Thursday, April 28, 2011

All Aboard The Tubes Train

This morning I took Jamie to the ENT for a consult on the ear tubes issue.  Between the infection he was diagnosed with on Easter weekend and his significant speech delay, it was time to pursue this course.  Luckily, we loved the doctor who did Liam's ear tubes so we just called the practice and made an appointment for Jamie.

It turns out Jamie is pretty much exactly the same as Liam was - gunky ears even with anti-biotics.  The doctor stuck a scope in Jamie's ear and immediately said "Yup.  He needs tubes."

On Monday, May 9th, Jamie will get his tubes installed.  It will probably be a very early morning procedure that will have us home by mid-morning at the latest.  This is good since he has to be NPO (nothing by mouth from midnight the night before) for the procedure.  The earlier we get it done, the less pissy he will be about it.

This is also good news as far as his speech is concerned.  Getting tubes will likely speed up the process of therapy and let him make the very most of what the therapists can do for him.  It is more than a little bit likely that the constant fluid on his ears is a factor in the delay of his speech.

So, now I have something else to add to the list when it comes to the kinds of babies I make:  hairy, reflux-y, ear-tubed boys.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Diet: Week Five


2.2 pounds.  Gone.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Dudes

Getting a picture of the boys this year was simply not happening.  Jamie was diagnosed with a double ear infection the day before Easter so he wasn't feeling up to snuff.  The camera was not his friend and, in fact, he did his level best to ruin whatever shot I was trying to get.

Exhibit A

This is about the best shot we got over the course of the whole day and I'm pretty sure Scot took it.

It's a shame, really, because his outfit was ADORABLE and Liam was even coordinated with him.  It would have made a killer shot of the two of them together if Jamie hadn't been sick and fractious.  Oh well, another time, perhaps.

Apparently, the best thing we could have done was turn him upside down.

Spud, on the other hand, cooperated.

Well done, kiddo.

Otherwise, Easter went fine and my in-laws fed us a lovely dinner.  It was the first time I'd left the house in 5 days because of various illnesses keeping me at home.  Tomorrow, I actually get 2.5 hours to myself alone. in. the. house.  I'm not quite sure how I'll cope with that.  Probably I'll just do laundry.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Eggs!

I dyed eggs with Liam yesterday and great fun was had by both of us.  Also, a little tip I picked up from a friend on Twitter: put the egg inside a wire whisk.  Then, the kid can dunk away into the dye without trying to balance the egg on that silly wire circle they include in the kits.  It works like a dream!

 Yes.  We have a lot of mugs.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let Me Get This Straight

Those of you that follow along on this blog know that Jamie is in the process of early intervention for speech.  In this state, we have a program that provides this (and other therapeutic services for children) free of charge and in your home.  We got the referral for speech therapy in mid-March during Jamie's well child check up.

Now, the basic process works like this: call the Alliance for Infants and Toddlers and speak with the intake coordinator to give basic information.  Within two weeks a service coordinator calls and sets up an appointment to come out to the house.  At this appointment you get an overview of the program and answer a bunch of questions about your kid.  Then, you set up an appointment to meet with the evaluation team which comes in to determine if your child qualifies for the recommended services and any other possible needed services.  There was a three week gap between our initial appointment and the evaluation. Most of the questions I answered during the service coordinator visit were asked again at the evaluation.  After the evaluation, the service coordinator farms out your case to one of half a dozen outfits who have the therapists that actually work with you and your child.  They have 2 weeks to call and set up your first meeting with them.

We have now worked through the process to that point.  I just got off the phone with our speech therapist to set up Jamie's first actual appointment to, you know, HELP HIM.  They will be coming out to see him next Friday, April 29th.  (Incidentally, that's my birthday.)  At that point it will be 6 weeks from the time we started this process.  SIX.  WEEKS.  But not one useful session to help Jamie.  Now, I expected bureaucracy and that it would take time.  I'm ok with how things have gone so far.

Until the speech therapist told me that the first time she came out would essentially be yet another throw away appointment where she would EVALUATE A KID WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN EVALUATED.  Oh goody.  I get to answer the same questions for yet a third time and all because the state requires her to do so.  Can't the state be content with the information gathered already?  Apparently not.  No, they must waste both my time and the therapist's covering ground that has already been covered in agonizing thoroughness.  Meanwhile, my kid has not had one iota of progress with a problem that has plagued us for more than 6 months.  Worse yet, he only has until the age of 3 before he ages out of this program and has to move on to another.  So, yeah, wasting time is NOT what the doctor ordered.

