Life, Plot Twists, and Other Bits

I realized tonight it’s been 4 years since I last wrote anything here.  While in the grand scheme of things that may not seem like much, it feels like a lifetime right now.  Not long after my last post, my dad passed away unexpectedly turning all our lives upside down.  I found myself grieving while struggling to keep my kids going and make ends meet as a single parent.  Yes, there is more to this than I have put on paper. But sometimes, even in this era of oversharing, there are somethings that are meant to be kept private.

Where was I?  Oh, yes, leaving the unwelcome plot twist behind.

I left off with the fight to get my A into an appropriate pre-K setting.  Won that one.  She has attended the same school as her brother for 4 years now and the difference is amazing.  Being in a blended classroom with an ESE pre-K teacher made a world of difference for her.  Granted, we had a number of months with her hiding in a cubby for most of the day or screaming under a table, but we got past that before kindergarten!  Throughout pre-K and kindergarten, A continued to grow by leaps and bounds.   Then we hit 1st grade.

Hear that squealing sound?  That would be the brakes on the wheel of progress.

Despite having been through therapy for anxiety and the continued work at home, 1st grade has been a difficult year.  Children with SPD/anxiety/OCD/pick a set of letters tend to like their routine and REALLY don’t like change.  A definitely fits that category.  Between the expectation that these 6 year olds can sit still and write a multi-paragraph essay and the lack of recess most days, A has not done well.  Oh, don’t get me wrong,  academically she is doing fantastic.  Emotionally however, the kid is a wreck.

I now have the dubious distinction of being the parent of a runner.  Yep, my child was that child who runs out of the classroom.  Although, she does give fair warning before she leaves.  No, really!  She packs her bag, announces, “I can’t take this anymore.  I’m done!” and then walks/runs out of the room.  Now, before you all want to start playing criticize the teacher let me say one thing.

STOP!  A has an amazing teacher who has gone out of her way to work with us to make sure that A is successful, despite not getting support from the district and struggling in the classroom environment.  She gives A breaks when she needs them, allows her to have fidgets, and sends home her work if she shuts down and won’t do it in class.  And, before anyone says, “Well her IEP (or 504) should have all that and legally they have to follow it.”  Please know that this teacher did all this before A’s 504 was amended to include all her accommodations.  This teacher, and several of her teammates, have gone above and beyond and for that I can never thank them enough.  We (and by we I mean myself, her teachers, and a few other staff members at the school) are still struggling to get A through each day.  Some days are hard, others are easy.

Thankfully, we are seeing a light at the end of this particular tunnel.  Of course, that light just means additional letters for A’s new diagnoses.  After much paperwork, various behavioral and developmental inventories and questionnaires, A has some new letters to add to her list.  Letters like, ADHD and ASD .  (cue horror music)  Yep.  She has those letters, ASD.  (Okay, you can turn off the mental soundtrack now.)  What this means for the future, I don’t exactly know yet.  We still have a round of testing to do next month to attempt to figure out approximately where A falls on the spectrum.  All the doctor could tell us for now is that she is definitely high functioning and it will become more challenging as she gets older to keep her from getting bored in school because she is “gifted” as well.  Oh well.  All we can do is take it one step at a time.

On the upside, at least I can never say my life is boring!

I know this post was rather rambling and not at all my best writing, but thanks for sticking it out and staying with me this far.  Future posts will most likely be much easier to follow…

 

 

Christmas In Finicky Feeding Land!

Yes, I know.  Technically, Christmas day was 5 days ago, but I’m one of those who likes to celebrate the full 12 days of Christmas.  And my kids don’t mind too much either.   I think it’s because of the music and the food.  After all, this is a season of amazingly good (and rich) food, and there is nothing easier to get a kid to eat than a cookie they helped to make.  Especially when you’re dancing to music while you bake.

Yes, it’s true, I let A help me with our Christmas cookies this year.  Crazy? Probably.  Worth it? Definitely.

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She touched it!

Let’s face it, you don’t get much more sensory intensive than mixing, rolling, and sprinkling cookie dough.  Okay, so she didn’t exactly help with the rolling part, but she did touch the dough and was quite proud of herself for doing so.

She helped squash them with the glass (great for the “heavy work” end of therapy).  Yes, I kept a hand on the cup.  Real glass and tile floors don’t play well together.

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Then it was time for sprinkles.  Who doesn’t love sprinkles?  Great for fine motor skills (hello pincer grasp!) and motor control (on the cookies not the baking sheet if you please!).

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Who knew baking could be so therapeutic?

Of course, she had to find something to amuse herself  for the 12 minutes it took for the cookies to bake and the 15 minutes it took for them to cool.  Thank the Lord for puzzles!

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And, yes, she does those on her own.  I wish I was making that up but my almost 3 year old is rather bright (not parental bias people, I have the assessments to prove it!).

After all that hard work, it’s time for taste testing!  With a nice cup of cold milk of course!

