Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Winter of Our Discontent and Looking to the Future

It's March now.  I know that's a Captain Obvious statement, but to anyone who has been battered by the soon-to-be-infamous Winter of 2014, March offers a small glimmer of a light at the end of a long, cold tunnel.  I know I'm looking forward to anything above freezing, especially since we have spent pretty much the entire winter in some state of illness. 

Lyric has missed 18 days of school so far as a result of being sick.  She's had the flu, stomach flu, and every kind of congested gunk you could think up.  Despite this, she is still doing well.  Her speech is miles better than it was when she started the school year, and she's picking up plenty of other skills along with it.  She knows the words and motions to more songs, and is learning new words every day.  The other day I found out she knows the word "professor."  Apparently, she picked that one up from Mickey Mouse Club House. 

Her newest thing is "Can I try?" with everything.  If I'm cleaning, she wants to try.  If I am cooking something, she pulls up her stool and tries to help me cook.  The last few nights we have had dinner together at the table because when I bring the food to the table, she wants to eat with us, too.  When I go grocery shopping, she wants to take the things that we need and put them into the cart - which can sometimes be a problem, because she's not exactly gentle.  She also wants to either push the cart, or hold onto it and help pull it, which is both adorable and kind of a pain.  But at least it keeps her close to me when we're in the store, which is a far cry from the running off that she used to do.

We got her progress report back in January, and it was kind of a mixed bag.  She knows all her numbers, shapes, and colors.  She can recognize her name.  She was learning how to cut with scissors, and draw various things.  She's very good at circles.  She somewhat follows along with songs and finger plays, and is relatively good at cleaning up after herself.  She will tell you her name and her age if you ask her.  The report on her IEP was pretty encouraging.  She has met one goal 100%, one goal she has met 75%, and the other two she met at 50%.  For halfway through the year, I would consider that pretty good.  I try to be positive about it, because while I obviously wish it were a case of her meeting everything at 100% before she needs to, she is making great progress.  Preschool has definitely been a good thing for her.

Which brings me to the future.  Today I got an email about the Preschool Open House for Waverly Schools, which is where her preschool is at.  Thursday and Friday they have enrollment for the GSRP (Great Start Readiness Program), and tuition based preschools.  I learned that we qualify for GSRP, so I was thinking that I would go to check it out and try to secure her a spot in the program, because I know they are limited.  At this point, I had in mind the fact that her teacher told me she was thinking that regular preschool with speech services on the side was going to be the "plan" for next year.  Unfortunately, our IEP meeting isn't until April 1, so all of the details won't be worked out until then.  I just wanted to make sure that she would have a place at SOME preschool, because she definitely needs it.  I emailed her teacher to see if this was still the plan.

The response I got surprised me.  Her teacher thinks that she would be a good candidate to do both GSRP AND ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) next year.  A full day program.  She would go to one in the AM, and switch to the other for PM.  I am now a roller coaster of emotion and questions.  On the one hand, I'm a little bummed out that she thinks Lyric will still need to be in special education next year.  On the other hand, I think it would work out well in terms of providing her with speech services and getting her a "regular level" education so that she could potentially no longer need services when she starts kindergarten.  I guarantee that I will be going in to her IEP meeting with a list about a mile long with questions about how they would do meals, and rest time, and switching between classes, and where speech would fit in, etc.  It's an exciting new prospect, but at the same time I am definitely feeling a little like a deer in the headlights right now! 

With that, here is the customary "closing" photo.  She likes to cheese it for the camera.  I'm sure I'm going to have a lot of updating in the coming months as we work out the details of this new development.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Long Time, No Type

It’s been a while, mostly because Lyric has been on holidays from school, so there isn’t a whole lot to document in terms of her IEP Goals or preschool in general.

Christmas and New Years have come and gone, and we are now in the process of attempting to clean and organize the house, which involves getting rid of tons of stuff.  Lyric has been helping with that.  She likes to sweep and try to mop, and if you sing the “Clean Up” song, she’ll help pick up clutter.  Forget vacuuming though.  She runs to whatever room is closest and slams the door as soon as the thing turns on.  If you ask her to take her clothes and put them in her room, she will do it – which I think counts as a 2 step direction (one of her IEP goals), but I’ll have to ask about that. 

She was completely potty trained, but the change in schedule when she was off school threw her off and caused her to regress.  She won’t do #2 on the potty anymore.  Again.  We’ve been trying to work on it, but at a loss as to how to talk her in to going back to going on the potty instead of in her pants.  On the impressive side, though, we’ve been doing overnight in underwear for months now and she has yet to have a single accident.  I’m sure now that I have said that, she will wet the bed tonight because that’s how Murphy’s Law works. 

