Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween pictures

Above & below: Charlie at his daycare party, with his baby buddies. To go along with his namesake's job, Charlie was a dragon.

Below: Roman is tempted by the candy we plan to hand out.
The trick-or-treaters, ready to head out! Roman, of course, is Anakin Skywalker.

Roman's haul... a good year!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Flavor of the Week

1. Put Your iTunes, Windows Media Player, MP3 Player, or whatever on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write down the name of the song no matter how silly it sounds!

If someone says, "Is this okay?" You say? Slippin' Through My Fingers

What do you like in a significant other? My Blue Heaven

How do you feel today? Hoist the Colours!

What is your life's purpose? Basket Case

What is your motto? When I Come Around

What do your friends think of you? Jump in the Line

What do you think of your parents? For the Longest Time

What do you think about very often? I Feel Lucky That's very true!

What is 2 + 2? Sinister Minister

What do you think of your best friend? Winner Takes It All Huh. Interesting.

What do you think of your significant other? You May Be Right ha ha ha!

What is your life story? Break My Stride

What do you want to be when you grow up? I'm in Love Again whoops! Wonder what that means?!

What do you think of when you see your significant other? Tell Her About It

What will you dance to at your wedding? Desire Actually, it was a Sinatra song.

What will they play at your funeral? The Nations of the World (from Animaniacs). Funny!

What is your hobby/interest? Wild, Wild West hee, hee

What is your biggest fear? River of Dreams

What is your biggest secret? Ring of Fire

What do you think of your friends? Waterloo

What will you post this as? Flavor of the Week

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Preparing the pumpkins

This afternoon & evening was a rare treat. Doug was able to come home early, arriving with Charlie about 4:15pm. We also didn't have Scooter Club at church, so the whole evening was wide open! Doug and Roman carved our pumpkin, and Roman drew scary faces on the little pumpkin meant for Charlie. We all stuck our hands in the gooey innards, even Charlie!

Excitement in the next few days includes Charlie having a "baby party" tomorrow in costume with Jello as a special treat. Roman is having a pizza party in his afternoon care. Friday, of course, is the big day... trick-or-treating & it's Mama's turn to take the boys out this year. Saturday we're going to an apple orchard with a few other families from church. Totally fun!

Monday, October 27, 2008

looking forward to a root canal?

Here's the state of affairs: I am so tired from the weekend, and I've endured so much pain over the past few weeks, that I am looking forward to my root canal in T minus 29 minutes. I will plug my iPod into my ears, they will give me relaxin' gas & lots of novocaine, and I might just get a little nap in with my pain relief.

Isn't that sad?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Neither of them can stay in one place...

Roman's "at risk" profile came back at - surprise! - high risk for ADHD. His teacher filled out a form, and Doug and I filled out a form. My counselors scored it and then discussed the results with me. His result even got a "wow" out of them. Basically, four categories - Oppositional, Inattentive, Hyperactive, and "total risk for ADHD." Under oppositional Roman is practically nil, although his teacher saw a little of it. Inattentive, we saw more of it at home than at school, & he is rated at a "mild" problem. Hyperactive, the teacher's score matched ours, and he was a 14 on a scale of 0-21. The total "ADHD index" on a scale of 0-36 placed Roman at a 28. That's pretty high risk. Again, not surprising.

What do we do with this information? For starters, change how we approach things. We got the book "From Chaos to Calm" which discusses what types of routines & approaches work best in parenting the "challenging" child. Just knowing that we're on the right track has changed our attitude with him. For example, driving in the car the other day Roman was incessantly talking, as usual. Doug and I kept trying to speak to each other and got interrupted constantly. Finally Doug said, "Roman, can you stop talking and let us speak to each other?" Roman said okay, but then kept right on talking. I looked at Doug and whispered "no, he can't!" So instead of getting frustrated and raising our voices with him because he's not doing what we say, we took a deep breath, got him involved in something else, and had our quick conversation.

That's part of it, you see - his brain simply cannot press the "off" button. It's actually an under-stimulation of the brain that controls attention and in the "h" case, physical movement. Roman's brain believes it's telling his body to stop, but that section is so under-stimulated that it doesn't actually send the message. So we tell him to stop talking, his brain registers that we told him to stop, and he believes he has stopped - but the actual "firing" of the brain to his mouth to make him stop doesn't happen. The same with fidgeting, blurting, poking, etc. Kindergarten no big deal, but if it continues in school he's going to have a problem with learning AND with making friends. I don't want him to be the weirdo that the kids shun. Speeding up his brain is what we want - that's what medication does, by the way - speeds up his brain so that when he's told to stop doing something, the brain can actually get through to his body.

This has been an awkward line to walk... continuing to impress upon Roman that there are certain behaviors that are expected by us (and society), and yet knowing that at this stage in the game he cannot meet those expectations - even if he thinks he is. We are not verbalizing in front of him that "gee, now there's a reason for you to not do things." Rather, it's helping us change how we approach things so he CAN be successful at some expectations. His conference with his teacher will be very interesting next month.

