Monday, April 30, 2012

Literacy Night

Tonight was literacy night at Colin's new school where different teachers were having a "story time" and you could also walk around and browse the book fair.  Since Colin had just started, I thought it would be nice to show our face and use it as an opportunity to go and see what Colin has been up to lately.  Since Chris had to work, Aunt Kimmy kindly watched Kailey because I was concerned about having two that were not interested in paying attention.  

When we first got there, we went into the book fair which was in Colin's gym area.  He was not interested in checking out the books, but rather, showing me all of things that he likes to play with in there (like baskeet-ball).  Since his teacher was going to be doing his book reading, we went into the classroom to say hi to her.  It was nice to chat with her for a few minutes and he showed me one of his favorite stations (the computers) and the dollhouse area.  It was so interesting to watch him play with the dollhouse because he was walking "daddy" up the stairs, putting him to sleep, washing his hands, etc., all things that he doesn't do when he plays with things around our house.  Around our house, the dolls and animals often end up thrown behind the couch or hidden in other areas, certainly not playing with them constructively.

I was so excited to watch Colin in action when Miss Liz started with a few songs that Colin actively participated in.  He kept looking back at me as if he were saying "hey mom! are you watching!?" and knew all of the songs that they did.  However, as soon as she took the book out to read the story, Colin stood up, said no and did his little hand gesture thing when he doesn't want to do something all the while mumbling under his breath.  I spent the first few pages of the book trying to wrangle him in while he put up a whining, yelling fight in front of all of the other kids and parents listening intently to the story.  I finally just let him go and walk away and then picked up and stood with him for the rest of the book.  After the story, it was time to do a quick craft which thankfully, he was interested in again.  Low and behold, the craft...a duck hat!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just What I Need

This was one of those weekends that I needed.  Although Chris was gone way more than I would have liked, the kids were very snuggly.  Colin has been boycotting naps, as I know I have mentioned, so by the time we hit 7pm, he is more than happy to oblige.  Kailey on the other hand, does not like being held too much and even when she wants the attention and wants you to pick you up, she does not settle in, but rather, fights it.  However, she is a great snuggler right before bed.  

I really got my fix for the weekend and was just so lucky...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Good Morning

For awhile now, Colin has been getting out of bed in the morning when he is ready.  Typically, he will come into  our room, tap me on the shoulder and say "mom! Mom! ma!" over and over again until I look at him, and then he will say "up!".  With Kailey, it depends on the morning and which "side of the bed" she wakes up on.  Some mornings we hear her happily content in the crib while other mornings you barely have enough time to change her before she needs her milk immediately.  

However, this morning, I heard Colin get out of bed and make a detour for Kailey's room since I think he heard her chatting in there.  I started to get out bed because I wasn't sure how that was going to go when I walked in to THIS scene...

In the picture, if you look, there is a green bin to the left of the crib which is what he used to get in the crib.  It certainly is something new every day!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Fun

Every once in awhile we have glimpses of what Colin and Kailey's relationship might be like when they get a bit older.  Although Colin has been a bit rough with her lately, I know he is not intending to be mean, but still has hurt her with how he plays with her.  However, there are moments when I just have tears in my eyes as I watch them play together because I can't help but think how I just LOVE moments like this...

...And just a little bit of Friday school fun:

We got these two notes from school today about Colin's day today.  One week down and this Mommy is so happy with the transition.  It has been SO GOOD for Colin! (Sorry you have to read it sideways!)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

An Adjustment and a Scare

Despite the fact we are really happy with Colin's transition so far, it does come with some adjustments all around.  I think that Colin is doing great, however, I also feel that there are many changes that we are all experiencing that like anything, are going to take time.  One of the most major adjustments that we are dealing with is the fact that Colin is not napping and is so much more tired right now.  When Colin was in his old school, he took a nap every single day for a minimum of an hour. However, he is being very stubborn with the girls and will not stay in his room to sleep.  Today he fell asleep on the couch thankfully and at least took a little cat nap.  However, a short nap led to a ROUGH go at the whole sleep thing at night.  Let's just say there were a whole lot of tears (and it wasn't just from Colin!).

