Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Alphabet Song

Sunday night I was laying in bed, trying to fall asleep and also trying to swat away the annoying thoughts that run through my head just when my head hits the pillow. Walter happens to fall asleep before his head hits the pillow--he's talented like that. He also starts snoring instantly. So, in the midst of listening to Walter's snoring and contemplating just how long Isaac would sleep, and trying to ultimately power down my brain, I thought, Isaac doesn't know the alphabet song. He also doesn't know how to sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. This week I need to work on teaching him the alphabet--he should know it. Uh, rewind. Reality check number three billion: Isaac is going to turn three years old soon, and still can't say his name.

We've been working on training the muscles of Isaac's mouth to make all of the many sounds that comprise his name. You wouldn't believe all the hard work your mouth has to do in order to say a fairly simple word. I was feeling ambitious and did try bribing Isaac with iPad to say the letters of the alphabet. It didn't work, and really it doesn't matter, because learning the alphabet isn't all that important right now. Every day we practice the components of his name: I-E-Z-A-K. His speech therapist showed me how to help him move his mouth to make the 'I' sound. He can do it, but he needs verbal prompting, and sometimes the physical prompting at the sides of his lips. This is a link to someone showing a prompt, and this is a link to a mom doing the speech exercises at home with her son (I sat at the computer crying as I watched this series of videos. This is a testament of this mom's hard work at getting her son to make sounds and strengthen his mouth. I could seriously feel her love for her son as I watched it. Hopefully one day we can implement the help of the tools she uses, with Isaac, but for now he will not tolerate anything like that near his mouth.)

Yesterday Isaac said from his car seat: "Ma, ah do!" He was playing with a calculator and wanted me to see that he could do it. I'll take that over the alphabet any day.

Not speech related, but simply signs of a genius in the making, while he was playing with teddy bear counters, he first lined each bear of the same color in perfectly straight rows, then he chose two colors and made an ABABAB color pattern all on his own. It was slightly creepy, but also very exciting.

This time he tried he to avoid his dentist appointment by falling sound asleep after his morning bath. Both kids were in the tub, also known as our indoor swimming pool, for almost an hour, hence the very wrinkly fingers and toes. 

As for his dentist appointment, it went exactly as I'd imagined--quite the traumatic experience for the little man. He avoided all eye contact from the minute we set foot in the office. I was concerned that he had a cavity, but it turns out it's just discoloration and not a cavity.

It is rainy and dreary here in northeastern Ohio. Isabella still insisted on playing outside today. She tromped around the yard and painted the slide with mud, and Stella patiently stood by her side, and made very pathetic glances at the back door.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Singing, Rainbows, and a Fairy

Yesterday evening Isabella performed with a group of other kids her age, during a church family night of worship. About half way through the event, I said to Walter, "This is amazing, a year ago, or even six months ago, Isaac wouldn't have made it through something like this." We've come so far. Six months ago, he would have been screaming inconsolably--unable to tolerate the crowd, and noise. Yesterday though, he made it until the end. I could tell he was shut down for most it, but I'm so proud of him for holding out and tolerating a challenging situation for him.

And what about Isabella? She was great, just like all of the other little kids who were singing their little hearts out. Her bravery constantly amazes me. She walked right up on stage like it was nobody's business. I don't know if I could have done that.

Gearing up for the show...

Even though he's outgrown it, the bouncy seat still comes in handy. In case you're curious, that's butternut squash soup going through the tube. 

Isaac helped mix the spices for our chili. He was pretending that the Motrin bottle was his salt grinder.

When I take out my camera, he says, "eeee" (cheese)...

Exhausting morning at Sunday School. 

 Fairy Moments: 

We had a sunny day today, and as usual Isabella and Stella went out to play. I found a rainbow when I went out to get the mail.

Friday, February 22, 2013

School: Froggy Style

Our Thursday, in pictures. 

