Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Can I Touch Your Cheese?

Scott & I were pretty intrigued watching Judah sing "Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes" while listening to it on his "Your Baby Can Read" video. His words are getting more clear. It was pretty impressive to hear him say so many words in a row with the right sounds & singing them at that! He was dancing & touching his shoulders & toes too! He loves the word toes.

Sebastian spent time with Gramma after school. They worked on his math and & reading. Neither Gramma nor myself could figure out the homework Sebastian's teacher sent home. I'm volunteering tomorrow, so I'll find out.

Willow sure was speaking in good sentences today! It's so cool when little kids say things so seriously that are so hilarious. Tonight she kept asking to touch my "cheese", then she would touch my teeth & laugh. Because you say "cheese" when you show your teeth for the camera right? This afternoon she was eating her Veggie Straws (veggie chips that look like little straws), and said, "Ew, I can put my nickas in there." Then she tries to stick her fingers into her Veggie Straw. Fingers are still "nickas", which often sounds like something that could be offensive.

No aide today. We spent the day at home after Judah returned from school. When we got to school he had a meltdown because he couldn't take his toy cars into school. This was at the van. He wasn't kicking & screaming & being physical like he has done in the past, instead he was just crying some & laying on the ground, refusing to get up. Willow was holding the poster I had finished making for him last night. She ran to the top of the stairs where the teachers could see her (they were waiting at the doors below). She held up Judah's poster and said, "Hey! Look at this!" After that his teacher came up to find us, haha. The teacher said he was fine after they got inside. He just needed some hugs.

Judah was so excited this morning when he saw the poster I had made him. Pictures of all of his favorite things! I cut out a picture of his head and made him into a race car driver & a train conductor too!. He looked at his poster the entire way to school. Unfortunately when the meltdown happened the happy, excited Judah wasn't so happy anymore.

Sebastian got a black mark on his karate sash, representing how well he did in class tonight!

Judah had one medium, mushy bm. He missed beta & vitamin d.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Nut-Free Frozen Fudge

I'd rather be internet shopping or crafting or watching a movie with my husband... but I feel it necessary to blog. I'll try to chop it short, because seriously, I'd rather be having an enchanted swim through creativity or a square piece of nut-free frozen fudge.

We had a fill-in aide today. She was a much different person than the usual aide, who just had to cut her hours in half due to school. School, a reason you can't ever get mad over out loud. The lady today got Judah out for a few hours.

Sebastian's teacher showed the class the new sentence for today. She had written it in black marker on a piece of notebook paper. Then she handed it to Sebastian & told him to put it in his backpack. Ha! A preemptive strike! No doubt she was predicting our usual after-class arrival to retrieve the sentence of the day. Sebastian tells me that during a part of class his teacher writes on a big piece of paper as she teaches (poster size). After she explains the paper she gives it to someone in class to take home. ? Mom pointed out something that was probably instantly obvious to her. If the principal isn't fluent in Spanish, how can she evaluate the teachers who teach the dual language classes? Hmmmm.

Sebastian spent half an hour writing his new sentence from class before dinner this evening.

We saw the principal when I dropped Sebastian at school. "Hi Sebastian!!" haha. I think we've made somewhat of an impact there, haha.

Willow drew a picture of me today. I'll photograph it and add it in here.

Sebastian took his first karate class tonight. His instructor is Brandon Barrett! haha. (My bros & I grew up with a kid who had the same name. The Barretts strike again!)

Sebastian came home in his karate attire. His brother & sister were jumping all over him, doing kicks & punches, they were so excited. Willow wanted to have her own "Willow karate" too of course. So she put on her blue polka-dot hooded jacket that I've been trying to get rid of since it's too small for her. She doesn't want to part with it though. She declared that to be her karate uniform, ha! Sebastian told her it wasn't a real karate uniform (completely predictable behavior). Before he could get that out more than once I told him in a serious voice that yes, that was her karate attire. Funny thing is, he didn't say a word about it after that, ha!! And now I'll never be able to get rid of that jacket.

On the way to school Sebastian was again nervous, as usual. His reason is always that it's a "long day" now. I explained to him that all kids have long school days. Apparently he thought that Meemaw & Granddad lived in a place where kids didn't have long days. He shared that with me next. I corrected him & added that kids there start school even earlier in the morning! (just a guess) That one totally backfired on me - Sebastian's response, "Well then I could get out at like noon!!"

I had kid folk music playing on the ride to school. It was a cd we've had since Sebastian was a baby. When Sebastian mentioned being nervous I told him to sing. I told him that singing helped. I just said that because I was singing at the time & it was the first thing that came to mind. Suddenly I hear him singing along, "Hey, hey little Liza.. oh my pretty lil Liza..." (music he'd never had any interest in before, haha!!) It was the sweetest thing ever and did actually mellow him out a bit!

Judah had no bm.
He missed fish oil, bethanechol (out), beta, iron-up (out).

EYE DROP DONE TODAY. After I did it he pushed me down on the couch on my back (the same position he's in when he does his eye drop). Then he took the eye drop bottle and pretended to give me an eye drop! When he was done he said, "All done!" and smiled. Then he said, "Good job!" and gave me a high five.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Polygamy & Play Dates!

Judah & I left the house at 8am this morning to get to Beaverton for his gymnastics. Man. You'd think I dipped that kid in a double shot of espresso before we walked in. He had enough energy to power a car! He followed his group well, but had difficulty doing the obstacle course the way his instructor was asking the group to. At the beginning of class I sooo wanted to make a video of him following his group (she had him at the end of the line at first - teaching him to wait his turn I think). He had his feet up on a mat, which was higher than his head, and his hands grasped a bar in front of him. He was able to hold himself up above the floor well. He moved down the bar using his hands & feet, following his classmates (who've been doing these routines for half a year already). He also did somersaults with no help a few times today & even when he was supposed to be doing them! His group was 5 kids total today - that's the entire group. Not all kids come regularly.

The gymnastic moms act like sisters. It's bizarre. One mom is offering to be the one to drive some kid home (his mom isn't even there!) because this kid suddenly has a rash & all of the moms can tell you exactly where he has had this outbreak before & exactly how many times this has happened. The girl baby was passed around so much that I honestly had no idea who she belonged to! It felt as if the moms were trying to figure me out... each of them talking to me as if we were good friends when they didn't even know my name! My conversation level stayed at 50% as not to commit to such an unusual group/cult of mothers. One mom looked younger than me & had six kids! One of them in college! It just dawned on me... maybe they all have the same husband? None of them have ever come with the assumed 2nd parent & I've never heard any of them mention their kid's other parent.. and obviously if they all had the same husband they wouldn't be able to talk about it since it's illegal. And from what I've heard about this lifestyle, the wives are typically friends. Scott took Judah last time & came home talking about the close-knit moms & how unusual & confusing their relationships were. He usually doesn't pay attention to things like this - but this is hard not to notice, even for him! He said they didn't speak a word to him. The husband probably wouldn't like that! Next time I'll be sure to remember to my wedding ring!

We spent a couple hours at PDX Play Date in Portland today. Sebastian has been begging to go back there for some time. I'll try to post some pics on here. We were also considering doing the Children's Museum but decided against it due to price. While researching this I discovered that they have a free first Friday - 4-8pm! I'll be putting that as a regular spot on the calendar for sure!

Willow danced on the dance floor at the PDX Play Date, following behind Sebastian amongst the group of kids. She kept him close by the whole time, haha. Definitely a big brother moment. I told Willow that we were going to see her friends before we made it there. "My fwends? Olive?" ha.

Scott made us all French toast for brunch - slices of bread as thick as cake! The kids were wired to the moon! Willow didn't even nap during the hour long car ride which took place at her usual nap time!

  • Patted his bed telling me, "Lay down." (many times tonight)
  • He thought it was time to leave PDX Play Date & rushed away to find Willow, making sure I was close behind him. We climbed through nearly the entire play structure before I finally spotted her. "Wiiii- ooohhh! Where are you??" he said. As soon as we found her he ran up & hugged her saying, "Wiii ohhh!"
  • Had underwear on all day - to Portland and back twice! Went on his own to the potty all day except in public. I carried him into the bathroom before gymnastics & he was screaming, but once inside he did his business with no issue, even washed his hands.. and this was as we had just watched his class walking into the gym area to start!
  • I told him we were going to gymnastics while I was driving and he says, "gymnastics!! gymnastics!"
  • We arrived at gymnastics early. He was happy & ready to go! I told him we needed to wait. He got out his computer toy in the car & busied himself until it was time to go in.
  • I told Scott we needed to do Judah's eye drop. Judah was standing nearby, "No!!" I told Scott again & Judah walked closer to me, "No!!" Later he came into my room and told me, "I want.." and what sounded like "eye drop" after that. This was at the end of the day, as if he was reminding us that we didn't ever do it.
  • I asked Judah if he needed to poop after he asked for the I-pad (he plays Angry Birds when he poops). He said, "Poop!" He sat on the toilet first, completely his choice. Usually he adamantly refuses the toilet for pooping. Then he decided on diaper.
I'm thinking of making smoothies and freezing them into popsicles to give to the kids for snacks. Obviously we can hide veggies & vitamins in these. Smoothies aren't good for too long after - unless you re-blend them. I'm hopeful about the popsicle plan. Judah likes suckers but I'm not sure how he will take to licking a frozen popsicle. He's likely at a place now where we should be trying new foods with him much more often.. so much change with him lately, I'm willing to bet change could happen with his food too if we put in the effort.