I am sure that with time, Colin will adjust and give in because he just seems so much more tired than before! My adjustment that I am trying to get used to is a decrease in communication between us and his teacher (when comparing it to what I was used to before).  This is not to say that they are not communicating with us, but since he is now riding the bus and we don't pick him up from school, I don't know as many details as I did before.  Again, they send us notes and let us know how the day goes (and we do get plenty of details), but we're talking about the mom who would love to sit IN his class all day to get ALL kinds of communication!  All in all, we have been really happy with the transition as we feel that Colin is doing really well.  I know this may sound a little crazy, but in the past week since Colin has been in school, I am seeing some subtle improvements with his language.  All I have to do is bring up the bus or his teacher and he has lots to say, just not sure what it is.  Some of the words that he was already saying are becoming more clear and he is stringing 2 words together at times (like "no mom!").  

Another thing that's blossoming?  His independence!  I was at target yesterday with the kids and wanted to let Colin walk around to tire him out a bit.  However, I had the kids to start in the stroller so that I could get everything I needed first.  I turned around at one point and Colin wasn't in the stroller!  I nearly had a heart attack and thankfully he had JUST gotten out but was on the move!  

Lesson learned...buckle him in!  

And another scare, Kailey is getting into EVERYTHING.  I pulled THIS out of her mouth yesterday which she was essentially choking on because it was stuck.  

...and had to get her off the couch before she fell...

...and then off of the little kid picnic table that Colin just got for his birthday that we didn't put outside yet that she was almost standing on top of when I walked into the room.  I'm not used to this!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kailey Ann

Kailey was rocking out late night tonight since we put Colin to bed first tonight at 7:30.  The kids have swim lessons on Tuesday nights now and we don't get home until 7pm.  Generally that is Kailey's bed time and then Colin goes in somewhere between 7:30 and 8.  However, Colin has not been very cooperative at nap time with the girls lately, so by dinner time, his behavior and mood is not the best because he is just so tired from school. In addition, we think he has some teeth breaking through in the back because he has been up crying at night gnawing on his thumbs and then we have to wake him to get him ready for school.  

Kailey was more than happy to oblige and stay up longer, and was putting on quite a show for us.  She has quite a personality and I have really enjoyed seeing how she does things.  Obviously it's different than Colin, but it's ok because I like how the each do things their own way.  She is very curious about things and watching her play is so interesting.  Her play has been more purposeful and she seems to think everything is a purse because she likes to loop it over her arm and walk around with whatever it is.  She likes to put lots of things "in" different things and always makes me laugh when we find random combinations of toys.  However, she also is so dramatic and likes to flop onto the floor and cry if things don't go her way.  I like that they are so unique in their own ways!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Our New Daily Routine

Now that Colin is attending a new school, we have a new routine that we are getting used to.  Colin's bus arrives at 7:45 am, so we need to get him up (which he usually is up early enough anyway), dressed, and having eaten (which is typically easy since all he eats is yogurt for breakfast these days) before the bus pulls up (which is Daddy's job since I am already gone).  His program runs from 8:20 until 11:20 in a self-contained preschool classroom.  I didn't spend a whole lot talking about the IEP process on here, but that's partially because I am still learning and it is really new to me (and pretty overwhelming).  I am anxious in terms of whether or not we have everything we need for him, but since it is an "open document", as I talk with his teacher and others, I am sure that things will change with time.  

In addition to his new routine, we have several college girls (all seniors) who will be getting him off of the bus every day.  They are all education majors in some way (2 special education and one guidance!) so we feel pretty happy with his caregivers.  They are all very nice girls and Colin has seemed to warm up so far (we weren't too concerned about that aspect anyway).  They are very thorough in their preparations for caring for him so that has been reassuring as well.  

...I especially wasn't worried when I received this picture today.

I am sure a lot of this has to do with the changes that are taking place, but Colin no longer looks like a baby to me, but rather, such a big boy!  Although he seems tiny in respect to a bus and school, his face is changing so much! In addition he is growing some freckles that are dotting his nose and cheeks so it's all changing so much!

However, with all of these changes and "aging", we are also facing some new challenges that have crept up on us in the whole transition period that were slightly pushed to the side while we were dealing with the emotions of the change.  Colin is becoming very independent and strong-willed and wants things done his way.  In the picture above, Colin is working on a new game he received for his birthday which he loved.  It's a "bug catching" game using magnets to catch the different bugs in the puzzle.  He picked up very quickly on how to get the bugs, however, when it came to putting the puzzle pieces back in, he would become very frustrated and decide he didn't want to do it anymore.  He would storm away and have a little fit, so Kailey and I would put the pieces back in.  However, he would be back when it came to what he wanted to do.  

