Thursday, October 30, 2008

Help, my son has an addiction!

Help, I think I am an enabler!!

I need Barney-a-non!! My son is addicted to Barney!!

It started out innocently enough, don't all addictions start out that way?

Trevor had never been one to be able to even sit and watch the TV for more than 30 seconds till he was close to 2 years old. And even then, he usually wouldn't watch more than 10 minutes at a time. We had The Einstein tapes, the signing Times tapes, and would try to see if he would watch Sesame Street every now and again among some other nice little stimulating baby and toddler tapes. Nope, he never seemed to like them. OK, so for most moms, this isn't a bad thing. I admit, I do put on a video or something for one of the kids if it means I might be able to make some phone calls (Dr appts., red ribbon or other PTA stuff) or if it means I can sort clothes and start a load of laundry. So while I try to not let my kids watch a ton of TV, I do find it very helpful at times (I've had 2 kids that are colicky till past 2 years old, and are needy and are hard to entertain - so yes, I do admit I'm a terrible mom and try to get them to watch TV)

Anyhow, eventually Trevor liked watching the Signing Times DVD and we were so happy. He was picking up more signs and he just loved the nice music that went with the DVD. So we would put it on every other day or so. So then I wondered maybe he might like to watch something else? So I look in my old videos and see Barney and decide to try him. He does like the Barney stuffed animal he has, so in I pop the tape. (Isn't he cute when he was less than 3 months old just staring at barney!)

Guess what, he started liking Barney. It was so nice to be able to go to the bathroom, put laundry in, enter Tupperware orders and all kinds of things instead of leaving for 20 seconds and find him trying to press the microwave buttons. He is very fast and smart and into everything, so some nice toddler friendly diversions were needed.
So slowly, ever so slowly, we would use the Barney tapes as this was one thing that he would sit for and be in rapt attention while watching. When we were doing homework with the other kids and Trevor would get crabby, in the barney tape went. When Trevor was really hungry, but I wasn't done making his dinner, in the barney tape would go. In the morning, when I had a hard time keeping him occupied while I showered, I started taking him downstairs and putting the Barney tape in (his brothers are not happy about this as they missed being able to play a tape or play on the WII game before mom came downstairs!)

So now, here I am, an enabler to my son's addiction to Barney. He is constantly whining "ayee, ayee - or sometimes he says "Arnee, arnee" (Barney, Barney) and whines and cries and sometimes is quite inconsolable till he next sees Barney.

Now Barney is pretty benign, and at least maybe he will learn some good lessons; but jeez I don't know how much more I can take of Barney! Ryan never went through a Barney phase, But Stephen loved Barney when he was a tot. I survived it then, I guess I will just have to survive it again and try to gradually lessen our Barney viewing. too bad the Fall season is here and winter isn't far behind as we will be spending more and more time inside! So, maybe I should take the Barney tape I bought back to the store and get something else for Trevor's stocking for Christmas!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Count down to Christmas has begun

Hey, another post from me already!

the picture above is from last year's christmas now I know we still have Halloween to get through this week and then Thanksgiving, but did you realize that Christmas is less than 2 months away? what happened to Sept and October - oh yeah, thats right. I was busy with my reunion, co-hosting a baby shower, co-chairing red ribbon week, spending time with my friend who just had a baby, up to my eyeballs in therapy for Trevor and homework for Ryan and keeping up with my Tupperware. So although I am usually more ahead of the game and usually have more presents already bought, I am more excited about Christmas than usual (plus Christmas eve is not at my house this year!!!)

As I said, I am very excited about this year. Trevor will be almost 2 1/2 - one of my most favorite ages for kids at christmas. They are so excited and there are so many cool toys at this age. I also want to really enjoy this one as I know my 9 1/2 year old may not believe in Santa anymore. Last year I had just started worrying that he might figureout (or be told by kids that he hangs out with that are 2-4 years older than he is) who Santa is.
It will also be so neat because I will have a new nephew and neice who will have thier first Christmas (I hope I will get the chance to see them during the holiday season!)