Judah had a huge, messy poop.

Judah didn't need rash med. We forgot eye drops.
Didn't have iron-up. He continued drinking the rest of his smoothie from yesterday (another cup full), beta & b-6 were both in there from yesterday.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Numbers On the Microwave

Judah pulled Sebastian & I to the couch. He sat between us as we all watched Cars. Sebastian tried to get up. Judah yelled, "Wait!" Then he pointed at the couch, "couch!", and physically maneuvered Sebastian back to the couch.

While we were on the couch Judah was chattering away - he even talked to the dog. "Pixie", patting her. "Bye Pixie, that way." He wanted her to go away, haha.

Judah & Willow ran in a circle in the living room tonight. Willow was chasing Judah, trying to get the Cars book light from him. They were just playing. They would get dizzy and have to stop and then they would start back up again, laughing & smiling the whole time. At one point Willow ran into Judah and Judah yelled, "Hey! Watch it!!'

Judah is still answering, "I don't know." very clearly. Today he had many "no" comments that were very genuine with good eye contact. We are working on nodding. He thinks it's funny when I nod.

Today I told Judah to hit the number 1 on the microwave to heat up my lunch. He pushed the 1. After that I had him touch the other numbers. I would say a number at random and ask him to touch it. He got every single one right! 1-9!!!

In a loud voice, Scott was repeatedly telling Willow & Judah to leave the kitchen. Judah says, "Hey, Daddy!!" and left the kitchen.

I gave Judah his fish oil tonight & walked away. "Thank you Mommy." (from across the room) :)

I organized all of the kid DVDs on a rack in the garage. I came to realize that it wasn't actually a DVD rack. The DVDs fit, but the DVDs in a section would slide out when I tried to pull just one DVD from that section. I had bought the rack at a yard sale for cheap. I ended up fixing this problem by tying some red rope (that I had gotten for free at a different yard sale) around each DVD section, all the way down the rack. I did this twice, using the same long piece of rope. The rope holds the DVDs in, while you are still able to pull one out. I cable-tied the rack to one of the metal shelves since the wall the rack was against wasn't screw-friendly. The Thomas movies wouldn't fit in the rack so I made a Thomas section in a cardboard box - folding the flaps in on the end to act as bookends, holding the DVDs somewhat compact in the box. That will be the "Thomas box".

The plan is for the kids to go pick out their movie in the garage, as opposed to flipping through the DVDs in the CD organizers on the mantle. A DVD rack in the garage allows them to see all of their movies, but only gives them access to empty DVD cases, not actual DVDs. The actual DVDs will be in the CD organizers that are out of their reach - so we can get it for them. I'm going to label the CD organizers with movie titles so we aren't digging through all 5 of them to find one movie. We have had so many scratched DVDs. I'm hoping this system will help.

Sebastian & I had some garage inventor time while Scott shopped at the store with the other 2. I worked on the aforementioned DVD rack, while Sebastian attached huge pieces of cardboard to the back of his bike & dragged them around as he rode up & down the driveway & through the yard. He also laid these pieces of cardboard on our rock hill & flew down it on his bike. He rode his bike to the mailbox (no cardboard) and told me to wait in the yard so I could see him ride back. He reached the end of the street (at the mailbox) and started calling for help. His pants were caught in his chain! ha. I was pulling with my entire body weight & could not get them out! Eventually I just had to get the scissors & the pants went into the donation box from there. Part of his pants are still in his bike chain.

Sebastian had a special breakfast out with Daddy this morning. Scott texted me a picture of Sebastian's little head sitting behind a gigantic plate of whipped cream (strawberry waffles). After that they went to a comic book party at the store Scott does work for. Sebastian was excited about the free cake. He got a bunch of Sponge Bob comics too! Tonight he laid on the couch reading his Sponge Bob comic (well, more making up the story than reading, but I'll take it!!!). He looked surprised when he saw how excited I was that he was going to go read, ha!

Judah pottied all day on his own again. He wore underwear all day. He even went to Portland and back for music therapy in underwear!

Judah had one mushy, medium bm.

Judah's dinner smoothie- 1/2 cup- cup of lettuce, 1 beta, 1/4 tsp oxymag, 1 tsp molasses, 1/2 tsp powder b-6 mix, 1 capful miralax, 1 tablespoon l-carnitine, 10 strawberries, honey, 1/2 large banana & 1 cup orange juice.
(He drank half of it, but was also drinking milk at the same time. Made one similar to this last night & he downed the whole thing.)

Judah missed iron up & eye drops. Skin rash med not needed. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Principal's Office

Judah laid down in his bed and told the aide, "I'm tired." this morning. I asked him what he wanted to do this afternoon and he said, "I don't know." Again pottying completely on his own today. We did put a diaper on him since he hadn't pooped and it was about his pooping time of day. Half an hour later we all left to pick up Sebastian. Judah peed in his diaper while we were on the playground at school, filling it so much that he was uncomfortable running! ha. That was a first, very unexpected. He is very aware of having a diaper on! On the playground Judah chased Sebastian & his friend around, trying hard to climb as high as they were. The aide was close by, pulling him down many times. Willow was also climbing. She can now climb the bars that form a half rainbow shape, ending at the top of the play structure. When she gets near the top I can barely reach her. Makes me so nervous! Brave little monster.

Scott & I met with the principal. She was able to explain how the dual language system is set up there. It's not as the website says - 50% class time spoken in English & 50% in Spanish. It's 90% Spanish and 10% English through 1st grade. 2nd & 3rd move to 70% Spanish & 30% English. However, this year 2nd & 3rd are at 50% English & 50% Spanish because they are lacking teachers who can do the job (Spanish). The principal herself is not fluent in Spanish (her native language is German & she is fluent in English). Apparently she knows enough to get by & she said she could sit in the classrooms and understand mostly what the teachers were saying. ?? That was pretty surprising to me. I questioned if she had sat in Sebastian's classroom when we found out she knew nothing of his teacher's check mark system. Honestly I just find it hard to believe that someone who isn't fluent in Spanish could catch on to what the teacher was saying as she sputtered out the Spanish language non-stop, not to mention the 30 energized, talkative children floating about.

The principal seemed to think that people can only learn to be fluent in another language if they are taught at a young age, same with sports (her example was swimming). ?!?!?! What?!

The principal suggested keeping Sebastian in his class through the end of November or Christmas & see how it goes. She said he could go into the English class if we decide to move him. She knows we are out of district. She confirmed that they do have room in the English classes for more students. She suggested keeping in close contact with his teacher, continuing to go in after school & make sure we are clear on what he needs to be doing, etc. She thought it might be a good idea for his teacher to discreetly speak to him in English if she saw that he looked lost. She also suggested that we speak with the teacher about the check mark system, which of course we already have, but can always do again if we need to. She also said that she would be speaking to her about the system. Yikes. At one point the principal shared her thought on what could be happening - that perhaps the randomness of giving kids check marks could be the teacher using the surprise effect, which she thought could be good. At that point I told her that they are trying to get a certain number of check marks to get a prize. It's not a surprise effect situation - it's a luck of the draw competition for 6 & 7 year olds that pulls their focus away from education & adds stress to an already stressful situation.

The principal knew that the teacher answered kids in Spanish if they asked a question in English. I told her that I had watched a kid ask the teacher a question in English, & was given a Spanish answer - I let her know that this kid asked her question 3 times & got the Spanish answer 3 times. Ultimately the kid gave up & went back to her seat, obviously she was not understanding the Spanish answer. Principal had no comment on that.

When we picked up Sebastian the principal was nearby. We marched along in a line in front of her, with Willow taking the lead & Sebastian, myself, Judah & the aide following directly behind. The principal greeted Sebastian, telling him to have a nice weekend. She said hi to Willow (Willow was at the meeting too). Then she asked to know Judah's name & was studying him a bit as if she was piecing together a picture of our family - he was the missing piece (she had met everyone else). The aide at the end of the line probably really threw her for a loop!! haha.

I'm going to attempt observing both the English first grade & Sebastian's class (again). The principal ok'd me to take Willow & sit in the pod area outside of the classrooms if I wanted to try that. She added that if Willow wasn't cooperating then I could always just leave. I think this is a good idea. I'm not sure how much I will be able to catch of the Eng classroom, I could probably volunteer in there, esp on a day when Sebastian actually goes in there for his reading.