Verbally the improvements she has made are pretty crazy.  She asks for cartoons she wants to watch by name now.  Or, if she’s being extra funny, she’ll ask for them by listing off the characters in them.  Scooby Doo is either “Scooby Doo” or “Shaggy.”  UmiZoomi could be either it’s title or “Millie, Geo, Bot!”  If she sees a Garfield DVD, she will talk about Garfield, Odie, and Jon Arbuckle.  Some things are a little more random, like if she wants to watch a learning DVD she has, she just asks for “ABCs.”  Or with Despicable Me, we have to ask if she wants “Regular Minions or Lipstick Taser Minions?”  A work in progress, I suppose.

She has recently learned to tell us that she’s hungry, and is already using it as a tactic to delay going to sleep.  Most of the time she asks for food by name, but it can be difficult to differentiate.  Like if she says “I want cheese,” we have to figure out if she wants slice cheese, cheese block cheese, or macaroni and cheese.  She’s still working out how to say “macaroni.”  Once when I came home from work, I thought she was telling me about “cheese cookies,” but after a minute I figured out she was actually telling me that there was macaroni and cheese cooking for her.  She doesn’t really have the concept of hungry vs. thirsty down yet, but I suspect that’s not going to be too far off.  She tells us when she has to potty (or when she’s already gone in her pants).  She tells us when she wants us to be quiet (sometimes politely, sometimes not so much).  She will also say "Hey, watch where you're going!" if we bump in to her, or tell us to be careful if we're doing something she thinks is risky.   

She can sing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, The Wheels on the Bus, ABC, and Jingle Bells.  She knows all her shapes, and will point out to us that her crackers are squares, or diamonds.  Or that the can she found is an octagon.  She counts well from 1 – 20, and knows all the colors – including the ones she couldn’t name in November at parent/teacher conference times.  She tells us she loves us at least once a day.  She’ll have conversations on her fake phones that are HILARIOUS because she just acts outraged for most of it.  She can draw people and has started trying to write letters as she says them.  She knows how to work Facetime, and will use that with Travis’ mom – and say that she is “finding Nana, and Papa, and Walph, and Jijet.”

We still have a long way to go.  There are times when she clearly thinks she’s telling us something and we have no idea what she is saying.  About 40% of what she says is still gibberish, I’d say.  There are points when we’re all frustrated to tears because she is trying to tell us something that she really wants, and no one can figure out what it is – and she can’t figure out a way to show us.  There are still times when I see kids that are her age – or younger than her – talking, and I feel defeated or get frustrated because it seems like she is so far behind them and she’ll never catch up.  The problem with improving that it takes so darn long.  Obviously in this case, instant results are what are wanted.  I still worry that she won’t be caught up for kindergarten and we will have problems with that.  She’s always been about a year behind speech wise, so somewhere in there 2 years of improving is going to have to be crammed into one.  BUT she’s improving.  By a lot.  And that’s the most important part of all of this.  I’m so grateful that we contacted Early On when we did, otherwise she wouldn’t have preschool, and it’s been such a great opportunity for her.  I’m worried about finding a school we can afford next year, because her teacher wants to transition her to mainstream with speech on the side.  We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, I suppose.

 Another new development - She's learned the whole concept of the camera, and loves to either pose for it or make us pose. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Halloween and Parent Teacher Conferences

November is here.  It's a bit hard to believe.  This year has been odd in that there are some points where it has gone by in a blink, and others where it seemed to drag slower than a tortoise in molasses.  And yet here we are.  Halloween is done, most of the trees are bare, Thanksgiving is coming, and not too far behind that is Christmas.  It's going to get quite busy here very soon.  Lyric is already beyond excited for Christmas.

Halloween was fun and exhausting.  I actually had to practice trick or treating for weeks leading up to it, because Lyric understood what was going to happen this year and was so excited for it to happen.  Then when the day finally came and she was able to actually get her candy, she was slow to start.  Then once she got into the swing of it, she didn't want to stop.  At one point, she actually came back to the house, dumped her bucket and then said "One more?" as she walked to the door.  It's hard to say no to something so adorable, so we ended up going to 4 more houses before we called it a night.  She said "Trick or treat" and "Thank you" at every house we stopped at.  Her trick or treat actually sounded like it should, unlike the "Poo poo pee" we had going on for a few weeks.  There were also a few instances where she told some kids that were running and being somewhat on the raucous side to "Be careful!"  Overall I think she really enjoyed it, and I am a little surprised that she didn't wake up the next day and ask to go trick or treating again.  She hasn't really touched her candy, which I suppose should make me grateful for her picky eating - but it's not doing much good for my waistline.