So anyone have any cool ideas for a 9 1/2 year old, 6 year old and a 2 year old? I'm sure it will be a lot of WII games and such for Stephen, but I don't have too many ideas as yet!
My mom and I did do a little bit of christmas shopping while she was here this past week, so at least I did start. I haven't even thought about a newsletter (some relatives give me a hard time about this telling me they don't need to know all that is going on in my life - you can guess they are not blog followers - probably don't even know what a blog is!) I have to go online and see if I can get some matching outfits! Its hard when you have a 9 year, 6 year and 2 year old - most clothes only come in two of those sizes! Hopefully Stephen hasn't outgrown the size cutoff at Gymboree or The Children's place. they had such cute sweater vests and shirts last year. didn't they look cute?!?

The visit has ended!

So it's Teusday, yahoo! My mom was here for a visit. Came last Monday eve (picked her up a tthe bust stop in Willowbrook and she left this am to go back to the bus stop) - I didn't even see her this am before she left with my husband before 6:00. She came in for my siter-in-law's shower. The shower by the way was so nice and I am very happy for my older brother who will be a daddy in about a month. Anyhow back to my mom; the reasons she ends up staying with me instead of other relatives is complicated, but she stays here. We have such a long tumultous (yes I do know some big words) relationship and we just don't see eye to eye on a lot of issues and have VERY differnt recollections on the past and who did what and who said what, etc. But she is the grandmother of my children and is not somone I can easily stand up to, so when she asks to stay, I alwasy say yes. It doesn't matter that I was co-chairing red ribbon week this past week and was so full of committments, I still had to say yes. I fretted and worried about what she would think of being here, not having a way to go out and do things if I was busy at the school or with Trevo'rs therapy or needing to put Trevor down for a nap - she would be bored and its not what people want to do is sit around my hosue when they are on vacation and visiting from out of state.
She comes on a bus and doens't alwasy have a vehicle to use when she is here which makes it hard as we both need time away from each other.

I am happy to report that the visit for the most part was a success. we did have one night a very shall we say "vigorous debate" about things, but mostly we got along just fine. She even got out a couple of times and used my car to meet friends for lunch.

I always wonder if all mom and daughter relationships are this complicated, so you let me know, are they? (I can't imagine a man reading my blog, so I figure you ladies can tell me if you have complicated relationships). I feel I can post this even though my blog is public. My mom is even more computer challenged than me and I doubt she would ever look up a blog (at least that is my hope!!).

Some things I learned this week from her visit:

  • Never try to change the mind of a lady nearing 60 that never seems to change her opinion

  • Accept the fact that I will never have a close relationship with my mother (as she stated this week - she knows that all we talk about is the kids and that is just fine with her)

  • Never let a lady with bad eye sight and seemingly bad driving skills get in a car by herself to follow you without a back up plan. Check to make sure the cell phone number of that lady is really in your phone before you leave the driveway!!

  • Get a cleaning lady to come before a visit from a person like my mom (she is not called the "queen of clean" for nothing!)

  • Try to stick with neatral topics like weather, the kids and their halloween costumes instead of topics like dont you wnat to see your new grand daughter and have a relationship with your son (my brother) - even politics and religion should be considered a safer topic than family relationships/dynamics!!

  • Never questions a diabetics diet!

  • Try to not let the "boys will be boys" and stereotyping of boys growing up and forgetting all about their moms propaganda get to you and bait you into a debate about it

  • remember that she will be turning 60 this year and won't be around forever, so just try to get along and have as good a relationship as you can before something happens to one of us
  • remember to thank my husband for getting up extra early to drive his MIL and thank him for not saying a word when his MIL had a car outside dropped off for her disposal, but couldn't figure out how to move the seat and steering wheel.

So now the week is over and I should be safe for at least another year (she didn't mention coming in when my brother's baby is born, so I don't think she will - she hates traveling in the winter).
Maybe next time it should be more crazy than just being a the school a large amount of time with Red Ribbon, more crazy with more than just 3 Trevor appts (nutritionist, OT and Speech) -
If its not clean enough and its too crazy and chaotic, she won't want to stay here and we can go longer between visits! Of course my kids love grandma, so I bite my tongue and make sacrifices in my schedule and do my best to accomodate her. In return, she did do dishes several times and folded laundry and did watch Trevor for brief periods, so its not all bad! Sometimes you need a little something to get you into that flight or flight scary heart pounding feeling that a visit from my mom gives me!!

being the tech challenged person I am, I am once again having some troubles!

