Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Whirlwind Wednesday...

might become a theme on this blog. It seems like I'm constantly reaching mid-week before I finally get a chance to catch my breath and reflect on our goings on. I think because on Mondays we're trying to get our school week started in the morning, then Sunshine has her gym class in the afternoon; then on Tuesdays she has Girl Scouts in the early evening, so either Papa Bear gets home and almost immediately leaves with her, or else her troop leader picks her up to bring her, and Papa Bear joins Sunshine at her meeting. So even though we're already to mid-week, this is our first day of the week with nothing going least, for now.

First off, aside from detesting his ear drops, Fidget is doing quite well since getting his ear tubes out in and adenoids cauterized last week. I'm absolutely amazed how quickly I have noticed an improvement in his enunciation. Words are definitely coming out more clearly now. Tomorrow morning will be his first speech therapy visit since getting his tubes, so I can't wait to get his therapist's professional opinion on his improvements. And speaking of therapies, we got confirmation from our case worker that the state has approved our request to add OT to his early intervention services, and our second choice therapist has accepted us as clients. I'm giving her until the end of the week to contact us; otherwise I'll be calling her to set up our first appointment.

As well, yesterday we had our intake appointment with our clinical supervisor from CARD, the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, which is the organization that will be providing Fidget with in-home ABA therapy. She has a PhD in behavioral analysis, and been with CARD since 1999, so I have great confidence in her abilities to oversee our ABA team. We had a good two hour discussion about his history and current abilities & struggles. Fidget was even "kind" enough to demonstrate some of his most problematic behaviors while she was here. Dr. PhD is recommending 35-40 hours a week, so once things get rolling that will likely mean 3-4 hours in the morning, and another couple hours in the evening, six days a week! I try not to think about the sheer volume of the therapy and how we're going to make it all work too much, not because I'm in denial but just to avoid feeling overwhelmed. But however it works in practice we'll deal with; my #1 earthly goal for each of my children is for them to be the best version of themselves possible, and as their mother my most important task is to give them each the tools needed to meet that goal. So if ABA gives him the best set of tools, then ABA it shall be.

Likewise for Sunshine; our biggest reason for deciding to homeschool was because we felt that for THIS child, at THIS time in her life, homeschooling would give her the best tools to be the best version of herself. Public and parochial schools do great things for many children, and the vast majority of teachers and other professionals working in the school systems are hardworking, devoted men and women who don't get near the appreciation they deserve. We aren't ruling out the possibility of either child transitioning to a traditional brick-and-mortar school later on; we're just taking things one year at a time and seeing what each of them needs in that moment. Especially for Fidget: we certainly have several years until we reach that point, but I would have no hesitation to admit if he needs more specialized help than I am comfortable giving him. But with countless hours of multiple therapies between now and then, it's not a decision we'll worry about until its time comes.

At this moment in time, Sunshine is absolutely thriving in homeschool, and I don't regret our decision at all. Because her birthday is late in the year, our school system would have required her to be in kindergarten this school year. We did start with a kindergarten curriculum, but let her move at her own pace, and since graduating pre-k last spring has not only completed kindergarten but is almost done with first grade! The public schools in our area are finishing school this week, but since we didn't move on to first grade until September, plus the need to take time off here and there for surgeries, general illness, bereavement, etc we still have about 40 school days to complete. But I'm not worried about it; as long as we keep chipping away at things over the summer we'll get there when we get there. It's been such a joy this year to follow her down the rabbit trails of things she wanted to learn, to be alongside her when she would have "ah-ha" moments as new concepts clicked, and it also gave us more opportuities to talk about emotional issues and work through some of her behavioral struggles. One thing she is lamenting is the lack of regular playmates, esp during the day. She plays quite a bit with the neighborhood kids in the afternoon/evenings, but when none of them are able to play she finds it hard to cope with. Partly I think this is because her brother has not yet become the reciprocal playmate we would have expected. The other part of it is that life  circumstances have caused us to not be as active in our local homeschool group as we had hoped. Hopefully we'll be able to participate more in the upcoming school year, or at least set up more play date visits at our house. My childhood best friend has a daughter who is only 6mo older than Sunshine, and they are homeschoolers as well. The girls are two peas in a pod just like their mommies; they're coming over for a visitFriday afternoon, so Sunshine has been looking forward to that all week.

We'll also be continuing both gymnastics and scouts in the fall. This week was the last week of her spring gymnastics session, but we decided to take the summer off from gym so that she can enjoy some other opportunities: swimming lessons, vacation bible school, and *hopefully* a three day/two night session of resident camp. She's been away from home for that long many times, but always staying with family. I'm talking to some of the other scout moms to see if anyone else is interested; I think I've found one of the girls who might like to go at the same time. If she has a friend to go with I am confident she'll be ready to go; if she has to go on her own, it's a bit more up in the air. Their troop is going to camp for the day on Saturday, so I'm hoping that will give her "camp fever" and help her feel both more excited and more confident about an overnight trip.

As for myself, I'm just doing what it takes to stay afloat around here. I'm coming down with the sinus crud the kids had last week, plus Papa Bear is traveling for work right now, so my hands and time are quite full juggling my health, the kids, the daily household chores, making all of our summer arrangements, researching complementary therapies for Fidget, and soon will need to make some choices on Sunshine's curriculum for the fall. One thing is for certain: even an ordinary day around here is never boring!

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