Charlie had his 9-month appointment on Monday. He weighs 20 lbs, 10 oz, and has grown 2 inches since his 6-month appt. He's now 28 inches, I think. In layman's terms, he's practically in 18-month sizes. He's roly-poly and so can't wear regular t-shirts, just onesies. Big tummy hanging out. He is still in level 2 foods but is beginning to take "chunks" and chew them, rather than suck it all down like a liquid. We've given Gerber fruit puffs with success finally. His pincer (finger) grasps are getting better, and while he can pinch a pea or puff between thumb and finger (not tips), it gets lost in his palm. He also doesn't bring it to his mouth yet without encouragement. However, he stuck his fingers in my yogurt the other day and did put his fingers in his mouth a few times.

He is rocking on hands & knees, and moved forward a little the other day before he lunged for a toy of Roman's. He is starting to interact with peek-a-boo - he will pull down the cloth in front of my face, and when I did it with my hands yesterday he pushed them away so he could see me. He also cries when we walk out of the room. I don't miss those days. Roman, luckily, can often change Charlie's mood. Charlie absolutely adores Roman and watches him constantly.

Doug and I are keeping the house running, sometimes even smoothly. A busy few days ahead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jumperoo Charlie

I have results of Roman's "at risk" testing for ADHD, news from Charlie's 9-month dr. appt., and cute pictures to post. But since my Dad has requested more videos, I bring you Charlie in the Jumperoo. And the news that's fit to blog tomorrow.

Identical to the one he fell asleep in at daycare, we borrowed this from Baby Kaelyn (who I can't really call "baby" anymore - Toddler Kaelyn?). It's a hit. This is a mild video of Charlie's raucous jumping, I'll try to catch one of his full-on jumping fits soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy thoughts & Charlie video!

The other day I was sorting clothes, getting winter stuff out that would hopefully fit Charlie (hence the hat), and so I had him in the crib. Imagine my surprise when I glanced over to see that he was fine and discovered him practically on his knees and peeking over the top of the rail! He has done this a few more times since, both in the crib and once on the couch, attempting to pull up on the arm from a sitting position and launch himself onto the side table to get at whatever goodies are in arm's reach.

I was relieved to read today on my weekly email ("your child at week 4 of 6 months") that only 1 in 6 babies at this age sleep through the night regularly. Thank goodness we're not alone. Charlie is still getting up one time a night, usually between 3:30-4:30am. We've begun to cut back on formula and just give him water in a bottle to see if it's the protein he needs, or just a "full feeling." Yes, we did that once before. I know. But I'm getting really tired of this. Again.

Roman, for all our frustrations, is continuing to be a fantastic kid. He got his fish put on the "Star Work" board for doing his personal best on it Monday. Today he brought home a practice sheet of lower-case f and he had done a really good job on them. And he was proud to announce that this week his job in the classroom is table-washer. Goes to show that little ones really do take pride in having "jobs" and feeling part of something. Regarding the issues, after an unexpected chat with the counselors in my own school, they offered to score a Conners rating scale if Ro's teacher & us filled one out. His teacher agreed, and I should be able to turn them in Friday and have results next week. It's not a diagnosis, but it will certainly tell if we're on the right track.

Roman has a playdate on Saturday with one of his new kindergarten buddies, Josh. He showed off his math skills this morning by saying "Yesterday it was 4 days until I play with Josh. Four, take away one, now it's 3 days until I play with Josh!" Brilliance right there.

Thanks to a messed up dentist appt. for Doug (wrong day, office's fault) he received 2 $25 gift certificates to the company that owns Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc. Conveniently, Charlie's daycare is offering their first "Parent Night Out" this Friday & older siblings are welcome. So we get an unexpected date night! Dinner with the Fs on Saturday will be fun; we like to play with their daughter Kaelyn.

More happy news - I'm planned at school until mid-November for 8th grade, and the next 1.5 weeks for 7th grade. Caught up on grading, too. Life is good sometimes. And because I'm at work until 7pm tomorrow for conferences, I am splurging and eating Wendy's for lunch & packing a snack-dinner. Mmmm. I can't wait.

We did get two pieces of bad news this week to enter into our prayers - my friend N. has landed on hard economic times and so we pray that opportunities head her way. Also we heard our camping buddy Davey was in a motorcycle accident Tues. night - he was hit by a car that ran a stop sign. Amazingly, he is conscious and *only* has dislocated fingers, a dislocated shoulder, and pretty nasty road rash on his face. He's off work for the next 3-6 months too. But much, much worse could have happened.

I'm off to pop a check in the mail so I can go on my scrapbooking weekend in one month!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Smells, & Ro's official report

This may sound odd, but I love it when I can still smell my kids after they've gone to bed. Like I just rubbed my nose with my sleeve and smelled Charlie's scent. I love it. And Roman has his own scent too, which I smell a lot when I go to bed (because he crawls in there in the mornings sometimes to cuddle). I do love those kids a whole lot.

