Thursday, March 23, 2017

2017 Basketball

Another milestone...this was J's last season to play township basketball. Next year he'll play on his school's team if he makes the cut. Time just won't stop or slow down.
 Matt's last season to coach, too. Sadness.
 Tweety and Big C were J's biggest fans!! Watching other teams play was fascinating, too, especially for Big C!
The end of a season. A little sadness that my boy is growing up. A lot of happiness that each stage of life with these kids is sooooooo much fun!

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Emotions of a Dentist Appointment

A couple weeks ago I took Big C to his routine dental check-up.

Maybe I shouldn't use the word "routine." Maybe "regular" fits better. J and Tweety have routine dental check-ups...typical office, typical wait time, typical sitting in the lobby reading a book until they're done.

Big C has regular check-ups in that I schedule them regularly like a good mom. They, however, are never routine.

I kinda dread the dentist appointment day for Big C.

This time, I was pleasantly surprised with how well he did waiting in the lobby for his turn. Sometimes medical offices make him very upset, but he's really starting to move past that. He had his trusty Magic Moves Electronic Wand, which is my go-to toy for him in these settings. (Thanks, Uncle Craig, for fixing it!) It calms him even better than listening to music on my phone.
The office staff thought that the Magic Moves Wand was the best sensory toy ever! I had people flagging us down so they could get the name of the toy to look up on Amazon!

The rest of the appointment wasn't so great. 

The minute we walked into the examination room, it was all tears and crying and gagging for Big C. Three of us were in the room with him...the dentist, her assistant and I. We all know our roles - the assistant and I try to keep Big C from moving or grabbing things, while the dentist works quickly to clean and examine his teeth without getting bitten. 

At the end of the battle, the dentist looked at me and kindly said what I've been wondering if she would say for the last three years: "We'll try one more appointment like this. But if he is this upset at the next appointment, we will have to schedule his check-ups at the hospital where we can put him under so I can properly examine and clean his teeth and get x-rays."

I had suspected that this day was coming. I knew there was no way the dentist was accomplishing much with Big C so inconsolable. (She is, by the way, a fantastic pediatric dentist!)

Still, it made me sad. Sad that Big C had just gone through so much trauma over a teeth cleaning. Sad that I couldn't explain away his fears. Sad that I couldn't bribe him into sitting still (I totally would do that if I could!).

It wasn't a tidal wave of sadness. Just a ripple washing in - a reminder that life is sometimes so hard for our little guy. But then the smiles were back once we were in the car driving home. If you want to talk about a tidal wave of emotions, just listen to this boy giggle and laugh and throw in one of his awesome hugs for good measure - now that's a tidal wave! It'll pretty much flood your day with joy!

Friday, February 24, 2017

THE Weekend | A Recap

Last Friday at this time I was with Big C at his therapy center, so I thought I'd let you all know how the potty training is progressing. And, yes, it is progressing!

I really didn't want to go to the center with Big C last week. Not because I didn't want to be with him but because in the past my presence there (and previously at school) has really upset him. And that's no fun for him or me.

J, Tweety and Matt were praying. Friends were praying. And as I walked into the center with Big C, a beautiful thing happened. He loved having me there! He didn't want me to leave. And he didn't want to leave. It really was, much to my immense surprise, a fun day spending time with my little man and getting to meet more of his therapists and see what he does every day. So, so thankful for that answer to prayer!

We pushed lots of fluids, had lots of success on the toilet, and I felt ready to continue the program at home the rest of the weekend.

Overall it hasn't gone as well as I had hoped, but it hasn't gone as terrible as I feared either. So I think that's a win!

Definitely far from being done with this, but I'm very hopeful this time around! I'll gladly spend hours in the bathroom every day if it means that he can gain independence in this area!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

THE Weekend Has Almost Arrived

The date has been on the calendar for several weeks...PT Weekend.
In case you don't know what PT weekend's potty training weekend.

We first started working on toilet training with Big C several years ago. While we've had a bit of success, and without going into too many details, we are far from our ultimate goal in this area.

Thus, along with his therapy center, we have picked this weekend as THE weekend for Big C. I'll spend all day Friday at the center giving Big C lots of liquids and learning how to run the toilet training program at home.

His supervisor is very excited and says this is one of her favorite things to teach.

I am so glad for the different skills people in this world have, and I'm thankful that God has put someone in our lives who is super duper excited about potty training!