Last night I attended the first of what I am sure will be many parent teacher conferences.  I left feeling really good about where we are at in terms of development and skills.  Her teacher actually said that she is a little math whiz, and that when it comes to numbers and shapes she blows all of the other kids out of the water.  She gave me a sheet of preschool skills that they expect her to meet, and she had met all of them except being able to identify purple, pink, yellow, and gray.  She is apparently an "adorable doll" and a joy to have in class, which makes me happy to hear (especially considering how inattentive she is with dance).  Her speech therapist said that she's doing really well, and constantly surprising her with words and phrases that she knows.  I have a small glimmer of hope that maybe - just maybe - she will be caught up to the level that she should be at the end of this school year.  Her teacher says that she hopes to work towards a goal of transitioning her into a regular preschool, with speech services being separate, starting next school year.  Whether or not that happens, it is nice to know that she is doing so well.  And apparently she has a reputation for the outfits that she wears.  Everyone loves them, and even other parents dropping off kids think that her clothes are just adorable.  Her teachers couldn't believe that most of it was thrift store clothes!  Apparently between the two of us, Travis and I have quite the fashion sense.

Here's hoping the positive reviews continue to pour in!

Here's my little Link:

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A PSA for New and Soon to Be New Moms

This isn't related to Lyric and her progress, which I will update about once Halloween is done and I can post pictures.  It is, however, directly related to her - and it's something I feel like I need to share.

I have a lot of friends who are either thinking about, or going to become moms for the first time very soon.  It's exciting for me, because I like having mom friends to talk with, and I like to help people the way that they helped us when we were expecting Lyric.  It's also a little scary, because becoming a parent is full of uncertainty and worry that can't be described.

Some of these friends are in a stage of pregnancy where they are feeling miserable.  Either they are sick, and tired all the time – or they are at a point where everything is uncomfortable, breathing seems impossible, and they can’t wait to evict their new addition.  Some post about it on Facebook, and inevitably people chime in with the same comments:

“It will all be worth it when you see your baby for the first time.”


“You’ll be so in love when you first see your baby that all of this won’t matter!”


“Sleepless nights won’t matter when you have your baby to snuggle.”

Maybe it was like that for these people, but it wasn’t like that for me.  I don’t talk about it much, because at this point it’s just a minor blip on the radar that is our life with Lyric, but when she was first born I didn’t feel any of what these people say.  I didn’t feel that immediate rush of love.  I didn’t feel that overwhelming special bond.  I just didn’t feel anything.  The best way I can describe it is that inner thought of “That’s it?”  I could take it or leave it.  I loved her, yes.  But I also felt like I was broken, because I didn’t feel that immediate overpowering sense of love that is apparently what occurs when you’re a mom.  I didn’t feel any of it during pregnancy, either.  I didn’t have that feeling of wonder about the life inside of me.  It was just another part of my day. 

Looking back now, I realize that it was likely some form of Post-Partum Depression.  And it really is true that people just don’t talk about it.  Having a baby is supposed to be this awesome, happy time, right?  So moms who don’t have that feeling are left wondering if maybe they weren’t meant to be a mother in the first place, if they’re not fitting in to the cookie cutter description of what a new mom is SUPPOSED to feel. 

Obviously now it’s very different.  I have that bond, and that feeling of being willing to die for that tiny ball of sassy person that Lyric has become.  But it took a while for that to develop.  So to all of the ladies out there who are going to be a mom for the first time – don’t worry if you don’t feel like everyone is telling you you’re going to feel when your child is born.  There is nothing wrong with it.  Much like it takes time to develop feelings for a significant other, sometimes it takes time to develop that relationship with your child.  And that’s okay.  You’re not broken.  Just human.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Sickness and Other Things

This month has actually been pretty busy activity wise for all of us.  Travis has been running an open mic for a local pub, and he's played a few shows.  We went to Boo in the Zoo with my dad, step mom, step sister, and Lyric's cousins.  Lyric earned herself private dance lessons because she's still pretty much in her own world when we go there.  Then she got the flu, which threw everything off of it's rails. 

The dance lessons are a new development that I am beyond grateful for.  She just wasn't "getting" the routine in the group classes.  Since it's not a class where they are rehearsing for a recital, moving her lessons to a private setting made sense.  We no longer have to worry about all the other mom's standing at the window, watching and distracting her.  She doesn't have other kids that she can make her partner in crime.  It's just her and Miss Kailen for a half an hour before the time that her class used to be.  I think it's going to take some work still to get her to really be able to focus.  I think the secret is going to end up being figuring out a way to make it so that she is constantly moving, which satisfies her sensory needs, while still teaching her the fundamentals of dancing.  I'm not really sure how that can be accomplished, so I plan on looking some things up to see if maybe I can find something that might work.  I cringe every time I hear her name called when we are there, so I can only imagine the frustration for the actual teacher.  Hopefully we will be able to come up with some kind of collaborative solution.  Lyric gets so excited about going to dance, so I really want it to be a successful thing for her, SPD be damned.

We went to Boo in the Zoo at our local zoo last weekend, and it was a lot of fun.  A lot of walking, but also a lot of fun.  Lyric was excited about it all week and kept talking about "Grandpa and candy!  Grandpa and candy!"  We probably could have stayed at the otter exhibit the entire time, because all of the kids were absolutely enamored with them, but there was a lot to see.  She got to play with and pet goats.  She called the donkeys "Eeyore."  She was super excited to see the chickens for who knows what reason.  She got to ride a "choo choo," too, which is basically the one thing she looked forward to the whole time.  While we were there, we found she knew how to say tiger, goat, chicken, Eeyore, monkey, turtle, froggy, bird, rabbit, kitty, doggie, penguin, and ducky.  Some of those she has been able to say for a long time, but some are fairly new.  She also did the straw maze 3 times.  The first time she went the wrong way pretty much every chance there was, but when she found her way out she was so happy - and frustrated.  Because as soon as she left the maze the first time, she went right back into it at the entrance to take what she now knew was the right path.  By the end of the zoo you could tell she was exhausted.  She fell asleep on the car ride home, and took a nap as soon as we got in the door.

Then she woke up with a fever of 104.  I wasn't sure if it was a fluke or not, but I gave her some Motrin anyway.  That night she threw up twice during the night, and had an extremely high fever, so I knew it wasn't a fluke.  I wound up staying home from work on Monday because I had been up with her all night, and took her in to the doctor.  He diagnosed it as stomach flu, and warned that she would probably keep throwing up in one way or another, so I got some Powerade to have her drink to stay hydrated.  She literally spent Monday through Thursday in bed all day.  Around Wednesday we decided that she had the flu, not a stomach flu.  The symptoms were more consistently flu like than anything else.  As a result, she has missed the entire week of preschool this week.  I've been emailing with her teacher daily to keep her updated, and was told that the class misses her.  Apparently she is kind of the "princess" (I hate that word, but it kind of fits) of the class because she is the only girl.  As of today it seems like her fevers have subsided (finally) and she is getting back to normal.

It's been an interesting week because of the illness for Travis and I, because we are seeing more and more speech, conversation, and understanding from her.  For example, at one point when Travis put her in bed for one of her many naps, our cat Paintbrush happened to be under the blanket.  She looked at Travis and said "Kitty?"  He told her yes, and that if she was nice, the kitty might stay.  Her answer to that was "I know.  Paybus my fend."  Last night I was asking her what she wanted to eat for dinner, and at first she said pie.  We've only ever made a pie one time, and at the time she kept calling it a cake - so somewhere in the past 2 or 3 weeks, she has learned "pie."  After telling her we didn't have what we need to make pie, she asked for chicken.  Not only that, she knew where it was, and knew that the bag I pulled out of the freezer was actually chicken.  I put some in the microwave to defrost and she said "It's cooking," which is kind of a go to phrase for her now when she is waiting for her food to be done.  She wound up eating cheese for dinner instead of the chicken, which I decided not to cook after she had some cheese (I don't pretend to understand her food preferences).

It's just been really exciting the past few weeks to see the language explosion occurring.  Apparently she knows the names of our cats, which we had no idea she knew.  She's got more and more sentences coming out of her each day, too.  She still speaks a lot of babble that sounds like SHE thinks she is saying something, but just sounds like a jumble of words - but the progress she has made with answering questions and making requests is clear.  She even told the doctor what her name was when he asked her on Monday.  I had no idea she knew the answer to that question.  I'm hoping that since she has only been in preschool for a month and a half and is already this improved that it is a sign of lots of good things to come. 

Here are some pictures from the week:

 Poor Sandwich was worried all week about sick baby

 Passed out on me after going to the doctor

 Grandpa, Lyric, and Piper with the zoo Baboon

 Sleepy Arctic Fox


 I have no idea, haha

Sleepy Amur Tiger

Piper, Lyric, and Allen at the zoo

Last picture of the day.  You can tell she's tired.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New Words and Things

Nothing is going on that is really worth writing paragraphs about, so I thought I would update with a list of new things instead. 

Here are the new words, phrases, and skills that we have come to find out Lyric knows in the past few weeks:

"Trick or treat" (sounding less like 'Poo poo pee' every day)
"I can't reach it!"
"Help, please!"
"You're welcome"
"Push the button"
"Why they go?" (referring to the kitties, who run away every time she comes into the room)
"I don't know"
"Kitty" (they are no longer diddehs)
"A bird!"
"There it is!"
"Peanut butter"
"Where are you?"
"Where are you going?"
"Perry the Platypus"
"I did it"
"Need to potty"
"Wash your hands"
"Brush your teeth"
She sings her ABCs (sort of) and Happy Birthday and the Clean Up song
She asks for Snoopy, Odie, Pocoyo, and Hopla by name.
She counts from 1 to 20 correctly, and can point out some colors.
She sorts things according to color and shape. 
She can buckles herself into her car seat. 
She helps with cooking and can pour pancake batter onto the griddle, mix and serve her own mac and cheese, and spread peanut butter on bread.
She helps with cleaning and likes to sweep, mop, and put clothes down the laundry chute.

She had her first school picture day last week, and I am dying to know how the pictures came out.  Hopefully we get them before the month is over.  Travis picked out a super cute outfit for her, and she loves to mug for the camera, so fingers crossed!  Dance class is going reasonably well.  We did have one hiccup the week before last.  We left early because Lyric was just having a "Lyric Day" and wouldn't focus or pay attention.  It seemed to be a little better this week, except for the part where she enlisted a partner in crime in her activities.  I'm hoping her attention span improves, but wondering if dance might be a liiiiitttle too quiet for her liking.  We will see as the weeks go on.  In the mean time, here are some photos just because.

 We made leaf trees together when Travis was gone last weekend

 Waiting for the bus!

 Dance class :)

The outfit Travis chose for picture day

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Preschool Excitement

It's been a long few weeks for us, adjusting to the new schedule for Lyric.  Hence the lack of initial update.

So far preschool is going very well, from what I hear from her teacher.  She made a great impression on the 2nd day when she showed up to school having pooped her pants on the bus.  Poor Travis was worried they though he was a bad dad for it.  It's a 40 minute bus ride, she definitely has plenty of time for bodily function. 

Basically the days go like this:

We all wake up around 7am.  I go to work, but not before everyone gets kisses because she won't let me leave til that happens.  She gets the bus around 12:05pm, and generally runs for it.  She also tends to get herself ready and excited when it gets to be about 15 minutes before that.  Class is from 12:45pm until 3:30pm. The bus drops her off around 5 minutes to 4pm.  We get newsletters once a week that outline what they are working on in class.  Her teacher says that she is going well, and she is adjusting to the routine.  She apparently needed some redirection during story time, but that's just typical Lyric, really. 

We've already noticed that she's talking more, and she's understanding directions more as well.  She brought home her first assignment yesterday, which appeared to be something where she had to draw her face.  She drew nothing.  I can't really say I'm surprised, but it is kind of a bummer because I know she is capable of drawing a face.  Guess that just shows independence?  Or something.  She comes home exhausted every day so they must be doing something right in terms of stimulating her mind.  But really, there's not a whole lot in terms of updating other than that in terms of preschool.

In other exciting news, Lyric has also started dance classes at the Greater Lansing Academy of Dance.  It was a toss up between that and gymnastics, but dance ended up being a better fit overall in terms of schedule.  We also somewhat know her instructor, which helps when it comes to understanding that Lyric might need a little more direction than the average three year old.  I'm hoping it works out better than gymnastics did for us last summer, but we will see.  The little bit I saw she did seem to be doing at least SOME listening and following directions.  I can only hope that will continue and improve as she adjusts to the class. 

 Meet the Teacher night - the duplo table in her room

 Playing blocks with her speech therapists kids
 First day of school!
 Hopping on the bus

 Getting off the bus exhausted

 Passed out from the fun

 Preview of dance class clothes

 Just before her first dance class