Ok, I think I mentioned long time ago (long before I even told anyone I had a blog, long before I gave out my blog information for people to read it) that I am very technologically challanged, and computer challenged! New gizmos like cd players, DVD players, cell phones, new comuter programs, rpinters, copy machines and the likes usually give me problems when I try to use them
Well, another example from today: So I am looking at my blog and thinking about making another entry and I notice in one of my posts that I actually ahd someone post a comment. that was a month ago. Now it only took me 15 mins to be able to read it, but I finally read the post. Now I know my blogs may seem pretty tame (and I guess they are) and I don't find them near as interesting as blogs thatI follow so I don't expect a lot of comments, but I was wondering when someone would finally post a comment. To think its been there a month now and I just found it. I even have one follower (thanks carolyn) - hope its not too boring and too sporadic for ya!
I would love to add music (and I've tried to get my own music playlist) and i've tried to change the set up and all, but that is awefully advanced stuff for someone like me! And to think I used to really know my way around computers (ok, really I didn't, but I did my job as an Admin Asst to 3 architects well enought that they didnt' realize that! I knew micro office, word, excel, quickbooks and knew enough about Access well enoughtto do my stuff!)

i either have to speed up, or technolofgy has to slow down so I can try to catch up! I think I might want an IPOD or an MP3 player for Christmas, but heck who knows how long it would take me to actually use it! I got a new camera a couple of months ago and I am proud to report that I am actually trying out the features and functions and playing around with it - I actually feel pretty semipro carrying around that nice proffessional looking camera (no its not an SLR, but pretty close!). Maybe some day I will get a GPS system, now wouldn't that be something!!

But ok, yes I am making progress in getting to figure out ne technology, but Is til have so long to go. I am counting the horus till dear hubby gets home so he can figure out why I canonly receive email and not send it out today (We got a new computer last year and mike finally got it up and running on Friday and the new Outlook express and the internet are having problems - and NO ITS NOT A USER PROBLEM, lol cuz he is having the same kidns of problems. The big difference between me and my dear hubby is that he will be able to figure them out!!

Sometimes I feel like such a dweeb! I want to be a very "with it" and "happenin lady", but lots of times I feel like little ole granny trying to learn to drive!! Ok, stop laughing now!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

babies, babies, everywhere

Baby Annabelle Hope born in August Baby Trey just born last week!

Congratulations to my wonderful friend Kathy who just had her 4th baby. He is such a sweet little baby (I'm sure easier for me to say from the sidelines! But I have had 2 special needs babies, so I don't know what a more typical newborn is).

He is so sweet and angelic looking. I keep finding ways to invite myself over so I can see him (and hold him). I do miss the baby stage, so this is a great way for me to indulge myself with a "newborn baby fix". Its so easy to love the newborn cry (cuz I'm not there at 3:00 am and sleep deprived) and the newborn smell (I've not been there to get a whiff of any stinky diapers - although he was quite gassy the day I saw him in the hospital). I love the little fingers and the toes and how cute they look when they root around lookin' for the milk supply. They are so portable when they are little - sleep anywhere, you (if you are brave and have a "hiderhooter" or nursing shawl) can bring them anywhere and feed them. It almost makes me wish I was going to have another one. They all have such individual and unique personalities and its been fun seeing each one going through different milestones. Truth be told, I'd love to have another one if I was guaranteed at least a couple of the following things might happen:

1. If I were just 1 or 2 years younger (I hate that ugly phrase "advanced maternal age"

2. my pregnancy would not be one where I have morning sickness for 25-29 weeks as with my other pregs

3. my babies didn't have a history of colic and sensory sensitivities - both Trevor and Ryan had those and it makes for a very tough first year!

