Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cha-cha Cooking

One of Cha-cha's favorite things to do is to cook.  He loves helping pour the ingredients in and mixing it up with the hand held mixer.  This morning, he was doing a lot of talking - a lot of it is very difficult to understand.  At one point, I don't know what he's saying, but he sure is trying hard to explain himself. :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Trick or Treat

It's that time of year - Halloween!  I have been busy making Bee-bee's Rapunzel costume - all that is left is to hot glue gun flowers to her long braid.  She can't wait to wear it to school and show it off - she is even more excited to wear it to Cha-cha's therapy appointment before we go and show Miss E her outfit.

Cha-cha, well, being excited about Halloween is difficult when you don't understand what's going on.  We have asked him and showed him pictures of costumes - I've taken him into Target and stores and he turns his nose to everything.  Last year we tortured him and put him in this big fluffy dog outfit and he hated it about 50% of the time he had it on.  He refused to put it on at school and he ended up wearing a fire fighter dress up outfit.  This year, somehow, we got him to say yes to a garbage man, but any time you ask him, he says no.  So I made up two t-shirts and I'm praying he will put one of them on tomorrow at his preschool/daycare.  One is a yellow shirt with a zig-zag like Charlie Brown and the other is a green shirt with a "WM" on the back like a garbage man. 

We explained Trick or Treating to him and tried to get him to say "Trick or Treat"...right now he either refuses to say it or will say, "reet" and walk away.  I'm pretty sure he'll "get it" when we are out there getting candy, but for now, I don't know how much he understands about all of it.  Who knows - is he afraid of having to say something to get the candy?  He still doesn't say "Thank you" out loud - he signs it.  So it will look like the garbage man is blowing kisses...which is sort of funny.  Thankfully, we are very friendly with our neighbors and they all know Cha-cha and will love him regardless if he's wearing a costume or not.

Today a coworker gave me the idea of having him hold up a sign that says, "Thank you!"  I don't know if he'll last more than a half dozen houses, but if he does, I think I'll make one and bring it along.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sick Days

When my cell phone or my classroom phone goes off, I always cringe until I see the caller ID...if the daycare number shows up, my heart beats a little faster, my palms start to sweat and my stomach instantly goes upside down.  Hearing the "Hi, it's so and so from Sprouts..." can make me stop dead in my tracks.  Being a classroom teacher, it is painful for me to get coverage and leave my class, knowing not only do I have my own two children, but a class full of students who are also depending on me. 

When Cha-cha is sick, it means an instant doctor's visit.  Not only can he not verbalize how he is feeling, but he feels no minimal pain.  Scratches, fevers, ear infections that are deemed, "The WORST raging ear infection I've ever seen!" feels like nothing to our little guy (Yes, I have heard that ear infection line at least 3 times out of his 6 double ear infections).  Once with a 104.6 fever, he was running around the nurse's station at our local emergency room and the doctor came out and said, "That's not right, he should be lethargic with that fever."  Yes, my Cha-cha is not your typical child.

Today I got that call - actually, I got about 3 calls because my cell phone was not getting reception in our new school's computer phone voicemail went off, I listened to my message, called and got disconnected, the school secretary then called the lab and finally they got a hold of me in the lab...granted it took a total of 3 minutes, but knowing they were calling because Cha-cha wasn't feeling well, felt like an eternity.  Of course in the midst of this, I'm suppose to be co-teaching a lesson on the Pilgrims to 38 students...According to his teacher, Cha-cha had a 101.6 fever and just seemed "off."  Thankfully, it was the end of the day and I just had to dismiss my kiddos and make the frantic phone calls before getting him. Who can watch him tomorrow as I venture off on a field trip with my other 18 kiddos?  Can I get a doctor's appointment before picking Bee-bee up and contaminating her in the waiting room office?  Luckily, I only had about 4 students left in the classroom as they were waiting for buses when I got a hold of my dad and secured care for him for tomorrow.  One of my students said to me, "Wow, he must be really sick Mrs. K.  That was really nice of you to find someone to watch him tomorrow so you can come with us on the field trip."  Yeah, how can you not love your job when your students appreciate the hard work you put in.

Thankfully, Cha-cha's fever is just a virus - he's well hydrated, happy, running around, eating, and annoying his sister.  I felt like an idiot bring him in, but the doctor told me I did the right thing.  When a kid can't verbalize, he told me I'm better off bringing him in and having him evaluated than just waiting around and not knowing.  I have to say, it stinks having to bring him in for every little thing - but how else are we going to know what's wrong?  He can only say so much.

My FB status this afternoon was, "Days when my kids are sick make me hate being a working parent."  There is nothing more than wanting to be with your child and care for your child when they are not feeling well.  Knowing that I have responsibilities elsewhere, makes it extremely difficult.  Hopefully, knowing that tomorrow 18 students will have a great experience because I'm with them will make that feeling go away - even for a little while.  Thankfully, we have some great people in our life who can help us out in times like these and care for our kiddos like they are their own and make working while our kid is sick a little more bearable. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

No longer "Non-verbal"

It is safe to say that Cha-cha is no longer "non-verbal." 

I got so use to saying that over and over when strangers would say hello to him or when someone would ask him his name or why he didn't make a sound.

On his evaluation on June 27th, he had 7 words/approximations.  SEVEN. 

Today, he has said his version of farm, giraffe, outside, and paint.  He has so many words that it's hard to count (I'm guessing around 60).  We still are extremely limited on two word utterances, but the fact that he doesn't stop making noise compaired to 5 months ago when he wouldn't let us know he was awake in his crib for up to an hour - this is amazing.

He still speaks under his breath - unsure if he is correct or not.  He holds back in large groups - especially at school.  We've seen an increasing amount of ticks and strange facial movements when he's trying to recall a word you want him to say.  That is what Apraxia is - a motor planning disability.

