Friday, August 15, 2014

Mommy knows best

**WARNING**
 This post will be very long...but its main purpose is to help me process emotions and help anyone else who may be dealing with anything similar.



This week, I experienced my first (of many) moments in life where I had to stand up for my kid. And it felt really good when I felt I was actually heard and got what I felt was best for my sweet EJ. 

The past 6 months have been filled with over 30 speech therapy (ST) and 10 occupational therapy (OT) sessions for EJ which has all helped him grow in so many ways. But, if you know anything about Early Intervention (EI), you know that at age 3, the program ends and if you qualify through your local school system, you can continue with services there. 

So on Wednesday, I sat in a meeting at Madison City Board of Ed where I was the parent instead of the social worker....Advocating for my child in a room full of people where only 2 others had actually met him. I love advocating for others and have done so almost daily for the past 5 years. But I don't believe any knew my occupation as they kept asking if I had questions or understood the process.  They asked what I felt his "strengths and needs" were among other developmental concerns. I honestly never thought I'd be on this side of the table listing my own son's strengths and needs, but it was surprisingly a  good feeling to have those things listed. 

Then the part of the meeting came where we had to discuss what evaluations we felt EJ needed to have. The lady (psychologist) leading the meeting kept focusing on EJ's speech/ communication difficulties and kept ignoring the comments from the EI service coordinator and myself (the only ones who actually KNOW EJ) about our concerns with sensory and behavior. Even after a 2nd psychologist said she would do a full developmental screening, the lady STILL wasn't on board. 
Finally, she looked at me (a 2nd time) and asked what I felt. I had already stated that I wanted any and all evaluations available for my son if that would help him. But this time I had to really step up to the plate and lay it all out there. 

The words that came out of my mouth next were words that I have only let come out of my mouth maybe once or twice before. Words that are very hard to come to grip with, hence the tear-filled eyes that came with them. "To be honest, I have come to the realization that a lot of the problems EJ is experiencing are going to last longer than just age 2 or 3. I feel there are things that we are going to be having to deal with throughout his life, and I want him to get the help he needs now if he qualifies."

Finally, the lady agreed and began checking all of the possible evaluations on the forms for him to receive. I think she then knew she was dealing with a very passionate momma who wasn't backing down. I told them that I understand he may not qualify, and that's okay...but at least we would know what "level" he is on, or what other things to expect. 

We pretty much know he will qualify for speech, as we're still not quite "there" yet. He has a very large vocabulary now, and repeats almost anything and everything you say. However, the clarity and pronunciation of his words are still very poor. He continues to talk with his mouth closed, or from the back of his mouth/ throat. 

Words he does say are so so sweet though. I'm amazed everyday at what all he does say. He can say some complex words like octagon and crocodile almost perfectly, but can't say others like truck or more. I don't understand a lot of it, but his ST and OT both say it has a lot to do with his oral sensory stuff and tongue movement. We're working on making silly faces in the mirror among other things there. 

As far as the "sensory issues" and behavior concerns we have, I'm still not exactly sure what to think about them. EJ is a very active boy, and I've been told that he is much much more active than the typical 2 year old. He wakes up at 5am daily and is ready to go from the moment his feet hit the floor. Some of my main concerns in this area are how he has meltdowns/outbursts if things don't go as planned. When I say this, I understand that toddler/ preschool aged children are known for this type of behavior, but the OT and other EI staff will also tell you that this is beyond what's typical. TheHubs and I often struggle with discipline (which we do very consistently) as we don't know weather he is simply having a meltdown and needs to be redirected or calmed or if he is misbehaving and needs direct discipline.  Sometimes this is easy to distinguish between, but other times its a guessing game. 

OT has done wonders for EJ in just the past 3 months. Prior to that time, he was sleeping in the floor, and waking in the middle of the night several times a week. Now he sleeps in his own bed (with blankets on top of him) for the entire night (7:30-5:00).  And yes, we've tried altering bedtime/ nap schedules to help with that 5am wake up call, and NOTHING helps. 
EJ also responds very well to time out now, and I feel this has helped significantly with his behavior. Our babysitter really helped get this rolling and has been great about consistency at her house too. She's seriously the time-out queen. lol

We are now working on creating a "sensory diet" for EJ including various activities for him that help get his energy out and focus on proprioceptive activities. This means that our couch cushions are often on the floor or we stand on our coffee table to jump onto the couch at times as well. So if my children come to your house and start to do these things, you tell them no and put them in time-out if needed.....and curse their parents for being so crazy and allowing them to do these things at home. 

We also have a huge box in our playroom where he is supposed to calm down. We're still working on that because he doesn't exactly like to get in the box and stay. The weighted blanket has saved him from spankings and time outs in the evenings as those are some of his most wild moments. He loves to sit with his weighted blanket and put puzzles together. (He's a genius with puzzles by the way!)

