Happy Mother’s Day

I hope everyone is having a restful and enjoyable Mother’s Day today. I am taking the day off from the kids. I informed them this morning that “we call it Mother’s Day because it’s mother’s day off.” Anytime someone starts to whine “mo-o-o-m!” I remind them that I’m not working today, and they change it to “da-a-a-d!” LOL I even got a nap this afternoon. Yay me!

Holy crap! Where has the time gone?!?!?

So sorry! I never meant to be away so long (yeah, I know. You’ve heard that one before, lol). The time has gotten away from me this year. A massive update is in order. We shall start with the Little One.

 Owen had his surgery (technically named a Posterior Fossa Craniectomyapparently. Better known as Decompression) on February 15. He was off to a rocky start, as they had trouble stabilizing his oxygen levels under anesthesia. They finally got started an hour and a half late, and after almost two and a half hours, they were finished. He spent a day and a half in the PICU, where he looked so pathetic.

He spent a total of 5 days in the hospital, and was his usual bouncy self by the time we got home. His incision was 2 or 3 inches long and had 5 sutures.

I am sooooo glad we had the surgery done. Before surgery, he seemed like a pretty happy, well-adjusted kid. I was concerned that we were putting him through all this for nothing, but the neurosurgeon felt it was really necessary, so we went ahead with it. Now, he is like a different kid. He giggles all the time. He speaks in complete sentences. He is more coordinated. He still doesn’t sleep much, so I’m thinking the sleep apnea didn’t go away, but I can live with that. His occupational therapist did a Peabody just before and just after surgery so we could get a benchmark. Before surgery, his grasping (hand strength) was at the 35th percentile. His visual-motor skills (hand/eye coordination) were in the 17th percentile. After surgery, grasping is now in the 85th percentile and v-m is at the 25th! And that was at 1 week post-op. His neurosurgeon warned us that it takes a minimum of 6 weeks just to get back to baseline (where he started when he had the surgery)! I can only imagine how much better it will be in a few more weeks. I am dying to get him back in to the speech therapist for another eval, but I’m pretty sure the insurance won’t pay for it, so I guess I’ll just have to keep wondering.

And now on to the Big One: Reed is doing so awesome I hardly recognize him lately. He is a model student at school, at home, and pretty much everywhere he goes. We had our IEP meeting last week (I think I might be the only parent around here who LOVES those meetings, lol). He still qualifies for services under the Autism Spectrum Disorder (duh!) and Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Which means that he will get all the same stuff next year as he gets this year (one-to-one aide, keyboard for writing assignments, and FM sound-field mostly). They will work more on weaning him off his aide next year (she’s been doing a great job of that already but he’s not quite ready to give her up completely), with the goal of going solo by third grade. They are planning to keep him in the gifted program next year, since he’s doing so well there this year. We’re not sure yet whether he will have the same teacher/classroom, or move up to the next class (his class this year is a 1st/2nd class, so he could stay there as a 2nd grader or move over to the 2nd/3rd grade class). As tempting as it is to keep him in his comfort zone with the teacher who has done so well with him this year, I don’t want to hold him back if he would do better with the more challenging material. He is doing so much better with transitions lately, that I’m thinking I might be making too much of this anyway. I told the school to place him wherever they feel he is best suited. If he has trouble in the other class, we can always move him back. He has one class a day with the other teacher now and seems to like him. He’s never had any problems in there (although it helps that he goes to Mr. Paris’ class for Geography, his favorite subject). They will be retesting his reading this week, so I will let you know if there are any more developments in that department. He will also be taking the IOWA test just after Spring Break (who schedules these things?!?). It is his first standardized test, and I’m very interested to see how he’ll do. They’ve written into his IEP that he is allowed extra help and time for standardized tests, so I’m not particularly worried about that, but he doesn’t like oral testing in general, so I am a bit worried that he will refuse to answer any questions at all.

As far as social skills, this is the area he has most excelled in this year. I was concerned about how he would get along with the kids in the gifted program, but it turns out my concerns were unfounded. Reed is actually popular this year! He has actual friends, and not just “friends” (meaning every kid in the class). We went to movie night at school last night, and he had a steady stream of kids running up to him and giving him hugs (which he easily reciprocated) or high fives or just chatting for the entire hour we waited before the movie started. Some of these kids aren’t even in his class. A few were in his Kindergarten class last year, but some I’ve only seen around the halls and have no idea who they are. It seems like every time I walk through school with him, somebody greets him with “Hi Reed!” and a big wave or hug. Where did this social butterfly come from? He has really found his place in school this year. I am so pleased! If you could see my face right now, I am grinning as I type (and chuckling to myself as I look at Reed siting next to me playing video games on Daddy’s computer while sucking his thumb, so obviously he is still my Reed).

In other news: we got a new car! Hooray! It’s the nicest car we’ve ever owned, and I’m so excited about it. It’s a 2005 Kia Rio Cinco station wagon. It’s only a little over a year old and has 20,000 miles on it (we put almost 2,000 of them on it in the 3 weeks we’ve owned it, lol). I love having a station wagon again (my first car was a station wagon. I wasn’t exactly the coolest teenager, but man you could fit a lot of people and their stuff in there!). No more struggling with the stroller. No more cramming the wagon in the front passenger seat (it didn’t go into either trunk before).