Sebastian brought home his work from class. They did another worksheet just like the homework he spent an hour on last night. He got about one right out of every 6 or 7. Another classmate that finished first (these kids get to go around & help other students) had helped him get through the rest of the problems - and there were a lot!! So we still need to work on that stuff quite a bit more it seems. I was really happy to see that he had accepted so much help from a co-student. He also said that he was polite to the girl who always tells him to scoot his chair over (they don't have much space at their tables). I had suggested that he be polite. He said that she stopped asking for a while after that, but then it started again, haha.

Scott took the morning off since I wasn't feeling well. By noon I made myself get up & we met with the principal an hour later. After some decongestant medicine and extra strength Tylenol, I began to feel more human.

Judah had no bm.
He had his beta! I ordered Iron-up - should have it in 2 days.
Judah missed fish oil (why?!?), iron-up, vitamin b-6.
We need to do eye drop tomorrow, didn't need skin rash med today.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Naming Family Members at Dinner

Last night I went to bed at the same time the kids did - forgot to blog, sorry.

I'm not feeling great - congested head, nose, sore throat, sneezing, headache.. ugh!! I'm fighting it though.

At dinner tonight Judah pointed at Daddy and said, "Daddy" then he pointed at Sebastian & said "Sebastian" as best he could.. then he pointed at me & said "Mommy" & then Willow and said "Willow"! He just went around the table! He did this a few times! He also counted us at the table pointing at Daddy & saying, "one" then pointing at Sebastian & saying, "two". He kept coming up with 8 people at the table and smiling. He has been pointing at numbers and saying them correctly! Today he pointed at the 9 on the truck license plate and said, "nine!" He will point at the correct numbers on the clock and name them up to 10!

Aide called in sick today. Scott & I both woke up feeling like crap. Rainy day. By the time I was feeling well enough to get the kids outside it was late afternoon. Judah played in the mud - covered from head to toe. Even his underwear was mud-stained! That was the only piece of clothing that I couldn't get clean. Willow washed the child-size traffic cones as well as the side of the house. The 2 neighbor boys that Sebastian isn't allowed to play with stopped by. They've been doing that some lately - even though they are turned away every single time. They asked if Sebastian could play & I told them that he wasn't home. They asked to use his pogo stick & I told them no. By this time Judah had noticed that the boys were here & jumped up out of the mud. He ran at them smiling & saying, "Hey!!!" with his hands open wide. The 2 boys began backing up. When Judah got close the boys took off running away down the sidewalk! Judah chased them off! Judah stopped pretty quickly after the boys took off. When I told Judah we needed to go back he did, no problem at all. Maybe he chased them off on purpose? The boys had brought their dog with them. One of them yelled, "Don't get mud on my dog!!!" as he ran away in fear, haha.

While Judah was enjoying his fully clothed mud bath I tried to take his picture. "Cheese Judah! Smile for me Judah!" Usually I don't do this since he hates cameras, but he's been smiling for photos lately, so I was more hopeful that it might work. He wouldn't look up at me & had somewhat stopped playing. He was just rolling mud into a little ball in his hands. I could see that he was annoyed with me. I finally decided to snap his picture, and within that same second, he quickly looked up & threw his ball of mud, fast as lightning. He hit my phone dead on. I got a picture of brown with a bit of light shining in, haha.

In class yesterday Judah was presented with his non-preferred food at snack, as usual. When the teacher pressed him to eat it, he instead pretended to eat it, holding it up to his mouth & pretending to chew it. Then he began feeding the teacher! She of course had to pretend to eat it as well, haha. Nicely played Judah man.

Willow to Judah this afternoon, "What's the matter dude? Are you crying dude?" She had a few cute "dude" questions that she came up with, asking Judah them over & over. I asked her to use the water & clean the bottom of my shoe when we were outside. She said, "Clean my bottom? Okay." Judah & Willow played well together today.

At dinner Willow kept getting up & Judah would pat her seat and say, "Willow, sit down!" He told Sebastian "Wait!!" when Sebastian began to get up from his seat. Judah really liked it that we were all sitting at the table together eating dinner. His progress really showed during that time too.

Sebastian spent a couple hours working with Gramma today on Spanish & reading. He came home and spent another hour working on his homework here! Daddy helped him with that. That's a lot of work for a 7 year old!! He is showing improvement in various areas - which seems to be motivating him to keep on truckin'.

Judah went potty on his own all day long today! I didn't prompt him. He just went to the bathroom when he needed to! The only issue is pooping - I offered him a diaper when he looked uncomfortable. I said, "underwear or diaper?" He said, "diaper". He pooped shortly after & then went back to underwear. He sleeps in underwear too. Pooping is his only diaper moment now. I was feeling like crap all day - the reason I had forgotten to prompt him the first time. With no prompt, he just went on his own when he needed to go! After that I decided not to prompt anymore & see what happened. Total success! He headed to the bathroom when he needed to & did his business! I guess we should have tried that a long time ago, instead of fighting him to go to the bathroom when he hadn't gone in a while (and very likely didn't need to go yet). I did ask a few times during the day if he needed to potty when he looked like he might need to. He responded, "no" every time. Instead of urging him to go potty & carrying him in there I respected his "no" and didn't say another word about it!

Judah had one large bm.
Judah missed fish oil, beta, skin rash med not needed, missed iron-up.
He had vitamin b-6.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Something that happened on this day that was really cool..

Judah was playing cars on his mat. He pulled the aide down off of the couch, wanting her to play with him. He put her hands on the cars he wanted her to use & showed her what to do. Any time she would try to get up he would pull her back down. He didn't want her to stop playing! This is actually one of his IFSP goals- initiating & maintaining play with both an adult and a child. Doing this with a child is easy for him - but adult I never see (except with family).  Naming people is another IFSP goal - you'll see in the next entry that he names our entire family at the dinner table, multiple times!! His school speech therapist & I have been talking about re-writing some of his goals. She's only seen him twice this year & has become very aware that he has advanced much beyond where he was last year!

Sebastian & I went into his classroom after school. I was able to get the work that he was stressing over so much. We went home & practiced it. His teacher told me about her new way of promoting positive behavior in the classroom while I was there. She will be handing out smiley faces & giving the kids a prize when they collect 10 of them. I asked her when she would be doing this (what part of class). Her explanation led me to believe that it will be much like the check mark system - randomly giving check marks to kids who happen to be behaving well at any given moment. It's not a fair system at all & is likely promoting competition & stress for these little kids. If the kids get a red card (frowning face) they have to take it home & explain to their parents what they did in class that got them that bad behavior card. (I don't know if she did away with the check mark system or if this is in addition to it.) I'm volunteering soon - I'll get to see firsthand how these systems are playing out in the classroom.

Scott & I are going in on Friday to meet with Sebastian's principal. Hopefully that will bring insight & a clearer picture for us as far as many things are concerned. Obviously we need to find this stuff out before we can see & decide the best direction for Sebastian. Right now Scott & I are in close contact with Sebastian's teacher. Scott will go in tomorrow to check-in with her.

Willow & I picked up Sebastian at the front door of school as usual today. I told them they could play on the playground for a while. Some of Sebastian's friends were there playing. Sebastian is such the social guy! He really likes tetherball now. He asked one of his friends, "Do you want to go play cheddarball??" The kid responded, "It's teddurball!" Sebastian said, "Teddurball, whatever, do you want to?" They stayed on the play structure for a while. But later I saw all four of them (Bash & his friends) running fast towards the tetherball poles yelling, "Cheddarball!!!" It was so cool. The tetherball is actually the color of cheddar cheese, haha. Sebastian told me the other day when I was playing with him that it would be really fun if you could take a bite as the ball went around, haha.

Judah missed his shot - I went to bed early.
No rash med needed.
Judah missed fish oil, beta, powder b-6, iron-up.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


(We made you a card, but it wasn't sent in time to get there today, sorry!)
I hope you had a super fun day with lots of icing!!!!!!!!

I had a bit of time to talk with Judah's teacher this morning when I dropped him - Willow was wandering off so I couldn't leave & the teacher was waiting on the buses. Turns out I don't have to do a background check every year. Apparently I'm good for 3 years - so I can volunteer anytime! His teacher is a doll. She takes the time to try and squish mandarin oranges into his Rice Chex to get him to eat them, which he did today!!

Judah went to the bathroom completely on his own, just walked away and went, at least twice today. One time was while the Qigong woman was here. He walked away & we heard a door slam. He was using the bathroom! He even closed the door, ha! Maybe it was because someone new was here? He's never closed the door before.

Judah wore underwear to school all day with no accidents!!! Still sleeping through the night in underwear. The Qigong lady came for our 6 month questionnaire. These were all the same questions we had been asked 6 months ago. She began with the questions that were "no" answers 6 months ago. "Can he jump on one foot?"- stuff like that. The previous "no" answers were nearly all YES now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Unbelievable!

At bedtime I talked with Sebastian about school for a while. Both of the boys were in bed. Minutes after I left them, Judah got up and walked out of the bedroom. He chattered some words to me that I couldn't make out.. although the word "Daddy" was clear many times. It sounded like he wanted to say goodnight to Daddy. Then he went back into the bedroom & went to bed! ha.

