Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy Birthday and First Day Success!

Our Cha-cha turned three today.  It baffles me that 3 years ago, he came into our lives after a rough c-section...all 10lbs 3oz and 22 inches of him.  He didn't make that c-section easy.  My spinal didn't take all the way and it was scary for me that they would cut when I could still feel things (thankfully, they didn't and it took after they tilted me in a weird way).  I remember there was a lot of commotion, the anestheiologist said that as soon as I heard suctioning, within 2 minutes, our baby would be born.  I remember minutes going by and the doctor yelling to get a vacuum from the other room and that he was turning breech on the operating table.  There was a lot of pushing - later I found out that it took 3 people to push/pull him out.  My doctor joked afterwards that she didn't need to go to the gym that day. He didn't cry right away, but as soon as we could see him on that side table, he cried.  As soon as hubby was able to hold him, he quieted down and I got to kiss his cheek.  His birth was a little different than Bee-bee's - with her, there was a lot of friendly chatter, things seemed lighter - with him, I was more nervous.  Maybe because I knew that he was our last child, maybe I was afraid of my own mortality thinking of my 3 year old girl at home.  Either way, it was different. 

The nice thing about a second child is that not a lot of people come to visit you, especially in February during a snow storm. ;)  When you're stuck at the hospital for 4 days and all you are responsible for is nursing your baby and resting, you do a lot of bonding.  You're less nervous and you know how precious those first moments are because life will quickly pass by and you'll watch your child getting on a school bus.  You have this older child who comes in the hospital and views her brother with excitement and delight.  She beams at his little features and quietly sings, "You are My Sunshine" to him.  She talks about being a family now that he's here.

Flash forward to today.  We really weren't going to celebrate a lot for his birthday today - we did a lot of celebrating last week and this weekend, so he could focus on his first day of intergrated preschool in a language based classroom.  Bee-bee woke up singing Happy Birthday to him and cheering him on about being 3.  I made his special pancakes and he picked out a tiger shirt to wear to school.  He reminded us of his new teachers' names, talked about riding the bus, and me picking him up at the end of the day.

We dropped off Bee-bee and hubby and I drove to his school.  We were greeted at the door by his new teacher and she led him into the classrom and showed him the morning routine - hanging up his coat and backpack, putting his snack on the shelf in his cubby, making his mark next to his name (in which he put the cap back on the cover and made sure it was in the marker box - to which the teacher winked at me and said, "He's done this before, you can tell."), and then washing his hands.  I asked him for a high five and he looked at hubby and I and said, "Good-bye Mommy Daddy" and he spun around and off he went.  Hubby and I looked at each other and said goodbye to the other teacher and walked out.  As soon as we hit the cold air, we looked at each other an laughed.  All that nervous energy, all that planning and worry - and that is how he reacted.  I mentioned on FB today that God didn't let him cry - God knew I couldn't handle his tears today.  My own were hard enough to handle.

At the end of the day, he had a great first day.  He rode the bus and he went to daycare after school just fine (however he didn't nap).  He went to his afternoon/evening speech session and worked hard for 57/60 minutes he was there.  Three minutes before leaving, he looked at his SLP and said, "I done.  Good-bye" and walked out the therapy room door.  He was tired, he was done with the day.  He came home, we watched Curious George, ate dinner and went to bed after reading 2 books.  He asked for cuddles and gave me kisses goodnight.
Oh, and if you ask him how old he is, you will not hear him say, "Fu-wee", he will tell you that he's five.  He better not grow up that fast!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Saying Good-bye to EI

Today was our last meeting with EI.  It was so sad to see them go.  Our Developmental Specialist has been with us since Cha-cha was 7 months old...she was there when he learned to crawl, sit up, and say his first sounds.  The SLP took over as lead when we had the diagnosis of Apraxia, even though we had been seeing her for a good 8 months beforehand.  And the OT started once we found out about his SPD.  These three women worked tirelessly up to 4-5 times a week combined, meeting with him, going to his school, meeting with his teacher, and us as a family.  They were my go to if I had a question, concern, or wanted to share an accomplishment.  We exchange texts over funny Cha-cha-isms, fun things like our current level of "Where's the Water?" or other cool apps and websites for children ourselves.  They've attended doctor's appointments, fielding questions when we became overwhelmed, adding in additional information when necessary, and collaborated with others to bring out the best for Cha-cha.  It's a bittersweet day - Cha-cha is old enough now for school aged services and has made so much progress under their services.  How I wish we lived in a state where services would continue to the next beginning school year or until age 5, but I know that he will continue to thrive and grow with other means of support.

Cha-cha said good bye pretty nonchalantly.  At one point he even hid in his room, but then was able to come out and hug and wave them off.  He enjoyed the balloon, card and cupcakes they brought to celebrate his birthday and his accomplishments.  I shed a few tears, as did they - but I wasn't expecting Bee-bee to take it so hard. 

She had uncontrollable sobs as they pulled away.  She understands that this is it - and unless we have some by chance passing, we may not see them again.  She gets it.  The Developmental Specialist has been here since she was 3 1/2.  Because of these wonderful women, our daughter uses words like prompt, utterance, plural, intonation, and consonant-vowel sounds.  Yes, I see a future Speech Pathologist on our hands.  Over the summer she said to me, "Mommy, I don't know if I should be studying my Kindergarten stuff or my Speech Pathologist stuff."  She has sat through almost every home visit and watched and then mimicked these women after they left.  It was because of Bee-bee, we got Cha-cha to say "Ma-ma" and "Bee-bee" through her prompting.  So many times our focus has been on Cha-cha and when you turn around, it's been Bee-bee's focus too.  It's hard to remember that she's just a 6 year old, but a 6 year old who understands what it's like to work hard, to reach limits, and still demand more.  With Cha-cha's diagnosis and therapies, she's seen someone younger than herself defy what doctors have suggested.  It's a lesson that can not be replicated in any classroom or told by any book.  I hope she always remembers this. :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

We made it through the last day...

