Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sometimes it works...

...and sometimes it doesn't.

I blogged last week that Jason was doing remarkably well.  And he was.  Until today.  I have no idea why, but starting this morning, he's lost the ability to focus, complete a task and hold a conversation.  Nothing obvious has changed.  His meds are the same as is his schedule.  He's sleeping, school is going well and we've entered into that mid-winter lull where we spend a lot of time together as a family.

This evening we've had no less than 4 mini-tantrums.  All with tears and cries that he can't explain.  He can't seem to vocalize what's wrong and is taking it out on the rest of us.  I have an idea of what is going on, but it won't get better until he talks to us.  And so far he's simply silent.

I know that this too shall pass, but it's still hard.  I just wish life wasn't so tough for my little guy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Micah's Surgery

Micah had his 3rd set of tubes pput in his ears this morning. He got his first at 8 months, his second at 22 months and now his third at 46 months. We are hoping these are his last.
So, being an old pro at this, it didn't occur to me that Micah wouldn't remember a thing about the surgery center or the process involved. They offer a chance to bring you kids in a few days before the operation so they can be familiar with their surroundings and so on, but I didn't sign him up as this was his third time. Of course, I realized this was a bad idea when last night we were talking about it and I realized he had no idea when was going to happen. Too late now, I guess.
Micah actually did quite well. Because he's older, we drew a 9:30am surgery time meaning we had to leave at 8am. He's usually on his way to school with a full belly at this point. This meant the up and ready was no problem, but the full belly might have been. Thankfully, he didn't notice he didn't eat breakfast since I didn't feed anyone before I left. (Jason and Hannah had to wait for Grandma to feed them after I left.) When we got to the center, he settled right into the registration chair, got his bracelet then ran off to find the play room. He made a new friend, Sophia, and they played happily with the Aquadoodle until it was time to go.

Here is my little man all ready to go. He though the silly socks and pjs were quite funny and laughed at all the prep stuff. Nothing seamed to phase him at all, even when the nurse gave him some Motrin and Versed.

The center gives out little stuffed bears for the kids and Micah was excited that HIS bear got a new "doctor" bear to play with. At this point, teh versed was starting to kick in and he was really happy. Also, the anesthesiologist made him laugh at the idea the gas mask was actually a potty for the bears.

Daddy came with me this time because I wasn't sure how Micah'd handle waking up. With his past two surgeries, he cried and fought when waking up. He bigger now and I wanted an extra hand. By the time we took this picture, the Versed was in full effect and his was seriously loopy. Daddy's pokey face was quite fun.

The surgery doesn't take long and we were back with him in under a half an hour. He didn't cry at all and just seemed really sleepy when we got to him. He said his ears didn't hurt which is a good thing and he was happy to just sit and eat his animal crackers and sip his apple juice. He also though the sticker on his forehead was a real trip.
On the medical side of things, the doctor said the surgery went well. Micah's right ear drum apparently now has a weak spot and teh doctor had to place the tube hight than normal. This weak spot was actually sunken against the wall of his middle ear, so when the doctor flushed the fluid, he had to "pop" it back out again. We'll have to keep a close eye on his hearing because all of that will affect his earing in some way. Still, we have some time before he starts kindergarten and being ina special needs preschool, we have everything in place should his hearing loss become more pronounced.
It's been a long morning already, but we're home now and he's enjoying his favorite pastime...watching playing Star Wars.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Get the Flu Shot Folks!

Almost 2 weeks ago I ran away for the weekend to Chicago.

First, lets just say I had a GREAT time.  My friend, Ruth, was an incredible host and showed off the wonders of her city like a true Chicagoan should  Even with the frigid cold and snow, we still had a roaring good time.  It was great to see amy friends again, talk about our families and laugh at stuff no one else would ever think to laugh at.  We have a new theme song too, although I can't really share it, but let's just say that Ruth needed to hit confession after we learned it.

So, where have I been?


On the flight there, I caught the flu.  I never got a regular flu shot this year as I was too busy with the holiday madness to get in.  Plus, after having H1N1 I figured I was safe.


I survived my weekend with the aid of Motrin, Cold-Ez and NyQuil.  The I got home and simply collapsed.  It shouldn't surprise me that I got sick.  I was pretty run down when I left, leaving my immune system open for attack regardless of how many vitamins I might pop.  Still, I spent the next 5 days in bed recovering from my weekend away and the flu.  Then I have been digging out of the domestic mess that occurs when the mom of the house is down for the count.  Andy had to work so the majority of the parenting my kids received last week was in front of the TV with me issuing orders for silence and handing out snacks from my bed.  I did manage car-pool everyday, but the was about the extent of my verticalness.