I will not be leaving the house this weekend. Pray for patience for us and for Big C not to hate this new skill.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Cost of a Chewy Necklace

For those of you know me and my budgeting ways, you may be surprised to know that I spent hundreds of dollars on a necklace!

Not a necklace for me. A necklace for Big C.

The necklace journey began late last spring. Big C has always been a bit of a chewer, particularly when it came to his coats. He chewed on his coats so much during his bus rides that eventually little bits of zipper would disappear.

Obviously not good!

So I started brainstorming how to stop the chewing of the coats. I tried big-kid bibs (the really nice, expensive kinds), but that didn't work. He just moved the bib out of the way and continued to beaver away on the coat.

Then warmer weather came; the coat got put in storage, and I forgot about the chewing. Until he started chewing his shirts.
He'd pull up his shirt and chew around the bottom of it. He's done this before, but this time the shirt-chewing soon became a habit and almost every single one of his shirts had holes running along the bottom.

So a new search began. I figured I should find a chewing replacement to save his shirts and to keep him from showing off his six pack every time he pulled up his shirt.

Enter the chewy necklace. I discovered several companies that make:
non-toxic sensory chewelry for those with a need to chew. Stylish and FUNctional, this wearable chewing solution provides a safe way to use oral motor input to assist in minimizing anxiety and stress.
This was the answer, I thought. A necklace that Big C could chew on instead of his shirts. Little did I know that the answer was more complex than that!

So I ordered Big C's first chewy necklace. It was stylish, shaped like dog tag, didn't stand out too much as an "autism" tool, was pretty cute. I liked it.
When I ordered it, I discovered that there were different levels of chewers.

The dog tag necklace was approved for mild chewers. I wasn't really sure how a mom would rate her child's chewing level, but I figured Big C fell in the mild chewer range.

Oops. I was wrong. I should have known that a kid who could chew up zippers was not a mild chewer. First $20 down the drain. Big C destroyed that necklace within a week.

Ok, so the search was on for a more durable necklace. The next one I ordered was rated for moderate chewers. That should do the trick, I thought.

It lasted longer than the first, but within a couple weeks Big C had chewed away the part of the necklace where the string was attached.

Another $20 chewed up.
And thus went the search.
At long last, and hundreds of dollars later, I finally found a chewy necklace he hasn't destroyed. It's a rather noticeable, chewy bangle (not the cute, stylish necklaces I loved). I strung the bangle on a break-away cord and - voila! - a necklace. (That was a whole other cost...finding a cord he couldn't chew to pieces in a day.)
Of course, now that I have found a solution, Big C doesn't seem to chew as much. In fact I've gone a couple weeks recently without putting the necklace on him.

At least I know which chewy necklace to recommend if anyone has a child who falls in the heavy chewer range!

Naturally I wish it hadn't taken me hundreds of dollars to find the chewing solution. But this is part of the special needs journey. Searching and networking and praying and googling - trying to find answers, resources, tools, adaptive devices - whatever will help our kiddos navigate the world around them.
And for many parents, the cost of searching for resources is much more expensive than the quest for Big C's necklace.

For our family, with the chewing dilemma solved, we now move on to a bigger search - finding an adaptive jogging stroller. Big C loves to go on walks with us when the weather is warm, but he is just too big to fit in a regular jogging stroller. Adaptive strollers run in the thousand dollar range, so, hopefully, this time I make the right choice on the first try!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fall Soccer 2016

I think this will be my last 2016 post!

J and Tweety got to play on the same soccer team last fall. It was fun to hear them encouraging each other (and so nice to only have one practice and one game each week!)!

The coach gave Big C a shirt...he was their biggest fan!

 Tweety ready to back up J if needed!

I loved seeing them play together! J loved to help Tweety learn new skills, and she actually appreciated his extra coaching (usually!)!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Christmas at Home 2016

Before traveling to Kansas for Christmas, we had our own little family Christmas at home.

J and Tweety serenaded Aunt Jenna that morning in the barn to let her know it was time to open presents!
 They crack me up!

 Big C mostly got cars and balls for Christmas...his favorite things!
 So entertaining!
 Aunt Jenna is the expert at putting together toys that come with lots of parts.
So thankful for our little family and spending time together!

This was our Christmas card pic. I know...I'm so not good at making sure we're dressed cute and perfect! Oh well! This is our life!