4. If I had relatives and friends right around the corner that would babysit whenever (or if I had enough money to hire a nanny)

5. If I had enough money that putting 4 kids through college wouldn't be an issue

6. If my special needs kids that I already have didn't require as much time, attention as they do right now

And, of course my husband is definitely feeling done, so this was just purely in a perfect world type of wish! Of course god only knows for sure, but I am fairly confident that we will stay a family of 5. I love my boys, I just wish they wouldn't keep growing up so fast on me!!!

anyhow, I digress! this was supposed to be a post about baby Trey! not about me!! I hope Trey and Trev and Trey's brother Cole will be life long friends and that I will continue to see him as he grows. My two brothers also this year have been on a journey to fatherhood. My youngest brother had his first baby this past August. My oldest brother who is turning 40 this week is expecting his first baby in November. I kinda wish I had been preg with their wives and my friends so we could share the excitement together, but Trevor came along and completed our family and so I get to watch from the sidelines and remember all the milestones my kids went through as I see and hear about their kids going through their milestones!

Congrats to Brad and Nicole on their beautiful baby Annabelle!

Congrats to Kathy and Brian on their beautiful baby Trey

Congrats to Todd and Donna who are expecting their baby Shawn in November!

Babies, babies Everywhere!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"just say no" to adding more to my to-do list!

I have been rather swamped with all kinds of things as of late. Typically, October is not such a busy month in this household, but it certainly has been this year. Not only has this been a busy time with lots of tasks, more appointments with kids and a bit more on the social calander, it has also been a period of self reflection.
As I inch closer to the big 40, and as I think back to high school (thanks to my high school reunion last month) its brought me to a place of self reflection.
The older I get, the more I realize that I am still not totally comfortable with who I am. I think I am, but really I've come to see that I still feel the need to fit in, still feel the need to be liked and care way too much about other people's opinion. I can be rather opinionated myself and find it silly that I should care so much about what others think of me. Things have been so busy, and yet, I still find it hard to not be involved in most things at my son's school. I find it hard to try to cut out stuff or to say no to various activities for the boys. I have been doing so much work for my Tupperware business and my cochair responsibilites for Red Ribbon that I miss sight of what is most important - being the best mom to my 3 sons. I feel like I haven't been doing things with them and for them enough lately. When you have kids, there are always sacrifices we make, trying to find time for all of them and squeeze in time for the hubby or yourself. But lately I feel like I have put too much energy elsewhere and now need to concentrate on my boys a little more. I know no one would say my kids are neglected, but I have been more preoccupied lately, less patient, letting things that I want to do (like contacting a teacher about an issue) wait - so now that things are starting to get a little less chaotic and rushed I am happy to know that I can be more of the mom I want to be. So note to self; "Just say no" - when someone asks if you can help out at school, "Just say no" - when someone orders tupperware and wants me to drop it off a tthier hous "Just say no" (ok usually I offer to do that so can't blame anyone but myself in those cases) . I am the Red Ribbon Chair, so "Just say no" should be part of my vocabulary!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Summer weather on a fall day

It is in the 70's yet it is Columbus day, so I know we are in fall. While we are in the middle of October, I am trying to get some "spring cleaning" done. There are so many things that have been on my list for a while and now that my mom is coming in for a visit - its even more important to tackle them. But the weather is so nice, who want to stay inside and clean? I always feel the need to organize and sort this time of the year to try to be prepared for the holidays - I am usually not prepared, but it is always my goal! I am happy to report that I have gone through the boys closets and put away clothes that are too small and such and I found the box of boots and mittins/gloves, so although it is in the 70's, I am prepared for the cold weather ahead.
So I have done some straightening and organizing, but still so much to do. Wish me luck as I try to tackle other areas (my car needs vaccuming out - now this is a perfect day for that!!)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The New School Year

Its already been over 1 month since the start of the new school year. It has been an unusually busy month filled with more than our normal amount of Dr. visits, therapy sessions, among other appointments, so it has been a very stressful and "living by the seat of our pants" kind of lifestyle which is not the best environment for families with special needs.