We received Roman's official report which didn't conclude much, but had a lot of hints & suggestions. He was observed 2 separate times, the first on a percentage scale of on/off task behavior. I think I mentioned before, he was 30% on task with teacher redirection, 70% off. Of that 70% off task, 30% of it was verbal (blurting, asking questions at wrong times, talking to friends), 22% was "passive" (rubbing the carpet, playing with items on the shelves, staring at kids/space), and then lesser percentages for physically moving around, etc.

The suggestions the consultant gave which they are going to put in place is a wiggle cushion that Roman has to sit on during group time (gives him something to do with his body), visual pictures of proper behavior at center time (sit in seat, do your best, clean up afterward - Roman can't remain in his seat), and coloring reward for when Roman achieves these basic goals. Teacher & I also agreed that Roman rushes through things and does not do his best because he doesn't like some tasks (practicing letters, for example) or can't sit still long enough to concentrate on them.

We're going to give this plan a month and talk again at conferences in mid-November to see how things are going. I have requested a Conners test be done through the school and evaluated by the school psych., and the teacher is getting that going. We are also on a waiting list at a local psych. office for Roman to be tested by an outside source. Apparently the principal floated the idea of a Young 5s switch but I told the teacher that was a last resort for me - I can't imagine pulling him out of kindergarten for his inattentive behavior, especially since I think it stems from a "can't" situation rather than "won't" and I don't think it's immaturity. I don't think gaining an extra year and putting him in kindergarten again next year will solve the problems he's having in school, essentially.

My cousin reminded me that we will have good days, bad days, days of frustration, but if it is ADD or ADHD it's a whole lot better than some other issues he could be dealing with, and that's so true. We have found here at home that while we love "Love & Logic" for discipline measures (and oh, how it works in the classroom!), for correcting behavior our own version of "123 Magic" is much better for Roman - and apparently lots of ADD kids, too. It gives him time to process that he's doing something wrong and correct it, something that has driven us crazy for years... he can't seem to follow directions on the first request. I think his brain is so crazy that he simply can't process very quickly.

Doug asked Ro the other day "What was going on in your head when I asked you to put your shoes on for the second time?" Roman's answer was very sincerely, "Blah blah blah blah." Other times he has made the comment that his "brain is crazy" or when he slows down to think, he hears lots of talking. I don't think he's schizophrenic or anything, I just think his brain is going a mile a minute and rather than making purposeful connections between brain/body/voice, it's completely separated.

Anyway. So that's what's on my mind this evening.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Funny, funny Charlie

This picture was taken by Charlie's daycare, when they realized they hadn't heard the Jumperoo bounce recently...

He was bouncing so much, he fell asleep in the Jumperoo! Cutie pie.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Nothing new, just the usual

We've reached that blessed time of year where nothing exciting is happening. Thank goodness. School is rolling along for everyone, no major holidays, a few doctors' appointments, but that's it. And really, there's nothing much to report anywhere. I will anyway, though - an update about nothing to update.

Roman: Preliminary report from the consultant showed Roman on task just 30% of the time, *with* teacher redirection. So when left to his own devices, Roman can't even do what he's supposed to 30% of the time. We're still waiting for the full report but we were told they won't formally test him (due to young age); I'm going to demand that they do anyway. We're also trying to find a place that our insurance will cover that will test him as well. A lot of places "treat" but won't actually test. Otherwise he's loving kindergarten. He has a couple friends we hear about a lot, he loves gym & library, and wants to start walking home by himself. With the weather turning colder, I'll probably let him!

Charlie: When placed on his tummy, he commando-crawls backward. Poor guy. Then he screams a lot, because he's pretty frustrated. When I placed him in his crib to play while I sorted his clothes yesterday, he grabbed the rails and actually tried to pull himself up. Wow! He has grown into 12-month sizes, 18-month in some cases. T-shirts don't fit over his belly, we have to wear onesies all the time. I think I'm going to videotape him screaming before a meal one of these days to show that he actually does get in a bad mood. He absolutely LOVES his big brother, tracking him around the house and laughing everytime they make eye contact. It's absolutely hilarious.

Doug & me: Weight loss plateaued for awhile with both of us. Doug appears to have lost again this week (3 more pounds down!), but I have remained the same. I'm not disappointed by this as I'm still pleased at how much I've lost (25 pounds!). I think exercise now needs to take a bigger role (I've mentioned that before, right?) but it's just trying to find the time for it. Doug is thrilled to fit back into shirts that were in storage for awhile and hadn't fit even before that.

My grad class work needs to pick up. I did 2 assignments this weekend, which leaves 3 more small ones and one big paper to write. Will try to get the 3 done this week/weekend, leaving the paper research for the rest of October and the writing in November. I want to finish before Thanksgiving, but conferences and various other things will start soaking up my time soon.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Roman's school picture

School pictures are awesome now. Lifetouch Studios did it, and you can order a CD with a color, b&w, and sepia toned version. How cool! My big boy kindergartener.