I have no choice but to follow this little tap dance to its conclusion because if I quit now and start somewhere else, I'd just have to do all of this painful bullshit AGAIN.  I'm about ready to delve into the sticky world of internet research and figure out how to help the kid by myself.  I mean, really, I have a college degree, I know how to read, and I know how think critically and analytically.  I should be able to figure this out.  Of course, I have all the time in the world for that, right?  Riiiiiight.

This is just ridiculous.  My kid has been struggling for all this time to talk to us and he's having trouble.  We have daily frustration over trying to understand him - multiple times every day.  He gets frustrated and angry that he can't make himself understood.  He gives up trying in some instances and THAT is something I cannot stand.  I looked to these people to help my kid because it was not my area of expertise and so far all they want to do is drown me in paperwork with the idea that this somehow helps a 2 year old who can't say something as simple as "milk."

It's a good thing it will be an entire week before this woman gets here because it may take me that long to get my temper under control.  It's not her fault the state is playing paperwork games and it's not right of me to take it out on her.  But, damn, just HELP MY KID already.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Diet: Week Four

It's slow going, folks.  Progress is small and measured in decimal points.  I lost half a pound this week.

Indeed, this is better than last week when I lost nothing at all.  I managed to increase my activity (thanks for the kick up the pants on that one, Trista!) and it did some good, if only a little.  I wanted much better progress this week and I am frustrated with this s-l-o-w movement on my downward trajectory.

My weekly points allowance was cut back by one point because of the weight loss so I will need to start eating a bit less anyway.

Goals for the week:

  • increase my activity again - better intensity, longer periods of exercise.
  • start eating breakfast again.  While I've stayed within my points allowances and earned some activity points this past week, I quit with the breakfast.  I don't know if that has anything to do with anything but since I'm frustrated, I'm going back to breakfast.  (Tomorrow since I didn't get it today.)
  • more fruit and veg.  I need to make sure I'm getting every serving I should have every single day.  That's not happening as yet.
  • FOCUS.  Never my strong suit.  I need to make sure I focus on what I want and how I'm going to get there so when I want to start eating Easter candy I keep my fat fingers out of it.
Onward and downward (on the scale), I hope!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

This Week Kicked My Butt

What a long, crappy week it was.

I started out by not losing a single ounce on my Monday weigh in and that somehow set the tone for the week.

On Wednesday evening, Scot tripped over a toy while trying to make the dog go out and landed on the wrist he had surgery on just 8 weeks ago.  It's a long, disgusting story but the shortest way I can put it is that he fell and injured it 2 years ago, had surgery to repair a ligament tear just before I had Jamie, and proceeded to have 2 years worth of problems with it.  He finally found a good reconstructive surgeon and had a procedure to fix the damn thing (as much as it can be) in February.

And then he fell on it.

We rushed off the ER and had it looked out.  He wrenched his back but nothing was broken.  As for the wrist, we won't know for sure about what's happening with it until he sees his surgeon again since they can't see soft tissue injury on x-ray.

On Thursday I very convincingly played the part of a chipmunk on meth.  I had cleaning to do at the house because the speech therapists were scheduled to be here at 9 am on Friday, Jamie had daycare, Liam had school, and I had an appointment for a haircut.  Into this day already full of obligations, we had find time to get Scot to his GP as a follow up to the ER visit.  He couldn't drive himself because the pain meds made him dopey so I was doing it.  Which meant I ping-ponged around the North Hills trying to make sure he got to the doc, someone could watch Liam, and we all got home in time for lunch and school.  Scot's doctor running WAY late didn't help things.

I managed to get Liam off to school and headed over to Shadyside for my haircut.  Since it's been a year and a half since I cut my hair, it took awhile so I was racing to get back in time for Liam to get off the school bus.  I managed to make it, then we had to get Jamie at daycare, get dinner, and head off to TKD with Liam.

My day was eaten alive by all of the crazy running around and I hadn't even begun to touch the house chores.  So, after the kids went to bed, I went into frenetic cleaning mode and managed to make the downstairs presentable for Friday morning.

