Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Carver's instrument of choice

Carver LOVES to play our harmonica. Well, it's actually Daddy's "Official Boy Scout Harmonica" and now a bit dented and covered in Carver spit. But it's a great alternative to the yum-yum and I don't even get tired of the noise!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Parent Teacher Conference

I met with Carver's teachers on Friday and loved it. We didn't address goals/skills, just chatted about how he's doing, what works and what challenges there are.

She said that he began the year very bus-oriented. He'd listen for cars and trucks and start shouting "bus" if he heard something rumble by. But she's noticed him become more school-oriented, which is good! He comes in super excited and likes to help everyone with their coats and backpacks, which all get hung up. Sometimes that involves yelling, "bus, bus!" and causing a little trouble with those who don't like loud noises. He's also a bit of the town crier at snack time, when he likes to announce, "clean up!" when it's time to clear dishes and wash hands. That brought a smile to my face. He loves that role at home now, too. It's pretty cute.... and loud.

They have circle time after everyone is in and settled and this part is tricky for him because it's hard to sit flat on the ground. He has been doing well with a rubber cushion:

with a wedge shaped foam on top:

His teacher thinks it's hard for him because it stretches his hamstrings and he's a little stiff. I believe it! She feels like he's making progress and now only uses the rubber cushion. I'd like to get one for home use, too, but we'll see how that fits into the budget right now. (I found in my searching and it's an AWESOME website. I'm really excited about it!)

We talked awhile about Carver's desire for any attention, negative in particular. He has been known to sweep things off the table at school (just like at home!) and his teacher had a stroke of brilliance one day completely ignoring him. She pointed to the mess and didn't look at him. It took him a minute of waiting for something to happen, but then he hopped down to get the toys. If only I could always be so patient! It's good motivation for me, that's for sure! And it also impresses me to hear how they handle his antics. That same day he struggled to finish his "job" of beading (something he excelled at just two days before), he took 20 minutes to finish it before joining the rest of the class. He heard them moving on and doing fun things and finally finished. He was putting together an "if... then" behavior pattern, which we are working on at home, as well. Hurray!

He loves adult praise and attention so he LOVES his time with the specialists, his speech therapist and physical therapists. That time has been really productive, which is great to hear. He definitely likes one-on-one time with grown-ups. He invites me for that kind of play ALL day! :) I'm glad that it's working to his advantage in therapy.

The class is growing to 14 students in January and his teacher is pushing the district to open another class. It's really too many special need 3 year olds, even for 3 teachers! They don't even have peer models in their class. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, for everyone's sakes. I'm sure it's not easy for the district to balance all the needs in the schools, but this seems like a pretty important one to me.

We talked and laughed together about how Carver's diapers are a little snug and wondered about pull-ups. They had a good point about the stretchy sides being more comfortable. I think I'm still too cheap. And they aren't easier to get on. Besides, they aren't as absorbent since they really aren't intended as diapers. Maybe I'll try another brand. And hopefully Carver potty-trains before his diapers don't reach around him anymore! :)

Overall, I'm impressed and pleased with what I've seen at school. The projects he brings home are well-thought out and represent hours of classroom work, literally. These kids get very specific directions on the smallest details. What patient teachers! They are making all the difference for our little guy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

some extra support for ME!

Our fabulous former speech therapist organized a support group for moms with kids like Carver. We met the first time on Saturday morning at a local coffee shop and it was wonderful. I was a little hesitant to commit to one more thing right now, but this is definitely going to be worth my time! It was neat to hear other moms have so many similar feelings and experiences, but at the same time have enough differences that we can help each other. One mom just swears by those SPIO suits for her two boys and hearing her testimonial motivated me to give it another strong push. After a month of consistently wearing his SPIO, her son stopped drooling. I think, for that kind of success, it's worth another try! So I'm going to give it a really dedicated effort through Christmas and see if we can see some progress.

I also realized that I've been SO very blessed to have incredible support of friends and family. I am really grateful for how understanding everyone has been. I'm looking forward to learning from these moms of SPD kids and broadening my support group even more.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

birthday, well-check, the yum-yum and preschool updates

Updates, updates. Here we go:

His birthday was so much fun. We had a big cookie and ice cream, but best of all Grandma and Grandpa were in town. Carver LOVES his Grandpa E. It was such a great treat! We had a fun day together.

Here he is, trying to open a present with his beloved Buzz lightyear gun.