While the Qigong lady was here Judah was affectionate with Daddy.. "Hi Daddy!" and laying in his lap. Daddy had just come home from work. Judah did some talking & playing with the blanket on his head. He sat on the couch "reading" a book while his sister did the same next to him - he was actually copying HER this time. They interacted through play incredibly well when the Qigong lady was here.

Sebastian was happy to work on his addition when I found a math app for him today. Absolutely no refusal & he tried hard to listen when I was explaining things to him - often that can be difficult. After a while I just left him alone to work on it & he kept going! It wasn't a fun computer game - it was just addition. That was a significant part of class during the few hours I was there today. Addition and also filling in the blank.. 2 + ___ = 10. He is struggling greatly with addition. Filling in the blank is really not even possible at this juncture for him, solely because he doesn't understand what addition is yet. So we went right to work on that at home. THAT I can help him with.

Willow pottied twice on the potty today! She spent much of the afternoon with Papa. She came home with a photo album of really great pictures - family pics. Those were neat to look through.. the kids at various ages is always fun to look back on.

I found Sebastian at recess when I got to school to volunteer. He was playing tetherball with a kid who was in his Kindergarten class last year, but isn't in his class this year. After I got there he became very aggressive with the tetherball, punching it, looking very angry & making loud noises of frustration. His friend immediately got a look on his face of, "What are you doing?? I don't like this." His friend said he wanted to go do something else.. he began to walk away and then came back. The game ended not long after and I stood with them at the fence, looking down at the valley of trees & shrubs below. Sebastian spotted a huge nest - the size of what I'd imagine an eagle's nest would be. The boys asked me questions about nature & were very peaceful towards one another.

Sebastian was line leader today. His name got drawn. Every time the class went anywhere he was at the head of the line! He was very confident in this role.

Sebastian's teacher kept me busy!!! I cut construction paper, glued artwork, prepared work for the kids & even did filing!! I was in the classroom for 2 1/2 hours. 30 minutes was music and the rest was recess.

Music class was awesome. They have a really fun teacher. That seemed to be a point of relief & relaxation for the kids. Sebastian wasn't too enthusiastic about this class. He did like the part when they got up and marched around the room though. They are learning quarter, eighth, whole & half notes. They are learning the rests as well. They are learning to keep a beat too. I had no idea he was learning this stuff!! That class was hilarious - I was trying so hard not to laugh. The teacher would explain in great detail what something was. Today he explained what a levy was. After he diligently explained this & gave examples there were at least 2 kids that raised their hand and asked what a levy was, haha. The teacher answered, "I just completely covered that.. (and without missing a beat) Yes, Alex what's your question?" moving on quickly to another kid. The teacher would say things like "Ta Ta Ti Ti Ta".. teaching them quarter & eighth notes. The kids would repeat what he asked them to. In the midst of activities like this he would randomly say stuff like, "Elisabeth don't chew on your shoelaces." He did this without stopping the class or interrupting anything. Then 10 minutes later, "Elisabeth your shoelaces don't go in your mouth... okay Ta, Ta, Ti, Ti, Ta!!" It was hysterical. He wasn't laughing though. ;) I couldn't even write down how many funny things I heard & saw during that class! I told the teacher who I was after class. He says, "Sebastian is such a nice kid."

Sebastian's class for me was basically hours of not understanding a damn thing. The teacher talks in Spanish, Spanish only. I was constantly listening for Spanish words that I knew, hoping to get a clue about what was being said. Sebastian sat on the carpet with the class, at the back corner every time. He never said a word or participated at all during the Spanish activities. However, she did one short activity in English about Grandmas. She read a story in English & had the kids come up with 2 adjectives that described their grandmas. They filled these into a sentence & could volunteer to stand up and tell the class their sentence. Sebastian didn't answer any questions during the book. I was really hoping he would. When she told the kids they could stand up & share their Grandma sentence if they chose to, he just happened to look over at me. I was gesturing with my arms for him to go & saying, "Go! Go!" very quietly. Seconds later, he raised his hand. He got up with his partner in front of the class & did his sentence! YES.

During math she gave each child a dry erase board & dry erase marker. She wrote out a math problem on the board - they were to copy this problem on their board & fill it in with the answer. Then they held up their boards for her to see & she called on them to say their answer. Sebastian was so ambitious about this. I don't think he got any right at all, but he never gave up & his confidence was really great. Now you see why I went directly to working on math with him when he got home.. he can have success there & he needs more successes in that class. I didn't know that they were working on this so much.

I was only in Sebastian's class for the last part of a Tuesday. I don't know how the other days go or what they are learning during those days. With that information though, I know that we could help him so much more than we are now. He's 7, he doesn't come home & explain to us completely accurately what's going on & definitely doesn't give us all the info. We're finding that it's hard to help at this age!! And it's basically because we don't know what's going on. I'd have to volunteer there for a full week to get a feel for what we need to be working on with him.

The teacher has a chart she uses pretty regularly throughout the day to encourage positive behavior in the classroom (as she put it). She puts check marks beside the kid's names when they have good behavior or complete their work. She holds the chart up for the whole class to see. She randomly gives kids check marks during story time if she sees them being very quiet & polite or having some type of good behavior. She has 30 kids. There is no way this chart could ever be done fairly. If a kid is talking when he shouldn't be and she chooses to acknowledge that, then he loses check marks.

 At one point a girl raised her hand, gave the wrong answer and then another kid raised his hand and gave the right answer. His answer was followed by him announcing that the girl who had answered before him wasn't paying attention & listening & that's why she didn't know the answer. The teacher smiled & told him he did a good job. THAT was irritating.

One of the kids that I know was asking the teacher a question in English. This was as the class was just coming back in from recess & the kids were all milling around. The teacher answered the kid's question in Spanish. The kid didn't understand & asked again. The teacher answered in Spanish again. Still, the kid didn't understand.. so she tried asking one last time. The teacher again, answered in Spanish. Finally the kid just gave up & went to her seat.

Sebastian didn't complete an assignment in time, so he put it in his cubby instead of giving it to the teacher like the other kids had done. What was he supposed to do with it? I have no clue. The other kids had all finished theirs I think. She went through these assignments one by one, saying the name on each one in front of the class, holding her check mark chart & giving each kid 5 checks after she read their name & looked at their work. I never heard her say Sebastian's name. I looked over at him & he looked as if he was about to cry. He laid his head down on his table. The first chance I had I asked him where his paper was. I was actually gluing these assignments on construction paper & I knew his wasn't there. He told me that he hadn't finished. He went to the teacher & asked her what to do. She told him he could finish. Minutes later the class was told to do something else. Sebastian looks up at her & says, "But you told me I could finish??" He gave me his paper & I glued it for him. She gave him his 5 check marks then. Had he given it to her unfinished would he have gotten the check marks with everyone else? Or was it supposed to go in his cubby & he wasn't supposed to get check marks?? I felt as lost as he probably does on a daily basis. When we came back from music there were a few kid assignments waiting on my table for me to glue. Two weren't finished - this told me that Sebastian was not the only one (as it had appeared earlier).

Although I know he has learned more Spanish than we realize, Sebastian still appears to be very lost during class. Many kids confidently get up & do what the teacher has asked of them (in Spanish). Sebastian usually did not today, he would instead ask her what he was supposed to be doing. At one point I'm pretty sure she was directing him to get up & get something from his cubby & he didn't understand, so he remained seated on the carpet. She didn't stop & explain anything, she just went on to the next kid, one by one telling them to do the same thing & they each got up and did it, with no problem. Sometimes others offered help - one girl specifically offered him help many times & he was very defensive. She told me that she would help him and that he didn't need help (from me). Finally Sebastian tells her, "You don't have control over my body!" hahaaaa. Accepting help from others did not come easily for him today (that I saw). Obviously I don't know how he is when I'm not there though.

After class I quickly asked the teacher 2 questions about her check mark charts. She has a second one for the tables. At a point during class she goes to this chart and gives check marks to the tables that are being completely quiet. If you've got a talker at your table, you're not getting a check mark, sorry! I confirmed with her that I was understanding that correctly and asked about the different colors on the other chart (which meant nothing). She asked me why Sebastian had been upset the day before. I told her that he feels like he is the only kid in class who doesn't understand what to do. He tells us that he feels like a failure. She said, "I put him at a table with lots of Spanish speaking kids.." basically saying that she didn't know what else she could be doing. Unfortunately, it came off as her being defensive & not wanting an angry parent to deal with. There didn't seem to be a lot of genuine concern from her. She told me to tell her what she needed to do (Throw away your charts??!! Make sure your students are understanding??!). I didn't respond with anything more than just being polite. She wasn't genuinely asking me what I wanted her to do. But we could try to come up with some suggestions for her I suppose. ?  It wasn't a time for parent/teacher conversation, I wasn't planning on having a conversation about Sebastian's progress. I came there to see what was happening. At that point I just needed to process & talk with Scott.

