Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A new home

I have a new blog. I now blog at http://hatbyhat.blogspot.com.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Camden Update

Some of you may have been following my saga of Camden and trying to figure out what is causing him to behave so miserably in public and in large groups. Our district preschool enrolled him a few months ago to observe him more. They called me last week to discuss their observations with me. I knew he was struggling, but again, I did not realize the severity of the struggles.

Camden's social skills are low for his age. To make it harder on the poor boy, he is as tall as most 5 and 6 year olds, but he is barely turning 4, so people think he is older than he is and expect him to behave like an older child. To make it even harder, he is about a year ahead in his language skills, so that throws people off too. The observer told me Camden does not play "with" other kids. He will play next to them, but not with them. I never realized that he wasn't actually playing with other children. His only real interaction with the children at preschool is to be aggressive and confrontational. He will seek out adults and ignore the other children while at school.

The special education evaluator and I had a long talk. I asked her flat out if there was a chance Camden had Asperger syndrome. She said she thinks that is a real possibility and I should discuss it with his pediatrician. Although I threw that word out there, I truly did not expect to hear that yes, the observing team had talked about that word in relationship to Camden for quite awhile. It is devestating to hear. I do worry for his future. While I think he will go far in life, I worry about his social life and how school will be for him. It's hard enough in this world without adding in having a hard time socially.

The special education teacher did point out that he may just be socially behind and it may resolve itself over the next few years. She also pointed out that he is the oldest child and used to being around adults, so maybe he just doesn't know how to handle social situations yet or prefers talking to adults because that is what he knows.

We have an appointment with Camden't pediatrician in a week. Hopefully after talking to him we can get some answers, or even just some clear direction of what to do next. No matter what, he is still my beautiful, intelligent, wonderful little boy. As his mother, I will fight to help him become the best he can be.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Beauty School Dropout

I learned this weekend that I should stick to teaching and leave any future hair cuts to the experts. My babies don't get much hair until about the age of one. Camden's hair grew in nicely, but Easton has had some funky hair stuff going on. I call it his "old man hair" because it sticks up in tufts, grows well in spots but not in others, and is thin and wispy. For weeks I have wanted to even it out, to somehow make it look better, but left it alone hoping it would get better in time. On Friday night, I decided that was it. I was going to trim up the super long stuff over his ears and on top of his head. One minor detail - I've never done it before.

I asked Mark to grab me his razor. I thought I would just shave a little off the sides and top and call it good. I grabbed the razors and started in the middle of Easton's head. After
the first stroke, I noticed my mistake. I had no guard to prevent me from getting too close. So now, with huge bald chucks in the middle of his head, it became pretty obvious that all his hair was going to have to come off to correct my mistake. I took a deep breath and set to work. In about five minutes, Easton was completely bald! It's a good thing he has a good head shape for a bald hair cut. I only hope it will grow in looking better than it did before.

Easton pre hair cut. See how weird and tufty his hair was growing?
I think he knew what was coming.
Easton post hair cut.
Bald heads are really good for smearing chocolate on. Yum!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Do you facebook?

I admit, my blog has been a neglected thing in the past several months. I think about it often, but never quite muster the energy to come and blog. Why? Well, the excuses are many, but the one that saps most of my extra time these days is facebook. I love that thing! There are so many useless games like Yoville or Mafia Wars that I find myself checking again and again. Then there are the fun notes passed around. On top of that are status updates, which are my favorite part of it all. I read all of them daily because it's like a little snapshot into the lives of so many friends. So do you facebook? And if you do, are you on my friends list? If you are not and would like to be added, send me an email with your name and I'll be sure to add you. Then I can at least keep updated with your life until I get the urge to get back into blogging a bit more.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Stapler lives!

Remember when I posted about my industrial strength staplers about three years ago? Mentioned in this post? A few friends said it was one of their favorites. So I thought I'd reshare the story for those who want a laugh. Because I know I need one these days. And let you all know, the staplers still live! In fact, they made a stapler shooter appearance just today. They still have the power and the force. And even better, I no longer shoot myself in the finger!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Update on Camden

We got the results for Camden's evaluation a few weeks ago. Like I expected, he is above average in language and in academic skills. On social and emotional, he was below average, but not enough to qualify for services at this point. However, the preschool was concerned enough about his behavior and sound issues that they want to observe him further. They are enrolling him in the preschool on a temporary basis to evaluate him further. They will have the occupational therapist evaluate him for sensory disorders. No matter what, even if he doesn't qualify for services this year, he is on the waiting list for a spot in the preschool next year, which pretty much means he'll get in as a tuition paying student next school year. I am glad they are being so thorough. Camden had a beautiful streak in behavior, but in the past few weeks, we've started to get bad reports from the gym daycare again and last week he had to leave Primary. I hope that the preschool will be able to see our concerns during his temporary enrollment. I feel we are on the right track.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Always changing . . .