The other aspect of his personality that is very strong-willed is in the walking department.  Now, in no way do I want you to think that I am complaining about this because that is not the case, but it is very challenging to walk with him because he wants to go where he wants.  For example, in the picture below, he does not want to walk where I tell him to, but rather where he wants, right down the middle of the road, so now we are trying to teach safety (BIG challenge).  It's tough because when I try and take his hand, his response is to sit down and use all 28 pounds of "low muscle tone" to his advantage.  

Finally, the last really big challenge we are facing is the fact that he is not playing very nicely with Kailey right now.  I know this is pretty typical of all siblings, but he is very rough with her and often ends up hurting her because of his aggressiveness.  I mean, will literally run at her, ambush her, and knock her over and essentially "wrestle" her.  However, she is NOT wrestling back and gets very upset (obviously).  Now, she often instigates in some way, but most of the time, his attacks are unwarranted.  I know in disciplining, repetition is key, but the roughness is concerning because I feel like I can't step out of the room without something happening lately.  We will separate him, put him in "time-out" (although we don't really say those words) and tell him what he is doing that hurts Kailey.  I know this will improve with time, but it's stressful to me because all I want is that great brother sister bond!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

3 Years Later

Tonight caps off a very emotional week for Chris and I as we were saying goodbye to therapists that were our family, celebrated Colin's last day at school, and sent him off to a brand new school where he is starting his new journey.  It's funny because while I still know how I felt in those moments after his birth when I first saw his beautiful eyes, and then a week later when his diagnosis was confirmed, it feels so long ago that we were ever sad about finding out that Colin had Down Syndrome.  

We are so proud of our little boy... Although we haven't had to face some of the challenges that other families have handled, it was not always an easy road because we just didn't know what the future would be like.  However, Colin's little life has brought so much to ours that it would be impossible to put into words now.  We have spent the past 3 years getting to know this beautiful little boy who is smart, independent, strong-willed, and most especially, loving.  

Today, we celebrated 3 years of Colin and I couldn't help but smile at all of the people that were here that loved and supported him and us.  He is so loved...

If I had only known then that instead of the future being so daunting, it would be so rewarding...

Happy Birthday to my sweet baby boy.  I love you more than words could ever say...

I look forward to what the future will bring us.  

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Colin's 1st Day of School

Today was Colin's first day of school and we are so happy at how the day went.  Although we had one tiny glitch because the bus did not have a car seat, it was even better because then we could take him to school and watch how happy he was to go to his new teacher, Miss Liz.  As soon as he went into her arms, he turned to us and said goodbye!

Although we are so filled with emotion at how everything is changing, it is all happy emotion as we are ready for what this next chapter brings.

Our little boy is growing up!

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Hard to Say Goodbye

Today has been a really hard day for me as I anticipated picking Colin up for the "last time" at school.  I have been really emotional thinking about it as we have been so thankful for the love and support that Colin's teachers have given him since he first started at 5 months old.  When we were first sending Colin, we had the normal fears that any parent would have dropping their child off for the first time, but we were also facing some anxiety over the fact that he had special "needs" that would require a little "extra".  I think one reason why we are so emotional is that the Growing Tree has done so much for Colin and we couldn't be more thankful.  

I was also overcome with emotion as I walked into his room and saw the amazing display of posters, gifts, letters, cards and love that was given to him today...

Thank you!! 

When I looked at these pictures...all I saw was love!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

She's Walking

It is NOW official...our little girl is walking!!  We were so excited as she was taking steps recently and she was pretty unsteady on her feet.  However, just this week, she started choosing to stand up and walk to certain places.  Today, she walked down the hallway at school!

We love you Kailey girl!!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Saying Goodbye

I am having a really hard time this week as we say goodbye to people that we now call friends.  Colin is finishing up with Early Intervention and moving on to the next chapter in his life when he heads to preschool on Friday.  I have been thinking a lot this week as I watch Colin do all of these amazing things, feeling so proud of all that he has accomplished to get where he is now.  He certainly has had to work really hard to get here.  Most of the time I look at my little boy and the words Down Syndrome don't even cross my mind.  However, it is such a part of our life...

I can assure you that I have never cried as hard as I did the day that Colin's diagnosis was confirmed.  I could not believe that "it" was happening to us.  However, in all that we have seen Colin do in the past 3 years to grow and change, is the same kind of journey that we have been on ourselves as we have come to realize that "it" was one of the BEST things that could have ever happened to our family.  When our first therapist came to our home, we were so nervous about what all of this meant.  However, our therapists have become our friends, they have listened to our concerns, been a shoulder to cry on, and have pushed Colin to do the things they knew he was capable of doing, and more.  