This is how I found Isabella when I went to check on her before I went to bed. Don't worry, after taking the picture I unwrapped the blanket from her neck so she wouldn't die. I'm a good mom like that. I probably have more than eight quilts that my grandma has made for me, this log cabin quilt remains my favorite and most loved. The binding is in tatters, but it still tops Isabella's bed. 

Frog sleigh. Totally unsafe. They made it to the living-room before Isaac's head almost rammed into the wall. 

Tonight, I'm looking forward to date with my husband. We may actually have a chance to speak in complete sentences.

Have a wonderful weekend,


Thursday, February 21, 2013


Some notable happenings from the past few days:

1. Isabella announced that she will no longer be called, Isabella and is instead, you guess it, Bella. Since I have been itching to join the ranks of the association, Mean Moms of America, I flat out refuse to call her Bella. Later I went into her room and saw that she removed the I,S,A from the letters hanging on her wall.

2."Mommy, I really want a bunny. Can we pleeeease get a bunny?"
   "No, we are not getting a bunny."
   "But I like bunnies way more than dogs."
   "Stella, did you hear that? She says she likes bunnies more than dogs! You just made Stella cry."
   "But I really do! I don't like dogs anymore."
   "Look at Stella, she is so sad that you said that."
    And then commenced the crying because I would not get a bunny for her.

3. Monday I had a pimple on my forehead that happened to be the size of a third eyeball. While I like my children to believe that I can see everything they do, I would have passed on this pimple. Apparently it was incredibly distracting to Isabella while we were working on her math lesson:
    "What is that thing on your face?"
    "It's a pimple, don't worry about it."
    "Well, why did you get it?"
    "I don't know--I'm trying to pass as a teenager." I guess that was an acceptable answer until I was          explaining a math concept and noticed she wouldn't take her eyes off my pimple. 

4. Tuesday the kids had dentist appointments. I've been dreading Isaac's appointment since the screams that come from him during a cleaning can probably be heard in the next building. I was all geared up. Emotionally prepared for torture time, and physically prepared since I planned to remove his shoes after the extreme kicking of the last appointment. Isaac woke up crabby and I was disappointed since I'd really hoped for a good mood. I held him most of the morning until he fell asleep for an unusually early nap. I didn't think much of it since he goes to bed late, doesn't sleep well, and then wakes up early, a 9:30 a.m. nap seemed reasonable.

We got to the dentist and I could tell something was off with Isaac. I thought he would perk up when he saw the video game room and he tried to walk into the room, fell down, stood up, fell down, was screaming...they wanted me to fill out paperwork. Isaac was still screaming, and now shaking uncontrollably. I tried giving him the iPad since that usually cures a bad mood. He couldn't even hold it. Now Isabella was asking for the iPad. I snapped at her and told her to into the playroom--something was wrong with Isaac. I thought maybe it was a blood sugar thing, so I ran out to the car to get formula and a syringe. The receptionist gave me a cup...Isaac was still screaming, and shaking. They came to take Isabella back for her appointment and I couldn't decide if we should stay or go, I just told them that I needed a fork to mix that stupid formula. So there we were, screaming child, me mixing formula, Isabella upset that she may miss her long anticipated dentist appointment, then I was syringing up formula, and giving Isaac a quick two ounces. By that point I surely looked crazy. I mean, who doesn't when they are holding a lethal syringe (60cc).

I told Isabella that she could go back for her cleaning and maybe Isaac would feel better after having some formula. Meanwhile, Isaac kept pointing to the game room, but he wouldn't stand up, even with my help. I pulled a chair over and sat him in front of screen. He couldn't hold the controller, and then he started dozing off. Isaac, dozing off in front of a Lego video game definitely means something is wrong.

Well, fast forward a little bit, the dentist came out to the waiting room to have a look at Isaac. At this point, Isaac had stopped crying and was basically slouched over and his eyes kept rolling back and he kept drifting to sleep. We decided he should go to the ER, so I dropped Isabella off with my mom, and by the time we got to the ER he had a fever of 103.3, which I know isn't crazy high for kids, but he didn't have a fever until we left the dentist's office, and his symptoms were more concerning than anything else.