There's no way of knowing how those kids are really doing in there. They all seem to be typical 1st grade kids. None seemed really stressed out (I take that back.. I remember one girl that did). For the most part they seem to be understanding what the teacher is saying during activities & are able to answer questions. They often answer in English but some kids are very obviously fluent in Spanish and thus answer in Spanish. From what I saw, there may be a few struggling but the majority seem to be doing alright. I was mainly focused on Sebastian though, so I'm sure I didn't capture the whole picture as far as how the other kids are doing. The only part Bash says he enjoys are recess, lunch & P.E.

I really don't know what to do. And like I said before, I was only there for the last half of a Tuesday.. I have no clue how the rest of the week looks. Sebastian is very focused on the beginning of class & worrying that he can't do that part. We need to find out what they are doing at that time. From what he tells me they are writing four words over & over, the same four words every day for the entire week. I don't know why that would be scary.. I'm very likely missing something, probably something that he can't explain or doesn't even understand himself. Being 7 should be fun! It shouldn't be late night talks with your parents about the stress of FIRST GRADE & the worry of being a failure.

I didn't see any safety issue though - just fyi. I don't know why he said yesterday that he didn't feel safe there. But again, I was just there for the last half of a Tuesday. And only half a day felt long! I understand why he complains about his days being so long now, man I had forgotten!!!

Judah had one bm.
He missed fish oil, beta, b-6 & iron-up. Awesome progress today!

Sebastian's Progress With Gramma Today

Written by Gramma:

Hi all,

I wanted to take a moment to comment on Sebastian's work with me today. He was awesome!

We reviewed Spanish phrases as well as his English words and sentences from last week and he even added a few words to the Spanish list. He had tried out some of his new phrases on one of his friends but he said the cafeteria was kind of noisy so he wasn't sure if the friend heard, but he did try which was one of his assignments from our Thursday session last week.Might be something to reinforce at home. : )

He remembered everything from previous lessons, and made a focused effort to do well with review time. We then worked on some new sight words (sent all the information for him to be reviewing with you in his bag...not overwhelming but something to reinforce) in English, new Spanish phrases, one of which he wrote, made a non fiction mini book on animal habitat and read it in English. We do the Spanish version of the book on Thursday, but he was beginning to notice that sounds in Spanish and English are similar as are many words (animales; animals) so if he learns the reading process in English, naming the words will flow naturally in Spanish.

Comprehension has to be happening in both languages so we are working on that but I think the relief of the realization that consonants and some vowels are the same in both languages (we had a good discussion on this) is considerable for him.

He is starting to self correct which is a major breakthrough. We talked about miscues he made and why he might have made them (the word started with w so I thought it was wild, it made sense there, it didn't sound like the right word, etc. Anything we can do to help him think about the reading process will move his progress along considerably.

We then completed his second of 20 reading lessons (if we can complete one each lesson, I'll be happy and confident that he'll be reading fluently in English (maybe Spanish, too) by mid November) and he really did well with onset and rime (mad, sad, had, cat, at, bat, etc.). Also making and reading short sentences was a major step forward today.

His reward for such outstanding work, he really was reading and blending on his own without picture cues, was to go up to the second floor of the library (we work on the first floor) and listen to the silence. It's a quiet floor and they really do enforce the silence. He loved wandering through the bookshelves and watching the lights automatically come on (motion activated).  Before we went into the silent area he'd asked what he should do if he needed to go to the bathroom while we were up there! I assured him a whisper was really ok. He beamed.

Can you tell I am very pleased with his progress? Next week we'll continue working on both languages and I'm trying to figure out what it is he's doing in his class...especially at the "table for little kids" that he and another child have to go to practice Spanish? Sight words? Sounds? I'm guessing but don't know. He tried to help me so I was getting some idea.

Anyway, more than any time I've seen him, he focused, followed directions, and was very earnest.

He said he earned five checks today in class and was understanding more. "I'm having better communication."  I hope there is some reward in store for that progress in class.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Ordering French Fries At the Park

Judah had his eye drop today. He has an eye condition called strabismus. Basically, his right eye sometimes wanders in a different direction than his left.  His eye drop dilates the "good eye" forcing the other eye to work much harder, since it is being so lazy. ;) His eye drop lasts for 24 hours.On his eye drop days he goes from doing one thing to the next, having a hard time focusing (literally). So it's not always a super progress day, but sometimes that's not the case!

I was just looking at strabismus online and found a couple interesting things...

  • Recent evidence points to a cause of infantile strabism lying with the input to the visual cortex.[11]
  • Strabismus often occurs in children who are otherwise completely normal. However, disorders that affect the brain such as cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, hydrocephalus and brain tumor are more likely to develop strabismus.
Maybe Temple Grandin was onto something with her theory of autism being a brain issue..
Sebastian had a melt down at drop-off. We talked in the van for about 10 minutes before he had to get out. He wants desperately for me to volunteer. The principal came & stood by the van after we had been parked there a while. I was supposed to be moving my vehicle up as the other cars moved forward. Obviously I wasn't doing that, but I had purposely parked with room for at least 4 cars to fit in front of me, as not to cause a disruption in car flow. Not a single car had to maneuver around me & we had caused absolutely no disruption in traffic flow, but I wasn't obeying a rule.. so that needed to be made clear to me. Thank you misses principal. She walked Sebastian into school, holding his hand, stopped at her office so he could get a Kleenex & took him all the way into his classroom. After school I caught up with her & she asked what Sebastian had been upset about. I let her know that Sebastian was having a stressful start to the school year. I said that he had told me this morning that he didn't feel safe at school. "That's interesting. Did he say why?" - that was about as much concern as she had over it. I told her he didn't tell me why. She then let me know that she assumed I wasn't moving my vehicle because I was having a talk with him, and that's why she stood outside of the van & didn't interrupt.  ?!?!?! Who cares.
I don't know why he said he doesn't feel safe. We've talked about school a LOT today. From what I gather he feels inadequate because of a variety of different things. Kids who finish first get to be "helpers"... check marks get you prizes... but check marks are taken away for not finishing work or asking too many questions (2 things happening with him)... half of the class is fluent in Spanish which causes him to feel like he is incredibly behind... the teacher won't explain things in English to him so he has to ask her repeatedly what she is saying & he feels like he is annoying her.. he's embarrassed to go up & ask her questions & believes raising his hand will take too long (29 kids, one teacher). Lots of stuff that is perfectly understandable - and many things that we don't know how to help him feel more confident about!

As I talked with Sebastian tonight he repeated some things that his teacher often says. Through him talking about class I could see that he has picked up quite a bit more Spanish than we realized!! I let him know that!
I spoke with a mom who has a kid in Sebastian's class. Her kid is not fluent in Spanish - pretty  much in the same boat as Sebastian. Her kid is very confident & social. She said her kid wants to switch to English classes. She also said that she has volunteered a few times & that just being in the classroom was stressful to her. She told me that the teacher speaks 100% Spanish and that half of the class is fluent in Spanish. I'm volunteering tomorrow.
The kids, myself & J's aide went to the park to play this afternoon. Willow stood in a spot that appeared to be a drive-thru window to the kids. Judah walked up to her and said, "Chips please!" Later he requested juice, "Juice please!" Another kid quickly joined them. They all played this drive-thru game (Willow as the employee) on & off together for quite a while. Judah found a penny on the counter today & said, "I'm rich!" His phrases are coming!!!

At the playground Judah talked at one end of a pipe and I talked back through the other end, which was far away. These are built into many playgrounds. He said, "Mommy?" to make sure I was there. He would touch a body part & I would name it. I could see him. When he was done he said, "bye". He talked to his aide through this too.. he told her "potty" through the pipe because he had to potty!

Judah has looked at me several times with great eye contact, saying "Mommy". Often I get kisses. :) Tonight he stood on the bathroom stool at the sink, washing his hands. After that he put soap all over his face, belly & the top of his head. Then I gave him a wet washcloth & he washed himself! ha. He didn't want a bath though. He also wanted to run around naked after that, lol, which Daddy allowed for a little bit.
This morning Judah sat on the floor and covered his lower body in big couch cushions. Willow joined him. They sat side-by-side with cushions as their blanket & chatted somehow (I can't remember the words). Judah got up & went to the table. He picked up Willow's bowl of applesauce and brought it to her. Then he sat back down with her. She spoon fed him her applesauce & he allowed it! She likes to feed us too. They were there communicating & playing gently for quite a while! Then Judah patted one of the cushions, motioning for me to join them. So we all played there. I have never seen them communicate like that, lots of eye contact, smiling, laughing, repeating words & actions, etc. They were very loving towards one another. I was teary-eyed watching this from afar. Later they were playing on the couch & one of Willow's dress buttons got caught on a cushion thread. I didn't realize what was happening. She tried to get untangled but it just made her dress tighter. I went over to see what was going on after I saw that she was stuck. I found Judah with his face inches from her button, carefully trying to get the thread unwrapped to free his sister. That's what he had been doing the past 5 minutes or so but I didn't realize it! So sweet.