It seems like the boys change so rapidly that I have to record all the little things before they slip away and I forget.

Easton is changing like crazy. He took his first steps right after the new year and has been unstoppable ever since. Most babies wait until they can balance rather well to walk. Not Eastie! Once he started taking steps, he was off and is already trying to run. Each day his balance gets better, but it sure has been funny to watch him figure it all out. Easton also figured out how to get up and down the stairs. This kid is a problem solver and doesn't give up. He will try again and again until he gets it perfect and that's what he did with figuring out the stairs. Easton is signing "milk", "dog", and "ball" and is trying to figure out how to sign "eat" (right now he keeps patting his head). I think he is going to be really good at the "terrible two's" since he is already throwing himself on the floor when he doesn't get his way or what he wants. We always know when Eastie is causing mischief because he growls as he starts his capers. He is still full of laughs and smiles and is still our sunshine.

At the end of December, a mutual decision was made with Camden's preschool teacher to remove him from preschool for the time being. He was having as many bad days as good days and the stress was wearing on us all. After the advice of many friends, I've been reading Raising your Spirited Child and The Out of Sync Child. Both of these books have been a tremendous help to me. I see much of Camden in the descriptions found in these books. It's been reassuring to realize that my son is normal, just a bit more sensitive and spirited than the average child. In addition to helping me understand my son better, they have helped teach me strategies and activities to use with Cam. We're seeing a lot of improvement in him at home and in public situations. I'm learning what sets him off and what to do help him. I'm also learning strategies to help him help himself. Now instead of hitting, he will tell me he is angry and what he needs to do to calm down. I'm thrilled to be able to understand him better and be a better parent to him. It has been downright awesome to see my beautiful boy blossom, thrive, and mature before my eyes. His imagination, intelligence, and creativity astound me.

We had his preschool evaluation last Friday. I prayed that it would go well and that the evaluators would be able to know my concerns for him. I knew he would pass the academic parts with flying colors and wondered how they could evaluate my behavior and sensory concerns. It may seem small, but I know the Lord heard and answered my prayers because Camden went into what I call "classic Camden" when confronted with noise. The speech therapist wanted to test his hearing. I was filling out paperwork and not paying much attention, but the speech therapist wanted to put something in his ear and he freaked out! He ran screaming from the room and went into full Camden melt down. I took him outside and calmed him down. The therapist skipped the hearing test and instead sat and talked to me. She asked if this was a typical behavior and I told her yes. I explained my concerns to her and what had happened in his last preschool. Without me even bringing it up, she mentioned a sensory processing disorder, mentioned occupational therapy, and talked to me for a bit about that. It was such confirmation to me, that my concerns have been right on the money. I only wish I had of followed through on my instincts months ago. I don't know if he will qualify for the preschool, but if not, I have the number of another evaluation service to call. I am praying that he will qualify for services at the preschool and be able to learn coping strategies for his noise issues.

I am grateful to be a mom to these beautiful boys. I'm grateful for the opportunity to become a better mother. I know these children have been placed in my life specifically to teach me how to be a better parent - more patient, loving, and kind. I am very grateful for all the good friends who have listened to my concerns without judging, who have given me advice, and put me on the paths to understanding my son better. I'm grateful for all the prayers and best wishes on behalf of my child and myself. I truly feel them and they have helped when I have questioned my parenting and my own self worth as a mother.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Christmas 2008

Sure it's almost a month after Christmas, but it's never too late for a Christmas post. So here are pictures from our Christmas shindig.

Camden eating chocolate while waiting for grandparents
to arrive before opening presents.

Easton with his new bead maze. Melissa and Doug toys are the best!

Camden opening his big Santa present.
It's a big wooden train! (Which has seriously have to be the best present he has ever received. He plays with it for HOURS!)
Easton opening presents with the help of Daddy. Eastie didn't get the whole Christmas thing. One present and he was done. He was happy with things the way they were and kept crawling off to play with all the old toys.
The boys playing - and Christmas aftermath. It seemed like we hadn't bought them all that much - until it was open and spread all over the floor.
Camden later that day after all the mess was cleaned up and his train all put together. He loves that thing!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Easton's first birthday

Easton officially turns one tomorrow (sniff, sniff! Where has the time gone?), but we celebrated last week. Easton threw up the day before his party and the day after, so I don't think he was feeling his best on his special day. You'll see for yourself how thrilled he was at the whole thing, especially the cake.