He had some Motrin and then started to perk up a bit. They couldn't find anything that was wrong with him, he didn't have a cough, his nose wasn't runny, his g-tube looked okay, ears were good, flu test was negative...and by that point he was saying, "bee bee" (beep beep) so that I'd move out of the way so that he could watch TV. We were discharged, and after a nap and a tube feeding, he was back to normal and wrestling with Isabella. He has not had a hint of a fever since 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday. It was all incredibly weird, and scary at the beginning since he has never acted like that or had a fever. We are thankful he is okay. It is so challenging with him since he is unable to tell us what is wrong. We've tried teaching feelings and attempt to help him pinpoint an area of discomfort, but it's virtually impossible since he does not have the verbal ability to tell us if he isn't feeling well. We've had glimpses of progress in this area, for example, when he was able to touch his g-tube and say, "ow", so we'll keep working on it.

5. I have heard more about silly putty since Sunday, than I would ever care to hear.

6. Isabella very nonchalantly told me that when I die she will not forget about me and will think about me all the time.

7. At dinner, Walter was mentioning that his annual review is this week, and we basically explained to Isabella that it is a grading system for people who work...ideally you want an A+. "Well, what if you get an F." "That probably means you're fired." "And then you have to go work at a pizza place." Anything is possible.

8. My so called facebook "friends" ruined the finale of Downton Abbey for me. Note to self: do not log on to social media outlets before having a chance to watch season finales.

 Getting ready to show Pirate Legos to Opa

The result of watching many home improvement shows with Daddy: Measuring vents...

Carrot and orange golf

Isaac was sure this remote would control his Playmobile race car

Checking for the 'on' switch

 Walter's Aunt teaches Suzuki violin, but lives too far away for us to take lessons with her. This was an impromptu Sunday lesson...


Friday, February 15, 2013

me go mo wi da

Isaac: (in a high pitched voice) Hoooo Hoooo Hoooo
Isabella: Isaac, please stop making the same sound over and over again! 
Isaac: Hooo Hooo Hooo
Isabella: Isaac! Seriously, that sound is annoying!
Me: Isabella, it's okay, just try to ignore him. Isaac can you make a different sound? Can you whisper?
Isaac: Hooo Hooo Hooo (He's an owl, that never stops hooting)
Isabella: Isaac! You're giving me a HEADACHE!

and then there's been a lot of this: 

Isaac: No, no, no, noooo, ow, ow, ow!
Me: Isabella, I've already told you not to talk to, look at, or touch Isaac. 


Let the sibling games begin. Isaac is already extra sensitive to people looking at him when he doesn't want them to. I mean, I get it, I tend to be on the anti-social side at times, but is it really necessary to say, "ow" when people look at you? And the repetitive noises, that happens all the time. If he isn't hooting, he's growling, and if he isn't growling, he's making some other high pitched noise. Our meals are very entertaining, and quite loud. We try to encourage a variety of noises so that we don't have to hear the same one, but Isaac is a very stubborn person, and if he wants to growl for ten minutes straight, he's going to growl. How he doesn't end up with sore throat, I have no idea. 

Other than growling and hooting, Isaac is making very good progress with making word approximations. You would have no idea what he was saying, but I've gotten pretty good at it. For example: 

Isaac: me go mo wi da!
Me: You want to play mario, on the wii, with da?
Isaac: Ya!

Isaac: buh woooey go!
Me: Buzz and Woody and are in a car?
Isaac: Ya! 

Valentine Sweat Shop

Isabella is making some wonderful progress with reading and math. I am constantly amazed that her brain can absorb so much new information and then spit it back out. I often wonder if I'm pushing her too hard, or teaching her too many new things at once, but she is getting it all, and it's really fun to be a part of this learning process.

Isaac helping unpack his medical supplies. 

Have a wonderful weekend!