I guess that’s about it for us. We don’t generally lead very exciting lives, so even though it’s been months since I updated, there’s really not much to tell. I’m slowly getting caught up on reading all my favorite blogs, and have been scrapbooking like crazy now that Heath has built me a new computer. You can bet you’ll be seeing a lot of scrapbook pages on here, lol. In fact, I’m running out of pictures to scrap, so if you’d like some scrapbook pages made, feel free to email me. Scrapping is my stress-reliever and I love doing it. =]

Progress Report

I’ve been lax in posting again. Sorry about that. The end of summer and beginning of the school year has found me quite busy. We went on a fantastic vacation. Reed did so great! There was only one minor meltdown, and one destructive episode, but otherwise he was charming. Not bad for an 8 day vacation that took us across 4 states. We even had what Heath jokingly calls the “Wallyworld experience” in which the amusement park we had advance tickets for was closed for the week when we showed up at the front gate. I thought for sure that would be a deal-breaker for Reed, but he handled it like a trooper. He was clearly disappointed, but cheerfully participated in the remainder of the activities we planned for the day. Luckily, the park re-opened for the holiday weekend, so we still got to use our tickets (although we had to skip the family reunion we’ve been planning to attend all year. Oh well.).

And now for the best news of all: Reed is doing great in school! I was so sure that this week would be a disaster. We got home from vacation 45 minutes before bedtime the day before school started. After more than a week away from home, I was anticipating the transition from vacation to home to be difficult enough on its own. Add to that the transition from summer vacation to school and I was certain we had a recipe for disaster. Boy, was I wrong. He has had phenomenal days all week (school started on Tuesday). His teacher and aide have been thrilled with his participation. But hands-down, the best moment of the school year so far for me happened before school even started. We were standing in the hall outside his classroom waiting for the teachers to check the kids in. The hallway was utter chaos. Reed was looking a little anxious, but was overall taking it well. All of a sudden, a boy from his Kindergarten class last year rounds the corner in front of us. Reed jumped out from the wall, looked him squarely in the face and said “Hi Alex! It’s me, Reed. Are you in my class?” I nearly fainted. In spite of being pretty overwhelmed by the noise and confusion, he still managed to initiate an age-appropriate conversation without any help from an adult. Holy cow, where did this come from? The next morning, he stood in line with another boy from last year’s class and chatted while they waited to be let into the classroom, while his aide looked on from a distance. She commented that, while he mostly listened as the other boy talked, he did interact in the conversation as well. Woo Hoo! He’s making friends this year, not just “friends” (which seemed to mean anyone whose name he knew and could identify in the hallway at school last year).

One last, but HUGE victory to report for the week: Yesterday, our library had a special event to unveil the newly renovated children’s section. Reed loves the library, but has trouble with the basic library rules, so we don’t go often, but since there were going to be special guests reading stories and crafts and games for the kids, I decided this would be a good chance for him to spend some time with his beloved books without having to worry to much about being quiet and still. Not only did he do crafts with a couple other kids, and listen attentively to the celebrity guest readers, he READ ALOUD TO THE ENTIRE LIBRARY. Yes, you heard me correctly. One of the volunteers asked if he’d like to read a book, and he jumped up on stage, and read 3 short stories to 2 dozen spectators. He even remembered to turn the book to show the illustrations at the end of each page, proving that he realized that he was interacting with the audience. Naturally, I took lots of pictures, but it was with the old film camera (my digital’s been acting up lately), and I haven’t developed the roll yet. But you can bet I’ll be posting them as soon as I can.

Dancing all the way out of Michigan

Hooray, hooray. Our long-awaited trip to the waterpark has finally arrived. We have reservations for 2 nights of wet, splashy fun, and we are all so very excited (including Owen, although he doesn’t really have a clue what the excitement is all about. He’s just grinning because everyone else is). If Reed keeps smiling like this, his face will fall off before we leave Monday afternoon. I just hope Owen enjoys it a bit more than last time, when he was completely overwhelmed by the noise and refused to go near the water at all. He’s a bit more tolerant this year, so I’m hopeful.

We’ll return sometime Wednesday. But probably not particularly early.

I’m blowin’ this Popsicle stand!

Heath and I are off tomorrow afternoon for a romantic (ha!) getaway to an indoor waterpark. We are, at least, signed up for the “Romantic Getaway” package. But I doubt we’ll spend much time together being romantic,Image hosted by Photobucket.com Oh well, 36 continuous hours without children is as close as I can hope for to paradise this year. Despite my cynicism, I am really looking forward to getting away and having some fun with Heath. His mom’s current illness has been draining Heath like I’ve never seen him before. I’m hoping that he can relax a bit and enjoy himself before he drives himself too crazy over this whole situation. Although he hasn’t said so, I suspect that this is the motivation behind changing our reservations from the bed and breakfast we had originally chosen to the waterpark. He needs to be busy to get away from his sadness, and that’s completely understandable.

Hopefully I’ll be a little less cranky when I return.

A Day of Disappointments

I’m bummed today. I had 2 major disappointments today. First, we scheduled Heath’s Vasectomy. I am very sad about this. I am not ready to declare that we will never have any more kids. I realize that we can’t afford another baby right now, but I’m not ready to rule it out forever. But, Heath feels that 2 kids are enough, and I’m supporting that decision.

Second, I went to a local gym today to find out about membership, and discovered that I can’t afford it. I was really hoping that this gym would be something we could manage, because I really want to lose some of this baby weight. I can no longer convince myself that I’ll just get pregnant again and gain it all back anyway, since I won’t. I’m ready to return to myself, but can’t.

I’m too depressed to rant. I’ll vent twice as hard tomorrow, I promise.