We heard right before school started from more than a couple people that Ryan's teacher was tough and not the "warm and fuzzy type" which flew me into a small panic. I thought to myself, do they not know that I have a son with a developmental delay that needs his teacher to make learning fun and patient and to be at times "warm and fuzzy"?. I was and have been not so impressed so far with her. Don't get me wrong, she is a very organized, good at letting the kids know her expectations, very smart, keeps her cool under stress, and a lot of other postive traits I would hope for in a teacher. She would in fact be the type of teacher that I would want for my older son. But I fear she may not be what my son Ryan needs. I don't know how much experience she has with special needs and am curious about that. I am also not sure how I feel about the fact that she has a student teacher in the classroom. Yes, its an extra set of hands and all that, but again I wonder how she will handle someone like Ryan. My son is easy to overlook in a classroom - he has a delay, but for the most part he has never been the disrupptive type - he will just tune out so unless you are paying very close attention, you will not notice my son is not engaged, not know that he is not engaged and missing valuable class lessons.

So far the year seems to be going ok despite my reservations about the teacher. He seems to be making good progress, so maybe this is the type of learning style he needs. It is so hard to measure his progress though as his goals are so general and I still am not sure how and where they are adjusting things to fit him with his delay. He doesn't have a type of disablility that is more concrete and more obvious like down syndrome. Unless I tell you that my son has a developmental delay, you would not know. Even after I tell you, you will find it hard to see. So it fills me with worry that the teachers will not make adjustments, and accomodations and set reasonable goals for him as he seems so much like every other kid in the class. We have been fortunate to have had great support and good teachers at the Pre-school and kindergarten level. 1st grade has been such an abrupt change transitioning from kindergarten and a couple of hours of summer school this summer into the tough curriculum of 1st grade with so much more expected academically and socially and with more assignments, and also the longer school day, plus mostly all new kids that he is meeting, new teacher and new services coordinator. He tells me it is so hard to get "Super Day" stickers. Every kid in the class will come home each day with either a super day sticker or a Little Lily note (A little paper saying the child had a bad day but tomorrow will be better). For the first 2 weeks, we got "Super Day" stickers every day. I was happy but also waiting for the shoe to drop. I had seen this last year too - the "homeymoon phase" of the start of school. Now at least half the days we get the Little Lilly paper and have even gotten an "OOPS" page (more severe than a Little Lilly paper).
I had emailed the services coordinator and cc'd the teacher (a long email that took over 45 mins to put together) and the teacher a couple of days into the school year introducing myself and my son and giving them insight ainto what I thought might be helpful information. His teacher from last year is on maternity, and his services coordinator left - so other than the IEP evaluation, there was not much information for them figure out how to motivate and deal with my son and his specific needs. The teacher never even acknowledged getting the email (although she was only cc'd on it, I would lhave expected her to at least say thank you for your email!), and so right from the start my worry and concern started . I requested a phone conference a couple of weeks ago and during the phone conference mostly what I heard was that Ryan was doing fine. They didn't see any problems with him. I was also told I had been doing too much homework with him (yes, it does seem a lot for 1st grade as it takes him so much longer to do most homework, but if we don't then does he get more behind??) Now weeks later we are seeing the newness of the school year wear off and see him getting frustrated with his homework and also getting more little Lily slips. Recently we got mid quarter progress reports and it was filled with check marks - things needing work or improvement. And so again I wonder, are they keeping in mind that he is delayed and his goals are supposed to be adjusted! This teacher of his who has years of teaching experience and who is proud to say has one son going into law school and another very academically accomplished - can she really be able to get through to my son to motivate him to make him want to learn and excel and give him self confidence and praise when he does well - that is what I believe he needs. She is definitely a no-nonsense teacher and I am sure she kows her stuff, but I just don't find her very personable and I don't feel like we are a "team" so to speak as I have felt that in the past with other teachers/aides/ services coordinator.
With all of dr appts with Trevor, therapists, and trying to make sure Stephen gets our attention with homework and Cub scouts, we find it hard to get time in the day for all the boys and it makes me feel like I fail at least one of them in some way each day!
I have been proud of Ryan and can see such growth in his phonics/reading and counting and we have worked very hard over the summer trying to get the phone number and address memorized (which unfortunately is still not memorized). Of course I still worry that he will not make up ground fast enough and continue to get further and further behind. At times he shows us great intelligence and when he puts his mind to it can really figure things out -but staying focused and not getting distracted and completing a non-preferred activity is what keeps him from excelling. He does have great attributes and while he may not be head of the class academically, he is a wonderfully funny, sweet, friendly little guy. I just hope that the teacher will show me she is committed to making sure my son gets the support he needs to do well this school year.