With friends, you are never really saying goodbye, I know, but so much will be changing.  Every week, in a minimum of 5 hours, we have had these friends in our home working with Colin.  Words fail me in trying to find a way to say thank you, and I really could not even begin to tell you how grateful I am for this journey we are on, for our friends that we are now saying goodbye to, and for that one tiny little "extra" chromosome that Colin has.  

Parents with a child with special needs are often asked if we would "change" our child's diagnosis if we could...

...if you ask me, he is perfect the way he is.  

Monday, April 16, 2012

Flip Flop

Tonight as we were getting ready to go for a walk, I found a pair of flip flops of Colin that have been too big to wear since his 1st birthday.  When I put them on Colin, he was walking all over the place and sounded so funny because the flip flops were just smacking the floor.  I know it's kind of hard to hear, but made me laugh...

Pretty blues...


Sunday, April 15, 2012

I Have to Laugh

I have some big posts brewing now that we are IN the week leading up to Colin's 3rd birthday.  I have been rather emotional to begin with (I cried saying goodbye to Colin's therapist on Saturday) and tonight, I had to laugh/tear up because Colin has come so far.  

We have had a REALLY busy week and that has meant that Colin really hasn't napped much (usually just on the fly).  After a fun afternoon with Nana and Granddad, Colin took a snooze on Aunt Kimmy's lap.  

Needless to say, when Colin finally woke up, he was a bit groggy for awhile and it changed the whole night since he slept until almost 6pm.  

We kept him up later than normal, but when we tried putting him to bed, he just screamed and got himself out of bed.  We put him back but the screaming was even worse the second time.  He has been really great at bed time lately, so we gave in really quickly as it sounded like he was either kicking or beating his head against the door.  When I finally let him come out, he literally stormed out of the door saying "no mom no dad no sleep!!" (how about THAT Miss Amy! {speech therapist}) among some other what sounded like expletives.  I wish you could have seen him storming down the hallway pointing his finger at us walking right to the family room. 

I don't regret my decision because Colin has been wide awake.  So much so, that he sat himself down at his table, and turned to Chris asking for a pancake "ca-cake" over and over again (time check: 8:40pm).  I just laughed because how could we turn him down?  He seems like he is hungry all of the time lately because he asks to eat all of the time.  However, he is still on a VERY limited menu so it is literally like 5 yogurts, 5 puddings, and cottage cheese (plus some vanilla ice cream) every day.  

So, we gave in and he was as happy as a clam with his ca-cake (he only ate half).  

Maybe I am just being sentimental and noticing everything this week, but I get teary eyed at the subtle things that are glaringly obvious to me right now.  Colin is communicating with us so well, he is putting some simple words together in 2 and 3 word phrases, he is moving around so fast, and he is honestly just like any other "almost" 3 year old boy.  I am so proud of Colin.  

So while I am a creature of routine and I would much prefer Colin IN bed right now, I am greatly enjoying watching him walk around the room, play with different things, and "reading" his books.  We even paused the TV to listen to him point out the different pictures and objects.  I can't even begin to tell you how much I love him!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day of Play

It's amazing how fast a week can fly by when you are busy and having fun!  Today we met up with our friends Anne and Samantha at the boardwalk, but first, we had speech therapy and a "quick" trip to the doctor to get Kailey caught up on her immunizations.  I was so optimistic for therapy this morning because when Miss Amy came, Colin pointed to the family room and walked right in there to start.  However, he only lasted a good 15 minutes before he was "done".  

Just waiting for Dr. Uma to come in...
Last year during the summer, we made a trip to the boardwalk with the kids and attempted rides with Colin once, but it didn't go over so hot.  He enjoyed one ride that he went on with Daddy, but otherwise was not too happy with them.  When we were done with lunch today, I thought that I might try it out with Colin to see how it would go.  At first, when I put him on the firetrucks, he was kind of squirming to get out of the seat and cling to me, but the bell was a distraction once I showed him how to make it ring.  A few times around and he was waving away!

However, the second ride, the FISH, and he just loved it! This is BY FAR one of my favorite pictures.  I was hesitant with this one because it goes up and down a bit, but he really enjoyed it.

This one...not so much.  He was NOT a fan of the dragon and was NOT happy with me for putting him on it.  I got a few smiles and a wave, but he started and finished it by crying.

We had such a fun day that Kailey was able to be transferred from the car right into the crib...hat and all!

...and to finish the night?  My little guy and I each had a bowl of ice cream (for the second time today...oops!) on the couch together while we watched the Devils playoff game.  He was all about snuggling with me tonight and I was so happy!