Anyway, I'm back now and doing well.  Jason tends to freak out a bit when I get sick.  Anger at me tends to be his response in the past because as his mommy, I AM NOT ALLOWED TO BE SICK.  Sadly, parenting him and his siblings has driven my immune system to the toilet and I do actually be quite ill, though it is improving...somewhat.  This time I fully expected many horrors be be unleashed as I not only got sick, but I did so AFTER LEAVING HIM.

And you know what?

He hasn't.

Not even a little back talk.

He's been helpful, obedient and kind.  He's been working hard on his school work, helping with his siblings and doing whatever it is we ask of him.  This is so unlike him I've been walking around in shock.

I think folks, we are turning a corner.  I think.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm running away...

Or trying to at least.

My amazing, loving, out-of-this-world husband knows that every now and then, Mommy needs a break.  So, once a year (and sometimes twice if I'm really lucky) I get to go away and spend time with some of my friends.  This time 3 of us are visiting our friend Ruth in Chicago.  All of us parent difficult kids and it's great to get together with other moms who really get "it." 

The only down side is that I leave today.  As I write this, I am sitting in the airport while a snow storm rages outside.  The same snow storm that hit Chicago this morning.  At this point, Southwest is still saying we are leaving "On Time." 

I want to believe them.

I really do. 

The flight a ahead of ours is even boarding.


I can't see the runway.  And there is at least an inch of snow on the plane at the neighboring gate.

Still, I'm hopeful I'll get there. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another Possibility for Jason

A few weeks before Christmas, a dear friend shared with me that a local private school for LD kids is now accepting Ohio's Autism Scholarship.  I have been eyeing this school for a while, but it has always been cost prohibitive.  It has an amazing reputation amongst educators and special ed parents in our area.  The scholarship with make him going there a real possibility, so I finally called at Andy and I went for a meeting with their admissions director and toured the school.

All I can say is WOW!  If I were to design a school for my son, THIS would be what I would do.  The classes sizes are small with 2 certified teachers in each class.  Kids are placed by their learning level, not their grade and every single subject is taught from an LD perspective.  Yes, even art and gym.  There are no cavernous desks for him to lose things in and the kids each carry an identical notebook with planner and sections built in.  Each section of the planner is signed by each teacher, the student and the parent each day.  It was just awesome.

That said, we are now at the hard part.  We have completed the application, sent the release forms on to his doctors and school and are waiting to see what they say.  Because it is a private school, they are very selective about who gets in.  They can't help every student are are looking for kids with average to above average intelligence who struggle because of their LD.  The don't accept kids with behavior issues that don't stem from the LD itself and even though they take kids with an Autism diagnosis, they were quick to say they are not a school for Autism.  They accept kids who are very mild on the spectrum who can function in a classroom with peers.  They look at each child as a whole person and will even interview him and give him a full day "tryout" to make sure it is a good fit.   Even Jason's current teacher and principal think this is a good thing.  They have been super cooperative in making sure the records are sent and are offering to be of any help they can be.

All that said, we really want him to get in.  We think, based on the numerous assessments that Jason has had, that he fits what they are looking for, but we don't know for sure.  Obviously, if it's not a good fit and they can't help him, then it's not the place for him. 

The problem is that we have hit a wall with public school.  Jason's peers are just frankly mean to him and although we love the staff and teachers at his current school, I could do without the majority of the students there.  I would homeschool again if Jason would agree to.  But, honestly, I don't think I could teach him because I just don't understand his LD and it would probably be very frustrating for both of us.    Moving him to another school in the district s always a possibility, but kids are cruel everywhere and until Jason figures out the social game, then I can't see that working either.

So right now, our hope is pinned on this new school.  At this point, we are waiting to see if he looks like what they want on paper, then we move forward to the interview stage.  We have no idea how this will turn out, but we are praying hard it works out and Jason can have a fresh start at a school where he is the normal rather than the exception.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Micah ate dinner!

Tonight, Micah ate a bite of everything we put on his plate.  He had a steamed carrot, 2 steamed snow peas, a piece of steamed broccoli and about two tablespoons of homemade macaroni and cheese.

Why is that significant, you ask?

Because Micah only eats certain foods.  In fact, 3 months ago, he had reduced back down to about 6.  None of which were healthy and none of which were a protein source.

We backed off for a while on increasing his diet and just let him be.  We also added a protein drink for kids that we called his "chocolate milk" just to get him some nutrition and stabilize his blood sugar.  Finally he started branching out again on his own with a little coaxing from us.

