Wednesday, July 27, 2011

extreme makeover home edition

We've been living in this here little abode for roughly 8 years now.  Boy it doesn't seem that long.  It seems like just yesterday that we were lying on the floor with Chris, Jackie and their only two (at the time) kids when we rode over with them to show them the place...ok I was lying everyone else was sitting, no I distinctly remember Chris was lying as well, see I'm not the only weirdo.

We've made a lot of changes to the place.  I believe each room has been painted at least twice.  Poor Eric, I picked out the most awful orangey copper for his room, good thing he is color blind.  Though I'm not certain the color blindness helped, it was bad.  He lived with it for a good year, then we lived with it for a few after that until I just couldn't take it anymore.  It's a soft yellow now, and I love it...for now.

Now that I'm an official blogger...that's right I have a badge and everything, ok no badge...I figure it's about time I start recording some of our wonderful ideas, and the not so great ones too.  I have this plan to start one room at a time and make over the entire place.

First up, because it was/is going to be the cheapest is the laundry room.  Even though the hubs thinks it's small we are actually blessed with a good size laundry room.  Some people have literally enough space to put the washer and dryer and that is it hon, I'll show you sometime.  Ours is actually too big, did you just hear him scream "what"?  I'll tell you why.  It's too big because we tend to store everything in there.  That's the problem, not the size.  However we don't have another place to put the vacuum, broom, and other random stuff, so it goes in the laundry room.

Back to the point.  I give you what we started out with.

and here is what we've done, so far.

We cleaned off the top of the washer and dryer!  Ha, I'm kidding.  We put them up on a platform.  I know this post was such a letdown.  This is only the beginning, I assure you.  The Mr. wanted to put a counter top above the washer and dryer, to stop things from falling behind, and once he decided to do that he decided he'd lift them up just a bit.  Now we can open the doors with a clothes basket under them, and you don't have to bend over quite as far.  As for the counter top, it is in place as well.  We still need to add molding and trim to it and the front of the platform.  I also want to put two cabinets up rather than the wire shelves.  See...only the beginning.  I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

waiting game

Friday we went to the Speech and Hearing clinic to have the little man checked out.  WOW.  It was not a good day.  The Mr. had a meeting so he came about half way through.  He missed the meltdown of a lifetime.  Cobra was not liking being confined in that room.  Nor did he like the high chair they tried to put him in in the middle of the tantrum.

We are now aware of a few "concerns".  We also now have a few things to put into the practice.  This is the biggest relief of all.  From the get go it has just been a waiting and guessing game.  Waiting to see what we need to do and guessing what the next person is going to say so it's nice to actually have something to do rather than just sit and worry.  

A couple of the things she was worried about I'm a little iffy on.  In the middle of his fit, little man slung a cup (it was empty, not that this matters, I'm just stating it as a fact) off the table.  She felt this wasn't "age appropriate", that this is a "6 month old" thing to do.  Now I don't think he should be doing this, I think he should know better, and I think I should correct it, but I don't think it's unreasonable behavior at this age.  I think that if she is seeing this behavior stop at 6 months with the kids she is seeing, then she is seeing some super well behaved kids.

She also felt that "the tantrum", which was life altering I will admit, was a bit much.  It went on for far too long,  for no reason.  She said it was as if he was mad about being there then by the middle he didn't even know why he was mad, he was just mad (but don't all kids go through this at one point or another or am I crazy).  That he needs to learn to self calm.  I felt, that the kid didn't get a good night's sleep, he was up for two hours in the middle of the night just lying there and tossing and turning, then he feel asleep 5 minutes before we got there, even though I left a half hour early in hopes that he would fall asleep on the way so he could get a half hour nap in before the appointment.  And he was left to freely walk to the room, which he didn't want to go into, but was made to go in, so we started off with resistance.  All this plus the fact that I really didn't know how much they wanted me to intervene so I didn't try to settle or soothe him much at all, lead to melt down central. 20 to 30 minutes of pure hell to put it exact, actually the fit itself wasn't too bad it was just never ending.  