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“Yummy, yummy in tummy!”

Actually, she didn’t eat that cookie.  A decided she wanted gingerbread biscotti instead so she fed her cookie to me.   No complaints here!

What’s that?  She ate biscotti?  My super picky, super sensitive child ate hard, crunchy biscotti?

Yes, yes she did.  Only it wasn’t that hard and crunchy.  And there was white chocolate involved.

It’s a recipe that I found in a Family Fun magazine for kid-friendly, easy to make holiday treats.  And yes, it is actually very easy.  Here’s the link for the recipe: http://www.parents.com/recipe/gingerbread-biscotti/

While traditional Christmas dinner is definitely not A’s cup of tea, I have found ways around that thanks to the variety of seasonal foods that I love to make.  Granted, her Christmas dinner consisted of a GoGo Squeeze (I don’t think I would survive without those), 2 herb rolls (homemade, time consuming, but very yummy), PediaSure, and egg nog.

Yes, egg nog.  We have discovered that A absolutely loves egg nog.  How much?  Well, she guzzles it; and I mean that in the truest sense of the word.  She can down 4oz of the stuff faster than anything (sorry, the analogy portion of my brain has officially shut down for the night).

Her favorite thing though, is “Crumbly Cake.”  It’s actually called Railway Crumb Cake, but crumbly cake was easier for G to say when he was little, so the name stuck.  It is one of the easiest things to make (I’ve been making it since I was about 9 years old) and it is so delicious.  Another bonus is that it makes the house smell wonderful.  Both my kids love helping, both with the making and with the eating.  This has become my family’s traditional Christmas morning breakfast (we use it on Thanksgiving also) just because it is so easy.  It takes about 30-35minutes to bake so you do have to plan ahead it you want it freshly made in the morning, but it is worth it.  I haven’t seen this recipe anywhere since I read it in a Pockets magazine when I was 9 (yes, it was a while ago); so here it is if anyone fancies giving it a go.

2 cups flour (all-purpose)

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk

Combine the flour, sugar, and butter in a large bowl until mixture resembles crumbs.  Set aside 1 cup of this mixture for topping.  To the remainder of the crumbs, add the baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.  Mix well.  Make a well in the center and add the egg and buttermilk.  Stir gently until just combined.  Pour in to a greased 9.5in pie plate and top the 1 cup of crumbs that was set aside at the start.  Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool, then slice and serve.  Serves 8.

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This was ours about 15 minutes after it came out of the oven Christmas morning.  The kids wanted this before they opened their presents.  I’d say it’s because they like it so much (which they do), but I think the real reason is they wanted to be able to play uninterrupted after opening presents.

Suffice it to say, it’s always a big hit and A has actually been eating because of it.  I would make it year round, but for me it really is a Thanksgiving/Christmas time only food.  Guess I’ll just have to hunt down some regular crumb or coffee cake type recipes for the rest of the year!

In the meantime, happy eating and even happier Christmas!

 

 

 

Oh Yes, We Call Her the Streak!

She’s just in the mood to run in the nude!  Guess you could call it unique!

Okay, enough with the Ray Stevens reference for now.  (For those of you not familiar with Ray Stevens or The Streak this will help you understand the humor.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XtzoUu7w-YM)

It’s been a “clothing optional” week for A.  Yep, she has decided that clothing is offensive to her tactile system.  On the upside, she has not yet stripped in public.  She has tried a couple of times, but I have so far managed to successfully distract her.  At home though, she has so problem stripping down and running out yelling, “NO UNNIES!”

Okay, you can stop giggling now.

In addition to this new development, she has had a noticeable increase in expressive language.  It’s been amazing to hear her actually use two word “sentences” when she wants something or when she’s trying to tell me something.  Right now, her favorite phrases are “me too” and “no unnies!”

Yes, my daughter is out of pull ups except at night.  She woke up a week and a half ago and loudly proclaimed that she did not want a pull up, she wanted “Unnies!  Ninnie Unnies!”  So we, gave regular undies a try and so far, so good.  She has decided that she wants to be a big girl and I am quite okay with that.  It has definitely made things easier in some respects, but public bathrooms are still sometimes tricky.  That’s what earphones are for though!    So, while potty training is mostly done, we still have to work out some of the kinks, especially on her sensitive days.

On an even happier note, with the return of the school year, A will be resuming occupational therapy and with that listening therapy.

Wait, what?  What is listening therapy?

That’s about the reaction I had initially. I’m still not sure I can explain it very well, so here’s a link for the company that makes the headphones used for the theraputic listening program,  http://www.vitallinks.net/pages/About-Therapeutic-Listening.php
I think they can explain it much better than I can at this point.   I still have a lot to learn.  I am hoping, since everything I have heard is positive, that it will help A.

In the meantime, we will just have to continue to work with our little Streak  in all her uniqueness and continue to be patient!