Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Big Hospital Visit in the City

Cha-cha had his 6 month follow up with the Developmental Pediatrician in the city today.  I was worried about making it to our appointment on time, so I rushed out of work, picked up Cha-cha and my mom (for another set of eyes and ears) and we were off!  Of course, there was no traffic and we were 50 minutes early for our appointment, but Cha-cha was able to entertain himself with the waiting room toys and my mom and I were able to spend time chit-chatting.

Of course, Cha-cha was wary of the doctor - he hadn't seen her since June and she started right away with his quasi physical.  He's approximately 43lbs (only 7 lbs away from his 6 year old sister!) and I think he was 42 inches (Yes, we breed 'em tall here!).  Everything looked great and the doctor even commented that his legs were "solid" and he had "great muscle" compared to last time.  Cha-cha had a hard time being coaxed into climbing the stairs, but he chased me up and down the hallway enough for the doctor to get a good look at his run and was pleased.  She wasn't as concerned about his gross motor skills as the public school is, mostly b/c she said he has good tone (and better tone than last time), but it's his temperament of being difficult to engage and being cautious that is holding him back physically.  She was glad to hear that he will be getting some PT at his new school so they can "push" him to take risks. (Glad to see that his bed and couch jumping skills have helped with the muscle tone! lol!)

We moved into her office where she took out blocks and Cha-cha decided that he would not perform.  He wanted nothing to do with building her towers or sorting blocks, so we caught up on his progress and my mom and I tried to engage him in conversation to have him "show off" and warm up to the doctor...hysterically, my mom asked him to build a garage out of the blocks and then proceeded to ask him, "Do you have a garage?  Who has a garage?" and he responded, "Papa has a garage (in Cha-cha speak)!"  The doctor asked him, "What's in Papa's garage?" and he proudly said, "T-burr!"  She looked at us and said, "He's joking, there's not really a T-bird in there, is there?"  To which my mom and I laughed and told her that there was.  He was very intrigued with her collection of water/oil emulsion toys and asked to play with one and then proceeded to talk all about mixing the "soap" and "water" and watching the wheels spin.  He also enjoyed looking out her window which overlooks the emergency room.

Over all, she said that she's seen significant progress.  Cha-cha's Apraxia is not global and not as severe as she saw back in June, but it's still significant.  She mentioned that his facial muscle tone has increased and he doesn't have that "open mouth look" as much as he did back in June.  He is still unintelligible to strangers when what he is saying is not in context and I said for me, I understand him about 70% of the time (90 with context, 50 without).  She encouraged to continue with our plan of moving him to the Language-based, integrated preschool (she was excited that our city has one) and continue with the outside therapy.  She also said to keep him around kids as much as possible b/c they are the best therapists. :)  She was very pleased with his attention and his awareness of what is going on around him.  He definitely is very deliberate in his thoughts and his actions, and she said that you can almost see the wheels in his brain turning.  She made a great point about not forcing him to make eye contact, because he is still engaged when he's not looking at you.  She encouraged a 90 degree angle when communicating with him, since if you are looking and talking about the same thing, he is being engaged and communicating, which is the desired goal.  She also said that males, even as young as Cha-cha, are intimidated with straight on eye contact and they feel less threatened when it's at a 90 degree angle...I loved her comment of guys staring at a TV screen watching sports and communicating...it's what they do! :)

As for our transition, she told me to write 3-3-3 notes for his teachers/care providers:
3 Things that are important to know about Charlie
3 Things he is working on
3 Things he enjoys

She reminded me to keep them brief and direct and to update them often. ;)  Yes, me brief...

Overall, it was a great appointment - at the end, he gave her good eye contact and said, "Gu-Bye!" while waving.  He was such a trooper and we go back in 6 months for another update. :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Coming to Terms with Change...

In a month or so, Cha-cha will be 36 months or 3 years old and he will age out of Early Intervention.  I can't express how much help EI has been to us.  One of our therapists has been with us since he was 7 months old.  How can you say goodbye to someone who has known your son for this long?  His developmental specialist wrote on his note this week that he only had 5 more visits left with her.  I'm going to be a blubbering mess when I have to say goodbye. :(

On his 3rd birthday, he will leave the daycare he has known since he was 6 months old.  He's going to ride a school bus (a short one though).  He's going to go to a brand new school, where he doesn't know anyone and they don't know him (yet).  He is going to get the services he needs to be successful.  He's going to go to Bee-bee's old daycare provider in the afternoons and on Wednesdays.  If it wasn't for our beloved Wendy caring for him after school, I might have to be committed somewhere. ;)  Last week when she emailed me that there was an opening, my heart soared.  It was then I knew that things would be ok.  I haven't been a religious person lately, but hearing that was God answering our prayers. 

Wednesday was my last board meeting that I would attend for Cha-cha's current school/daycare.  It was tough to say goodbye to them and many wrote me emails afterwards reminding me that we were doing the right thing for him.  I have been so lucky that my school system understands the importance of exceptional child care for it's teacher's children and that both of my children were able to benefit from the school/daycare.  If only they had a SLP on staff...however then the tuition would be out of control. ;)

This week, I'm excited to go back to the big hospital in the city to see the developmental pediatrician.  I can't wait for her to see all the improvements Cha-cha has made.  I want him to show off as much as his little voice can, so we can say, "Ha Apraxia!  We're kicking you in the a**!"  I can't wait for her to see his current SLP reports and IEP and remind us we're doing the right thing.  I want him to shock her with one of his super long sentences he's been rocking out.  Just the other day I heard, "Ca ma-ma, see in-sy da fish ta!" (Come ma-ma, see inside the fish tank!)...probably his longest sentence yet! :)  Yes!!!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr...through the eyes of a Kindergartener

Bee-bee came home from school today asking, "Mommy, have you ever heard about a man named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr?"  I told her that I had, and she said that she's learned a lot about him over the past week at school.

"Mommy, did you know he won a prize for peace?"

"Did you know that bad guys killed him?"

"Did you know he had many dreams?"

She then went on to repeat the first few lines of his "I have a dream" speech. :)

Later on tonight, she was explaining who he was to Cha-cha while we were sitting in the other room...

"He wanted his children to be able to do the same things as white children.  See, they didn't have white skin like you and me, they had dark skin.  He wanted to be a leader of the church because they make rules.  At least I think they make rules.  It might not have been the church, maybe it was something else.  He wanted people to be judged by their character, not their skin color."

She was very proud of learning about MLK, Jr today. :)  Her memory is better than the Christopher Columbus incident. ;)