The main "concern" is eye contact.  He makes good eye contact in general.  He looks strangers straight in the eye.  He makes friends with the cashiers at Publix weekly because of this.  He made a three point....look?  I can't remember what she called it exactly but he looked at a toy, then made eye contact with her, then back at the toy...a good sign.  However, as I've been saying, when he makes a request the eye contact is lacking.  I have been thinking that his lines of communication have been growing, in part because he has been grabbing you and taking you to what he wants, or putting what he wants in your hands, etc.  But apparently I haven't clued in enough.  When he has been doing this he hasn't been making eye contact.  This was a major concern of hers.  I understood and instantly knew what she meant when she brought it up.  He would stare at your hands almost willing them to work to his benefit, it almost seemed like he didn't know that you were attached to them.

We have been working on this all weekend.  If he wants something that I'm holding, I won't give it up until he makes eye contact, as per her suggestion.  If I'm pushing him in his car, I will stop and wait for him to make eye contact, as if to ask why I stopped, before I start back.  If he hands me something to open I will sit motionless until he looks me in the eye.  It's amazing the number of times throughout the day that this little exercise can be worked in.  And it has made great changes.  Now I will say that while I recognized it had been happening once she pointed it out, I didn't notice it before so I hadn't been paying any attention to it.  So I really have nothing to judge his performance now to, but it does seem that he's making that eye contact with less resistance and often times initially on his own, in just 3-4 days.  

So obviously this is a social behavior issue which of course brings us back to the "a word".  I asked and her response was it's too early to tell.  But regardless of what the future will bring if she were us and there were any concerns she would address them.  Which is how I feel.  I mean can it really hurt to teach him to make better eye contact.  However with such great change in such a short time, I'm beginning to wonder that since we can teach him to make better eye contact maybe we just didn't teach him.  

She also told us to talk, talk, talk, talk, and talk some more.  To be his "play by play announcer".  This weekend I have talked, talked, talked, talked, and talked some more.  So much that Sunday night my throat was sore.  Mimic him, and don't put pressure on him to talk.  Treat his babbling/jargon as real speech.  It really does feel good to actually have something to put into play.  This weekend I would pick every little thing apart that he did and wonder if it was a sign of anything.  But now that I have processed things, and had a few meltdowns of my own, and most importantly seen changes in the kid, I'm back to a positive state of mind.

And now we wait again.  Wait for Thursday when the E.I. therapist will come out to play with Cobra and see what she says.  And wait to see what the speech and hearing wants to do.  And wait for Thursday when the new season of Project Runway starts.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

let's get this wagon rollin'

With the recent appointments and family in just prior to that I didn't get time to share our recent trip to Georgia.

So here's a bit of a catcher upper.  For the fourth we went over to my sister's and my mother and her boyfriend came down.

The ride over was fairly uneventful.  The Mr. drove, I relaxed, the kid watched Despicable Me...
a couple times.

All in all it was a pretty chill few days.  There was a bit of 4-wheeling.

A bit of wagon pulling...

...actually a bit more than a bit of wagon pulling.  Even their "Aunts" Bobbi and Brenda were forced offered to pull the kiddos a bit.

There was a bit of popsicle eating.

And apparently they were good popsicles.

And apparently Morgan's mother is much more brave than I am, or she has better stain remover.

Cohen + white shirt + popsicle = a deadly combination.
We have hand me down red shirts dedicated for popsicle time in this house.

There was also a bit of foolishness.

The Mr. is such a wuss...pick your foot up honey.
Not to toot my own horn here but can I just say that I am the best roller racerer ever, or at least in our fam. 
toot toot
Everyone had excuses as to why I was winning, I cheated and jumped the gun, I had the fastest roller racer, but they were all what I like to call
sore losers!

ps  this is the consequences of racing and subsequently stopping a roller racer on a hill.

a small price to pay to be
roller racer champ!