Last night I was laying down in my bed with Willow. My bathroom light was still on so I said, "Willow can you turn the bathroom light off please?" She says, "okay" and climbs out of bed. Sebastian was taking a bath in the hallway bathroom at this time. Willow walks towards my bathroom and then passes it. ? Then I hear Sebastian scream, "Aaaaaa!! Willow!!!!!!!" I look over to see her casually walking back towards my bed. She thought she had done just as I had asked, haha!!

Willow thinks "back yard" refers to the back yard AND the front yard. "I want to go to the back yard!!" and then she walks to the front door, ha!
Judah had one large bm. He was in underwear all day long & slept in underwear last night - 2 or 3 nights in a row now? No accidents. Went potty on his own at least once.
Judah missed fish oil, beta, b-6, iron-up (we're out).
Did eye-drop & skin rash med.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Huge Judah Milestone!

This is what you call lazy bloggin'. I'm going to cut & paste tid-bits from emails I wrote today (mostly to Scott's mom). Today was a milestone day for Judah. Today he was a typical kid who just hasn't learned how to say a good amount of words, phrases, etc. yet. He woke up in underwear - we forgot to give him a diaper to put on last night. He woke up dry & not long after he just went in & used the bathroom! He wanted to put on his clothes & underwear himself today - rather than ask or assume we were going to help. Other incredible Judah moments below..

Sebastian said he felt like everyone hated him today.. Willow was hitting him & he thought Scott & I hated his backpack because we had told him to put it up at one point today. Scott & I sat on the couch & talked with him after the other 2 were put to bed. I think he's okay now. It's heartbreaking hearing your kid say something like that.

Judah moments:

(milestone) - He shows us that he understands. Today I can say that I was genuinely expecting to hear him speak or show me, in order to communicate & show his understanding. But I'm still in shock & awe every single time!!!
Tonight he didn't want us to get a splinter out of his skin with tweezers. He said, "A-ha! I know!!" and ran to the bathroom with all of the tweezers. I assumed he had a better plan (which he did). He took the 3 sets of tweezers we were using and hid them in the bathroom drawers! He dug through the bathroom looking for something else to use to get his splinter out. He decided on a sticker. He put it on the splinter and then I told him to pull it off. He did this a few times but it didn't work. Scott recommended a bath so his skin would prune & the splinter would come out easier. We decided Judah could take a bath while Scott took the other kids to play at McDonald's. They were in the middle of getting ready to leave when the splinter problem occurred. Judah said, "No!!" when Scott & I were talking about giving him a bath while they went to McDonald's. I ran the water. Judah said, "All done!!" I said, "Off?" He repeated me saying, "off". That wasn't enough though - he wanted the tub drained. I said, "All gone?" and he repeated that as well. He knew exactly what was going on. He was grabbing his clothes to get dressed (his shorts had gotten wet) and said, "Go!" Scott asked him, "Do you want to stay here with Mommy or go with Daddy?" He had been very mad at Daddy, because Daddy was the one using the tweezers on him. Regardless of that he said, "Daddy!" Judah grabbed his shirt to put it on. He said, "Go!!!"

1.   I was naming the body parts he touched and then he suddenly put out his fists, he was signing "drive"!

2.   We have a little clock that I got for Judah to play with since he was fascinated with clocks for a while. Today he was touching each number, saying the number as he touched it, all the way up until 10!
3.   I asked him to close a door & he did it, only asked one time. Asked him to get his shoes & he did - asked one time. He had to walk across the yard to get them (my other 2 wouldn't have done that! haha).
4.   While outside he brought his toy to me and said, "All done" every time he was done playing with it.
5.   He was playing cars in the mulch. I explained to him that mulch could give him a splinter/an ouch. He got up and went to play in the dirt! I can't count how many times I've tried to get him out of the mulch, verbally& physically - it's not easy!!
6.   I asked him to bring his shoes in, he went across the yard& got them & brought them in!

Email to his aide today-
Judah's cars have been having conversations a lot lately! He was even doing this with his therapist's beanie frogs during music therapy yesterday. Scott said he was about to call Judah to the table for lunch this afternoon, when he heard one of the car conversations. He looked in the play room to see Judah driving Chuck (a big dump truck) up to a group of cars that had just been chatting. "Hi! I'm Chuck!" (clear as day apparently).
BUT, I thought this was even cooler (although a lot of cool stuff has been happening lately):
The other day Judah touched his mouth & looked at me, waiting for me to say something. I said, "mouth". Then he touched his nose & waited for me to say "nose". He touched a few more body parts & I said their names after he touched them. That's been going on for a few days now. He really enjoys doing that, lol. He likes to touch my toes and say, "toes!" 
Today I sat down on the floor in the play room to play with Judah. He touched his nose. I said, "nose". He touched his mouth, his arm, etc. Then he stopped to think, looking up for a few seconds, lol. He put up his fists. I said, "hand". He continued to hold up his 2 fists. I said, "fingers? fist?" He moved them apart some & I still couldn't figure it out. I said, "bird?". He looked annoyed, and quickly moved his hand in the air, like a bird flying away. He went back to holding up his fists and said to me, "car". He was signing car! He was doing it correctly but I just didn't realize what he was doing.
Crazy huh! He's learning to sign!!
Judah had a big poop.
No skin rash med or eye drops needed.
No iron-up (out), b-6 powder, beta (need yogurt to put it in), or fish oil given.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Happy 37th Scott!!!

Scott turned 37 today!!

We had a very spontaneous birthday party for Scott moments after Mom & Dave brought the kids home from their usual Gramma/Papa Saturday. They came bearing a dish of chocolate truffles which looked like brownies & acted as the "birthday cake". These truffles were chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate. I've never tasted anything so chocolaty in my life!

When they arrived I was in the garage, digging through what I like to call the "birthday box". I also have 3 Halloween boxes, an Easter box, 4 Christmas boxes & more. These all contain stuff that pertains to the box title. I found 3 Wubbzy candles & mis-matched birthday hats in the birthday box - these, presents, a dish of pure chocolate & family all made for a sweet 37th birthday party for Scott! Pictures below.

Sebastian made Daddy a birthday cake before anyone awoke this morning! Bread, sprinkles, sugar & popsicle sticks as candles! He does something for Scott's birthday every year before everyone gets up.


Scott & I went to an ASD support group meeting this afternoon. This is an online ASD group that meets once a month face-to-face. The online group is a good amount of people - and it's fairly active. But the monthly support group meeting brings only a few faces. It's so disappointing. Even between the few of us that go to these meetings, we are still able to share a good amount of advice, help, support & ideas. If more people would come it would be even more beneficial! And more people would be helped & there would be much better odds of the ideas, advice & help found at the meetings to be spread even further. There are no ASD support groups here in Salem or the surrounding towns. But obviously autism is pretty common & it's life-changing & it's unbelievably hard to find good help & guidance & even when you do it needs to pertain to your child & situation.. and every kid with autism is different as is every situation, etc. So it just baffles me that people don't come to these meetings!! If we lived in Portland we would be at them much more often. There are many there, as well as classes, specialists, etc. We end up in Portland all the time.. twice a week minimum.

Judah's progress was blasting today. Angie (his music therapist) was floored. "Judah, you are kind of blowing my mind right now!" She told a mutual friend waiting outside the studio, "Judah's language just exploded!!" He was repeating her, following directions, doing movements on his own, making choices and more. His usual behaviors during parts of the routine were much more mild & focused. His creativity & critical thinking skills have begun to shine even more. He played with her beanie baby frogs, placing them where they could all see one another, making sure their legs & arms weren't twisted (if they were he would untwist them & say, "ouch!") and made them have conversations. Typically he gathers these all in his arms & throws them. He always throws them. Today it was a completely different behavior.

 His speech therapy occurred directly after an hour drive to Portland, 45 mins of music therapy & a 45 minute drive back to Salem. All of this activity didn't slow his progress at all. His speech therapist was blown away as well!! She handed me a big evaluation that she had written on Judah, including recommendations that we can use for disability/insurance, etc. When it was time to go he didn't want to leave. Finally I said, "Are you ready to go see Papa now?" and he replies, "What?!? Papa? Papa!!" and rushes to the door. I could hear his therapist laughing in her office, the receptionist was laughing too!

This morning I asked Judah to go get his Thomas shirt while we were in my bedroom. He went to the living room & retrieved it! Then I told him to put it on & he did! I only had to ask him to do these things one time. Amazing change, so radical, it's hard to believe it's real!

Judah had a large poop.
No need for skin rash med or eye drops or powder b-6.
Missed beta & fish oil.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Looking Up

So Sebastian had his 15 checkmarks, which earns him a Friday prize. However, he explained that because other kids were talking when they weren't supposed to that no prizes were handed out today. He emphasized repeatedly that he wasn't one of the kids who was talking, which is undoubtedly true. Ugh, his teacher needs to rearrange some brain cells. Her checkmark system of "promoting positive behavior" (as she says) seems to be providing as much positive as it is negative. You just took an earned & promised reward from a kid who has been waiting 2 long weeks for it. This was done because individuals around him, that he obviously has no control over, were talking when they weren't supposed to. Think. Turn on your heart.. and your brain.