Well-check. Of course I forgot to post back then, but better late than never. So I also forgot to ask the doctor if she'd recommend a genetic screening of sorts to rule out any medical condition. I wasn't excited about that, but honestly I just forgot. Pretty lame mom moment, but it's the truth. I love the stats, so here they are:

Height: 38 3/4 inches (90-95th percentile)
Weight: 42.8 pounds (above the 97th percentile)
Body Mass Index: 20.1 (above the 97th percentile)

There is some concern there. Obviously, he's a big kid and he's both thick AND tall. But the BMI worries the doctor a bit - thankfully, she's a wise woman who said we have enough to think about right now. Portion size is the greatest way to help him out, but it's terribly hard to say "no" to a grumpy SPD kid who won't leave the kitchen. I'm not too concerned right now, but I also see that his size doesn't help his coordination and motor skills any. I'm not WORRIED, but it's on my mind.

The most interesting part of the well-check was how different it is now to me. It was very bland after evaluations/therapy. I felt like it was important and I wouldn't skip a well-check, but my concerns with Carver are mostly non-medical. I told her about speech therapy, preschool, etc... I think I did most of the talking! And even his eczema/molloscum contagiosum spots are something that I've already dealt with enough to know there's nothing more anyone can do. I have been used to seeking counsel at these appointments, getting answers, but this time I caught HER up on what we've been doing. I hadn't seen this doctor before, but trust the clinic and was really impressed by her. We'll go back again.

So PRESCHOOL is great. I can't even express how wonderful it has been for all of us. Cute Ellie is counting every day we have together in the morning. Today was our "8th mommy daughter date." Do you think preschool is blessing more than just Carver? Absolutely. The time just FLIES by. :) He loves to go and comes home so happy, very fulfilled and then he crashes. I'm getting good naps from him every day! But part of that is probably his lingering cold, as well. Either way, it's been great.

What is weird is not knowing what's happening there. I've emailed the teacher a couple times to check in and I'm trying hard not to bug her often. I was really excited to see PT (physical therapy) homework come home today. We need to work with ball skills: bouncing off the wall and catching it, bouncing into a bucket, catching, throwing, the basics really. Too bad the weather is turning nasty. What wall should I find to bounce balls off? Maybe his room. It's not decorated/painted yet. :)

I'd gotten used to the style of speech therapy where all 3 of us (sometimes plus Grace and/or Ellie!) would play and interact together. I knew what to work on, asked my questions, got tips. This is a whole new scenario. But not a bad one, just different. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the stuff that comes home with him. A cute spider craft and a mini pumpkin he used a sharpie to color a face on. Or the glove filled with popcorn and candy corn. It's so much fun. Today he got off the bus, absolutely thrilled with a book in his backpack. "cows!!" he kept saying. Sure enough, it was a book about a boy who swallowed a fly (and everything else) and there were cows on several pages. Yesterday he brought home a flyer about a play put on at the junior high, that classic school "junk mail" and I so I recycled it. He was worried about that. So worried that today when he got out his backpack for school, he ran to the recycling bin in the pantry and I knew he was looking for it. I fished it out and he was happy as a clam. Even without many words, I know how much all these details mean to him. He's just like his big sisters! He feels so grown up. And I'm SO grateful for the attention he's getting at school.

And we're back to the yum-yum (pacifier). After a couple of weeks without, I saw him sucking his thumb more and more often til he wouldn't go to sleep without it. I just couldn't let that happen. It wasn't easy to go back, but I'm glad that we did. What it comes down to is Carver's individual needs mattering more than what people think seeing a big 3 year old with a binky. I'm still trying to use other things throughout the day and he definitely does NOT take it to school, so he gets it for his nap at home and usually during his movie time, then bedtime. And really grumpy moments, too.... :) Okay, he has it a lot. But we're working on it.

FAVORITE Carver tricks right now:

he gets up way too early and climbs into bed with me. Rarely he falls asleep, but usually it lets me wake up slowly (which I need) and he doesn't kick much anymore. It's gotten to be something I actually look forward to.

he loves to talk about "empty" - a new concept for him. Great word. His pretend play has exploded. It's very exciting, as well. He mops with his stick horse, eats birthday cake with his stacking cups. I love it!

he calls the girls for dinner or today when they got off the bus, he cupped his hands around his mouth and started calling out "spiders!" because we'd seen one on the way to the bus stop and he wanted to show them.

HARD things right now:

he's figured out doors. He can open ALL of them and it's really a pain. closets have to be Carver-proof now and it's only a matter of time (days?) before he learns to unlock the front door, which is the only way he's staying inside. The garage is bad enough. And the kid is NOT afraid of the dark. He just flips on the light and heads for the van.

hitting and pushing again. sometimes this is for attention, either theirs or mine. Almost always because he's frustrated and not getting what he wants. The time in the corner was working well, but not anymore. I might have to do straight up to his room for a minute. But that's hard to do when Grace is grumpy and I'm making dinner. I just usually scold him and give him that negative attention. Sigh. Parenting is a MILLION times harder to actually do than talk about.