But he is talking...and even at 10:30pm when he won't go to sleep, and he pops up and says his famous, "Allo!" (Hello) - you can't help but smile and laugh - because back on June 27th, the couldn't even say Ma-ma...and now that's all I hear.

And it is music to our ears. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Christopher Columbus from a Kindergartener's Point of View

Bee-bee drew this picture in art class:

I told her that I loved her ship and she said, "We're learning about a long, long time ago - 1982!  This guy was trying to find India from Libya.  One of his ships was called the Santa Maria.  That's what I drew.  It's a sunset.  The art teacher told us that we had to draw an island on it, can you find it?"

Later on, she told me that Christopher Columbus came here for the following reasons, "To get gold.  Gold and food."

And that folks is why we have Monday off.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

We made it through September!

Yesterday was the last day of the month - and we made it!  We have all been back in school for at least 4 weeks and the house is still standing.  With one exception due to an unexpected doctor's appointment, everyone has made it to work or school ontime!  No one had to take a sick day (watch, next month there will be 5) and despite a minor cold for me and allergic reactions to mosquitoes for Cha-cha, we were healthy!  I call that success!

My school year is going well - I'm loving the transition to a lower grade and I really love my students.  I love their excitement and enthusiasm.  They get excited about the littlest things and I love that!  I'm enjoying my new team and they have made the transition so easy for me.  I have never been this organized in my 9 years of being a classroom teacher - granted, I had a brand new empty classroom to start with - but they are so on top of photocopying and planning that I never feel like I'm flying by the seat of my pants or rushing to get things done.

Bee-bee is doing well in school - maybe a little too well...I went in to talk to her teacher about her and one of the things I mentioned is that she is a little bored of the school work.  Thankfully, the K screening is this week and I'm hoping they are going to be able to differentiate lessons so she is challenged.  Sadly, no one signed up for the art class she wanted to take, so it was canceled, but she is signed up for Daisys and if no one steps up to be the troop leader, I'm going to do it.  I feel bad as she needs something to look forward to and she doesn't want to do dance, she can't do soccer until the spring, and we missed the boat for swim signups.  She is making friends and has a best friend in her class already - her mom and I are playing phone tag, but we hope to get the girls together for a playdate soon.

And then we have Cha-cha...this has been a good month for him in a lot of ways.  He has gone from sitting by himself and hanging out with the teachers during outside time, to running and chasing the kids in their unorganized tag/chase games.  When he wants to join in on an activity, he points to himself and yells, "Me!" and rarely gets a teacher to help him join in.  His language is making progress in many ways.  He doesn't have too many new words, but he's using his old words more and more.  Recently we've heard a few 2 word utterances such as, /ma-ma coo/, /bee-bee coo/, and /cha-cha coo/ for Mama's school, Bee-bee's school, and Cha-cha's school.  He also has said /shz uh/ for shoes off and the other night we heard /go ca peaz/ for go car please, when he wanted to go for a ride.  He is learning his colors and can say in his own way, yellow, purple, blue and pink.  His new greeting is the French version of hello - /allo/ - it is freaking hysterical, even when he's suppose to be going to sleep and he pops up and yells, "Allo!"  It constantly makes hubby and I laugh.

An exciting thing happened this week too during his EI SLP session - she came in with the OT and we were chatting, Cha-cha pulled out some of her toys and started scripting his own play with a ball toy - saying /up/, /go/, /duh/ for down, and /eh/ for in with no prompting.  Then he took out the farm animals and started making them eat saying /num-num/ and saying some of their sounds without prompting...his SLP burst into happy tears and said, "I've never seen him do that on his own without any prompting!"  Of course, this is something we've been working on with him for over a year now - and he can finally do it on his own.

Of course, then you have setbacks...we are currently in a sleeping hell with Cha-cha - he won't stay in his toddler bed and he won't stay asleep.  For the first two weeks of school with all the craziness, we were sitting outside his bedroom for a good 2 hours and were getting nowhere.  We drive him around to get to sleep and he wakes up an hour later (at 11pm).  If he happens to fall asleep and we move him to his bed, by 3am he is up and wanting to come to our bed.  It was never our intention to have him sleep with us - but we were desperate - we all needed to get more than 5 hours of sleep a night - and now we've created a small monster.  On top of that, we've seen his sensory issues go to another extreme at night - it's almost like we spend all day long getting his motor running, that in the evening, you can't stop him.  He tosses and twirls and flips in his bed - he's wired.  Thankfully, we are starting sessions with an OT next week and we're going to be looking at some brushing techniques to see if that will help calm his motor at night, as well as looking into a weighted blanket for him.

Another issue is that he's not excited to see his therapists come to his school.  When his Developmental Specialist, who he has seen since he was 7 months old, comes to daycare he runs to the door and tells her to "Go!" and "No!" and "Bu-bye!"  Eventually he will work with her, but he's very slow to warm up.  Same with his SLP - he's starting to tell her to "Go" and doesn't want to work with her.  His outside SLP, when she pushes him, he pushes back and tells her to "Move" and "Go"  Granted, we're excited that he's communicating his wants, but at the same time, it makes everyone wonder if we're pushing him too much.  I would say that at least 50 minutes out of the hour sessions, he's working and enjoying himself - so for 10 minutes of discomfort for everyone, he does get into things and is laughing and playing for the rest of the time.

Now we're on to a new month - we're going to keep doing the things we're doing in terms of therapy with Cha-cha and add some OT to see if we can keep things going in the right direction.  We're going to try to let him cry it out for sleep so we can have our bed back.  I'm going to start a homeschool math curriculum with Bee-bee to try to challenge her.  We're going to enjoy the fall weather and do apple picking and fun fall things.