Of course I wouldn't change a single thing about our little monster. He's the sweetest little guy I know and adores his sissy more than anything else. He melts my heart more times a day that I can count...but also makes me want to pull out my hair at times. What kid doesn't?!? People often ask me how I am able to handle having a 1 & 2 year old and I always say "One day at a time." That is the only way I'm able to do anything. One day...with the grace and mercy given to me for that day from my Heavenly Father. 

Maybe I'll have an entire post about MissPriss very soon. She's a handful herself as well. =)





Monday, February 17, 2014

Talking Toddler...sorta

It's been a while, and for those who don't know me may have a lot of catching up to do in order to figure out what's been going on in the Hick's family the past year. But I really do hope to blog more often (and actually make the time to do so) and share all of the fun things around here. 

EJ has begun speech therapy, and just had his 3rd session this morning. He is now 27 months old and really doesn't have a vocabulary of more than 2-3 "words" which technically aren't even "real" words. He jabbers all. the. time.  And he has done so since before his 1st birthday, so we just kept thinking the words would eventually come. But they never did.

So after the holidays and really realizing how far behind he is after seeing him around other kids his age, we made the decision to go ahead and call the Early Intervention program in our area and have them come test him. As a Social Worker, I wonder why I didn't make this decision a looongg time ago, but I really try not to dwell on that thought much. Our pediatrician (whom I will not be going back to) told me at his 18 month check up that I didn't need to worry until he was 2 years old. And then when I brought up his lack of communicating well/ no words at his 2 year check-up, she told me that we should wait until he was 2 and 1/2 because he would very likely start saying words as soon as she made the referral for speech. So I really think I held on to the false hope that she gave me instead of trusting my own intuitions as HIS MOTHER. 

Early Intervention (EI) came out on January 22nd for EJ's developmental screening. They looked at every area of development, and he was on track or ahead of every area except speech/ communication and cognitive development. They told me then that they could see that his lack of being able to sit still and focus was probably the main reason he wasn't learning to talk. 

So speech began 3 weeks ago today, (on Feb 3rd) and I couldn't be more proud of my little fellow for all the progress he's made! He is learning to use sign language right now as means of communication, and he knows how to sign open, more, eat, drink, finished, on, and we're working on learning others. I'm amazed at how much his behavior has even improved since learning to communicate with us better. 

He used to bang on the table, walls, etc when trying to get us to get him "more" of something, but now he just stands there and does his sweet little sign, putting his fingers together and even sometimes going "mmmm". 

He progresses each week during his therapy, and it seems that as soon as the session is over, I can see light bulbs going off and he's doing something new on his own. This week, he imitated some of the sounds of words Ms. Maura (his therapist) made, and even did some of the signs on his own. Both of which are huge improvements, and one step closer to him learning to form words!

God has taught me soooo much throughout this journey. But I think the main thing I've realized is that I can do nothing on my own. I have to truly turn to Him in prayer about every single detail of my life, and my children's lives. Being a mother is such a great way to be humbled and molded into the image of Christ. I'm being taught that more and more every day. 

Now to go get the babies up from their naps and enjoy the chaos for the afternoon.



Thursday, August 15, 2013

Maturing

TheHubs said something today that I have seriously never heard him say. And I'm still not exactly sure how I feel about it.

While in the car together, kids in tow and headed to the zoo, he looks at me and tells me I look "old". After I gave him a rather weird look, he back-tracked a bit and said that I look "old-ER" and eventually changed it to "more mature". 

Excuse me???

I'm pretty sure he was trying to be sweet about it all, but his vomiting of the mouth didn't quite come out the way he had planned. At least that's what I'm pretending. He did say the words "sexy" and "beautiful" somewhere in there too, so that makes things a little better. 

I mean, I'll admit, I'm not the young thang I was 6+ years ago when we started dating...but I've never really thought of  myself as "maturing" or looking "older". 

My response was, "Thanks, I guess that's what having 2 kids the past 2 years will do to ya." 

Haha...I blame everything on child birth. Ev-er-y-thing. 

So just for funs, here's some pics I found. One from June 2007- (a few days after our 1st date) and the other from earlier this summer.  I guess I have "matured" a bit. ;)



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The sniff

During every diaper change now, I have to tell EJ that his "little weewee" is not going anywhere, and that there is no need to touch, hold, hit, etc.

Weeeeelllll....... Of course the 100% boy he is, he never listens, and gets a laugh each time mid- diaper-change.  And just now, I promise you, he did something I thought I wouldn't see for a long time.

He had his beloved blanket  and "scratched" with blanket in hand.

Then came the shocker.


He sniffed!!!!!


What? Yes! My son just did the ol' scratch-n-sniff.


Where in the world do they learn these things??


Monday, July 29, 2013

Because God loves me...

In reading my devotional for today from "15 Minutes Alone with God" I came across this beautifully written paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 by Christian psychologist Dr. Dick Dickerson.
My devotion for today challenged me to read this aloud to myself each morning and evening for the next 30 days.  The author said that it is "important to believe that we have value and that we are worthy to give of ourselves. This begins by knowing and accepting what our heavenly Father believes about us"

Here's the paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 by Dr. Dickerson. I've added the parentheses to the end of each sentence to show which part of 1 Corinthians he is describing.