Monday, July 18, 2011

just the boring stuff

So we had our evaluation on Thursday.  We know nothing more than we did before.  It turns out that it is actually a two part evaluation.  Thursday we had the first part.  A super nice lady, and I mean super great, came by to go through a list of questions with me.  You know how there are certain people in this world who just get up each day and trudge to work, well this is not her.  Well it could be but if it is she puts on a good show.  She was very accommodating.  I had put Cohen down for an early nap thinking she would need to see him, she came at his usual nap time.  Turns out she didn't need to see Cohen but didn't seem bothered by him, his outbursts, or his desire to go outside at all.  We started out inside, shortly headed out to the porch, and finally ended up walking around the house, all while she went through her list of questions.  She was so great.

However like I said she really couldn't tell me anything.  She said their saying was "walking by one, talking by two".  But who knows what the next lady will think.  The next gal comes next Thursday and this Friday we go in to have the evaluation at the speech and hearing office.  I have a feeling Friday they will tell us a bit more.

We also checked out a preschool for the little man on Friday.  I'm pretty excited about it.  It is of course bitter sweet.  My little man is going to be going away for half a day three days a week.  I think he's going to love it though.  He needs this time with other kids.  I will of course reap the benefits of some alone time as well.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

what's up in our neck of the woods

We'll rewind just a bit.  A couple weeks ago little man had his 18 month check up.  Who doesn't love the waiting room wait.  After breaking a sweat chasing my kid around, pulling him off not only the table but also strangers laps, we made it back to the second waiting room, where the nurse grilled me.

She didn't really grill me, actually we had a bonding moment, it was great.  Anyway so she went through her list of questions as we were cutting up with each other and made her way to the dreaded question "7-20 words?".  My reply was "on the low side of that".  She asked if I was worried, I wasn't...until I left the appointment.  I told her he stayed home with me and wasn't around a whole lot of other kids (something we were planning on changing prior to the appointment by the way).

Then the actual doctor comes in and we begin discussing Cohen's speech...or lack there of.  He seems concerned, very concerned, well much more concerned than I was.  I even downplayed it, well not downplayed but tried to assure him that everything is ok by going into what Cohen does do, since he doesn't talk.  It didn't work.  We now have two appointments for speech evaluations, one with early intervention and the other with an actual doctor.  

Now let me say that I'm not trying to make my child ok by not accepting the fact that something may be wrong.  Actually since the doctor's visit the Mr. and I have been knit picking everything little man does to decide if it's a sign of autism or not.  I don't think he is, I don't think the doctor thinks he is.  And I'm very much going through with the appointments, because if something is wrong I want to know and make the necessary changes.  Also he asked me to come back in in three months to check on Cobra's progress, so I kinda have to go through with the appointments.  But really I do want to make sure there isn't anything wrong.

So now here I sit waiting on 2:00 to roll around when the lady from early intervention will be here to tell me if we/he needs therapy or not.  And the bad thing is, since the appointment we've really been paying attention to his talking, you know to determine if he is autistic or not, and it seems he's actually talking more than we thought.  He is a quiet child, no doubt, he mumbles and talks very softly.  Don't get me wrong this kid can and does get loud.  

Apparently we just don't pay attention to him.  He actually uses a few more words that I thought, he just doesn't talk often, or when you want him to.  He's stubborn, and possible strong-willed, and at times I think he thinks we're beneath him, that he shouldn't possibly have to waste his time telling us what sound a cow makes sheessh.  He's also a been there done that kid.  He doesn't need to say tractor anymore, he said it three weeks ago for 9 days straight.

So in the end I don't really know if he's delayed, if there is anything wrong, or if there's absolutely nothing wrong.  It will be nice to have someone look at him and let us know what the they think.  So while I am nervous, slightly, I am happy with today's appointment/evaluation as well as the one still to come.