Our Friday aide was here today. She's 19 I think? But seems to have the life knowledge & maturity of a 39 year old. She has taught Judah to say, "Booyah!!" - obviously there are still teenage glimpses at times, haha. She was giving Judah many directions today. He was following them so well! And if he didn't follow the instruction she would continue to cue him until he did it.. usually it was just him not wanting to do it, but the majority of the time he was doing what she asked! She told him she needed his foot when they were getting ready to put on his shoes. He put his foot out. Tonight I told him to look up when I was washing his hair - I touched his chin thinking that might help, and for the first time ever, he looked up while I was washing his hair! He looked up every time I asked him!! I've been asking him to do that for years!!! Yes, very literally, years.

Judah said a couple words today precisely on cue. One was a word from a commercial on TV. He said it right as they did, even matching the tone. The other was during SpongeBob. He has really incredible timing & pitch. I catch this every once in a while.. eventually it will spark enough to be seen often. Tonight he was laying in his bed singing very loudly. When he stopped I heard Sebastian, who was laying 2 feet away in his own bed, say "Night, night Judah." Then Judah chattered something back to him. Neither of them knew I was standing outside their bedroom door. So sweet.

Sebastian just had his second night using up an entire bottle of body wash in the course of one bath. Seriously!!!? I feel like I need to go into the bathroom and squirt the soap in his hand myself at this point. Honestly, an entire bottle during ONE BATH. And it's name brand!!! We've had to hide the sugar jar from him because he gets into it in the morning, eating the sugar straight. Since that was unavailable this morning he decided to have his sundae that he wasn't allowed to have last night. This happens before the rest of us get up. A few days before that it was brownies. Thing is, he's not too good about keeping his face clean. The circle of chocolate around his mouth wasn't helping him much.

Willow & I hit about 5 yard sales today. There was one really unique sale - it was half wine paraphernalia (mostly brand new or like new) & the other half environmentally friendly kitchen items (either new or like new with multiple replicas). Prices were unbelievably awesome. I was able to snatch up a small pile of clothes for Willow at one sale - nothing too great, but she just needs clothes! I feel awful when I open up her drawer that holds both her shorts & shirts & am clearly able to see the wooden bottom of the drawer. She helped me pick out clothes that she liked. She did unimaginably well at the yard sales.. and it was HOT!! There was a dog at one sale. She immediately went straight for the dog when she spotted it. The entire time I was there she sat on the cement and petted Sly, her new gigantic dog friend. He was nearly 3 times her size. She asked the owner if the dog would stay there in the garage when she left. haha. She had a hard time leaving Sly.

Yesterday we parked at Safeway & immediately heard a yapping dog. The dog was in the truck parked next to us. Willow got out & stood near the truck window, where she could clearly see the dog. She kept telling me, "He doesn't like me. The dog doesn't like me!" It was heartbreaking! I told her that the dog was just scared because he didn't know us - it took quite a while to convince her though.

Willow & I played some tether ball at Harritt today while we waited on older brother to get out of school. She got hit in the head, face, & eye (as she says, lol). Eventually she made me go to the other tether ball pole & play by myself, which was so awesome!! I hadn't played tether ball since elementary school! I used to love it! I was good at it too. Man, what a thrilling way to get out some aggression!! :)

Yesterday I worked hard to get as many of Judah's meds/supplements as I could into him. I only missed Beta. Today I saw big progress. He said "alright" when I asked him to go to the bathroom first thing this morning. He piddled around doing some things then eventually went to the bathroom, knocked on the door & Sebastian let him in. Never seen that before! And he went potty on his own! He is still telling me to stop at stop signs. It's hard to give him a chance to speak for himself - it feels so natural just to cue him with what he could say next. I need to tape my mouth shut. The past few days Judah has been looking me dead in the eye and touching his mouth. I say "mouth". Then he'll touch another body part & another, & I will name each one after he touches it. Scott & I both did Judah's massage tonight. Judah started doing this during his massage, coming up with even more body parts than usual! He was all smiles. I think this was sparked by watching his "Your Baby Can Read" videos - they do a lot of that. It's also helping with his following directions like.. reach, arms out, arms up, etc. He really enjoys some of the animals on those videos, especially the tiger. He is going to LOVE the zoo on Sunday.

Judah is constantly repeating us. He just needs to be taught & shown - and he will learn. Guaranteed. I can tell this from his responses to his videos & his persistent teaching from his aides. This has all brought great progress!! He's beginning to answer us when we speak to him. He does this often when we ask yes or no questions. But new answers are beginning to emerge like, "I don't know" and more. When you give him choices & say what each choice is, he will tell you the one he wants, using the word you have just used, pretty much every single time. His tantrums are so much less because he is understanding so much more. "Judah we are going to the park." and he will respond with something like, "Ok! Let's go!" and hand me my purse or keys, etc. When he falls down he pops back up and says, "I'm okay!" haha. His brother & sister do that too. He says, "Mommy, all done" when he is done with something & then he hands it to me. The more I list the more I am realizing how far he has come. He hasn't had an accident in his underwear in forever. Unfortunately disability is not providing us Pull-Ups anymore, so we are back to buying them ourselves. He poops in diapers & has them on for outings - if we can get beyond those 2 things he should be fine, with no diapers to deal with anymore.

Willow's flower chart has really been influencing her to go potty today - she's done it 2 or 3 times today, which is much more than usual!

Judah hardly had any of his milks today. He had a big poop, thank goodness.

Judah missed Beta, sleep med (although we may just be stopping it), skin rash med & eye med not needed, missed iron up (we're out), l-carnatine, miralax, molasses, oxy-mag (these 4 were because he didn't drink his milks).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Just a Minute, I Have to Fly!!

Judah is still doing ridiculously well. He really enjoys watching the "Your Baby Can Read" videos that we have. If anyone knows of any videos that are similar please let me know! He responds so well to those & really enjoys them. He will pick one from the his shelf in the laundry room. Then he will bring it to us to let us know he wants to watch it. A month or so ago, I brought a bookshelf into the laundry room & filled it with all things Judah. There are Command hooks on the walls where I hung the "to go" bag - filled with extra clothes, diapers, etc. that the aides can just grab when they are heading out with Judah. There are plastic clothing covers hung, for painting & such. There's a hanging bag of Play-doh toys and a hanging bag of Cars characters suction cups & the book they go with. From time to time, I take out a few items from his area. Then I bring in different items to replace them.

We really need to focus on finding ways for Judah to learn through apps, videos, etc. We had never considered computer apps & videos to be a great learning method, but it turns out that they really work well for Judah.

Yesterday I was able to get in some chat time with a friend of mine at Sebastian's school. Her oldest kid runs up to her (he's in the 2nd grade I think?), begging her to let him read the book she is holding. It's a big yellow book with black cartoon like drawings on the front. She tells him, "I am going to read it first & then I will decide if you can read it." I look at it more closely and see the title, "The History of the Atomic Bomb". ha!! Her kid is pretty advanced though - he could probably get through that book & understand it. My friend is a history major and is pretty knowledgeable in a variety of areas. She can definitely hold up her end of the conversation with the assortment of characters that travel through her coffee shop. Maybe someone recently walked in wanting to talk atomic bomb.. ?

The aide scurried off quickly with J today. They went to the art place again - many kids there - too overwhelming for Judah. They stayed 5 minutes & left. They went to Jamba Juice next (his fave). Lastly they hit up the park for a while. Judah was very in tune with everything that was going on today. I found myself answering Sebastian's questions about Judah as if Judah were not sitting literally right between us. I hate it when I do that! It's not intentional at all. I stopped myself & addressed Judah about the subject instead of talking as if he wasn't there. He smiled.

Gramma picked up Sebastian from school & they had some work time at the library - doing Sebastian's Spanish & reading.

Willow & I ran errands. Every time we go to Safeway she tells me that I have found her school. She yells it with joy! "You found my school Molly!!! We found my school!!" She really wants her own school to go to since her brothers each have one. I think I confused her the other day when I told her we were going to pick up her brother at school. I probably said it in a complicated way. I was trying to tell her that first we had to go to Safeway & then we were going to pick up her brother at school. When we arrived at Safeway she announced more times than I could count that we had found her school! She was a bit surprised & confused when she saw the inside of Safeway, but that didn't stop it from being her school! And ever since then, Safeway has been my daughter's school.

Willow continuously ran away from me while we shopped. Sometimes she would ride in the cart (not the part kids are supposed to of course). We went to 3 different stores. Even though she was on the run half the time, it was still 10 times easier than taking 2 of my children shopping at the same time... and 400 times easier than taking all 3! We stopped at DQ for her promised ice cream. It took a long time for her to eat her sundae - it was a size small but was honestly the size of her face. There was no way she wasn't finishing it. She loves ice cream more than anything in the world. Everywhere we went together she was loud, comical & entertaining. She hadn't a care in the world where she was or who was there. She was all about having fun! She took off running as we were leaving Wal-Mart. As soon as she made it through the door she jumped & landed on the sidewalk with legs apart and arms spread out.. yelling very loudly, "Ta-Da!!!" to the world. It was a windy day. She stood outside of DQ pretending to push the wind away with her 2 hands, pushing it down between her legs, straight out away from her & even above her head. When I told her to get in the van she said, "Just a minute! I have to fly!" and began flapping her arms & dancing around in a circle. You never know what to expect with that one! :)

Judah missed Beta & we don't think he pooped - not sure.