Because God loves me, He is slow to lose patience with me. (Love is patient) 

Because God loves me, He takes the circumstances of my life and uses them in a constructive way for my growth.  (Love is kind)

Because God loves me, He does not treat me as an object to be possessed and manipulated.
(It does not envy)

Because God loves me, He has no need to impress me with how great and powerful He is because He is God. Nor does He belittle me as His child in order to show me how important He is. 
(It does not boast, It is not proud. It does not dishonor others)

Because God loves me, He is for me. He wants me to mature and develop in His love. 
(It is not self-seeking)

Because God loves me, He does not send down His wrath on every little mistake I make, of which there are many.  (It is not easily angered)

Because God loves me, He does not keep score of all my sins and then beat me over the head with them whenever He gets the chance. (It keeps no record of wrongs)

Because God loves me, He is deeply grieved when I do not walk in the ways that please Him because He sees this as evidence that I don't trust Him and love Him as I should. 
(Love does not delight in evil)

Because God loves me, He rejoices when I experience His power and strength and stand up under pressure of life for His name's sake. ( but rejoices with the truth)

Because God loves me, He keeps working patiently with me even when I feel like giving up and can't see why He doesn't give up with me too. (It always protects)

Because God loves me, He keeps on trusting me when at times I don't even trust myself. (always trusts)

Because God loves me, He never says there is no hope for me, rather, He patiently works with me, loves me and disciplines me in such a way that it is hard for me to understand the depth of His concern for me. (Always hopes)

Because God loves me, He never forsakes me even though many of my friends might. (Always perseveres) 


Isn't it so cool to know that we are loved that much?!?! I have honestly never read this passage of scripture, and thought about the characteristics of love in that way. I've always thought about them as things I should be doing to demonstrate love. 

Such refreshment to read such a commonly read scripture in a completely different way...

God LOVES me (and you!) in each of these ways. Despite my sins and failures. Now I am to show that same love to others. No matter the hurt they have done to me.....after all, Christ continues to love me throughout all I've done to Him.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Struggles

Ever have those days moments where you feel like you just can't get ahead?? And you wanna just throw a mini- pitty party but even that sounds no fun...and something would probably go wrong there too. Ha!

Welcome to my day today. Well, I don't really think it was the events that actually happened today as much as it was my attitude and struggle to overcome my hormonal mess. (Can I still blame moodiness on hormones 5+ months after giving birth?? I mean, I AM still nursing...)

I think the fact that I'm working everyday but Wednesday this week is part of it too. It takes me all week to get laundry caught up and the place clean from when I just work weekends, so today I really wanted to get things semi- done so it wouldn't be total chaos by the end of the week.

Wwweeelllll.... I think I forgot for a split second during that thought of "gonna get everything done today" that I have 2 kids under 2. And unlike a few weeks ago, they do NOT have the same nap schedule. MissPriss naps at 10ish and 2ish. And EJ naps at 12ish. Which means..... Yep, you guessed it... No more time alone during the day.

So I'm having to learn to get things done with EJ's "help". He really does a pretty good job at laundry and dishes. I'll have to get better at posting pics so y'all can see his big-boy help. He just can't figure out that the clean/dry clothes are ok to be OUT of the dryer instead if IN the dryer. Or that dirty dishes go in the dishwasher, not the cabinets. Haha!

So ok, back to today. It ended with me (finally) showering and getting groceries. Only after getting kids bathed and in the bed. My feet are exhausted, bottles aren't washed for tomorrow, and there are dirty dishes in the sink because the dishwasher didn't get unloaded today. Aannddd... No clothes are ironed/ ready for work tomorrow and no lunch is packed. ��
And apparently I didn't get enough groceries because TheHubs has been looking in the kitchen for 10 minutes now asking what we have to eat. He finally decided on chips & salsa... But seriously, there's plenty of food. Men. Need I say more?

It's such a struggle to stay positive. To not let Satan have a foothold and win in the battle of attitude. Especially for me. But I'm so gracious for a God who forgives ... And a husband who continues to love even when I'm not lovable. The struggle is daily but I must press on. With His strength only will I finish the course set out before me. 

His mercies are new every morning. Praise God for that. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

MissPriss' arrival (4 & 1/2 months late)



Little MissPriss 

AKA "Lyla" Kate

Born: 2/5/13
12:09pm

8lb 4oz
21 1/2 in long


And here are a few pics from the big day and the weeks following. 




Proud Papa (my dad)


Uncle Alan (my brother)

Mawmaw (my mom's mom)




Proud Nana (Thehubs' Mom)





The GREAT uncle (my Mom's brother)


Me & my babies!

Aunt ShaSha & Uncle Steve (TheHubs' sis & bil)



Silly boy loves getting in her crib with her


First smiles- 5 weeks old



MissPriss' 3rd cousin loving on her