPs are always a work-in-progress.
Changes and modifications can always be made.

Here is to a successful 2012-2013 school year!

post signature