When you have a kid with food issues, it consumes a lot of your time and energy.  Every meal, every bite has to be carefully measured.  Sometimes a food simply being at the same table or in the same room would be too much.  Micah approaches our dinner table with trepidation.  He carefully examines each item on the table looking for something he will eat.  And I always have something on the table I know he will eat because otherwise, he won't stay and cries through our dinnertime.

At this point, Micah's food issues are part sensory and part fear.  Taking a bite of a baked nugget you have eaten since toddlerhood only to find yourself gagging and puking on your mom will make you pretty fearful about what you put in your mouth.

But tonight he ate.  He has NEVER eaten 4 cooked vegetables at one sitting.  I might get a nibble or a touch to the tongue of one, but chewing and swallowing...no way.  And mac and cheese that didn't come from the blue box...NEVER.

I didn't really think he would eat anything, actually.  My only request tonight was that he at least try to taste things and then I would get him his food.  I also attempted to bribe him a bit with the promise of a piece of Christmas fudge if he actually ate everything on the plate.

Apparently my bribe worked.  Suddenly he was willing to try and although he did gag a couple of times, he powered through and cleaned his whole plate.

He was so proud of himself.

Go Micah!


No, I haven't gone anywhere.  I just disappeared into the lovely holiday madness we have around here.  Since I last posted, Micah has had 3 more ear infections, Hannah's taught herself to read and Jason started a rapid spiral down that finally hit bottom a few days after Christmas.  Those are both fairly normal things for this time of year around here, but it still doesn't leave me much time to write although I probably had plenty to say.

That said, Micah is getting a 3rd set of ear tubes in a couple of weeks.  Looking back, I realized that for the last 4 winters, he will have had surgery on his ears 3 time starting when he was 8 months old.  We got a reprieve from the whole thing las year as his tubes were still in and functional.  They fell out in July and his ears have proven they just can't handle things on their own yet.

On the plus side, this should mean he can hear me again, be able to talk quieter and no longer need dose after dose of antibiotics.  And yes, I know research shows that ear infections in children over 2 don't need to be treated with antibiotics, but my son has blown his ear drums out no less than 3 times each.  I'm a bit paranoid about it.  He's already testing with borderline hearing loss in both ears so we need to really be proactive hear.  Micah's making this easier too because he can now tell us when his ear hurts and is willingly letting doctors look at them.

As I said, Jason did his standard holiday crash and burn.  I could list a hundred reasons WHY he does this.  The short of it is he has a tough life and the holidays don't make it any easier.  We did all our usual things to help him but nothing seemed to work this year.  He was determined to see just how far he could push things. It culminated one evening shortly after Christmas with his declaring he didn't need any of us and wanted to go back to his foster home.  All of this is a lie, of course.  He doesn't want to leave but he was hurting so badly and didn't know what to do with everything inside him, so he lashed out at the safest people in his life, Andy and I.

I am not immune to emotions, exhaustion or general holiday stress and my own stuff coupled with the weeks of venom Jason was spitting at me pushed me to brink as well.  I ended up in tears.  Then he was in tears because he made me cry.  Then he finally started wailing about all that was inside of him.  He feels stupid and mad and abandoned and worthless and unlovable.  So, of course, it made sense to him to take all that out on the people who tell him he is the opposite.  We're his safe people, his family.  And once he finally let it all out, we were able to refill him with all the good stuff we can and talk through so much of his wrong thinking.

Once it was out, it was a near complete 180.  He started cooperating again, helping out around the house, being kind and smiling.  Thankfully, we had therapy just a couple of days later and were able to process this all some more.  Still, it's hard as a mom to get that good of a look at how your kid really feels about himself.  We've been working hard to correct it for years and while he knows that in our family, he is none of those things, I think he still feels it's how the world sees him.

Hannah just seems to sail through all of this.  I say seems, because I know that it is hard on her to have a little brother who is constantly sick and an older brother who, well, is so needy.  She's continuing on her quest to finish kindergarten before she even gets there.  She's constantly wanting me to teach her.  We do math and reading.  Over Christmas, she learned to tell time on a digital clock, read Green Eggs and Ham and basic addition.  Couple that with her desire to just do everything on her own and she is growing up way to fast for my liking.

Life is settling back down.  The kids are all back in school today and I get a Mom Retreat this weekend with 3 of my friends in Chicago.  It's fun when a group of moms all raising similar kids get together.  We can laugh (and cry) about thing no one else can.  I'm looking forward to going, although I will miss Andy and the kids while I am gone.

That said, it's good to be back to blogging.