On Friday the speech therapy team came in to evaluate Jamie.  Guess what?  His development is above average everywhere except Expressive Language.  Big shock.  There were a couple of areas where he scored literally off their charts - one was the expressive language but being off the chart wasn't a good thing.  They said that he's spent so much time developing these other things that he's let the language lag behind.  So, he easily qualifies for services and we'll be seeing the therapist once a week.  That should be starting up in about 2 weeks.  All of this was precisely what I expected them to say.

As of 3:15 yesterday afternoon, Liam is on Spring Break.  He will be home all week next week and won't go back until Tuesday of the week after as they get Easter Monday off.  It should be an interesting week.  I expect him to get bored within 30 seconds of realizing what a long week it's going to be.

I wanted to collapse at 7 pm last night but didn't give in.  By 10 pm I was wide awake.  Ended up sleeping on the couch by 11 pm and was woken by Jamie at 6 am.  *yawn*  Pass the coffee IV.

Bright spots of the week include:

1) I managed to get some kind of exercise activity in every day.  Everything from housework to yard work to running stairs.  Have I mentioned exercise sucks?

2) I got my haircut and I have a sassy new do.  Plus, all those dry, nasty, dead ends are gone.

3) I finally figured out how to get into the stupid lamp post out front with the dead light bulb in it.  I was able to change the bulb and now our front walk is capable of being lit.  That only took 2 years.  It's the little things.

4) We got definitive proof that Liam can read.

Dear Next Week:  Please don't kick my bruised behind the way this one did.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

It's Official

Liam can read.

Today he brought some Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems into school to share with his class.  While we were waiting in the drop off line, he pulled out I Broke My Trunk! and began to read it to me.


It seems as thought things are suddenly clicking with him and he's figured out this whole reading thing.  I could tell it was coming.  I've caught him sounding out the words on signs as we drive around.  At night, he reads with us most of the time instead of us reading to him.  But it didn't seem like it was a fully realized ability yet and much of what he read seemed memorized, at least to me.

When he pulled out that book and started reading I thought it was memorization again.  But it wasn't.  He was clearly taking the time to figure out the words as he went along.  I heard him sound out the ones he didn't know.  He looked to the pictures for clues when he got stumped.  When I came home, I asked Scot if they had read that one at bedtime recently.  They haven't.

We have a fully fledged reader in the house now.  So when can we start with the Harry Potter?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Perfect Accessory

When feeding the family pet, nothing accessorizes kibble better than Daddy's shoes.

They never go out of season or style!  In a pinch, Mommy's high heels are an acceptable substitute.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Diet: Week Three


I lost nothing.

Despite the fact that I pulled out last year's shorts because the weather suddenly warmed up and those shorts fit better than they did last year, I am the same weight this week as last.  I was so excited when I put them on.  I could button them easily and I didn't feel like I'd been stuffed into them because I'm too cheap to buy a bigger size.

I feel frustrated.

I'm going to assume that I need to up my game as far as exercise is concerned.  I'm not very good at it nor am I dedicated to it in any way.  I'm going to have to put that aside and find ways to be more active than I am just chasing the kids around.  It's not enough because my body is used to that.

I can only hope that next week is more productive.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It Makes Me Giggle

Scot snapped this picture of Jamie this morning while we were getting ready to go to the park.  I didn't know it was on the camera until I paged back through photos this afternoon.  I laugh every time I see it.

It's just so him.  Constantly in motion and making noise.  It may just have to go up on his portrait wall.

He also got this one which isn't quite as good but still captures him entirely.

That kid is full of character.

And just because I can't leave him out, I snapped this one of Liam at the playground and I'm pretty proud of it.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Achievement Unlocked: Green Stripe!

Yesterday afternoon, Liam earned his green stripe.  He did very well at test (as he always does) and passed with flying colors.  He was the only one who didn't have to do his pattern twice because he did it right the first time.

Getting his stripe 

One proud Spud

Congratulations, Liam!  You've consistently worked hard and done your very best.  I couldn't be more proud of you.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Have A Dress

This dress is a fantastic little day dress.

This dress could have walked right off the set of Mad Men.

This dress is a dress I have coveted for months yet not succumbed to its charms.

This dress is now mine.

It was out of stock for weeks.  I considered this a good thing because otherwise I would have just spent the money on it.  Then, I found out it was available again.  There was one left.  It was in my size.  I couldn't walk away.  I bought it.