I don't think I've cried this much in a long time.  Maybe the last time I did was when we found out that Cha-cha had Apraxia and SPD, however I think I took that easier than I did seeing him enter his new school and seeing exactly what he needs to have in order to be successful.  Seeing the structure and the prompts, seeing the visual pieces of the day, watching the routines - it's going to be a tough transition for him.  Thankfully, a lot of the things will be repetitive from his old school and he will be in good hands and he will be getting the support that he needs.

Hearing that your child has a disability or that he's not neurotypical is tough to swallow - but seeing what it's going to look like in an academic setting (especially when you're a teacher) is a whole different experience.  Yes, he's come so far, but he has a long way to go.  It's another grieving process.  We didn't make it to Italy; we made it to Holland and we're going to enjoy it and make the best out of it that we can.

We have a week until the next big day - however before that we need to say goodbye to EI.  Tuesday is going to be another toughie, but we'll get through it.  I'm planning on scheduling a massage for me this week, and tonight is date night with hubby - and there is a frozen Snickers in the freezer. ;)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Last Day

The week before vacation is always a hectic week at work.  Kids' bodies are longing for a break from school, just as much as the teachers are.  It's a time of wrapping up projects, assessments, and getting things ready to start new units when we return.  I do my best to put my best face forward and keep the kids learning and content until break.  It's not always easy, but today's laughter in my classroom 5 minutes before the call for busses, let me know that I'm doing my best.  It's been a good distraction to what's going on with my own kiddo. 

Tomorrow is Cha-cha's last day at his current daycare.  He's been there since he was 6 months old and I just don't know how tomorrow is going to pan out.  We went today and picked out gifts for his teacher and the director and he looked up at me and asked me, "Why?"  I told him that it's time for him to go to a big boy school and get to take a school bus and go to Miss Wendy's (our beloved at home daycare provider that cared for Bee-bee until she was 3 1/2 years old) - he smiled and said, "I go skoo ba?".  I then told him that he won't be going back to Sprouts, he knelt down on the ground and he cried - big, fat tears.  We bought cupcakes and I let him pick 3 different types because at that point, I couldn't continue to argue with him. 

Tomorrow morning, we take him to see his new school.  We'll see his new teacher, we will try to work out all the logistics, and after the orientation, hubby will drop him off for his last day and we'll both to work.  Cha-cha will bring books to give the school as a thank you, cupcakes to eat with his friends, and the gifts he picked out for his teachers.  When I go to pick him up at the end of the day, we'll say good-bye...I keep saying it's going to be a good thing.  It's true, I can't keep up the stamina of all these therapies, work, and home.  Having them done at school with just two outside therapies is going to give us more time - which is always precious when you're a working mom.

We'll make it through the day.  We have a week off and then we'll set off on our new adventure.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

ENT Follow Up

Cha-cha had a follow up appointment with Dr. C, our favorite ENT on Thursday.  We love Dr. C - he is just down to Earth and has children the same age as our kiddos, so he "gets" it all.  Last year when Bee-Bee had to get her adenoids and turbinates reduced, she begged for Cha-cha's doctor to do it, not the Allergist/ENT we took her to.  Yes, it's safe to say all of us have a crush on this doctor. ;)

Hubby took him since he took him to the last one and scheduled it for the morning.  We both thought it would just be routine - look in his ears and see if the left tube was still in place (right tube fell out about a year ago).  I thought it might include a hearing test, but for the most part we suspected things would be just fine...yeah, never suspect things will go fine.

About a month and a half ago, Cha-cha's right ear drum ruptured due to an undetected ear infection.  This follows suit of his ear infections he had from 6-11 months - he would be fine, no signs and all of a sudden, he would have a fever.  We'd take him to the doctor and BAM - he would have a raging double EI.  Cha-cha had been at school that day and all of a sudden, he had a temp and was withdrawn.  Eventually, he started screaming in pain.  It took me 30 minutes to find coverage at work and for me to race over there and sure enough, he was definitely in pain, but no longer screaming, just whimpering.  His SLP was there for a session and ended up just holding him and entertaining him with his itouch.  I sat on the floor and pulled him into my lap and I saw the red/orange puss draining from his ear.  His eardrum had ruptured.  I took him to his pedi who gave us drops and then pretty much things were back to normal quickly.

Hubby had two things to bring up with the ENT - his tube that is still in his left ear for 2 years and the ruptured ear drum in the right.  He didn't see anything weird - just some fluid in the right ear, so he told Hubby to schedule a hearing test and to come back in 6 weeks.  When Hubby went to the front desk to book the hearing test, they were able to take him that day - he just had to wait 8 minutes.  During the hearing test, the Audiologist noticed that there was a significant hearing loss in Cha-cha's right ear.  Not good for any kid, but especially a kid who has Apraxia.  She went and spoke to Dr. C directly, who had us keep the appointment for 6 weeks to see if there is any change.

So now we wait - worst case scenario - we need to have reconstructive surgery on the ear drum and have tubes put back in (while taking out the left ear and putting in a new one).  Best case - the ear drum heals itself and the fluid drains and we just have to watch it.  We go back on March 15th for the appointment.  Cha-cha will have a hearing test first and then we see the ENT to see what our plan of action will be.  The poor kiddo - he doesn't need this on top of everything else he has - and while he's moving to his new school. :(  Thankfully, he doesn't seem bothered by it.  Cha-cha is still the same smiley, happy, funny kiddo we all love. :)