As of today, our new little boy Cody is 1 week old and I can honestly that while there have been some big adjustments at home, we have also slipped into a routine pretty smoothly (so far). Colin and Kailey are enjoying their little brother and what's nice is that he hasn't seemed to have affected life for them too much (you never can tell what a new addition will do). Cody is also proving to be a relatively easy going baby, so that has been a tremendous help in the adjustment for everyone.
Colin started developmental soccer with the Special Olympics last weekend. We were originally going to try and do town soccer but the time of Colin's practice and games is the worst time of the day for Colin in terms of his tiredness. We were afraid it would be a wash because he wouldn't be up to being physical at that time so we are giving developmental soccer a whirl. In this program, you do not have to have special needs in order to participate, although most of the kids that have been participating do.
We are still working on transitioning Colin to Kindergarten and there are aspects that I think are going really well. We have seen changes with Colin even in the short 2.5 weeks that he has been there with his communication, behavior at home, and following through with tasks. We know that even the little things we see here that might not be as big for others means that he IS progressing and we see that as a positive.
That's NOT to say, however, that the transition has been without challenges and for us, that is the more difficult part. We do understand that it is impossible for a child like Colin to start school in a new setting, with new teachers and staff, for a full, solid day of Kindergarten without a need for time to get used to everything. One of the big challenges, has been establishing a toileting routine at school. Overall, he has actually done pretty well with staying dry at school and for that he has been rewarded at home each time he comes home in the same clothing. There have been accidents but we have been working through the logistics and a toileting plan was established by the nurse and principal to assist Colin with this. The plan is very thorough and we were really excited when we read through. We hope to see even more progress with this.
The other challenges we have seen are much more interconnected and have to do with Colin's difficulties with the academics and the behaviors that we see because of his difficulties. It can be difficult to keep him on task at times and with activities that are more challenging, it is hard to get him to follow through. There are also some difficulties with his behavior on the carpet during some of the routines. Efforts are being made to make adjustments to help improve these areas and different modifications are being made.
We are doing well with communicating about these issues so it's really a matter of problem solving to work through different challenges. To say this wasn't upsetting would be a lie though as it can be hard to go through a list of the things that Colin is having a hard time with. Even when you know there will be challenges and you brace for them and try to prepare for them, it can still feel overwhelming when you don't have the answers. I am really grateful to social media and the internet though because there is so much out there. After being updated most recently from school on how Colin was doing, I took to one of the groups I belong to that is a great resource on inclusion and asked for suggestions on how to tackle some of these challenges. We have a 30 day review meeting coming up in 2 weeks so I'm hoping to be able to discuss more of these suggestions. The thing is, I always knew that it was going to be hard for Colin because in all reality, he has to learn everything. Things that come very naturally to other kids don't for Colin and we have to work really hard to teach him many things that other kids just pick up on. Things as simple as routines at school, what's appropriate and what's not, sitting at a table for a certain period of time, etc. are all things that he needs to be taught (just like the other kids) but for him it takes longer.
When all is said and done, we know he will learn these things, it's just that we need to find the ways that work best for him in order to do that. For us, things as simple as the series of pictures below show us the progress. When he gets home from school, he happily tells us about his day in bits and pieces, and follows through with directions and tasked without complaining (here he was asked to put away his sneakers and he did so without a complaint. Now it's just becoming part of his routine).
Another example is initiating certain activities on his own or with Kailey when before they were a challenge (at home). Below, he asked for paper to make a picture and then told me what he was making. He was also asking me what he wanted me to make for him here. He referenced one of his teachers to tell me that she had him making certain shapes at school and showed me how to make them (even if he couldn't, he tried).
While Colin loves his little brother, his attention span for it is pretty limited. He can often be seen giving "passerby" hugs and kisses and will occasionally ask to hold Cody, but you need to stay near because when he is done, he is ready to pass him off to us.
Kailey is loving being a big sister right now and helping in any way to take care of Cody. There is a sparkle in her eye when she looks at her little brother and is constantly hugging him, kissing him, and telling us how cute he is. She asks to hold him all of the time and if I give her a little bit of space with it, I hear her talking quietly and lovingly to Cody. She is also extremely supportive of Colin and when he recently had some successes with the potty, she told him over and over again how proud she was of him and gave him lots of hugs for it.
She is always hovering near now and asking for Cody and loving on him. She had only a slight difficulty going back to school after Cody arrived but we've been distracting her by sending new pictures of him with her and then she's ok. She loves school though and talks about all of the things she does while she is there.
Cody has been doing pretty well himself as he is sleeping for pretty long stretches at night (4-5 hours) and is generally pretty easy going. We checked in with the pediatrician yesterday and he had already surpassed his birth weight so we were happy about that. We also saw the ENT today because he was tongue tied (discovered by one of the nurses at the hospital) and we found out was the cause of the constant flow of spit up and projectile spit up after eating. He snipped the tissue (the thin piece beneath your tongue; Cody's attached almost to the tip so it restricted movement) while we were there and it was amazing how much more mobility his tongue had. The doctor said that would decrease the spit up because then he would get more closure on the bottle and less air in his belly.
He's already learning how to live in a house with 2 very active siblings and is generally not phased when they are loud and he is sleeping.
So, life goes on here and we continue to move forward day by day.