Easton will grandma, waiting for the festivities to start. He looks
so excited right?

Pile of presents and other random bits of interesting things left from Camden.

Opening presents with Camden's help. Easton loves to tear paper, but we never let him, so I think he was a little shocked that we actually encouraged him to do so.

Finally getting into it and having fun.
One of my students bought Eastie this hat. I loved it so much that I made him w
ear it for the rest of his presents.
Easton with his favorite gift of the event.

The cake! We call Easton our sunshine because he is such a happy, smiley boy, so we felt it was only appropriate his cake be a sun. Mark and I had a lot of fun making and decorating this cake.
Easton was less than enamored with the whole cake thing.
Easton didn't understand what he should do with the whole cake thing, so Daddy stepped in to help.

Easton didn't like the feel of the frosting on his fingers, so he thought throwing it on the dog was a great option.

Cutting the cake into pieces didn't make it any better.

I tried to feed him bites of cake, thinking that would get him interested, but you can see how well that turned out (and I don't know why the flash decided to stop working here).
Yeah, that whole eating cake thing didn't turn out so well. Neither of my boys have eaten their cakes on their birthday. I promise it is good cake really! In his defense, he got sick the next morning, so that may have been why we got such great first birthday cake pictures.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hard news to hear

Sometimes being a mother can break your heart. Not long after my last post about Camden, I received a phone call from his preschool that shattered my world. His preschool teacher called me to pick him up because he was behaving in an awful way. I talked to Camden about it when I got home from work that day and could tell he felt terrible about it. Because she had mentioned that he had a bad day before, I called her to find out what was going on. As his mother, I want to be informed of what is going on so that I can deal with any behaviors or issues at home. What she told me left me stunned and broken hearted for my little boy. I learned the little boy I so love and adore at home is completely different in a larger group. More than that, he’s the kid all teachers dread and nobody wants in a classroom.

The preschool teacher told me Camden is very immature for his age. Although a very intelligent little boy, she said he is socially and behaviorally immature. I was told he takes toys from other kids, pushes, hits, kicks, and crowds in line. He knocks over towers that other kids build and bullies them. He throws fits when he doesn’t get his way or if he doesn’t get to go first at something. He doesn’t listen to instructions and won’t help clean up toys. When put in time out, he hits, screams, and kicks either the teacher or the wall. I was told he will do anything to have the attention on him and it’s usually in negative ways. He’ll get out of time out just to get a toy to throw it or he’ll hit the wall and laugh at her as she adds more time to the clock. The focus becomes on him and she can’t do her lessons or help the other children.

Needless to say, I broke down after I got off the phone. Sure we see bits and pieces of this behavior at home. He is three after all, and the first born in the house. But we know how to deal with him and rarely see him as out of control as was described to me. It broke my heart to hear the problems he is having and the problems he creates for others. In small groups and at home, he is well behaved, helpful, and fun. I’ve talked to my friends who watch my child occasionally and was told they rarely, if ever, see this side of him. Unfortunately, this was the final piece of a puzzle I’ve been trying to figure out for months. We’ve gotten similar reports from both the gym daycare and our church nursery (although not as extreme) and have wondered how Camden
really behaves and acts when we are not around.

I’m not sure what to think about it all. I feel like the worst parent in the world who is failing their child. I feel like I must not see him clearly or that there is a side to him that only comes out when a parent is not around. After talking to some friends, they gave me some perspective. Most feel it is related to the sensory issues I have mentioned before. Because of that, we’ve set up an appointment for him to be evaluated at our local preschool. A part of me has felt like I have needed to do this for him for a long time, but I have brushed it off because we can deal with his sensory issues at home and in small groups. Seeing how they appear in large groups, however, has made me realize there may be more going on with my son that I want to admit. I’m very hopeful that our evaluation will be able to help my son and help him learn critical social and behavioral skills he needs for school.

It’s a hard thing to accept that my son has some issues that need to be addressed. It’s even harder because I am an educator and know what it is like to have those students in a classroom. It breaks my heart for my little boy, that so many see him as a behavior problem, instead of seeing his sweet heart and spirit. It’s hard to watch him struggle so much as a three year old to deal with these sensory issues. I feel like I don't know how to teach or discipline my own child in a way that works for him and his issues. It’s hard to watch him be so smart, but yet so affected by so many noises, fears, anxieties, and situations out of mine or his control. He’s a beautiful boy with a good heart. He’s got so much to offer. I just wish that side of him could be seen more than the problems.