It arrived today and it's just as awesome in person.  However, that size? Wrong.  It's too small.  Oh, I could probably squeeze into it but I wouldn't be able to sit down or eat or breathe and I'd look completely ridiculous.

But it's OK.  Now, I have a concrete goal: I want to wear that dress.  No, I want to ROCK that dress.  It will take work.  But if I lose some weight (not even everything I need to lose) I will be able to wear that dress and wear it well.

So the next time the donuts are calling my name?  I'll think of the dress.  The next time I'd rather stuff my face with Cheez-its?  I'll think of the dress.

Then, I'll make a different choice - a better choice - and take another step on the path to wearing that dress.  The dress doesn't fit now but it will one day in the very near future.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Diet: Week Two

More success!  I lost another pound.

I probably could have lost more this week if I had done two things:  made better food choices and exercised a bit more.

On the food front, I stayed within my points allowance but I did it with things like donuts and Burger King and pizza. Not every single day - ha! NO.  But I would have been better off if I had just said no to those items.  I still ate lots of fruit and drank lots of water and made an effort to snack on healthy things.  So, I just need to focus in on some of my poorer choices and make different ones.

On the exercise front, I could have done so much better.  I generally don't count the housework I do every day because my body is used to that.  I only count it if there's a lot of it or it's strenuous.  For example, yesterday I rearranged both boys' rooms.  I broke down Jamie's crib and put it away and then I completely changed the furniture placement in Liam's room.  That was WORK because those bunk beds are heavy.  So, I counted that activity as exercise because, well, it was.  But I think if I had made it a habit to do something like run stairs in the house for 15 min every day during Jamie's nap I might have done a bit better.  I'm going to try and work on that this week since I've got the plan down pretty well at this point.

Still, I did lose another pound.  Could I have lost more?  Sure.  But the point is to lose in the first place - something I haven't been able to do very easily.  I'm going to keep that success firmly in mind and build on it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Breakthrough

When Liam was a baby we used sign language with him.  It wasn't extensive and he really only had a few signs - more, please, thank you, etc - but I always liked that he had that way of communicating with us even if he couldn't form the actual words.  I had wanted to use more signs with him but we just never really extended it beyond the basics.

When Jamie came along I wanted to do the same thing with him - but go beyond the basics.  However, the fact that I had an active 4 year old at the time really put the kibosh on even getting started on the basics.  With his speech delay, I've regretted that we didn't do it and make it stick.  Life would be so much less frustrating for Jamie if he could talk to us.  But, given that he's two, I thought we had passed the window of using signs with him.

When we met with the speech therapist, one of the things she mentioned was the possibility of signing with Jamie to help ease his frustration and anger and bridge the communication gap we have with him while we work on getting him to use speech.  It might seem counterintuitive but research shows that sign language actually helps open a child's language center and jumpstart their communication skills.  She did say that some people were against doing it because they just want their kid to talk but I'm not one of those people - especially not when I'm dealing with Jamie's innate temperament.

But our full assessment with the therapists is still another 2 weeks away.  I cannot express to you how tired I am of dealing with a kid who has the patience of your average two year old (ie: NONE) and can't communicate.  So, I started using some signs with Jamie.  (side note:  I've got to go look up some signs!) Obviously, he wasn't picking it up the second I did them but I expected that and just kept using the signs in the appropriate circumstances.

Tonight he signed back for the first time.

He was eating dinner and I asked him if he wanted more of what he was eating (mac n cheese).  I signed 'more' when I said it (like I've been doing lately).  He put down his fork and did his level best to make his hands and fingers do what mine did.  He wasn't exact but it was clear he was making the sign for 'more.'  When he realized I was understanding him he was happy and excited and said 'more' and pointed at his pears.  He wanted more pears!

This is huge.  HUGE.  I've never been able to get more than a grunt or shriek accompanied by an imperious pointing of his finger in the general direction his desire.  Now he's starting to get it.  So, now I'm going to be signing a lot more.  Please, thank you, and milk are next up on the docket.

I keep seeing glimmers of an awakening of language in him.  It's coming to him very slowly but it's starting to pick up momentum now.  I'm hoping that when we start speech therapy on a regular basis it will be the push we need to get the ball trundling merrily along.