Sebastian/Gramma Study Time - written by Gramma.

Hi all,

Sebastian's reading lesson went well. We read a book, reviewed our "colores," and read and practiced some easy Spanish phrases in my office while he had chips and milk. He remembered all of his colores!  He likes the new phrase, "asi, asi" (so,so) in answer to Como estas? His friend Alexis cannot speak English. Sebastian explained that "he grew up only speaking Spanish so now he can't talk in English." He was puzzled. I said, "Well, you grew up speaking English so it's the same thing just different languages." He looked like a lightbulb came on. "Oh, yeah, I guess that's right." Then we worked on some phrases (Hola, Como estas, Como te llamas) that he's going to try out on Alexis if he can remember. He does love context!

Then we went to our spot in the library and did the first lesson in the reading book of twenty lessons I researched and bought, which I think we're going to like.
We focused on the sounds that are on that pink sheet of paper in his bag for you so you all can practice a bit.We built words from these and simple sentences that he read. Lots of repetition and "small chunks of learning at a time." We are focusing more on sounds than on names of the letters since that is sometimes puzzling to young readers. E.g. if you say B says "buh," then it's two concepts. Just recognizing the letter as a phonetic symbol is really what we want kids to do. Simple phonetic environments that follow the rules then branching into those that might not. T

School seems better for him today. He has 15 checks so he gets a prize tomorrow. He did say he "failed his test" and I couldn't be sure what he meant but it seems he did something incorrectly then didn't have time to re-do it. I hope they are not using the term "fail" in class. He said he read all the words in his book in fruits in Spanish and his other teacher said it was "impressive." Leaps and bounds. But his day was "asi, asi" because of these ups and downs and the fact that someone took his artwork so he didn't have anything to show me. Maybe it will come back. He said the nuggets, fruit, and roll at lunch were good but he didn't have time to finish his fruit. Someone (an aide?) urged him to get more fruit than he was able to eat and someone else (another aide?) said he shouldn't take what he can't eat. Sebastian wasn't upset but just wanted to know which direction to follow. I told him to get the amount he wanted and if he couldn't finish, it was not anything wrong.

After about an hour total of work time, Papa came over after work and Sebastian got to wade in the mill stream which he loves. So, a nice reward for good work and effort.

One thing he said Tuesday that I forgot to mention is that when we were at the library, I mentioned we had to be kind of quiet because people were reading. "No, they're not. They aren't talking out loud," he said, puzzled. How could I have forgotten that young kids think reading aloud is the only kind of reading until they get the hang of the process?!

I will get him next Tue/Thursday of next week, again, if you want to put it on the schedule.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I See Mommy's Bottom

Ugh!! I fell asleep with Willow & was late picking up Judah today. He was so upset. Willow & I ran out of the house so fast to get him that I didn't even grab shoes for her!

Judah went to the park with his aide today (the one near Sebastian's school). She said he got pricked by a blackberry bush & was very hesitant about going any further down the path they were on. It was a small path. He wouldn't go down small paths the last time he went with her. She told him everything was fine & he pressed on, very carefully. They came across a man with a golden retriever. Judah acted scared. Again, aide told him it was fine. The man asked if Judah wanted to pet the dog. Judah petted the dog - smiling ear to ear I'm sure.

I shared with J's aide the hugely optimistic thoughts that Judah's naturopath, who specializes in autism, had shared with us yesterday. She agreed with him. She told me, "I'm just waiting for the day he walks up to you & starts talking." She's lived in the autism world much longer than us. She grew up with an autistic sibling, and has worked with many autistic children. Then she talked about one of her heroes, a girl with autism, who one day got on a laptop at home and communicated something very simple to her family. They were shocked that she knew anything at all (crummy family obviously) and from then on this girl used computers to communicate with everyone. We are asking for an augmentative communication device from disability - a very helpful device that could likely move mountains as far as Judah's progress goes. It acts as a means of communication through computerized electronics as well. We still need the denial letter from disability & his pediatrician had to write a letter recommending this device for Judah's progress. Anyway, the girl I was mentioning above went on to go to college, was on Oprah & the aide thinks that this non-verbal girl (now a woman obviously) is working with Oprah to get her own television show. If anyone's got the power it's Oprah. Chris Rock once said, "It's Oprah!! Nobody messes with Oprah!!!" haha.

On the shameful ride home from picking up Judah at school (I was ashamed, not the kids), we stopped at a stop sign. Judah pointed at the sign and said, "Stop!!" I looked back at him and said, "Okay, now what?" He smiled big and said, "Go!!!!" Then he pointed at other stop signs saying "stop". While he was playing on a rug we have for the kids, he would press the red traffic light (it's a rug with roads on it) on the rug and say, "Stop!!" Then he would stop the cars he was racing. Then he would press the green traffic light, holding his finger down on it as he  looked up at me, waiting for me to say, "Go!!" Once I did, his cars took off.

This morning I tried to get Judah to put his socks on independently, no go. I put one over his toes & he pulled it up, but couldn't get beyond the heel- sometimes he can though. I helped him finish putting that sock on & handed him the other sock. I still had to put that one over his toes too, but interestingly enough he looked over at the sock he already had on, studied it for a few seconds, then tried to put his sock on with the same result as the other sock.

We've heard "I don't know" as his answer today when we've asked him what he is doing. That's happened at least twice. It's very clear. We ask, "Are you okay?" and get from him, "Yah." He was trying hard to follow the aide's directions when she asked him to put the cars in the bins (he doesn't hear the word "bins" often). He tried putting them on the train table and then he saw her pointing at the bins. He picked them up and put them in the bins!

Judah was refusing to go to the bathroom, laying on the kitchen floor holding onto my ankles with his head between my legs. He wasn't having a meltdown, just a comfortable (for him) refusal to potty. We told him it was time to potty - turns out he just didn't need to go. He wouldn't get up until the aide said (only one time), "We can go to the park after you potty!" He jumped up & was off. Although he went to his bedroom, haha. But he understood that they were going to the park. After he pottied he grabbed all the bags they needed and hugged & kissed me bye - he did all of that with no cues from anyone.

Judah also said, "Potty!" and walked into the bathroom. I happened to be walking down the hallway at the same time. I watched him from around the corner of the doorway. He went up to the toilet, flipped up the lid, kneeled down & took his Lightning McQueen for a swim. Well... we're getting there. I think he has pottied successfully at school every day. They haven't used one single diaper I've sent! He's also drinking the juice from the mandarin oranges (his non-preferred food at snack time). He's drank the juice 2 days in a row! Yesterday he had a tiny bite of the orange. Today he considered taking a bite of an apple slice at home, he was pretty hungry. He didn't do it, but I know he was thinking about it. We have to work harder on the food issue.

Willow rocked out some great original music on the 2 string guitar tonight. Her first song was something like, "I don't know... I don't know....". While I was trying to put her to bed she kept grabbing the guitar & playing. She sang another song, "I saw Molly's bottom. She doesn't have a diaper. She has pants." hahaaaa. Her songs are the best!

After Judah did his nebulizer he ran into his room jumping & dancing the whole way. He had much eye-contact with me around that same time & was talking very much (things I couldn't understand). I asked him what he had for dinner at one point. Maybe 20 minutes later he tells me, "Chicken. I had chicken."  I asked Scott later what Judah had eaten for dinner and he told me that Judah had eaten chicken! Judah's "chicken" is very clear, as is his "couch". It doesn't take him long now to enunciate a new word in a way that is understandable and often very clear. He had a whirlwind of progress today.

I feel the baby questions coming on. Sebastian learned today that the aide is pregnant. Upon finding out this bizarre (for him I'm sure) news, he immediately asked her if it was going to hurt when the baby comes out. Her response? "Ohhh yeahhh", obviously not the most comforting answer to give a 7 year old. Sebastian replies to her by bragging, "Mommy said it didn't hurt when she had a baby." Obviously it was the most fu**ing painful thing I've ever been through in my life. I honestly believe being on fire would be less painful. But I don't want my son picturing me in horrific pain, so obviously I didn't share details of my un-medicated birthing experience with him. As far as he knows Willow swam into the world, arising magnificently from the "swimming pool" I was sitting in. That's a really cool story, so I don't mess with it. :) We will undoubtedly be dodging more baby inquisitions in the very near future, sigh.

Judah didn't poop today. He missed coconut butter, stopped Colace (docusate sodium) today, skin rash med not needed, missed beta, iron up, powder b-6 (damn it!!!), & fish oil.

Did eye-drop.