Stephen's start to the 4th grade has been easy. He was happy to learn he had a male teacher, and he has a handful of friends from last year (some of his best buds in his class). I am glad that he will not be coming home every day saying he hates school (he had a teacher that yelled a lot a couple of years ago and he did not enjoy school at all back then). Stephen is such a smart kid, but I have to admit lazy. He is not one to go the extra mile, never one to do extra homework. He wants to do as little work as possible. He is very bright, but also shy and sensative. Despite being shy and sensative, he has lots of friends and does well in school. He keeps getting the alternate words for spelling (I admit I wish he would get the regular list once in a while to make studying for the spelling test a breeze once in a while). He seems to get math very intuitively - he can't tell you how he got the answer, but he gets the answer. We recently got his ISAT test scores and I am blown away at his math score and his scores in general. Yet, he is not in accelerated math. He does great in Math, but didn't score quite high enough in whatever testing they do for the accelerated math program (personally I think he sometimes just cracks under pressure and rushes through some of those timed tests so I don't think it always neccesarily will really show what he knows. Sometimes he may do well on them, other times he doesn't as he has been known to skip a whole page on a test and forget to go back to it and fill it in before he rushes to hand it in). I was fine with him being in the regular math - he is not bored and I'd rather have him get an A in regular math and feel good about math then have him in Accelerated struggling and feeling so much pressure to try to learn it (he is very sensative and gets very upset if he feels other students are getting things so much easier than he is). While I have been happy that Stephen is doing well, I also have some concern if his teacher is a good match for him. The teacher is a nice enough guy, maybe too nice. He is very talkative and open and it seems to make the kids feel like he is one of them. This is great in that my son seems to enjoy school, but because I know Stephen's temperment, I worry that my son who will always do as little as possible will see this teacher as a friend and not feel he has to try as hard and will not push himself to do his best work (as I mentioned he is a bit lazy with school work and sometimes rushes through assignments just to get them done). His progress report was good. They tell you in each subject what category your child is in the A/B catergory, the C category or below and I am happy to report he is getting all A's and B's at this point (and hopefully mostly A's like last year)

So I have to say this school year so far with the teachers and the cirriculum the jury is out as far as I am concerned. Am I expecting too much from Ryan's teacher, I don't know. I do know he had excellent teachers and support last year - maybe they did over and above what would be expected and this one is just what I would normally get. And, kindergarten doesn't have as much information and expectations as 1st grade. I do know that being Ryans mom - a mom to a kid with an IEP, I am going to be his strongest asset, his biggest fan, his biggest ally and so they better used to me asking tough questions, always wanting and needing to know more about how he is doing and making sure they have set the right goals for him!

So, tomorrow is another school day, but for now its the weekend and I am hopefully going to enjoy it with my boys before we have to think about school!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Remembering the high school days . .

Last weekend was my high school's reunion. I still after knowing about this event for a year have not gotten used to the fact that I am old enough to be out of school for 20 years! I will not admit it!!

So, the reunion is over and I am still recovering from it. I had the best time at the reunion. It was great to get away and be 16 (or so) again for a little while. Of course when you are talking to your old classmates, what do you talk about - Sure you do reminicse about the old high school days, but doesn't it always come around to the kids for us moms (and dads too!).

It was great to be "Back in the day" and I sure do hope I can keep up some of the re-connections I have made, but my life as CEO of this household, I do tend to get all wrapped up in that and it keeps me extremely busy! I'm glad to reminisce about the past and at times I think how wonderful it would be to be 16 or 17 or 18 again, but then I remember my 3 beautiful boys and know that at that age, my greatest moments, memories and joys were still yet to be!

Books I have read

  • Friday Night knitting Club
  • The tale of Edgar Sawtelle
  • Island of Lost Girls
  • The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio
  • Nineteen Minutes
  • Kite Runner
  • Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons