Sunday, December 30, 2007

Home from the Great White North

It was a wonderful trip in every way. I miss all of our family so much, and coming home has made me realize that I am trying to do too much with too little support. Having family around was so helpful, emotionally and just in the simple fact of having others to talk to and play with the boys.

All three boys loved the snow. J. couldn't get enough of sledding, building snowmen (the snow was all wrong, so the snowmen were very short, but he didn't mind...they had miniature carrots for noses, which looked about right).

We found out that B. is obsessed with lamps and fireplace screens. Our house is so child-proofed that he can't get into much. Being at relatives' houses was an eye-opener. Both G. and B. were cuddly with family members, which was a nice new development.

Not back to speed with computer use, but hope to find time soon!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

On the road to Preschool

Had the IEP meetings today, met the teacher, saw the classroom. I was pleasantly surprised by what i saw. It was strange because I kept running into people I knew from my teaching days, and having to explain what I was doing there.

I emphasized in the meeting that the twins have some risky behaviors (running off, climbing anything, etc.) I'm trying to lay the groundwork for asking for another paraprofessional in the future (hope they don't find this blog!) Somehow we ended up spending an inordinate amount of time talking about the possiblity of G. sticking things up his nose (!) Apparently during the evaluation, they tried to get him to play a drum, and he stuck the drumstick up his nose. This hasn't been much of a problem at home, so when they kept mentioning it and making sure it was noted in the IEP, I got the giggles. I'm sure it was nerves... I had thought I might start crying, but instead I guess I went the other way. The IEP goals they set for them looked very ambitious to me. If they achieve them, I'll be thrilled.

Recently realized that I could be subscribing to blogs. This would be so much more efficient than what I currently do, which is check all my favorite blogs every day. I have to look into this when I get back into town. Which reminds me that I should be downstairs doing the final packing. J. will be carrying his own things. I bought him a chapstick, a little pack of kleenex and a lot of snacks. He can't get enough of his chapstick...he applies it to various parts of himself that he says have dry skin. I didn't explain it well enough before I handed it to him.

Wonderful holidays to anyone who happens by here!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Busy Days

Tomorrow I have the twins' first IEP meetings. I've decided I will send them to PPCD after all, although only 3 or 4 days a week, if possible. I'm going back and forth about how much information to bring with me (sensory suggestions, words they can say, what we've been doing at home that worked, etc.) IEP meetings are rushed as it is. I do want them to know that I have my masters in Special Ed., and I've got definite opinions about what the twins need.

After the meetings, it will be full-steam ahead with travel preparations. I can't remember how we got from Newark baggage claim, on and off the little train, and to the rental car office last year. We'll have two suitcases, two car seats, carry-on bags and two strollers and everyone's coats. My husband wants to have J. walking, but I think we should have his stroller just in case. A major advantage of strollers is that you can hang things off of them.

While making a list of the words B can say, I realized he has about 30 words that he uses now. It was nice to see this on paper, because he speaks so rarely, I don't notice how many new thing's he's saying.

Yesterday was my husband's birthday. G. sang "(about 10 unrecognizable syllables)...birthday oo you" It was the best of all possible birthday presents!

The photos are from a trip to the Adirondacks with J. two years ago.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Countdown

Once again, we are undertaking the probably-foolhardy task of flying to New York to visit both our families. As anyone who reads this blog much knows, I am a big baby about being far from family and old friends. I'd be willing to go through a lot of travel angst to get there. And that's a good thing, because there will indeed be angst.

Last year it all went surprisingly smoothly. The hardest part was getting through security with three two-year-olds. We had to let them X-ray the strollers, so there was a scary moment when all three boys were "loose", and we were scrambling to hold onto them while getting everything through the X ray machines. Biggest lesson learned: take off all their shoes and stow them away, long before you actually hit security.

I am going to try to have everything as stream-lined as one wearing shoes, no change or keys in the grown-ups' pockets, and anything else I can think of.
Last year I got an adrenaline rush out of schlepping everything through the airports...this is embarrassing, but I imagined it was the reality show the Amazing Race, and it really helped my attitude. The Amazing Race with two-year-olds would be entertaining, but not ethical to produce, I suppose.

This year we'll have two two-year-olds and a three-year-old on the way North, and three three=year-olds on the way home. I can feel the adrenaline kicking in already.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Evaluate this!

Updates from the past week or so:

The twins had their school district evaluations. B's was either depressing or funny, depending on my mood as I look back on it. There were 5 well-intentioned women, coming at him at all different angles, trying to do a cognitive, speech and motor assessment concurrently. I think one woman was an intern... she kept chasing B. around the room with some little blocks, saying "Can you give me a block?"

B. ended up very giggly and wild, jumping around and singing "Mail!" (his latest obsession, by way of Blue's Clues). He basically did nothing for them. I heard one woman say to another "Have you seen him gaze at an object for five seconds?" Now, B. might not be much at the usual academic tasks, but he definitely has extended gazing down, when he's not completely over-stimulated.

At the end, just to show them a little of what he is capable of in calmer settings, I did the manual alphabet, and he said the letters up to "g", when he started skipping around and then said "sing with me...Yay!" They seemed to think this was miraculous, which I guess it would seem to be if you've watched someone jump around a room for 90 minutes singing the word "Mail".

Wow, didn't know I had that in me. Guess it's still bothering me. Anyway, I called the diagnostician and suggested that they have fewer people in the room when testing G. They listened, and G. actually was able to concentrate fairly well. He still did what he wanted to do, when he wanted to do it (including a very lengthy rendition of Old McDonald in a kind of Darth Vader voice), but he did do some of what they were looking for.

On the junk food front, B learned to say "fry", as in french fry.

J. is completely caught up in the Christmas excitement this year. Almost nightly, we drive to a neighbor's house and sit in front of their yard with the windows rolled down, listening to a cycle of three Christmas carols, in time with which a multitude of lights flash on and off. J. tries to sing along, which sounds great except for one which he thinks is "Pop Goes the Weasel". I think it's really "On Christmas Day in the Morning".

He is also very interested in taking pictures. Some of his efforts are below: